Archive for January, 2009

Someone’s showing me some love…

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I’m excited!  I just found out (by googling myself, FOR SHAME) something neat about Any Which Wall!!! Something cool!  I won’t share it with you here, because I have not yet  officially been told  about this particular bit of goodness.

I don’t want to jinx it.

But the experience got me thinking about Any Which Wall, which doesn’t come out until May.  And so I thought I’d plug the book today, a bit, in case you want to preorder it (which would save you money, and make me happy!)  Or ask your library to order a copy, or tell your local indie bookstore about it, or anything else awesome.  If you need a review copy, let me know, and I’ll put you on the list.

ANY WHICH WALL is a kind of tribute, an homage to Edward Eager (and also Edith Nesbit, though a little less obviously).  Didn’t you love Half Magic, Magic by the Lake, and Seven Day Magic?

I know I did!

The book takes place in Iowa, in a town called Quiet Falls (a town that just happens to greatly resemble Iowa City). Four kids (Henry, Emma, Susan and Roy) discover a massive stone wall in a corn field, and when they realize the wall can grant their wishes, they head to all sorts of amazing places.  They meet Merlin and the son of Blackbeard. They visit a pioneer town, and Coney Island!

The book also has OUTSTANDING art by the insanely good LeUyen Pham.  Really.  REALLY REALLY!

And as soon as someone officially tells me the good news, I’ll be glad to share it with you.

Faint! Damn praise from a cool kid…

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Today, on Goodreads, I noticed that I’d gotten a good-but-not-great one-line review from Betsy Bird.

Now, ordinarily, one nearly-good sentence on Goodreads wouldn’t be worth a mention here, but in case you don’t know, Betsy Bird is the COOLEST PERSON IN THE WORLD.  She has a sharp wry wit, a spiky intelligence, and she looks fabulous in a cocktail dress.  Also, she appears to be infallible.

Essentially she is Molly Ringwald (in the Breakfast Club), if Molly Ringwald (in the Breakfast Club) happened to be a NYC librarian.

So, given the source, I’ll take this to mean good things…

Not quite like any other fairy tale novel I’ve encountered, and while I might have shortened it a tad I think it’s indicative of a strong writing talent.

This is not the first time I have been described as “Not quite like any other…”  but this time I think it’s intended as a compliment.

Horn Book!!!

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

The first review of the new year is GOOD.  And what’s more… it’s The Horn Book!

I haven’t seen a print copy yet, but (in theory) this is what it says:

High-spirited milkmaid Lucy lives with her kind but distant father and excessively well-behaved sister in the village of Thistle in the “Bewilderness.” Her best friend, Wynston, is a timid prince, and her mother, Nora, is a mystery: “Mama was there, and then…she was gone.” Frustrated after Wynston’s father gives her the brush-off (“You’re common, my dear, no matter how sweet you happen to be”), Lucy sets off into the Scratchy Mountains, determined to assert her independence while looking for clues to her mother’s disappearance. Wynston follows, but on a different path, and the two have separate adventures, Wynston’s involving a man stuck in a soup pot and Lucy’s with a prairie dog called Cat. The friends are reunited—and run into trouble—in a highly regulated town at the top of the mountain. Snyder’s breezy text incorporates droll humor, especially in the songs Lucy composes to keep herself company: “When climbing up a mountain, / be sure to bring your feet— / You’ll need them to escape from / hungry lions that you meet.” An undercurrent of sadness also flows: this is very much a story about missing mothers and coming to terms with loss. Old-fashioned black-and-white illustrations framed within scrolls make creative use of scale to heighten drama while reinforcing the tale’s once-upon-a-time nature.


End-o-the-year listing…

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Everyone I know appears to be making “best of” lists for 2008.  I wanted to make a big list myself, but I’m lazy, and besides–the longer the list gets, the less committed I feel to the absolute wonderfulness of the books on it.  So here are my top four books of 2008:

My One Hundred Adventures, Polly Horvath (middle grade)

The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forrester (middle grade)

The Doughnut Chef, Bob Staake (picture book)

The Elephant Wish, Lou Berger (picture book)

There are a lot of books I’d think about adding if I needed a longer list. Among them are the Willoughbys, Tennyson, Jerk, California,  and a slew of others…  But they aren’t books I LOVE.  These four, the books above, are books I’ll return to again and again. I just know it.

Obviously, these are all books for kids.  The combined effect of having two toddlers in the house, and doing “research” for my own writing.  I do read adult novels too, and poetry. But I didn’t read anything this year for grownups that came close to Horvath’s use of language.

Polly Horvath rocks my world.