Archive for June, 2009

Lovely review…

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I am absolutely tickled by this wonderful review from Jen Robinson. She’s a kidlitosphere pal of mine, and I admire her passion and energy and opinion a ton, so the review means even more…

“I highly recommend Any Which Wall to anyone who would like a return to reading about magic, a return to old-fashioned stories in which children ride their bikes around unsupervised and eat cake with new acquaintances. It’s Laurel’s gift to readers, and to the ghost of Edward Eager. I think that he’d be pleased. “

Oh, I hope that’s true.  In the back of the book, I acknowledge “the memory of Edward Eager” in hopes his ghost won’t haunt me!!!

Also, just a mention that Jen notes, in her review that the artwork  feels like an update of the mid-century work done by Joe and Beth Krush. I was struck by the very same thing.  It especially reminds me of the illos from Gone Away Lake, a book I love.  I can’t find a piece online right now, but here’s something from The Borrowers, which they also illustrated:

There’s something in the line…

BBT: Eager Readers!!!

Sunday, June 7th, 2009


Many wonderful bloggers and writers have sent me their thoughts on Eager, but I decided to begin my Backwards Blog Tour with the fabulous  Mitali Perkins, (prolific author, friendly blogger, and organizer extraordinaire) because while she loves Eager, she also addresses an aspect of his work that I find, as an adult reader, problematic.

Mitali says:

I grew up loving Edward Eager. As a kid, I skipped over the strange ethnic stereotyping I now notice in some of his books. Maybe it’s because when it came to issues of race, Eager won my trust with “The Well-Wishers,” a story published in 1960 about a black family moving into an all-white town. The book could read like another “white people should welcome black people” didactic tale were it not for the twist Eager added of tough guy Dicky LeBaron’s mentoring of the new kid Hannibal. At age 11, I moved into an all-white town myself. When Dicky advises Hannibal, “Be yourself, dad, and like it,” I felt like he was talking to me, encouraging me, giving me permission to be brown. Read in 2009, “The Well-Wishers” can still inspire kids that to take a stand against injustice, thanks to Eager’s strong characters, deprecating humor, and good intentions, otherwise known as well-wishing.

I’m so glad that Mitali wrote this, because I had absolutely forgotten about Hannibal!  The Well Wishers and its partner-book Magic or Not? are less “magical” than Eager’s other books, and as such, I (a goofy magic-loving child) read them less often.  But in general, I think we need to talk more about this issue of race and historical context!

It’s something  I have trouble hammering out, for myself.  I heard the other day that several classics have recently been “updated” (is this true? does anyone know anything more about it? Mary Poppins? Really?!)  I had a violent reaction to the idea. But… I also find myself uncomfortable with leaving the books as they are…  Remember Achmed the A-rab in Half Magic?


And we can’t just censor the book, right?


What do you think?

For Mom and Em…

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

The boys share a chair (and a hearty breakfast of wooden/velcro vegetables)

Happy now, folks?

The Backwards Blog Tour: Eager Readers!

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

(yeah, this guy!)

NOW! Introducing and announcing with great fanfare!!! A brand-spanking new blog feature!  An invention!


Why a backwards blog tour? you ask…

No particular reason. Just seemed like fun!

What’s a backwards blog tour? you ask…

Well, instead of running around the blogosphere, answering other people’s random (and often repetitive) questions… I’m inviting other folks  here, to answer ONE question!

What question might that be? you ask…

Why, I’m glad you’re so curious!  The question is: WHAT DO  YOU REMEMBER/LOVE/ HATE ABOUT READING EDWARD EAGER? Hence the name of the blog feature: Eager Readers!

Now, right about this time you might be thinking, Hey, tthat sounds totally random, Laurel!

And it does sound random, I know…but  see, I have a reason for all of this madness.

Because my new book, Any Which Wall, is a tribute to Edward Eager.  Best known for having penned Half Magic, Eager in fact  wrote a slew of funny, imaginative books betwen 1952 and 1962.  In these books, regular children, living in America, encountered magic, made mistakes, and had a lot of fun in a an everyday way.  Eager really helped pave the way (along with his hero, Edith Nesbit) for all the magic books kids love today. Percy Jackson,  Potter, etc…

Though of course, he wasn’t perfect, and not everyone loves him as I do.  (and if you don‘t love him, please shoot me an email and tell me why!)

But in trying to learn more about him, and in attempting to track down his family, I hit brick walls everywhere.  There’s just not much to be found.  I went in search of his grandchildren, and came up empty handed…

So instead of skipping blithely around the blogosphere this month, talking about myself, and harassing you all with amazon links at every turn…  I thought I’d celebrate my book release by asking  the blogosphere to come over here, for a party, to discuss and share tidbits and memories about this mysterious man. Eagerly!

Do you loathe his treatment of women?

Do you admire his use of herb gardens?

Do you have a particular memory of something from one of his books?


I hereby beg for/ request/ welcome/ invite thoughts from other people who have memories or thoughts about the books and life of Edward Eager.  I’d welcome anyone’s comments, and will happily post anything I get at laurelsnyder (at)

Stay tuned for more!!!

What *Does* a Girl Want???

Friday, June 5th, 2009

(Besides some clothes, I mean…)

If you care about books, and girls… you should know about this!

Colleen Mondor has wrassled up an amazing crew of women, a roundtable I’m honored to be part of!  In coming weeks we’ll be talking regularly about “What a girl wants.”  Which is to say we’ll be discussing WHY a girl wants what she wants, and what that says about the world we live in.  We’ll be (I assume) revisiting the way *we* read books as kids, but also thinking about what we write, and how, and whether that’s problmatic. We’ll be addressing what we *don’t* write, and whether we should…  We’ll think about diversity, lifestyles, sex, age, childhood… and yes, we’ll get around to vampires.

Bookmark it!

Long overdue…

Friday, June 5th, 2009

My apologies for this very long absence.  I was in Iowa for the funeral, and then when I got home, I realized I didn’t have my power-cord for the computer.  And since I’m a silly and don’t know how to log into my blog on someone else’s laptop, I haven’t been posting at all.

I had planned to start the month of June with some wonderful Edward Eager memories other folks have sent me, along with pics of the kids, and a rant about publishing… but today I just want to catch you up, and thank the nice folks who’ve reviewed Any Which Wall in recent weeks.

First, thank you to Gwenda, who asked me to be part of the SBBT. Her interview was super fun, and I felt bad that I was in transit, and unable to blog aobut it at the time.

Second, thanks to Kate, who has written something smart and thoughtful over at Book Aunt.  I’m a huge fan of her work, and owe her a review for her delightful book, The Runaway Princess.  Go read it!  It’s an award-winner here in GA.

Third, thanks to Eva, who blogged the book, but even better, wrote this incredible review for School Library Journal!

Fourth, thanks to The Old Coot, who has written me the kind of review that makes writing worth the hard hard days, when you doubt everything you do.

Fifth, thanks to Mr. Steve, who not only wrote me the most incredible email ever, but blogged it, and then posted it to Amazon!  NOBODY ever bothers to review me on Amazon, so that goes a long way!

Really, thank thanks thanks to all of you.  And to anyone who’s written me a nice email lately.  When these things pop up in my inbox, they totally make my day. I’ve been slogging through lately, what with the car accidents, rental cars, funerals, cross-country drives, past-due book deadlines, and struggles with the new book.  These are the fireflies in my dark nights.

YAY FOR YOU!  I’m really glad you all like the book.