Critics have leaped to review Small Steps, Louis Sachar's new novel that was released only a few weeks ago. The New York Times Book Review examined the book, touted by its publisher as a "companion" to the Newbery-winning Holes, five days after its official publication date. A.O. Scott, one of the paper's film critics, said "[The characters] are easy to identify with and impossible not to root for, even if the book they inhabit feels thinly imagined in comparison with its predecessor. It is likable and readable, but it never quite emerges from the shadow of Holes." Yesterday Small Steps was the Sunday Times' pick for children's book of the week; Nicolette Jones commented, "Although slighter than Holes, Small Steps still has Sachar’s familiar ease, intelligence, humour, suspense and humanity." Chiming in at the Washington Post, Elizabeth Ward wrote that the new book, "a straightforward, largely realistic story," does not have the same "brilliant" originality of Holes, although taken on its own merits, Small Steps is "funny and affecting."
So, there you have the critical take on Small Steps. Okay, now for the fun part, the contest announcement. Chicken Spaghetti is sponsoring a drawing on Friday, February 3rd, at noon. I will pick one name out of a hat for a free copy of Small Steps, and I'll mail it (the book, not the hat) to the winner. (We'll worry about address details, etc., later.) If you want to participate, send an e-mail to the following:
(Replace the AT and the DOT with the real things.)