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March 2007
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Poetry Friday: Never Tease a Weasel

Imagedbcgi_2 If you know the work of the New Yorker cartoonist George Booth, you know how funny he is. His people and dogs often look how I feel sometimes—€”frazzled and slightly unhinged. But in a good way. Booth did the illustrations for a recent re-issue of the picture book Never Tease a Weasel, and the combination of his pictures and the jaunty rhyming wordplay of Jean Conder Soule adds up to a rollicking good read.

The book's summary says, "Illustrations and rhyming text present animals in silly situations, such as a pig in a wig and a moose drinking juice, along with a reminder not to tease."

An excerpt from Jean Conder Soule's text reads,

You could make a goat a coat
With a collar trimmed in mink;

Or give a pig a wig
In a dainty shade of pink.

You have to see George Booth's pig.

For a while I hadn't been bringing home that many picture books because, well, really, I was kowtowing to the idea that my very capable 7-year-old reader should be reading more chapter-ish books. The boy, however, knows what he likes, and he likes picture books. I picked up a stack of new ones at the library yesterday, and we have had the greatest time reading them together. This is how Junior sums up the book of the day: "The kids in the book keep teasing a weasel. At the end they watch TV with the weasel. And it's so funny."

Never tease a weasel and never kowtow.

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Today's roundup of other Poetry Friday posts can be found at the blog Big A little a.


10 Greatest Novels for Kids?

From "Heroes and Heroin: The 10 Greatest Novels of Children" in the UK's Independent:

One is a cosy bedtime read about a family of tiny people who live beneath the floor; another takes you into the world of a 14-year-old heroin user; and a third enacts an elaborate fantasy of demons and witch-clans.

They are among 10 books today nominated as the most important children's novels of the past 70 years, and encompass gritty themes of murder, war and illness as well as the deeds of fairies, angels and strange beings.

Philip Pullman's Northern Lights was chosen alongside classics such as Mary Norton's The Borrowers and Alan Garner's The Owl Service by judges of the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's literature, as a kind of "Carnegie of Carnegies" to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

Click the link above to read the entire story and see the rest of the books on the list. You can access the Carnegie Medal site itself, too. The Carnegie Medal is the UK equivalent of the Newbery.


Among the Gorillas

Hey, everybody. Between spring break and a mini-vacation, I have not been able to post as much as I would like to. My apologies.

This afternoon you could have found me here, getting teary-eyed and choked up. Really. What can I say about this lack of critical response? It was better than "Beauty and the Beast"? I was going on very little sleep? The actor playing the main character was quite the looker?

Back soon, I hope.


Bloggers in the News(papers)

Anne Boles Levy reviews books for the Los Angeles Times. In fact, that's how I discovered her blog, Book Buds, several years ago. Last week she reviewed the novel, Ask Again Later, for the paper.

Betsy Bird, of A Fuse # 8 Production, considered several new books for children in the Sunday edition of Long Island's Newsday.

Shaken & Stirred's Gwenda Bond's byline can be found in the Washington Post. Back in February, she wrote about new sci-fi and fantasy titles (for grown-ups).


Kids' Books in the New York Times 4.15.07

Tomorrow's New York Times Book Review, available online now, considers a bunch of children's books, including Not a Box, The Birthday Box, 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore, and Katurah and Lord Death.

In the lead kids-book review, Joanne Rudge Long writes, "A lot of new picture books seem to reflect the concern that creative play is becoming a thing of the past." It's an interesting piece.

Link: New York Times Book Review, April 15th, Children's Books


Friday Items of Interest, April 13th

The April edition of the Edge of the Forest, the online children's literature publication, is up. You'll also find a guide to Erin Hunter's "Warriors" series,  interviews with authors Grace Lin and Carrie Jones, and more, including the Kid Picks column that I wrote this month.

An early spring Field Day, a nature carnival devoted to learning with children, is happening right now at By Sun and Candlelight.

The roundup for Poetry Friday can be found at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy today.

At Read Roger, Horn Book editor Roger Sutton remembers Janet McDonald, who wrote Spellbound, Project Girl, and a number of other young-adult novels. McDonald, who grew up in the  Brooklyn projects, was an attorney in Paris.


There's a Volcano on My Bookshelf

Landsc007_m_2 What did one volcano say to the other?

I lava you.

Ha, ha, right? My 7 year old used to tell that joke often, laughing every time. He is a volcano guy from way back. Here are some books that other young vulcanologists might appreciate, too.

Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? by Melvin Berger. Picture book, lots of facts, Q. & A. format. Includes directions for making a grand baking soda/vinegar/dish-soap explosive concoction using an empty soda bottle. Because of this book, "magma" has been a part of my vocabulary for the last four years.

Hill of Fire, by Thomas P. Lewis. Illustrated beginning reader about the farmer who stumbled across a volcano (the beginnings of one) while plowing. About the 1943 eruption of Mexico's Paricutin. A Reading Rainbow selection.

Volcanoes, by Stephanie Turnbull. From the Usborne Beginners series, a nice introduction to the subject, short bits of text, index, glossary, recommended web sites—all in 32 pages.

The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes. You can't go wrong with Ms. Frizzle, the extraordinary science teacher, and her class.

An Island Grows, by Lola M. Schaefer. A colorful picture book for preschoolers and early-elementary kids. (Recently reviewed at the blog Charlotte's Library.)

Magic Tree House #13: Vacation Under the Volcano, by Mary Pope Osborne. Early chapter book about Pompeii, from the popular series.

Volcanoes! Mountains of Fire, by Eric Arnold. Advanced beginning reader about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

Volcanoes! by Jeremy Caplan. Another advanced beginning reader, with photos.

Volcano, by Nicholas Harris. Pompeii from the Ice Age into the present, with tabbed pages. Picture book for older readers. Part of a series called Fast Forward. Vesuvius included, of course.


Kimchi, Quiet Eggs, Mysterious GalleyCats

A Year of Reading talked to Rose Kent, about her wonderful debut novel, Kimchi & Calamari, which I just recommended to my son's school's library.

Have you seen An Egg Is Quiet, the beautiful Cybils picture-book nonfiction winner? An interview with the illustrator, Sylvia Long, is up at the Cybils web site. Go, read.

Print's loss is online's opportunity when the LA Times moves some of its book section to the web, as of this Sunday. Citing LA Observed, GalleyCat reports that a children's column is in the works.

GalleyCat's own Sarah Weinman will write about mysteries (adult mysteries, that is) for the revamped LAT site. Congrats to Sarah!


Clementine and Her Author

Count me as one of the many fans of Clementine, the scamp who is now starring in a second book by Sara Pennypacker. School Library Journal talked to the author recently about her writing and her ambition to play shortstop for the Red Sox. SLJ gave the new novel, The Talented Clementine, a starred review, saying, "Libraries will need multiple copies of this one, because early chapter-book readers will jump at the chance to spend another eventful week with Clementine."