From the Sunday Papers

London’s Sunday Times studies history books for intermediate readers and older. Paul Dowswell's Introduction to the Second World War is singled out for particular recognition. A tale for toddlers, Hooray for Fish!, by Lucy Cousins (of Maisy the mouse fame), is the kids’ book pick of the week.

Although the Guardian's interview with Judy Blume was published last Wednesday, I want to call your attention to it anyway. On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of Forever, Blume talks to  Sarah Crown, recalling the  1975 original, which dealt (then, as now) with a teenage couple's sexual relationship.

"I remember the review Margaret Drabble wrote for the Times - I think it was the Times," she recollects. "It talked about what American teens did in their cars - though Katherine and Michael never made love in a car. She also talked about "insies" and "outsies", mistakenly thinking the words had to do with genitalia, when really they were Katherine's descriptions of belly buttons."

The San Diego Union-Tribune rounds up what has to be the quirkiest list of the day. Leading off is Greene & Greene for Children, Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen's biography of two pioneering architects in California's Arts & Crafts movement. Some do-your-own projects are included in Thorne-Thomsen's bio. (Thorne-Thomsen is no relation to yours truly.) Are there really kids out there clamoring for non-Popsicle-stick Arts & Crafts? Great, if so! Also on the roster is Jim Arnosky's Hook, Line & Seeker, a book about fishing (for preteens); his nature books are usually quite good, but the reviewer  says, "Maybe the advanced young fisher will enjoy the storytelling, but the inexperienced will not find enough fodder to bait a hook." Bart King's Big Book of Boy Stuff (activities, practical jokes, etc.,  for ages 6-12) also gets a thumbs-down. Two birding guides fare better: What's that Bird?, by Joseph Choiniere and Claire Mowbray Golding, and Backyard Birding for Kids, by Fran Lee.

Meanwhile over at the Washington Post, The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl (edited and introduced by Pierre Haski, translated from the French by Lisa Appignanesi)   is the subject of some glowing praise. Elizabeth Ward writes, "You don't review this small book; you tell people about it—adults as well as kids—and say, 'Read it.' It's one of those elemental, utterly artless works that simply stop you in your tracks."  For ages ten and older. Registration required.