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Vol. 9, No. 4, August 2001
Early alert!: HarperCollins has announced the December reprint of the hard-to-find first three books in Jane Langton's Diamond in the Window series! I'll report more when the books become available.
"Giggerty-geggerty, I can't wait!": long-awaited reprints
A Gift from the Lonely Doll written and photographed by Dare Wright. Random House, 1966; Houghton Mifflin, 2001 (0-618-07182-2) $6.95 pb
Sequel to The Lonely Doll and Edith & Mr. Bear.
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones. Greenwillow, 1977; 2001 (0-06-029880-4) $16.95; Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Greenwillow, 1986; 2001 (0-06-029881-2) $16.95; Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones. Greenwillow, 1991; 2001 (0-06-029882-0) $16.95
In what I can only hope is the beginning of a complete reprinting,
three of Jones' harder to find books are once again available in
hardcover: Dogsbody, a mysterious science fiction story in which
the Dog Star Sirius is sentenced to come to earth as an actual dog,
Howl's Moving Castle, a light-hearted skewering of fairy-tale
conventions that is one of the few of Jones' books to include a touch
of romance, and Castle in the Air, sort of a sequel to
Howl's Moving Castle.
Take Note: books of special interest to children's book enthusiasts
Sleepy Book by Charlotte Zolotow. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. HarperCollins, 2001 (0-06-027873-0) $15.95
Originally published in 1958, this is a gently lyrical celebration of
sleep as it is practiced by many creatures: spiders sleeping "like
small ink spots in the middle of their lacy webs," the snowy crane
"standing on one long leg like a flower on its stem." I'm not
familiar with the original illustration but the new ones are beauties,
luminous soft and bright colors on a wood grain background, with
simple shapes to complement the soporific invitation of the text.
Goodnight Moon (Lap Edition); The Runaway Bunny (Lap Edition) by Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrated by Clement Hurd. HarperCollins, 2001 (0-694-01675-6; 0-694-01671-3) $12.95 each, board book
For those who find regular board books hard to hold/look at, these
magical pictures books are now available in oversized (11 X 9.25)
board book editions.
Also now available: A Margaret Wise Brown Gift Set by Margaret Wise Brown. Illustrated by Clement Hurd. HarperCollins, 2001 (0-06-623846-3) $31.95
Attractively slipcased hardcovers of Goodnight Moon and The
Paddington Goes to Town by Michael Bond. Illustrated by Peggy
Fortnum. 1968; Houghton Mifflin, 2001 (0-618-08307-3) $15.00
Polkabats and Alphabet Slacks written and illustrated by Calef Brown. Read by Daniel Pinkwater. Houghton Mifflin, 2001 (0-618-13304-6) $18.00 book and CD
Brown's tribute to such antic characters as Kansas City Octopus, the
Lonely Surfer and Funky Snowman get a little extra jazz here with the
inclusion of a CD. Children's author Daniel Pinkwater reads the 14
poems with pizazz, against a dixieland background.
New Books: News
The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden. Houghton Mifflin, 2001 (0-618-07026-5) $16.00
Book six of the series about Australian teenagers fighting an enemy
invasion that started with Tomorrow, When the War Began.
Now (or Again) in Paperback
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. 2000; Candlewick, 2001 (0-7636-1605-2) $5.99 pb
First paperback edition of the Newbery Honor winner.
The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. Dell Yearling, 2001 (0-440-41832-1; 0-440-41833-X) $5.99 each, pb
"His Dark Materials" books 1 and 2.
The Hobbit written and illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkein. Houghton Mifflin, 2001 (0-618-15082-X) $10.00 pb
This attractively designed trade paperback includes several
illustrations not generally found in the paperback editions and a
color cover by Caldecott-honor winner Peter Sis that emphasizes the
mythological underpinnings of Tolkein's work. The text is based on
the Collins Modern Classics edition published in 1998, which includes
a number of text corrections; unfortunately, the specific changes
aren't noted in this volume.
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. HarperCollins, 2000 (0-06-028454-4) $15.95; HarperTrophy, 2001 (0-06-440819-1) $5.95 pb
In an evocative portrait of contemporary life in India, a girl named
Koly describes how she survived the aftermath of a disastrous arranged
marriage and became an independent and happy woman. Atmospheric
details enhance a briskly told and absorbing story. A National Book
Kit's Wilderness by David Almond. 2000; Laurel-Leaf, 2001 (0-440-41605-1) $4.99 pb
Michael L. Printz Award winner, by the author of Skellig.
Making Friends With Frankenstein written and illustrated by Colin McNaughton. Candlewick, 1994 (1-56402-308-7) $19.95; 2001 (0-7636-1552-8) $4.99 pb
The gross, grisly, subversive and wickedly amusing atmosphere of
children's playground verses is perfectly captured in this original
collection of "monstrous poems and pictures." By turns
gruesome, malevolent and cynical--but always gleeful--Making
Friends With Frankenstein is delightfully shocking and
hysterically funny. The cartoony pictures are an excellent match for
the verses: neither are for the weak of stomach. American readers
may be baffled by occasional references to English expressions and
culture, but that's no big deal--they'll still devour this book and
scream for more.
My Working Mom by Peter Glassman. Illustrated by Tedd Arnold. Morrow, 1994 (0-688-12259-0) $15.00; HarperTrophy, 2001 (0-06-441033-1) $5.95 pb
"It isn't easy having a working mom" says a little girl, and you can certainly understand why. Her mom is always flying off to meetings--literally!--or making weird dinners that look like fillet of dragon. This working mom is a bona-fide witch and when she's had a bad day at work--watch out! But she also makes out-of-this world--also literally--birthday cakes and is a big hit on Career Day. All in all, the little girl decides, "...if I had to choose, I'd keep my mom just the way she is."
With goofy, richly comic pictures that do justice to the absurd
premise, this is a book that will have readers in stitches. The
contrast between the ordinary, matter-of-fact text and the outrageous
illustrations is utterly hysterical, as we see the mom diligently at
work, dropping flies into her big cauldron, or dashing off to a
meeting followed by bats and toads. Numerous funny little details
make rereading a pleasure, as does the genuine affection that shines
through the story.
Skellig by David Almond. 1999; Laurel-Leaf, 2001 (0-440-22908-1) $4.99 pb
Winner of multiple awards, including the Carnegie Medal and Whitbread
Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones. Greenwillow, 2001 (0-06-447335-X) $6.95
Sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm.
Everything Old is New Again: new editions of books widely available
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Books of Wonder, 2001 (0-688-16677-6) $7.95 pb; The Marvelous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Books of Wonder, 2001 (0-06-440963-5) $7.95 pb; Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Illustrated by John R. Neill. Books of Wonder, 2001 (0-06-440962-7) $7.95 pb
The first three Oz books, now available in paperback, including the
afterwards by Peter Glassman from the original "Books of Wonder"
"Leftovers": new editions of books originally reviewed in Notes from the Windowsill
Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Gulliver, 1997 (0-15-200192-1) $15.00; Voyager, 2001 (0-15-216356-5) $7.00 pb
As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade--and
living on an island with only a sour lemon tree for food, the monkey
heroine of this tale has obviously learned that lesson well. So when
she spots a banana tree on a nearby island, separated from her by a
sea full of toothy crocodiles, she cleverly figures out how make use
of her enemies to add bananas to her diet without adding monkey
to theirs. This version of a Pan-Asian folktale makes a fun
mix of trickster tale and counting book, told in rhyme to boot.
Sierra finds innumerable (well, at least nine) silly rhymes for
"crocs," and the fast-paced, whimsical text is matched with
lively scenes full of absurd, delightful details--like the box of
"croc treats" which looks just like a box of animal crackers,
except that the animals drawn on its side are the monkey and her
i>A Field Full of Horses by Peter Hansard. Illustrated by A Field Full of Horses by Peter Hansard. Illustrated by Kenneth Lilly. Candlewick, 1994 (1-56402-302-8) $14.95; 2001 (0-7636-1434-3) $5.99 pb
With a text rich in tender understanding of the habits and instincts
of horses, this book could make almost any preschooler into a horse
lover. The narrative describes the sensory pleasures of watching,
listening to, touching and even smelling horses; accompanying text
gives more factual information to round out the picture. The
carefully crafted watercolor illustrations are somehow less inspiring,
but do give a good idea of the natural beauty of the animals. (4-8)
I Love Guinea Pigs by Dick King-Smith. Illustrated by Anita Jeram. Candlewick, 1995 (1-56402-389-3) $14.95; 2001 (0-766-1435-1) $5,99 pb
In an amiable and affectionate first-person narrative, King-Smith
convincingly describes the pleasures of caring for those "chunky
and chubby and cuddly" little creatures, guinea pigs. If his words
weren't enough to make you fall in love with these adorable
rodents, Jeram's light, uncrowded illustrations would finish the
job--her sweet, somewhat bemused looking guinea pigs are full of
personality as they enjoy "those two favorite guinea pig
pursuits--eating and conversation." The ending, in which King-Smith
remembers two of his favorite guinea pigs, now buried in his yard, is
a gentle, age-appropriate reminder that these pets don't live as
long as people do. Be prepared to have a child begging for a guinea
pig after reading this book--and to be very inclined to give in.
Preston's Goal! written and illustrated by Colin McNaughton. Harcourt Brace, 1998 (0-15-201816-6) $15.00; Voyager, 2001 (0-15-216392-1) $6.00 pb
In a follow-up to Suddenly!, Boo! , and Oops!
Preston Pig once again escapes the hungry designs of Mr. Wolf through
sheer obliviousness. As Preston runs an errand for his mother, he
imagine himself as a great soccer player, never noticing that his
shoots are causing chaos and destruction all around him; it's poor Mr.
Wolf, as always, who takes the blame. The pictures of Preston's
unconcerned athletic gyrations are full of zany humor; I especially
liked the endpapers, which show Preston practicing over and over on
the front and the wolf being continually slammed by Preston's ball on
the back. (4-8)
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