Friday, October 21, 2005

Again, from the U.K.

I am always a little sad when I read the book pages in the Times, the Guardian, the Independent. I may be biased because I'm a bit of an anglophile, but I have always loved British Children's Literature most of all (Don't get me wrong, I love American kids' books too, but my childhood travels and a 2nd grade in the U.K. rubbed off on me.)

Today there are rave reviews for two new titles in the U.K.

Leslie Wilson reviews Adèle Geras' Ithaka for the Guardian. (Ithaka was also last week's "Children's book of the week" in the Times.) Wilson's conclusion to her review says it all. She writes, "This is the kind of novel whose images, as well as its characters, stay with you after you've finished it: the searing Greek sunshine, the grey olive groves, the dim, lamplit streets at night; the beautiful, archaic-sounding poetry into which Geras has rendered Penelope's weaving, lapping like sea-water; and the sea-god Poseidon himself, glittering with scales, breathing out threats against Odysseus in a throat-burning stench of fish and salt and seaweed. Marvelous."

The good news is that Ithaka will be out January 2006 in the States.

In another rave review for a children's book, Amanda Craig recommends David Almond's newest novel, Clay. In Clay, a new boy arrives to town and befriends Davie, a boy who has been bullied by the town tyrant, Mouldy. The new boy, Stephen Rose, fashions a creature from clay to attack Mouldy. Craig writes, "How Almond manages to make a work of art out of the simplest words, many of them dialect, is akin to Stephen’s powers over clay, and indeed this novel is about whether God exists, creating us as Stephen creates his mysterious figures."

Well, I guess we'll have to wait a bit for these titles, but at Michele at Scholar's Blog has noted, U.K. residents have to wait for good things too (her complaint was regarding Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a valid complaint for sure!)