Saturday, October 22, 2005

Saturday's Sunday Reviews

There's lots of children's literature in Sunday's New York Times Book Review.

  • This week's "Bookshelf" is devoted to the little ones and features such titles as Traction Man is Here!, Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs, and Diary of a Spider. Most of the books reviewed are picture books, but two middle-grade novels also get the treatment: Many Ly's Home is East and Zizou Corder's Lionboy: The Truth.

  • Lois Metzger reviews Patricia McCormick's second YA novel, My Brother's Keeper. My Brother's Keeper is told from the point of view of a second child, Toby, who thinks his eldest brother is doing drugs. "Toby knows all the signs, from videos shown at school. 'What I don't know,' he says, 'is what you're supposed to do when it's your brother and not somebody in a video.'" That's a perceptive question for a seventh-grader and an interesting premise for a novel.

  • Jan Benzel reviews two new picture books dedicated to the library--Megan McDonald's When the Library Lights Go Out (ill. Katherine Tillotson) and J. Patrick Lewis' Please Bury Me in the Library (ill. Kyle M. Stone). McDonald's story is one for bedtime. The animals and puppets come to life after the lights go out in the library. Benzel praises Tillotson's illustrations in particular. Please Bury Me in the Library is a book of poetry and includes such funny verses as "The Classic." Benzel quotes, "'A children's book is a classic/ If at six, excitedly/ You read it to another kid/ Who just turned sixty-three.'" Hmmm...I wonder which books Lewis is referring to?

  • Finally, Jessica Bruder reviews another slightly macabre picture book, The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, written and illustrated by Denys Cazet. The Perfect Pumpkin Pie tells the tale of, "Old Man Wilkerson, a grumpy glutton who dies before he can taste the pie that his wife, Mrs. Wilkerson, has baked for him one Halloween night. It is 'a perfect pie, round and brown as toast.' And just as he raises a forkful to his lips, Old Man Wilkerson kicks the bucket. " Oh, this one sounds great!