Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturday Links

Elizabeth Ward tackles the Year's Best Kids' Books for the Washington Post. I really like Ward's "For Young Readers" column because she tends to review not only the "hot" books, but also ones that don't receive nation-wide attention. She's a careful reader and recommends some interesting titles. Her year's best is no exception.


The LA Times reviews Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, a field guide to the Spiderwick Chronicles.
  • The field guide is just the sort of book for children to share with their parents in a big easy chair. Peeking from its pages are the toothy, grinning house brownie, which often hides as a mote of dust, and the wandering clump, a faerie masquerading as tall weeds. Also included are several lavish full-color pullouts — get ready to ooh at paintings of the North American griffin and the Old World wyrm — that position the fictional Spiderwick as the John James Audubon of the faerie world.

The Spiderwick Chronicles are beautifully produced books in and of themselves and is sounds like Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You is no exception.


Polly Shulman reviews Kai Meyer's The Water Mirror for the New York Times. I recently read The Water Mirror too and found it to be a highly compelling book.

The problem with The Water Mirror is the lack of an ending as it is intended to be the first in a trilogy. It isn't a stand-alone work. As Shulman writes,

  • But Meyer - and his characters - reject simple labels. 'Don't talk to me now about fate and such nonsense. This isn't a fairy tale,' Merle tells the Flowing Queen, who answers: 'Unfortunately, it is not. In a fairy tale, matters are simpler. You go home and find that the soldiers have burned down your house and carried off your friends, you become angry, recognize that you must take up the battle against the Pharaoh, meet him finally, and kill him through a trick. That would be the fairy tale. But unfortunately we have to deal with the reality.' Too bad we have to wait until the rest of this compelling story is published before finding out how.

It is too bad we have to wait. And, we'll have to wait longer for the English translation (Thanks to Shulman for recognizing Elizabeth D. Crawford's excellent translation.)


The New York Times features several reviews of children's books this week. Lawrence Downes reviews Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice, Penelope Green considers some new picture books, M.P. Dunleavey reviews Susan Meddaugh's newest picture book The Witch's Walking Stick and finds it to be "worthy of the greatest honor," and Elizabeth Spires reviews Gabrielle Zevin's young-adult novel Elsewhere.

Happy Reading Everyone!