Lots of Sunday book reviews this Saturday.
In the New York Times:
A.O. Scott reviews Louis Sachar's Small Steps and finds, "His prose is clear and relaxed, and funny in a low-key, observant way." There has been some controversy about Small Steps, and Scott explains why: "It [Small Steps] is likable and readable, but it never quite emerges from the shadow of Holes. No one said life after Camp Green Lake would be easy."
Rich Cohen reviews Mr. Chickee's Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis. Here's a quote from the mostly positive reviews: "Curtis is dead-on about how children see adults - it's like what a fly sees, a kaleidoscope of images. If the grown-ups in 'Peanuts' ever got screen time, they would appear like this: 'Steven silently said each word to himself a second before it passed his father's lips. He would've moved his lips right along with Dad but Steven knew that that qualified as sass and not a whole lot of that was tolerated.'"
Today's "Bookshelf" is devoted to kids' books and includes a brief note about Elise Paschen's Poetry Speaks to Children. For the web edition, there are also some audio files from the anthology available. Also noted are
- Marie Louise-Gay's Caramba (a "whimsical tale")
- Jamila Gavin's The Blood Stone ("ambitious and richly detailed")
- Hurricane Hunters! Riders on the Storm written and illustrated by Chris L. Demarest ("action-packed," "more than enough jargon to satisfy...")
- The Little Match Girl translated by Anthea Bell and illustrated by Kveta Pacovska ("An original interpretation of Andersen's classic, in a colorfully abstract style reminiscent of Klee and Miró")
Elizabeth Ward considers books on art "For Young Readers" in the Washington Post. Ward begins her article with an excellent piece of advice: "According to Francoise Barbe-Gall, a lecturer in art history at the Louvre School and author of How to Talk to Children About Art, books are actually better than galleries for younger children."
How to Talk to Children About Art sounds like a wonderful book. Ward writes, "it zeroes in on 30 famous paintings, from Fra Angelico's "Annunciation" to Georg Baselitz's "The Girls From Olmo II," and illuminates them by responding to the comments and questions a child might bring to each one: 'The angel and Mary both have pink robes and blond hair.' 'This painting is upside down. Do I have to stand on my head to look at it?'"
Ward recommends many other books for children about art or artists including:
- "the lovely board books by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, In the Garden With Van Gogh, A Picnic With Monet, Sunday With Seurat and others (Chronicle)."
- "The Metropolitan Museum of Art's glorious Museum ABC"
- "Lickle Publishing's Come Look With Me series takes its cue from the Expressionist Helen Frankenthaler ("Every canvas is a journey all its own") to explore paintings by category: landscapes, modern art, animals, play, work and more."
- Philip M. Isaacson's A Short Walk Around the Pyramids and Through the World of Art
- Bob Raczka's Unlikely Pairs: Fun with Famous Works
- Thomas Brezina's Who Can Save Vincent's Hidden Treasure?