Sunday, February 26, 2006

Weekend Reviews and Gearing up for World Book Day

Lots of reviews in the Sunday papers this week.

Nicolette Jones reviews Morris Gleitzman's Once for the Times. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I can only find Once available in the States as an audiobook.) In any case, Gleitzman, an Australian writer well known in the U.S. for his Toad books, takes on a more serious subject in Once--the Holocaust. Jones finds Gleitzman's technique impeccable:
  • "The hero, a Jewish boy in a Catholic orphanage, tells himself reassuring stories as he misinterprets events, but gradually comes to comprehend terrible truths, and uses his stories to protect other children in the care of a Polish dentist in the Warsaw ghetto. He reaches the point where no stories are enough. It is a painfully truthful progression."


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo, is the "Book of the Week" in the Washington Post "Style" section. The writers conclude, "Kate DiCamillo has brought to life a dog named Winn-Dixie and a mouse named Despereaux, but Edward Tulane might be her most memorable character yet."

I picked up The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane yesterday and began reading it aloud to my five-year-old. DiCamillo's prose is beautifully straightforward and we made it about half-way through before bedtime. I'll post a review tomorrow, I hope.


Liz Rosenberg reviews the Caldecott and Newbery winners for the Boston Globe.

Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins, Rosenberg writes, "is a wonderful book, as subtle, many-colored, and evanescent as a soap bubble, while containing substance and depth." This year's Newbery winner, Rosenberg agrees, is "one of those rare books one could recommend to any young person of one's acquaintance." Rosenberg, in a very nice review, praises Perkins' voice, humor and creation of atmosphere.

Rosenberg is less impressed by this year's Caldecott winner, The Hello, Goodbye Window, by Norton Juster (illustrated by Chris Raschka). Rosenberg writes, "It is a pleasant debut, though it reveals none of the inventiveness or wild play of either novel. " Still, Rosenberg thinks, The Hello, Goodbye Window is "engaging and sweet."


"TO CELEBRATE this year's World Book Day, Scotland on Sunday in association with BRAW (Books, Reading and Writing), the Network for the Scottish Children's Book, is running a creative writing competition for children. " Check out the Scotsman for details.

Theresa Breslin has been commissioned to write the first thousand words of a story for the competition and kids are encouraged to finish the tale for a printing of their story and a collection of Scottish children's books. The Scotsman has included Breslin's beginning in its article.