Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Reviews (I-II)

It's been a busy week in Smalltown--with lots of papers to grade, Cybils panels to patch together, and beautiful weather too gorgeous to miss. (If I owe you an e-mail, you'll hear from me tomorrow. ) Fortunately for me, it was a slow week in children's book reviews. Here's what I've found:

Joanna Weiss takes a look at "glossy, sanitized new versions" of fairy tales for the Boston Globe.
(Selected quote: "The modern, commercial fairy tale contains no conflict, no resolution, no questions unresolved, no larger issues to explore. Once the princess climbs down from the tower, or the ball comes to an end, you're left with nothing to talk about at all.")

A ridiculous reading list for boys and girls from the U.K.'s Country Life. "Experts" weigh in on the best books for children and teens and come up with such gems as, "...girls should read 800 page suicidal epic Anna Karenina...boys should try spy novel The Thirty Nine Steps." Hardly seems fair now, Ladies, does it? Anyway, Sarah Knapton reports on this travesty in the Telegraph.

Also in the Boston Globe, Liz Rosenberg reviews three new children's books, including Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman.

Steve Bennett reviews a number of Middle Grade and Young Adult books for the Charlotte News Observer. (Scroll down.)

Nation, by Terry Pratchett, is the Times Children's Book of the Week (reviewed by Nicolette Jones). (Selected quote: "Thought-provoking as well as fun, this is Pratchett at his most philosophical, with characters and situations sprung from ideas and games with language.")

Also in the Times, Amanda Craig reviews Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher and Kaspar Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo.

Sonja Cole reviews Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games in the Los Angeles Times.

Kathryn Hughes considers Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857) in the
Guardian. (OT: Not only is the Guardian's book coverage first rate, but their newish slimmed-down, non fussy website is a joy to read and navigate.)

Mal Peet reviews B.R. Collin's The Traitor Game, also in the Guardian.

And also in the Guardian---Annalisa Barbieri recommends books for children on the human body.

Abby McGanney Nolan reviews biographies for children (of Twain, Frank L. Baum, and Alexander Calder) in this week's For Young Readers column in The Washington Post.