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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/3/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 69
1. Fuentes does Nietzsche

       I hope Dalkey is on top of this one: Alfaguara is bringing out Carlos Fuentes' Federico en su balcón (see their publicity page). Never mind the blurb-praise from local favourites Sergio Ramírez and Juan Goytisolo -- this sounds pretty promising; see also the EFE report at Fox News Latino, Alfaguara to publish novel by late Mexican author Carlos Fuentes.
       And, until Dalkey gets around to publishing the translation, pre-order your copy of the Spanish original at Amazon.com.

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2. FT & Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award

       They've announced that Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power by Steve Coll has won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.
       See the Penguin publicity page, or get your copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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3. Ana María Shua reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two newly-translated Ana María Shua:

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4. Succulent Saturday - the itteh bitteh kittehs

 The kittehs are 8 weeks old....

 ..which is the *pinnacle* of fluffy cuteness!

They will probably be finding other homes soon, so cuddles must happen while they can!

2 Comments on Succulent Saturday - the itteh bitteh kittehs, last added: 11/30/2012
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5. PiBoIdMo Day 4: Emma Ledbetter and “The Sidle-up Effect”

I’d like to share with you a little something I’m going to call “the sidle-up effect.” Here’s how it happens.

I’m outside having a picnic with my family, including two rambunctious little boys, E and O. Editor that I am, I’m excited to give them a “haven’t seen you guys in a while” present. It’s a book.

Now, this book happens to be a particular new favorite of mine: THE OBSTINATE PEN by Frank Dormer. However, it’s a beautiful day, we’re in the park, and I’m up against some formidable opponents: scooters, sticks, dirt, and peanut butter & jelly. As you can imagine, despite two extremely polite thank you’s, this gift does not receive the desired effect of elation and awe.

Well, fine. I should have anticipated this. But I still want to show this story a little love. So I sit down and begin to read the book aloud to myself. “Uncle Flood unwrapped his new pen and laid it on the desk…”

Barely perceptibly at first, the effect starts to take effect. First comes the quiet patter of sticks dropping to the ground. Then the faint squeak of scooter wheels coming to a halt. Next, two small figures edge into my peripheral vision. And then, all of the sudden, as I approach the part where the pen sticks to the wheel of Mrs. Norkham Pigeon-Smythe’s automobile, O is in my lap, and E is draped uncomfortably over my shoulders.

We proceed to read the book four more times.

I love enthusiastic young readers as much as the next editor/agent/writer/illustrator/reader/person (and for their mother’s sake, I should add that E and O are among that group—I just caught them on an afternoon ripe with distractions). But if a book promises to both captivate the eager crowd and achieve the sidle-up effect among the more stick-and-dirt-inclined, that book is an automatic winner to me.

THE OBSTINATE PEN is the perfect example of such a winner because it has something for everyone. It’s wildly creative and uproariously funny. It features dimwitted adults and a shrewd, worldly young hero. And it’s totally unique: it makes me think, “Now how in the world did he come up with that?”

The books that wow editors are the books that bring something new to the table—that wriggle their way into your head so you can’t stop thinking about them for days. You might grab my attention with a real and endearing character; striking, lyrical language; a hilariously honest voice.

Maybe it’s a creative, fiery little girl who brings the spark to a classic tale of friendship, like Kelly DiPucchio’s CRAFTY CHLOE. Or a text so simple, beautiful and poetic that it leaves room for a whole new world to unfold in the illustrations, like Mary Lyn Ray’s STARS (illustrated by Marla Frazee). Or a soft song about eggs filled with so much personality (“I do not like the way you slide, / I do not like your soft inside, / I do not like you lots of ways, / And I could do for many days / Without eggs”) that it sticks with you straight through from childhood to adulthood, like Russell Hoban’s BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCES. Ok, maybe that last example is a little specific, but you get the gist (it’s one of my all-time favorites).

And maybe it’s because I work in children’s publishing, but in my opinion, there’s nothing in the world that sticks with you like a picture book. Think about your favorite book when you were little. Why do you still remember it? The most special of special characters, voices, stories—they all contribute to this warm little nugget of childhood that you’ll carry around with you forever. You can’t create that by hitching a ride on the big, flashy, commercial, book-selling train of the moment. You create that by pulling your inspiration directly from that spot, by reigniting that spark from your childhood and writing from your heart.

As an editor, I’m looking for a picture book that I want to sidle up to. One that, if you caught me playing with sticks in the park, would have me—well, maybe not in your lap, but at least draped uncomfortably over your shoulders.

Achieve that, and I promise you, those sticks won’t stand a chance.

Emma Ledbetter is an editorial assistant at Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. She sidles up to picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels with fresh, sincere voices, humor and heart. Upcoming projects she has edited include THE BACKWARDS BIRTHDAY PARTY, a picture book by John Forster and legendary singer/songwriter Tom Chapin, and the fantastically wacky middle grade novel THE CONTAGIOUS COLORS OF MUMPLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL by Fowler DeWitt. Follow her on Twitter @brdnjamforemma.

Emma will be donating a picture book critique to a lucky PiBoIdMo participant who completes the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge. A winner will be randomly selected in early December.

10 Comments on PiBoIdMo Day 4: Emma Ledbetter and “The Sidle-up Effect”, last added: 11/4/2012
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6. The Spaghetti is Missing by Jane Matyger

3 Stars The Spaghetti is Missing Jane Matyer Leo Silva Mirror publishing 26 pages     Ages: 4- 7 ........................ .................. Back Cover:  Yikes! All the spaghetti in Uncle Pauley’s restaurant is missing . . . and it’s almost dinner time. Gabby and Noodles jump into action, following a trail of smashed spaghetti boxes scribbled with the [...]

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7. Rattle Readers: Shocks in Fiction

I'm starting a new series about what rattles readers in fiction. I've read a ton of books, and I would like to mention that only a select few of these books rattle me. So words aren't enough, and characters aren't enough, and plot isn't enough to rattle me. I'm going to write around this idea in my brain about what makes most excellent fiction, and hopefully I will uncover something.

A great book suspends me. The words on the page fill my brain and I'm there. The real world disappears and I'm lost in the fictive dream. The fictive dream idea comes from John Gardner's book THE ART OF FICTION. Many writers understand the mechanics of story and can adequately sustain a story over thousands of words, but few writers can send me into a fictive dream state and keep me there.  So here goes some thoughts about how to rattle readers: what works, what doesn't, how do you know you are creating that dream?

I search for stories that rattle my bones. I feel myself pacing inside when I can't find a book that really stirs me up.  One way authors hook me is by uncovering something I call shocks: you know, unexpected revelations (plot, character, theme, setting, etc.) that change the shape of the whole story. Don't get me wrong, I'd don't like lazy shock value pushing the story forward. The problem shock comes when the author begins to flounder in their fictive dream and then slaps down a shocking twist  that does not naturally rise out of the plot of the story. As a reader I feel frustrated. As a writer I'm shoving my story in the direction I want it to go. So annoying. Some writers slap down too many shocks for the reader to care. (Guilty!) Some don't even offer one shock. (Boring!)

When a shock is spot on, as a reader, I feel excessively nervous or I'm totally relaxed (no inbetween); the shock hits and I can't breathe. I shut the book and try to get my emotions under control. I go back a few pages and read up to the shock again. I'm that immersed in the fictive dream. As a writer, I know I'm in the sweet spot when I'm laughing out loud and falling off the couch when I'm reading my story back to myself, or I start crying when I've read the scene a hundred times, or I have to put my manuscript down because I'm so angry again.  Yes, if you are participating in your own dream, this is a good thing.  You think you have written the greatest thing ever. It may not be there yet, but if you able to enter into the dream and stay there, you are on the right track and will succeed.

Hope you place some shocks on the page this week. I will dig around more in this subject next week. Short post though because I am off to the SCBWI New Mexico Fall Retreat.  I'm excited.  Seize the day.

Here is the doodle: " Spider Chicken".  I know, enough with chickens already.

Quote for the week.

My task which I am trying to achieve is by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see. That--and no more, and it is everything.
- Joseph Conrad

5 Comments on Rattle Readers: Shocks in Fiction, last added: 11/30/2012
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8. Don’t Wait for Tragedy to Appreciate Life

How often do you complain about daily chores like delivering the kids to or from school, making the afterschool activity run, commuting long distances to work, paying the rent or mortgage? How often do you take the time to appreciate the car in which you haul those kids? How often do you appreciate having the job to which you commute? How often do you enjoy the comforts of the house or apartment which you pay bills on? Too often it isn’t until we lose something we suddenly appreciate having had it. That was and still is, abundantly clear with the recent housing foreclosures and job loses. So have you taken stock lately in what you HAVE in your life? Have you considered how your life might change if a loved one became desperately ill or injured or even died? Read this news story and consider your life in a new light. Continue reading

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Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.











Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.



Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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10. Duck Creek Press Picture Book

Big Mac by Karen Lane, illus. Samantha Lane, Duck Creek Press
An appealing first book by this mother and daughter pair. I always tell writing students not to submit artwork to a publisher along with their picture book texts – but every rule can be broken, and here’s an example. Samantha Lane’s colourful and minimalist illustrations add a distinct charm to the story. Readers will be fascinated to learn that Big Mac is a real cat, homeless and hungry when he was rescued from a MacDonalds’ carpark. The story recounted in this book is based on hard experience when the author was house-sitting for her sister. Big Mac likes to get up early for his breakfast, so he starts his wake-up campaign at 4.30 am. Several disturbances later, Mrs Brown goes to the window to shut him up, and realises that it’s a beautiful morning and she should be enjoying it (and feeding the cat). The illustrations are enlivened by the portrayals of the big, fat, smiling ginger cat – he will appeal to cat-lovers everywhere. This would be great fun to read to a group in a pre-school setting or in the new entrants’ classes. Note that it’s hardback, and is a top-quality production.

ISBN 978 1 877378 73 7 RRP $29.99 Hb

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11. Hurricane Sandy Has Shatterded My Inner Soul

Recently I was hit really hard from Hurricane Sandy. A year ago, we were told to evacuate during Hurricane Irene of 2011. We went to family and came back to peace and tranquility as that hurricane did not affect us at all. When we heard about Hurricane Sandy coming, we were not advised to evacuate and so we decided to stay. Little did we know that our lives would never be the same and we would all be in danger. Sunday, October 28th, we were informed that there would be no school on Monday for teachers and students. My husband and I were elated by the news. However, looking back we would much rather be in school than deal with such a treacherous storm. Monday, October 29th we were surprised during the day that nothing seemed to be happening besides gusts of wind and rain. We never expected what was to come. Around 5:00 in the evening, my husband noticed that a lake formed in my backyard. It looked placid, but unreal. We hoped that it would not go any further than that. Around 7:00, my husband noticed that the water in the backyard was moving towards our porch. Around 7:30, we saw the water coming slowly, seaping its way into the kitchen. We knew we had to evacuate. My dog, Lucky ran upstairs when she saw the water. She sat on my bed and watched my husband and I pack as fast as we could. We knew time was of the essence before our power would go. Our lights flickered as it teased us that any minute we would be left in the dark. Around 8:00, I was on the phone with my mother who lives down the block from me. Her side of the street does not usually flood. However, behind my house we have a creek. I told her we would be on our way and our conversation ended as the power shut off. My husband, Lucky and I were left in the dark. Lucky looked petrified. I held Lucky and went down the stairs where my ankles were greeted buy cold water that decided to conquer my home. We opened the front door and a river started to pour in, forcing its way through the front door. I screamed to my husband to shut the door and he had a difficult time closing it. My block was covered in water. Without thinking, we ran to the back door and more water entered my home like an endless waterfall. As fast as I could, we closed the door. It was a stuggle between the water forcing its way in and myself pushing it out. I told my husband that it would be too dangerous to leave and ran back upstairs. While we were upstairs, I started to envision the water climbing its way up the stairs and slowly drowning us. At this point, Lucky was crying and I wanted to join her in a good cry. However, I knew I had to be strong. I then told my husband that we had to try to escape. We dashed down the stairs and at this time the water had risen and was up to my knees. I treaded through the water in my own home towards the door. I opened the door. Again, the massive heavy water entered into our home with such force that it seemed like a river flowing beyond our control. When we opened the door, my mirrored podium and dog statue swam right by me and floated towards the living room. It was a scene from Titanic. I made my husband lock the door which was very difficult to do under the circumstances. We walked towards the middle of the street. I did not want to be on the sidewalk in case a tree was to fall down. The cold, water was up to my waist. Lucky held on tight in my arms while my husband carried a bag with some of our clothes in it. When I reached my mother's home, I landed in her arms hysterically crying. I thought I was going to vomit. My mother was also in tears. About twenty minutes later, we noticed that her first floor was starting to flood as well. It reached about a foot high. We ran up the stairs in the gloomy, dark. When we looked out the window, we noticed a strange blue light that seemed to light up the sky. We wondered if that light was a warning from the town to evacuate or was it an effect from the storm. I believe the light might have come from a force from the unknown, warning us that the storm was far from over. We stayed in my old bedroom. The bed was so small that my husband and I had difficulty sleeping. Lucky, however, was up most of the night. The howling winds frightened her. The next day, things had calmed down. We went to my house to check things out. Debris was all over the place. Vases lay flat on the floor. My wooden floor was picked up and was decaying from the water it was emersed in. When I looked at my home, it was unrecognizable to me. My couch was saturated with water. My area rug lifted up and was turned over, drenched. Smells of nasty fish and mildew filled my home. My home; this was the place where I would go to in order to feel safe. As I glanced at my deformed couch, I thought of the prior night to the storm, when my husband and I sat on that very sofa and watched television. People tell me that I should be thankful that my family and I are ok. I am thankful, however, part of my inner soul is crushed and lingering in a deep, dark depressed black hole that it cannot escape. I am now searching for a hotel; one that is pet friendly. Currently, I am staying with family. However, next week I really do need to find a place where we all can stay with Lucky. This entire situation is unreal. When one sees an unfortunate sight, it is easy to slip into a coma of unhappiness. To have your home taken from you in a split second is so unbearable and unbelievable that I want to yell at Mother Nature and ask her why this had to happen? For those that lost their homes as well during this hurrifcane or any other storm, I know how you feel. For those that lost a loved one during a storm or natural disaster, I am truly sorry for your loss. After the storm, I witnessed the sun shining bright the next day in the sky and realized that we are only visitors in the Eternal's universe. At times, life can be very scary. However, we need to stay strong in order to be part of this questionable world.

Lake forming in my backyard Debris in home(the day after the storm)

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12. Nerosunero's upcoming exhibition in Rome on EIL (Chicago)

Today Escape Into Life dedicates an entire page to Figures and Landscapes, my upcoming solo exhibition at 6 Senso Art Gallery Rome ( 10 Nov. - 6 Dec. 2012)
Great & Thanks so much!
Escape Into Life (Chicago IL, USA, 3 XI 2012)


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13. KID REVIEW: Sonia meets some “Celebritrees”

Sonia and "Celebritrees.Celebrity sightings are often newsworthy events.

Someone sees George Clooney eating in a restaurant or Katy Perry purchasing toilet paper and pictures or anecdotes immediately pop up on the Internet.

Part of what makes celebrity sightings newsworthy is that famous folks are often elusive. It’s hard to tell when or where they might appear.

Margi Preus didn’t have that problem when she wrote Celebritrees: Historic and Famous Trees of the World (Christy Ottaviano Books, 2010). She knew exactly where most of her subjects were. And, she was fairly confident they weren’t going anywhere.

This delightful book looks at 14 famous trees — most of which are still standing. Some are famous for their height or width. Others are famous for cool things that happened to them or near them. Most are very old, and many can be visited, if you have a big enough travel budget.

The book tells highlights from each tree’s history, where it’s located, what type of tree it is and about how old it is. Fun comparisons put everything into context. One tree is taller than the Statue of Liberty. Another is older than any other living thing on earth. And yet another weighs more than a town of 20,000 peoople.

Whether you read this book intently, which I would recommend, or merely flip through it, you will come away with a new appreciation for the trees all around you.

As the author says: “Each tree has a story to tell.”

Today, Sonia joins us to share her thoughts. She’s shown in the photo with a turtle made out of a tree trunk.

Take it away, Sonia!


Today’s reviewer: Sonia

Age: 10

I like: Playing piano and clarinet. Having sleepovers with my friends. Playing on my iPod. Reading books.

This book was about: All these different kinds of trees and how they got their names.

My favorite tree was: The Post Office Tree. I thought it was cool that people would pin a whole bunch of letters on it, and then travelers who would pass by would pick up their letters.

The most interesting tree was: The Scythe Tree. Because the soldier left his scythe in the tree and said he would come back, but he didn’t, and then two soldiers after him saw what he did and did the exact same thing. And, you can still see their blades in the tree.

The tree I’d most like to visit is: Hyperion. Because it’s taller than the tallest skyscraper and the Statue of Liberty.

The tree that surprised me the most was: General Sherman. Because it weighs more than lots of dinosauers put together.

The most unusual tree was: Methuselah. Because it looks like one tree with a whole bunch of other trees attached to it.

The most memorable tree was: The Tree of One Hundred Horses. Because it had a queen under it along with 100 horses. That’s a really big tree.

The most impressive tree was: The Major Oak. It looks like you can go inside of it. And Robin Hood met his men there and hid there.

The neatest tree I’ve ever seen is: A small little pine that’s almost as tall as me. My dad calls it “Sonia’s tree.” Even though it’s really not mine.


Thank you, Sonia!

If you’d like to learn more about author Margi Preus, you can visit her website. You also can read this kid review of her book Heart of a Samurai.

If you’d like to learn more about illustrator Rebecca Gibbon, you can view more of her artwork.

If you’ve seen one of these trees — or if you’d like to share a story about your favorite tree — please do so in the comments below.

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14. dinosaur dance

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15. Really? High Schoolers Need A New "Catcher In The Rye?" Do They Need Any "Catcher In The Rye?"

In So Long, Holden at Slate, Jessica Roake argues that Catcher in the Rye is dated and of little interest to contemporary students and suggests a replacement. I'm totally with her assessment of Catcher in the Rye, but, then, I've never liked it. Where I break with her is in the need to replace it in high school classrooms with another so-called "coming of age" novel. With all the literature out there--YA and adult--why is it so urgent that schools hunt for a novel to replace one Roake describes as expressing the "fundamental teenage anguish" "that in life, phonies abound and beauty is a fragile, horrible thing we will forever chase and lose."

First off, I would argue that the fundamental teenage anguish is struggling to accept the passage of time and life and determining how they will live the life and time that they have in a way that will provide meaning and some kind of happiness for them. The last couple of generations have grown up on TV. They learned about phonies at Mom's knee. "...beauty is a fragile, horrible thing we will forever chase and lose?" That's a very particular life view that I don't think is necessarily universal.

I can't make any pretense of knowing what adolescents need to read or enjoy reading. But I do think coming-of-age novels, which tend to be ones, in my experience, that have as their theme introducing young characters to the adult world of death, sex, and general misery, are something adult readers embrace. It's as if the coming-of-age novel is a gateway to the adult world, a world that is oh, so important because of death, sex, and general misery. This is the real world and childhood and adolescence is some kind of fantasy that the young must pass out of to become adults, adulthood being what really matters. Young people may not be so enamored of that concept.

God knows, I am all too aware of the death and general misery aspects of adulthood. (Notice how I'm being coy about sex?) But let's get over ourselves and move on.

I would also like to point out that when essayists write about Catcher in the Rye and the universal experience of reading and loving it, they are talking about a subgroup of the population that experienced a particular college prep sort of education. Not everyone over the age of 40 has read Catcher in the Rye. Not even close. I would argue that there are a lot of people who haven't even heard of it.

Hey, in the world I grew up in, rye was just something people drank.

5 Comments on Really? High Schoolers Need A New "Catcher In The Rye?" Do They Need Any "Catcher In The Rye?", last added: 11/10/2012
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16. 'we can find no scar, / but internal difference'

november halls

november halls, ii

1 Comments on 'we can find no scar, / but internal difference', last added: 11/4/2012
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17. NaNoWriMo Tip #4: Get Off The Internet

Over at Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg wrote an inspiring post called “The only advice you need for NaNoWriMo.” While tantalizing readers with all the viral content and Facebook news they will be missing, her post urged all marathon writers to stop reading posts and write.

Check it out: “Get off the Internet. Stop looking at Twitter. Do you know how frequently people were tweeting about #nanowrimo on Nov. 1, Day One of NaNoWriMo? One about every five seconds. That’s 720 tweets an hour, 17,280 tweets a day. If you took the time just to skim a portion of those, do you know how much writing time you will have lost? Get off the Internet.”

This is our third NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. As writers around the country join the writing marathon this month, we will share one piece of advice or writing tool to help you cope with this daunting project.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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18. Shy

I've been working on a few Christmas illos. This bunny keeps coming to mind.  I’m playing with the green background and texture.  It’s still unfinished, but I like the softness of it so far….  I’ll post more later.  

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My sketches are done and ready to go but I have no one to send them to…. thanks to hurricane Sandy!

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20. SkADaMo Day3

The annals of English history report that John Montagu was the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Among other things, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was a heavy gambler. Montagu often spent many long hours in London’s gambling parlors. In 1762, he created the sandwich, by putting meat between two pieces of bread. This allowed him to remain at the gambling table for long periods of time. Obviously, the sandwich was named after him.

…. think I’ll go make one!

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21. Beauty and the Beast: The Only One Who Didn't Run Away

Way back in 2005, Wendy Mass published the first in her Twice Upon a Time series--Rapunzel: the One With All the Hair. The second book, Sleeping Beauty: the One Who Took a Really Long Nap, followed in 2006. And then Mass left fairy tales for the next few years (though she didn't leave off magic). This year Mass returned to Twice Upon a Time, with Beauty and the Beast: the Only One Who Didn't Run Away (Scholastic, middle-grade, June 2012).

And, um, it didn't work for me.  Not in a horribly negative way--I have no hostile feelings at all toward it.   I didn't mind reading it, and was diverted--all the things I like about the story as it exists in my mind (the bookish little sister who cares about important things, the Beast with a backstory--likable, even lovable, under the fur, the castle with books) are there.  A younger reader might well enjoy it lots, what with its likable heroine, and its mix of humor and a serious, life-or-death, story.

But it felt a bit off to me.  For one thing, Beauty doesn't arrive at the castle until page 212 of 282 pages, so Beauty and the Beast getting to know each other is a lot less important than it often is, and since that is my favorite part of the story, it was a disappointment.   And what comes before The Meeting doesn't make up for it.  Before we get there, we have lots of kind of inconsequential stuff, along with two main sub stories (told in the alternative perspectives of Beauty and the Beast), to wit:

1.  A quest adventure that Beauty has on her own, the point of which doesn't become at all clear until quite close to the end of the book (and even when it's clear it doesn't seem like much point).  It was a really implausible sort of quest too, involving a girl who is kind of fairy-like wanting to find something her mother lost years ago, and it doesn't have much umph to it and it beats me why anyone thought that Beauty, just cause she didn't have much else better to do and was reasonably bright and spunky, and had travelled a little, would be the perfect travelling companion for this mysterious little girl.  But the baker's apprentice is going too, and pleasant, intelligent young bakers with no skills beyond baking are awfully useful on quests (?). 

2.  The story of how the Beast came to be a Beast, and how his invisible parents and older brother and him in Beast form all live together in the castle hoping for a girl to come marry him.  This part made more sense, although the logistical details of the invisible family (they were keeping their presence secret) bothered me, and the older brother was incredibly annoying and the parents not much better.

So those two stories get the reader to page 212, when the Meeting happens, and then Beauty, being really special, manages to fall in love with the Beast at an unrealistic speed (though they share a keen interest in alchemy, which is nice for them).  This disappointed me, because I like people to fall in love with slow, inexorable subtly.  And then the bad witch who cursed the beast gets what she deserves.

In both these substories, the tone felt unbalanced to me--there was considerable humor, of an almost teetering on farce type, but then the reader was asked to take the story seriously regardless.   Perhaps if the Beast hadn't been named Riley I would have liked it more, but Riley seems to me so 21st-century a name that from the moment I read it (page 6) I was distrustful, and it underscored the disjuncture I felt between the book's "relatable fun" and its moments of "serious historical fantasy." (The cover makes me similarly uneasy--that dress looks much more modern than I think it should, suggesting a contemporary romance).

In short, this re-telling didn't hang together in a cohesive way, but felt like piece-work, kind of randomly joined at the seams. Of course, for this fairy tale, Beauty, by Robin McKinley, set so very high a re-telling bar that nothing else really comes close for me....

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22. Picture Book Month: Bugs

For today's Picture Book Month theme of bugs, I pulled out my rather battered copy of Nicholas Cricket who "plays every night in the Bug-a-Wug Cricket Band."  Written by Joyce Maxner and illustrated by the illustrious William Joyce:

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23. Evening links.

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24. Walking Disaster Cover Reveal

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25. Dear Gwen Stefani: Please make a video...

Dear Gwen Stefani,

It is good that No Doubt released a statement today, stating that you never intended to offend, hurt, or trivialize Native American people, culture, or history. I understand that you consulted with Native friends and experts at the University of California. Unfortunately, your consultants didn't give you good advice.

It is good that you removed the video and posted the apology, but given your status, you could do a lot more that has the potential to prevent millions from making the sort of error you made.

Ms. Stefani, please make another video... 

Make another video. Not a music one, but one in which you speak directly to your fans, telling them that Americans have a long way to go in understanding what stereotypes of American Indians are, and the ignorance and racism they perpetuate.

Make that video right away. It doesn't need slick production values. Make it right away so that teachers across the nation can use it this month! November is Native American Heritage Month. Teachers and librarians could use it to teach teens about American Indians and stereotyping.

Thank you,
Debbie Reese
American Indians in Children's Literature


For those who want background information, here's one photo that was used to promote the video. Regular readers of American Indians in Children's Literature will easily spot the stereotypical aspects of the photo.

Source: Daily Mail http://goo.gl/3r25F

Regular readers will also spot multiple stereotypes in the article the photo came from:
"Yeehaw! Gwen Stefani dresses as a Native American, cavorts with a wolf, and ends up handcuffed in No Doubt's new Wild West themed music video."  In the article, Eleanor Gower reports that Stefani "dresses as a Native American Squaw." There are lot of photos there, with many other stereotypes. See, for example, Stefani doing smoke signals.

Here's a background article from November 2, 2012:
"Gwen Stefani and No Doubt Release Latest Music Video, Its Stereotypical Native Theme Garners Criticism" in Indian Country Today Media Network.

And here's a blog post from Scott Andrews, a Native lit professor:
"Gwen Stefani, Cher, and "Indians" 

And.... here's the apology from No Doubt:

In Regards to Our "Looking Hot" Music Video
Posted 11/3/2012 |As a multi-racial band our foundation is built upon both diversity and consideration for other cultures. Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history.   Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people.  This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately.  The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness.  We sincerely apologize to the Native American community and anyone else offended by this video.  Being hurtful to anyone is simply not who we are.- No Doubt

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