MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Upcoming Events for Children's Librarians
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winners:
On May 20, Horn Book, Inc. announced the winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children's Literature. First presented in 1967, the awards are given in three categories: Fiction and Poetry, Nonfiction, and Picture Book. This year's winners are:Fiction and Poetry: The Fire-Eaters by David Almond (Delacorte),
Nonfiction: An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphy (Clarion),
Picture Book: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (Roaring Brook).
The 2004 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award ceremony will be held at the Boston Athenaeum on Friday, October 15.
Edgar Allan Poe Awards Announced: The Mystery Writers of America announced the 2004 Edgar Allan Poe Awards on April 29, 2004. The winner in the Best Juvenile Category was Bernie Magruder & the Bats in the Belfry by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. The other nominees in that category were: The Malted Falcon by Bruce Hale, Harcourt, Lily’s Ghost by Laura Ruby, HarperCollins, Dust by Arthur Slade, Random House, Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception by Wendelin Van Draanen, Knopf. The winner in the Best Young Adult Category was Acceleration by Graham McNamee, Random House. The other nominees in that category were: The Last Treasure by Janet Anderson, Dutton, Feast of Fools by Bridget Crowley, McElderry/Simon & Schuster, Death and the Arrow by Chris Priestly, Knopf, and Uncovering Sadie’s Secrets by Libby Sternberg, Bancroft Press.
Syd Hoff Dies at 91
Syd Hoff, a prolific children's book author, illustrator and cartoonist for The New Yorker who was best known for "Danny and the Dinosaur," an enduring best seller for beginning readers, died on Wednesday at his home in Miami Beach. He was 91. Hoff’s many easy readers were published by HarperCollins, in its popular I Can Read Series.
"Danny and the Dinosaur," has been translated into a dozen languages and sold more than 10 million copies since it appeared in 1958, according to HarperCollins. Mr. Hoff's signature style was the use of simple, appealing shapes outlined with a thick, fluid ink brush.
Born in New York, Mr. Hoff studied at the National Academy of Design and often used urban settings and characters of the 50's, including numerous uniformed workers and women with matching hats and bags. In the autobiographical series "Something About the
Author," Mr. Hoff recalled that his life was changed when Milt Gross, a popular cartoonist for the Hearst Syndicate in the 1930's, speaking at his high school assembly, told him in a voice loud enough for the entire school to hear, "Kid, someday you'll be a great cartoonist!"
At Harper, Mr. Hoff benefited from his association with Ursula Nordstrom, the eminent children's book editor. In a lengthy letter dated December 1957 and republished in "Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom," she wrote a line-by-line critique of Mr. Hoff's mock-up for "Danny and the Dinosaur," with meticulous comments like: "Pages 18 and 19 seem very resistible to me, Syd. The rest of the story is so reasonable, given the fact that a dinosaur came to life, but this stuff about pushing the cloud away with his nose doesn't quite come off."
Media Watch: Candlewick Issues Special Picture Book Recordings
“Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? Listen and Join In!” CD
$7.99. ISBN 076362424-1.
“ Farmer Duck: Listen and Join In!” CD $7.99. ISBN 076362425-X.
“ Little Beaver and the Echo: Listen and Join In!” CD $7.95. ISBN 076362427-6.
“ This Is The Bear: Listen and Join In!” CD $7.95. ISBN 076362428-4.
“ We’re Going On A Bear Hunt: Listen and Join In!” CD $ 7.95. ISBN 076362429-2.
These delightful recordings usually begin with a read-aloud of the picture books upon which they were based, accompanied by sound effects and background music. “This Is The Bear” begins with an original song, followed by the read-aloud. Then, there are listening games, interactive creative dramatics, and movement activities for listeners to use for playtime. Some art activities are also included: for “Going On A Bear Hunt,” listeners are encouraged to draw the scenery, prompted by narration from the recording. These segments will be especially effective when led by the teacher or librarian.
Each recording also includes a read-aloud by children, with just sound effects but not music. Each recording concludes with another read-aloud of the story.
The books are all popular storytime favorites, especially “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt” and “Farmer Duck,” so it will be worthwhile having the recordings for storytime as well as for preschool teachers and daycare providers to borrow, along with the books.
The cast of British actors is the cream of the crop - including Jane Horrocks from TV’s “Absolutely Fabulous,” Brian Blessed from many movies including “Star Wars,” and Tony Award winner Robert Lindsay from “Me and My Girl.” All the music for the recordings was created by Barry Gibson, of BBC Radio. The entire package is reminiscent of an old-time radio program, talking directly to the listener.
Rath, Linda K. and Kennedy, Louise. The Between the Lions Book for Parents. HarperCollins, 2004. $23.95. ISBN 0-06-051027-7.
“Between the Lions” is an award-winning children’s television series produced for PBS, focusing on helping children ages 4 –8 learn to read. Written by the program’s curriculum director Rath and newspaper reporter Kennedy, this parenting book will also be useful and interesting to new children’s librarians who may want to know more about how children learn to read.
The book emphasizes the mechanics of reading, including phonemic awareness, emergent and experimental literacy, language development, and other developmental stages needed before one learns to read. The sidebars are especially useful, listing books that are great for readalouds, games, songs, and other activities that encourage reading development, and things to look for in a child at a specific age to see if they are developmentally on track. But the author emphasizes that great books and stories are just as important as learning sight words or phonics, so this isn’t just about mechanics, the love of reading is just as important.
Longtime librarians may find most of the information familiar, but it can
serve as a review. New primary grade teachers or parents really concerned
about their children’s development will also find it useful.
REISSUES AND NEW EDITIONS
Andersen, Hans Christian. The Emperor’s New Clothes. Illus. by Virginia Lee Burton. Houghton Mifflin, 1949/2004. $16. ISBN 0-618-34421-7.
Virginia Lee Burton is best known for her many picture books, including Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Katy and the Big Snow. Houghton Mifflin has reissued her picture book version of the popular Andersen classic. The delicate but delightfully humorous and sweet paintings depict an emperor and court of the 1700’s, in satin knee pants and jacket, and powdered wigs.
The characters and scenery are set on stark white backgrounds, and the dashes of ink bring great facial expressions to the characters. The body language of the pigeon-toed bespectacled Minister is just one example of how much the illustrations add to the story. The retelling appears to be traditional, told with economy and lots of dialogue. This is one of a few Andersen stories that preschoolers can appreciate, so libraries may want to purchase replacement copies of this edition.
Lenski, Lois. Papa Small. Illus. by Lois Lenski. Random House, 1951/2004. $11.95. ISBN 0-375-82749-8.
The reissue of Lenski’s small hand-held picture book sequel to Mr. Small shows a traditional suburban family in the rounded, retro-style illustrations in full color. Mama Small wears a dress, hat, and high heels to the grocery store, and Papa wears his bowler hat and suit. Papa does help around the house, hanging up the wet laundry on the clothesline. Brother Small vacuums, so the traditional roles allow for a little more cooperation with housework than was found in other books from that time.
Hayward, Linda. The Sesame Street Dictionary. Illus. by Joe Mathieu. Random House, 1980/2004. $24.99. ISBN 0-375-82810-9.
As part of “Sesame Street” television series’ 35th anniversary, the cartoon illustrated dictionary has been revised, accompanied by a music CD of three ABC-themed songs. Intended for children ages 5-8, the dictionary contains over 1,300 words. Each entry features the word and a definition, along with a cartoon illustrating the word. There are no pronunciation guides or syllable divisions.
Children learning how to read, and ESL students, will find this useful because the cartoons (along with dialogue balloons) help show the meaning of each word. And the popular characters have a very wide appeal. But once a child can read and spell, a regular dictionary will be necessary to show parts of speech and other things not covered here.
Furlong, Monica. Wise Child. Random House, 1987. $15.95. ISBN 0-394-89105-8.
Furlong, Monica. Juniper: Prequel to Wise Child. Random House, 1991. $15.95. ISBN 0-394-83220-5.
With the release of Colman, the final book in the “Wise Child” trilogy by the late Monica Furlong, Random House has re-released the first two books in the series. The dramatic cover art is by Diane and Leo Dillon. The fantasy series is set in early Christian times in Britain. Look for Dorothy Helfeld’s review of Colman in this issue of BayViews.
“ B” is for Betsy. $16. ISBN 0152051031.
Paperback $5.95. ISBN 015205099X.
Back to School with Betsy. $16. ISBN 0152051058. Paperback $5.95. ISBN 0152051015.
Betsy and Billy. $16. ISBN 015205104X. Paperback $5.95. ISBN 0152051007.
Betsy and the Boys. $16. ISBN 0152051066. Paperback $5.95. ISBN 0152051023.
All by Carolyn Haywood with illustrations by the author, May 2004 reissue, Harcourt.
Many of us grew up reading the Carolyn Haywood books, starring Betsy, Billy, Eddie, and Penny. Beginning at the brink of World War II, Haywood’s idyllic suburban families were the precursor to TV’s “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” seen in the 1950’s. These reassuring family stories were one of the only series of easy chapter books available to those of us moving beyond Dick and Jane but not ready for full-fledged chapter books like Johnny Tremain.
But will these stories entertain contemporary children or seem like nostalgia pieces? Upon re-reading two of these reissues, I don’t think readers of “Junie B. Jones” or “Captain Underpants” will find much to hold their attention. These all-white worlds show boys and girls in very regimented gender roles, in a town where a 6 year old can walk unaccompanied down the street and use the stove, and where the most exciting thing that happens is getting a new football.
Some stories from the past can still engage young readers; my library has many fans for the 70-year-old “Little House on the Prairie” series or the “Betsy-Tacy” series. But the Haywood books are slowly paced, and these reissues still use Haywood’s charming but old-fashioned ink drawings with Betsy always in a dress, white socks and mary jane shoes, and pigtails. The new jacket art is misleading, showing a contemporary girl, but both the stories and spot illustrations are still set in pre-TV America. The reissues have a slightly smaller trim size and typeface but they are not abridged or adapted in any way.
Will there still be an audience for Betsy and Billy? My library has the
originals which do check out sporadically, especially to devoutly religious
homeschoolers who want an old-fashioned story. The books don’t really
offend, but just seem so “white washed.” In a chapter where the
class studies Mexico, it is clear none of the children is Latino, even the
one boy Christopher who has visited Mexico. And in other chapters, it is
clear everyone celebrates Christmas and no other December holidays like Hanukkah.
But I don’t think most libraries will want these unless there is a
big demand, or libraries may only want to paperbacks for those grandparents
who want to read them to their grandchildren.
Tidal Wave of Feature Films Based On Children’s Books
Several major motion picture releases slated for the next six months originated as children’s books. Currently in theatres, the third “Harry Potter” film has proven to be a huge money-maker, and the successes of the first two films in the series may have signaled movie studios that children’s books can guarantee a built-in audience.
Even modestly successful films based on children’s books, like “Ella
Enchanted” which was in theatres in Spring 2004, sell so well on home
video and DVD that they can be assured to be profit-makers.
For the first time ever a Judy Blume book, "Deenie," is being developed as a feature film, with options on others. One of the producers was also involved in the film adaptations of Meg Cabot’s “The Princess Diaries.”
One of the most hotly anticipated films of the year is “Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events,” (at least that unwieldly title is being used on the sneak preview), due out this December. Starring Jim Carrey as Count Olaf, the films preview gives an indication that the look of the film will be appropriately dark and twisted. Merle Streep and Jude Law costar.
Currently in production is the film version of Kate DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn Dixie.” Jeff Daniels has been cast as the father.
Amber Tamblyn, star of the TV series “Joan of Arcadia,” has been signed to star in the film adaptation of Ann Brashares “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”
Debuting this November is the long anticipated film adaptation of Chris Van Allsburgs “The Polar Express.” Directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”), the film stars Tom Hanks as the train conductor.
San Leandro PL