Sunday, April 01, 2007

Are Kids' Books Boring? - MSN Encarta

Are Kids' Books Boring? Martha Brockenbrough asks this question over at MSN Encarta. Martha also wonders, what makes a great kids' book? Rick Riordan and I both contribute answers. (Yeah, I just wanted to blog "Rick Riordan and I.")

Speaking of Rick; check out his book tour report at his blog; and this fab interview by Miss Erin.


Erin said...

Glad you liked the interview, thanks for the link. :)

Anonymous said...

I just read Martha's column on "Are Kid's Books Boring?", and as I couldn't figure out to sent my comment to her, my remark if posted HERE might reach some of people who might be interested.

Is there anyplace where readers of Newbery Award books have talked about their favorite/least fave on that list? After leaving my job as bookstore clerk and the wonderful libraries of Los Angeles to live in small town, to be full-time caregiver for family member seven years ago), I'm trying to catch up on notable books for young readers, my "field of expertise" and perhaps my highest interest of all genres.

I wanted to comment on Martha's puzzlement about GINGER PYE's possible appeal: at least family gets back their beloved pet after painful separation, unlike so many weepy heartbreak classics such as OLD YELLER or WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS or THE YEARLING! Charlotte's Web is kinda on the fence--you win some, you lose some.

Been meaning to re-read Eleanor Estes PINKY PYE (about the family cat). My memory of other books, like the Moffet series, is tinged with gentle melancholy, even tho they include humor. Perhaps, if her fiction is semi-autobiographical, might be influenced by family having lost father (don't think cause was ever specified).

Has anyone noted that a number of "kids" books published post 9/11 seem rather grimmer (American Girl KAYA, for example, has rather a "Series of Unfortunate Events" of her own.

P.S. My favorite Newbery author maybe ELIZABETH ENRIGHT, especially her two "Gone-away Lake" titles' perhaps the multigenerational cast of characters helps contribute to appeal to both young in years and "young at heart" readers.

Also remember, in Victorian times--and before--reading aloud was often a favorite family activity, so many classic "children's books" were written to appeal to all ages (Little Lord Fauntleroy may've appealed to more mama's than sons, inspiring one chapter of Enright's SPIDERWEB FOR TWO: A MELENDY MAZE)

BTW, how may readers caught J.K. Rowlings's allusion to that "perfect little gentleman" in her creation of character CEDRIC in Harry Potter books? I believe Rowling intends some yet mostly overlooked allusions to her favorite fiction (and I don't mean the obvious mythological, historical ones) to lead readers to classic literature.

Another example: I'm sure Professor Alaister Moody was partly inspired by MOBY DICK's Captain Ahab--search an online edition of novel to find passage where Ahab is described as "moody" at least five times in a few consecutive sentences!