Monday, January 28, 2013

Exciting Day - Awards Day!


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a kidlit meme hosted by Jen and Kellee at TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTSFind the TBR lists growing longer while reading everyone’s post!  Plus, there is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS that offers even more reviews of all kinds of books, adult and children.  Enjoy!
      On twitter?  Hook up with #IMWAYR

       I had so many errands this am, part of them in waiting rooms, so I finished, guess what?  SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS by Laura Amy Schlitz, recipient of one of the Newbery honor awards.  



              I didn't read much of anything else this past week, not counting blogs and poetry for the Cybils judging, plus the two picture books below.  Since I'm so late posting, I guess I'll also hook up with Myra, Fats, and Iphigene at Gathering Books for their 2013 award challenge.  What a day of excitement for everyone!  My librarian sent me news of the winners  at the ALA Youth Media Awards event, and we are so happy about them all.  How wonderful the authors must feel on this day.  


Splendors and Glooms - Laura Amy Schlitz
          I loved it, and it did take me quite a while.  It is long.  There are parts to read more slowly, to savor.  Here, on page 258 is a favorite passage:  "Parsefall shouldered his pillowcase and stepped away.  'How do you know we ain't in a story?' he demanded, and was out the door before she could think of a response." 
          Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are memorable, tough characters, and Madama and Grisini are too, but not in a nice way, no, not at all.  There are adventures, surprises, and a glimpse into magic, and a spell for a special puppet that is scary and thank goodness, breakable.  
          It is most exciting throughout such a complicated book to see the main characters develop into ones I cared deeply about, but also in this wonderful story, others rather slipped into my heart, too, even the worst ones; and Laura Amy Schlitz developed them into complex characters as well.  There is the landlady who is self-serving yet who has enough heart (and drama) to be helpful when needed.  It is in her house where Lizzie Rose Fawr and Parsefall Hooke are first introduced.  There is Gaspare Grisini, most akin to Fagin from Dickens' Oliver Twist, who is not likable in any way, except he is a gifted puppeteer, thus giving Parsefall a chance to make something of himself. Clara Wintermute, the victim who actually sets the story in motion because of her wish to have a puppet show on her birthday, changes slowly into a strong and complicated young woman who, I realized at the end, can now take good care of herself.  And finally, a villain, a woman with the saddest of childhoods, thus gaining forgiveness for all her evil ways via plot and a red stone.  She is Cassandra, also know as Madama, a rich lady with a tower and much more than power and money.  I think in all good books that one may take a character at surface value and hate or love them, but the author must show that the characters live in a "deeper" story, and as the quote above questions, indeed, these characters are in a very good story!



 Together – George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Vera Rosenberg
                This is an older book in rhyme by George Ella Lyon that will be wonderful to share with younger primary-aged students.  It has the theme of friendship, learning to work together and help one another.  Each couplet gives an idea for cooperation, like “I’ll drive the truck if you’ll fight the fire.” and “I’ll plunk the keys if you’ll be the choir.”  And the middle and ending read “Let’s put our heads together and dream the same dream.”  The exuberant and celebratory illustrations are wonderful, showing two little girls of two different colors have some fun in all kinds of ways, like making ice cream.  .
              
The Granddaughter Neckace – Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
            It’s great to hear some of someone’s family history, and this new book is a good beginning book for 2013.  This will make a terrific mentory text for a project.  Wyeth tells about a family’s heirloom passed down through generations from mother to daughter.  She tells a little about the life of each one, and page after page, the necklace travels on.  In the backmatter at the end, there is some information abut Wyeth’s real family, that tells of her thinking that she originally comes from Africa, only to discover she immigrated from Ireland.  Nice story!






What's Next:  Still reading:  The Marble Queen by Stephanie J. Blake, Book Love by Penny Kittle.  And I have Feynmann checked out, so better get reading! 








10 comments:

  1. Hi, Linda. I met Laura Amy Schlitz at the Baltimore Book Festival this fall. She is a school media specialist in our area, as well as being an excellent writer. I agree -- it took me a little while to get into Splendors & Glooms, but well worth it. There were elements of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" but this book is serious, truer to Victorian authors like Dickens, and more poetic in style.

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    1. How great that you've met her, Laura. It is a long book, but had some new & creative elements that I didn't recognize along with some of the basic fantastic ones. I was especially interested in all the parts she included that were true to that time in history, like the death masks & the puppetry.

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  2. Spendors and Gloom looks great. I am also reading Book Love and enjoying it. It was fun to watch the awards announcements today!

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    1. I had to run errands all this morning, so didn't get to see the actual announcement which was disappointing, but Splendors And Glooms was a very good read. Thanks, Gigi

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  3. Hi Linda, I am in love with Bagram Ibatoulline's artwork - I think the first time I knew about Bagram's work was through the collaboration with Lois Lowry in Crow Call. You know what, I am definitely intrigued by Splendors and Glooms as it is a book that has received contrasting reviews from people. Will definitely check this one out.

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    1. Yes, Ibatoulline's work is gorgeous. I have Crow Call & love the story. I liked, as you read, Splendors & Glooms, but it was wordy at times, long, & when I start thinking long, sometimes I just abandon it. Not this time! It got better! Thanks Myra.

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  4. I love your reviews of Together and Granddaughter's Necklace. I must get those. I'm not sure whether or not I want to read Splendors and Glooms. It just doesn't appeal to me. I'll have to push that aside and give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    Kimberley
    First in Maine

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    1. Thanks Kimberley. Both the picture books are interesting & useful in different ways. And Splendors and Glooms is simply a different story, not for everyone.

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  5. Thanks, Linda. I have wondered about Splendors and Glooms. Thanks for giving a sneak peek at he characters. Both Together and The Granddaughter Necklace sound very nice. Like Myra, I also love Bagram Ibatouline's work.

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    1. You are welcome, Joyce. I hope you like the books!

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