Harper Collins, Part Five
And we’re at … oooh. We’re at the Joanna Cotler/Laura Geringer table. That’s super cool. Big names sitting here. They were smart pookies too. Got me to really want to read Fiona Loves the Night by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest with illustrations by Amada Shephard. It’s a rather beautiful book with a vague Don’t Be Afraid of the Night premise. As they themselves said, "Nature is right up in your face and it’s a friend." Even the bats were cute, something the editors admitted that they worked on. Eve Bunting, in a change of pace, has written a chapter book on race profiling called The Man with the Red Bag. I’ve never read anything but her picture books. Is this the first chapter title she’s done? I’d have asked the editors but I was too busy falling under the mistaken assumption that the book was by Eve Ibbotson. I thought she’d completely shifted gears. Glad to see the world isn’t quite that wacky yet.
Jumping the Scratch was a nice enough book last year. I never had anything for or against the original cover, but Harper C. (can I start calling the company HaCo?) decided it needed something new for the paperback edition. Now we’ve a (you guessed it) photograph of the back of a boy. The title is in a black button shape *shudder* and the color is a kind of summery yellow. It’s nice enough, but I wish they’d done something with the cherry cans. Those would have been pretty cool image-wise.
And now we find ourselves at the last and final table. A table sporting Katherine Tegan and Barbara Lalicki, no less. They had a couple titles that were (faint) not ON the Powerpoint. Ah well. One of these was a new pop-up book from Mr. Robert Sabuda. It’s a Narnia pop-up, but not the kind you would think to look for. Each spread represents a scene or series of scenes from a different Narnia title. It’s rather beautiful. For example, you open up the book to the A Horse and His Boy section and you are stunned by a truly gorgeous image of a gigantic horse and boy riding hell-for-leather across the page in front of you. The book almost becomes a kind of Where’s Reepicheep? with the popular mouse cropping up in the oddest of places. I was on tenterhooks, hoping to see what Sabuda was possibly going to do with the somewhat lamentable (my opinion) Last Battle. I shan’t give anything away, but let’s just say that Sabuda is a very very smart man. Meanwhile his partner Matthew Reinhart is illustrating his very first picture book that is NOT a pop-up book. It’s by Margie Palatini and it’s called No Biting, Louise. Finger crossed as we watch how it does.
There was a book called When Harriet Met Sojourner by Catherine Clinton (illustrated by Shane W. Evans) that got me a little worried for a minute there. It looked nice enough, but the title hinges on an actual meeting between the two women that no one knows very much about. Rather than launch into ridiculous speculation, however, Clinton plays it subtle. Thank God. I’m not too pleased with books that speculate about conversations to sometimes ludicrous extremes.
Harper Collins is also vampire crazy these days. Particularly series vampires. On the one hand we have the My Sister the Vampire series by Sienna Mercer and on the other we’ve the Araminta Spookie books (#4 in September) by Angie Sage.
I was oddly drawn to Sue Stainton’s, The Chocolate Cat, illustrated by Anne Mortimer. Maybe because it reminds me of a beloved title from my youth, The Patchwork Cat. The art is similar here AND you get a winning (if furrball laden) combination of cats and chocolate. My table was very excited to see a follow-up to Alma Flor Ada’s Pio Peep. It’s the bilingual Merry Navidad with explanations of the Latino tradition behind each song included. One of those Every Library In the Country Should Probably Buy This titles.
My secret shame? I’m also really excited about Dean Lorey’s Nightmare Academy. Not because it looks unique or anything. Sounds like pretty standard fantasy stuff, if I’m going to be honest with you. But the writer was a former co-executive producer of Arrested Development. COME ON (as Gob would say).
And so it ends. Would you believe that I didn’t take the time to pay any attention to the clothing? I’m getting lazy in my old age, it seems. Anywho, here are the awards as I see them.
FAVORITE EXPLANATION AWARD:
"Gossip Girls in the Gilded Age" for Anna Godverson’s The Luxe almost won, but I think I’m going to have to give this one to Sienna Mercer’s, My Sister the Vampire. After all, they called it, "Parent Trap . . . . with vampires." Admit it. You’d read that.
LOVELIEST YA COVERS AVAILABLE ONLINE:
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
WHAT ME WANT (and wasn’t given):
Cherry Heaven by L.J. Adlington
Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
Fiona Loves the Night by Patricia MacLahlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis
Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
Postscript: I wrote all these posts out in one long piece. Then I linked them to their online records, including my old reviews of older titles. It was gorgeous. Top notch work. Then my computer crashed. Fortunately I managed to salvage my writing, but my links were completely gone. I apologize to you, then, for not linking to all the titles mentioned. You can find many of them through their authors’ websites.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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