Talk of the Town
It’s Friday the 13th. Booga booga. Cue the Churchy La Femme freak-out (and fifty points if you get the reference). For this most unlucky of days I give you the luckiest of tidbits.
- For example, there are certain days when the children’s literary gods smile down upon a poor humble blogger like myself and place into my meager bowl articles titles like US Censors Teenie Weenie. It reminds me that no matter how dull a day may seem, there’s always something wild and weird going on in the worldwide realm of children’s literature. I’ll burn a bowl of overdue slips in an offering of thanks to these gods. The article, as it happens, is worth scratching one’s head over. It concerns a German children’s book author/illustrator and her dealings with Boyd Mills Press. According to the piece, her book was "censored" when the publisher asked her to remove a miniscule penis from a state in a scene that takes place in a museum. They also allegedly wanted to remove a blurry painted nude from a different page. I say "allegedly" because this article somehow managed to avoid interviewing anyone from the publisher in question. Then again, it could all be true. Certainly people have voided far worse when bringing European books to the States. I leave it up to you to discern the truth of the matter. Many many thanks to Chris Barton for the link.
- Forget animals that should have their own picture books. This little device deserves its own friggin’ novel. And I quote: "By touching part of your plant, you activate the device which then talks to you (japanese of course), and when the Gnome speaks its pedestal lights up in a stylish way. From welcoming you home from work to calling you over to check its water, Hanakotoba bridges the gap between the you and your delicate plant life." Aside from the fact that you could have a plant talking to you in Japanese (which is just odd enough to make it horrendously tempting) what if this idea is expanded? You could have a whole book where a character comes home and discusses their day with their plant thanks to a device of this nature. Quick Quiz Hotshot: What kind of indoor plant would be the grumpiest? I’m going to go with African Violets. Sure, they feel all warm and fuzzy, but you know they’re just biding their time until they can finally get vocal.
- And speaking of odd picture book ideas, thanks to the excelsior file we now know that Aldous Huxley once teamed up with Barbara Cooney on a children’s book. I’ll just repeat that slowly to myself. Aldous Huxley. And Barbara Cooney. My library has a copy of the book in question (oh joy) and I’ll be perusing this puppy at my leisure. But do you realize what this really means? It means that when I start my Dead Hot Men of Children’s Literature series I’ll be able to add Mr. Huxley to the mix. Joy.
- And now the Daily Rowling News. With the new Harry Potter title coming out, I’ve been wondering about the amount of time your average high-end reviewer will have between its arrival and the due date of their submitted review. The Guardian just had a piece up about this kind of speed reviewing, and I think it’s worth a glance. Of course, it also falls into a category of articles that don’t care for the HP books but feel obligated to be snide about it. Show some class, dammit!
With every post I grow fonder and fonder of author Susan Beth Pfeffer’s blog. Now she’s won my heart and soul entirely with her post The Bronx is Up and the Battery’s Drowned. Those of you aware of her book Life As We Knew It and the subsequent sequel she’s writing (set in New York) will appreciate the post’s title fully. Her piece is notable if only because if the moon is hit by an asteroid it looks as if I will be able to remain alive and living since I reside in the northern part of Manhattan. YESSSS!! …. unless, that is, the flood waters rush in between the hours of 9 and 5. Then I’m pretty much screwed.
And finally, there is a comfort in knowing that no matter what goes wrong with the world around us (asteroids hitting the moon or no) at least everybody likes sandwiches. Everybody. Period.
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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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