Review of the Day: Atherton – The House of Power (Part Three)
(CONTINUED FROM PART TWO)
Notes on the Cover: Well, it’s the half-cover problem. I can understand the desire to do something cool and different with the cover of a children’s book. Why should publishers be forced to do the same thing over and over when you can create something like the image here? The cover itself shows this magnificent photo-realistic view of the three tiers of the world and the bright burning cauldron of the underworld beneath. The half cover is a sketch of Edgar scaling the cliffs. Equally sketchy words and numbers reveal more of the book’s mystery to those willing to go to the book’s website. So really, as half covers go, this one fulfils a kind of purpose. What it doesn’t take into account is how libraries will be able to cover a ragged half-a-cover with plastic. It’s easy to lose and sometimes gets bent after repeated readings. A good idea, but maybe one that works on an artistic rather than practical level.
Notes on the Website: Without a doubt, "Atherton" may have one of the coolest websites I have ever seen. The amount of work that went into it just boggles my mind. Every five digit number that shows up in the book (in the text, on the cover, and in the back) can be plugged into the website to reveal the hidden video diaries of Dr. Kincaid. The videos will sometimes even link to other videos, if you spot the tiny numbers hidden in the corners. There are also photographs of Atherton, fossils of the creatures that live there, and sometimes a number will be placed over another so that young eyes (which are sharper than my own) can spot them and plug them in for even MORE information. It’s quite an effort. For a hint of what I’m talking about (though you’ll need the book for the full list of codes) go to www.unlockdrhardingsbrain.com and plug in the numbers 37782, 44857, and 37782. The acting’s a bit overblown and over-the-top, but you get used to it. Plus, I’ve never seen or heard a tie-in to a children’s book make such a persuasive case for reading “The Turn of the Screw”.
First Line: "In Mr. Ratikan’s grove there lived a boy."
Filed under: Reviews
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.
SLJ Blog Network