Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature: Now Extra Jolty!
Ah! This is always one of my favorite games to play. Finding the books written for adults that have some sort of link, however tangential, to children’s literature. Today, I’ve a mess of books written by authors that have had children’s books as well as adult titles. Let’s pair them together, shall we?:
The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
If her name sounds familiar it may be because you recognize Thrity from this beauty last year:
In truth, The Secrets Between Us was released in 2018, but the paperback just came out this year. Not sure I’m keen on that book jacket, though. Particularly when you consider that the original looked like this:
Laserwriter II by Tamara Shopsin
One day you’re writing a book that Kirkus calls “Fresh and charmingly quirky,” and the next you’re doing some killer board books:
Now THAT is what I’d call range, people!
The Heroine With 1001 Faces by Maria Tartar
Hooray! A new Maria Tartar! When it comes to folklore, she’s the one you call. A whole troop of heroines get name checked in this book including Katniss Everdeen, Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy, Gretel (of Hansel and Gretel fame), Anne of Green Gables, and more. Mentions are made of characters and authors that aren’t white, but it appears that it’s not so much in the children’s book department, I’m afraid.
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan
As I was purchasing adult materials for my library the other day, this little cover popped up. I took a bit of time staring at it, since it’s an interesting confluence of Lewis tropes. Wardrobe in the title. Tiny lion’s head dead center. Snowy. Oxford? And a lamp . . . not post, exactly. Yes, this book comes with the following description:
Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics.
She prefers the dependability of facts, except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse.
Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis&;s life, which she takes home to George.
Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother, the story behind Narnia, turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.
I wonder if the author is referencing other books, what with there being a young woman named Megs, brilliant with numbers, with a fragile little brother. Hmmm.
The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe
Ah! Another work of adult fiction with a keen children’s book tie-in. You can probably guess what this one is from the cover and title alone. However, this book hasn’t much in the way of reviews yet. Here’s the plot description in any case:
A gripping narrative of friendship and exploration, and an homage to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, an unforgettable writer who touched the lives of millions of readers, and who was able to see the world through the eyes of a child.
In the 1920s, long before he wrote The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was an accomplished pilot. Along with Jean Mermoz and Henri Guillaumet, he was chosen to pioneer new mail routes across the globe. No distance was too far and no mountain too high—each letter had to reach its destination. The three friends soared through the air, while back on solid ground, they dealt with a world torn apart by wars and political factions.
I’m just a little relieved it didn’t involve Antoine’s wife Consuelo. That could be an entirely different kind of novel.
Filed under: Unexpected Jolts of Children's Literature
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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