Little, Brown Spring 2008 Preview: Day Three

So this is Day Three of my Little, Brown coverage. Thank goodness I pre-prepared this - I just returned from meeting Shaun Tan at Scholastic, and I'm just shell-shocked. I think I was more giddy over meeting Arthur Levine than Shaun Tan! But now I'm just exhausted. So I'm sipping a glass of chenin blanc, posting, and hitting the sack. Zzzzz...

Next at our table was Andrea Spooner, editor extraordinaire who had only been back to work for 3 days from maternity leave. She started off with Willow Buds by Mary Jane Begin. The cover states the book has “friendship stories inspired by The Wind in the Willows.” Andrea was clear to point out that these are not retellings, but they are original stories. She also compared the tales to the Muppet Babies, Toad and Badger before the Wind in the Willows days. She also called it a “values book” – which made me cringe a bit – telling us that it teaches kids how to “navigate friendship” but that the book is “not didactic.” Intriguing, no? I do see quite a few people chanting “blasphemy!” about it…

She also presented a really cool full-color graphic novel, In the Small, by Michael Hague (yes, that Michael Hague). It’s an apocalyptic survival story where Mother Nature has exacted her revenge on humanity and made the people only 6 inches tall. I’m not a graphic novel fan, but I made sure to pick up a galley of this one – I might be convinced to switch sides.

Lastly, Andrea showed us The Mighty Twelve by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and illustrated by P. Craig Russell. The idea is that Greek gods are portrayed as superheroes with superpowers. Andrea promoted it as a teaser to get kids interested in mythology, and she also recommended it for reluctant readers. The text is written in what seems to be poetry...however, try reading it out loud. The rhythm is fantastic - it has a slam poetry, hip hop feel to it that could be dynamic in a classroom setting. However, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. There are so few mythology books printed anymore, of any note, yet kids consistently need them for reports. This book won't be your answer - there really isn't enough to support assignments. Nevertheless, the illustrations have a cool classic, comic book feel and they're in full-color. And the text presents lots of possibilities.

PUB DATES: Willow Buds – 4.08, In the Small – 5.08, The Mighty Twelve - 4.08

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