Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Coraline Sneak Peek

Sneak Peek Here.

Not sure what I think of this yet. I have read Coraline so many times that I have a clear picture in my head of what the story should look like and I know I should probably stay away from the movie. BUT... I know I won't be able to stay away. I hope that at the very least I feel the way I felt about The Golden Compass movie, which was that it was a fun movie to watch.

Speaking of movies, I saw Sweeny Todd yesterday as part of our "Jewish Christmas" which also included latkas for breakfast and chinese food for dinner. It was great gorey fun and now I've been singing about the worst pies in london all day!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gonna Bake a Pie...

After watching Waitress the other day I got it into my head that I wanted to bake a pie. So I made a cherry pie last night and I have to say, it turned out very pretty. I'm so proud I thought I'd post a picture.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mock Caldecott Award

Since the library is doing a mock Caldecott program in the elementary schools, the youth services team decided to have our own election. The winner was:

Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine, illustrations by Kadir Nelson

and Honors going to:

At Night by Jonathan Bean

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice Harrington, illustrations by Shelley Jackson

First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

My own first place vote was for Bean's At Night, which is my favorite picture books of the year. And if it were solely my decision I would have also given honors to Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett and Scribble by Deborah Freedman.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crappy Reading Choices part 2

There's been some great discussion over on the child_lit about the anti-feminist tones in Stephanie Meyer's Vampire series which has gotten me thinking more about the influence books have on teen readers. I read Meyer's first book, Twilight, one day at work and I have to admit, I enjoyed the the story, angst, drama, and all. The later books in the series started to irritate me though. The main character, Bella, becomes the constant the damsel in distress and Edward is too perfect. I mean, he's too content to make an interesting vampire. And yes, he's creepily controlling. And yes. she too submissive. So is this going to corrupt the throngs of teen girls reading the series? It is okay to say, well at least they are reading, or is that akin to giving kids free run to eat as much candy as they like.

My opinion comes out of my own teen reading experience. As I've already admitted, I read all sorts of trash. V.C. Andrews, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine... but I also read the good stuff too. And by time I was a "teen" I could tell the difference. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the junk food. I think we need to give teens credit. I'm sure they are capable of reading critically, when they want to. But sometimes it's pleasurable to get swept up in a melodramatic story without the critic in your head chiming in to spoil all the fun!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A defense of crappy reading choices

I kinda really liked this article in Slate this week on preteens reading the ever so trashy Flowers in the Attic series. I have to fess up to reading the entire series at the age of 12. Then I moved on to the other V.C. Andrews series. And guess what? No harm done. Now what really had me disturbed was my first viewing of Hamlet. But that's another story!

The article starts off with the author talking about not encouraging her kid to read The Golden Compass. I thought that was an odd jumping off point for talking about the allure of dreck. But I do like her points about allowing kids to read what they want to read.

Viewing The Golden Compass

I saw the movie of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass last night. It's been getting some pretty terrible reviews with most critics complaining that it waters down the complexity of Pullman's books. And yes, the movie falls short of the brilliance of the book but that is almost always the case. Which is why I feel the need to speak up in this movie's defense.

I remember reading the His Dark Materials trilogy, of which The Golden Compass is the first book, in college and marveling at how complicated the plot was. So, when I heard that they were making the Golden Compass into a movie I didn't really expect that they would be able to pack in everything from the book. Even ending the film about three chapters early (which was annoying to me as a reader but understandable as a movie viewer), there's just too much.

But really what I'm getting at is that if I wanted to have the perfect experience of The Golden Compass I would read the book again. Nothing is going to match that. But I think that the filmmakers tried hard to stay faithful to the story. And though it wasn't perfection, I enjoyed sitting through their effort.