Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Here they are,

the winners of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ech, I cannot believe Tulane got an award of any description. I think that woman is a huge fraud. All she has in a tone of voice and a tremendous ego.

hm said...

Yikes! Critique someone's work all you want, but personal attacks seem way out of line. Kate happens to be a soft-spoken, sincere, rather insecure writer trying to say what she has to say in the truest way she can. Whether you like her books or not is of course entirely up to you, but any presumptions about her character or motivation seem way off base. I say congratulations to her and to the others recognized by these awards.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have no trouble presuming about her character. You just don't like someone presuming something different.

KT Horning said...

What's your problem, Anon? Edward Tulane is a fine book, deserving of a literary award. It has great characterization, style, wit, and, even -- surprise! -- a plot. I've read it twice: once to myself and once aloud. I liked it the first time around and found it to be even better on second reading, which is the mark of a disnguished children's book.

I have never found DiCamillo to be terribly egotistical on the two or three occasions I have come into contact with her. On the contrary, she seems to be quite shy and humble, and a little bit overwhelmed by all the sudden fame.

While there are many outstanding YA books so far this year, Edward Tulane is one of the few great children's books so far in 2006. Kudos to the committee for selecting it. I suspect that BG/HB will be the first in a long line of awards and distinctions it will receive.

Anonymous said...

If your books are out there, so is your character, no way around it. Those who do not wish their characters presumed about should not publish their work.

KT Horning said...

Or perhaps, if you don't want your character or motives called into question, you should remain anonymous, eh?

Anonymous said...

I do not have a problem, KT, unless you assume that disagreeing with you is one. I stand by my statements. I am sorry you think this is a good book. I do not. But this is just the usual Sunday morning quarterbacking that goes on after these things. I, usually, don't participate but I do think she is dreadful writer. And I do think she has a dreadful ego.

Anonymous said...

I am never anonymous when I publish, KT and I have taken my share of hits. In this forum I prefer to be anonymous because I do not always stand by my posts. Sometimes they are there just to stir the pot to see what rises to the light. And I am here to play. If I were to post with a name I would have to edit my remarks and be willing to stand by them and I could not play. But I'm serious about Kate.

KT Horning said...

Nope, I have no problem with having people disagree with me. Book discussion is downright boring when everyone agrees.

But you haven't really said anything about why you don't like the book. I wouldn't be surprised if you had never read it.

You've only told us why you don't like the author. My problem is with anonymous attacks on individuals.

Anonymous said...

I did tell you why I didn't like the book but you aren't listening. The writing is dreadful. There is nothing there but a tone of voice. And the message is pompous and shallow and it was a book written out of a strong need to say something profound without anything profound to say, which stems from EGO. The book reeks of ego. It is an unpleasantly egocentric book. If books came from machines you could separate the person from her work but they do not. You seem to think you are coming from a moral high ground. Maybe you should write a book about it. They are apparently in vogue.

KT Horning said...

OK, now you're actually saying something about the book. Before you only said she was a dreadful writer with an unpleasant voice and a huge ego. You offered no specific criticism and, quite frankly, your comments sounded like sour grapes from an author who had hoped to win the award herself.

Anonymous said...

(Being a new anonymous:) I have nothing at all to say about Kate DiCamillo as a person, but agree that her work is often heavy-handed, condescending, uninteresting, and just plain callow. I was so taken with the illustrations of "Edward Tulane" but was dismayed to find that they were the best thing in the book. I suspect that the books are bought by adults who think they're witty instead of shrill.

KT Horning said...

New Anon, thanks for actually saying something intelligent about DiCamillo's writing. I assume you're talking mostly about her Newbery winner, Tales of Despereaux, and her BG/HB winner, Edward Tulane, rather than her first two realistic books, which were written in a very different style.

I can see your point about the heavy-handedness, etc. of her style. To me, these books read more like an old-fashioned children's books. But there's also a modern edge to her humor and perspective, and that's what I like about her books. If you don't like her tone, however, it's pointless to try to read her books, as her literary fingerprints are all over the place.

I have to disagree with what you say about them being boring, however. Her plots are intricate and yet accessible to young readers. I've known far too many children who have loved her books to agree that there is any truth to your statement that they only appeal to adults (or, to some adults, as the case may be.) Certainly that is the case with many award winners (and non-award winners, too) but not with DiCamillo's books.

Roger Sutton said...

Anon, you might be here to play but it's my sandbox. This personal attack is not as gratuitous as the one I removed a few months back, but I have to agree with K.T. that it is awfully lily-livered to attack someone from behind a pseudonym. Think about it.

Roger Sutton said...

P.S. And can I just say (not being one of the judges) how pleased I was to see McNulty and Kellogg win? That was one of my favorite books of last year.

Anonymous said...

...and New Anon (I like that) remarks that I was indeed talking about the two most recent books. I also had enormous expectations since I'd heard that she was the sort of old-fashioned narrator that I'm particularly fond of. Perhaps they were too high. I'll revisit the books in a year or so and give them another chance. And of course it will be interesting to see how they fare over time.

Anonymous said...

I do not know Kate. I am not attacking her but I am attacking her work which I do not find award worthy. And to find someone's work egocentric as fair a criticism as anything else ont his board. If you do not want anonymous critques, do not have an anonymous option.

Anonymous said...

And as for sour grapes, KT, I have no book out currently. I would hope you would not believe that the only way someone could passionately dislike a work you liked is because they had a personal axe to grind.

Anonymous said...

Roger, my remarks are no more gratuitous than yours. I still think you should have removed your own attack on Winspear where you were not even attacking her book but her profession.

Anonymous said...

Roger, I do think you're being a little self-congratulatory and disingenuous about putting your name to these posts. It is your sandbox in a much a larger sense. If you do not watch your tongue as you often don't, what can anyone do to you? However, I do agree, if I don't want to say only pleasant things, i should probably not post here any more if I'm not willing to put my name out there, which, again, I don't because I have no interest in being only sincere. It was only fun if I could take on alternate personas. Although I would never attack someone's work insincerely. But youre right on the first count. So, I'm not posting any more.

Anonymous said...

However, i will say this on parting. I bet you agree with me about dicamillo.

sdn said...

holy crap, i feel like i'm in the middle of the book sybil, except all of the alters are named "anonymous."

Judith said...

" i should probably not post here any more if I'm not willing to put my name out there, which, again, I don't because I have no interest in being only sincere"

Which makes you a troll, anonymous. Glad to see the back of you.

JeanneB said...

Ditto what Judith said about being glad to see the back of "old" Anonymous. We are visitors in the world of children, for heaven's sake. Shouldn't we at least try to be generous and kind?

As for Kate DiCamillo, I just hope she never reads this blog. How tragic that winning a lovely award would open her up to nasty personal comments. No one needs that.

JeanneB said...

And, by the way, I would have LOVED to have won it myself...

I remember once, years ago, Paul Simon winning a Grammy. In his acceptance speech, he thanked Stevie Wonder for not putting out a record that year. If I ever manage to win another award, I just might have to thank Kate DiCamillo for not putting out a book that year. More power to her. So there.

Lisa Yee said...

Uh, my name is Lisa Yee and I am not anonymous.

Just wanted to go on record saying that I LOVED the Honor Book YELLOW STAR by Jennifer Roy. Any accolades this book gets are well deserved.

Roger Sutton said...

What's funny is that I just finished writing an editorial about the relative lack of rancor in the discussion of children's book awards! "Examine your premises," Ayn Rand would say, the solution, btw, of last week's trivia quiz.

I don't know Kate DiCamillo but look forward to meeting her at the BGHB Awards. I'm betting she's tough enough to take the occasional insult. Once, after the time I was on Bill O'Reilly's show, someone posted on a political site that I licked my lips like a hungry lizard. I just crawled back under my rock.

Lane Smith said...

Wow! This site is more fun than the Jerry Springer show.

Hollis said...

What a freak! Anon is a writer who is incapable of literary analysis. No wonder she has been booed off the island, er, sandbox. (which, by the way, Roger built, so yeah, he gets to make the rules)

What writer condemns a book and a literary award based on her judgment of the character of the author? It's a good thing I don't know who you are (although I have my suspicions) because by your rules, I'd have to hate all your books.

I learned that when you discuss a book, you are supposed to discuss specific examples from the text- At least that what grownups do.. What kind of "published writer" posts on a blog about kid lit and chooses to be anonymous so she doesn't have to stand behind her words (and for the sole purpose of pot stirring?) A writer who a) is childish b) is a Jealous Janie c) of extremely weak character, herself, to "stir the pot" for kicks and to do it anonymously and d) a lousy critic.

How bout this one:
"If your books are out there, so is your character, no way around it. Those who do not wish their characters presumed about should not publish their work..."
I'm laughing really hard now. Ridiculous.

Barbjn said...

Personal attacks in the guise of "critique" reek of professional jealousy, not substance. They are also very transparent.

But this does bring to mind a thought that troubles me: can reviewers be so clever as to write bad reviews in a voice and in a forum that seem legintimate, when they reason for the bad review is based on something else that truly IS personal? It is my fear that THAT is always a possibility.

Tough business, creativity.

evolveplease said...

I have to admit, I usually ignore the "stir the pot" posters (and their posts) because I find "stir-the-potters" generally childish and self-indulgent. And, Anonymous' justification for remaining anonymous rings hollow for me - especially considering it would have taken less than 5 minutes to sign up for a proper blog-name and post under that name. It seems particularly unjustified to me considering Anonymous states that she did and does intend to "stand by" these posts, as opposed to so many of her others. So why not acknowledge them? But her use of the word "fraud" to atatck DiCamillo seemed particularly telling.

Anonymous' comments regarding DiCamillo seem so utterly personal and vindictive to really be driven by Anonymous' own personal ego, rather than DiCamillo's ego or any true critical analysis.

I assume that Anonymous has very strongly held reasons for disliking DiCamillo, but to use words like "huge fraud" seems particularly telling about the motivation of her (and I am going with "her" given my own suspicions as to the "pot-stirrer's" identity) dislike. In this climate regarding unethical behavior in writing, it seems particularly irresponsible to use the word "fraud" to describe an author, unless you honestly believe and have some credible evidence, that he or she has indeed been unethical. Given DiCamillo's work, Anonymous' choice of words was particularly inappropriate.

Now, I read Anonymous' use of "fraud" as carelessness, and really not intending to imply that DiCamillo in any way didn't create her own work - But, I think that comment offers huge insights into the true motivation for Anonymous' invective - specifically, her belief that DiCamillo has not "earned" her acclaim or awards.

I take Anonymous' posts that she dislikes DiCamillo's style, voice, writing style and message, etc. at face value, but I wonder how that still amounts to DiCamillo being a "fraud." If anything, if you hate her style and writing with so much passion, it would strike me that she actually has a personally identifiable style, tone, message etc. to hate and, therefore, could hardly be considered a fraud.

Now, it is fair game for Anonymous to dislike DiCamillo's writing - but her posts strike me as so similar to those so many authors post about J. K. Rowling, where it is clear that what the poster is really upset about is Rowling's success, after so (comparatively) little literary struggle and so few (comparatively) books. So is it DiCamillo's work that Anonymous so despises? Or is it rather that she is attaining acclaim in a genre that Anonymous considers her own? Or maybe it is simply that pesky Newbery DiCamillo received, so like the Ruby Slippers coveted by the witch in the Wizard of Oz, who believed that the slippers were rightfully hers...

Whatever Anonymous' personal motivations or preconceptions, and whatever Anonymous wished to say about DiCamillo's work, it seems to me that it was irresponsible to phrase her attacks the way she did, specifically using the word "fraud," and that whatever the comments, it was cowardly and childish to make them anonymously.

As for Edward Tulane, the story is engaging, and what I found most interesting was that the voice remained consistent throughout while also allowing for the character’s personal growth. I was initially skeptical about how invested I could become about the welfare of this toy, especially one that was distant and cold initially - But the characterizations were at turns empathetic and narcissistic, without ever seeming too remote, which I thought was a truly gifted feat. I wonder whether some of the “losses” in the book might be too much for a sensitive younger reader, but I think that DiCamillo dealt with issues of loss honestly, purely and deftly in a book that was at the same time accessible and entertaining.

Just some thoughts from a late to the game lurker... who will now return to lurkdom.

KT Horning said...

Sure they can, Barbjn, and I'm sure there are some who do. But I think the opposite situation is much more common -- people writing good reviews based on something that's personal, such as friendship or unbounded admiration.

Spy magazine used to carry a regular feature called "Literary Logrolling" in which they excerpted a glowing comment from a book review of Author A's book written by Author B, and paired it with a glowing comment from a review of Author B's book written by Author A. They never seemed to have trouble finding excerpts in reputable review sources.

Jane said...

Good grief--start working again and staying off line and look what you come back to!

I want to carp first about the term "Jealous Janie" please. It feels pointed in my direction, and I have to say that I can't be jealous of any of the winners because--except for YELLOW STAR (which is brilliant and moving) I haven't read any of thems. Yet.

But awards are fairy dust, folk. Sometimes you get sprinkled with it and sometimes (more often) it's just birdshit. Or on really bad days, fewmets, which is dragon dung.

I feel Ms. Anon has landed a really big load of it onto innocent shoulders. But even if Kate D were a demonstrably bad writer and a callous/shallow human being (I have only met her once, enjoyed Despereux except for the ending, and bowed to my then 7 year old granddaughter who proclaimed it the "best book ever, but I don't mean to hurt your feelings, Nana") to call her names anonymously is troll behavior of the worst kind.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Jane

Elizabeth said...

Ok, I'll admit that I'm posting, in part, because I don't want to be left out of the fray--this is just too much fun. But I have two comments, too: first, I don't publish under anonymous, because I think it's more interesting to read a post when you know who it's from, and what their role in the children's book world is, and there's no question that being an editor and publisher informs my point of view. (However, it also means that there are a lot of things I can't post that I would like to. For intance, it would be fun to skewer a book I was disappointed in, like John, Paul, George and Ben--JUST KIDDING, LANE!! And in discussing awards, I can't give specific examples of upsets, because to the person who won, I assume it felt well-deserved. A publisher shouldn't criticize another publisher's book in any public forum. But by me a drink sometime and I'll have plenty of opinions.)

Also re. awards, Roger and I were discussing book awards in general this weekend. I think that people LOVE to discuss surprises and upsets, and books that no one claims to like but that nevertheless win. At Viking, we used to point out that Secret of the Andes was the book that beat Charlotte's Web for the Newbery.
And one controversial Caldecott winner caused Mimi Kayden, marketing director of Penguin at the time, to resign from ALSC.

Roger is right. There's nothing that gets everybody talking (and posting!) like awards. I wish I could adopt a sanguine and professional attitude like Jane's, but it's very hard not to have one's fingers crossed at Awards time. Every year I swear I won't let it get to me, and every year it does. I still can't believe the Madeline Paper Dolls I edited wasn't at least a Caldecott Honor. The artist who recreated Bemelmans' look for us lived in America, so we were eligible...

Hollis said...

(psst: Jealous Janie could have been Jealous Jenny or Jealous Jean or...
She's the sister of Selfish Sally and Greedy Greta and a distant cousing of Grumplestitskin. Her mother, Nervous Nelly was an old friend of mine in college until she got caught.)

mwt said...

Oh lovely pot, I'd like to stir you a little more, but I assure you it is not only for the sake of stirring, and if I ever decide that I can't stand by my own words, I hope I will graciously eat them.

I haven't read Edward T. But if I did, and I said that Camillo was condescending, would you think that was a comment on her person or on her work? I think a writer can write a book that is condescending and I think that a book can be egotistical. Surely we have all read a book where the author's confidence in his own cleverness has fairly oozed off the page.


And I think that authors do reveal themselves in their work, and being a private person, I sometimes worry about that. (Have I mentioned that I am a wild and naive escapist and I like to see good guys and BAD guys and have the Bad Guys get SQUASHED?). You shouldn't think that you "know" me because you've read my books, but who we are informs what we write.

I also have a policy that I don't knock other writers in public. Private conversations are another matter. Of course, it is sometimes tempting to break the rules, when I think that the website seems so obscure--surely X will never know . . . thanks to google, he might. I don't know what the on-line definition of a troll is, but I know what I would call someone who describes his or her behavior as Anonymous does. A cad.

Anonymous said...

I'm a librarian and a writer and I have to say that I love, love, love Lois Ehlert's art and the concepts she pulls together. I thrust her books into the arms of the nearby nursery school teachers and they create wonderful activities for the kids from them. Leaf Man is a perfect example.

My published books are mostly nonfiction, and I've encouraged kids for years to dream of going to the moon. Therefore I was so happy to see the new book --
If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg.

I am also on a committee this year to choose Great Picture Books. One of the other members of the committee e-mailed all of us as soon as he had read "Mama: A True Story in Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama during a Tsunami, but Finds a New Home, and a New Mama" by Jeanette Winter (Harcourt).
His message? "I want a baby hippo!" As a result, I can't wait until it's my turn to read/ review that book.

I also have "Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building" by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by James E. Ransome (Schwartz & Wade/Random House) in my pile of "to read" books. She has won at least one Golden Kite and other awards. Right, Jane?

Excellent choices.
Lets discuss them all, not just attack one.

-wendie old (who remembers the fun and fairy dust of being a HB honor winner herself)

Barbjn said...

KT said,

"I think the opposite situation is much more common -- people writing good reviews based on something that's personal, such as friendship or unbounded admiration."

Yes, of course you are right on about this. I guess my fear is that critique in the form of very nasty reviews/personal attacks may have the potential to do some harm to a career or a budding career, whereas fluffy praise is just empty air.

As for awards as fairy dust and birdshit--true, but hey, I'll take it either way. Doesn't legend have it as a lucky omen when a bird DOES poop on your head?

Off to walk under the trees...

Jonathan said...

I agree with KT that EDWARD TULANE is one of the few great juvenile titles of the year, and that it will probably win more awards and recognition before it's all said and done, including a possible second Newbery Medal for DiCamillo. I like the book for many of the reasons that other people do, but I do have some reservations, a minor quibble and a not so minor one.

Minor quibble: Did it bother anybody else that every single lower class character had grammatically incorrect speech? I know it allows her to paint of picture of class status in just a few strokes, but it still bothered me for some reason. I do remember some people complaining about the portrayal of lower class characters in DESPEREAUX, that is, the cook, the jailer, and Miggery Sow, but I loved that book so much that I dismissed those criticisms. Now I wonder, though . . .

Not so minor quibble: Well, this really has more to do with me as a reader than the book, but I have a really hard time with simplistic plots, and particularly this kind: (a) something bad happens, (b) something really bad happens, (c) out of the frying pan, into the fire, (d) just when you thought it couldn't get any worse--it does, (e) Oh, my God--rock bottom, (f)and they lived happily ever after. I *loved* the structure of DESPEREAUX and desperately wanted to see the same kind of innovation here. Like I said, this is definitely a personal reaction on my part, but I still would not enumerate plot as one of the strengths of this novel. Even so, there are an abundance of strengths to compensate, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the book pick up more awards and recognition. I did want to put forward some non-character assassination arguments against the book, and I hope that by doing so, I don't seem really negative about the book, because I'm not, it's just not my pick at this point to win the Newbery.

Jonathan said...

An observation, not a criticism: the BG-HBs seem really young to me this year, but maybe some of this was because I had just read Vicky Smith's recent SLJ article about the disappearing middle grade novel.

I think the winners are solid choices, and I'm looking forward to reading the Honor books, but I will say that I had hoped to see Deborah Hopkinson's UP BEFORE DAYBREAK in the nonfiction category because I think it is likely to be the best informational book of the year. Hopkinson may not be quite the brand name that Freedman, Murphy, or even Bartoletti is, but her title is no less deserving of Newbery recognition, in my very humble opinion.

K T Horning said...

barbjn said: "I guess my fear is that critique in the form of very nasty reviews/personal attacks may have the potential to do some harm to a career or a budding career."

The book reviewers I know in the children's book world are more professional than that. They review the BOOK, not the author. And they also are reviewing for a particular audience, mainly librarians who are making purchasing decisions. They are not reviewing for the author's benefit or detriment.

There are plenty of authors I don't like personally whose books I still admire gratly, and vice versa. If it ever reached a point where I felt I couldn't be fair, I would feel obliged to pass the book along for someone else to review. I suspect that that's the norm among children's book reviewers.

I don't look at a review as a chance to slam an author or to pump up a fragile ego. I look at it as a way to let my professional colleagues know whether the book is worth their precious time and money. I would never risk losing my credibility with them by letting my personal feelings about an author color my critique. And, to be honest, I really don't think that much about the authors when I'm writing a review.

I'd be curious to hear what other reviewers have to say on this matter.

KT Horning said...

Jonathan, I appreciate your comments about Edward Tulane and Tale of Despereaux.

I actually thought the plot structure of Edward Tulane was one of its best attributes. I read it as a picaresque novel, and greatly admired the way DiCamillo used this sort of plot in a children's novel. Episodic plots are generally the easiest for young readers to follow, and I felt she elevated it to a new level by using this tried and true structure for children to create a modern picaresque novel.

Hadn't thought about the class issues you mentioned. Thanks for bringing that up.

KT Horning said...

Apparently Blogger is having some technical problems, so Roger Sutton is having difficulty posting. He didn't want us to think he was ignoring us, so he asked me to post this to let you know all what was going on.

With luck, the glitches will be worked out soon and Roger will be back in the sandbox.

Roger Sutton said...

Testing one, two, three . . .

Anonymous said...

According to the BGHB website, books are submitted to the committee by the publishers. I wonder if UP BEFORE DAYBREAK was submitted by Scholastic? Do authors and illustrators have control over issues like that?

Jonathan said...

KT, I'm still not sure I agree with you about the sophistication of the plot, but I do know from experience that all her writing has exceptionally broad child appeal beyond the standard core juvenile audience of upper elementary students. Her work has the grace and elegance of a fine transitional chapter book and the literary sophistication for a middle school audience, and of course, the books read aloud beautifully. It's a rare combination to find in a single book, one that gives her work a broad audience as well as a very passionate one. So, I can wax as poetic about DiCamillo's talents as anyone, even if EDWARD TULANE is not my favorite of hers.

My own personal BG-HB fiction award went to Megan Whalen Turner's KING OF ATTOLIA, one of the many fine YA books you alluded to earlier.

Roger Sutton said...

For the latest Anonymous--publishers do submit titles to the judges, but the judges are also free to consider books not submitted.

JeanneB said...

Jonathan, do you have a magic link to "Vicky Smith's recent SLJ article on the disappearing middle grade novel?" I often expound on that issue while wondering if I have any idea what I'm talking about. Would love some validation.

Anonymous said...

I found it:
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6338707.html

JeanneB said...

Dear New Anonymous -- Thanks! I just read it and do feel vindicated. So I'm not the only one that thinks that the nine and ten-year-old readers are being neglected these days. I'd better eat some breakfast and get back to work.

Jonathan said...

Yes, thanks for posting New Anonymous. You beat me to it.

I think it's a great article, very thoughtful. Of course, I'm not sure whether the pool of good middle grade readers is really shrinking or whether the pool of great young adult novels is just growing. Probably both, but regardless, page counts in both markets have indeed grown to Potteresque lengths.

There is more of an onus, I think, on the list committees such as Notables and BBYA to provide balance on their list, not just in terms of audience, but also genre, ethnicity, etc.

That's obviously, not the case with Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz which are looking for excellence--although it's very refreshing when diversity does happen on those committees, as it did this past year with all three.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read ET yet, and plan to, but I was given pause by Elizabeth's Ward's negative review in the Washington Post. Along with her problems with the story itself, she pointed out that the book had been packaged as a winner by Candlewick, and she guessed it would win many awards, despite what she saw as its shortcomings. Is anyone bothered by this, if there is merit in the observation? Slick marketing making an award-winner?

Jane said...

I am not convinced that "slick" ie smart and/or elegant packaging (see Desperaux, Lemony Snicket, Spiderwick) makes an award winner. But I certainly think that badly done production values can damage a book's chances at major awards.

A poor cover, cheesy paper, inelegant type, not enough space around that type or enough leading between the lines, all make the critical reader think that if the publisher cared so little for the book, it cannot be any good.

So hurrah for publishers like Candlewick who consider the packaging carefully, I say. (Admissions policy: I publish with Candlewick.)

Jane

rindambyers said...

I'm sitting out on the sidelines on this one (just unusually tired today), but Roger, I LIKE your sandbox!

A teacher told me in college to ALWAYS sign my name (or some variant thereof by which I can be identified) so people will know WHO owns MY WORDS! Sounded good to me back then. Sounds just as good to me now.

Anonymous said...

Jane--You make a good point. Though there is a difference between how the book is produced and the writing itself.

BTW, I publish with a humongous NY house, and even though they did a super job with my cover, the paper and the ink were pretty cheap quality...hats off to CW!!!

Roger Sutton said...

My signal contribution to awards for children's books was my suggestion to Diane Roback that the then-nascent PW's Cubbie Awards include a category for "Book that Most Wanted to Win the Newbery."

Roger Sutton said...

Sorry, "Cuffie."

Abby said...

I loved "Edward Tulane," and am very pleased that it won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. This book has raised another issue for me; I recommended it to one of my library patrons whose daughter is an advanced 3rd grade reader. This patron then came back to the library and complained to me that the book was "too sad" for her daughter. So here is the issue that "Edward Tulane" raised for me: are we as adults trying too hard to protect children from experiencing deep emotion?

MotherReader said...

Actually, Abby, (if you read this) I would say the reverse of what you have said. I don't think the problem is adults protecting "children from experiencing deep emotion." I think the problem is pushing adult's ideas of deep emotion onto children with books like Tulane. Adults need something strong to shake them to their core. We've just seen too much already. We're hardened. On the flip side, my kids (7 and 10) cry if they see a dead deer by the side of the road. Kids don't have trouble getting to deep emotion. They live deep emotion. If it's adults who need to get in touch with their sensitive side, stop Tulaning the kids.

Denise said...

I finally got around to reading Edward Tulane. I put it off because from flap copy it seemed to be another Velveteen Rabbit. I also felt that after the success of The Tale of Despereaux, the title was a little formulaic--as if DiCamillio riding the wave of the unique aspect of the unusually lengthy title, which was inventive and well-suited to Despereaux.

I do think DiCamillo did more telling than showing, which was problematic for me as a reader. I also felt Edward's growth was uneven. I saw the ending coming from the beginning, but perhaps that was intentional.

I didn't find DiCamillo's writing condescending, although it was more didactic than most novels this year.

That said, I am surprised it won a major award because of the unevenness and obvious comparison to classics like Velveteen Rabbit and Black Beauty.

The illustrations in Edward were disappointing, especially when compared to how well Ering's complemented Despereaux