Daily Archives: January 3, 2008

Jon Scieszka: Stinkycheese Man, Trucktown Man, and now… NationalAmbassadorforKidsLit Man

Whoopie! This came in the ye olde email mailbox yesterday:

The Children’s Book Council (CBC) in association with the CBC Foundation, and the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book will announce the inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a children’s laureate for the United States, at a celebratory event hosted by the New York Public Library. Upon the announcement, the National Ambassador will reveal his/her platform to an audience that will include school children, who will have the opportunity to interview their new Ambassador.

Appointed for a two-year term, the National Ambassador post was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to literacy, education, and the development and betterment of children’s lives.

I’m not going ( as I need to stay home and continue my frantic Newbery rereading), but now I see (thanks to Susan Thomsen) that the beans have already been spilled at the New York Times and PW. And it is none other than that incredibly cool guy, Jon Scieszka. Great, great, great news! Congratulations, Jon!

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Noel Streatfeild

I was a huge Noel Streatfeild fan in my youth. I’ve still got my favorites, 3/6 Puffins picked up at Foyles (during my years living abroad as a kid). My favorite was White Boots, but I did love the Fossils’ stories as well and reread those books multiple times. And so, like many, I was curious what the BBC would do with it.

“Drama school brats,” is what you’d be forgiven for thinking, had you tuned into BBC1’s Boxing Day adaptation of Noel Streatfeild‘s Ballet Shoes. And that’s a great shame because Streatfeild’s depression era tale of treading the boards at a tender age is a perceptive and determined work.

I have several gripes: Winifred came across as a horrid backstabber, not the talented, earnest but dowdy kid of the book. I loathed Posy-the-Precocious, a bitching Bonnie Langford, who hardly dances at all – she dances all the time in the book and it’s her obsession with dance that makes her so interesting. But my real beef is that Heidi Thomas’ adaptation got the one thing wrong that for me, as child and adult, is special about the book: the family.

That’s from Shirley Dent at the Guardian who seems to have been quite disappointed. Read the rest of her review here.

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Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

Thanks to Maude Newton, I came across Fine Lines, a Friday feature “… in which we give a sentimental, sometimes-critical, far more wrinkled look at the children’s and YA books we loved in our youth.”

So far they’ve done:

All-Of-A-Kind Family: Where I Would Put Something Yiddish If I Thought You Goyishe Farshtinkiners Would Farshtey

Island Of The Blue Dolphins: I’m a Cormorant And I Don’t Care.

Little House In The Big Woods: “I Play With A Pig Bladder Like It’s A Balloon”

‘The Grounding Of Group 6’: Have Fun At School And Don’t Forget To Die

Are You There, Crazy Psychic Muse? It’s Me, Lois Duncan

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