Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
By Roxane Orgill, illustrated by Sean Qualls
Published 2010 by Candlewick Press

This is a hard one for me to interpret my feelings on. I learned a few things about Ella that I hadn't known before and I appreciated the rhythmic pacing of the story. However, all in all, this book doesn't provide you with all that much information on Ella's life and focuses on only a small part of her story. Instead, the focus is more on the music she felt in her soul and that's highlighted through the lyrics that are abundant throughout the book. I would have liked more biographical information. I think the illustrations were the right accompaniment to the story of Ella's struggle through poverty and homelessness. She looked like a free-swinging down-and-out cat throughout the story. Just okay for me.

Review: Lost Boy

Lost Boy: The Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan
By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Steve Adams
Published 2010 by Dutton Children's Books

Peter Pan is one of the quintessential childhood fantasies and I can see children being interested in learning the story behind it. Yolen is a very respected children's author, and I think she handles the biography well. It is difficult to say what level of controversy should be introduced in non-fiction children's books. Most adults know that Barrie's intentions with the LLewelyn-Davies boys have long been in question but should we really introduce this idea to children who only want to know where Peter Pan came from? I think Yolen made a wise choice in avoiding the controversy and does provide information for further reading on Barrie. The illustrations are the right mix of realistic and whimsical and I enjoyed reading this.

Review: Mozart: The Wonder Child: A Puppet Play in Three Acts

Mozart: The Wonder Child: A Puppet Play in Three Acts
By Diane Stanley
Published 2009 by Collins

I really love non-fiction picture books. They are a wonderful way to introduce kids to a great variety of topics. Picture book biographies are no exception. I learned quite a bit from this one by Stanley. The writing was well-done, with footnotes to highlight words or concepts that would be foreign to children. While I liked that it was split up into three acts, I didn't find the whole notion of the "puppet play" very endearing. Actually, it was quite pointless. I think it was supposed to be an interesting and appealing way to illustrate the story, but it didn't really work for me. The puppet strings were the only part of the illustrations that made this effort obvious, and I found them mostly to be in the way. I'm not sure what sort of kid would be attracted to a biography of Mozart, but this was an enjoyable one. Stanley tried her best to make it clear how great his contributions to the world of music were, and I think she succeeded.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hello out there!

Welcome to my blog. This has been gestating inside my head for a while now, and I finally just decided to go ahead and do it. After also recently joining the Twitterverse, I guess I'm all about social media these days!

I'm hoping to use this blog mainly to post my reviews of children's and young adult titles. From time to time, I may post about my job hunt or news of interest or relevant things I find around the web. It's really an experiment at this point so we'll see how it goes! Hopefully some of you folks out there will find it interesting!