November 2003 Archives
Katherine Roberts drops The Alien Online an update on her current writing projects...
The Mausoleum Murder, the latest title in 'The Seven Fabulous Wonders' series, has just been published.
Kathryn Hughes reviews the last part of Kevin-Crossley Holland's Arthurian trilogy
Eleanor Updale reviews The Opposite of Chocolate by Julie Bertagna and gives it a battering...
Beware the reviewer who begins her review by telling us that her 14-year-old daughter didn't like the book. "She didn't get to the end. She was defeated by pretentious prose and a story that manages to be predictable and unbelievable at the same time." Who is reviewing the book? Mother or daughter? And since the events in the book only begin to stretch credulity as it reaches its dramatic denouement, if the daughter didn't finish it, what exactly did she find unbelievable? We're not told.
Nor are we given any examples of "a wearingly self-conscious writing style". Updale says, "There are too many contorted metaphors, irritating repetitions and clich?s, and time and again the narrative flow is arrested by paragraphs pointing up the messages." Such criticism would carry more weight if it were accompanied by a sample of a contorted metaphor or irritating repetition.
It is quite clear from reading this review that Updale has read the book with a bee in her bonnet about 'issue-led' fiction ("grim, didactic psychobabble that has dominated teenage fiction for too long"), and as a result completely misread this particular novel, which is not in any way intended as a work of social documentary realism.
J K Rowling is to launch the 2004 World Book Day Online Festival with a Live Chat between 10:00 and 11:00 on Thursday March 4th.
Other children's authors and illustrators with slots in the online schedule are
Kes Gray & Nick Sharratt
Benjamin Zephaniah, on his reasons for turning down an OBE. If you read nothing else today, read this. Have Your Say on ACHUKACHAT, in the 'React to news..." discussion.
"I woke up on the morning of November 13 wondering how the government could be overthrown and what could replace it, and then I noticed a letter from the prime minister's office. It said: "The prime minister has asked me to inform you, in strict confidence, that he has in mind, on the occasion of the forthcoming list of New Year's honours to submit your name to the Queen with a recommendation that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed an officer of the Order of the British Empire."
Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought... ..."
A Canadian take on the search for the next 'big thing' in children's books...
Update re. remaking of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory movie, with quotes from director Tim Burton, including:
"I like children's books that have adults because, you know, children are like adults. I think adults forget that. There can be darkness and sort of foreboding and sinister things that are very much a part of childhood," he says. "I just like Roald Dahl's humor and emotion -- put together."
Longish feature about P B (Philip Kerr) and his enormous children's book deal:
'Richard Scrivener, publisher of Scholastic UK, said: "PB Kerr is tremendously talented. We believe he has created an exceptional series, which will have a compelling attraction for millions of children."...'
Something about Jamila Gavin's The Blood Stone (ST Children's Book of the Week - see below) fills me with dread. I have enjoyed most of what Gavin has published so far, particularly 'The Surya Trilogy' (so, yes, I can find room for trilogies when there's a point to them - where, by the way, are the trilogies in adult fiction?), and I have not yet read The Blood Stone - indeed, with the various deadlines that I have to meet beforehand, it is unlikely that I shall have read the book by the time that the author is In Conversation with Nick Tucker at the Royal Overseas League, an event I was, until earlier this evening, looking forward to.
This sense of dread has a threefold manifestation.
Firstly, on reading the book's 1.5 page Acknowledgements I could not help asking myself, 'Who [WHO] is the audience being addressed here?' when Gavin says, amongst much else in similar vein, 'I must thank Dilawar Chetsingh in Delhi, whose many comments and suggestions have undoubtedly enhanced this book... ..."? Certainly not any child, or even young adult.
Secondly, the same page-and-a-half of Acknowledgements gives thanks to "my nephew, Justin Neville-Kaushall, for his wonderful poem which concludes the book." I suppose I shouldn't have submitted to the obvious temptation - read this nephew's poem, without reading the whole of the novel first. But I did. I have. The midpoint of the poem, I'm afraid, says it all: 'Too many words without music destroys/Sings Orpheus'
And the third cause of dread? After reading the poem, the book fell open at a random page towards the end of the novel (p392). I read the sentence "They swallowed her up as briefly as the blink of an eye, until the brilliant sunshine exposed her just as briefly in the gaps in between." I reread the opening half of that sentence. 'As briefly as the blink of an eye...' has an awkwardness about it which I cannot remember experiencing before in Gavin's writing.
These may in the end be three small things... Three small things to weigh against the impact of a powerfully told story. I will find out in due course.
David Almond feature:
'Everybody's searching for the big crossover book at the moment [from children's writing to adult fiction] but I feel that you can actually go further by moving the other way. I know I'm writing better now than I ever did for adults because I'm writing for an audience who know that they don't know everything.'
"Patsy Aldana, publisher of Groundwood Books, the Toronto children's publishing company behind the last two Governor General's prize-winning YA novels, is tired of having to defend the genre. "TV shows like Friends, and a movie like Love Actually are very explicit about sex. Kids as young as 8, 9 and 10 are watching these kinds of shows and movies," she said. ..."
This highly recommended website: lets you search paintings and buildings by keywords.
Have a quick look then arrange to go back when you have at least a full hour to spare.
"Brett, 53, is one of the best-known author/illustrators of children's books today. She's written and illustrated a dozen books, and done the drawings for a dozen more. Several of her books have been on the New York Times best seller list... ..."
New CD release from British Museum National Sound Archive...
From the collection of the Sound Archive and new recordings made specially, this latest audio CD features ten favourite children's writers reading extracts from their own books. Spanning 25 years of the great tradition of children's writing in Britain, their work reflects changing fashions and themes and yet shares a common bond where the text comes alive on the page and stimulates the imagination of the reader. This CD gives an added dimension, as it features the actual voices of authors themselves and their interpretation of the written words. A booklet is included which explains the history and background to each extract.
The Spoken Word - Children's Writers ?9.95
10 tracks, lasting 72 minutes
booklet giving full details of recordings
writers include A.A. Milne, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roald Dahl, Michael Bond, Penelope Lively, Raymond Briggs, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman and Anne Fine
You won't see this on the weblink, but in the print edition the accompanying cartoon makes Pullman look like the late Lord Longford.
[You need to scroll down the page for de Jong's death notice]
"Two of her children's books, The Level Land in 1943 and Return to the Level Land in 1947, concern a Dutch family caught up in the Nazi invasion of their country during the war and their postwar sheltering of a Jewish refugee. In reviewing The Level Land, the Christian Science Monitor called the book "the most convincing story of the war yet written for young people." ...
The Tree and the Vine
de Jong's 1951 adukt novel about a lesbian couple's survival during World War II:
S Clayton Moore has filed a 3-page report on Gaiman & McKean's recent London events...
Diana Wynne Jones reviews Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
"I don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading.... ..."
Detailed, biographical feature
Highly recommended resource...
"That The Canning Season [see below], a young-adult novel about a city girl from Pensacola, Fla., who must spend a summer with her 91-year-old twin aunts in rural Maine, won the prize was particularly meaningful because of the initial doubts about how the book might be received, Horvath said.
"Peter Wright, editor of the Mail on Sunday, agreed to give the cash to the campaign group, one of the Mail's least favourite charities. He hastily called Mail executives and the prize's judges into a cabal, and they agreed to award the prize again to another writer on the shortlist as soon as possible..."
Sonya Hartnett, shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys award, may still end up with the prize, after the judges' first choice, Hari Kunzru, refused to accept it because of the prize's sponsorship by the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
Australian picture book reviews in Sydney Morning Herald include this rave for The Cat Who Got Carried Away by Allan Ahlberg and Katherine McEwen
"Like Bob Graham, Ahlberg beautifully expresses the extraordinary in "normal" family life. Divided into bite-sized chapters and sprinkled with pictures as gaily as cake dotted with hundreds and thousands, kind yet sharp, clever yet lucid, charming yet never saccharine, this is about as perfect as a picture book gets."
"The Good Dr.
The liberal who wrote a great conservative book."
a political look at Dr Seuss
"Children's author Judy Blume, calling herself "65 going on 12," happily recalls being 10 years old and regularly bouncing a ball against a brick wall of her family's home... ..."
"Academy Award winner Julie Andrews reprises her role as the British Nanny in the ABC holiday film "Eloise at Christmastime" Nov. 22.... ..."
"Based on Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight's classic children's books, Eloise at Christmastime has all the earmarks of a Yuletide perennial... ..."
"Jonathan Stroud stands before his young bookstore audience with colored markers and big pad of paper. He wants to know what they think a traditional magician looks like... ..."
"J K Rowling's fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is an unexpected omission from the children's shortlist. Bloomsbury, her publishers, said yesterday that the all-conquering author had asked them not to enter the book and that she no longer wished to be considered for any prizes... ..."
"The children's author Philip Pullman couldn't resist a pop at The Lord of the Rings at the launch yesterday of the British Library's spoken-word CD of bedtime stories. Tolkien, he said, wrote "a good yarn, but that's it. It has nothing interesting to say about the human condition."
Rachel Billington shares ideas on how to turn children on to great literature
Australian article about literacy includes this snippet from Paul Jennings:
The Reading Bug - And How You Can Help Your Child To Catch It by Paul Jennings pre-order (published UK Spring '04)
"Whole language also has influential boosters, including Paul Jennings, a former teacher and bestselling Australian children's author. In his new book, The Reading Bug, he tells parents phonics should be the "last strategy to be employed, not the first".
Instead of sounding out, Jennings writes that children should guess at words they can't read. In one chapter he says the child who reads the sentence, "I use soap to wash my face" as "I use soap to clean my face", is reading better than the child who reads, "I use soap to watch my face."
"It is unpleasant to be corrected," he says..."
"Harry Potter?s creator has told of her magic moment appearing in The Simpsons... ..."
"The rising popularity of children's books with adult appeal can also be seen in the list. Sonya Hartnett, winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction prize for Thursday's Child, is nominated by three Australian libraries for her tender tale of childhood, Of A Boy. Isabel Allende, the magical realist Chilean author, is picked by a library in her native country for City of the Beasts, an adventure story set in the Amazon featuring two teenagers. Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord gets a German vote... ..."
"NEW YORK, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic US and Scholastic UK announced today that the company has acquired the worldwide English language publishing rights for the first three novels of P.B. Kerr's planned book series, Children of the Lamp, in a seven-figure deal... ..."
P. B. Kerr is Philip Kerr, author of adult thrillers and mysteries.
"a bumper crop of new books that appeal to both children and adults are shelved among the "Baby-Sitters Club" series and "The Cat in the Hat."... ..."
"The Theodor Seuss Geisel stamp will be issued March 2, 2004, in La Jolla, Calif., as part of the "Seussentennial: A Century of Imagination," a year-long celebration honouring his life and legacy. The release date would have been his 100th birthday... ..."
The Sunday Herald publishes an exclusive article
BY J K ROWLING
writing in her role as Patron of the MS Society Scotland. (Rowling's own mother died from the disease.)
"I cannot give [my mother] my time any more, but I see being patron of the MS Society as my continuing tribute to her, to all she did for me and my sister Di, and to how much we loved her. I know she would have cared deeply that nothing much has improved for people with MS in over a deca de. It now remains to be seen whether the people in Scotland with the power to change that situation care enough to make the difference."
Feature about the 82-minute Seuss movie starring Mike Myers as The Cat In The Hat, opening in US cinemas this Friday:
"Anita Silvey, author of "The Essential Guide to Children's Books and Their Creators," says, "Most lovers of a classic children's book prefer that any movie stay close to the author's intent. "For instance, the 'Harry Potter' movies and 'Holes' are so respectful of what the author set out to do. The first 'Babe' was nicely done, and it brought attention to a book that many people didn't know.
"But picture books give you so little to work with, so you have to invent things," she says... ...."
"Madonna's second book is more likeable than her first..." says NICOLETTE JONES, selecting it as her Sunday Times Book of the Week.
Giles Gordon, the noted Scottish literary agent, has died having never regained consciousness after falling on the stairs at his Edinburgh home on October 31st.
As far as ACHUKA is aware, Gordon, whose first wife (from whom he was divorced) happened to be a children's book illustrator, moved exclusively in the world of adult literature (although see extract below for J K Rowling connection). But we used to hear a good deal about him via the late Martin Seymour-Smith, one of Gordon's clients.
The Scotsman [News story]
The Scotsman - Feature
"On one occasion he wrote that JK Rowling shopped at the same delicatessen as he, only to be berated by the manager for chasing her away, a result he regarded as highly amusing. The phenomenon of JK Rowling grew under his nose but he insisted he was relieved she had never approached him in case he would have rejected her manuscript and regretted it ever after..."
Jasper Rees investigates the increasing appeal of children's books for an adult readership in a piece titled 'We're all reading children's books' in the Daily Telegraph. I haven't found an online link to this piece yet. If someone does before me, please post it as a Comment.
Although rather pedestrian in tone, this is one of the better, more balanced and common-sensical pieces on the subject. It includes soundbites from various authors (Almond, Burgess, Stroud, Haddon) and from Susan Jenvey, editorial director at Faber&Faber.
"Perhaps it all comes down," Rees concludes towards the end of his piece, "to the fact that, in a culture where everything is up for grabs, publishing is simply learning to live by the rules established by other media and other art forms. Just as in theatre and film adults will consume fare aimed at a younger audience, so publishing seems to be a lone voice in the wilderness trying to stop children growing up too quickly."
For the 'Just as... so...' construction in that last sentence, read 'Whereas...' for a better understanding of the point Rees is making.
Susan Hill celebrates the poetry of Charles Causley - Cornishman and friend - who died this month...
Recommended - includes several first-hand anecdotes...
"If Orion Books had just found and published one of the 'lost' Shakespeare plays - Cardenio, perhaps, or Love's Labours Won or the supposedly destroyed second part of Gogol's Dead Souls, I could not have been more excited than when I learnt of the publication of 14 previously untranslated Asterix stories in a new book called Asterix and the Class Act... .."
Giles Coren in long feature from The Times
Bloomsbury held a drinks party to celebrate publication of The Wolves In The Walls on Thursday November 13th. Gaiman is appearing at an even hosted by Jonathan Ross today (Friday) and at the IBBY conference Saturday.
Gaiman and FT reviewer Jill Slotover
Illustrator Dave McKean
Neil Gaiman's other peregrinations in Great Britain and Europe are described on his own blog, (one of) the best author's online journals ACHUKA knows - it was there we got the link to the Graphic Novels article below.
However, Gaiman, about to start writing a new full-length novel, confided last night that he is on the point of curtailing his online entries in the interests of fictional creativity.
"Yesterday (Nov. 12), Madonna and merchandising company Signatures Network Inc. announced a deal to develop dolls, apparel, accessories, cosmetics, stationery, room decor and back-to-school products aimed at the "pre-tween" readers, aged 7 to 12, who made Madonna's book a hit. The "Roses" products begin rolling out in early 2004... ..."
'Her second awful children's book, "Mr. Peabody's Apples," is a finger-wagging, moralistic tale that condemns a kid to permanent guilt for a very minor sin.'
Emily Jenkins reviews Madonna's new book in Salon (you'll need to be a subscriber or get a free day pass to read the full piece).
"The best graphic novels outstrip much contemporary fiction in their wit, inventiveness and sheer fun. Sam Leith charts the rise of a revitalised form... ..."
Mark Haddon is shortlisted for the Whitbread adult novel award (note, not first novel award), whilst the children's book shortlist is as follows:
Children's book shortlist:
The Fire-Eaters David Almond (Hodder)
The Oracle Catherine Fisher (Hodder)
Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins)
Naked Without a Hat Jeanne Willis (Faber and Faber)
David Almond called his Patrick Hardy lecture 'The Echoing Darkness' (delivered in London this evening), after a line from a Seamus Heaney poem. The author had placed a velvet bag on the lectern at the start of his talk, the purpose of which was only revealed towards the end, when he took from it sundry objects (a scone template, a pair of goggles...) to illustrate the involuntary power of the imagination.
Education Guardian, the paper's Tuesday supplement, which used to carry two children's book selections by Lindsey Fraser on the back pages, has been redesigned.
This week there is just one book, on a 'Critic's Choice' page (p13), alongside a CD-Rom review and multiple website selections.
The book review is still by Lindsey Fraser.
Her choice is Eyes Wide Open by Jan Mark
"These stories deserve, and will reward, a wide readership."
"More and more young-adult novels are featuring well-adjusted characters who are "out" -- and aren't tortured about it..."
In this Salon article (you'll need to be a subscriber or get a free day pass to read the full piece), Sarah Wildman focuses on a new YA novel by David Levithan (of Malcolm In The Middle fame): Boy Meets Boy
"Robert Sabuda's obsession with popup books began one day when he was 7 and full of fear about a dental appointment..."
'Sabuda's newest book is a popup version of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland... ... Critics have raved about the book, with Publisher's Weekly saying that "readers will be astonished by every tableau in this popup extravaganza." '
You can now filter entries by Category (see the right-hand panel).
The categorisation of entries will be increasingly fine-tuned to facilitate searching and browsing. Those of you only interested in review citations, for example, will be able to go straight to the Reviews category (although, at this time, only more recent entries have been accurately categorised).
If there is a category that anyone would find particularly useful, let us know via a Comment.
ACHUKA Correspondents will be given direct posting rights, so that there will be no need for a separate News page on the main site. Andrea Deakin, our Canadian correspondent, already has posting privileges, so look for Canadian news here from now on, using the Canada category filter.
Governor General Award Winners...
Illustration: Allen Sapp, for his illustrations to
The Song Within My Heart by David Bouchard. Sapp, who grew up on the Red Pheasant reserve in Saskatchewan in the 1930s, is a descendent of the Cree leader Poundmaker.
Text: Glen Huser, for his novel Stitches
"a dreary, heavy-handed tale about the importance of finding the truth before spreading stories... ..."
Puffin, normally punctilious about posting ACHUKA review copies, have not yet sent us a copy of Mr Peabody's Apples. Come to that, we never got to see the first book either. I actually quite like the sound of the story as described in this review.
"I love my work but it was taking its toll. Coupled to that I had just buried a 40-year-old woman, who was supposedly as fit as a fiddle..."
Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week
"a book for cool kids who will grow up to be fearless" NICOLETTE JONES
Only just come across this You Ask The Questions feature from The Indepndent, Nov 6th. A few interesting responses, though there's been so much Pullman coverage recently, most of it is familiar.
"William Mayne, 75, appeared at Teesside Crown Court to face 15 charges relating to eight alleged female victims... ..."
"Once upon a time children's non-fiction was dull, poorly written and uninspiring. Not any more, says Nicola Morgan... ..."
With his newest biography of Charles Darwin, The Tree of Life, the acclaimed author/illustrator found new information constantly surfacing about his subject, despite the 121 years since the naturalist's death.
"The fact that Apples is badly written is no surprise, and probably is of no consequence, but nevertheless the book is much worse than it has any right to be... ..."
"WHEN news broke of British author Louisa Young's landmark six-figure publishing deal for a trilogy of children's books in February, the British media turned into a circus.... ..."
Mark Haddon is reported in today's Publishing News notice of his Booktrust Teenage Prize win as being "overwhelmed" by the feedback he is getting from readers. Not, we would imagine, overwhelmed by the media reporting of this prize, an inaugural award which seems, incredibly, to have received minimal attention. On this basis it has some way to go before it acquires the kudos that was instantly attached to the US-equivalent Michael Prinz Award.
"In a new short story Philip Pullman has returned to the fantastical world of the award-winning His Dark Materials. He talks to Amanda Mitchison about God, the universe, and what has happened to his famous shed... ..."
Long, detailed feature. Recommended.
Best English-language Book with an Authentic Welsh Background:
ROB LEWIS for his book Cold Jac published by Pont/Gomer, a picture-book set on a farm in Wales.
Simon & Schuster have announced major acquisitions, including two trilogies from Susan Price and Paul Magrs.
Read the Press Release [Extended Entry] then go to ACHUKACHAT and contribute your vote to our Trilogies Poll.
Charles Causley - Telegraph Obit.
"Charles Causley, who died on Tuesday aged 86, was among the most important British poets of his generation.... ..."
"...he was known for much of his career not as a writer but as a primary school teacher (and deputy head). From this professional discipline the poet learnt how to put ideas into plain words, and often into traditional, even nursery-rhyme forms. Yet while every word may be clear, the content is sometimes inexplicably mysterious: perhaps an encounter with death, or a magic spell. As he said: ?The mere fact of a poem appearing simple in language and construction bears no relation whatsoever to the profundity of the ideas it may contain.? THE TIMES
Feature about Tony DiTerlizzi, co-author of The SPiderwick Chronicles...
Latest title: Lucinda's Secret
Bernice Davison reveals her holiday passion - rummaging for secondhand titles:
"I met Viz comic founder Chris Donald in the back rooms of the shop, searching for Nancy Drew for another customer; he's an occasional part-timer. "I like old children's books. We all go back to the books of our childhood; they're very calming," he said, and went on with his search... ..."
"The review committee will meet again at 7 p.m. today in the Baldwin High School library.
Poplin said he believed most of the committee's review work could be completed by tonight, leaving only the written recommendation to be completed.
"It is still our hope and my belief that we will be able to present the committee recommendation to the board Monday," he said.
This is the second attempt at having the recently challenged young adult book reviewed by a committee. ..."
"In her introduction, Madonna explains that Mr. Peabody's Apples is based on a 300-year-old Ukrainian tale called The Baad Shem Tov. She says her instructor in Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, first turned her on to the story, which aims to demonstrate the power of words... "
"Disney started out in China in 1994 with Mandarin versions of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comic books. A year later, it introduced children's books. Today, with more than 10 million comics and 2.7 million books sold, it's moving full speed into educational products.... "
This Neil Gaiman interview mainly concerns his adult and graphic material, but see Q8 for an account of how Coraline was written in snatched moments over a period of several years.
"The coloring and activity book category is undergoing changes, but remains a mass-market stalwart..."
Detailed US feature onthe 'coloring and activity' book market. Trade interest especially.
"Children's books are always well-worth collecting... ..."
Philip Pullman explains why he doesn't believe in ghosts.
This was a Halloween feature which ACHUKA missed last week, but it was picked up by Judith Ridge on the Misrule site, currently ACHUKA Site of the Week.
We were away from base for 8 days, having our traditional autumn break, usually our only 'holiday' of the year. I did manage to update the blog in an internet cafe in Sheffield early in the week, but the same cafe was closed a few days later, and all the PCs in Sheffield Public library, including the children's section on the lower floor, were fully-booked.
"No one believed that Philip Pullman's modern children's classic His Dark Materials could work on the stage. But after meeting director Nicholas Hytner, the actors, and key backstage staff, Kate Kellaway firmly believes that the National is on to a winner ... ... "
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED article, in the middle of which Kellaway discusses 'crossover fiction' in general, with comments from Michael Morpurgo, Jamila Gaivn and Valentine Cunningham.
Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week
"To the characteristic unexpectedness of Ahlberg's text Wegner adds a gently reassuring quality that makes its oddness quaint rather than unsettling..." NICOLETTE JONES
play - and next year he will be speaking too, for the first time.
After more than 50 years the pyjama-suited boy has discovered the power of speech. But his young fans may discover that Andy is really Mandy.
Auditions have begun to find an actor to don the blue-and-white stripes when the pioneer children's television series is transformed into a live show for a 50-date national tour. The BBC has auditioned 1,000 hopefuls but the producers believe that a female applicant may best bring the puppet's voice and movement to life....
Who Will Comfort Toffle? by Tove Jannson (verse translation by Sophie Hannah)
"an excellent addition to the Moomin canon" PHILIP ARDAGH
Adele Geras reviews Pirates! by Celia Rees:
"What is unusual in the novel is the way Rees charts the daily life and organisation of a pirate ship. She tells us about the difficulties of being a woman among many men, and describes the living and dressing arrangements..."
"This is not a book to hurry, but to read a little every night and reflect on..." CHRISTINA HARDYMENT, The Indpendent
Info. about Adobe's new 3D interactive authoring package:
"Imagine a publisher of children's books creating an interactive e-book that lets young readers interact with characters ? la a video game...
The Atmosphere authoring tool, which will hit the streets in November for about $400, lets developers build a 3-D world and import 3-D objects and other multimedia from third-party developers. It also works with computer-aided design technology. For educators, Adobe will make the tool available at a specially discounted price of about $100..."