Renowned illustrator Quentin Blake has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list.
December 2004 Archives
BEATRIX POTTER?S The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been translated into ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by a curator from the British Museum and a retired medical expert.
Alf Evers, the author and Woodstock historian, died Wednesday at his home, shortly after completing a final draft of his 700-page history of Kingston. He was 99.
Evers lived in the Woodstock hamlet of Shady for more than 50 years. He wrote some 50 children's books with his late ex-wife, Helen, but is best known for his voluminous, definitive and beloved histories of the Catskills and Woodstock.
In a passage from Fathers and Sons by Alexander Waugh (p.290), with regard to Evelyn Waugh's relationships with his children, particularly Teresa and Auberon:
When Vera [the children's nanny] gave Teresa [his daughter] a children's novel by Nancy Breary for Christmas he confiscated it. Vera was terrified, but the next day Evelyn came into the nursery with the novel in his hand, 'Vera is a genius! This book is awfully well written," he proclaimed and returned it to Teresa.
You will look in vain for entries about Nancy Breary in general reference titles such as The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books or The Oxford Companion, so the above link is of special interest.
There are currently two of Breary's books available on eBay - not via ACHUKA Auctions, but we are happy to advertise them nevertheless:
Officially announcing the industry's worst kept secret [ACHUKA blooked the news in October], Premier Steve Bracks yesterday pinpointed the historic suburb of Williamstown and the country town of Greendale as key locations for the filming of the remake of the popular children's book. Shops in Williamstown's Nelson Place will be given a 1940s makeover, with a record store becoming a barber shop for the shoot. A nearby school will also be used. Construction of farm buildings is already well under way on a property in Greendale, with 24-hour security to discourage onlookers...
Ashanti reported to be planning to write a book...
Teen Hollywood quoted the singer as saying that she would like to write about her own experiences as a performer or pen a children's book.
Lofting, 59, said he learned timber framing from craftsmen in New England in the early 1970s. When he started his business in 1974, he said, there were only a few timber framers in Pennsylvania. But now, he said, there are about two dozen working in the area. He said he has trained a third of them...
If Lofting's name has a familiar ring, it is because his grandfather is author Hugh Lofting, creator of the Doctor Dolittle series of children's books.
His seven-member firm, with annual gross receipts of $800,000, includes his daughter, Elliott (an old family name), and his son, Hugh II.
Fans of animation in the UK can look forward to a new print publication from the British on-line animation industry web developer and editor David R. Smith, who will launch 'Big Animation Magazine' in March of 2005. Smith's 'Skwigly' website at www.skwigly.co.uk began in early 2004, and quickly became a resource for animators, artists, writers, and fans, with as many as 80,000 on-line hits per month by the end of the year. 'Big Animation Magazine' promises to extend that success... ...
BBC2 11:20 Little Women - 1949 movie
BBC2 16:05 Great Expectations - 1946 movie
ITV1 14:30 The Little Reindeer - animation
CHANNEL 4 14:30 The Snowman - Raymond Briggs animation
RADIO 4 15:10 Why J. M. Barrie wrote Little White Bird
Could children's author & illustrator, Shoo Rayner be the 'weakest link'. Shoo is rumoured to feature in the Bank Holiday show to be broadcast Monday 27th December at 5.15pm on BBC2.
Hot announcement from Bloomsbury!!!
J.K. ROWLING?S HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE
TO BE PUBLISHED ON 16th JULY, 2005 IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND SOUTH AFRICA
Read full Press Release...
From the scores of reviews of the Lemony Snicket film, this one by Philip French, in The Observer, stands out - its final paragraph a miniature masterclass in informative, critical evaluation.
Robert Gordon, who scripted the much underrated comedy Galaxy Quest, has adapted the novels with some skill, and visually the movie is a treat. The beautiful low-key lighting is by Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who photographed the not dissimilar A Little Princess as well as Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, and its designers (Rick Heinrichs, Colleen Atwood) are regular Burton collaborators. The final animated credits, much influenced by Asian shadow plays, revive memories of the great days of designer Saul Bass.
Philip Ardagh pronounces The Printer's Devil by Paul Bajoria "a sparkling debut"...
Long, excellent profile (by Nicholas Wroe) of Raymond Briggs...
In a recent appearance on the children's TV programme Blue Peter, answering questions from a group of children, Briggs referred to himself as a "miserable git", corrected one child for an error in a question, explained that endings are inherently sad because death is the real ending and praised a 12-year-old's self-portrait by saying it made the child "look about 40".
Not to be missed...
OBSERVERS BELIEVE SCHOLASTIC Publisher Richard Scrivener, who left the company last week, will find another position relatively quickly, given the expansion in children?s publishing in recent years.
A report in Publishing News expresses no surprise at Richard Scrivener's departure from Scholastic, and a good deal of confidence that he will find a new role in children's publishing fairly swiftly.
This is Rowan Stanfield's last day in the Orion office. ACHUKA understands that her role will be temporarily covered in the New Year by Jo Williams, previously at HarperCollins.
A walk through Orchard House is like flipping through the pages of Little Women
says reporter Denise Lavoie, in an article about the home of the Alcotts - in Concord, Massachusetts - which is open to the public and has been preserved much as it was in the time of Louisa May Alcott and her father Bronson Alcott.
Lindsey Fraser's book choice in yesterday's Guardian was Plain Rude by Linda Aronson, a book undeservedly overlooked in recent Christmas roundups:
The book opens with a hilarious set piece - a school assembly to mark World Recycling Day, which Ian unwittingly sabotages when he is whacked across the chest by his heart's desire, unleashing the sheep's eyes he's holding (in order to dramatise a point) amongst his delighted fellow pupils. LINDSEY FRASER
Fascinating feature from Monday's Times by author of Out Of The Sky She Came: The Life Of P. L. Travers (Hodder Headline Australia).
A South Bank Show special, about the biographer's search of her subject, will be shown on the South Bank Show, ITV, on Boxing Day. Mary Poppins, the stage show, opened at the Prince Edward Theatre yesterday.
Bernarda Bryson Shahn Dies at 101
Shahn, the wife of Ben Shahn wrote and illustrated children's books, which included The Zoo of Zeus and Gilgamesh.
Recommended Newsday article about'darkness' in children's books...
"You can trace unhappy endings to the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen. Early fairy tales were gruesome," says Susan Rich, who edits the Snicket books, written by 34-year-old Daniel Handler. Handler's books "are a natural outgrowth of Victorian stories, where bad things are always happening to orphans." Dicken's Oliver Twist comes to mind, but Rich thinks the Snicket stories also follow in the tradition of Dahl, who "portrayed fairly tragic, alarming scenarios for his young protagonists."
Dina Rabinovitch selected her 10 favourite children's books of the year in yesterday's Guardian...
Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo says instilling a "joy of reading" in young children would help address a widening gap in primary school reading standards... ...
American author and journalist Tom Wolfe won one of the world's most dreaded literary accolades on Monday -- the British prize for bad sex in fiction...
Tom Conti presented the award to an absent Tom Wolfe. In his witty introduction, Alexander Waugh - son of Auberon, founder of the award - had teased the audience into thinking that Wolfe had been present, chatting to guests at the start of the evening, but had fled prior to the presentation.
It was my first time at the Award party - (I had been on the brink of attending last year, when it seemd likely that Melvin Burgess would be shortlisted for passages in Doing It) - and it was refreshing to be at an event where I did not have to have the ACHUKA camera in hand, finger ever-ready on the button.
It was also novel not to see the usual posse of familiar faces amongst the guests. There were plenty of readily recognizable media people there, but hardly anyone I had met previously.
An exception was Richard Beswick, editor of my biography of Tennyson. It was good to have a quick chat with him, and to hear him sharing thoughts with Alexander Waugh on the current low esteem of literary biography. Waugh's own book - Fathers And Sons, The Autobiography Of A Family - has been getting rave reviews here, but is apparently hampered in the US by its 'arts & letters' ambience.
My latest children's books page is in Literary Review's excellent current issue.
...Ricky Gervais will produce an animated film adaptation of his book Flanimals... [for 20th Century Fox]
Gervais will act as executive producer for the venture and will provide voice-overs for one of the main characters...
Another profile of Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, from yesterday's Herald...
Anne Johnstone's roundup of books for the very young, from yesterday's Herald...
A colour magazine feature in yesterday's Times Magazine (p36), with double-page-spread group photo of Joyce Dunbar, Jane Ray, Jeanette Winterson, Polly Dunbar, Jan Ormerod, Lindsey Gardiner, Michael Rosen, Neal Layton, Allan Ahlberg, Raymond Briggs, Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson - all of whom are interviewed in author-illustrator pairs.
Well worth tracking down. Raymond Briggs on great form. Saying, of Allan Ahlberg's request for him to be the illustrator of the first Bert book: "He just thought I'd be cheap! I'd never heard of him. I thought with his funny foreign name he was an asylum seeker and his career might need a leg-up." And returning to a theme he developed a year or two ago in our ACHUKA interview, namely his belief that the Bert books should have been published in small format: "Publishers are so stupid. I imagined about four Bert books, a Bert's Box, even, but they said small books don't sell. What about Beatrix Potter and Mr Men, for God's sake?"
Amanda Craig's wide-ranging end-of-year roundup from The Times...
From yesterday's Times, David Almond talks about his first efforts at fiction writing, in a feature that included Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith and Ian Rankin. [Scroll down the webpage to locate Almond's section.]
When this book, Skellig, was published by Hodder, I was called a new writer. It was assumed that it must be my first book. No one had heard of the little Iron Press or the little Sleepless Nights. But both books shared a starting point, in a room in an ancient Suffolk farm, and both were similarly important to me, in building that unpredictable pursuit called a literary career.
Scotsman.com News - News Archive - Maturing nicely off the shelves
My top ten teenage novels of the year, as published in The Scotsman today. (You need to have a password to access the page, but registration is free and painless.)
Here's the list, but you'll need to hit the link for my comments on the books. The competition entry that came closest was entered by 'fscully':
1. Kissing The Rain by Kevin Brooks (The Chicken House)
2. Skarrs by Catherine Forde (Egmont)
3. The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein (Faber)
4. Knife Edge by Malory Blackman (Doubleday)
5. Boy Kills Man by Matt Whyman (Hodder)
6. Gangsta Rap by Benjamin Zephaniah (Bloomsbury)
7. The Simple Gift by Stephen Herrick (Egmont)
8. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates (Collins)
9. Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy (February)
10. Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini (Collins)
The Scotsman chose to omit my choice for tied 10th place so, for the record, this was it:
=10. Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill (Macmillan)
Don?t believe the ?explicit content? sticker on this book?s cover. It?s just a publishing come-on. Burchill successfully catches the highs and lows of a close female friendship and it?s only the book?s rather unconvincing climax that is at all lurid.
AManda Craig's roundup of some recent children's non-fiction titles...
A profile of Max Velthuijs, by Joanna Carey...
Not to be missed
Competition Update & Latest Clues
Competition ClosedThe winner will be announced tomorrow.
Many of you adore our ACHUKACHICK Logo - so I've decided to make ACHUKACHICK available on various Cafepress items in time for Christmas!
Francess Lantz, who wrote the "Luna Bay" surfer girl series and other fiction aimed at teen and preteen girls, died at her home in Santa Barbara on Nov. 22 after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 52.
A roundup of children's books from The Economist magazine...
Young book fans have voted Fergus Crane, a story about a boy who is taken on an adventure by a flying horse, the winner of two Smarties Book Prizes. Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's book came top in the category for six- to eight-year-olds and won the award chosen by after-school club members.
The Smarties Winners
9 ?11 years
Gold - Spilled Water by Sally Grindley (Bloomsbury)
Silver ? The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan)
Bronze ? Keeper by Mal Peet (Walker)
6 ? 8 years
Gold - Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Doubleday)
Silver ? Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman (Doubleday)
Bronze ? Smile! By Geraldine McCaughrean (OUP)
5 and under
Gold - Biscuit Bear by Mini Grey (Cape)
Silver ? My Big Brother Boris by Liz Pichon (Scholastic)
Bronze ? Bartholomew and the Bug by Neal Layton (Hodder)
Penny Webber (seen below right with Venetia Gosling and Patrick Cave), currently Children's Marketing Director at Simon & Schuster, and previously at Macmillan, is leaving at the end of the month to go freelance - and relocating (like BBC Children's TV) to Manchester.
C. Walter Hodges, illustrator, author and expert on Shakespeare, was born on March 18, 1909. He died on November 26, 2004, aged 95.
... The adventure story Columbus Sails (1939) was a success with children on both sides of the Atlantic...
... in 1964 won the Kate Greenaway Medal for his colourful Shakespeare?s Theatre. It has been said that he was the most distinguished children?s writer not to have been awarded the Carnegie Medal...
Hodges wrote, for Twentieth Century Children's Writers: Those who are nowadays called Children's Writers (and their illustrators) are adults, engaged as adults in highly-skilled, creative, imaginative work; and children in their own imaginations are as near adult as need be for an intelligent readership. Many of the books that most attracted me and my friends when I was young were not specifically written as 'children's books'; therefore today, though I write mostly for children, I do not bother extremely to make my books only suitable for their age. I like to make them also suitable for me at mine."
An interview with Lauren Child, about her new book Hubert Horatio Bobdon-Trent...
it is the first of Child's books to be produced entirely on computer rather than using a mixture of media; it was all drawn and coloured on screen then printed off, cut out, put together again as a collage with scissors and glue then scanned back in.
According to HarperCollins US, the currently untitled book "will center on the life and adventures of an intrepid bulldog named Noelle who doesn't feel like she fits into the new and mythical land she now calls home."
Dav Pilkey is the surprise ingredient in Australia's Top Twenty favourite books of all time...
Several well-known children's books featured in the top 20, including CS Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows, both of which were pipped at 16 by Dave Pilkey's irreverent Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space.
The one thing Christmas roundups frequently negelect to cover, ironically, is books that are sepecifically seasonal, so full marks to the Times Educational Supplement publishing a review (by Jane Doonan) of 11 recent Christmas titles.
I shall try and remember to publicise the online link, when it goes live next week (the TES have a policy of delaying online publication by 7 days to enocourage purchase of the print copy).
Sunday Times Christmas Roundup
categorised as follows:
0-3 year-olds; 4-6 year olds; 7-9 year olds' 10-12 year olds; 12+
Thre are no surprises here...
Kate Kellaway writes a long piece about Darren Shan and the attraction of horror to children aged 8 and up.
The Daily Telegraph published its Chrsitmas roundup of children's books yesterday. The toplink is to:
Lavinia Greenlaw reviews Heavy Words Lightly Thrown by Chris Roberts and Lavender's Blue compiled by Kathleen Lines
A profile of David Macaulay:
Macaulay, a trim and youthful 57, is probably best known for the weighty 1988 opus, The Way Things Work (Houghton Mifflin, 384 pages, $30), and its sequel, published 10 years later. It's a colorful and cartoonish exploration, demystifying complexities ranging from salad spinners, squirt guns and vacuum cleaners to the less homey technology of nuclear power... ...
A guide to children's books that make great gifts - a review roundup from TheDay.com
"it's good to see children's books being discussed in the news pages - and it's also good to see children's books tackling what's in the news... ..."
Reviews from The Australian
A report on the trends that emerged when 15,000 Australians voted for their favourite book in an ABC poll:
Children's books are big. They divide into two groups: the English Winnie the Pooh-type classics remembered from the childhood of baby boomers, and the cheekily funny books by Americans or Australians that today's children love, such as the Captain Underpants series... ...
Notable Books of 2004 - New York Times
Miriam Schlein, author obit.:
Miriam Schlein, whose nearly 100 books, written over half a century, taught young children about animals, time and space, died Nov. 23 in New York. She was 78 and lived in Manhattan... ...
Miriam Schlein, whose nearly 100 books, written over half a century, taught young children about animals, time and space, died Nov. 23 in New York. She was 78 and lived in Manhattan.
A page of reviews by John Burns from Straight.com
For over seventy years, Babar has been the most famous elephant in the world?and the most controversial. He has been praised as a benevolent monarch, an ideal parent, and a model of family affection, loyalty, justice, good manners, and civilized living. He has also been damned as a sexist, an elitist, a colonialist, and a racist. It has even been proposed that he deserves to be burned alive: see Should We Burn Babar? by Herbert Kohl (1995). Clearly, a figure who arouses such intense and conflicting opinions must be more than the ordinary hero of a children's picture book: he must represent important and sometimes contradictory views of both childhood and society.
Alison Lurie investigates in the New York Review of Books...
From tens of thousands of gift ideas, Not My Reality, the first young adult?s novel from author Kimberly Weiner was selected by the editors of the Fine Living network?s fineliving.com?s Ultimate Gift Guide as one of the hottest gifts this season.... ...
In the delegates'
pack, David Belbin, the conference's organiser, wrote: