March 2004 Archives

Oppel Tour

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CJAD 800 : News

Kenneth Oppel takes new book Airborn on cross-Canada tour:

'Oppel says Airborn seems to have a readership of ages 10 to 13, but notes his U.S. publisher has put an adult-looking cover on the book and is aiming a little higher.
"They're hoping that it has crossover appeal with older fantasy and science-fiction readers," he says. "Every publisher dreams of a crossover book because it means a much bigger audience."... ...'

Easter Recall

| No Comments | No TrackBacks Children's Books Recalled

In the US, 5,000 children's novelty Easter books are being recalled because of a potential choking hazard.

Joy Cowley

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Books empower kids in Ethiopia |

Article about Ethiopian Children's Books Center.

Grown Up Harry

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The Scotsman - UK - Harry Potter and the adult market

"JK ROWLING'S publishers will launch a renewed bid to sell her first four Harry Potter books to grown-ups this summer, issuing them for the first time as "adult hardbacks... ..."

Ruth Schwarz Shortlist

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Here is the
Shortlist for the 2004 Ruth Schwartz Award
with summaries by Andrea Deakin:

Maria Durickova

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Slovak news: Slovak culture loses five

M?RIA Dur?kov?, the author famous among children for her twin characters Danka and Janka, died on March 15 at the age of 84 in Bratislava...

The Dr's Levels

| No Comments | No TrackBacks News - News Archive - Clever Nonsense

"Good books work on many levels. But how many levels can we find in a children's book using only 50 different words, Dr Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham? Or The Cat in the Hat, with 220? Far more than you would imagine, is the answer..."

Excellent Scotsman article by Nicola Morgan about Dr Seuss. Recommended.

ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

Little Darlings by Sam Llewellyn
"Every now and then, a children%u2019s book comes along that is completely different. Little Darlings is one of these..." NICOLETTE JONES


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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Clone alone

Jan Mark on Unique by Alison Allen-Grey, an absorbing and timely novel for teenagers that develops from cautionary cloning tale into a full-blown thriller ...

Pippi Ballet

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Pippi Longstocking gets the pointe

"Pippi Longstocking, the freckle-faced girl whose antics have fired the imaginations of children around the world for years, will strut her stuff for the first time in a new ballet created by the Royal Swedish Ballet..."

Out Of Reach

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WECT TV6 & - Wilmington, NC news and weather - Parents happy with committee's decision

"A school committee has decided that the controversial children's book King and King will be out of school children's reach..."

Roald Dahl - A Reappraisal

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Roald Dahl, Beyond the Chocolate Factory (

Roald Dahl, Beyond the Chocolate Factory - a reappraisal by Jonathan Yardley

Change Of Plea

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Sify Movies

'Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski says his next film will be based on Charles Dickens' classic novel "Oliver Twist."

Shooting is scheduled to begin in the Czech Republic by midyear. The book has been adapted for the screen by Ronald Harwood, who also wrote the screenplay for "The Pianist." '

William Mayne Press Coverage

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William Mayne 'Fabrication'

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"Mayne, who told police the claims were "total fabrication", denies two charges of rape against a female under 13 and 13 counts of indecent assault against seven other children..."

ST Oxford Festival

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Nicolette Jones previews the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival by talking to a number of authors about the current state of children's publishing. Philip Pullman warns:

?The whole structure of the book world works against the long apprenticeship that I and other writers had ? writing a lot of books without making a lot of money, and slowly establishing a style.?

Surging Energy

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Review: Midwinter Nightingale by Joan Aiken

"Midwinter Nightingale is the latest but not the last in the series of books that began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase..."

Philip Ardagh is impressed with the inventive energy displayed by Joan Aiken in one of her final books (The Witch of Clattering Shaws is due next year).

Biographical Feature

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Extremely useful biographical feature about US author Angela Johnson - including the detail that Johnson lives in a house once owned by Captain Underpants (Dav Pilkey) and his partner Cynthia Rylant, as well as the standard background:

"Born June 18, 1961 in Tuskegee, Ala., Johnson moved with her family to northeast Ohio when she was a young child. Johnson's father was an autoworker and her mother was a comptroller at a social service agency..."

Highly recommended

Artist's Response

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WECT TV6 & - Wilmington, NC news and weather - Co-author of controversial children's book speaks out

"The uproar over an elementary school library book in Wilmington is now international..."

There have been complaints in America about the picture book King And King by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland. In this article, the illustrator responds.

Astrid Lindgren Winner

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CJAD 800 : News

71-year-old Brazilian author Lygia Bojunga has won the second annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature, for dissolving "the boundaries between fantasy and reality."

Biographical info.

Ardagh & McCartney

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MSNBC - McCartney wants to be a paperback writer

Paul McCartney is set to publish a children's book.

Although reported on MSNBC's gossip page, there is sufficient circumstantial detail to lend the report credence. It will be called High in the Clouds and is apparently about two squirrels and a frog who try to rescue animals endangered by urban development. More interestingly, it will be co-written by Philip Ardagh, and illustrated by Geoff Dunbar. Faber will publish in the UK.

Sex And The Spider

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CourierPress: Entertainment

The voice of Miss Spider is to be spoken by former Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis in a new animated series, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, based on the books by David Kirk.

Lynne Reid Banks Stateside

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Eastern Arizona Courier

"Lynne Reid Banks, the author of 20 children's books, visited Safford schools to talk to students about her books..."

Boring Moral

| No Comments | No TrackBacks - Comedians writing children's books for a laugh

'The problem with children's books, comic Jay Leno says, is that they just aren't funny. 'Tonight Show' host Jay Leno makes his kiddie lit debut on Tuesday with If Roast Beef Could Fly. "They all look like Laura Ashley illustrations with one word and a boring moral at the end," says The Tonight Show host, who makes his kids' book debut with If Roast Beef Could Fly (Simon & Schuster).

Just Added

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Peni Griffin's March Opinion Column fro ACHUKA is a really fascinating one, titled Literary Synchronicity

Scholastic Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

Scholastic [NY] Reports Third Quarter Financial Results

Times Obit. Stephen Cartwright, children's book illustrator

See also entry for Feb 22 - Guardian Obit.

Vicki Metcalfe Award

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Andrea Deakin reports:

The Vicki Metcalfe Award for Children's Literature ($15,000) is awarded to the author of a body of work in children's literature that, in the opinion of the judges, demonstrates the highest literary standards.
This year's award has been given to Roslyn Schwartz, creator of the
beloved Mole Sisters series. Born in Montreal, Roslyn Schwartz moved to England with her family when she was two years old. She grew up in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and attended a Rudolph Steiner school in Sussex, close to Ashdown Forest. Here she met her first mole.
The Mole Sisters books have become great favourites with small children. They depict the everyday adventures of two happy little siblings as they explore their world. Gentle, optimistic and playful, the two inquisitive little moles tackle every adventure with imagination and affection. The texts, wisely published in a small format for little hands, are illustrated with Roslyn Schwartz's coloured pencil drawings - a little splash of colour framed by the white page.
The jury citation states: "Roslyn Schwartz is a virtuoso of the picture book form. In all her books, but most especially in the Mole Sisters stories, she demonstrates how minimal text, tiny pictures and hilariously unambitious images can convey worlds of meaning and character. Playful, intelligent, and peopled with unforgettable characters, Schwartz's titles are a significant, inimitable contribution to Canadian children's literature."

Brian Jacques In Hospital

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ic Liverpool - Heart scare for author Jacques

Brian Jacques is in hospital today after suffering a mild heart attack.

For What It's Worth

| No Comments | No TrackBacks News - Latest News - Cinderella Is Favourite Children's Book

Cinderella has been named as Britain's favourite children's book [according to the survey of 1,016 adults by Fox?s Cubs].

One To One

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Telegraph | News | Pullman may give Jesus a novel role

A report, with a rather silly headline, on the debate between Philip Pullman and Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) held at the National Theatre last night.


| No Comments | No TrackBacks - Author loses against Disney's 'Nemo'

"A French children's book author, who claims Disney's blockbuster Finding Nemo copied a fish of his creation, lost a court battle to ban the sale of Nemo products in France. .."

Pamela Allen

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Entertainment News - Pamela Allen: Cuthbert's Babies

Feature about Pamela Allen, double nominee in this year's New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Feather Boy TV Serial

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV and Radio | Children's series cut as TV film

"The BBC is breaking new ground by broadcasting a children's programme as both a six-part series and a TV film.
Adapted from Nicky Springer's award-winning novel, Feather Boy will be shown as a series of 30-minute shows on BBC One from Tuesday..."

Phantom Friends

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Mysteries of the Nancy Drew fans

A report on the meeting of a Nancy Drew fanclub convention:

"Garrett, Janet and Alice are Phantom Friends, (PFriends for short) -- three of the 30 or so men and women who gather every year to celebrate children's mystery series books in general... and one certain titian-haired heroine in particular..."

Beautiful Bestseller

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Times Online - Sunday Times

A review of a new biography of Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty:

Anna Sewell wrote her first and only book when she was 57. An obscure, pious spinster and chronic invalid, she did not look set for bestsellerdom, and London booksellers bought just 100 copies on publication. But the book was Black Beauty...

Indian Market

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Children's books market grows up - The Times of India
The Times of India reports a big increase imn the market for children's books.

ST Book of the Week

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Julie & Ralph Prefer...

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In today's Telegraph, Julie Myerson much prefers Nicholas Allen's Where Willy Went to Babette Cole's The Sprog Owner's Manual, which she and her children find too full of 'comic lapses'. "I don't see the point of a book which shows a couple sending off for a child via mail order," Myerson says, and her 11 year-old son, Ralph, detected a remblance between the 'bad' sprog and a certain member of his class. "That's not very nice," Ralph is quoted as saying, "as he's actually a very kind person."

Holly Lolly

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Holly, lolly and searching for Saint Maureen

Adele Geras reviews Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Age Brackets

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Letters: Mar 13

"I'm sorry that a recent review I wrote..."

Philip Ardagh responds to last week's Guardian letter complaining that his review of Graham Marks' How It Works did not give sufficient warning of the language and content within. Ardagh apologises, but points out that he did say the "book is aimed at young adults, contains swearing, has a protagonist who's a drug-taker and a thief (and is severely beaten in an attack) and that the angel who rescues him breaks the attacker's jaw."

The Poodle's A Pussy

| No Comments | No TrackBacks - You too can be a cool character

Elmore Leonard gives some clues about his forthcoming children's book:

"...He is working on his 39th book, a children's book about a coyote that lives in the Hollywood Hills, which is expected to be released at the end of May. He has a built-in audience: five children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandson.
"It's called A Coyote's In The House. A little girl sees a coyote talking to a show poodle. The coyote has a gang and is a cool guy and it turns out the dog was a former movie star and wants to join the coyotes who live in the Hollywood Hills. But the coyote says, `you sold out, you let people feed you.' I got bored with the dog; the coyote is my kinda guy." And the poodle was a pussy...."

NYT Reviews

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%u2019The Story of Little Black Sambo%u2019 and Other Children%u2019s Books

A page of reviews from the New York Times includes a favourable review of a controversial new edition of The Story of Little Black Sambo and one of Mary Hoffman's Stravaganza.

NYT Reviews in Brief

New Drew

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The Seattle Times: Living: Nancy Drew, starring in an updated book series, has a fascinating past

"Nancy Drew, starring in an updated book series, has a fascinating past..."

An excellent background article on the old and the new Nacy Drew series, including a pictrue and biographical detail of one of the earlier series' ghost writers, Mildred Benson.


False Notes - one of the new titles

Court & Castle

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The Globe and Mail

This page of Canadian reviews includes one of Tales of Court and Castle by [the late] Joan Bodger:

"Bodger was an oral storyteller, and her versions of these tales of court and castle, field and forest, though written down, beg to be read aloud..."

Miraculous Suspicion

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BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Faces of the week

BBC Online fature about Philip Pullman:

"Atheist author Philip Pullman has this week received his CBE from the Queen, and heard the Archbishop of Canterbury hail his work as "a near-miraculous triumph".
But while the children's author is being saluted from the highest echelons of the Anglican Church, to some he remains a figure of suspicion and controversy..."

Shaved Head

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Ananova - Stars are out for premiere

Why has the film actor Jim Carrey shaved his head?

"...the new hairstyle is for his latest film role: he plays a Count in the big screen version of the popular children's book, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events."

Best Kept Private

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Education news & resources at the Times Educational Supplement

Jan Mark thinks that publishers and booksellers are doing themselves, new authors and readers a disservice by overpromoting the novels of teenage 'prodigies'.

"Fledg[l]ing writers necessarily recycle their own reading in their apprentice pieces; this is the way we all learn how to do it. But these experiments ought to be carried out in decent privacy, not marketed as the masterworks of infant prodigies," she says in a review of Eragon by Christopher Paolini and The Prophecy of the Gems by Falvia Bujor in last week's TES (March 5th), now online.

News - Lincolnshire Review

Feature about Jack Gantos, current ACHUKA Choice author...

British Book Awards

British Book Awards W H Smith Children's Book of the Year:

The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud
The Curious Incident of
the Dog in the Night-Time
- Mark Haddon
Eagle Strike - Anthony Horowitz
The English Roses - Madonna
Goodbye Mog J- udith Kerr
Lyra's Oxford - Philip Pullman
Shadowmancer - G P Taylor
The Snail and the Whale - Julia Donaldson
& Alex Scheffler

Author of the Year:
Harlan Coben
Mark Haddon
Alexander McCall Smith
D B C Pierre
Philip Pullman
Jacqueline Wilson

The awards will be announced live on Channel 4 on 7 April

Kidman Not Playing

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Entertainment News - Kidman not taking part in Narnia film says film company

"The film company behind the upcoming production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has denied rumours that Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman is poised to play a leading role..."

British Booksigning Record?

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Signing lasts 8 hours

"Jacqueline Wilson walked out of a Bournemouth bookshop early yesterday having unexpectedly chalked up what could be a record for the longest book signing in British history..."

Loss Of Wildness

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The New York Review of Books: Dust & Daemons

Long article by Michael Chabon on Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'

Highly recommended

Author Blogs

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ACHUKA is missing our daily visits to the Neil Gaiman and Sarah Dessen author blogs. They are both currently on 'vacation'. In the case of Gaiman, the quotes are very pertinent. Other authors keep online journals, but none that we know of keep up the near-daily entries that these two manage.

Please let us know [in a Comment] if there are others that we should be aware of.

Blume Deal

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Coming Soon! - Latest News

Judy Blume, filmmaker Lawrence Blume, and producer Jane Startz have entered into a multi-picture deal with Walt Disney Studios to develop and produce films based on Judy Blume's bestselling books, it was announced today by Nina Jacobson, president of the Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group.

Nicole Kidman set for Narnia role

Nicole Kidman has agreed to appear in the film version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, according to reports emanating from the film business.

Mouse Movie

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RT?.ie Entertainment in association with the RT? Guide - Animated pic for Seabiscuit's Ross

'Seabiscuit' writer-director Gary Ross is developing an animated feature, based on a best-selling children's book.
The Hollywood Reporter says Universal Pictures optioned the rights to Kate DiCamillo's 'The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread' for Ross and his production company.

Lindsey Likes...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks | eG weekly | Critics' choice

Lindsey Fraser's book selection in today's Guardian is
Boy 2 Girl by Terence Blacker

"an optimistic, openhearted look at the challenges of the teenage years..." LINDSEY FRASER

Fantasy Filler

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They Put A Spell On You

This is one of those Amanda Craig filler articles that I would much rather see relegated to her website. It was in Saturday's Times, but I only came across it tonight.

It riles, because it's money for nothing. Craig didn't have to read anything she hadn't read previously. Just pick up the phone and get a soundbite from David Fickling. Be prepared to make a [hardly brave] disparaging remark about Paolini's Eragon and, lo, there's freelance money in the bank.

p17 of The Times Books Review would have been better given over to a single title children's book review, a la ze Guardian, than to this piece of hack journalism, which would be easier to stomach without the grandiose ending: "In great fiction the pain of experience is not avoided, and a parallel world is not a place where you can escape when this one becomes too difficult, though it returns you to yourself refreshed and encouraged." Though, lo, so, day, ray, me, fah, fah f-f-f...


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Reading into crossover trends - MARCH 8, 2004

An article from Singapore about crossover / kidult trends. No earth-shattering observations, but contains quite a few soundbites from key players, so worth a quick scan.

Favourable x 2

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In the Telegraph yesterday, Andrew Martin reviewed Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman and, within a word-count roughly half the length of a Guardian Review piece, found space to justify certain observations about Blackman's style:

"It must be said that nobody would buy Noughts And Crosses or Knife Edge for the charming idiosyncrasy of the language. Sephy, cast adrift from her family, is 'so poor that she doesn't have a pot to pee in'; attempting to communicate with the mother of her late lover, she is 'tip-toeing on eggshells'; later, in a strange refinement of the cliche, she is tiptoeing around her 'on crisp packets'. "

Martin found the redeeming strength of Blackman's book was 'its moral heft'.

Judith Hawley reviewed Stripes Of The Sidestep Wolf by Sonya Hartnett. More precis than review, Hawley threw some comfort to blurb writers with her parting shot, calling the book 'a finely poised, deeply engaging book.'

Neil Ardley Obit.

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Telegraph | News | Neil Ardley

Telegraph obituary of Neil Ardley, who died last month aged 66. Ardley was both a musician and writer of information books for children. He is best known for his collaborations with David Macaulay.

The New Way Things Work

Doing It In Malaysia

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The Star Online: Lifestyle

A Malaysian review of Melvin Burgess's Doing It.

The UK paperback (cover below) is due for publication in May.


ST Book Of The Week

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Times Online - Sunday Times

Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week

The Gift Boat by Peter Dickinson

"...a skilled and remarkable story with an optimistic conclusion, about a youngster facing grown-up challenges and learning to live with limitations." NICOLETTE JONES

Whimsy With Edge

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Whimsy, with a tender edge - Books -

Recommended feature about the Australian Bob Graham, winner of last year's Greenaway Medal with Jethro Byrde, Fairy Child, which was published in UK paperback last month.

Life In The Old Genre Yet

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | The irascible dragon

Diana Wynne Jones begins her broadly encouraging and welcoming review of Eragon by Christopher Paolini with an entertainingly wicked sendup of high fantasy, and ends her piece:

"...this tired old genre is going to be given a new, youthful boost. What a pity, never mind."

Mind The Age Gap

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Review | Letters: Mar 6

Two Guardian readers have requested, by way of the letters column, a clearer age categorisation in the paper's reviews of children's books.

You will need to scroll down the Letters page till you get to 'Mind the age gap'.

Late To The Party

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The Times - More Magic From Lords of the Ring

Picking up on a news story first Blogged on Feb 25th, The Times carries a feature report about the New Line film plans for Cornelia Funke's Inkheart.

"Fresh from their Oscars triumph with The Return of the King, the final part of the Rings saga, New Line chiefs are planning to film Cornelia Funke's 542-page children's novel, Inkheart. It tells the story of a bookbinder called Mo who has the power to breathe life into stories and characters just by reading aloud..."

Nothing But Poo

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NZ Recommendation

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Entertainment News - Penelope Todd: Watermark

"Watermark is a great suspense novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. It is sure to appeal to teenage girls and is a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction section of the New Zealand Post Book Awards..."
The New Zealand Herald

The JKR Of Greece?

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GreeceNow: Unconventional storyteller

"In parallel with his career as a children's book writer, Trivizas is a lawyer and academic who teaches criminology at England's Reading University... ..."

Books Are Not Eggs

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Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Writers fight to keep cover prices

"The Whitbread prize-winning children's author Mr Pullman, writing in the Guardian today to mark World Book Day, argues that abandoning the RRP will be a disaster for middle of-the-range authors, such as writers of successful but not bestselling first books or detective stories..."

The article is titled 'Books Are Not Eggs'.

Dr Seuss Centenary

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Narnia Movie

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Mickey News ?o? - Everything Disney

Disney has signed a deal with Walden Media, part of the companies owned by Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz, to co-finance and distribute 'The Chronicles of Nanrnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It is scheduled for release Christmas 2005.

Course Leader

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David Belbin has broken a 10 year stretch as a fulltime writer to become the new Course Leader of the Nottingham Trent University's MA in Creative Writing.
Belbin reported this on his website at the beginning of February, and ACHUKA received an official press announcement from the university in today's post.

Shanville Monthly

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Darren Shan Monthly 44

The latest Shanville Monthly includes the provisional giglist for Darren SHan's April/May US tour:

"Plans for my American tour in April and May are falling quickly into place!! Here's the list of events and dates which have so far been confirmed..."

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