Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the charming, delightful, mysterious benedict society

When was the last time you found a book to be not just good or engrossing but actually charming?

I found Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society beguiled my socks off. And how did it do this?

Let's see...with secret agents, morse code, trickery, puzzlery, mysterious heroes, plucky orphans, villains with totalitarian ambitions, and just about every other awesome thing you could imagine...including rare plants!

The illustrations by Carson Ellis really bump this one up a notch: She only does chapter title pages in the book, not full-page illustrations, but close enough, so that the chapter titles illustrate scenes from each chapter. Her whimsical, detailed style really fits the whimsical, detailed prose.

We can only hope that as companies tighten their publishing budgets, they won't cut illustrating budgets for books such as this one, which really deserve them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

in which the poetry show soothes my aching heart

While I wait for my next installment of Twilight to come, I have to find some way to entertain myself online a little more riveting than watching my SPL holds page. Fortunately The Poetry Show has stepped in to fill this gap.

Embedding these little videos in this blog is beyond my technical skill, but I urge you to watch and let

Langston Hughes

Gertrude Stein

Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca

fill your heart with joy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tasha Tudor, Psalms and Corgis--Oh My!

Well folkses, I forgot to mention (blown away by Owl's loving portrayal of Tasha Tudor) that I came across a little Tudor treasure at a Fourth of July fair in Nashville, Indiana, right before Owl betook herself from the Wolery and I stalked out of the Emerald City for Onion Town. What did I chance to behold but a first edition of Tasha Tudor's illustrated The Lord Is My Shepherd, the twenty third psalm, published by Philomel in 1980. And...Tudor had signed the book and sketched a little coterie of corgis sitting around in a circle! In Tudor's depiction of the famous psalm, a little girl moves through a country landscape accompanied by her faithful corgi. One little weirdness: at one point in "the valley of the shadow of death," girl and dog walk through a ramshackle cemetery, and what has Tudor done? She's placed her headstone, engraved with "T. Tudor" and artfully obscured dates, alongside the path! Wooo! Just in time for Halloween, folkses. The best part of this bargain: the book was priced at $15.00 and the seller described it to me as "cute" and was surprised when I recognized the illustrator. He didn't know what he had, and what with him being a dealer, I didn't enlighten him. Reader, I bought it, and may rejoice a little over my find, even from Onion Town.