Sunday, January 31, 2010

Children's Favorites

The problem with completing Elizabeth Bird's Top Ten Middle Grade Chapter Book list is twofold: 1) that it took far too long, when I should have been doing at least a dozen other things; 2) my choices might be totally different if compiled at some other time (and that doesn't even take into account my question of whether a series counts). I was disappointed not to meet her at ALA but assume she is a kindred spirit. . .
1-A Little Princess/Burnett (all my favorite genres in one: orphans, historical fiction, school story)
2-Anne of Green Gables/Montgomery (the ultimate orphan)
3-A Traveler in Time/Uttley (time travel, and one of my other favorite things, Elizabethan England)
4-Betsy-Tacy series (if I had to pick just one, I guess Betsy and Joe)
5-Masha/Mara Kay (not very well known but adored by anyone who read it, orphans and school story)
6-Charlotte Sometimes/Farmer (school story and time travel and I think she’s an orphan too)
7-The Wolves of Willoughby Chase/Aiken (orphans almost always a theme with Aiken)
8-Ballet Shoes/Streatfeild (although Skating Shoes a close second) (more orphans)
9-Knight’s Castle/Eager (although it is hard to pick my favorite Eager between this and Seven Day Magic and The Time Garden)
10-Diamond in the Window/Langton (yet more orphans)

Runners-Up
Time at the Top/Ormondroyd
The Lark and the Laurel/Willard (first in one of my all time favorite series)
The Prydain series/Alexander
Emily series/Montgomery (Powell’s has these in YA but AOGG in middle grades-as a series I like these better but AOGG beats them out individually)
Emmy Keeps a Promise/Chastain
Autumn Term/Forest (I am tempted to count this but did not read it until grown up)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ALA Midwinter, Betsy-Tacy dinner

A great time was had today at Midwinter ALA in Boston, followed by a delightful Betsy-Tacy gathering at the Channel Cafe!

Front, l-r, Carla, Jen D-K, Julie M, Barb; Back, l-r, Constance, Becky, Jennifer, Camilla, Susann, Hillary, Nicole, Susan R (missing from picture: Deva)

Dawn (boldly grabbing the knight's sword), Deva (blowing a kiss), and Constance
Barb, Susann, and Nicole
Carla describes how she tried to purloin (the sadly MIA) KathyB's secret celebrity crush, who even sang for her before autographing Lights Over Broadway!
Jen D-K displays the autograph from Brian Stokes Mitchell while we moan with envy!
Jen D-K and Julie M
Nicole, Susan R, and Deva (who later showed us the cover of her new book!). It was the first time Deva met us so we hope we didn't scare her! Not everyone can handle the truth (I mean, the cult).

Becky masterfully figures out the bill (and wonders why we didn't just buy a vineyard!)







Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favorite Reads of 2009

Historical Fiction

* Garland of Straw – Stella Riley (if only she would finish this series)
Island of Ghosts , London in Chains – Gillian Bradshaw
The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell

Fiction
* Snobs – Julian Fellowes
No One You Know – Michelle Redmond

YA Fantasy
* Graceling, Fire – Kristin Cashore
Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

YA Fiction
* Front and Center – Catherine Gilbert Murdock (love this entire trilogy)
Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler
North of Beautiful – Justina Headley
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart

Children's Fiction
Good Field No Hit – Duane Decker (sentimental reread from childhood about the Blue Sox)

Picture Books
Ten in Bed – David Ellwand (board book)
The Hero Beowulf – Eric Kimmel
Chester – Melanie Watt

Worst
The Secret of the Hermitage (Dana Girls #5) (was so bad it was hilariously funny; I remembered the Dana Girls as being much better than this installment)

* exceptional

If I have time, I will add more in the way of commentary.