Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Very Absent and Very Hungry

I have been among the missing because of that revision mentioned in my last post and a couple of winter illnesses. I don't expect to be around much because I'm trying to stay in revision mode to get that job done.

However, I am hoarding kidlit info I find here and there and will have lots to talk about when I come back.

In the meantime, I've just discovered that there's a touring production of a show based on Eric Carle's work, called Very Eric Carle. Check it out.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Same Old, Same Old

I'm just checking in to make sure none of my legions of readers is worried that I've abandoned this blog. As usual, I am overwhelmed with work. I got Happy Kids! back from my editor yesterday. That means a major rewrite, which was no surprise. After that, I'm going to be revising the picturebook I may or may not have mentioned here into a chapter book for the very young. Prince Whiskers, as I've been calling it, is only a gleam in my eye--no contract or anything remotely like one. I'm reading at a library tomorrow and haven't picked out or practiced the material yet. I've nearly finished revising an essay I want to send off somewhere. And I'm supposed to be writing something for a writing group I belong to.

I don't want anyone to think I'm complaining, though I'm sure it sounds as if I am. But writing is work. It's more enjoyable than some kinds of work and less enjoyable than others. Though, I must say, a lot of the research and reading portions of my job I do while lying on a couch. It's hard to think of another job with work conditions like that.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Gail's on the Cutting Edge

I've just finished reading a book that is so new that the issue of The Horn Book on sale now carries a review. I am always the last to read stuff, just as I'm always the last to see movies. I see most movies on video and read an awful lot of books after they've been released in paper.

Not the case with Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I was the first at my library to get the book (which is now two days overdue, of course). The book has a very clever basic story and the plot twists came as surprises to me, though they were surprises that worked. However, the story moved unbelieveably slowly. The chapters were short, fortunately, but occasionally I'd finish one and feel that absolutely nothing had happened. I wasn't aware of what was actually going on in the story, since I didn't see the review until I was more then half done and evidently I didn't read much of the cover notes. (I heard about this book at Readerville). So I didn't "get it" until around page 152. Now, it's terrific to have to "get" a book on your own without spoilers from reviews and publicity people. But not until page 152 of a 500+ page book? And I did feel the ending fell apart a bit.

Here is what The Horn Book had to say: "Thanks to Harry P., kids may not be scared off by this volume's heft, though they may wish the pacing wasn't quite so leisurely--even the novel's many chases and hostagetakings are related in a deliberate fashion. But bibliophiles will delight in a story that celebrates books (each chapter begins with a literary passage ranging from Shakespeare to Sendak), and the conclusion is especially satisfying."

So the reviewer liked the ending.