Friday, September 12, 2008

 

In Between New Yorkers

For Daughter's sake (the possibility of a need for m'audition) I checked out of the library Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Robert Boyd ill.). This is another feat of liberal, devil-may-care publishing (2007) from the amazing Candlewick Press. The author wrote the book for a class that wanted to culminate their study of the Middle Ages with a play "with no small parts". The series of linked monologues, some "broken prose" (as Nikki Grimes calls the poetry-looking format), some straight prose, some verse, paints a picture of life in a English medieval settlement, from the point of view of varied young characters living it. The detailed and warm illustrations make it a book; and you can't get through the book without reading at least one of the monologues aloud to a family member (and then the family member insists on reading one back to you).

Kanada by Eva Wiseman (Tundra, 2006) tells, again, the story of the horror perpetrated on the Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It is a good novel, well-built and solidly written, and adds the voice of a young female Hungarian to the grievous chorus. But it doesn't do anything else. It tells no other story. I am always longing for another Milkweed.

Daughter rapidly ingested Click Here (To Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade) by Denise Vega (Little, Brown and Co., 2005) and stated flatly that I had to read it. So I did, and it was charming. And the chasm between my grade 7 experience and the one Daughter is likely to have cracks even wider.

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