The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler has garnered some criticism from parents for having an evil scarecrow who smokes. Evidently, it’s not enough that the bad guy is the one smoking, nor that the other characters actually say out loud that smoking is bad, but just the image of a cigar is enough to cause concern for children.
I have a copy of the book and wanted to see what the fuss was about. I must admit I was surprised at how clearly smoking was dealt with as something bad and then that even the bad guy doesn’t really successfully smoke. I’ve taken a picture of the page in question, and honestly it is just a single page in the entire book. This way you can make up your mind if it’s appropriate for your school, library or children.
I also appreciate the fact that the cigar is actually part of the plot. When it falls from Reginald’s hand, it starts a fire that is important to the progress of the story.
So what do you think? Should children’s books have smoking in them? Is it ever OK?
Publisher’s Weekly has released their Spring 2015 sneak preview for children’s books. The list includes picture books, middle grade and teen. Listed by publisher, this is a great way to see the books long before they arrive, build your future must-read list, and start a list of books to keep an eye on for your library purchases.
The American Booksellers Association has a preview of their Spring Kids’ Indie Next List which features fifty titles picked by booksellers at independent bookstores from across the nation. They also select a top ten:
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
Cress by Marissa Meyer
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Sparky! by Jenny Offill
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Here are the top ten titles in the new Indie Next List just for children’s books. Head to the American Booksellers Association website to see more than the top ten. All of the books are selected from nominations from independent booksellers across the U.S.
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Journey by Aaron Becker
The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty
The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde
The American Booksellers Association has announced the ten picks for the fall crop of New Voices titles. The books must be by a first-time author and be published between July 1 and December 31, 2013. The picks are listed in two categories:
After Iris by Natasha Farrant
The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root by Christopher Pennell
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson
What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark
The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski
The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna
Publisher’s Weekly gives us a glimpse into the children’s titles coming next spring. Hot picks will include:
The fifth book in the Origami Yoda series
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
W.A.R.P. Book Two: The Hangman’s Revolution by Eoin Colfer
Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century by Jane O’Connor
Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex
Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure by James Dean
Panic by Lauren Oliver
The final book in the Hero’s Guide Series: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw
Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer
What can you spot on the list that would make your must-read pile for next year?
Publisher Weekly has released their list of the best books coming this summer. Here are their top picks for Children’s books:
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead
Odd Duck by Cecil Castelucci
Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth and Maris Wicks
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
A new Lemony Snicket series is coming this fall. The “All the Wrong Questions” series will begin with “Who Could That Be At This Hour,” the first of four books in the series. The series will be a prequel to the very popular “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
In keeping with the persona of Lemony Snicket, the author is apparently trying to postpone the announcement and wonders “why anyone would be interested” in the books. Sounds like it’s going to be another smash hit!
A fall harvest of recent children’s book news that caught my eye today:
The New York Times takes a look at The Children’s Authors Who Broke the Rules and became the people behind the classics. The authors include Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein. So thank goodness they broke the rules!
Maurice Sendak takes on children’s books today in an article in The Guardian:
"There’s a certain passivity, a going back to childhood innocence that I never quite believed in. We remembered childhood as a very passionate, upsetting, silly, comic business." Max, the wolf-suited star of Where the Wild Things Are, "was a little beast, and we’re all little beasts", Sendak said.
NPR celebrates a new book of Shel Silverstain’s poetry that had never been published before. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!
USA Today shares some YA book news with a list of well-known authors of adult books who will be releasing teen novels soon. They include Philippa Gregory, Jodi Picoult, Richard Paul Evans, among others.
And to finish up, you can read Katherine Paterson’s take on paper books and young adult literature.
Photo by samiams46.