Saturday, September 23, 2006

Seventh Carnival of Children's Literature

Thanks for coming to help with the harvest. The apples are turning red and the wheat is ripe in the field. It's time for the Fall harvest, and it looks like a good crop of children's literature!

Before the harvest, the crops had to be planted, and luckily we have a host of great writers and illustrators planting the seeds of children's literature:

As we harvest the fields, we feel closer to the Earth and are reminded of the beauty of nature all around us:

We're almost done the harvest, and the children are running around enjoying the freedom and the autumn air.

Now it's time to bring in the harvest, and what a harvest it is! Look at this great crop of children's literature:

As we bring in the last of the harvest, be sure to leave the last of the grain to make a corn dolly to house the spirit of the grain until next year.

Now that the harvest is in, it's time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest, and think about our lives and our values:

And as we give thanks for the abundance of the harvest, we should think about helping those in need:

It's time to build the bonfire and celebrate! And there's nothing like good stories told around the bonfire. Several children's lit bloggers share their favorites:

The stories are over, the children are asleep, and now it's time for dancing around the bonfire:

As we wind back to our homes, I'd like to thank everyone for coming and for sharing their harvest. It's been really fun reading all the submissions. Next month, the eighth carnival will be hosted on Scholar's Blog, so be sure to get your submissions in! Submissions are due on October 15.

Technorati tags: | | |

Friday, September 22, 2006

Book Review: Water Shaper

Water Shaper, by Laura Williams McCafferey, is an astonishing and beautifully written book. I can honestly say that it's one of the best books that I've read in a long time.

At first the story seems to be pretty standard fantasy fare: a princess with unusual magical talent, in this case water magic, is unappreciated and even reviled for her talent. An outsider in her own land, she lives nonetheless at the will of her father, the king, and is not free to leave and find a better life elsewhere. She has no hope, until she is rescued by a handsome king who helps her to escape and invites her to come and live in his land, where her talent will be appreciated. That's when the story begins to take unexpected turns. I don't want to say too much and give away the delightful way that the story unfolds, but suffice it to say that all is not as it seems!

The characters are well developed and seem like real people. The heroine, Margot, is a strong female character in a land which is rigidly patriarchal. An outside everywhere, Margot longs to find a place where she belongs, but eventually discoveres that she must make a life for herself. Even the antagonists are fully fleshed out, with sympathetic characteristics. There's no black and white here, just many shades of gray.

Technorati tags: | | |

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Beatrice Letters

Fans anticipating the release of the final book in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events will enjoy The Beatrice Letters as an antidote to waiting. More than just a series tie-in, The Beatrice Letters actually provides some clues and revelations leading up to book 13, The End, although as is typical of the series, The Beatrice Letters raises more questions than answers. The Beatrice Letters takes the form of a portfolio with two pockets. The first pocket contains a poster, and the second pocket a book with a series of correspondence between Lemony Snicket and Beatrice. There's plenty here to keep fans busy until Friday, October 13, the release date for Book the Thirteenth: anagrams, picture clues, braille, and of course, the series' signature "Seybald code." My only complaint about the book is that at $19.99, it seems overpriced. I wish the publisher had dispensed with the fancy packaging and just published this as a book for a lower price. Try to get it discounted if you can.

Seventh Carnival - last call!

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder that submissions are due tomorrow for the Seventh Carnival of Children's Literature, which will be held here on September 23. I've had some interesting submissions so far; I think it's going to be a great carnival!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Book Review: Ingo

by Helen Dunmore

The sea calls to Sapphy, a call that seems to say that the sea is in her blood and the sea is where she belongs. It calls to her brother Conor, too, and it may have called her father. Is that why her father disappeared a year ago? Sapphy has lived near the sea all her life, but when she meets one of the Mer, a boy named Faro, her life is changed. She begins to understand the voice of the sea, and the pull is so strong that she finds it difficult to resist. It pulls her away from her home and family. But when the sea and the air come into conflict, Sapphy and Conor must make a choice about where they belong and where their loyalties lie.

Ingo is a lovely and poignant book about choices. The choices we make affect not only our destiny but the lives of those around us, and sometimes, to gain one thing, we must lose another. The story is told from Sapphy's point of view, which gives the reader an intimate connection to the difficult choices Sapphy must make. The characters are well developed, and the writing is vivid, especially in the beautiful underwater scenes. Helen Dunmore is especially skilled in making the reader feel what the characters feel: the pain of losing a father, the longing for the sea, and the anger at unexpected changes. This is a book that draws you into its depths and lingers after you turn the last page.

Technorati tags: | | | |

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Seventh Carnival Reminder

Hi Kidlitters,

I just wanted to remind you that submissions for the Seventh Carnival of Children's Literature are due September 15. The carnival will have a theme "A Harvest of Children's Literature" and will be held here on Wands and Worlds on September 23 (the equinox.) Be sure to send in your submissions in time for the harvest! Posts on any children's literature-related topic are welcome. There's lots of ways to submit: please send your submissions to kidlitcarnival at gmail dot com,, post them in a comment here, or use this form.

Technorati tags: | | | | |

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Book Review: The Summer King (The Chronicles of Faerie, book 2)

by O.R. Melling

Eighteen-year-old Laurel Blackburn travels to Ireland to visit her grandparents on the one year anniversary of the death of her twin sister, Honor. The previous year, while the two of them had been visiting Ireland, Honor fell to her death from Bray Head. Laurel blamed herself; if she had been with Honor, rather than with Ian Gray, the minister's attractive but rebellious son, Honor wouldn't have climbed Bray Head and she wouldn't have died.

Honor had believed in fairies, but Laurel is more pragmatic. But she so desperately wants Honor back, that when a cluricaun appears and tells her that she can save Honor, she has no choice but to believe. The cluricaun tells her that the Summer King is missing, and without the Summer King to light the ring of fire on Midsummer's Eve, Faerie is in trouble. And since Faerie and the human world are linked, the loss is affecting the human world as well. If Laurel can find the Summer King and bring him back to light the fire, Faerie will be restored and Honor will be saved.

Like its predecessor, The Hunter's Moon, The Summer King is a beautiful and lyrical tale of the relationship between human and Faerie. With death as a major theme, The Summer King has a dark poignancy that touches the heart. O.R. Melling was dealing with the death of her own father as she wrote this book, and the book asks the questions we all ask when we lose a loved one. Is this the end? Will I ever see them again — in this world or another?

Melling's vivid imagery brings to life both Ireland and the Faerie places. The story has romance, excitement, adventure, and even a pirate: Grace O'Malley, Ireland's 16th century female pirate. The fairies come in a variety of forms: from the tricky but humorous cluricaun to the beautiful, frightening sea fairies known as the boctogai; from the dark Summer King to Midir, the noble faerie High King.

The Summer King is linked in some ways to The Hunter's Moon, but it's an independent story that can be read on its own. Melling deliberately wrote the books in the series so that each could be read independently.

Technorati tags: | | | | | |