WELCOME! Once a month, usually on a Thursday evening, a group of writers, illustrators, teachers and librarians meets in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles to discuss children's books. Usually we talk about one picture book and one middle grade or YA novel. After the meeting, Sandy Schuckett, a retired LAUSD librarian, summarizes our discussion. Here are her reports of our thoughts about the books we have read. We'd love to have your comments too!
Thanks to Nancy Hayashi for our wonderful title art! Our group has been meeting since 2007. It was organized under the auspices of the Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CLCSC).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett and EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett

Novel: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (to see if it stands up over time)
We had (as usual) a great discusion at our last meeting. We spent a lot of time talking about The Secret Garden, which most of us had read and loved as kids. It resonated with many of us for a variety of reasons: the empowerment of children left to their own explorations, the creation of friendships, and the development of the characters of Mary and Colin, with Dickon thrown in for good measure as an (almost) saviour of everything. We noted the seeming didacticness (is that a word?) of the last few chapters, and the issue of dealing with "illness" by willing it to go away. It was interesting how our opinions as kids changed somewhat now we're 'grownups'. Thanks to Ann's notes from the biography of Frances Hodgson Burnett, we got more insight into her possible thoughts when writing this book.
Picture Book: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen:  On the picture book, Extra Yarn, we all basically loved the story....but some weren't so thrilled with the appearance of the evil count who attempted to steal the magical box of yarn....many of us thought that didn't really add anything to the story. We also discussed the illustrations at some length, and had varying opinions on whether they really added to this story. Some thought yes -- others, no.