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, March 28, 2013

WORTH by A. La Faye and OLD ROBERT AND THE SEA-SILLY CATS by Barbara Joose

We started our discussion of Worth by agreeing that the writing was quite good....a couple of our members thought it was brilliant. One mentioned the terrific transitions that described Nate's thinking; another said it was the first book that had made her cry in a long time. But -- as we talked more, a couple of people weren't thrilled by the overuse of metaphors, and we also wondered if kids reading the book would understand the conflict between the ranchers and the farmers that played such a big part in Nate's and his family's life. We liked the fact that his parents were 'normal' people: i.e., they disagreed, they argued, but they loved their son and were each able to show him that love in their own way. We also liked the way that Nate and John's relationship developed as they grew to understand each other. It was a great discussion!
We pretty much had positive feelings about the picture book....except for a couple of details. One of our members thought that the 'silly cats' weren't really silly, but someone else pointed out that 'silly' to a child might have a different meaning than it has for an adult. We thought it was a great read-aloud because of the predictable phrases where children could join in, and also a good bedtime story, and we liked the illustrations by Jan Jutte. We liked the way that 'Old Robert,' the seaman who thought he 'had everything he needed' came to realize that he really needed something to care for. We also thought it should have ended a page earlier than it actually did.....the ending as presented in the book seemed useless and unnecessary.