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, October 24, 2013

BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL by Philip C. Stead and LIZARD MUSIC by Daniel Pinkwater

BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL by Philip C. Stead. (Illustrated by Erin Stead, who won the 2011 Caldecott for A Sick Day for Amos McGee):
We had a small but lively group at our last meeting, and delicious 'nibblies' also! We discussed the picture book first. We all agreed that the illustrations were wonderful, and we especially loved Bear and all of his expressions as he tried to get his small animal friends to listen to his story as he helped them prepare for winter. We did however agree that as a read-aloud to a group of children, it might not work so well, since many of the illustrations were quite pale, and couldn't be seen so well from a distance. Some people objected to the fact that it was a 'circular' story....reading the last page would send you back to the beginning. Some people liked that idea, while others didn't like the ending at all and wanted to know exactly what Bear's story WAS. We also read aloud A Sick Day for Amos McGee, the Caldecott winner for the same author/illustrator team, and some liked that book better, while others preferred Bear. Differences in perception and opinion are what makes our group so much fun!
LIZARD MUSIC by Daniel Pinkwater.
As for the novel...there are Pinkwater lovers and then there are others! We all loved the beginning of the book, and the fact that Victor was a normal kid with a normal family...not the usual middle school smart aleck of so many current books. A couple of us loved the rest of the story also -- but not everyone. A couple of people felt that Victor didn't really DO anything...he merely reported everything that happened on the strange lizard island, but he had no real part in any of the action. Some folks couldn't figure out the purpose for the story. We did love Victor's obsession with Walter Cronkite and TV news, however. One of our members said she had always loved this book and her son had loved it and read it several times when he was young. Some of us wondered about any symbolism in the story, knowing a bit about the author and some of his other works. We thought it might be good to read another book of his to figure out where he's really 'coming from'....maybe we will some time in the future.
Other news: Two of our members, Ann Paul and Nancy Hayashi, have a new book coming out in November: 'Twas the Late Night of Christmas. They will be doing a book signing at Skylight Books in LA, and the details are here:
Have fun on Halloween! BOO!