Cybils' Eve

I'm sorry I missed Christmas at bookstogether this year.  I seem to have missed December almost entirely--oops!  But I did read many middle grade science fiction and (mostly) fantasy books, over half of the 98 nominees for a Cybil in that category.  (I may have cheated a little and read some other books, too.  It couldn't be helped!  More about those later.)

The shortlists will be posted on the Cybils blog on New Year's Day, at 6 am US Mountain Time.  Til then, happy new year!

Mouk and Moomin

Publisher's Weekly recently reviewed Around the World with Mouk by Marc Boutavant (Chronicle), describing Mouk's world as a "Richard Scarry/manga mashup" (Children's Book Reviews, 11/23/09)  There's more, including international travel to Finland and reusable stickers, but really, what else does one need to know?  It's on the list.  I also like the Boutavant-illustrated All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman (Little, Brown).

Speaking of Finland, PW also reviewed (same date) the reissue of Tove Jansson's The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My (Drawn and Quarterly).  A Moomin picture book?

Lindgren and Larsson and Anderson

Warning:  Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is for the grownups.  It is emphatically not a book for kids (it's not even a book for me).  I mention it here because today is Swedish children's writer Astrid Lindgren's birthday, and Lindgren really informs Larsson's book.  His two main characters, financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and punk hacker Lisbeth Salander, have fictional counterparts in Lindgren's boy detective Kalle Blomkvist (Bill Bergson in the English translation, sadly OOP), and none other than her redheaded heroine Pippi Longstocking, all grown up.

While I hate to imagine Pippi growing up to be Lisbeth, I wonder what other characters from children's books might be like as adults.  Ramona Quimby, for example, or Harriet the Spy.  Have you ever thought about them this way?  I would love to know whom you would like to know (or not know!) as an adult.

[N.b.  Astrid Lindgren would have been 102 today, which means that it's bookstogether's blog birthday, too (two).  Thank you for reading!]

Paint me a poem in reverse

I met Justine Rowden, author of Paint Me a Poem: Poems Inspired by Masterpieces of Art (Boyds Mills, 2005) at KidlitCon '09 (we had exchanged email before then, and she had kindly sent me a review copy of her book).  In Paint Me a Poem, Justine pairs each of thirteen paintings from the National Gallery of Art's collection with an original poem that offers just one new and unexpected way to look at it.

My favorite of Rowden's poems was inspired by Andre Derain's Flowers in a Vase, a still life I probably wouldn't have stopped to look at if I passed it in the Gallery.  Justine imagines two of the flowers (pink roses, also shown in a detail image) jostling one another for space in the vase.

The quality of the reproductions in Paint Me a Poem is excellent.  Unfortunately, as Justine informed me, the cover image of Cat and Kittens by an anonymous 19th century American artists was reversed!  The interior image is correct, and the book is being reprinted.  [Breaking news!  Laura at Author Amok reports that Paint Me a Poem has just been reprinted.]

What one detail of Cat and Kittens captures your imagination?  Poems welcomed but not required!

[Poetry Friday is at GottaBook today.  Thanks, Greg!]