Archive for the ‘Childrens and YA’ Category

Streaming Pigtails

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

9780099582649_e3de4Netflix, which has been busy setting up collaborations with Disney and providing The Little Prince a home, is now turning to Canada for a childhood classic, Anne of Green Gables.

The New York magazine reports that Netflix has picked up the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s production of Anne, created by writer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad), producer Miranda de Pencier (Beginners), and director Niki Caro (Whale Rider).

The show will begin with a two-hour premiere to be followed by eight episodes, all airing sometime in 2017. The Netflix press release says it will range further than Lucy Maud Montgomery went, “ANNE will also chart new territory. Anne and the rest of the characters will experience adventures reflecting timeless issues including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

Closer to Screen: WONDERSTRUCK

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

9780545027892Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s middle grade novel  Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) is moving closer to the screen with filming recently concluded, reports Movie Pilot.

Starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Okes Fergley (Pete’s Dragon), the film also features newcomer Millicent Simmonds, a 13-year-old deaf actress in the role of Rose, who is also deaf.

Selznick is known for his brilliant imagery and creative storytelling and it seems Haynes will bring an equally inventive approach to the story, electing to film sections as a silent movie, matching not only the era in which part of the novel is set, but also the deaf Rose’s silent world. Deadline notes that “this section of the narrative will see an unprecedented number of deaf actors in roles that would normally go to hearing actors.”

The film, produced by Amazon studios,  is expected for release sometime next year.

As we noted previously, this will be Selznick’s second book adapted by a celebrated director, after Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Hugo, based on The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

Rowling Changes Her Mind

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Just last month, on the launch day for the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,  J.K. Rowling told the press that the story was now complete, saying, Potter “goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done.”

In what seems like a reversal, she announced yesterday that she is returning to the wizarding world with a series of spin-off ebooks featuring characters from Hogwarts.

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As The Guardian reports, starting on September 6, the tales will appear as short e-only editions, “Called Pottermore Presents, the series is a collection of Rowling’s writing for, as well as new stories about characters including Potter’s potions master Horace Slughorn, Hogwarts headteacher Professor Minerva McGonagall and Ministry of Magic bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge.”

Pottermore calls them “a series of bite-sized eBooks that dig deep into the Harry Potter stories, with titbits taken from Pottermore’s archives and original writing from J.K. Rowling. The series offers Harry Potter fans added insights into the stories, settings and characters and were all lovingly curated by Pottermore.”

Variety reports they will cost three dollars and provides a brief summary of each title, including the news that the third title will feature “new information on McGonagall’s role in the second wizarding war.”

Potter more further teases, “for those who want to quench their thirst for more knowledge about the wizarding world, such as why the Black family bestow such odd names to their children, how a witch or wizard becomes a portrait, or what J.K. Rowling really thinks about Professor Umbridge, step right this way to find out.”

The titles are available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo, and iTunes but are not yet showing in library vendor systems.

Below is the bibliographic data from Kobo:

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106280)

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106297)

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, J.K. Rowling (Pottermore, September 2016; ISBN 9781781106273)

The Trailer

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

The Great Gilly Hopkins  9780062422866_c80d5

A trailer has been released for the movie adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s middle grade novelThe Great Gilly Hopkins.

The star of The Book Thief, Sophie Nelisse plays the title role, along with Glenn Close, Kathy Bates and Octavia Spencer. It is scheduled for release on October 7th.

The book was a Newbery Honor winner in 1979, the year after Paterson won the Newbery Medal for Bridge to Terabithia.(also made into a film, which Variety notes, grossed more than $200 million worldwide). In 1981, she won the Newbery again for Jacob I Have Loved.

new edition (second right, above) was released in hardcover and  paperback in January, featuring a burst that reads “Read it Before You See It,”

Nightlight!: Slate’s Pop-Up Children’s Book Blog

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

For the month of August Slate is focusing attention on children’s books in their new “pop-up” blog, Nightlight! which aims to “explore the art—and the business—of literature for kids,” in daily posts illustrated by Tina Kügler (Snail and Worm).

Cursed Child9780670012701The first post is a review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, calling it an “adequate” “delivery device for extremely informed Potter fan fiction,” and continuing, “If Cursed Child is … the first play an entire generation of children will read, theater might be in for a rough couple of decades.”

Laura Miller, Slate‘s books and culture columnist, writes about formidable NYPL childrens librarian Anne Carroll Moore. While her story is well known among childrens librarians and childrens lit fans, Miller introduces her to a wider audience, saying “Beatrix Potter considered her a close friend; she could summon William Butler Yeats to appear at her library events … she was reputed to be able to make or break a book, much as the New York Times’ theater critic was said to determine the fate of a new play.”

Moore believed most books  for kids were inadequate.  We can only imagine Moore’s reaction to the books discussed in another post titled, “My Kids Read Only Subliterary Branded Commodities. Yours Probably Do, Too!”, which refers to movie and TV tie-ins for kids as “subliterary commodities, book-like objects … the juvenile equivalent of pornography … it’s hard not to take offense at the contempt with which the publishers treat their readership.”

The post “We Don’t Only Need More Diverse Books. We Need More Diverse Books Like The Snowy Day” notes that children need to “learn the pleasure of reading a story in the relaxed, quiet moments before bed, reading not to learn but to feel safe, feel loved, laugh, wonder. That’s a fundamental privilege of childhood and should not be reserved for only one set of children.”

Slate Audio Book Club Tackles The CURSED CHILD

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Cursed ChildThe Slate Audiobook Club is generally a rather highbrow, New Yorker version of a book club.  Not so  in their latest, as the conversation about the boy who lived, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine),  quickly becomes closer to a version of a Big Bang Theory geek-out about the best Superman movie.

Slate contributors Katy Waldman, Dan Kois, and L.V. Anderson each have issues with the play script, Kois most of all, who cannot bring himself in the end to actually recommend the play in print form to new readers (see his review here). Anderson mourns the loss of motivations, emotions, and personality missing from the play’s scant information (it is almost entirely dialogue) but does, in the end, suggest it to readers. Waldman, far less invested in the story than her panelists, liked it and thinks it is great fun.

Their conversation centers around what the play does well (introduce interesting new characters and provide rewarding tidbits about those readers already know and adore) and very poorly (it lacks, they say, world building, internal logic, and is far too beholden to fan fiction).

While not as useful as previous discussions for book group leaders, the conversation provides insight into the widely varying reviews and fan reactions.

CURSED CHILD Wins Sales, Loses Some Fans

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine) has already landed on top of the USA Today best-seller list. Because of the list’s timing. it just one day of sales. Those midnight release parties must have been pretty effective.

But not all is rosy in the wizarding world. Even as the script-book debuted, Rowling announced that Harry Potter is now over, saying “I think we’re done … This is the next generation, you know. So, I’m thrilled to see it realised so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now.”

The script-book is also getting some push back after its initial glowing reviews. The NYT reports, “While many readers were ecstatic about the chance to have more material on Harry and his friends, others have faulted Ms. Rowling for licensing out her story and characters. Some fans have lashed out online, saying they feel they were duped and misled by the prominence of Ms. Rowling’s name on the cover.”

The Independent reports fans are having trouble with the format (despite being told in advance it was a script and not a novel and not by Rowling herself) and are vocal about their disappointment. The paper quotes some very unhappy Amazon readers, one who calls it “poorly planned fan fiction” and another who wrote “Rowling, you owe your fans a BOOK! I like to rename this Harry Potter and the great scam.”

Patterson and O’Reilly Team Up

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

9780316276887_42077The New York Post‘s gossip columnist, Cindy Adams focused on a book yesterday, Give Please a Chance (Hachette/jimmy patterson; Nov. 21), a joint project from James Patterson and Bill O’Reilly, illustrated by a variety of artists, with all proceeds going to charity.

She writes, “O’Reilly, whose shy retiring lips have possibly been shut for minutes, says  … ‘The message for children is that ‘please’ is a magical word. Like if you need a cookie or if you need a bedtime story, you also need to use the word ‘please.’ ”

While both authors have written titles for kids, this will be their first picture book and first collaboration. O’Reilly tweeted about it in May.

Reviews Roll In For CURSED CHILD

Monday, August 1st, 2016

9781338099133_b39eeAfter midnight release parties and a bit of flashback nostalgia for readers now all grown up, the reviews for the newest take on the wizarding world of Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine), are flooding in.

While the play itself is a hit in London, the BBC reports in a round up of reviews of the book that “critics complained reading the script was an ‘incomplete experience’ as the story ‘demands to be seen’ [and that it was] ‘lacking the richness that acting and staging would add.'”

One review that arrived after that roundup, from the often critical Michiko Kakutani in the  daily NYT‘, disagrees, calling it  “absorbing and ingenious” and saying “even though it lacks the play’s much-talked-about special effects, it turns out to be a compelling, stay-up-all-night read.”

Finding the story well crafted (“the suspense here is electric and nonstop, and it has been cleverly constructed around developments recalling events in the original Potter novels”) Kakutani continues that author Jack Thorne “has a visceral understanding of the dynamics and themes at work in those novels … a dynamic, many readers can appreciate, with a particular resonance today.”

People acknowledges that  “Reading 300 pages of dialogue is not the same immersive experience as settling into one of Rowling’s massive tomes, but for fans of the series? It’s a must. ”

USA Today says the print book is “almost ‘Harry Potter’ enough” adding, “reading the script (three out of four stars) is an incomplete experience — noticeably lacking the richness that acting and staging would add to a realized production and the familiar Rowling prose a novel would have contained — it may capture just enough of the old Potter magic to please even the most skeptical of fans.”


Friday, July 29th, 2016

9780312367541The first star has been announced for the forthcoming Disney adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 Newbery Award winning novel A Wrinkle in Time  and it’s a big one.

Variety reports Oprah Winfrey will play Mrs. Which, one of the three celestial guides who helps the Murry children and Calvin O’Keefe on their quest through time and space to find the Murry’s missing father.

As we noted earlier, Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct. Jennifer Lee (Frozen) will write the adaptation.

Oprah worked with DuVernay on Selma and is currently working with her on the forthcoming OWN series Queen Sugar, set to begin on September 6th.

IndieWire reports that DuVernay plans a diverse cast for L’Engle’s novel and Variety notes that Oprah was always going to be one of the three Mrs. W characters (the others are Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who).

The novel got a bit of a boost last night when Chelsea Clinton mentioned it as she introduced her mother during the Democratic National Convention. She also name checked Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis – both are rising on Amazon.

Berenstain Bears: A Passing

Friday, July 29th, 2016

9780394822860Jan Berenstain, famous as the co-author and illustrator of the Berenstain Bears books has died at age 88. With her husband, who died in 2005, she created over 300 titles, featuring Mama, Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear. The books highlighted family life, learning from each other, being brave, and the everyday life lessons of early childhood.

In an obituary, the NYT reports that Dr. Seuss, Theodor Geisel, served as their first editor and that the couple credited him “with helping them achieve their trademark simplicity in language and illustrations. That style made their books popular as reading primers, by helping toddlers see connections between stories and words on a page.”

Their first book came out in 1962, a story written in rhyme titled The Big Honey Hunt. It is still in print but the series itself has developed into animated TV shows, video games, and an iPhone app. After her husband’s death, Jan Berenstain worked on the books with their son Mike, who will take over the series with his brother.

Nineteen new Berenstain books are expected this year.


Kudos for KUBO

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Movie fan sites are reacting to the latest trailer for Kubo and the Two Strings by Oregon’s stop-motion animation house Laika as  “the studio’s most epic and visually stunning project yet.”

That’s a lot to live up to for the studio that produced Coraline (based on the book by Neil Gaiman,  ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls (based on Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters!).

Set in Japan, the fantasy-adventure features the voices of  Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei and Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones). It debuts in theaters on 8/19/16.

The week before the movie’s release, Universal Studios Hollywood will showcase the studio in a display titled  “From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical LAIKA Experience.”

Tie-ins are available for Kubo.

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Kubo and the Two Strings: Meet Kubo, R. R. Busse
Hachette/ Little, Brown YR. Paperback, July 19, 2016
Passport to Reading, Level 2, Ages 4 to 8

Kubo and the Two Strings: The Junior NovelSadie Chesterfield,
Hachette/ Little, Brown YR. Paperback, July 19, 2016
Ages 4 to 8

The Art of Kubo and the Two Strings, Emily Haynes, Travis Knight,
Chronicle Books, Hardcover, July 19, 2016

BEFORE I FALL Set for Release

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

y648Lauren Oliver’s best selling 2010 YA novel Before I Fall has been adapted as a film that now has a release date of April 7, next year, reports Deadline. Told by a girl who has everything, but then dies in a car accident and  gets to relive the last day of her life seven times, it stars Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage and Jennifer Beals.

tie-in paperback is set to be published on December 6, 2016 (HarperCollins).

Also opening that weekend is the film adaptation of R.J. Palacio best selling middle grade title, Wonder. In the lead role is Jacob Tremblay, who starred in the Oscar-winning adaptation, Room. Julia Roberts plays his mother.


Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

9781338099133_b39eeJoining the ranks of super hot shows such as Hamilton is the next adventure in the Harry Potter world. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which opens on July 30th in London’s Palace Theater. It is already sold out until May 2017, at one point selling 175,000 tickets in 24 hours.

It is getting raves as critics slip into preview sessions.

“It is, quite simply, spellbinding” says Variety.

The Telegraph says in its five star review “British theatre hasn’t known anything like it for decades and I haven’t seen anything directly comparable in all my reviewing days.”

The Guardian gives it four out of five stars, saying it is “a thrilling theatrical spectacle.”

In their strong A- review, Entertainment Weekly says “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has pulled off a transfiguration challenge worthy of Professor McGonagall: Converting the visually arresting world of Harry Potter into stage play … as spectacular as it is ambitious, stuffed with special effects and twists that had a preview audience gasping, Cursed Child is a story that doesn’t play it safe with the Potter canon and will change how fans see certain favorite characters forever.”

The script of the show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child  (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine), will go on sale Sunday, July 31, which also happens to be Harry’s birthday. The script is by playwright Jack Thorne and is credited as “Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne.” Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.Libraries are celebrating with special late night parties, live readings, and film screenings. As we reported last week, it is already a holds leader.

More FANTASTIC BEASTS Spin Offs On The Way

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

9781338109061_77b43Walker Books in the UK, along with Candlewick Press in the US, announce plans for a series of novelty and interactive children’s books based on J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world, reports The Bookseller.

Karen Lotz of the Walker Group says the books will offer “unique and beautifully presented content and innovative play value.”

There are no details yet on titles which are set to release this October.

As we noted earlier, there is also an agreement in place with Scholastic to “publish children’s movie tie-in books for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its sequels, as well as tie-in books based on the original eight Harry Potter films.” Harper Collins has adult tie-in rights and plans to offer titles that “delve into, and behind the scenes of, the richly textured film and its sequels to enhance fans’ enjoyment of the new stories. Books will include details about how the films were made, the process of art and design, interviews with the cast and crew, and interactive formats such as colouring and postcard books.”

The original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Scholastic; 9780545850568), a faux Hogwarts textbook, is currently out of print an only available from used book retailers. However, the screenplay of the movie will be published on Nov. 19, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J K Rowling (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books).

9781338099133_b39eeAnother script is also about to be released, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One & Two (Special Rehearsal Edition Script): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine), timed to debut a day after the premiere of the London stage production on July 30th.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is written by Rowling and stars Eddie Redmayne as magician Newt Scamander, it opens on November 18. It also stars Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston and is directed by David Yates, who was responsible for 4 of the 7 original Potter films.

We posted the trailer previously, below is a featurette with commentary by Rowling: