Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

News

Image of the Day: Class of 2K11

As BEA came to an end last Thursday, the Voracious Reader, Larchmont, N.Y., hosted some of the members of the Class of 2K11, a group of debut YA and middle grade authors who'd spent three busy days doing signings, visiting libraries and participating in discussion panels. From l.: Bettina Restrepo, author of Illegal (Katherine Tegen Books), whose feet tell the story best; Amy Fellner Dominy, OyMG (Walker); Gae H. Pollisner, The Pull of Gravity (FSG); Geoff Herach, Stupid Fast (Sourcebooks Fire); Carole Estby Dagg, The Year We Were Famous (Clarion); Amy Holder, Lipstick Laws (Graphia); Alissa Grosso, Popular (Llewellyn); and Angie Smibert, Memento Nora (Marshall Cavendish).


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


Notes: Dolan's New HMH Imprint; Indie Bookstore Changes

Eamon Dolan is returning to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where he will be v-p and editorial director of a new imprint--Eamon Dolan Books--publishing approximately 10 narrative and serious nonfiction titles per year. He begins working in his new position June 13. Dolan had been editor-in-chief at HMH before joining Penguin Press in 2007.

"Eamon Dolan is one of the best editors in the industry, with a knack for publishing books that launch discussions that last for decades," said Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of HMH's adult & reference division. "He is also a wonderful colleague whose return is cause for joyous celebration."

Dolan said he is "thrilled to be rejoining the house where I published so many books that mean so much to me. And I'm eager to build a new list with the support of wise, passionate colleagues among whom are some of my dearest friends." 

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The Globe Corner Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass., is closing by the end of this month, the store announced yesterday. Owner Pat Carrier had put the 29-year-old store up for sale last November because of health issues and had received much interest and "several offers," but none of them "met our requirements for selling the business."

Carrier is still negotiating to sell the store's website--one of the oldest bookselling websites in the country--and other assets of the travel book and map specialty store.

Carrier thanked the store's more than two million customers over the years "whose faithful support made possible the Globe Corner's mission of providing an outstanding selection of materials on travel and geographic awareness. " He also thanked "the legions of extraordinary employees who passed through our doors," "an amazing group of authors" who appeared at the store and Harvard University, "whose enthusiastic support for and cooperation with the Globe Corner Bookstore enabled our presence in Harvard Square for the past 24 years."

Via e-mail and on the Globe Corner Bookstore's website, Ulla, the store dog, offered a playlist for the "wind-down" sale:

"Big Girls Don't Cry" (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons)
"Big Boys Don't Cry" (Extreme)
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" (Bobby McFerrin)

Carrier started running the Globe Corner Bookstore in 1982, when it was in Boston, and bought it in 1992. The first Globe Corner Bookstore in Cambridge opened in 1988. The store is descended from the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston that was founded in 1829.

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The verdict is in for Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo. Earlier this year, owner Kelly von Plonski said the shop had five months to turn sales around or it would close when the lease was up in September (Shelf Awareness, February 4, 2011).

Now June has arrived and "the answer is yes!" the Riverfront Times reported. "Sales have really improved since January," von Plonksi said, noting that there will be changes. "We're still looking to move. I'm vacillating about whether I can afford the high rent [at the store's current location in the Delmar Loop]. Right now I'm looking at Maplewood and South Grand."

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Yesterday, in "a special message" to customers and friends of "M" Is for Mystery... and More bookstore, San Mateo, Calif., owner Ed Kaufman wrote that he is "contemplating retiring from full-time work here at 'M.' The store is in its 15th year, and I am in my 81st. Both, thankfully, are still going strong, but it is time for me to step back and for someone else to take over. As many of you know, I had practiced law for 41 years (at one firm), having retired fully from that career in 2000. Being a bookseller is, by far, harder to give up!"

Kaufman expressed his desire "to see 'M' continue to do what I think we have done well, all these years: to consistently attract the best authors, from first-timers to bestselling household names, and to present them to the public at engaging events throughout the year, and to obtain signed first editions from authors not traveling to our area; and to continue to expand the list of literary and nonfiction authors whose work is reflected in the '...and More' of our store name. Doing all of the above, day in, day out, has spurred our growth over the years, and has formed the basis of our reputation nationally.

"It is impossible to sum up how satisfying, and often exciting, it has been to be a bookseller. People frequently say how much they would love to own a bookstore, and I am one of the fortunate ones who have had that experience. For anyone with an active interest, this is an invitation to contact me directly." You can reach Kaufman at ed@mformystery.com."

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Ben, "the iconic Colonial figure" that stood outside Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., for 37 years until being toppled by a car last July (Shelf Awareness, August 2, 2010), is returning to his spot on Route 6A, the Cape Cod Times reported. The official unveiling and welcome home party takes place this Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m. The store is also launching a commemorative soap with Ben's image created by Summer House Natural Soaps.

The statue was repaired by Ted and Timothy Titcomb and painted by Nancy Titcomb and her granddaughter Helen. Ted Titcomb crafted the metal statue as a school project in 1973.
 
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Pessimistic thought of the day: Pondering the fate of the book trade, Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam wrote that he "cannot imagine a worse time to buy a bookstore."

Optimistic counter-thought of the day, stated in two store e-newsletters this week. Rainy Day Books, Fairway Kan., wrote: "We've just returned from BookExpo America in New York City and we're happy to report: the book is alive and well!" And the Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis., noted: "Lanora and Dave have returned from Book Expo America in New York City and they have stories to tell! We saw many great books coming this fall and winter. Watch our schedule for some amazing opportunities to hear and meet the authors of the day! The book is alive and well!"

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Celebrating its 10th year in business, Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural and Bookstore, Sylmar, Calif., "has endeavored to be the San Fernando Valley's answer to City Lights, a Chicano-centric version of the San Francisco bibliophiles' paradise that mid-wifed the Beat generation," the Los Angeles Times reported, adding that "under the restlessly energetic ownership" of Luis Rodriguez, his wife Maria Trinidad Rodriguez and brother-in-law Enrique Sanchez, Tia Chucha's "continues to serve as a cultural oasis for a clientele with mostly modest incomes and limited access to wireless Internet, bookstores, movie theaters and live performance venues."

Supporters of Tia Chucha's say it "is one of the region's few remaining genuinely grass-roots cultural institutions aimed primarily at working-class people of color, at a time when numerous other community venues have fallen victim to rising rents or recessionary downturns," the Times wrote.

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More fallout from Amazon's "most well-read cities in America" list: Techflash observed that the "list is dominated by college towns, an indication that Amazon.com is a popular site for books among students."

In the Christian Science Monitor, Rebekah Denn wondered "if Portland, Ore., (#19) would have scored higher if we could have factored in sales from independent bookstores. There's always a healthy crowd and a line at the registers at Portland's landmark Powell’s bookstore. Then, how about towns with strong library systems? Would Seattle, which regularly dukes it out for the #1 spot on other literacy lists, have fared better if the list accounted for the Seattle and King County library systems? King County is one of the top library systems in the country by circulation--those are a lot of books that people aren't ordering through Amazon."

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With the 2012 London Olympic Games on the horizon, "poets from the 205 Olympic nations are competing to be part of the U.K.'s largest ever poetry festival next year," the Guardian reported. "Led by the Southbank Centre's artist in residence, Simon Armitage, and artistic director Jude Kelly, Poetry Parnassus will be part of next year's Cultural Olympiad," with the attending poets "taking part in readings, workshops and a gala event, touring the U.K. and contributing a poem in their own language for a poetry collection, The World Record, which will champion poetry in translation."

The public will nominate up to three poets from any of the competing nations. A panel will come up with the final one poet per country line-up, which will be announced next spring."

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The literary world can breathe easier now that the longtime feud between V.S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux, who had not spoken for 15 years, apparently ended with a handshake at the Hay Festival. The Telegraph reported that "yesterday the old friends turned bitter enemies did see each other in the festival green room and--with some help from Ian McEwan--there was a moving rapprochement."

"After so many years, we've finally spoken," said Theroux later. "I've had an experience today with a capital E."

Naipaul observed: "It was very nice to see him. And I'm pleased things have worked out the way they have."

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"Allow me to initiate your bookcase fetish, if you are not already afflicted," wrote Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., in its latest e-newsletter, which introduced a link to Neatorama's "18 Seriously Cool Bookshelves & Bookcases."

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Brian Dettmer’s "deconstructed vintage books" were showcased by Flavorwire.

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Book trailer of the day: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl: A Memoir by Kelle Groom (Free Press).

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Thomas Nelson has made the following appointments:

Effective July 1, Eric Shanfelt is joining the company as senior v-p of e-media, a new position. Shanfelt has more than 20 years of experience in digital and online media and has held executive jobs with Penton Media, Virgo Publishing and Interweave. Most recently he has consulted with companies about digital and online media.

Tom Knight has been named senior v-p of sales for all Thomas Nelson's publishing units. He formerly led the Christian retail and ministry sales divisions and joined the company in 2007 as v-p of independent retailing.

Sally Hofmann is being promoted to the live events leadership team as senior v-p of sales and marketing. She was formerly senior v-p of general market and international sales and joined the company in 2005.



Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Sales: Indigo in the Red

Revenue at Indigo Books & Music in the fourth quarter ended April 2 fell 7.7%, to $211 million (about US$216 million at today's ridiculous exchange rate), and the net loss was $11.7 million compared to a gain of $500,000 in the same quarter last year.

The company blamed "no hit equal to the runaway success of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight trilogy" and noted that this year's quarter was a week shorter.

For the year, revenue rose 5%, to $1.017 billion, and net earnings were $11.3 million, a large drop from net earnings of $23.6 million in the previous year.

Indigo said that the reduced profit was "expected as we continue to invest in the growth of Kobo and the establishment of the Indigo Lifestyle proprietary product design and development capability." And CEO Heather Reisman commented: "We are pleased with our revenue growth, particularly given the significant transition going on in our industry. Consumers have embraced our Kobo eReader and eBook offerings and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of an emerging global industry."


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


BEA: Children's Bookstores as the Destination

At this year's BEA Day of Education, children's booksellers discussed how they've made their stores into destinations for their community's families by communicating a clear message, attracting teens and expanding their nonbook areas.

"What is your why?" asked Kristen McLean, former executive director of the ABC, as moderator of "Turning Mindshare into Market Share." She urged booksellers to tell patrons why you do what you do, citing the important role booksellers already play in their lives as readers, according to the Bowker/PubTrack survey results released late last year.

Valerie Koehler opened Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., in 1996, when Amazon was on the rise, with two B&Ns two miles away. Koehler emphasized, "I want my piece of the pie, and I don't want [customers] to feel bad when they go elsewhere." She brands customers' experiences with free gift wrap featuring the Blue Willow Bookshop logo; and she speaks frequently at book groups, garden clubs and ladies' auxiliary meetings--and brings along books to sell. With every new baby gift, the store tosses in a gift certificate.

Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, Ga.), agreed that, with the demands on working families, customers may buy a book at Target or the supermarket. Her goal is to make sure they leave every event at her store with a Little Shop of Stories bookmark listing story times, and she asks every patron for an email address, to send a newsletter of monthly events. Both Koehler and Capriola do three or four storytimes each week. In response to an audience member's question about how they handle a customer who says, "I'll get it online," Capriola replied, "I tell them I can order it and have it in the store in two days, no shipping fees." McLean also suggested that stores tell customers, "Let me check our warehouse," and work with Baker & Taylor and Ingram to send the book directly to the customer.

Capriola and Koehler stressed the importance of telling customers about what's "new and wonderful. It's what we do best." They use staff picks, shelf-talkers and a store archive of staff reviews that employees can check for read-alikes. The audience favorite: in the week leading up to the royal wedding, Capriola and her team staged a canine royal wedding (with real dogs). Angelina's Wedding and Lilly's Big Day were on display; there was cake and dancing. "What you're selling is what they don't yet know they want," McLean noted. "You're selling the experience of discovery in the store."

With teens, however, you have to "meet them where they live," said the panelists on "The Digital Marketplace and the YA Audience." Moderator McLean, citing the same Bowker/PubTrack survey, said it's too soon to know how the uptick in ereader sales last Christmas has affected teen readers, but anecdotally, teens still prefer tangible books that they can pass on to their friends. Jacob Lewis, founder of Figment.com, said that mirrors the way Figment.com has evolved to meet the demands of the 35,000 teens on the site. "They're there to read and write the way that kids have always come to read and write," Lewis said. "It's more about the community than the technology." Meghan Dietsche Goel said, "We are where they live locally and that's our biggest advantage." They come into her teen section at BookPeople (Austin, Tex.) because they like the browsability of the books on the shelves. She's making teens into "the local big mouths" about new books by giving them a voice in the store's newsletter. Author and Scholastic executive editorial director David Levithan stressed the importance of an authentic experience for teens. "If you can get them to participate, they feel ownership," he suggested. If a store tells teen patrons that if they can help presell 100 copies of an author's book, the author will come to the store, Levithan said, "That's a call to action."

Moderator Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshop (Naperville, Ill.) gave her own subtle call for action to publishers in the panel "Selling Non-book in the Children's Department." Minimum retail pricing allows independent bookstores to compete with the big box stores in the toy market. Anderson and fellow panelists Beth Puffer of Bank Street Bookstore (New York City) and Andrea Vuleta of Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop (La Verne, Calif.) encouraged colleagues to start small, with a point-of-purchase display. Anderson mentioned "Best of the Best" from Blue Orange, which requires no minimum order and ships quickly. Ingram sells nonbook items at a wholesale discount; 15 units minimum can include a mix of toys and books. Edelweiss is adding Merrymakers and Crocodile Creek. Puffer said, "You don't have to go to the toy show to get the deal." Set up your toy area far from the door, so children can try the game in a safe area while parents browse. Start off playing with staff members so children will join in. "If a staff person loves it, they'll sell it," said Vuleta. "If you're playing the game, others pay attention." It's all about discovery.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Pennie Picks Mudbound

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin, $13.95, 9781565126770) as her pick of the month for June. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Because I've lived in Seattle my whole life, I have a deep appreciation for books that have the power to transport me to other, unfamiliar places. Hillary Jordan's Mudbound is exactly that kind of book.

"Set in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, Mudbound is told through several voices. City-bred Laura finds the cotton farm where she and her husband, Henry, now live strange and frightening. Henry is far too trusting, which results in the couple and their children living in a shack.

"Then there's the friendship between two men freshly returned from World War II. Henry's charming brother, Jaime, fights the demons he brought home from the war, while Ronsel Jackson, the son of a sharecropper, is transformed from war hero to just another black man.

"Mudbound is a testament to the power of a great book."




Media and Movies

Media Heat: Francine Prose on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow on the Today Show: Carolyn Evans, author of Forty Beads: The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage (Running Press, $14, 9780762439287).

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Tomorrow on a repeat of CBS's The Talk: Betty White, author of If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399157530).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David McCullough, author of The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781416571766).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Francine Prose, author of My New American Life (Harper, $25.99, 9780061713767). The show called this "the immigrant story told in a new way. Francine Prose's touching and funny character, Lula, is used to suffering--she comes from Albania. She has a lot to teach her American employers and friends who are only beginning to understand the deprivations of post-collapse America."

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Tomorrow on the Daily Show: Tim Tebow, author of Through My Eyes (Harper, $26.99, 9780062007285).

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Tomorrow on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Dick Van Dyke, author of My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780307592231).

Also on the Late Late Show: Kristin Gore, author of Sweet Jiminy (Hyperion, $23.99, 9781401322892).

 


Sutherland for President in The Hunger Games

Lionsgate announced that Donald Sutherland will play the role of President Snow in The Hunger Games, the movie trilogy directed by Gary Ross and based on the novels by Suzanne Collins, Deadline.comreported. Sutherland joins a cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley and Elizabeth Banks.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Moby Book Trailer Finalists; Reading the West

The second annual Moby Awards gala, celebrating the best and worst book trailers released last year, will take place Thursday night at Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn at 8 p.m. The event is open to the public, with black tie attire suggested but optional. Nominees in all categories can be found--and viewed--here.

A special lifetime achievement award will be presented to Washington Post book editor Ron Charles for his contribution to the field of video book reviewing. Electric Literature will be given the General Technical Excellence and Courageous Pursuit of Gloriousness Award for contribution to innovation in publishing. Author Gary Shteyngart will receive the first Grand Jury/We're Giving You This Award Because Otherwise You'd Win Too Many Other Awards Award.
 
"I feel that book trailers have gotten worse. The Moby Awards are more essential to homeland security than ever before," said Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson.

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The winners of the 2011 Reading the West Book Awards, sponsored by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association:

Adult: The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Children's: Starfish by James Crowley (Disney Book Group)



Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 7:

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Harper, $26.99, 9780062049803) takes place deep in the Amazon jungle, where a pharmaceutical researcher searches for her missing mentor.

No One in the World: A Novel by E. Lynn Harris and R.M. Johnson (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439178096) follows estranged twins--one a defense attorney, the other a criminal--reconciling to organize their late father's estate.

Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $27.95, 9780425241134) is book 20 of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.

Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America by Ann Coulter (Crown, $28.99, 9780307353481). More Coulter...


Now in paperback

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay Books, $16.99, 9780316017930).

YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz (Free Press, $16.99, 9780743292580).

 


Book Brahmin: Sara Gran

Sara Gran is the author of four novels, most recently Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June 2, 2011), the first in a series featuring eccentric and brilliant Claire DeWitt, who not only solves crimes but must solve the mysteries in her own troubled past. Gran's books have been translated into a dozen languages, been optioned for film and TV, and earned praise from Sue Grafton, Bret Easton Ellis, George Pelecanos and Kate Atkinson.

On your nightstand now:

I don't keep books on my nightstand. Well, I do, but only when there's nowhere else to put them--I don't read in bed. Insomnia. But what I'm reading now is: The Royal Family by William T. Vollman; The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larson; Buddhahood Without Meditation by Dudjom Lingpa.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Amphigory by Edward Gorey (I know, completely inappropriate--it was the '70s!). I also loved D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. A fantastic combination, now that I think about it!

Your top five authors:

I tend to have favorite books more than favorite authors, so I will be specific: Shirley Jackson (We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Bird's Nest); Charles Portis (Dog of the South, Gringos); Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye); William Burroughs (Junky--his other books are a bit over my head); Lao Tzu (The Tao De Ching--doesn't that sound pretentious? But it really is a neat book and a lot of fun to read, and I dive into it over and over again).

Book you've faked reading:

Nearly every book I was assigned for 12 years of school. I couldn't even begin to list them all. I hated school. I cut classes and read V.C. Andrews and Raymond Chandler. And I would happily do so again today.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Nelson Algren's Nonconformity, the best book ever written on writing, which I have tried to push on thousands of people and succeeded exactly never. Good. More for me.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Right now I am looking at a book I have propped up near my computer called Alfred Hitchcock's Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries, which I bought at the Berkeley Flea Market for a few dollars. The cover is a brightly colored illustration of Hitchcock and a boy detective (how did they team up?) examining footprints under a magnifying glass. Five exciting cases to test the wits of young detectives. Sadly, I'm not young, or a detective, or particularly wit-full, so my odds of solving these particular mysteries are slim.

Book that changed your life:

Well, I think everything changes us, all the time. But Annie Rogers's book The Unsayable, which introduced me to Lacanian psychoanalysis, radically altered the way I perceive language and psychology.

Favorite line from a book:

Hopefully I'll write that today. Wouldn't that be a good Monday? In the meantime, from Charles Portis's True Grit: "People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father's blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day." Is there a single word of that anyone in their right mind would change?

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Boy, would I like to read one of those Shirley Jackson books for the first time again! But maybe they wouldn't be as captivating without the layers of childhood memories. I guess when it comes down to it I'm pretty happy with my reading chronology as it stands.

 



Book Review

Children's Review: I Want My Hat Back

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, $15.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780763655983, September 2011)

Hats off to Jon Klassen (Cats' Night Out), who makes a droll statement about morality for all ages with the first picture book that he has both written and illustrated. His limited palette in earth tones, bare-bones compositions and spare dialogue accentuate the emotional journey of his bear hero.

"My hat is gone. I want it back," the bear states simply at the story's start. No one else is visible. A few blades of grass and stones against a cream-colored background suggest an outdoor setting. His expression here is the same one he wears on the book's cover. As the story progresses, Klassen demonstrates what the slightest shift of the shape of the eyes or a change in posture can do to convey his character's mood. The bear meets a fox. "Have you seen my hat?" The bear's question is printed in New Century Schoolbook black type, like Dick and Jane primers. The fox's response appears in brown: "No. I haven't seen your hat." "OK. Thank you anyway," the bear answers in black type. This exchange sets up the story's structure; the clever design dispenses with the need for quotation marks. Next, the bear asks a frog about his hat. The frog responds in green type, "No. I have not seen any hats around here." With each encounter, Klassen places the scene on the left, and the dialogue on the right-hand page. The third character the bear meets, a rabbit, sports a red triangle on his head. "Have you seen my hat?" "No. Why are you asking me. I haven't seen it," the rabbit replies in red, "I would not steal a hat. Don't ask me any more questions." "OK. Thank you anyway," goes the hero's polite refrain, and on he searches.

Even if young readers make a connection at this point that the bear does not, the suspense builds. The bear meets other creatures after the rabbit, including a turtle whom he kindly helps to mount a rock. But no one has seen his hat. The bear lies down on the bottom of the spread, and his thoughts appear above him. "What if nobody ever finds it? My poor hat. I miss it so much." A deer comes along and asks the bear to describe his hat, and that triggers the epiphany. Klassen uses the turn of the page brilliantly for the climax: "I HAVE SEEN MY HAT." The bear literally sees red; he sits up on a tomato-colored page that infuses his fur. Klassen, with a background in animation, paces the next spreads like film sequences. A wordless image depicts the woodland creatures looking on as the bear runs to his hat. Next, the words "YOU. YOU STOLE MY HAT" appear on the right, above a full-spread illustration, as if the bear burst into the rabbit's habitat (the same unique twig partially masks the culprit). The once-verbose rabbit says nothing, but his eyes grow large. Then, the bear wears the hat. Alone. "I love my hat." One last conversation (with a new arrival, a squirrel) suggests what may have transpired, a perfect echo of the bear's exchange with the rabbit. The beauty of a visual solution is that it allows children not ready for a worst-case scenario to assume another outcome. This book's call-and-response form infiltrates the consciousness like song lyrics, and will soon be filling bookstores, libraries and living rooms everywhere.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


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