Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: A Good Sequel

Scumble by Ingrid Law

A strong sequel to Savvy, Scumble manages to surprise and entertain with a fairly unpredictable coming-of-age story. Meaty and well developed--a pleasure to read!

And, seeing as it's summer, another one as well, though the picture is the completely wrong edition. . . .

Presenting Miss Jane Austen by May Lamberton Becker
This classic, quirky biographer for young readers is a period piece that unashamedly promotes the idea of great books and The Literary Canon. May Lamberton Becker ( has a definite voice and a definite world view, and, luckily, Jane Austen aligned neatly with both. The book is interesting in both its content and its freedom in embroidering historical fact with personal opinion: Becker twice remarks that since Austen children never heard nor spoke bad grammar or slang, it was natural that Austen was such a great writer, for example. Interestingly enough, when I dug into who exactly MLB was, I found that the glowing blurb on the back of my vintage 1952 (Goodreads says "first published" in 2006--ha!) was written by Beatrice Warde, who happened to be Becker's daughter. Curiouser and curiouser! Still, the book is interesting, if only as an historical example of the inherited cultural canon and its promotion. I wonder if it has been brought up to date at all in its "new" edition.

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