Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving Reading

I often feel badly because I can't begin to keep up with reading all the new children's and YA books that are published each year. I try to bolster my self-esteem with the knowledge that because I often read older books, I'm able to give some attention here to titles that aren't getting much press any longer. Today's post is a case in point.

I'm sure everyone recalls that yesterday was Thanksgiving. While other relatives prepared the meal, I was able to hunt through my six-year-old niece's book collection. I found a couple of incredible gems that were purchased long before the little girl was born.

Zoom Away and Zoom Upstream are two beautiful picture books written by Tim Wynne-Jones and illustrated by Ken Nutt. They both involve the adventures of a cat named Zoom and a human woman named Maria. They are the second and third installments of a trilogy (my niece's family doesn't have the first book), and they both involve Zoom and Maria hunting for Zoom's uncle, a sea captain who appears to have been lost at sea. In Zoom Away they search for him in the Arctic, which can be accessed through a room upstairs in Zoom's house. In Zoom Upstream Zoom and Maria head off for Egypt, which, again, they can reach through some spot in Zoom's house. The books are marvelous stories with marvelous award-winning black and white illustrations.

The two books, which I managed to read while I should have been mingling with relatives, were published in the 1980s and early '90s and are now out of print. I've heard of Tim Wynne-Jones, a big noise out of Canada who occasionally writes articles for The Horn Book Magazine. I most definitely will be looking for his other books now.


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