Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Edge of the Forest

The new issue of The Edge of the Forest is up and features an interview with yours truly.

The Edge of the Forest is going to include a feature called Kid Picks, which I appreciate. I'm always droning on about how kids don't often get an opportunity to have any say in kid literature--they don't write it, edit it, or review it, and have no part in making library and classroom selections. It looks as if once a month a group of kids will get a chance to be heard at The Edge of the Forest, at least.

Readerville Authors

I've got a little news about two authors from the Readerville community. I just learned that YA author Rosemary Graham has started a blog. And Anne Ursu received a very good review for The Shadow Thieves in the new Horn Book.

Has Gail Been Reading Anything Lately?

Yes, she has. Not too long ago I read
Golden & Grey by Louise Arnold.

I number of years back I read a ghost story to some young relatives. I swear, I thought it was going to be a neat, fun experience. However, the child ghost involved had died some kind of horrible death, and there was lots of talk about decomposition.

One of the kids I was reading to has never recovered.

If only Golden & Grey had been around back then. This ghost story brings fun back to the idea of ghosts, in large part because ghosts aren't spirits of the dead. They are just...ghosts. So there's absolutely no boo-hoo factor at all. At least as part as the dead are concerned.

Tom Golden is a very unhappy child who seemed to have had a good life going for him until his family moved, and he started being tormented at his new school. Grey Arthur is a ghost with no job description. All the other ghosts have specific jobs, like poltergeist, for instance. Grey Arthur doesn't have much in the way of skills. He's kind of depressed and directionless.

Unhappy child. Unhappy ghost. They were made for each other. Grey Arthur creates a job for himself--invisible friend to Tom Golden. When Tom is the victim of an accident that leaves him able to see Arthur, things get even better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it.

This book has the wonderful detail that I've always thought is J. K. Rowling's greatest strength. And lo and behold, Arnold was discovered in a BBC contest looking for the next J. K. Rowling. (Though Arnold says she's never read any of the Potter books--she's seen the movies.)

Instead of murky plots involving good and evil, though, Golden & Grey focuses very intently on a child-centered situation. Tom is miserable at school. Hey, lots of kids are miserable at school. Lots of kids would love an invisible friend to help them get through their days.

I thought the book slowed down when an adult bad-guy entered the picture, though I don't know if child readers would be bothered. Otherwise, this was a very enjoyable read. And I'm not even bothered much by school these days.

If you go to Amazon.com and check out the reviews for Golden & Grey, you'll see that School Library Journal really did not care for it at all. At last! A book I liked that other reviewers didn't!


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