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[personal profile] justice_turtle
The 1923 and 1924 Newberys had no Honor Books, so I'm going to lump them together, and 1925 - which had two Honor Books - as well.

(I really wish the history of the deliberations was public, you know? Or made public after a certain time, like census records are, when the particular award had ceased to be CURRENT DRAMA. I know that for the first year any librarian could make a nomination and anything nominated got onto the list, after which they switched to a committee format; but it's only a guess that for the next two years the committee worked on a "pick only one book" plan, till 1925 changed their minds somehow.)

1923 )

1924 )

1925 )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: Four unconnected short stories of children having fairy-tale-esque dreams. Very, very Hans Christian Andersen in tone.

Reaction: Story #1 seemed kind of unbalanced for the "happy" ending it was trying to have - it focused mainly on the princess's daytime unhappiness, with no prospect of anything changing in the future, and her only happiness occurring in dreams that are usually flattened the following day. The story ends on a dream, not a flattening, but it's hard to avoid the implication that the princess is in for more unhappiness after the story ends.

Story #2 was, I think, really the most realistic dream of the four. It was very neatly set up and didn't quiiiite make rational sense, but did make excellent dream-sense. I found the snowman's predicament upsetting (especially since he couldn't get anyone to listen to him, which admittedly is quite a normal childhood fear), and that again takes up a little more of the story than is quite balanced, but overall I'd say it's well worth reading.

Story #3 was eminently skippable - racist, moralistic, and just all-around WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE. It's still quite reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen, and I don't mean to imply any kind of plagiarism or anything offensive to either author when I mention The Nightingale specifically, but... it doesn't quite have the scope or panache that make The Nightingale memorable.

Story #4 was an excellent, excellent nature-personification story of the day; it should have been issued alone, with lavish full-color oil-painted illustrations in a Jessie Willcox Smith sort of style, and it should have been famous and should still be in print due to nostalgia. And it should definitely have taken the Newbery Medal over Tales from Silver Lands and Nicholas, A Manhattan Christmas Story.

But it didn't. In fact, the copyright was never even renewed, so now it's in the public domain. At least that means you can go read it here! :D Story #4 starts on Page 87, and Story #2 on page 29; there are internal links in the Table of Contents. All original illustrations are intact.

Conclusion: Four stars. I'd give it five, but story #3 was really pretty racist in a mild, unintentional, fairytale way that's (imo) kind of worse than intentional racism. :-( And there was just a tad bit of the same in story #1.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
* This is an incredibly old and fragile book. I've seen and handled worse, but never gotten them through interlibrary loan; thus I've never seen a book with a label warning me in large letters that it could cost upwards of $600 to replace, before.

* This copy was printed in 1926. It says "reissued" after the original 1924 edition; does that mean it had already gone out of print / they only did one printing and then remaindered it? I know so little about publishing. :S

Read more... )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: A live Dutch doll about eight inches tall, named Nicholas, visits a fantasyfied New York City to see the sights.

Reaction: This book could have been so, so, so good. I love "virtual tour" stories about places I've never been; if this had been a good example of that genre, I would've had no complaints.

Sadly, it's not an example of the genre at all. It belongs to the very close but distinct genre of "tour guide disguised as fiction" - landmarks aren't clearly described, just mentioned offhand, with very specific directions as to finding them "on the ground", and it's really hard to stay interested in the storyline when whole chapters consist of "they went to this really awesome little place! and this one! and this one!" with no atmosphere to give a sense of the places. It's really clearly aimed at kids who live in 1920s New York and have the ability to follow in Nicholas's sightseeing footsteps.

WHICH IS SAD. A book that did give the atmosphere of these little hole-in-the-wall shops and big department stores would be an invaluable time-capsule story for its era! There are tiny hints of time-capsule things anyway, like the NYC-dwellers counting time by the flashes of the (then brand-new) stoplight at Forty-Second and Fifth - but just not enough. :-(

Conclusion: Two stars. I'd mark it much higher, but it was clearly never intended to go beyond its own place and time, and therefore doesn't really belong on the Newbery list.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
I have finally acquired for review one of the half-dozen Newbery Honor books not even my old home library had! ALL HAIL INTERLIBRARY LOAN. XD This would be one of the 1925 Newbery Honor Books - the year of Tales from Silver Lands. (I've also got the other Honor Book from that year on request, but it's not in yet.)

this is a very old book )

I'm not going to read all the rest of this. I gave it a fair shot, 100 pages, and I see why not even my old library of completism owned it. It was a good book at the time and for the place it was written in, but it doesn't have much interest beyond that place and time.

I still would've voted to give it the Newbery above "Tales from Silver Lands" if it had had that absolute necessity of tour-books which are intended to replace rather than supplement a trip to the place: better visual descriptions, fewer El stops. :P
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: Retellings of South American folktales apparently collected by Mr Finger in his youth.

Reaction: I didn't finish, because the retellings were... well, about half of the ones I read were pretty good but could have been better. The other half had this blatantly colonialist kind of "look at the quaint natives!" attitude going on. Also, whitewashing, and hints of sexism. I quit after a wise old man advised a guy who'd fallen in love with a star-maiden that he had a chance with her if he only wanted her for her beauty and not to make others envious. Because CLEARLY those are the only two reasons to romance a woman. I know fairy-tales aren't much on the "you don't actually know her, why don't you look around down here?" thing, but EVEN SO.

Conclusion: One star. For not being The Old Tobacco Shop. ;-)
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
I'll post a review of "The Dark Frigate" later; I'm in a bit of a hurry right now.

****

1925 had two Newbery Honor Books: The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish and Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story by Annie Carroll Moore. Neither one is available to me. The next book on my reading list, therefore, is "Tales from Silver Lands" by Charles Joseph Finger. It's billed as a collection of folktales from the natives of the South American back-country, which Mr Finger apparently explored.

Here goes! ) I'M DONE NOW. Jerk.

* Reading Charles Finger's Wiki bio, though, I'm struck by how many of the writers I've read here so far aren't American-born and/or don't set their stories in the USA. Finger and Lofting were both British-born, Van Loon Dutch-born, Padraic Colum Irish; Hawes and Bernard Gay Marshall, American-born, seem to prefer England and (in Hawes's case) the Spanish Main for their settings; William Bowen appears to have no biographical information anywhere. (Perhaps he disappeared from the timestream in shame, but couldn't erase The Old Tobacco Shop from the Newbery list. TOO BAD.)

Only Cornelia Meigs, so far, is both definitely American-born and set her Newbery Honor story completely in America.

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