Newbery Honor: Vaino, A Boy of New Finland

[Written right before posting:] So I finally gave up on this... miserable object... (I tell you, I'm really regretting right now that I didn't make this blog R-rated) and decided to post what I had. In hopes that people will wail back at me and share my pain. O_O

In other notes, I've finally realized that putting the warnings in the actual post body as well as in the cut would be useful for anyone who ever gets linked here from anywhere. I'll do that from now on, and at some point go back and edit them into all the old liveblog posts. :D


[Earlier:] ...I have no idea whether "New Finland" here means a place that is not Finland, like New York or New Zealand, or whether it means "contemporary Finland" as opposed to "traditional Finland with Lapps and reindeer and that".

LET'S FIND OUT. (Since I only have this book on interlibrary loan till October 7. ;P)

WARNINGS: normative arranged marriage, suicide, misogyny, classism, wildly skewed Finnish history... I may have missed something there because after 'suicide' the problems started coming so thick and fast I forgot to warn at the time )

* You know what? I'm done. This book is SO BIASED, and every bad sort of -ist possible [except maybe racist, which it made up for by being AS CLASSIST AS POSSIBLE, like the Dynne in The Phantom Tollbooth whose middle initial "A." stood for "AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE", only with classism]. I have no more interest in it whatsover. Blaaaaaaah. Done.

ETA: I found and fixed my own overflowing link. Aren't you proud of me? ;P Yes, this book has addled my brain. Addled, I say.

Newbery Honor: The Tangle-Coated Horse and Other Tales, Episodes from the Fionn Saga (Ella Young)

Sorry about the delay in posting. I had a day. A couple of days.


Today in Returning Newbery Authors we have Ella Young, whose previous tour-de-force The Wonder Smith and His Son was made of awesome and win, and took the second of our six five-star ratings so far. :D Once again she's retelling pre-Christian Irish folk tales -- this time from the story of Fionn mac Uail (pronounced "Finn Mac Ool"), one of Ireland's two best-known legendary folk heroes. (The other one is Cúchulain.)

let's go! )

That was a good book.

Newbery Honor: Pran of Albania (Elizabeth Cleveland Miller)

This is an out-of-print interlibrary loan, 257 pages long. Here goes.

a book, a book! )

This was a really slow book. And I'm really disappointed with the one pivotal scene that kept this from being the very first Newbery book about a female protagonist with agency. :P

Newbery Honor: Calico Bush (Rachel Field)

I'd never even heard of this book before I started reading Newberys, but it's by the author of Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, so I'm expecting - at a minimum - solid research and reasonable use of language. :D

here we go! WARNING: child injury, traumatic child death )

Review: The ABC Bunny (Wanda Gág)

Summary: Tells the simple story of a rabbit who runs away from various scary loud noises, meets various other animals, and goes back home in the evening. Includes an ABC song consisting of the entire book sung to a tune composed by Ms Gág's sister Flavia.

Reaction: Disappointing. The music and the pictures are both good, but the lyrics which link the two are terribly flat. There is no plot, no humor, very little logical connection or progression from one letter to the next, and not even a funny turn of phrase to lighten the slog. A book with something like twenty pages shouldn't be a slog. O_O

Conclusion: One star, mainly because I can't give Wanda Gág zero stars. :P The tune and the pictures between them do actually deserve a star, though.

Newbery Honor: The ABC Bunny (Wanda Gág)

I'm jumping ahead to 1934 here because The ABC Bunny is due back at the library in a week and I'd rather not have to order it on hold again.

and yet another picture book )

*sigh* At least the Caldecott will come along in a few years and send the Newbery to focus mostly on non-picture books for older readers?

Newbery Honor: Little Blacknose (Hildegarde Hoyt Swift)

Little Blacknose by Hildegarde Hoyt Swift... is apparently about a train engine. Specifically, the Dewitt Clinton -- the first steam engine built for the New York Central Railroad, according to this book's blurb. It ran between Albany and Schenectady, and literally the only other thing I kind of vaguely know about it is that there was a torchlight procession or some such thing when it was commissioned. I think. This factoid appeared in a Boxcar Children book one time. Unless it was about the opening of the Erie Canal under New York governor Dewitt Clinton. ;S

here we go! )

* And you know, I'm glad he gets a happy ending, at least in the story. I've come to love this little old engine over the last 150 pages. :-)

Newbery Honor: Spice and the Devil's Cave (Agnes Danforth Hewes)

So. The next book on this list that I actually have is Spice and the Devil's Cave, Newbery Honor 1931, available free here thanks to the University of Pennsylvania.

bad research and a lot of misogyny )

Newbery Honor: Clearing Weather (Cornelia Meigs)

...312 pages, due on Friday. Or Thursday. The library website and the interlibrary loan notice on the front of the book disagree. :P *sigh* I might need to check this one out again.

onward! -- classism, racism, the myth of the One True Passion In Life for each worker, and me getting overexcited about many things )

Sorry, Cornelia Meigs. I think I may have outgrown you. :P

Newbery Honor: The Boy Who Was (Grace Taber Hallock), Part 3 and final

more liveblogging )

...You know what? I'm bored. I'm bored of this book. I don't want to do the last two chapters. (There are only two, about Barbarossa and Garibaldi respectively - and I really, really don't want to hear any more about the Piratey Muslim Wickedness of Hayreddin Barbarossa.) I'm done.

At least I know who Hayreddin Barbarossa is now. ;-) It was really a fairly educational book, if by "book" I mean "source of search strings I never thought to look up before". ;-)

Newbery Honor: The Boy Who Was (Grace Taber Hallock), Part 2

Okay, let's see if I can get any further here. This book has to go back on the 18th, finished or no.

we were on top of a mountain )

...aaand it was Monday somewhere back there. What did I get, like two pages further? O_O

I now have another interlibrary loan as well, due the day after this one, so I'm going to have to put in a lot more work on Newberys this week if I want to finish either one. :P

Newbery Honor: The Boy Who Was (Grace Taber Hallock), Part 1

I have another interlibrary loan in -- the last but one of the 1920s Newberys. :D This is called The Boy Who Was, and I know nothing about it except that I'm fairly sure it's not a predecessor to the Harry Potter series. *g*

(This concludes your Harry Potter jokes for this liveblog, as I've never actually read those books.)

to the liveblog! )

* Oof, I'm on page 10. I'm not exactly bored, but this is a lot of long work, googling all these things and putting together ideas. RESEARCH.

And it is Monday (ish - it was Monday twenty minutes ago? ;P), so I post.

Newbery Honor: The Pigtail of Ah Lee Ben Loo (John Bennett)

I have an interlibrary loan! ...I can only assume from the title and what I can see of the front cover that this is another glowing example of early 20th century chinoiserie, like Shen of the Sea. Because cultural appropriation always makes for happy kiddie fun times, am I right or am I right?

(Huh. Maybe I've had this the wrong way round. Maybe a snarky writing tone doesn't make for more interesting liveblogs; maybe if you liveblog terrible books long enough you inexorably develop a snarky writing tone, like it or no. ;P)

Anyway. ONWARD. And, uh, downward? Certainly not upward. *dry grin*

The Pigtail of Ah Lee Ben Loo )

* You know what? I took a break to let my brain recover, and then I flipped forward, and "The Persian Columbus" begins with the "renowned Caliph Haroun Al Huck El Berri" discovering from the newspaper that Columbus says the earth is round, a thing which none of his Persian advisers and mathematicians know... and I am just done. DONE DONE DONE. I don't like this guy's sense of humor and I don't care to give this book another chance.

Mock Newbery: Emily of New Moon (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years keeps defeating my attempts to liveblog it - it's a very densely packed book, I could write a dissertation on it, but not in a week! - so while I figure out what to do with that, I'm stepping back a few years to 1923, the year when The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes was the only book on the Newbery list.

In 1923, Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, already famous for the Anne of Green Gables series, published the unrelated novel Emily of New Moon simultaneously in the US and Canada. That means Emily is eligible for my "Mock Newberys of the Past" series under the same section of the Newbery rules which allowed Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book, published simultaneously in the US and Britain, to win the 2009 Newbery. (I don't know if Emily would have been eligible at the time, but I follow modern Newbery rules throughout, not having a complete list of year-by-year changes to the Newbery rules to work with.)

Sooo I'm liveblogging Emily of New Moon as a Mock Newbery candidate opposite The Dark Frigate. MAY THE BEST BOOK WIN. ;P

and GO! ) And I am just DONE with this Emily-can-do-no-wrong, everybody's-picking-on-her, mess of a book.

Newbery Honor: The Jumping-Off Place (Marian Hurd McNeely)

I don't think I know anything about this book, except that it's a 1930 Newbery Honor Book and that it's out of copyright (available here). So!


:PPPPPP I'm done. I'm just done. It's quite obvious that everything will work out fine for the Linville kids, but that I'll keep calling out unfortunate turns of phrase and weird implications bordering on the offensive, or (as here) crossing well over that border, for the rest of the book. Blah.


...why did I flip to the end. WHY. Now I have icky victim-blaming defense of domestic violence ) stuck in my head. :PPPPPP

Newbery Medal: Waterless Mountain (Laura Adams Armer)

Oh, good grief. Another story about Southwestern Native Americans by a white person? I'm so tired of this Random Indigenous Peoples trend.

Here we go again! )

Well! I liked that a lot better than I expected. :D I still have some reservations about it, but overall it was a very pretty, readable, lovely book. And apparently (more) accurate about contemporary Navajo culture, too!

Newbery Honor: Runaway Papoose (Grace Moon)

I'm... less than optimistic about this book, because of the title. It's also out of print - I've got it on an interlibrary loan - but after Wonder Smith, Dream Coach, and Tod of the Fens (on the one hand) and The Story of White People and Shen of the Sea (on the other), I have serious doubts that the survival of a title on this list actually has anything to do with its quality. ^_^

holds nose and dives in; warning: fat-shaming )

...yeah, guess what? I'm done. I don't even care what happens in the rest of this book. Good-bye.

Newbery Honor: Tod of the Fens (Elinor Whitney)

This book is available online, thanks to the University of Pennsylvania's "Celebration of Women Writers" website. I don't know... anything else about it. Here we go!

spoily spoilers of spoileriness )

WARNING: if you don't want to be majorly spoiled for a lot of very good plot-twists and good writing, DO NOT READ THIS POST! Read the review instead, once I post it. Or read the book itself. *points to link at beginning of post* It's Merrie Englande historical fiction, Henry IV era, the best research and the best period mentality I have EVER EVER seen done. Ever. The best conversational banter, too, and some darn good plotting and pacing. It's a story that, except for the part where it's also totally comprehensible to the modern reader (as long as the modern reader has a high tolerance for "wouldst" and "thou" etc), could have been written contemporary to when it takes place - it doesn't even have the "of course supernatural is bosh" thing going on. O_O And there is NO SORT OF FAIL AT ALL, within the confines of historical realism - except all the Germans are evil, but she's writing in the 1920s, I can give her evil Hanseatic League Germans. *dry grin*

Seriously. If you have an interest in well-researched historical fiction, especially with mystery or romance or adventure involved, READ THIS BOOK.

Newbery Honor: Downright Dencey (Caroline Dale Snedeker)

Oooh...kay. I tried to read this one before, but couldn't get past the first chapter for, if I recall correctly, personal reasons. Let's see if that's still the case.

Read more... )

Anyway, I'm done. O_O

Newbery Honor: The Dream Coach (Anne & Dillwyn Parrish)

* 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... )