Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No Whoopee Cushions in the Library!!!

OK! First things first!

The October Issue of The Edge of the Forest is up. There are a TON of YA reviews and some great articles.

I personally review The Hollywood Sisters: Caught on Tape by Mary Wilcox and Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth.

Also, nominations are still open for the Cybils. I always like to wait until the end, because I can't figure out what to nominate (really? only one?!) so I wait and hope that most of my list is nominated by the time I get around to it. BUT! Time is running out. I've already nominated in some categories. You should too!

But, now onto some very old books for book reviews. Both of these titles are ones I read when I was a child and remembered fondly, so picked them up. Both of them were books that haunted me, as I remembered only the scantest of details and nothing as useful as, say, a title. But I tracked them both down...

The song of the day is Charlotte Sometimes by The Cure, because it's about the first book I'm talking about,

Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer

On that bleak track
(See the sun is gone again)
The tears were pouring down her face
She was crying and crying for a girl
Who died so many years before...

It's always dangerous to reread a childhood favorite. I've been burned in the past, but... I'm so glad I reread this one.

Charlotte goes to boarding school in mid-century England. The second day there, she wakes up to find she's gone back in time 50 years and changed places with a girl called Clare. Charlotte and Clare spend one day in their own time, one day in each other's, and then one day back in their own time and on and on until...

Charlotte is moved off campus, stuck in Clare's time. Trapped at the end of WWI, with a growing flu epidemic, she grows conflicted. Charlotte wonders where she ends and where Clare begins, and as memories of her real life fade, she wonders if she ever will go back, or even if she wants to.

This book was even better than I remembered it. Farmer really delves into some deep issues and she treats them well, but, at the same time, so light-handed that they're just left as a little niggling thought in the back of your head.

Now, the book I've pictured and linked to is a re-release, and I've heard they CHANGED THE ENDING. The book I just reread and reviewed is the original. I'm trying to get my hands on a copy of the new version. I'll let you know what I find out.

I am less glad I reread Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett.

I remembered this book as a mischievous little witch who invites her friends over to make cool potions.

Sigh. I know this is the book I was thinking of, I remember the cover exactly and when I re-read it, I was like, oh yeah, ok. Still, I think maybe I'll just write the story I remember as it's so much cooler.

Instead, we have a little girl who's mother is a witch and very mean. The little girl sneaks out to go to school and finally makes some friends. All she wants to do is a see a fairy, and, while her evil mother is off being evil, she and her friends sneak into the potion cupboard to try and make a fairy potion or something.

This book was originally written in the early 50s and smacks of the same overly cloying sentimentality of Dick and Jane readers. Puke.

That said, I don't know how many times I read this book in elementary school. I remember going to the library, picking all my books, and, while waiting for the rest of the family to finish up, pulling this book off the shelf and just randomly opening it up and re-reading until everyone else was ready. So... kids might still like it, but I'm not so sure about adults...


Kristin said...

I've always adored "Charlotte Sometimes" (definately one of the books I kept in the great Book Purge of 2007) so I don't know what to think about a new ending. I kind of want to read it just to see what they did to it. Now I'm especially glad I kept my copy from the 80s!

Jennie said...

Did you know there are companion novels to Charlotte Sometimes? Have you read them? Are they any good? Am I asking too many questions?

I, too, am afraid of the new ending... grrrrr

Anonymous said...

As for Cybils nominations... if you haven't yet read Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, go out and read it and nominate that!! I LOVED that book, but had already nominated in each category.

Jennie said...

Oooo... I've already nominated in YA (I went with Cupcake by Rachel Cohn).

I haven't read Love, Stargirl yet, but it's on the list!