Tuesday, April 17, 2007

and still the comments rage on into the night

In the comments of that Read Roger post, which continue to be be thought-provoking, Roger wrote:

"Fuse's point that blog reviewers might ignore a bad book from a blogosphere acquaintance is certainly possible, but isn't it also possible that a mediocre book could be reviewed "because she's so nice" or something? Readers of blog reviews generally have no clue why a certain book was chosen for review. They don't know what universe of books the reviewer is selecting from. I know there has been something of a movement for blog reviewers to tell readers the source of a book being reviewed (ARC, from the library, bought, etc.) but I'm not sure that informational is in itself helpful unless the reader also knows what books in general the reviewer is seeing."

I'm not entirely sure I have anything to add to this, I just thought it a very interesting point. Though perhaps the answer is implicit in the very nature of blogging: this book was chosen because I had something to say about it.

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review: Grandmothers Nursery Rhymes/Las Nanas de Abuelita

And a big fat smack on the side of my head for forgetting to save this for Poetry Friday...

Grandmother's Nusery Rhymes/Las Nanas de Abuelita complied by Nelly Palacio Jaramillo. Illustratrated by Elivia. Henry Holt, 1994; 1996 (978-0-8050-4644-1) $7.95 pb

Whether you want to expose your kids to a bit of South American culture, try reading a little Spanish, or just enjoy some unfamiliar nusery rhymes, this collection of rhyming riddles and lullabies has something for you. Many of the rhymes are adivinanzas, riddles for which the answer is a letter or an object; I particularly like the riddles for the five vowels, subtly illustrated to suggest the shapes of the letters. (Though the answers are also right there, removing any real mystery.) These verses are short and sweet enough for English speakers to attempt the Spanish versions, but the translations also seem to do an excellent job of keeping the rhythm and sense of the originals; even a poem which is a play on young children's classic mispronunciation of Spanish numbers is entertaining in English:

estaba la reina
sentada al bufete.


A one
is two,
a tree,
what for,
a fife
my sis,
the queen
did kiss.

Exuberant, sometimes slightly surreal watercolors of plump babies, loving parents and other happy people and animals cozily surround the text, giving the unfamiliar rhymes a comfortably familiar, nursery-rhyme feel. (2-6)

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lest we forget

book, book, book has some interesting notes on her class's observance of Holocaust Memorial Day. My reading in this area is clearly out of date, but some more titles can be found in my bibliography here.

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let's not get too comfortable

Read Roger has some pithy comments about the small world of the kidlitosphere. A while back I asked blog reviewers if knowing authors online influenced their reviewing (this question also inspired by a post by Roger) and several admitted that they might shy away from negatively reviewing books by online friends. Perfectly understandable, especially for those of us who aren't editors of major review publications, but also something to be concerned about in the long term.

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