Sunday, February 18, 2007

I think my brain is coming out of the peanut butter muck after several days of being miserable. I thought I had the nasty stomach flu that is tearing its way through North Carolina, even closing down schools. There I was curled up in quilts, sitting on a heating pad to stay warm due to the chills, while I watched the eveing news. I then heard my beloved Peter Pan is the culprit that has made me sicker than a dog. Of course I have the tainted lot starting with 2111 and the jar is 2/3s empty. Peanut butter toast had been my comfort food and it was making me sicker!

Sick or not, I have been entertained by the discussion on the listservs about the use of the word scrotum on the first page of the Newbery winner - The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. I have to admit I added a posting or two with my opinion - loud and clear. Anyway, a New York Times article suggested authors sneak in controversial terms - causing librarians in turn to decide to not purchase it for their collections. Referring to a dog being bitten by a snake on the scrotum is a reason to ban a book. Excuse me, it isn't the incident, just the use of the term scrotum. GEESH!!

I did have the opportunity to read an upcoming June 2007 HarperCollins historical novel - Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter. Her afterward addresses the depth of her research on coal mining towns and circuses in the early 1900s, which is seamlessly intertwined with the well developed settings and characters she creates. Billy is an enduring young rascal who has a gift for storytelling. He uses it to his advantage to keep the bullies at bay at the orphanage where the boys are kept scrawny and scared. He tells them about all the ghosts he talks to as everyone knows he started talking to them at birth. Billy is bound for the glass factory when his maternal uncle shows up to claim him. Billy loves his stern aunt and his miner uncle but still misses his father who sends him post cards from all over the country. An involvement in the union has Billy running from Baldwin Felts agents after they kill his uncle and the other miners planning a strike. Coming out of the woods hungry and eager for human interaction, Billy is welcomed into the Sparks Circus family but his short time with them is interrupted by none other than his wayward father. Billy is the mature one of the two and their relationship does not come to a happy end, but the reader will applaud Billy's skill at surviving during the worst of times and smile at his delightful stories. A superb addition to upper elementary and middle school collections. Even the most reluctant male reader will be drawn in by Billy and his escapes.

All for tonight. Am going to go curl up with the latest Strega-Borgia title by Debi Gliori.