Monday, June 16, 2008

I thought I came home with a lot of freebies when I go to conferences, but Steve had a whole suitcase full of stuff - two mini tambourines, a set of reindeer antlers and a whole washing machine load of IT company t-shirts. Guess I missed out on quite a bit by not going to Orlando with him - including Universal shutting down 1/2 of the park just for the Microsoft conference folks. Oh well, I was still sorting through books on the floor of my office when he came home yesterday so it was a good thing I stayed home. ALA in Anaheim is coming soon so I can't complain - I'll get my conference "fix" and then some very soon. No more taking an empty suitcase with me for books now that the airlines are charging for checked in bags. Guess I need to check if that counts for me since I made the reservations quite a while ago. It already takes "forever" to get through security and off the ground due to the over sized bags folks are taking as carry on as it is.

Open on my desk is Jan Greenberg's new poetry/art compilation, Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World. I was on the Printz committee in 2002 when we chose Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art as a Printz Honor book. I am a huge Georgia O'Keefe fan and I often open my copy to her art work and the accompanying poetry. Then I find myself browsing and reading others. Although the VOYA review I just read on B&N suggests a limited teen audience for Greenberg's new compilation, I beg to differ. I think teens are quite capable of enjoying ekphrasis. For more on this concept: Even young children are capable of understanding the connection between what we see and the words we put on paper - a conversation between two arts forms. We ask children to draw a picture about what we have read or they read to themselves both in school and at home. So, a teen's ability to understand and enjoy the connection of the art from around the world and poems, many of them translated, is a given, in my my opinion. I think many teens, especially those from diverse backgrounds, will savor this book, the art, the untranslated poem (even if unable to read it - the format is interesting) and the translation. Might even have a few girls writing their own poems about the good looking Florentine in the Botticelli - Portrait of a Young Man. The earnestness on his face makes me smile. Though not quite as "pretty" to look at is Memling's Portrait of a Young Woman, but what young woman doesn't dream of of a young man falling to his knees to breathlessly say, "Never have I beheld a woman like you." I can hear the sigh across America from teenage girls who wish the same. Were I her - I would indeed "permit him to touch my hand." Like her first collection for Abrams, I am smitten with Greenberg's second collection of art and poetry. And, I am positive I am not the only one. There will be teens who will be smitten as well.

On a humorous note - I also fell in love with Bruce Hale's Snoring Beauty with hilarious illustrations by Howard Fine. This new Harcourt title will have you in stitches, even if you are sorely lacking of sleep as are many of us who share a bed with someone who snores. The whole kingdom has to deal with the snoring in this wacky retelling of Sleep Beauty as indeed, the princess gets run over by a pie cart and is turned into a dragon that only a quince will awaken. Let's just say the fairies in this retelling are... ummmm... unique! The princess, now a quite huge purple dragon with red ruby lips and claws, is fast a sleep in the street, snoring loud enough to send people in search of a new kingdom to sleep in. So, tonight, instead of getting angry by the snoring dragon next to me, I will get the ear plugs as Prince Quince does, and grin and bear it! :-)