Archive for September, 2009

BILLIE BONES: THE ROAD TO NEVERMORE by Christopher Lincoln (Little, Brown & Company 2009)

billy bonesI know this is a ghost story because the cover has a skull with protruding eyes and a skeleton body. But, aside from this information, there is nothing especially eerie or chilling in this over scripted madcap romp. The hero is Billy Bones, a boy caught somewhere between being dead and alive. His cousin Millicent is whisked away to the underworld called Nevermore by mean Uncle Grim. Billy and his pals must go to this dark land and rescue Millicent before she gets permanently trapped below. There are references to 9/11, airport security, breaking into homes without warrants, and other 21st century tidbits, but the tale doesn’t engage this reader and the political allusions will sail over the heads of the intended audience. Billy Bones is a cartoon DVD with endless episodes that lack coherence.   

J Fiction.  Not Recommended- Lillian Hecker (PELHAM)                                      


September 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

SONG OF MIDDLE C by Alison McGhee (Candlewick 2009)

song of middle cOur narrator has been practicing and practicing and practicing for her upcoming piano recital.  She is pretty confident that all that work, plus the fact that she is wearing her lucky hat, shoes and underwear will ensure a triumphant performance.  In the event, she forgets her piece, but salvages the recital by improvising a piece of her own composition—variations on the single note of Middle C.

Practically everyone who performs in public gets stage-fright at some point.  McGhee’s upbeat solution to a potentially embarrassing dilemma may reassure those who approach their recitals with misgivings.  (However badly they play, they probably won’t flub things up THAT badly…)

Scott Menchin’s cartooned illustrations and another dimension of light-heartedness to a potentially fraught situation.  They are not beautiful (in my estimation) but they convey McGhee’s ideas successfully.

Picture Book.  Recommended- Miriam Lang Budin (Chappaqua)

September 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment