Friday, April 18, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Rose and the Lost Princess

Holly Webb, Rose and the Lost Princess (2010; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2014) 


Welcome to the blog tour for Rose and the Lost Princess! I have one copy of this enchanting new book to give away courtesy of the publisher. For a chance to win, enter your info in the Rafflecopter widget below, and leave a comment telling me your favorite magical character in a children's book. Entries limited to US and Canada addresses; giveaway closes on May 2.

For young readers who love stories of magic and mystery, Sourcebooks has transported the popular and prolific UK writer Holly Webb across the pond with their reissues of the "Rose" series. They started with Rose, which introduced us to a delightful young orphan in a Victorian-flavored world where magic is always lurking around the corner, bringing excitement but also danger. Rose is happy just to land a position as a housemaid in a magician's house, but finds that her new environment brings out her previously unknown magical talent. Though she longs for a simple life without the complications magic brings, she can't ignore it forever, especially when children keep vanishing and she has to help solve the mystery of their disappearance.

Now, in Rose and the Lost Princess, Rose's magical abilities have come to light, and she's trying to be a part-time apprentice in the magician's house, as well as carrying on with her duties. But with the other servants now regarding her with suspicion, she finds herself in a difficult position. When the king's daughter is in danger, though, Rose again finds hidden strengths in herself as she fights against a menace that threatens the whole kingdom.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Library Loot: April 14

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I just joined a new library! Peterborough was just too small; the Keene Library is more like what I'm used to, though still not a patch on my former library homes, the Rockland County, NY and King County, WA systems. (I know I could do interlibrary loan, but that's so cumbersome. Plus I like to look at books before I check them out.) Too bad it's 45 minutes away, but at least they have online renewals. Here's what I picked up this week.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Magical Library: The Bodleian's Magical Tales

Larrington and Purkiss, eds., Magical Tales (Bodleian Library, 2013)

My one visit to Oxford was long ago as an 18-year-old on a choir tour of England. Our chaperones normally kept a pretty tight rein on us, but for some reason this time they actually let us roam around by ourselves for a while. I was in literary heaven. I visited Blackwell's bookstore, found "Alice's Shop" (the model for the sheep's shop in Through the Looking Glass), and ended up at the Bodleian Library which had a wonderful exhibition of children's books from the Opie collection. It was truly a magical day for a bookaholic teenager, and I still remember it fondly.

Last year I found out that the Bodleian was having another exhibition that sorely tempted me to fly across the Atlantic once more. Magical Books: From the Middle Ages to Middle Earth featured artifacts related to the work of some of my favorite authors, including C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman, and Alan Garner, known as the "Oxford School" for their ties to the university. Along with ancient scrolls and manuscripts from the Bodleian collection that are known or presumed to have inspired their work, there were artifacts from the authors themselves, such as Lewis's hand-drawn map of Narnia, Tolkien's dust jacket design for The Two Towers, and a set of replicas of the Six Signs of Power made for Susan Cooper.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Beautiful Books: The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927; Heritage Press, 1962)


 When I moved to New Hampshire a year ago, I found out that I was entering the land of Our Town. Thornton Wilder's classic play was written in and based on the town of Peterborough, NH, 15 minutes away from my new home. My memories of the play are vague, mostly based on seeing that TV version with Paul Newman in high school, but Wilder also wrote one of my favorite works of fiction, Theophilus North. I determined to read all of six of his other novels to see what else might be gleaned from them.

Well, they certainly are a diverse bunch. Some are set abroad, in modern and ancient Rome (The Cabala and The Ides of March) and ancient Greece (The Woman of Andros). Others explore explicitly American themes, with one about a peripatetic salesman/preacher (Heaven's My Destination), and another concerning a multigenerational mining family saga - slash - murder mystery (The Eighth Day). All are definitely worth reading, and reveal what The Paris Review once called "one of the toughest and most complicated minds in contemporary America."

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