Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Yesterday was the Victoria Children's Literature Roundtable 25th anniversary tea. It didn't rain, but that's about all I can say for the weather. It was held at Point Ellice House, which is a local historical site here in town. In celebration, 25 authors and illustrators were invited, and everyone was encouraged to dress in Victorian costume. As speakers we had Ron Jobe, who founded the Children's Literature Roundtables amoung zillions of other children's book related things, and Susan Musgrave. In keeping with the whole don't say anything if you don't have anything nice to say, I'm going to skip right over Susan Musgrave. Anyways, I think a good time was had by all, despite the mud.

Afterwards, I was lucky enough to get to go out to dinner with my mum and Ron. I had an amazing time, and one of the topics we touched on was books that are terrible and how in god's name did they ever get published? Last year just such a book came into the store (and shockingly got a good write up in the Globe & Mail), and I thought I would share it with you guys today.

Eleanor Koldofsky is one of those people that I wish had not written a picture book. She appears to be wonderfully accomplished in many areas, has done much good in the world, and I'm sure is a lovely woman. However, these attributes do not a picture book writer make.

Clip-Clop is set in turn of the century (the last one) Toronto. The basic premise seems to be to show kids the different kinds of jobs working horses did. And there's a thin, hideously boring story woven through. And by hideously boring, I mean that there is a main character, Consuela. That's about it. There is no conflict, no climax, no resolution. Just Consuela, introducing us to various horses.

I should say that David Parkins' illustrations are quite nice. They are neat ink and watercolours, full of characters, and seemingly quite accurate. But they aren't enough to carry the book.

The one thing that Susan Musgrave said that I enjoyed was that nostalgic children's books don't usually work, because the target audience (ie children) has no concept of the idea of nostalgia. They're young, and have nothing to be nostalgic for. I wish more hopeful authors would keep that in mind.

Clip-Clop written by Eleanor Koldofsky illustrated by David Parkins
ISBN 0887766811
24 pages


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