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While everyone grapples with the implication of legalizing recreational marijuana (e.g., exactly how does one measure a DUI), caffeine ha...

30 August 2011

Children's Books Deliver the Adventure Their Readers Want

Besides Harry Potter, Alex Rider and Percy Jackson of current memory, there have always been very young and foolish but worthy heroes, very young and naive but resourceful heroines and otherwise brave groups of boys and girls, willing to go where (to their knowledge) no one has gone before, or maybe someone did but did not return.  And, there always will be.

Some of the more recent ones would include Martin Boyle who is just trying to survive, not wanting to be known as The Last Martin, Prue McKeel and Curtis Mehlberg who brave the Wildwood to rescue Prue's baby brother Mac after he was spirited away by crows, and Jack Gantos in his true-life memoir of boyhood, facing the Dead End in Norvelt, but overcoming his fear of dead people and his nose's tendency to bleed with the least provocation (like thinking about dead people).



Colin Meloy, of the music group Decemberists fame and his partner, Carson Ellis, created a world just on the edge of Portland, Oregon. When I first saw the physical book, I thought it reminded me of The Mysterious Benedict Society, definitely in look and feel of the book (the heavy rag content cover with the sparse yet evocative artwork), but also, its very British writing. That Carson Ellis also illustrated The Mysterious Benedict Society explained the look and feel, but I am not aware that Colin Meloy spent any significant time in Britain, although I guess that background is not necessary to have a 12-year-old American boy (Curtis) claim George MacDonald Fraser's Harry Flashman and Lloyd Alexander's Taran Wanderer as swashbuckling childhood heroes which he believes he is emulating.
And who'd have thunk that meditation could be the key to persuading live plants to move (or not move)?  That brings forth the notion that Thich Nhat Hanh too is a worth hero for admiration.

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