“The Boy & the Book”

A new addition to our collection of wordless books is “The Boy & the Book” written by David Michael Slater and illustrated by Bob Kolar.  The young boy in this story strikes terror in the hearts of the books in his local library.  They run, they hide, and are in a general panic when they see him enter the book stacks.9781580895620_p0_v1_s114x166As he attacks the books, stomping on them and tearing their pages, the reader probably wants to yell “Stop.”  The key illustration that solves the mystery of why this young boy treats books so badly is found on the page where we see him looking at a page in a book with a cartoonist’s bubble over his head.  The bubble contains a question mark.  The boy cannot read, but when he can his entire attitude changes.

The illustrator has used vivid colors focusing his drawings on his cartoon-like characters.  Any non-reader or early reader will enjoy “reading” this wordless book and “telling” the story through the pictures.

“Into the Woods”

As an avid Stephen Sondheim fan, I have been fortunate to see many of his plays on Broadway.  However, even though I have enjoyed the music from “Into the Woods,” I have never made an attempt to see this production.  With the recent release of the movie version, I thought here is a less expensive chance to see another Sondheim work.

“Into the Woods” screenwriter James Lapine weaves Grimm’s familiar fairy tales into a story for adults.  Two thirds of the movie, follows the exploits of Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood and others as they look for happiness in their lives.  All their adventures involve traveling through the woods.786936845884_p0_v1_s114x166In the last third of the film, the characters face the consequences of their actions, which lead to tragedy and vast changes in their futures.

Campy and, at times, very funny, “Into the Woods” is superbly acted by its cast.  Meryl Streep is cast as one of the most ugly witches of all  time.  Her challenge to the childless baker and his wife, forms a key element of the plot.  The major cast members are not usually known for their singing ability, but all meet the acting and singing challenges of their roles.

Many Broadway musicals have not been successful made into films.  “Into the Woods” is one of the best.  Traveling with this group of story book characters through the woods was great fun.

An Unlikely Story Bookstore

  Jeff Kinney is planning to open his bookstore in Massachusetts this spring. A 3,000 square foot space, the store sounds like it will be more like a community gathering place with author events, a cafe, a Quidditch match play area, room for parties and classes. It’s nice to see a non-chain bookstore opening for a change.  He is planning to make a small Wimpy Kid section only. Looks like a nice place to visit if you happen to be in the neighborhood. He is also applying for a liquor license!

Easy reader books

The easy reader books have been shifted to the left of their previous home.  They now occupy some of the space where J reference was located.  Many of those reference books will now find a home in the JNF collection.  Hopefully, they may be of more use since they will be able to circulate.

By shifting the easy reader books, we have gained some more display space and have helped alleviate some crowding with the JP books.

“Wolf Hall” Returns

In 2009, Hilary Mantel won the Booker Prize for her first Cromwell novel, “Wolf Hall.” She then followed it with a second novel “Bring Up the Bodies,” in 2012, which also won the Booker Prize.  Not only did these books win critical acclaim, they were also extremely popular with readers.

It isn’t surprising that PBS has jumped on the bandwagon and produced a six-part series based on the two books, which will air on “Masterpiece” on April 5.9780312429980_p0_v4_s114x166Starring Damian Lewis as Henry and Mark Rylance as Cromwell, the series was hugely popular in England.  It averaged 4.4 million viewers a week.

American fans of the books do not have to wait until April because The Royal Shakespeare Company is presently presenting “Wolf Hall- Part I and II” at the Winter Garden Theater in New York.  When the two parts are performed together, the play’s running time is five and a half hours.

The play and the television productions will definitely generate renewed interest in the books and related materials.  This evening a patron requested the play “A Man For All Seasons” to brush up on the era.

Hilary Mantel is currently working on the third volume in the series.  “The Mirror and the Light” which chronicle the last four years of Cromwell’s life.  She will probably have a sure-fire winner when it is published.