Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ghost's Child, Tea Rex

I haven't forgotten about books! I have just been very busy, sick, and overwhelmed. But I thought I would drop in and talk about two books I've read and loved recently, since--strangely--this blog still gets a lot of hits.

Tea Rex by Molly Idle. There are certain sorts of picture books that are beautifully absurd, with pictures that appeal to a wide range of readers and not-yet readers, and that amuse adults just as much as children. These could be called Muppet Show books for the special something that makes the book readable on multiple levels. Two small children invite a dinosaur over in Tea Rex; it's the polite thing to do, and everyone will act in certain ways, and the afternoon will be perfect. Except that, well, the rules of engagement are not the same for all parties. The message I took away, though there are several, is that you and your friends may have very different procedures, but that doesn't mean you can't get along. The texture of the dinosaur is fabulous, too. Molly Idle also created the fabulous Flora and the Flamingo, and if I recall correctly, she has another book in the pipeline.

The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett. Confession: I haven't finished this yet; I've been sipping it two and three pages at a time, and while I sampled the first lines of a few Goodreads reviews, I haven't been spoiled so far. Maybe I should spoil myself--I'm reading a review copy, and since this was published in the US in 2008, very behind in my reading! I'm listing this as a YA read, but it really seems ageless, and I'm not sure it really fits in any category; the main characters are a young boy and an old woman, with most of the story in flashback to when the old woman was teenage-ish. Maddy once traveled the world, seeking, but what she sought didn't please others; she finally pleased herself best with the mysterious Feather, a wild boy she meets on an Australian (?) beach. Unfortunately, the shiniest love may not be enough, for them or for their unborn child. Hartnett nails a fairytale sort of voice, the sort of voice that is very hard to nail, and the sort of voice that I usually can't be on board with, because it's affected or old-fashioned or dull or more suited to being presented orally and with awareness of storytelling conceits. But I kinda love this. And maybe I love this because it's bleak and beautiful, perfect for the sort of tale where the land and the sea touch, over and over, but can never really be together.

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