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Showing posts from June, 2019

Meet Nigel and Pippin!

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I love children's books, and I love the connection between story and illustration. But what about the connection between story and title? Or story and dog? That'll Do Pippin is a very cool title to a book with a very cool cover - well, seriously cool if, like me, you happen to be seriously fond of dogs. But what has Pippin been doing?


THAT'LL DO PIPPIN! by Anne Kaufmann

Title: THAT’LL DO PIPPIN!
Author: Anne Kaufmann
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing
Pages: 68
Genre: Children’s Picture Book


Pippin and Nigel are two charming puppy brothers who live on a wonderful farm. They are best buddies and do everything together. They are full of mischief, energy and fun! Pippin is the smaller puppy who wants with all his heart to be like his brother Nigel. Nigel is brave. Nigel is strong. Nigel is smart. One day, the puppies escape from their yard into the woods where they experience many adventures. Nigel is always there to help and protect Pippin. Then Pippin solves a dangerous pro…

Is it literary? Is it readable?

They warned me not to call my novels literary when querying agents or publishers. Literary is in the eye of the expert, they said. Literary sounds like you don't think it will sell. Literary narrows the audience. But I love literary fiction!

I read recently that literary writing really doesn't sell, and the authors, for the most part, rely on (sadly decreasing) sponsorship. And yet, if a book is described as literary, I will almost certainly pick it up and look at it. Will I buy it? That probably depends on the story grabbing me too, and the random page I turn to in the middle to look at the writing. But literary catches my eye. Does it catch yours?

Nancy Freund Bill's memoir, The Red Ribbon, might well be described as literary, and rightly so. The writing is clear, evocative, and down to earth. The terror--death by lightning strike--is all too vivid and real. Yet the author draws readers into the aftermath without pathos, inviting us to walk a path, see paths not taken, an…

Beach read or serious read?

Do those lazy hazy days of summer demand beach reads or serious reads? Warm breezes blow. The lawn needs mowing. The weeds are scattering seeds (most especially yellow weeds of the dandelion persuasion). So what will you read?

For me, a beach read in warm weather just might send me to sleep. Eyes heavy when the sun's too bright and tired when the sun goes in, and waiting tasks that demand a level of attention I'm not willing to give... and words that need to lead me to deeper thoughts if they're going to distract me... better sleep, or I'll have to work.

No, in warm lazy weather, when there's too much to be done, my best hope is a slow and serious read; something to grab my assumptions and turn them into questions awaiting answer, to turn presumption on end, and to sumptuously guide... So here are some reviews of serious reads, all demanding serious coffee to be savored with the words.

I thought The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson might be a book to add to my ma…