Jul. 14th, 2010


The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter - Susan Wittig Albert

I don't even KNOW where to start. Oh. In case that sentence is misleading - these books make me REALLY REALLY HAPPY. I'm currently about to start book 4; The Tale of Hawthorn House. And I admit to being ever so pouty that there will only be 8 books in the series. I currently own two - picked up a year or so ago at a library sale that I only got around to reading now (the joys of discovering yet another box that hasn't been unpacked). And I've borrowed four from the library.

I love these books. The mysteries involved so far, aren't always murder (most foul). I love the continued characters of the village. I love the description of village life. Despite even one occasion of 'cannibal savages' mentioned (eta: and now *sigh* 'gypsies' stealing babies), I can still identify with the gossip, and nosiness and sense of extended family. And in this case it's not just the humans who're extended family, the village animals are too. Cats, dogs, an Owl, a family of badgers - it's wonderful.

I remember when I picked up the first two, Zvi cracked up. "You're buying RPF? You're buying professionally published RPF!" And then there was the laughter. And there I was going. "But it's RPF about Beatrix Potter. BEATRIX POTTER! How can you not understand how cool that is?!!" But I'm going to bet that the adventures of cotton tail rabbits and kittens who lose their mittens aren't as set in her heart as happy childhood memories of good booky times, as Potter's books are for me.


I thought I'd posted, turns out I hadn't. So I get to do the eta about the 'gypsies' and sigh about how tired I am of looking away or trying to let things slide in order to have some form of entertainment and more importantly, not implode on myself with continued fury at the casual isms of the world and the obvious ways authors show which isms are important to them to address. Still at least there's been some pointing out so far in this book 4, that everything gets blames on gypsies and foxes because it's easier and oblique reference that the more the farmers believe tales and run off the caravans, the less work the Rom find as harvest hands, the more they need to poach etc, to make ends meet.

Jul. 22nd, 2008


The Stravaganza Series

These are the old Stravagana by Mary Hoffman book covers.


You can see The New Stravaganza Covers at the link. I sincerely don't like them. Putting faces on the covers takes away my ability to shape the world she describes to my own satisfaction. Moreover I feel like something magical is quite, quite lost.

The old covers spoke of Italy but not Italy. They helped me fall in love with Talia, a world of secrets and intrigues and magic and heroes and heroines.

I have no doubt the new covers are meant to capitalize on the Twilight Movie and the hope that young teen readers will see these covers and be drawn to another world about teenagers and magical happenings. But now I regret not having had the money to buy the books with the old covers when I had a chance.

I don't want to see white faces on the covers. I don't want the protagonists' looks spelled out plainly by photography. The world building in these books is a fine craftsmanship. It builds upon Italian history and geography. I learned about real aspects of Italy even as I became engrossed in the plot of this other Italy, the magical Talia.

The faces on the covers are far too modern. They take away from the secondary characters who help make the books what they are.

I'm going to refresh my memory and then come back and write up reviews for the first three books in the series.