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Mirimirage

Allusion is not Illusion

You'll pry my books off my cold, dead body. By the time you shift them all I'll be flat and dessicated.

Currently reading

Winter's Tales
Karen Blixen, Isak Dinesen
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Penguin Classics)
Rebecca West, Christopher Hitchens
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
Already Dead
Charlie Huston
The Rings of Saturn
W.G. Sebald, Michael Hulse
Lady Audley's Secret
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, David Skilton
Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became "People" - And How You Can Fight Back
Thom Hartmann
The City, Not Long After
Pat Murphy
You Can Sketch: A Step-by-Step Guide for Absolute Beginners
Jackie Simmonds
Lonely Werewolf Girl
Martin Millar

B is for Boring

B Is for Bookworm: A Library Alphabet (Alphabet Books) - Anita C. Prieto, Renée Graef

I assume that this is intended to be used in an educational setting, perhaps to prepare children for their first trip to the library. Sadly, it is probably true that many children won't be taken early on by their parents and will go for the first time during elementary school. Certainly this book doesn't seem likely to inspire any child to go on his or her own. Both the art and the text are pretty boring -- and I speak as someone who loves libraries, books, and factual information.

First off, I think it was a mistake to format this as an ABC book. The constraints of the alphabet result in some important topics being skipped while other almost random items are inserted to fulfill necessary letters. Y is for Yellow: A ruby red rose or a bright blue sky/ show us colors so lovely to see./ But yellow's the color librarians love,/ 'cause they wear it to get their degree. Is that really important for small children to know? It's not like librarians wear yellow sashes to make themselves identifiable to the public.

That's not even the least relevant entry. Zestful? Really? And although Quest is a good word it is misleading, I think, to describe a quest as "a special search to find something important" and then have all the examples be about genealogical research (I'm guessing that's a pet interest of the author's).

Also, let me throw tact to the wind and state that these verses suck ass. I'm no poet and I could write a better-metered stanza when I was 9. The art work is more competent but similarly blah.

I did like the idea of having two texts for children at different reading levels. There is one bad four-line verse per letter, like the one above, and then side bars with considerably more information. The information was interesting in and of itself, although the dull writing made it a chore rather than a pleasure to read.

Instead of reading this book, kids, just look "Online" for information about libraries near you. "Online", in case you don't know, "is a new word that you'll want to learn." It takes quotation marks around it, apparently.

The tone of the whole thing reminded me cringe-inducingly of that fake-excited, talking-down voice that some educators use with kids to try to make them interested. Your library opens a door to the world,/ to the wonders of earth, sea, and sky./ And your Library Card is the key to that door./ When you use it, get ready to fly!