Wizards, Spies, and American Girls

Today’s mail brings a review copy of THE SORCERER’S COMPANION: A GUIDE TO THE MAGICAL WORLD OF HARRY POTTER by Allan Zola Kronzek & Elizabeth Kronzek (Broadway Books/Random House, 2004); “now fully updated to include HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.” Essentially, this guide offers historical insights into the literary and mythological inspiration of Potter’s magic. Recommended to young readers, fantasy fans, and researchers for an introductory overview. Well designed; this is one to pour over for hours.

Despite not being much of a non-fiction person, I’m loving the vibrant, fascinating, and informative SPIES by Clive Gifford (Kingfisher, 2004)(ages 7-up)(forward by Dame Stella Rimington, former director–general of British Intelligence Agency). Great for suspense fans; this photo-illustrated picture book features a design as exciting as its subject matter. Recommended for kids and grown-ups.

American Girl heroine Samantha will be brought to TV viewers on Tuesday, Nov. 23 on the WB in “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday.” The story will focus on Samantha, an orphan living with her grandmother, developing a friendship with a servant named Nellie O’Malley. The setting is the turn-of-the-twentieth century United States with an emphasis on the Industrial Revolution. In conjunction, American Girl is releasing a Nellie doll, a paperback, an array of movie-related tie-ins, and a new advice book titled REAL BEAUTY: 101 WAYS TO FEEL GREAT ABOUT YOU (ages 8-up). Unlike most “beauty” books for girls, this one emphasizes physical and emotional health as well as inner beauty. Inclusive, uplifting, well done.

Books I’m reading right now: ORDER OF THE POISON OAK by Brent Hartinger (Harper, 2004)(ages 12-up)(a sequel to GEOGRAPHY CLUB, which I loved), SON OF THE MOB: HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE by Gordon Korman (Hyperion, 2004)(ages 12-up)(a sequel to SON OF THE MOB, which I also loved) and ESCAPE FROM SAIGON: HOW A VIETNAM WAR ORPHAN BECAME AN AMERICAN BOY by Andrea Warren (Melanie Kroupa Books/FSG, 2004)(ages 8-up).

Of Interest:

Strange Family Adventures by Linda Joy Singleton from Llewellyn’s Article Archive.

Visit author/illustrator Monica Wellington.