Finally back online after a phone outtage here at The Smudge.
Here are a few items that have piled up:
1) Read Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang. I was very suprised to discover that it was NOTHING like the movie, with the minor exception of having a flying car. I always thought that Fleming knocked it out just so Broccoli could movie-ize it and give it the Mary Poppins treatment. But, whatever Mary Poppins flavor was in the movie was added by Broccoli. It’s very well written, with the problems that the characters are flat and the plot is tepid and the conclusion doesn’t exactly add up.
Note that the book has a dad and a really thinly drawn dullsville mom, whilst the movie has a single dad and his lover Truly Scrumptious! The single dad arrangement of the movie would apparently make it more palatable to critics of the Newbery.
2) I looked up The Great Brain to see when it was written and was STUNNED to see that the author, John Fitzderald, was not even born until the 20th century. The action all takes place before the turn of the century, of course. To me that makes the writing feat all that much more impressive, since it reads as a 100% believable memoir. (Except for some of The Great Brain’s stunts.) And I’ve always assumed that the general background of the story was non-fiction.
3) I had lamented that The Great Brain didn’t win a Newbery, but I’ve been thinking on that. Taken as a whole, I think they do add up to Greatness. But the first book on it’s own might not really merit it. I think my favorite of the series might have been The Great Brain at the Academy. But it would have been weird to have given the award to a book from the middle of the series, especially one that’s different than the others.
So, I guess I can see why it never won.
4) I have not relented on the subject of Lizard Music, however.
The winner that year, 1976, was The Grey King. Fair enough, I know some people worship that book.
But they only had two Honor Books.
- The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis (Viking)
- Dragonwings by Laurence Yep (Harper)