Very Cheeky

There's been international coverage of something that happened on British Columbia ferries this week.  The on-board bookshops will not stock Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean because they deem the cover inappropriate.
According to The Province newspaper:
B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall defended the move Friday.  "The publisher of this book approached us over a year ago," she said.  "Because we're obviously a 'family show' and we've got children in our gift shops, we had suggested we could carry the book if there's what's called a 'belly band,' wrap around the photo."
Marshall said that, when publisher Random House refused, B.C. Ferries chose not to carry the book.
The cover features a picture of a naked youth on a horse. The book is a fictional account of the time the philosopher Aristotle was tutor to a young Alexander the Great; it has been widely praised in literary circles.
"While some people might think it's art or appropriate or whatever, parents of young people might not think it's appropriate for young children to view," said Marshall.

The New Yorker picked up the story and now The Guardian's Alison Flood has written about it.
Judge for yourself.

When I showed this to my young son and asked if he felt it was inappropriate, he scoffed: "There's a bum in The Snowman and that's for children."


You Have to Love a Boy in a Striped Shirt

This video of Oliver Jeffers talking about his books, career and process at OFFSET 2009 has already popped up a few places ....

Oliver Jeffers - OFFSET 2009 from OFFSET on Vimeo.

During his talk Jeffers showed pictures, including several staged photos of his cousin Henry done at the time of the launch of an exhibition of art from his book Lost and Found.

(screen capture from OFFSET video)
In this one Henry is inside the penguin enclosure at the Belfast Zoo and in the words of Jeffers:  "I don't know if you can tell from that picture, but he's absolutely terrified."

I love it.


The P.K. Page Irwin Book Fund for Children has just been announced.  It will provide illustrated versions of traditional stories to Afghan and Canadian children and you can read more about it here.  

And you might want to look for a copy of this lovely chapbook - The Old Woman and the Hen - suitable for readers young and old, and lovingly produced by The Porcupine's Quill.


The Fantastic Mrs. Dahl

Patricia Neal - the onetime Mrs. Roald Dahl - has died at the age of 84.

Young son thought that this was quite sad, but also thought that if the last film premiere she had attended was The Fantastic Mr. Fox then that was quite nice.

He's been reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and reports that "Roald Dahl must have been absolutely mad when he wrote this!"

"Why?" I ask.

"Because it's brilliant!"

Here is a Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator quiz that I plan to administer later this evening.

UPDATE:  young son has now finished CATGGE and reports that it has a "rather tedious ending."