I was already happy to hear that Kirkus Reviews would be sticking around, thanks in large part to a fellow Austinite, but now I’m even happier: The resurrected Kirkus has given Shark Vs. Train its second starred review:
Lichtenheld’s snarling shark and grimacing train are definitely ready for a fight, and his scenarios gleefully play up the absurdity. The combatants’ expressions are priceless when they lose. A glum train in smoky dejection, or a bewildered, crestfallen shark? It’s hard to choose; both are winners.
The side of my brain that doesn’t deal in absurdity was intrigued this week by David Elzey’s post bio-diversity —
Though my voice caries little weight in this world, I’d like to see a ten-year moratorium on biographies for children on any subject for whom there is already adequate coverage in print. More books like The Day Glo Brothers [thanks, David!] and Mermaid Queen, stories of people readers never heard of, and fewer books about the usual faces that populate history. Fewer “brand” names and more obscure ones. I know that children’s authors are doing what they can to bring more obscure characters to light, what I’d like to see is more of a push by publishers to get these stories out there.
— which was followed in short order by Joe D’Agnese’s account of his new picture book biography, Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci, which was 14 years in the making. That’s six years longer than it took The Day-Glo Brothers to make it out into the world, which is pretty sobering. Yet D’Agnese manages to put even his wait into perspective as he considers the personal story of one of his sources, mathematics professor Herta Taussig Freitag:
How can I complain about a book’s long genesis? Imagine leaving your home forever, and putting your career on hold for six years while you worked as a chambermaid. How many of us would have given up? Yet she clung to her passion.