I have a feeling that I’ll be checking the blog of librarian Betsy Bird quite regularly as she counts down the top 100 chapter books. This morning she had 91-100. Ms. Bird not only lists the books, but also puts them in context.
One of my top ten picks, ELLA ENCHANTED, was there. I learned from the post that that Gail Carson Levine wrote picture books for nine years before switching over to novels. So let that be an inspiration to all struggling writers everywhere. As Jane Yolen has observed, “Bone-headed stubbornness pays.” Somehow Ms. Levine’s background didn’t suprise me. Authors of picture books really love to play with words.
THE EGYPT GAME was also on the list. And that reminded me of two other books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: THE CHANGELING and THE VELVET ROOM. If I’d had time to meditate for a few weeks on my picks instead of turning them in right before the deadline, I would have put THE CHANGELING in my top ten. It’s one of the rare children’s books that successfully covers years and years of a character’s life. One of the reason’s that it can do this is that it mostly shows what happens to Martha Abbot when Ivy Carson is there.