Saturday, June 9, 2007

Multitasking on wide prairie

Crazy, busy at the library today ... as we are a prime bathroom location for the Grand Floral Parade, which passes right by our door. It's pouring as well, which adds a certain amount of humidity to the atmosphere. And the tired and fretful kids (actually their parents) are fighting over the games, er ... educational resources stations. To top it off, someone chose today to challenge a book: Mommy Laid an Egg. Yikes, SLJ didn't like that! And I thought Hattie "Big Sky" Brooks had problems.

Yes, currently in the CD player is the Newbery Honor book Hattie Big Sky, narrated by Kirsten Potter. This is just the kind of book I lapped up when I was a young teen -- historical fiction, slightly romantic -- and I really enjoyed reading it. Listening, not so much. Is it that -- despite the Newbery designation which kind of implies a certain read-it-again-and-again quality -- reading it once is enough? Is it that I've been listening to a lot of "girlie" fiction lately and need a break? Or perhaps it's just not a standout as an audiobook. Or maybe, I'm just tired.

I think it's probably all of the above. I am getting ready to leave my hearth and home for a month (ALA, then a long vacation), so I am tired and easily distractable (if I were younger, I'd be arguing over a games computer). And this time around, Hattie just isn't holding my interest.

The narrator actually sounds too adult to me -- so the feeling that Hattie has of just hanging on sounds more like a multitasking grown-up with a little too much going on. It doesn't have that slight edge of peril that I felt while reading -- what is that Traft fellow going to do to Hattie ... will she be able to prove her claim?

I've been bugging a friend on the 2007 Newbery Committee about this title because listening to it made me aware of a big, big editing error. Someone couldn't decide what Hattie's Uncle Chester's last name was -- as he is given both Brooks and Wright as options. Surely this would disqualify a title from the moniker "most distinguished?" Guess not ... but the Committee isn't talking.

1 comment:

Kirby Larson said...


I must say "ouch" and then thanks for your honesty.Sorry Hattie's story didn't take you the places you'd hoped. The Wright/Brooks fault is mine alone -- once the copyeditor caught my first slip-up, we looked for all the others but still must've missed.

How lucky your patrons are to have such a caring and thoughtful librarian! And I had missed Sandra Dallas' "Tall Grass" so will search it out.