Thought for the Day:
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
~ Pablo Picasso ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Character descriptions are important but too much can get in the way. David Safford has a great post HERE from The Write Practice that has good tips and excellent examples on character description.
Anne R. Allen has one of Kathy Steinemann’s redundancy quizzes on her blog HERE. This is a great mental exercise before you start editing.
Nicolas C. Rossis offers up Pixar’s Screenwriting Tips, which are not just for screenwriters, but for anyone writing stories. Check it out HERE.
It has been a quiet week for me. The weather hasn’t been too bad. It hasn’t even hit 100 degrees the whole week until today, but the temperatures are heading back up this week and it is supposed to hit 106 on Thursday and Friday. Good time to stay in and read! But then, one could say that about most of a Sacramento summer. My team, the San Francisco Giants are having a great summer, and it has been so much fun watching them play. I sure hope they can keep it up! Since I don’t have anything brilliant to say, I will give you a few more puns and get on to the book.
I lost my girlfriend’s audiobook, and now I’ll never hear the end of it.
Why is ‘dark’ spelled with a k and not c? Because you can’t see in the dark.
Why is it unwise to share your secrets with a clock? Well, time will tell.
When I told my contractor I didn’t want carpeted steps, he gave me a blank stare.
Bono and The Edge walk into a Dublin bar, and the bartender says, “Oh no, not U2 again.”
Prison is just one word to you, but for some people, it’s a whole sentence.
Scientists got together to study the effects of alcohol on a person’s walk, and the result was staggering.
Whenever I receive an email from the publicist at Candlewick Press, I open it right away. They publish so many great books for kids, and I am so pleased they offer me ARCs in exchange for honest reviews. As I scrolled through a recent email from her, I spotted the cover of a new Kate DiCamillo book, and the art captured my attention. It is such a beautiful cover, and the name of Kate DiCamillo sealed the deal. First I love books set in medieval times, and secondly, did I mention it is a new book by Kate DiCamillo? Anyway, I immediately asked for a review copy of The Beatryce Prophecy. I was not disappointed.
Brother Edik, a member of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, spends much of his time illuminating manuscripts and writing prophecies. One morning, he finds a young girl, covered in dirt and blood, in the stable, feverish, asleep, and holding onto the ear of Answelica, the meanest goat Brother Edik has ever encountered. He takes the girl into the monastery, cleans her up, and nurses her back to health. The goat follows Brother Edik into the monastery and stands guard over the girl. All she knows is that her name is Beatryce and that she can read and write. This skill must be kept secret. Girls are not to read and write. The other monks are not happy about Brother Edik taking in this girl during a time of war, especially when they realize that she is the subject of a prophecy that said, “There will one day come a girl child who will unseat the king and bring about a great change.” The king will be sending his men to find her, and the monks could all be in terrible trouble if they are found to have protected and hidden her.
Meanwhile, in a village nearby, a soldier comes to the inn and asks Jack Dory, an orphan boy, to take a message to the monastery. The soldier says he needs a monk to write down his confession. An angel has told him if he does that, he will be forgiven. Jack goes to fetch a monk, and comes back with Beatryce. Her head is shaved and she is wearing monk’s robes. Answelica accompanies them. After the soldier dies, Jack, Answelica, and Beatryce begin a journey to see the king, which is difficult and has great danger.
DiCamillo is such an incredible writer. This sweet book reads like a fairy tale with some fantasy and magic woven in. The characters are all engaging and interesting, the places in which the story is set are fully realized, and the story is simply enchanting. The writing is gorgeous, and there is a lot of tension to carry readers through. And to keep readers in the moment, every chapter starts with a beautifully illustrated first letter that looks like those found in illuminated manuscripts from long ago, and every page has a decoration by the page number. It is divided into six “books,” and each has a full-page illustration. Other illustrations are scattered throughout. These lovely illustrations by Sophie Blackall will help young readers stay in the moment of the story. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down. I read it straight through. The only disappointment for me was that it wasn’t a much longer book so I could have enjoyed it for a longer time.
It’s hard for me to give this one up, but on the other hand, I really want to share it, so I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.