31 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 9

Number 9:
Anne of Green Gables,
by L M Montgomery.

Wow - this book was first published in 1908? Hadn't realised it was that old! It's been on my to-read list for a long time, and I had it correctly at #9 on my top-ten prediction. And that's about all there is to say....

... except that you can download it from Gutenberg.

30 March 2010

Nero's roof collapses

ZUI this article from ANSA.it:
Part of the ceiling of Roman Emperor Nero's Domus Aurea collapsed on Tuesday.

Some 60 square meters of the baths built on top of the Golden House by the emperor who succeeded Nero, Trajan, came down because of seepage from recent heavy rains, civil protection experts said.

The area where the collapse occurred, a tunnel that was once part of the baths, has been cordoned off because it is close to the entrance to public gardens above it, they said.


The Domus Aurea, built by Nero soon after the great fire in Rome in 64 AD, has been shut since 2005 for work to make it more stable.

It was closed after masonry fell from flaking walls and a high level of dangerous seepage was detected.

The current project aims to open up 2,600 square metres of the site.


When the Domus was completed, it actually stretched for 50 hectares and covered most of the neighbouring Palatine and Celian hills as well.

Nero was reputed to have remarked that finally he was beginning to be "housed like a human being".

After Nero's suicide in 68 AD the Flavian emperors who succeeded him proceeded to bury all trace of his legacy.

For more on the Domus Aurea, see here, here, here and here.

Top 100 Children's Novels: 10

Number 10:
The Phantom Tollbooth,
by Norton Juster.

This one was on the top-ten list I submitted to Betsy, though I had it at #7 - but then my list was all just a bunch of WAGs, anyway. I read it long ago ('67 or '68, I think), and as I recall I enjoyed it. I've long been of the opinion that the English language is the greatest toy ever invented, and this book's full of wordplay. Going to have to borrow it from the library again, I think....

29 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 12-11

Number 12:
The Hobbit,
or There and Back Again
by J R R Tolkien.

Back when I was 11 or thereabouts, living in Michigan, I had a book which was a collection of short stories and of samples from longer works. One of those samples was the first chapter of The Hobbit, telling about a very strange tea party involving said hobbit, a wizard and a small horde of dwarves. When I was 13, my sister bought the new Ballantine editions of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and I read my straight through all four of them. Wonderful stories!

I'm also a fan of the 1977 film version, with Orson Bean as the voice of Bilbo, John Huston as Gandalf and the late, great Richard Boone as Smaug.

And there's a Swedish edition of the book with illustrations by Tove Jansson!

Number 11:
The Westing Game,
by Ellen Raskin.

I missed this one completely until I started reading all of the Newbery winners a few years ago. (It was the 1979 winner.) When I did my summary post on the Newberys, though, I included it in my list of favourites.

28 March 2010

Victoria Cross: R. B. Stannard


Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve; commanding HM Armed Trawler Arab

Born: 21 August 1902, Blyth, Northumberland
Died: 22 July 1977, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Citation: When enemy bombing attacks had set on fire many tons of hand grenades on Namsos wharf, with no shore water supply available, Lieutenant Stannard ran Arab's bows against the wharf and held her there. Sending all but two of his crew aft, he then endeavoured for two hours to extinguish the fire with hoses from the forecastle. He persisted in this work till the attempt had to be given up as hopeless.
After helping other ships against air attacks, he placed his own damaged vessel under shelter of a cliff, landed his crew and those of two other trawlers, and established an armed camp. Here those off duty could rest while he attacked enemy aircraft which approached by day, and kept anti-submarine watch during the night.
When another trawler near-by was hit and set on fire by a bomb, he, with two others, boarded Arab and moved her 100 yards before the other vessel blew up.
Finally, when leaving the fjord, he was attacked by a German bomber which ordered him to steer East or be sunk. He held on his course, reserved his fire until the enemy was within 800 yards, and then brought the aircraft down.
Throughout a period of five days [28th April through 2nd May, 1940] Arab was subjected to 31 bombing attacks and the camp and Lewis gun positions ashore were repeatedly machine-gunned and bombed; yet the defensive position was so well planned that only one man was wounded.
Lieutenant Stannard ultimately brought his damaged ship back to an English port.
His continuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy was magnificent, and his enterprise and resource not only caused losses to the Germans but saved his ship and many lives.

(London Gazette issue 34924 dtd 16 Aug 1940, published 16 Aug 1940.)

Note: ZUI Lieutenant Stannard's report. Sub-Lieutenant Ernest T Lees, RANVR, was made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, and Second Hand David G Spindler, RNR, was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, for their service aboard HMS Arab during this time. 2nd Engineer James Nicholson, RNR, and Seaman Charles Newman, RNR, received the Distinguished Service Medal.

Medal of Honor: G. W. Martini


Private First Class, US Marine Corps; Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division

Born: 21 September 1948, Lexington, Virginia
Died: 21 April 1967, Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The marines in Pfc. Martini's platoon assaulted across an open rice paddy to within 20 meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Pfc. Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled hand grenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades Lying helpless in the fire-swept paddy. Although he knew that 1 man had been killed attempting to assist the wounded, Pfc. Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion Lying wounded only 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon's position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Martini unhesitatingly yielded his life to save 2 of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

25 March 2010

Operational Honours List

Warrant Officer Class 1 Matthew Tomlinson MC,
3 Commando Brigade, RM

ZUI this article from the MOD Defence News:
A total of 146 members of the Armed Forces and one civilian have received honours and awards in the Operational Honours List dated today, 19 March 2010.

The full list ... recognises service on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and national operations for the period 1 April to 30 September 2009.

Amongst the awards are:

George Cross (GC)

Staff Sergeant Kim Spencer HUGHES, The Royal Logistic Corps
Staff Sergeant Olaf Sean George SCHMID, The Royal Logistic Corps (Killed in action)


Bar to Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

Lieutenant Colonel Angus George Costeker FAIR, DSO, The Light Dragoons

Distinguished Service Order (DSO)

Major Giles Richard HARRIS, MBE, Welsh Guards
Brigadier Timothy Buchan RADFORD, OBE, late The Light Infantry
Acting Colonel Robert John THOMSON, MBE, The Rifles

Associate Royal Red Cross Medal (ARRC)

Captain Gail Lesley WHITTLE, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps


Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)

Flight Lieutenant Marc Alan HEAL, Royal Air Force



Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Commander James Robert DEAN, Royal Navy
Colonel Andrew DENNIS, late The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
Major Simon Peter HAMILTON, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers



Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)

Colonel Nigel Malcolm Tree STAFFORD, late 9th/12th Royal Lancers

ZUI also this article:
Among the British Service personnel to be honoured in the latest Operational Awards List, which was published last week, were several members of the Royal Navy.

Nine members of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines were recognised for their gallantry and meritorious service in Afghanistan, Iraq, the UK, and the rest of the world from 1 April to 30 September 2009.

Among them was Royal Marines Warrant Officer Class 1 Matthew Tomlinson whose bravery under heavy concentrated fire by the Taliban while patrolling in a Viking armoured vehicle convoy in Helmand province in May last year was recognised with the awarding of a Military Cross, one of the highest awards for gallantry.

And this article:
Among the British Service personnel to be honoured for their gallantry and meritorious service in last week's Operational Awards List are six members of the Royal Air Force.

The RAF personnel, who come from various stations across the UK, have been honoured for their bravery and service in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in Search and Rescue missions around the UK.

The highest honour for the RAF went to Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal, aged 29, currently stationed at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, who was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions whilst on operations in Afghanistan in July 2009.

Flight Lieutenant Marc Heal DFC,
Royal Air Force

Ministry of Defence photographs © Crown Copyright/MOD 2010 (Tomlinson) and 2009 (Heal).

Top 100 Children's Novels: 14-13

This one is my favourite Harry Potter book, with Deathly Hallows coming in as number two. There are still two that haven't made the list, but Betsy said that no complete series did; I'm assuming that Half-Blood Prince is the one that didn't make it, and that Sorceror's Stone (or Philosopher's Stone, if you prefer) will be in the top ten.

And this time I'm using a Swedish cover.

Number 13:
Bridge to Terabithia,
by Katherine Paterson.

I read this one back in '07, whilst reading my way through the Newbery Medal winners. (It won in 1978.) I agree that it's a pretty good book, but it certainly didn't cross my mind when I was making my top-ten list to submit for this poll.

23 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 15

Number 15:
Because of Winn-Dixie,
by Kate DiCamillo.

Another one I haven't read yet, but which has been on my to-read list for several years.

22 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 17-16

Number 17:
Maniac Magee,
by Jerry Spinelli.

I read this one last year whilst reading my way through the Newbery Medal winners. It's definitely one of the better ones.

Number 16:
Harriet the Spy,
by Louise Fitzhugh.

Another one I don't believe I've ever read, though I do remember picking it up and looking at it a few times long, long ago. I'm currently working on the Carnegie Medal winners; somewhere along the way I'm obviously going to have to go through this list again and read the ones I haven't read yet.

21 March 2010

Victoria Cross: P. Donohoe


Private, 9th Lancers

Born: 1820, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: 16 August 1876, Ashbourne, County Meath, Ireland

Citation: For having, at Bolandshahur, on the 28th of September, 1857, gone to the support of Lieutenant Blair, who had been severely wounded, and, with a few other men, brought that officer in safety through a large body of the enemy's cavalry.
Despatch from Major-General Sir James Hope Grant, K.C.B., dated 8th April, 1858.

[London Gazette issue 22212, dtd 24 Dec 1858, published 24 Dec 1858.]

Note: Donohoe's brother, Pvt Timothy Donoghue, 69th New York Infantry, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13 Dec 1862.

Medal of Honor: T. Donoghue


Private, B Company, 69th New York Infantry

Born: 17 March 1825, Nenagh, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died: 19 March 1908, Brooklyn, New York

Citation: Voluntarily carried a wounded officer off the field from between the lines [at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13 Dec 1862]; while doing this he was himself wounded.

Note: Donoghue's brother, Pte Patrick Donohoe, 9th Lancers, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Bolundshahur, India, on 28 Sep 1857.

18 March 2010

The Top 10 Children's Novels Prediction Challenge

As I've mentioned a time or two, Betsy Bird has been posting a list of the Top 100 Children's Novels, as voted for by her readers, at A Fuse #8 Production. She's now gotten as far as number 18, and has issued the following challenge:
To win you need to first guess the Top 10 Books. But to become the ultimate winner you need to also place them in the correct order of appearance. Do this and you'll win a fabulous prize. Honest. I'm not a giveaway gal, but in this case I can make an exception.

By my calculations book #11 will post on Thursday, March 25th. Therefore you have until midnight of the 25th to email me your guess at Fusenumber8@gmail.com. I will announce the true winner after the #1 book comes out.

Laurie, at Six Boxes of Books, has posted a list of the books, to make it easier to see which ones have already appeared.

Top 100 Children's Novels: 19-18

I'm pretty sure this is the only book by Roald Dahl I've read, though I have a vague feeling that I might have read its sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, thirty-odd years ago. I've also seen the first (1971) film version, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, though not the recent (2005) remake. (I'd always thought the movie was renamed because Gene Wilder wanted top billing in the title as well as in the credits, but apparently it was because Quaker Oats wanted to start marketing candy under the Wonka label.)

Number 18:
by Roald Dahl.

Dahl again, for the fifth time* on the list! I do remember seeing trailers for the film version (1996) of this one, and thinking it looked like it might be worth seeing, but never got around to it.

* The other three were The Witches (# 96), The BFG (# 54) and James and the Giant Peach (# 33).

16 March 2010

George Cross to be awarded for Afghanistan

ZUI this article from The Telegraph:
A bomb disposal expert, hailed by his commanding officer as "the most courageous man" he had ever met, is to receive a posthumous George Cross.

Staff Sgt Olaf Schmid's gallantry award, second only to the Victoria Cross, will be announced by the Ministry of Defence on Friday, say military sources. He was killed five months ago while working in Afghanistan.


Staff Sgt Schmid, 30, of the Royal Logistic Corps and who was serving with 2 Rifles Battle Group, was killed on October 31 as he dealt with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Sangin region of Helmand province.

He died instantly when the device he was defusing detonated. He had previously disarmed 64 roadside bombs in five months.


The George Cross was instituted 1940 by George VI and is awarded in recognition of "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger". Until now, the medal has been awarded 159 times in 70 years.

The medal is the most prestigious award that can be made for an act of bravery not in the face of the enemy. It was originally dubbed "the civilian VC" but in fact it has also been awarded to scores of servicemen.

Update 1051 18 Mar: According to this article from the MOD Defence News, two George Crosses will be awarded.
Two British military bomb disposal experts, one of whom gave his life in the line of duty, have been awarded one of the UK's highest awards for gallantry, the George Cross.

At a special ceremony in London today, Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup confirmed that Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes and his fallen colleague the late Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid are to have the gallantry award bestowed upon them.


The George Crosses will be presented in a Royal investiture at a later date.

These honours are part of Operational Awards List 34, the remainder of which will be announced tomorrow, Friday, 19 March 2010.


Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes and the late Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid, both from the Royal Logistic Corps were deployed to Helmand Province as part of 19 Light Brigade, which was deployed to Afghanistan on Operation HERRICK 10 between March and November 2009.


SSgt Hughes's actions are described in his citation as "the single most outstanding act of explosive ordnance disposal ever recorded in Afghanistan."

The article linked to gives details on the actions for which the medals are to be awarded.

Top 100 Children's Novels: 20

Number 20:
Tuck Everlasting,
by Natalie Babbitt.

Published in 1975, but I haven't read it yet, nor have I seen either version of the movie (1981 or 2002).

15 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 25-21

The next installment (25-21) of Betsy Bird's "Top 100 Children's Novels" list is up at A Fuse #8 Production.

From this group, I've read Little Women (by Louisa May Alcott, #25 on the list), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J K Rowling, #24) and The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread* (Kate DiCamillo, #22).

So much for my theory that Little Women would be in the top ten.

And now comes the top-twenty countdown - one book at a time....

* Newbery Medal winner

14 March 2010

Victoria Cross: F. G. Topham


Corporal, 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion

Born: 10 August 1917, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died: 31 May 1974, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada

Citation: On 24th March, 1945, Corporal Topham, a medical orderly, parachuted with his Battalion on to a strongly defended area east of the Rhine [at Diersfordter, Germany]. At about 1100 hours, whilst treating casualties sustained in the drop, a cry for help came from a wounded man in the open. Two medical orderlies from a field ambulance went out to this man in succession but both were killed as they knelt beside the casualty.
Without hesitation and on his own initiative, Corporal Topham went forward through intense fire to replace the orderlies who had been killed before his eyes. As he worked on the wounded man, he was himself shot through the nose. In spite of severe bleeding and intense pain, he never faltered in his task. Having completed immediate first aid, he carried the wounded man steadily and slowly back through continuous fire to the shelter of a wood.
During the next two hours Corporal Topham refused all offers of medical help for his own wound. He worked most devotedly throughout this period to bring in wounded, showing complete disregard for the heavy and accurate enemy fire. It was only when all casualties had been cleared that he consented to his own wound being treated.
His immediate evacuation was ordered, but he interceded so earnestly on his own behalf that he was eventually allowed to return to duty.
On his way back to his company he came across a carrier, which had received a direct hit. Enemy mortar bombs were still dropping around, the carrier itself was burning fiercely and its own mortar ammunition was exploding. An experienced officer on the spot had warned all not to approach the carrier.
Corporal Topham, however, immediately went out alone in spite of the blasting ammunition and enemy fire, and rescued the three occupants of the carrier. He brought these men back across the open and, although one died almost immediately afterwards, he arranged for the evacuation of the other two, who undoubtedly owe their lives to him.
This N.C.O. showed sustained gallantry of the highest order. For six hours, most of the time in great pain, he performed a series of acts of outstanding bravery and his magnificent and selfless courage inspired all those who witnessed it.

[London Gazette issue 37205 dtd 3 Aug 1945, published 31 Jul 1945.]

Medal of Honor: F. Fuger


Sergeant, Battery A, 4th US Artillery

Born: 1836, Koppingen, Germany
Died: 13 October 1913

Citation: All the officers of his battery having been killed or wounded and five of its guns disabled in Pickett's assault [at Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, on 3 July 1863], he succeeded to the command and fought the remaining gun with most distinguished gallantry until the battery was ordered withdrawn.

Note: Fuger's commanding officer, 1st Lt Alonzo Cushing, was recently recommended for a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions at Gettysburg.

Pi Day


Happy Pi Day

π = 3.14159265358979020846

11 March 2010

Medal of Honor recommended for Civil War

1st Lt Alonzo H Cushing (19 Jan 1841-3 Jul 1863), who served as a battery commander in the 4th US Artillery during the Civil War, has been recommended for a posthumous Medal of Honor. ZUI this article from the Wisconsin State Journal:
Alonzo Cushing, a Civil War hero and the most famous of three Delafield brothers who distinguished themselves in military service, has been recommended to receive the Medal of Honor, 146 years after his death at Gettysburg.

With congressional approval, the U.S. Army first lieutenant would become the 62nd Medal of Honor winner from Wisconsin, the 22nd from the Civil War.

The nomination by Sen. Russ Feingold dates back to 2003. The Army made the recommendation last month, and Feingold announced it Tuesday.

ZUI also this article from Wikipedia, and these articles (including a description of the battle written by Cushing's first sergeant, who received the Medal of Honor for heroism at Gettysburg).

RIP: Daisey Bailey

Daisey Bailey
30 March 1896 - 7 March 2010

The fourth-oldest person in the world has died. ZUI this article from the Detroit News:
Bailey died of organ failure Sunday at Henry Ford Hospital. The Detroit resident was the fifth oldest person in the world and the oldest living black person as certified by the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks people who are 100 years and older.

She would have turned 115 March 30, said her granddaughter Helen Arnold.

Bailey was one of two supercentenarians, or those older than 110, who died Sunday. Mary Josephine Ray, who was certified as the oldest person living in the United States, died at age 114 years, 294 days, at a nursing home in Westmoreland, N.H.

Bailey's family said she was born in 1895, in Watertown, Tenn. The Gerontology Research Group puts Bailey's birthday a year later, based on U.S. census records.


Bailey's secret to longevity? She liked "taking a nip" of old bourbon whenever she could, Arnold said.

Bailey was rarely ill and suffered mostly from mild cases of hypertension and arthritis, Arnold said. Arnold also attributed her grandmother's long life to eating a lot of vegetables and pork. "She didn't eat nothing but pork, no beef," she said.

In addition to being the fourth-oldest person in the world, Bailey was the second-oldest person in the united States at the time of her death. (The oldest person in the world is Japanese, and the third-oldest is French.) She is the first supercentenarian listed by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) to die since the death of Mary Josephine Ray just a few hours earlier on 11 September.

The GRG's list of validated living supercentenarians (people who have reached their 110th birthday) currently includes 75 people (3 men and 72 women), ranging from Kama Chinen of Japan (born 10 May 1895) to Domenica Di Tomasso-Ciccheli of Italy (born 11 Feb 1900). The oldest person in the United States is now Neva Morris of Iowa (born 3 Aug 1895), the world's second-oldest person; 20 other supercentenarians live in the US, though none are in Michigan.

RIP: Mary Josephine Ray

Mary Josephine Ray (née Arsenault)
17 May 1895 – 7 March 2010

The second-oldest person in the world has died. ZUI this article from the Keene (NH) Sentinel:
Even at 114, Mary J. Ray was a woman known to belt out a tune with gusto — anytime, anywhere.

Among the top songs in the Westmoreland resident’s repertoire was a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” sung in honor of her beloved Red Sox.


Ray, who had been listed as the oldest living American and the second oldest person in the world since September, died peacefully Sunday morning at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland.

Hers was a life spanning the election of 21 presidents, the introduction of six U.S. states, both world wars and American women gaining the right to vote.


Born May 17, 1895, in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, Canada, Ray was one of seven children.

She moved to the U.S. at three, and by 15 had lost both parents.

She took a job as a housekeeper and store clerk, and in 1923 married Walter R. Ray.

The couple had two sons, Robert B. Ray and Donald K. Ray, and lived in Anson, Maine, for 60 years.


She had eight grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.

Ray is the 33d supercentenarian listed by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) to die since the death of Gertrude Baines on 11 September 2009. 11 of the others were residents of the United States.

The GRG's list of validated living supercentenarians (people who have reached their 110th birthday) currently includes 75 people (3 men and 72 women), ranging from Kama Chinen of Japan (born 10 May 1895) to Domenica Di Tomasso-Ciccheli of Italy (born 11 Feb 1900). The oldest person in the United States is now Neva Morris of Iowa (born 3 Aug 1895), the world's second-oldest person; 20 other supercentenarians live in the US, though none are in New Hampshire.

Top 100 Children's Novels: 30-26

And the next installment (30-26) of Betsy Bird's "Top 100 Children's Novels" list is up at A Fuse #8 Production.

Once again, I've read four of the five: Winnie-the Pooh (by A A Milne, #30 on the list), The Dark Is Rising (Susan Cooper, #29), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll, counted as one book* at #27), and Hatchet (Gary Paulsen, #26).

After posting numbers 25-21, Betsy will start a) counting down one book per day, and b) taking people's guesses as to which books will be in the top ten. (I'm surprised Pooh and Alice weren't!) Eric, at What We Read and What We Think, has already post his current guess. I agree with five of them....

And of the 75 thus far:
Three (Swallows and Amazons, The Children of Green Knowe and Henry Huggins) were on my top-ten list;
I've read 40 (possibly 42) others;
I've seen the film version of one I haven't read;
and I'd never heard of seven of them (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Thief, Love That Dog, My Father's Dragon, Stargirl, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and The BFG).

* Because they're so often published together as one book, and because so many people voted for them as one.

09 March 2010

Top 100 Children's Novels: 35-31

And here's the next installment (35-31) of Betsy Bird's "Top 100 Children's Novels" list at A Fuse #8 Production.

I've read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (by J K Rowling, #35 on the list), Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH* (Robert C O'Brien, #32) and Half Magic (Edward Eager, #31).

In fact, I've read Half Magic several times. It almost made my list, but instead I voted for The Time Garden, the fourth book in that series.

Another thing I've been looking at is the list of authors who haven't appeared on the list yet. I've given up on Jim Kjelgaard; Big Red is probably his best contender, and I wouldn't expect it to be in the top 50. Ditto Robert Lawson. But we still haven't had anything from C S Lewis, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Johann Wyss, Lewis Carroll, Louisa May Alcott, E Nesbit, Marguerite Henry, Walter Farley....

Once again, that's the Ukrainian cover for Harry Potter.

* Newbery Medal winner

08 March 2010

Top 100 Picture Books

In addition to the poll she did this year on the top 100 children's novels, Betsy (A Fuse #8 Production) did one last year on the top 100 picture books. The complete list of all 101 - yes, 101 - of them is here; each book on the list is linked to the post in which it originally appeared.

I was quite happy to see that Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, was in the top ten (at #7), and that The Story of Ferdinand (written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson) and Good Night Gorilla (by Peggy Rathmann) were in the top twelve (#11 and #12, respectively).

On the other hand, I was quite surprised by the lack of Jamberry, by Bruce Degen, and of anything at all by Mitsumasa Anno. But Betsy also did a follow-up post, entitled "What Do You Mean It Didn't Make the List?!? The Greatest Gaps of the Top 100 Picture Book Poll (for Good and for Ill)," and Jamberry was on that. Still nothing by Anno, though!

I didn't participate in that poll, but if I had my list probably would have looked something like this:
1. Jamberry, by Bruce Degen
2. Good Night Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann (#12 on Betsy's list)
3. Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson (#7 on Betsy's list)
4. But Not the Hippopotamus, by Sandra Boynton
5. Anno's Britain, by Mitsumasa Anno
6. Tuesday, by David Wiesner (#43 on Betsy's list, and the winner of the 1992 Caldecott Medal)
7. Anno's Journey, by Mitsumasa Anno
8. Anno's USA, by Mitsumasa Anno
9. Mouse Count, by Ellen Stohl Walsh
10. We're Going on a Bear Hunt, written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (#69 on Betsy's list)

(Boynton's Hippos Go Berserk would have been another contender for my top ten, as would The Story of Ferdinand.)

Top 100 Children's Novels: 40-36

And here's the next installment (40-36) of Betsy Bird's "Top 100 Children's Novels" list at A Fuse #8 Production.

I've read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (by L Frank Baum, #40 on the list), or at least I'm pretty sure I read it long, long ago because I'm familiar with the story and I know I've never seen the movie. I've also read When You Reach Me* (Rebecca Stead, #39), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J K Rowling, #38) and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry* (Mildred Taylor, #37).

That's the Ukrainian cover for Order of the Phoenix below.

* Newbery Medal winner

01 March 2010

Book list - Feb 10

The Dragon Heir - YA modern fantasy, by Cinda Williams Chima
The Hound of the Baskervilles - mystery, by Arthur Conan Doyle *
Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space - YA SF, by Philip Reeve
Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba - YA historical fiction (poetry), by Margarita Engle
Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats - YA SF, by Philip Reeve
Martian Time-Slip - SF, by Philip K Dick
Warrior Queens: The Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in World War II - WW II, by Daniel Allen Butler
Rick O'Shay, Hipshot, and Me: A Memoir - memoir, by Stan Lynde
Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front 1942-1945 - WWII fiction, by Joyce Dennys
A Study in Scarlet - mystery, by Arthur Conan Doyle *
The Sign of Four - mystery, by Arthur Conan Doyle *
Chain of Violence - mystery, by Leslie Egan (Elizabeth Linington) *
Ellen Tebbits - children's, by Beverly Cleary
Otis Spofford - children's, by Beverly Cleary
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - mystery (short stories), by Arthur Conan Doyle *
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - YA historical fiction, by Avi
The River Between Us - YA historical fiction, by Richard Peck
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - mystery (short stories), by Arthur Conan Doyle *

18 books last month, with six rereads (marked by asterisks). To reach my goal of 210 books this year, I have to average 17.5 per month, so I'm currently just ahead of track.

No Carnegie Medal winners this month, so I'm still at 25 of 70.