Monday, September 9, 2013

August Reviews Roundup

Here at David R. Godine, Publisher, we strive to produce high quality books above all else. So, when our books and authors are praised, we hope you'll forgive us for acting like proud parents. Please join us in celebrating the recent success of a few of our talented authors.

In recent news, we were happy to see that Kirkus Reviews praised Max Dalton's "witty and sophisticated" picture book  Extreme Opposites.  

Here is a highlight of their review, which you can also find here:

 “Too big”: A dismayed big-game hunter looks down at three colossal footprints while his porters chuckle at his discomfiture. “Too small”: A bearded castaway leans against a palm tree on an islet that’s just barely big enough. “Too late”: A quartet of dinosaurs, bags packed, dolefully watches the ark disappearing over the horizon. “Too early”: A rooster crows, silhouetted in the window against a starry night sky, with an irate would-be sleeper glaring at him from bed. Not for children just learning opposites, these illustrations invite older kids to study visual irony...The cartoons’ hip, limited palette and dry wit will appeal to adults, but the images never lose sight of the child audience, as is manifest in a couple of quite funny underwear-related gags (“too loose/too tight”). 

With whole stories unfurling in each image, the book has potential for classroom use as well as for solo enjoyment. 
Extreme Opposites is coming out this October, so make sure to check out our site for more information on this engaging book for all ages.

Brava! Author Susan Fillion's delightful (and delicious!) book Pizza in Pienza was reviewed recently by the Baltimore Sun:

Spaghetti and lasagna are all very well, but pizza is plainly the major Italian donation to the American diet. Susan Fillion celebrates both the pizza and its Italian origins in the slender but delightful Pizza in Pienza (David Godine, $17.95).

"The Pienza of the title is a little town in Tuscany which Ms. Fillion, a Baltimore artist and museum educator, makes the starting point of her illustrated history of this universally popular dish. Life in Pienza (and life in an Italian town can be very good) is limned in a series of drawings with bilingual English/Italian captions in which a child in the town discovers the history of her favorite food.
We get to the pie very quickly. To the invention in 1889 of the pizza Margherita in Naples, named after the queen and featuring the green, white, and red colors of the new Italian flag. The opening of the first American pizzeria in New York in 1905. The ballooning popularity of the dish after World War II, when American troops returning from Italy had developed a taste for the dish. 

...But the charm of the book lies in the evocative illustrations of daily life in Pienza, the Renaissance buildings and narrow streets, the daily round, the fresh produce at the weekly outdoor market, and the pizza hot from the oven."

You can find the full review here. Pizza in Pienza is currently available on our website, so make sure to get your slice of this beautifully illustrated title. (Did we mention there's a classic Neapolitan recipe for pizza margherita included?) Buon appetito!

We're pleased to know that the creator of the The Garden Interior blog is currently reading Rosemary Verey -- The Life & Lessons of a Legendary Gardener by Barbara Paul Robinson.

"This is a charming biography of one of the 20th Century’s great gardeners, and it is told in an engagingly simple, straight-forward prose narrative, by the author who was a very prominent New York lawyer and who, like Verey, came to gardening late in life. Robinson worked for Verey at her world famous garden, Barnsley, in the English Cotswolds. Verey only became a serious gardener in her 50s and 60s, and one of the most remarkable and likeable things about her is how a self-taught, passionate amateur could rise, in the twilight of life, to become a world authority on garden design and planting style."

This review is featured in the "What I'm Reading" column of the blog.

This definitive biography, capturing both  Ms. Verey charismatic personality as well as her darker demons, is one to add to your reading list--no green thumb required.

To wrap things up,  J.M.G Le Clézio’s novel The African was featured by the lovely folks at ForeWord reviews:

"This brilliant translation of Nobel Laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio’s book The African, the now- seventy -three- year- old writer goes back to his childhood spent in Nigeria, the son of a French military doctor posted to Africa. Told through the fog of memory, the author’s adult mind reanalyzes his childhood, adding layer upon layer of meaning.
The narrative has a poetic, otherworldly feel to it as both father and son struggle to control their own environments. They realize what other Europeans would learn the hard way: that eventually Africa would swallow them. They bend to Africa’s will, and not the other way around. Much later, after two decades, the father understands the futility of colonialism, the winless war against disease, with tools that did not work or were not plentiful enough. Europeans are more helpless than the termites and scorpions that the son taunted and killed in his youth.
But for the son, Africa is also freedom from the bombings of his birthplace in France during WWII. Later, after the end of Nazi occupation, the mother is challenged by friends in Paris who ask why she would move her family to the land of savages? “They’re no more savage than the people in Paris,” the mother replies.
As for his father, the son has two images: the happy father he never knew but saw in photographs, before the war isolated him; and the one after the war—embittered, stern, paranoid about germs and disease, who hit his children with a switch over childish pranks..."
Add these titles to your fall reading list--be sure to visit our website to view these and all of our upcoming and available titles.

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