Saturday, July 16, 2011

Children's Book Review: Charlie Meadows

Name of Book: Charlie Meadows
Author / Illustrator: Written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Martin Baynton
What It's All About: A little mouse delivers the news and weather at night.  He carries a sign made from a torn off piece of paper that says "bleak outlo".  One night he begins to dance on the snow just to watch his shadow move across the white drifts.  Ephraim Owl is also watching Charlie's shadow dance.  Will this be Charlie's last night of news and weather?
My Favorite Bit:  There is something so ageless about the way these little stories are written.  Hoban is a master of writing what children want to read without sugar coating the language nor the storylines.  My favorite bit in this book must surely be the page with Ephraim looming over Charlie.  Baynton's illustrations are delicate and beautiful.  I wish I could find one here for you but alas my Hoban set is still packed away from our great move and I can't scan it in.  Just trust me.  They're amazing.
Suitable Age For Reading It To: These stories are a little more sophisticated and I'd start around four and work your way up.  I still love them in my thirties so that's a plus.
Go Get It: Charlie Meadows at Amazon US. This one's out of print so it will take a little hunting but it's well worth it.
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: 

Russell Conwell Hoban is an American, born in 1925 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania to Jewish Ukranian immigrents.  He married Lillian Hoban during WWII, with whom he collaborated on the Frances books as well as others.  They divorced and he lives with his second wife and their children in London.  The Mouse And His Child was Hoban's first full length novel though he has gone on to write more novels for adults.

Martin Baynton, born in 1953 in London, is a British Author, illustrator, actor, and tv producer.  Besides the book series he illustrated above he has also illustrated the book Jane and the Dragon which has been adapted for tv and produced by the now famous Weta Workshop.  

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