Friday, August 18, 2006

BAD Kirkus, GOOD Booklist, Good Dog!

So, last week I got the good news that Chowder by Peter Brown got a STARRED REVIEW in Booklist: "Everything works here. The tongue-in-cheek humor melds delightfully with Brown's distinctive acrylic-and-pencil artwork...Inventive is the best word to describe the design...But along with the glitz, there's also a real story here, starring a very winsome protagonist."

And at the same time heard that there was a not-so-good review of it in Kirkus. Well, I just read that review now and couldn't help but rant a little about it. This was the last part of the review: "Chowder himself is not a particularly appealing character. He has mean eyes and a scary coutenance, particularly on the cover, where he looks like he'd like to bite an unsuspecting reader."


First of all, mean eyes? You can't even SEE his eyes on the cover! And does he look like he wants to bite someone? His tongue is hanging out, for Pete's sake.

It's all's all's all subjective...

But really. C'mon. "Mean eyes and scary countenance"?!?!?!?

Okay, I'll go back to the STAR. "Everything works here."



Anonymous said...

I met Peter at a regional SCBWI conference, where he showed me his amazing artwork. Absolutely beautiful stuff, and I'm glad to see that Booklist recognizes it for what it is!


alvinaling said...

Hi Barry, nice to see you here! Didn't we meet a few years ago at the SDSU Writer's Conference? Congratulations on your book!

Disco Mermaids said...

Hi Alvina!

Thanks for visiting our blog site recently. We were thrilled to get a comment from you, particularly after meeting you and hearing you speak at the recent SCBWI Conference. You and Jodi were quite entertaining!

And, in addition to your rant regarding "Chowder"...the Kirkus reviewer clearly isn't a dog lover. I find Chowder's eyes to be sleepy and he wants to be hugged, not like he's going to bite someone. Trust me!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Alvina! Yeah, it was actually last year at SDSU, believe it or not.

Really did love Chowder. Peter's style is terrific. Very clean, but three-dimensional. Just terrific work and he deserves all the kudos that come his way.

And thanks! :)


Anonymous said...

Kirkus, Shmirkus. Chowder is the most appealing bulldog since Warner Brothers immortal Marc Anthony.

alvinaling said...

Aw, thanks for all the support. I know not everyone loves dogs, and not everyone will love Chowder, but it still hurts to have someone call him scary with mean eyes. Chowder's just misunderstood.

And Disco Mermaids, I had no idea I was meeting such celebrities when I met you...although the flashy green costumes should have tipped me off! Great meeting you, and I love your blog!

SilberBook-Blog said...

Hi Alvina -

Well - as an author-type who was adored by Booklist but given a blah by K**k*s, I have simply removed the word K**k*s from my vocabulary. It works quite well because until publishing a book, the word K**k*s never seemed to pop up in conversation.

Booklist however, I try to use as often as possible as in, "I'm off to the store. Where is my booklist?" and "I'm booklisting you on my blog!"

But that's just me!


Christine Tripp said...

What I love about your review rant is that I had no idea Editors would feel the same way as the author and/or illustrator about a bad one (or at least a not GREAT one:)
I've "questioned" and "answered" a reviews out loud, while shaking the paper it's printed on, into my monitor and to my dog (who doesn't seem to appreciate the importance of it all... "is it food?.... well then I don't care") The difference is, my remarks are a little more colourful.
Sometimes, if it's not soft and pink and fluffy (be it human, be it dog) you just can't win:)

Christine Tripp