I decided to read some of the older Newbery Award winners, so I took out The Good Master by Kate Seredy. I was surprised at how good it was. It takes place in Hungary at the beginning of the 20th Century. A city girl, Kate, is sent to live in the country with her Uncle Marton and his wife (who is NEVER named in the book except as Mother and Auntie. At least, I don't think she was.) and their son, Jancsi. They are expecting a quiet, sickly little angel and they get a whirlwind. It's a good description of life on a huge farm in Hungary and the customs of people before WWII and the Iron Curtain. And it's fun reading about the trouble that Kate gets herself and Jancsi into. Like Dragon's Little House books its a trip back to a time and place that seems idyllic to denizens of the 21st century.
And what else is going on here? John Grogan stopped by on Saturday January 28 with about 300 of his fans. No kidding. Grogan wrote Marley & Me about his late, great yellow lab, Marley, the worst dog in the world. It appears that everyone loves books about dogs and most people think Their dog is the worst in the world. When I learn how to put pictures on this blog, I'll put Grogan's picture.
On March 1st at 7 p.m., Susan Campbell Bartoletti will be here to talk about her Newbery Honor book, Hitler Youth. I read it! It is amazingly well-done and pretty darn scary. Hitler Youth started out as this program to help children learn about hard work and the great outdoors and then -(insert ominous music here) it turned into a training ground for Hitler's army. We will have copies of the book here if you want to buy some. I'm going to try to get copies of Bartoletti's Growing up in Coal Country which is about Pennsylvania's coal region - which is not too far from here - to sell as well.