Friday, May 28, 2010

Wandering Over To A Different Section of the Library, With Some Success

Children's book are kind of their own thing, just like children's television and children's wallpaper.  Since I don't spend a lot of time reading children's books, I don't always appreciate this fact, but when I do pick one up, I'm quite forcibly reminded of it.  Last night, I picked up (finally) Howl's Moving Castle.  If you don't recall, Howl's Moving Castle is the Dianna Wynne Jones book featuring a wizard named Howl who apparently ranks up there with Shevraeth and others as a romantic hero, according to the Bad for Shidduchim post that inspired me in the first place (don't feel like making a link, but see my first post).  So did he live up?

Well I didn't have huge expectations for the book because s.b. and e.sp. both read it and both gave the same verdict - cute, but definitely not incredibly romantic.  And I definitely agree with that assessment - and, as a children's book, I wouldn't really have thought anything else.  It's not even YA (well it was in the YA section of the library, but it could easily have been in children's).  And I like Dianna Wynne Jones, or at least the Chrestomanci series - Christopher is *rather* awesome.  But the Chrestomanci books aren't romantic - there's nothing going on with Milli in the first book as Christopher is 10 years old, and by the second he's married with two kids.  So Howl, with a twenty-something wizard and a simple young town girl, is a *much* more promising setting.  So I'm okay that there's not really any romance - I can put it there myself, pretty well :)

As for the story itself... well the Chrestomanci series is definitely by far the superior world - this one felt like a country cousin of that one (chiefly the portal into "our" world).  But the emphasis here was much more on the story and the people than on the world - and the truth is, I'm not a huge fan of world building.   I like books about people.  Actually, my problem with the book was mainly the "action" sequences - which I just skim or skip totally.   And as for the people, Sophie's definitely cool - she's got spunk, she's smart and she's super nice too - and everyone likes her.  Howl's pretty good, though I don't know why he belongs on the romantic hero post... different strokes for different folks :) (see, I can be very understanding of other opinions :)) And I liked the fairy tale element of the story too - the way it kind of tongue in cheek brought in witch/wizard/enchantment elements.   There's a reason Dianna Wynne Jones is such a popular writer...

So basically, a good children's book, and one of the few I'm happy and intersested to read.

Verdict: 4/5
Food: Well it's good, but not completely satisfying... I think I'm going to go with whole wheat macaroni and cheese - I like it, but it is *not* the same thing as the genuine article.  But don't get me wrong, I would *love* a bowl right now (of course, I'd love a bowl of anything with carbs right now :))

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