Jane Louise Curry-and others

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Apr 4 14:49:00 EST 2002

On Wed, 20 Mar 2002 17:24:07 EST, JOdel at aol.com wrote:

>While we are on the subject of revered authors. There are a couple that I am 
>thinking probably don't make many people's lists, but who have had a 
>tremendous impact on the spread and "taste" of childrens' lit and 
>particularly childrens' fantasy over the past 30 years. 
>Jane Louise Curry is one of them. The other is Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Snyder 
>has had a Newberry Honorable at least once, I think (can't recall which book, 
>though). Curry may have been too, but I am far fromn sure of that. Curry has 
>fared the worse of the two since an amazing number of her early works have 
>been oop for years. Both are solid competent writers with a fairly high 
>percentage of "keepers". But neither seems to have sparked the sortt of avid 
>fandom that DWJ has. 

I find that surprising too, especially since _The Egypt Game_ (by Snyder)
had a profound impact on a lot of kids of my generation.  The idea that one
might be both "mature" AND have a rich game of "let's pretend" at the same
time was a surprise, especially since it would be years before I would hear
about the Bronte kids and their many makebelieve worlds.  (I think a lot of
kids had their own version of the "Egypt Game" going on) Unfortunately _The
Gypsy Game_, written twenty years later, doesn't have nearly the impact and
suffers (in my opinion) from a bad case of political correctness.  However,
I think librarians still recommend her books to kids, particularly _Libby on
Wednesday_ (about writing).  Her Newbery Honor books include _The Witches of
Worm_, one of the most frightening books I read as a teen; _The Headless
Cupid_, still a favorite of mine and another creepy one; and of course _The
Egypt Game_.

Curry is another matter.  She's got a ton of books, but you never hear of
her any more.  I had to get _The Sleepers_ from the city library via ILL.  I
really can't remember reading any of her other books, though I know I must
have because the titles in the catalog are familiar.  I plan to work my way
through these in a few months.

>Of the two, Curry has explored the wider range of genres in her works (she 
>has produced some outstanding mysteries for the juvenile market). Snyder has 
>a number of books which are still widely recognized and beloved by the (now 
>grown) children who read them. Patricia Beatty with her childrens' 
>historicals is another writer who I may not have encountered until I was in 
>college, but who is still one of the reasons why I never saw any reason to 
>stop reading kiddie lit.

I still haven't read anything by Patricia Beatty.  I sort of regret my lost
early teens when I tended to reread the same books rather than searching out
new authors.  Or even reading OTHER books by the SAME author.  Like, say,
searching out more DWJ books because I liked _Power of Three_.  Dummy.

Melissa Proffitt
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