Ellen Raskin (was a long list of re:s)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Jan 9 14:56:26 EST 2002

On Tue, 8 Jan 2002 20:05:50 -0500 (EST), Rebecca Ganetzky wrote:

>Oh, Melissa, you pain me; the Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I mean
>Noel) is one of my _all time_ favorite books.  


(very mild but still cranky)

I TOLD you.  I didn't like it as a kid because I didn't know what to expect
from it!  Not the same as...I don't know, whatever you got from that.  :)
And I liked it enough to go out of my way to acquire a very hard-to-find
used copy.  So there.

Originally I said one of the things I like about her books is the very '70s
feel to them.  Well, that was exactly what I hated as a child.  I came from
a very conservative household and had inherited the sneaking suspicion that
counter-cultural things were Wrong and Scary.  (I was also afraid of Asian
people and terrified of Chinese restaurants at the time.  I was EIGHT, for
heaven's sake!)  Now I rather like it.  Another book of the same type--two
books--are _The Clairvoyant Countess_ and _The Tightrope Walker_, both by
Dorothy Gilman.  The first has recently come back into print and it reminds
me a bit of _The Tattooed Potato_ in terms of time period and structure;
it's a bunch of short stories tied together by the frame of a psychic woman
who sometimes helps the police.  _The Tightrope Walker_ is a book about
books, and Gilman later wrote the novels that are at stake in _The Tightrope
Walker_ (though that was a shock when I first saw them in a library).

>The art is particularly
>priceless, but I always read it when I'm feeling not-so-great and it makes
>me happy!

I like the art very much.  In fact, thinking about Ellen Raskin's books made
me realize that I haven't read that one in a while.

>  I would offer Christian my extra copy, but unfortunately one of
>"my" little brothers got it.  (Nearly "my".  Well, almost "my".  You can
>tell who
>was disappointed her parents didn't have more kids.  :-(  )

They'd have just permanently borrowed them anyway.  I'm still waiting for my
brother to give back my copy of _The Silmarillion_ which he can't locate.

>Figgs and Phantoms is def. worth a read; I hated it as a small child and
>loved it as a middle schooler, but it didn't make my list of
>take-to-school books.

I think I was confused by what happened.  I remember liking it better as an

>That's actually all of read by her.

I know she's written more, but I've only read those four I mentioned.  They
are all worth it--quirky, intelligent, vivid, and a lot of fun.  She also
wrote a number of picture books for younger readers.

>Isn't WG great, tho?  I love the word plays.  And oh, the characters.  I
>still call one of my friends, Josefina, Josie-Jo Ford.  Anyway, I needed
>to ramble about a favorite book today, but I'll shut up now.

I like rambling.

Melissa Proffitt
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