Friday, March 8, 2013

What a Remarkable Paperback!!

So, guess what came in the mail yesterday? That's right! It's the paperback edition of Remarkable, by Lizzie K. Foley. The hardback came out last April under the Dial imprint of Penguin. The paperback is through Puffin (also part of Penguin), and has a completely new cover. Here's a stack of them:

Foreground: The nineteen best books ever written. Background: Our new kitchen wall color.

And here's a close-up of the cover, so that you can really see the awesome cover art by Fernando Juarez, which has a bit of a Dr. Seuss-ey vibe:

Pictured: Jane, The Pirate Ship Mozart Kugeln, Lucky the Lake Monster, The Mansion at the Top of Remarkable Hill, the Bell Tower (under construction). Not pictured: the nefariously identical Grimlet Twins, Melissa and Eddie, Remarkable's School for the Remarkably Gifted, Ebb, Jeb, Flotsam, Madame Gladiola, Penelope Hope Adelaide Catalina, Anderson Brigby Bright Doe III, Lucinda Wilhelmina Hinojosa, Mad Captain Penzing the Horrific, and more.
That means that, yes, you can now get this excellent book in paperback form, which is both more affordable and more bendable than the original!

Should you buy it? Yes! Why? Let me tell you!

Here are the pull quotes from just a few of the positive reviews Remarkable has received:

From the New York Times:
A lot of outlandish entertainment.
From Booklist:
A remarkable middle-grade gem.
From Kirkus Reviews:
A rich, unforgettable story that's quite simply — amazing.
The story centers on the town of Remarkable, where all of the residents are gifted, talented, and extraordinary. Everyone in the town is a world-class musician, or writer, or architect . . .

Except for Jane.

In fact, she is the only student in the entire town who attends the public school, rather than Remarkable's School for the Remarkably Gifted. But everything changes when the Grimlet Twins join her class and pirates arrive in town. Plus, there's a weather machine, a psychic pizza lady, a shy lake monster, and dentistry.

The book is both funny and thoughtful. You can enjoy it as a goofy adventure full of wacky characters and wordplay. It's for ages eight and up, but if you're an grown up who likes kids' books at all, you'll find that there is a lot here to engage the adult reader.

Speaking of which, you can also read it as a subversive commentary on a culture that pushes children towards excellence rather than kindness and happiness. As Jane's Grandpa John says near the end of the book:
The world is a wonderfully rich place, especially when you aren't trapped by thinking that you're only as worthwhile as your best attribute. . . . It's the problem with Remarkable, you know. . . . Everyone is so busy being talented, or special, or gifted, or wonderful at something that sometimes they forget to be happy.
Now, I know, you're thinking to yourself that you should take my endorsement with a grain of salt. After all, Lizzie Foley is my wife, and I can't be trusted to provide an honest, unbiased assessment of her book . . .

Or can I?

I'm gonna give you some straight talk on correlation versus causation. You might assume that I like this book because I'm married to the person who wrote it. You would not be more wrong. In fact, if I did not know Lizzie Foley, and I read this book, I would track her down and marry her.

So, yes, you should run out right now and get yourself a copy of this book. You should give it to your ten year old, or you should read it with your eight year old, or you should just curl up with it yourself. Just remember, she's already married. I'm looking at you, Ryan Gosling!

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