Delia Higgs Weikert

June 26, 2006

Post #1989 – 20060626

Hi Mr. Pinkwater, I have just listened to another segment of your NPR book review show. You reviewed Bats at the Beach which was written by my good friend and fellow writers/illustrators critque group member, Brian Lies. I am so glad that you like his story and illustrations. As a member of his critique group I have listened to it and watched the illustrations develop from it’s inception and even produced a “wrap” of Brians surfing bat illustration for the jeep that he takes to his book signings. Now that “Bats” is written he is finally joining our critiques rightside up, instead of hanging from the ceramic fixtures in the rafters. Which is good, I developed a “crick” in my neck looking up at him these past few years. Anyway, I was just wondering how you choose the books that you review? Do you peruse the newly published in the book stores or do publishers send them to you in hopes that you will read them?

It is just a question of curiosity, but I hope you will have a moment to pass along the answer. Whether you do or not, I remain a fan of your books and your show, and your taste in my friends’ books! Thanks for all you’ve given us (“us” being lovers of children’s books, whether we are kids or gray-haired kids). warmly, Delia

Daniel replies:

I get the books one way or another. Publishers send me plenty--about half of them are a sore waste of trees. On the other hand, half aren't. Most of them get donated so a school library that needs them. Sometimes I hear about a book and track it down. Sometimes the author sends one. It amounts to over a thousand books a year. We aim to feature a book every month, but people go on assignment, or have the flu, or go on vacation, or are busy writing a novel, so it's more like 9 or 10 books a year. I look at everything that comes in. In addition to having to be a good book with good art, there are a whole lot of criteria having to do with the needs of the radio broadcast. Many excellent books just aren't suitable. Some books that don't get used on the program, I later review in my column in Wonder Time magazine. I am not a literary critic, an educator, or a child psychologist. I only talk or write about books I like. It's fun to point out good stuff to people who are interested. You're lucky to be friends with Brian Lies. He did a masterpiece.