Provides critical reviews of award-winning children's books, biographical information on authors, entries on unusual characters, and an extensive index.
This reference work is the second in a series of five-year updates to the authors' previous two volumes on American fiction for children, from 1859-1985. It contains more than five hundred entries, most in the categories of author, title, and character, on more than 180 books that received awards from 1990 to 1994. The authors culled their selections from twenty children's book award sources, from the Jane Addams Peace Association Children's Book Award to the Western Heritage Award. Picture books are not included. This is an impressive reference work. Book entries contain a detailed summary and critical review of the text. Author entries are brief but supply standard biographical information about the writers, including a listing of other books they have written. The character entries provide critical and succinct characterization of important characters and place them within the context of the work as a whole. All the entries are arranged alphabetically, dictionary style. An appendix listing featured books by award categories and a very detailed index conclude the volume. The authors' objective, critical insight into each work, sets this apart from standard plot-summary reference guides. The writing is clear and direct, but the tone is academic and literary, so this work will likely appeal more to writers, librarians, and teachers than to pre-college students. It is a welcome and useful critical guide to quality fiction for young readers. Index. Appendix.