Spotlight: The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

This was another book I decided to read during Banned Books Week.  I began reading it yesterday and finished it up today which is why the review is up a day after the week ended.

Why Has This Book Been Challenged?

Children performing magic or witchcraft.


David Stanley’s mother has been dead for a year when his father remarries.  David’s been in charge of his younger brother (Blair) and sisters (Janie and Esther).  When his twelve-year-old stepsister, who claims to be a student of the occult, comes to live with the Stanley family, odd things begin to happen around the house.  David thinks his stepsister is behind it all but the last event leaves him wondering if a poltergeist really has come back to haunt the house.

What Did I Think of It?

This book is at least twenty years old but still reads well.  The parents are mostly absent but they are always there for family meals.  The father has a long commute to the university and ends up going out of town for three weeks.  The stepmother is an artist who uses one of the rooms as her studio.  It’s obvious the parents care for all of the children and that Amanda is acting out.  She’s unhappy that she needs to go to a new school, has a new family, is living in a new house and that her biological father is too busy for her. 

Usually the parental figures in young adult books are nonexistent or swept aside so it was a pleasant surprise to have two of them make several appearances throughout the book.  David is close to his father and really likes having Molly as a parent though it took a while for him to get used to the idea.  I think the book realistically deals with a child’s feelings about remarriage.

The “occult” Amanda studies is really a bunch of hocus pocus.  It’s an interesting contrast to Blair, the cherubic twin, who can talk to animals and ghosts but doesn’t say much to people.  This was an enjoyable and fast read.

The Stanley family and Amanda have also been featured in The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case, Blair’s Nightmare and Janie’s Private Eyes if you want to read about more of their adventures.

Spotlight: In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Why has this book been challenged?

The objection to this book is the nudity of Mickey, the main character.  Some have stated it is gratuitous.  Also, it could be taken as the first step to using pornography in the future.

Summary of the Book

Mickey is in bed when he hears noises.  He yells for the noises to stop, tumbles out of bed, loses his clothes and falls right into the night kitchen where the three bakers bake cakes for the morning.  The bakers mistake Mickey for milk and mix him with the other cake ingredients.  He helps them get the milk to bake the cakes and thereafter we all have cakes in the morning. 

What did I think of it?

It was a silly story but probably won’t be something that stays with me.  I didn’t like or dislike it.  This is probably a good book for me to read with my nephews.  Younger kids will like the rhythm of the words.  Each page has detailed drawings.  I was much more interested in the buildings than in Mickey’s nudity.  The buildings have kitchen utensils on them and words commonly found in pantries on the containers of baking ingredients.  They are very fanciful.

Did you ever read this book as a child or read it to your children?

Tuesday Thingers: Which Banned Books Have You Read?

Taken from Boston Bibliophile’s blog: For this week’s Tuesday Thingers, I’ve copied the list of the most-challenged books of the 1990s straight from the ALA website. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ve read. Highlight what you’ve read, and italicize what you have in your LT library.  (I only have a few read books in my LibraryThing library but you’re welcome to peek at them.)  Continue reading Tuesday Thingers: Which Banned Books Have You Read?

ALA Read and Author Series Posters

While looking at the ALA site for Banned Book Week I came across the current Celebrity READ posters in their shop.  It reminded me that during high school I had the David Bowie poster hanging on my wall.  I don’t recall how I got it.  It seems like it should have been a prize for the summer reading club but I was too old for the club then.  There used to be an age limit on the reading club though I don’t think they actually said there was – what teenager wants a happy meal coupon for reading books?  Now our library has multiple summer reading clubs for kids, teens and adults. 

Curious about who has been on the posters I found a site called I Love Libraries.  It has a page that lists all of the celebrities that have done posters over the years.  I learned that we can recommend celebrities and characters for the posters.  All you have to do is send an e-mail to with “READ Poster Suggestion” in the subject line.   Bet you can’t guess who I picked for my nomination.  Fone Bone from the Jeff Smith Bone series.

While looking around I found out there is an author series of posters too where authors recommend some of their favorite books.  I’d be interested in knowing if some of them would change their lists.