Monday, March 21, 2011

April Fools - Early

You may or may not know that Amazon has tools available for authors to monitor their sales of their books. It's called Author Central. Every so often - usually when I'm procrastinating from doing work - I'll go on over there and see how my books are doing. I'm especially curious to see how Wink 2 is doing in relation to Wink 1.

Today I noticed that I could add industry reviews to my book pages. I didn't know I could do that! I remembered a fun review that Kirkus gave to Wink 2 so I chopped it up and pulled a blurb from it. (You can only have 250 characters. EDIT!) Then I decided to look around and see if I could find anything else to add to it.

I got a little more than I bargained for!

From the School Library Journal:

Gr 1-3–This sequel to Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed (Viking, 2009) is just that: a sequel. There is little development of the narrative to help readers understand just who Wink is and what he does in the Lucky Dragon Circus, and why he needs a “break,” which, by the way, is very different from a nap. The confusion starts at the get-go when his fans won’t leave him alone and continues throughout this cliché-ridden, but flashy picture book. Yes, the illustrations are bold, sometimes garish and sometimes beautiful, but the story lacks cohesiveness and logic and the characters lack expression. This book is a clear case of the glamour of the art overshadowing the story. Don’t be fooled.–Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City

I think it's safe to say that Sara Lissa Paulson is NOT a fan.

This is my first official pan and I have to say, I'm not too upset about it. Lord knows, I'm used to criticism and rejection. I get it all the time. Anyone in the arts does. You get either get used to it or you get out of that business. But my favorite part is the end, Don't be fooled! It's as is I'm sitting here in my studio, twirling my long, black sinister mustache', brainwashing America's youth with brightly colored construction paper to accept intentionally crappy writing. (Insert maniacal laugh here.) I could write a better story but I want you to ingest my drivel!!!

So, if anybody's thinking that, let me just shrug and say, I thought it was a funny story and I apologize if I fooled anyone in any way. :)

Fortunately, the reviewer at Kirkus seems to be a little more on my wavelength. Here's that review:

Ah, the price of fame.

Repeatedly stymied in his efforts to take a nap by a trio of giggling groupies, the overcaffeinated ninja-turned-circus acrobat who achieved his dream in Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted To Be Noticed (2009) at last enlists similarly black-swathed classmates from the Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas to lead his stalkers off in merry chases for an hour or two. Also returning for this sequel are Wink's wise grandma and frazzled-but-savvy sensei ("One zebra alone is easily seen. A herd creates confusion," he intones. "Why can't Master Zutsu say anything normal? Wink thought. Then he got an idea"). Bright patterns and heavy textures give the paper-collage illustrations a 3D look; borders contain inset illustrations, while full-bleed spreads allow readers to pull back for more expansive views. Phillipps cranks up the visual energy by strewing her brightly lit street scenes with laughing figures, arms and legs flung out joyfully.

Like its predecessor, definitely not a snoozer. (Picture book. 5-7)

And there you have it. To quote a wise theme song:

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have...The Facts of Life


And now, in an official beg, IF you have the new book and you IF you legitimately liked it, why not write a teeny review on the Wink the Ninja Who Wanted to Nap Amazon page? It would help me sell some book and make it possible for me to write some more. I can promise Ms. Paulson that I will try really hard to write a quality story that doesn't deceive anyone. And I would really, really appreciate it.

No foolin'! :)


Angela said...

Aghhh! You brainwashed my face!!!

Julie_c said...

Oh No! :)

Shelley said...

So I guess you aren't really upset because it kind of sounds like she's saying your art is just too awesome? :)

Julie_c said...

I think that's EXACTLY what she's saying, Shelley. You got it!

Heather said...

Angela--I was thinking the same thing! Too freaking funny. Who knew that Julie was so adept at pulling the wool over the eyes even of editors at major NYC publishing houses. Now those are some skilz.

Heather said...

And here's your PW review--far more influential than PS whatever whatever:

check it out.

Chicklebee said...

When I was subbing on Friday, I read the napping book to a first and second grade class. They were SO SO SO excited!!!!! They LOVED the story and were so mad that those fans wouldn't leave poor Wink alone. They also LOVED making the giggling girl noise (boys included.... infact, come to think of it....they were the best at it!). Oooo, and they LOVED cursing in Japanese ;-) Shamata!!!!!
Will work on a review!!!

Julie_c said...

Thanks guys. Heather - I did see the PW review. I guess the fact that I read 2 positive reviews help it what makes the pan funny instead of soul-crushing. Thanks for the link.

Sara - I'm so glad the kids all liked it! I can't wait to read it to the kids at Whiting Lane. (And thanks in advance for a review.)