of the Center for Children's Books:
|Each month we offer a
focus on a particular author or artist, sometimes we use this space
to discuss a rising new talent or an established star, but we also like
to celebrate those who now live on only in the rich legacy of their books.
See the archive for focus pieces from previous
Vivian Vande Velde has been "addicted to stories" for some time- ever since she was a kid clutching a notebook, waiting for stories "to come to her," in fact. Her first novel for young adults, User Unfriendly, was published by Harcourt in 1991, and she has written nearly a dozen volumes since, including mass market paperback fantasies, young adult fantasy novels, and short stories. Considering Vande Velde's dependable output and quality, True Blue fits her body of work; we briefly contemplated calling her a Rising Star Approaching Apogee, but that was too much even for us; so, in keeping with our newly minted policy of calling authors and illustrators who began publishing during this decade Rising Stars, let's just say that Vande Velde is a r ising star in an already glittering firmament. It is possible to trace Vande Velde's ripening skills as a writer through her work--simply put, the books get stronger as the author gains increasing mastery over her medium. Vande Velde has a knack for pla cing the magical amongst the mundane. Her short stories and novels for young adults depict everyday, contemporary life discombobulated by the interference of the fey (User Unfriendly, Curses, Inc., the upcoming Smart Dog). Her traditional fantasy environs are populated by characters possessing wit, style, and a wry sense of humor (Dragon's Bait, A Hidden Magic); and she proves to have a deft touch for the deadly and macabre in well-constructed plots that incl ude handsome all-American vampires and vengeful outlaw ghosts (Companions of the Night, Ghost of a Hanged Man). Vande Velde's language is poetic without being inaccessible, her capable characterizations give readers something distinct t o hang their (sun)hats on, and her masterful, original plotting ensures a satisying journey through whatever landscape the author imagines. Grab your sunscreen, suspend your disbelief, and travel through some of Vande Velde's worlds this summer for an adv enture you won't soon forget.
-Janice M. Del Negro, Editor
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This page was last updated on July 1, 1998.