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Book Title: The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues|
The author of the book: Ellen Raskin
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Loaded: 1463 times
Reader ratings: 5.3
Date of issue: August 30th 1979
ISBN 13: 9780140471410
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 733 KB
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This is a sophisticated mystery that takes little readers seriously. I read about a trillion Agatha Christies when I was a child, and those are written for grownups but I remember this kids' book being way more emotionally compelling and intellectually layered... though you know, Agatha Christie had much cleverer mysteries and all that, and this isn't at all to malign her, only to say that Ellen Raskin really produced some very unique, brainy, and heartfelt books for children. All her stuff was very special and memorable, and the mysteries always had to do with themes of identity and often involved wordplay. I should reread something of hers. I wrote a book report on this one in the sixth grade so I remember it fairly well, but I'm not sure it was the best of her books, only that I liked it.
There's a moment in here that stuck with me for years and that I still think about pretty frequently, and which almost seemed like a throwaway detail at the time. It was a comment the painter makes about how a good artist doesn't need to paint every leaf to get across the idea of a tree, in response to which his employee Dickory bristles and reflects silently that she drew every brick in the magic marker street scenes she submitted for admission to art school. In a way that's a very simple exchange, but in a way it isn't, and I think it's a good example of how a book for children can get into some themes -- e.g., "Art, and ideas about how to make it/what it should be like" -- in a pretty adult way.
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Read information about the authorEllen Raskin was a writer, illustrator, and designer. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and grew up during the Great Depression. She primarily wrote for children. She received the 1979 Newbery Medal for her 1978 book, The Westing Game.
Ms. Raskin was also an accomplished graphic artist. She designed dozens of dust jackets for books, including the first edition of Madeleine L'Engle's classic A Wrinkle in Time.
She married Dennis Flanagan, editor of Scientific American, in 1965.
Raskin died at the age of 56 on August 8, 1984, in New York City due to complications from connective tissue disease.
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