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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock
by Christina Lane

Publishers Weekly Film professor Lane (Feminist Hollywood) gives proper due to the legacy of Joan Harrison, one of Hollywood’s first female producers, in this wide-ranging biography. Lane makes a persuasive case that, more than just a creative partner with Alfred Hitchcock in several films and the show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Harrison left her signature on film noir, beginning with the 1944 sleeper hit that provides the book’s title, and paved the way for other female filmmakers. Drawing on original interviews and archival research, Lane follows Harrison’s career trajectory, film by film, while tracing recurring themes in her work, including travel, fashion, and, especially, nuanced female characters. Nitty-gritty details—Harrison’s wrangling with temperamental stars and with overbearing censors, for instance—add heft to the book, while excursions into her romantic and social life add color; Harrison had a fling with Clark Gable and mentored many young female stars such as Ella Raines and Merle Oberon. Hitchcock’s dominating personality occasionally steals Harrison’s spotlight in these pages, though she only worked with him for part of her career. Lane’s lively and loving account of “one of the last great untold stories of the classical Hollywood era” will intrigue film scholars, Hitchcock fans, and general readers alike. (Feb.)

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Kirkus A close-up look at the career of an influential woman screenwriter and producer in Hollywood.Lane (Film Studies/Univ. of Miami; Magnolia, 2011, etc.) depicts Joan Harrison (1907-1994) as an unconventional woman who was the most enduring assistant and colleague that Alfred Hitchcock ever had. "Harrison would contribute to all of Hitchcock's late British achievementsand his early Hollywood successes.Together, these films established Hitchcock as a master of the seriocomic thriller and gothic suspense." The author continues, "plainly put, Alfred Hitchcock would not have become Hitchcock' without her." The title refers not only to the "noir gem" that Harrison made for Universal Pictures in 1944, a film that featured a resourceful, independent woman, but also to Lane's desire to restore the reputation of Harrison, who has been largely overlooked in Hollywood histories despite her stature at the time as "the most powerful woman producer in Hollywood." The author closely follows her ambitious and clever subject's career from her initial interview with Hitchcock at age 26 to her death at 87. While Lane's attention to the details of Harrison's career may seem excessive, what she reveals about the making of some of Hitchcock's films is fascinating. As she chronicles Harrison's journey from secretary to screenwriter to producer, she takes readers behind the scenes of such films as The Lady Vanishes, Jamaica Inn, and Rebecca as well as many others that Harrison worked on with Hitchcock. We learn about casting decisions, script changes, the strengths and weaknesses of various actors, and the power of the studio moguls and censors. Lane also shows how Hollywood reacted to the redbaiting scare and the blacklisting that followed. The narrative is not all business, however. The author shows Harrison hobnobbing with celebrities in nightclubs, marrying the novelist Eric Ambler, and living well abroad.A solid addition to the growing literature about women filmmakers, with greatest appeal to Hitchcock fans and movie lovers. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list In a New Yorker article Margaret Talbot observed that one of the stranger things about the history of moviemaking is that women have been there all along, periodically exercising real power behind the camera, yet their names and contributions keep disappearing. Film historian Lane ensures that this will not happen to Joan Harrison, who parlayed a job as Alfred Hitchcock's secretary into a career as a screenwriter and film and television producer. She was twice nominated for an Academy Award (with Robert E. Sherwood for Best Adapted Screenplay for Rebecca and with Charles Bennett for Best Writing, Original Screenplay for Foreign Correspondent). Harrison's other screenwriting credits include Jamaica Inn, Suspicion, and Saboteur. Harrison moved to television to produce Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1955 to 1962 and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour from 1962 to 1963. Lane's research is extensive and includes a number of original interviews. As lively and fascinating as its subject, this is an important addition to the history of filmmaking.--Carolyn Mulac Copyright 2020 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal British screenplay writer and producer Joan Harrison joins a growing number of women whose contributions to classic cinema are finally being brought to light. Hired in 1933 as Alfred Hitchcock's secretary, Harrison helped the legendary director develop the tightly plotted, suspenseful stories for which he was known. She wrote the screenplays for his films Rebecca and Suspicion, and by the 1940s was a significant Hollywood presence, as a producer of films such as Phantom Lady. Later, she produced Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the director's wildly popular foray into TV. With this carefully researched, candid portrait, Lane (Feminist Hollywood: From Born in Flames to Point Break and Magnolia) explores her subject's rise to prominence during Hollywood's glittering heyday. Harrison emerges as a woman ahead of her time—a female producer thriving in a male-dominated industry and earning respect from stars, directors, and executives. Comprehensive notes and a bibliography offer strong additional resources. VERDICT Harrison's story is a compelling one. This superbly written, absorbing biography of a woman succeeding on her own terms will resonate with fans of Hollywood stories, as well as those who appreciate celebrations of previously unsung women.—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ

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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe
by Norton, Preston

Book list *Starred Review* At six feet six and 250 pounds, self-hating 16-year-old Cliff is cruelly called Neanderthal by his bÍte noire, a golden boy named Aaron. When Aaron is injured in an accident, he goes into a coma from which he awakens to claim he has seen God, who has given him a list of five things he must do to improve life at Happy Valley High School. The kicker is that he must do them in concert with a highly dubious Cliff, who reluctantly goes along and slowly becomes Aaron's friend. Cliff's best friend, however, was his older brother, Shane, who killed himself a year earlier but not before insisting that Cliff watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, focusing on the Monolith, which Shane claimed was the Door of Life. Cliff, he said, must find out what is on the other side. Meanwhile, one of the more difficult tasks Aaron and Cliff must complete is to get repentance from the JTs, a group of self-righteous Christian students who make life miserable for Noah, the only openly gay student at HVHS. There is much more going on in the crowded but compelling narrative. Ambitious almost to a fault, the book nevertheless cogently explores large issues that plague and perplex teens. Though occasionally it suffers from hints of contrivance, overall the novel will appeal to all teens who are, themselves, seeking doors to the universe.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Cliff Hubbard aka Neanderthal, a 250-pound and super tall kid, is the target of bullies and crippling self-doubt until the day school football hero Aaron, newly surfaced from a coma, claims that in a near-death experience, God told him that their school needs drastic improvement, and that Cliff is Aaron's divinely appointed sidekick. Cliff's acceptance of the challenge leads them into direct conflict with everyone-the "Jesus" teens, an angry teacher, the local drug dealers, and a mysterious hacker poised to publish everyone's dirty laundry online. There's character development aplenty in this novel about what it takes to make the world a better place. While the debate about the reality of God is never resolved, there might just be a little divine intervention as the boys affect changes that make life better at sucky Happy Valley High School. Cliff is a wry, self-deprecating narrator whose spot-on observations about the "loser" side of high school life are frequently laugh-out-loud. Funny, well-plotted and sneakily thought-provoking, the only off-note here is the overabundance of expletives that, while evidently being offered to show how teens really talk, actually slow the story down. Still, fans of humorous realistic fiction will find a lot to enjoy in Norton's first foray into the genre. VERDICT A strong purchase for all libraries serving older teens.-Elizabeth Friend, Wester Middle School, TX © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly What if someone told you he was on a mission from God and you had to help him? What if that someone was the star quarterback and part-time bully at your high school, a guy who routinely calls you Neanderthal? That's exactly what happens to 16-year-old Cliff Hubbard, and Norton (Marrow) takes this unlikely premise, loads it with even more unlikely events, and makes it work in this funny and sweetly oddball book. Cliff, who is huge-250 pounds and 6'5"-has been angry since his brother committed suicide. But when the quarterback, named Aaron, returns from a near-death experience with a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High School happier-which includes getting rid of bullies like him, drug dealers, and the sanctimonious Christian students who think they're better than everyone else-Cliff signs on. Their utter cluelessness notwithstanding, the two make inroads on the list, improving not just their high school but themselves, and even finding love along the way. At the story's core is an unsentimental treatment of a bullied kid and his one-time bully discovering their commonalities. That Norton accomplishes this without moralizing and in inventively rhythmic and pop-culture-saturated language only adds to the fun. Ages 14-18. Agent: Jenny Bent, the Bent Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Lets Scare Bear
by Yuko Katakawa.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1—Based on a form of Japanese storytelling, this visually engaging story loses a bit of logic in translation but retains a lot of appeal. Mouse, Fox, Spider, and Snake are about to feast on delicious manju cakes, when Bear passes by and they decide to scare him. Each animal tries and fails, until Bear reveals that his only fear is manju cakes. The animals throw their cakes into his cave and wait. Eventually, Bear emerges, stating "It's scary how much I love manju cake," leaving the animals to go make new cakes. The reasoning for scaring bear is flimsy at best, and his slick trick may be lost on young readers. Nevertheless, the text is brief and well paced, with a folklorish storytelling style that reads aloud well with nary a wasted word. The mixed-media, mostly full-bleed illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Rohmann's work, with heavy outlines, saturated backgrounds, and expressively faced animals. Bear is enormous and dominates the pages, and spider weaves commentary with her silk. Katakawa makes great use of perspective and movement, encouraging page turns and effectively drawing the eye. Fox and Bear each display some pretty scary toothy snarls, but the rest of the illustrations are in good fun. VERDICT While the story line is slim, the arresting visuals and nicely cadenced text make this an excellent candidate for storytimes. Most libraries will want to add it to their shelves.—Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Library, CT

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Book list With his sharp claws and ferocious teeth, Bear is known as the biggest, bravest animal in the forest. He scares the other woodland creatures, but is there anything that can frighten Bear himself? In her charming debut, author-illustrator Katakawa answers this question as four forest inhabitants Fox, Mouse, Snake, and Spider try to scare the unflappable bear. After several funny, failed attempts leave the smaller critters at wits' end, Bear admits the one thing that scares him very much: manju cake, a sweet treat that the other creatures have been enjoying without him. But can they actually scare him with this new information? The answer comes with a fun surprise, along with a lesson about friendship, bullying, and bravery. This lighthearted tale is a twist on a classic story from the Japanese oral tradition of rakugo, making for a delightful read-aloud. Mixed-media illustrations add energy to the excitement, and the delectable subject may have children demanding a manju cake before the end.--Emily Graham Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Katakawa makes a spirited debut, employing a panoply of visual styles. As she explains in her author's note, the story is based on "Manju Kowai" ("Scared of Buns") a classic from rakugo, the Japanese storytelling tradition. Mouse, Snake, Spider, and Fox are just sitting down for tea when Bear imperiously thumps through the forest. At Mouse's suggestion, the friends decide to "scare Bear," but they fail miserably (Mouse is a total washout at delivering a commanding "Boo!"). Then Bear reveals the one thing he fears: manju cake, the Japanese bun stuffed with sweet filling. "Don't even mention it!" Bear says, and as the smaller creatures look on in amazement, he covers his eyes and quakes with fear before skulking off to his cave. The smaller creatures promptly hurl all their manju cakes into the cave (Snake knocks one in with its head, soccer-style) and wait for the inevitable surrender. Bear emerges, patting his belly, smacking his lips, and looking anything but frightened. "It's scary how much I love manju cake," he says. Yes, the big guy wins this one, but readers should be tickled by Bear's willingness to play the fool for the sake of a yummy treat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Horn Book As they enjoy afternoon tea, including sweet manju cakes (steamed buns filled with red bean paste), four woodland-creature friends decide to scare a bear passing by. All their tactics fail--until the bear ‚€˜admits‚€™ his deepest fear: manju cake. The animals lob the cakes into the bear's cave and are surprised by the bear's pleased reaction. The mixed-media illustrations reward close inspection with clever details. Based on ‚€˜Manju Kowai‚€™ or ‚€˜Scared of Buns,‚€™ a story from the Japanese oral storytelling tradition of rakugo. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Four friends take turns trying to scare Bear.Mouse, Fox, Snake, and Spider love manju cake, a Japanese steamed bun with sweet filling. As they're about to enjoy a manju feast, Bear thumps by. Seeing as Bear is the biggest and bravest animal around, the four friends decide to scare him. Fox goes first, baring his sharp teeth, but Bear just flashes his teeth back. Spider, Snake, and Mouse follow with their tricks, but nothing can scare Bear. Finally, Bear says only one thing scares him: manju cakes. While Bear hides in his cave at the very thought, the four friends attempt to scare Bear one last timebut Bear plays the best trick of all. Katakawa's debut picture book is a funny tale of silly scare tactics and tricks. Based on a classic Japanese rakugo tale called "Manju Kowai," Katakawa's telling emphasizes cute animals and a one-line lesson that sharing may be better than scaring. The friendly, cartoon illustrations are bold and lively. Using digital drawing techniques, Katakawa adds movement and depth to the images as well as small details (Snake's spectacles, Mouse's overalls, Spider's web-written dialogue) that add fun and context to the short text. A fun twist on a tale from Japanese oral storytelling tradition, great for reading aloud. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog So You Want to be President
by David Small

Publishers Weekly : HThis lighthearted, often humorous roundup of anecdotes and trivia is cast as a handbook of helpful hints to aspiring presidential candidates. St. George (Sacagawea; Crazy Horse) points out that it might boost your odds of being elected if your name is James (the moniker of six former presidents) or if your place of birth was a humble dwelling ("You probably weren't born in a log cabin. That's too bad. People are crazy about log-cabin Presidents. They elected eight"). She serves up diverse, occasionally tongue-in-cheek tidbits and spices the narrative with colorful quotes from her subjects. For instance, she notes that "Warren Harding was a handsome man, but he was one of our worst Presidents" due to his corrupt administration, and backs it up with one of his own quotes, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." Meanwhile, Small (The Gardener) shows Harding crowned king of a "Presidential Beauty Contest"; all the other presidents applaud him (except for a grimacing Nixon). The comical, caricatured artwork emphasizes some of the presidents' best known qualities and amplifies the playful tone of the text. For an illustration of family histories, Small depicts eight diminutive siblings crawling over a patient young George Washington; for another featuring pre-presidential occupations, Harry Truman stands at the cash register of his men's shop while Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) makes alterations on movie star Ronald Reagan's suit. The many clever, quirky asides may well send readers off on a presidential fact-finding missionDand spark many a discussion of additional anecdotes. A clever and engrossing approach to the men who have led America. Ages 7-up. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal : Gr 4-8-Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. "There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President." So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won't know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small's drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men's shop where Andrew Johnson (a tailor) fits Ronald Reagan (an actor) for a suit while Harry Truman (a haberdasher) stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided. This title will add spark to any study of this popular subject.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms