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General Discussion > Beloved Characters Continued by New Authors...

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message 1: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 10, 2011 11:45AM) (new)

Kathryn | 3482 comments Mod
The recent hype surrounding the new Madeline book, Madeline at the White House (written by Bemelmans' grandson) made me think about other beloved series that are carried on by other authors. Some characters, like Madeline, (Amelia Bedelia series also comes to mind) are taken up by the family of the original author after the original author has passed away. Others, like Fancy Nancy and Charlie and Lola's Numbers, have gained so much popularity that the original authors/illustrators (for whatever reason) do not continue creating each book in the series. Then again, with other characters, a completely unrelated author takes up the series--presumably simply because they enjoy the original characters and want to write their own story (as with Peter Pan in the recent novels by Barry Peter and the Starcatchers)

Just wondering what you think of this trend? Are you thrilled to enjoy new adventures with favorite characters? Concerned that new authors would be unsuccessful in capturing the essence of the characters? Miffed at the marketing side of publishing extending the life of a lucrative "sure thing" rather than introducing new stories/characters? Or...?

Have any of you read any "continued by others" stories and, if so, did you find them successful in their own right?


message 2: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 3027 comments I know that Pamela Cox "continued" or "finished" some of the Enid Blyton boarding school stories. I've read a few of these, Kitty at St. Clare's, Third Form at St.Clare's, The Sixth Form at St. Clare's, and while the stories are enjoyable to an extent, one can definitely tell that they were not written by Enid Blyton. New adventures of one's favourite characters only work for me if the author(s) have tried to and managed to keep to the spirit of the originals in both writing style, setting and characterisation (and even then, unless the "new adventures" are indeed stellar, I generally will prefer the originals and not sequels, prequels, continuations penned by a different author or different authors).


message 3: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
I'm very skeptical - but Peter and the Starcatchers worked. If it's a character I want more of, I'll try to get the book at the library. I won't pay money for somebody just milking the name, though.

I would love to see someone qualified, someone who can write from the heart, give us more stories about Ramona Quimby.

Good point about Cinderella or Zeus, or Count Dracula for that matter. Characters who transcend their authors are fair game. And yet - I'd still prefer an author make up a whole new character.


message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3482 comments Mod
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, all! I feel much the same way.


message 5: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 192 comments Although this may not be a beloved series, I instantly thought of the 39 clues series. I think the intentional use of 7 different authors while maintaining the original characters for the story line was an interesting idea and seemed to work well. I do agree that some characters like Cinderella or Zeus can find there way into some new and interesting stories but I certainly enjoy the author who can create a whole new beloved character.


message 6: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 192 comments Ahh not beloved Splat too! I love the original books and really don't like idea that these are going to be over-merchandised. Real bummer :(


message 7: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Feb 22, 2011 11:29AM) (new)

Kathryn | 3482 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "If you look closely at these books, you'll see that it say "Based on the creation of Rob Scotton." I have to say, I find this sort of thing really offensive. It couldn't be more obvious that these books aren't being produced because someone loved the character, and wanted to write more stories. They're being churned out because there's name recognition, and the publisher figures that anything with that name and image on it will sell."

This really bothers me, too. I understand it from a business side of things, and I know the publishing industry is struggling these days. But, I find it rather offensive to the heart of literature and lacking respect for the creative artists and writers out there who are trying to get their new ideas off the ground. Fewer and fewer new authors/illustrators are given a chance in the current market and when publishing budgets and bookstore shelves are taken up by these derivative titles, new talent is shut out.

It also seems to sleight the readers, especially children, who deserve something of high quality. Sure they may just love Splat and want to gobble up everything with his name on it, but I think they deserve top-quality not knock-offs. And so it seems to bring down the overall character/series they are trying to promote. For example, I will admit that I love the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O'Connor and Robyn Preiss Glasser; I think both author and illustrator are talented and I really enjoy the books they collaborate on. But, as is happening with the SPLAT books, there are too many little paperback "Fancy Nancy" books out there on many subjects that O'Connor and Glasser did not create. If I'd picked up one of those for starters, I probably wouldn't have bothered reading any of the others.


message 8: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
Well I just finished Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton (the only one by him on the shelf in my library) and I'm not, speaking for myself, overly impressed - I'll have to order a Splat the Cat book to so I can see what's 'beloved' about his work.


message 9: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (last edited Feb 24, 2011 04:40PM) (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
Ok, I found one this morning, read it, read reviews of it - sorry, I just don't get it. How did this cat become beloved enough to be continued after Scotton was done with him? Splat the Cat


message 10: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 996 comments Cheryl wrote: "Well I just finished Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton (the only one by him on the shelf in my library) and I'm not, speaking for myself, overly impressed"

I have that book at home; I can't remember why it's on my list.


message 11: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
I read what I'd assume is the first, where he goes to school for the first day. Thanks for your reply Abigail - they do fit the thread well enough I agree. :)


message 12: by Anne (new)

Anne Nydam | 113 comments I just read Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to the Little Princess (which someone mentioned somewhere in this group, though I don't now see where). It's a sequel to A Little Princess. It starts slightly before the end of "A Little Princess" but from Ermingarde's point of view, and then carries on with the events at Miss Minchin's School after Sara has left. It was cute and I enjoyed it, and it was well written. I think it was a much simpler read than the original though, and suitable for a younger reading level, which is a little odd in something you'd have to read after. It didn't seem to have nearly as much depth as the original, and nor did I sympathize with Ermingarde the way I did with Sara, who's almost non-existent in this book. I very much enjoyed the new light shed on Lavinia and even the elder Miss Minchin herself, but on the whole I found the book was merely pleasant.


message 13: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3482 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "I just read Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to the Little Princess (which someone mentioned somewhere in this group, though I don't now see where). It's a sequel to [book:A Little ..."

That's a book that is definitely on my radar and I hope to get to it this year. Thanks for the comments!


message 14: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
I just found out that after the first four books Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars were written by another author. I don't remember them well at all, but I'm certainly not going to bother re-reading anything past the first four even if I do get a chance.


message 15: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 3027 comments For me, a lot of it also has to do with how characters that one has grown to love are portrayed in any sequels. One of the absolutely worst continuations that I have ever read (I still cannot believe that I actually finished the book) was a "continuation" of The Secret Garden, Return to the Secret Garden. Horrible is an understatement, at least in my opinion. I don't remember everything, but Mary and Dickon had an affair, Colin was bisexual and Dickon was abusing drugs due to post traumatic stress from WWI. I don't even remember, nor do I actually care that much wether the book was well-written, what author Susan Moody did to one of my favourite childhood books and some of my favourite characters was and is simply unforgivable. The book was sordid, strange and left me feeling both angry and very upset.


message 16: by Manybooks (last edited Mar 28, 2011 08:36AM) (new)

Manybooks | 3027 comments Abigail wrote: "Sounds dire, Gundula! I will avoid that one like the plague!"

You should avoid it, it was one of the worst books I ever read. And I remember how excited I was to find the book, what a let-down. Also, having read this book, makes me a bit suspicious of other "continuations" although I am planning to read Wishing for Tomorrow: The Sequel to the Little Princess, as it has gotten relatively good reviews and both you and Emily have liked it.


message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne Nydam | 113 comments Yes, I definitely agree that "Wishing for Tomorrow" added rather than riding on the coattails... or worse yet, desecrating beloved characters! I enjoyed that McKay added new depth to some of the characters without wrenching them completely out of their roles from the original.


message 18: by Anne (new)

Anne Nydam | 113 comments Actually, to clarify, in my original remarks I should have said that I sympathized with Ermingarde very much, but I didn't empathize with her as much.


message 19: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
I think I count 15 Miss Pickerell books on the goodreads author page. I fear they're probably falling out of print. They are not sci-fi - ok, yes of course she couldn't really go to the moon, but... - they are meant to be somewhat educational - science presented with humor, affection, and wonder.

I do like that the main character is a competent, if eccentric, adult, with a refreshing outlook that is direct, almost childlike, not devious or cynical as so many adults become.


message 20: by Kristin (new)

Kristin (SewTechnicolor) I typically avoid continued stories by new authors. I much prefer the originals. :) But recently I bought one of the new Madeline books ("Madeline and the Cats of Rome"), not realizing until I got home that it wasn't by Ludwig Bemelmans. It's actually pretty good- the rhyming doesn't flow quite as well as the originals but the illustrations are beautiful. I read somewhere that his grandson has apparently spent a lot of time researching and studying his grandfather's work, so his new books should be pretty similar to the originals. :)


message 21: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 3482 comments Mod
Kristin wrote: "I typically avoid continued stories by new authors. I much prefer the originals. :) But recently I bought one of the new Madeline books ("Madeline and the Cats of Rome"), not realizing until I got ..."

I'm glad it was good and kept the flavor of the original.


message 22: by Alex (new)

Alex Baugh Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "I think I count 15 Miss Pickerell books on the goodreads author page. I fear they're probably falling out of print. They are not sci-fi - ok, yes of course she couldn't really go to the moon, but..."

You are the first person who mentioned Miss Pickerell that I have ever noticed anywhere. I used to love those books and still have a few.


message 23: by Alex (new)

Alex Baugh I have read many of the old original Chalet School series from England written by Elinor Brent Dyer. They are being republished over there and a few new books have been written for the series by other authors. They too keep the characters, and are pretty good in terms of the tone and flavor of the original, but you can tell they are not Elinor Brent Dyer's writing. Still, as Abigail writes, it is pleasant to get a little more of what we love.


message 24: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
I think Miss Pickerell appealed muchly to nerdy girls. And sometimes I feel like we're uncommon. I'll have to check out Elinor Brent-Dyer.


message 25: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 3027 comments I got what is considered the authoritative sequel to "Peter Pan" out from the library, Peter Pan in Scarlet. I cannot say that I really want to read this, the book (published in 2006) is supposedly chock-full of the most horrible stereotypes regarding Native Americans (I found that out on Debbie Reese's blog), but I feel that I should read it and write a review on Goodreads sometime in the near future. The book has not received good reviews in general, but as far as I can tell, there is no mention whatsoever about the supposed Native American stereotypes and if the book is really so horribly stereotypical (especially for a book published in 2006), this needs to be mentioned and publicised. Not looking forward to reading this book at all :-(


message 26: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 3027 comments Abigail wrote: "I remember reading Debbie Reese's comments about it, Gundula, but I haven't picked it up because I (still!) haven't read the original. I'll be interested to see what you make of it!

For my part, I..."


I should really reread the original as well, it's been ages since I read it. I found the original interesting, but the stereotypes did bother me. On the other hand, the original was written in the early 20th century, so while stereotypes should not be acceptable, they are at least to a point understandable due to time when the book was published (of course, they would need to be discussed, I really hated the Walt Disney version of Peter Pan). But if Peter Pan in Scarlet truly has the Native American stereotypes that Debbie Reese claims, it would be completely unacceptable (as I mentioned before, the book was published in 2006).

I have not read any of the Brambly Hedge books yet, our library does not have any of them, but I might consider doing so because you and Lisa and others really seem to love them. But I will definitely not try the "continuation" (in most cases, I don't like continuations written by different authors much anyhow).


message 27: by Michele (new)

Michele | 180 comments In general, I do not read continuations of novels by a new author. It just doesn't seem right somehow. I won't say I'd never do it, but it doesn't appeal to me.

Picture books -- if the character is loved -- can have such a high demand by kids that I understand to some degree why it is done. Often, the books go downhill in quality, but that doesn't keep the kids from checking them out of the library.

While I am not thrilled with the idea of a sequel to Little Princess or even adult stories like Gone with the Wind or Pride and Prejudice, I don't mind twists on stories, such as the Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland variations. I particularly enjoyed The Looking Glass Wars because it was a twist of Alice. Somehow the twisted story doesn't bother me like a sequel does, maybe because the author isn't really trying to mimic the story, or maybe it is an older story.

Some series that are the repeatable kind...Nancy Drew for example, or 39 clues, just do not seem to rely on having the same author. I only just learned from a student that the Warriors series (Erin Hunter) is really 4 people.


message 28: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 133 comments Chandra wrote: "Let me think....the only one that comes to mind is the Oz series. My father read all of the L. Frank Baum stories to me and then we read a few of the books that were written after hi..."

In ancient times when I was in the 5th grade, I submerged in Oz book after Oz book. 3oo years later, I still have some 10 of these treasures in my library. I have reread them as an elder. The splendid imaginations of Baum and Thompson hold up beautifully. As far as the writing goes, you must remember Baum's is a 19th century voice and Plumly (Ha! Automatically typed that because I named one of my own characters Plumly in her honor), er Thompson was writing in the 1920s and 1930s. That's a long way to say that though I'm a fan of both, I personally prefer Ruth Plumly Thompson's voice to that of L. Frank. Her 'The Gnome King of Oz' is my favorite Oz book now. As a child, my favorite was 'Lucky Bucky in Oz' by the illustrator, John R. Neill. Reread as an adult, let's just say that as a writer, John was a fine illustrator.


message 29: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 2987 comments Mod
heh - interesting...


message 30: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 133 comments Yes, Abigail, like you, as a kid I loved 'em all. It's only in revisiting them as an adult that I find I have a slight preference for Ruth's more modern voice. When I reread Lucky Bucky by Neill, I found his writing to be, in two words, no good. The story of a boy living in the head of a wooden whale was thrilling to the 5th grade me. I definitely wanted to be a boy, like Lucky Bucky, eating pies and inhabiting a cabin in a wooden whale's head. I guess the lesson is that for kids story and characters rule over sentence structure. Just the same, I still agonize over all sentences in my middle grade as well as my adult fiction. I haven't checked out the newer Oz stuff. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have a look.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Madeline at the White House (other topics)
Charlie and Lola's Numbers (other topics)
Peter and the Starcatchers (other topics)
Amelia Bedelia (other topics)
Fancy Nancy (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Pamela Cox (other topics)
Susan Moody (other topics)
Elinor M. Brent-Dyer (other topics)
L. Frank Baum (other topics)