Thursday, September 23, 2004

The Westing Game

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, 1978
I don't know why it has taken me so long to get to this book. I think I was inspired by a group of 6th graders who were checking out mysteries. Two of them had selected The Westing Game and it made me realize I had never read it. What an engrossing story! This book won the 1979 John Newbery Medal for distinguished writing for children from the American Library Association, the 1978 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Best Fiction for Children, and the 1979 Banta Award for writing excellence in a general literary competition of the Wisconsin Library Association.

I tend to be a very passive mystery reader and I go along and enjoy the plot. Sometimes I can guess the solution but usually I am content to follow the story to the end when all is revealed. From the first page of this book I was totally engaged and trying to decipher the clues and pondering the suspects. If you have not joined the Westing Game, grab a copy today and get reading. You will enjoy it.

A wonderful tribute to Ellen Raskin is at the University of Wisconsin-Madison website. They also have the manuscript to the book available online with an audiofile of Rasking talking about her book.
Ellen Raskin often remarked during her career that she wished she had known "where children's books come from" while she was a young UW-Madison art student. She wanted to make it possible for future UW-Madison students to see something of the creative process of writing a manuscript, the editorial process and matters concerning page and jacket design, decisions concerning the selection of the typeface, and many other details about creating a children's book.

...we are pleased to be able to help fulfill the author's dream of making the manuscript more widely accessible by showing portions of it on the CCBC's web page and by webcasting the original audiotape that Ellen Raskin recorded at the CCBC on May 2, 1978. These pages have been designed so you can listen to Raskin's words while you view the corresponding parts of the manuscript. Brief explanatory notes also accompany each section so that you can learn what Raskin said about each portion if you are unable to listen to the archived audiotape.