Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 (10)

By: Joshua Glenn
November 29, 2019

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1971.

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Ellen Raskin’s The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel).

Raskin was a talented book designer before she became an author, and this book is a visual delight; like the narrative, the book’s design is silly, smart, and engaging, all at once. Years ago, Caroline Carillon was a child bride; she and her husband Leon, who’d change his name to Noel, were married as part of their respective parents’ merged soup business. Having met for the first time as adults, Leone falls off a sailboat and shouts a partially obscured message to Caroline, before vanishing: “Noel (glub) see (blub) all… I (glub) new…”. Doubled and reversed names, a message that was half-heard (misheard, at that)… what’s not to like? Years later, still wondering what became of Leon/Noel, Caroline enlists her adopted twins, Tony and Tina, and childhood friend, Augie, to crack the mystery of his disappearance. Unusual footnotes and typography, and a crossword puzzle expert who wears a football helmet at all times, add to the book’s apophenic atmosphere; what’s really going on? It’s a timeless children’s adventure, though also very much of its time: There’s a riot at Bloomingdale’s and New York’s Women’s Detention Center is picketed by East Village artists!

Fun facts: Raskin illustrated over 1,000 book covers — including the first edition of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Asked about her influences in 1972, she listed: “Blake, Conrad, Hawthorne, James, Nabokov, Piero della Francesca, Claude Lorrain, Gaugin, Matisse, Fantasia, Oriental art, baseball, hockey, zoos, medicine, and Spain.”

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.

The 200 Greatest Adventures (1804–1983). THE OUGHTS: 1904 | 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1909 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS: 1914 | 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1919 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES: 1924 | 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1929 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES: 1934 | 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES: 1944 | 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1949 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES: 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES: 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES: 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. THE EIGHTIES: 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993. THE NINETIES: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003. I’ve only recently started making notes toward a list of Best Adventures of the EIGHTIES, NINETIES, and TWENTY-OUGHTS.

Categories

Adventure, Lit Lists

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