Roger Sutton on didacticism in literature. (But read through the comments, too, for the proliferation of anonymi, for the difference between theme and didacticism, and for Tobin Anderson's interesting take on the issue.)
And then more on the same topic from Monica Edinger, over at Educating Alice. As Monica says, "Since I'm a teacher, I'm didactic." Amen! (But she has lots more to say, and more for you to read, really.)
If you haven't been reading Tricia's posts from China you could start now. The pictures alone would be worth the link. Later this summer I'm going to Japan, and I can tell you right now you won't get nearly the great posts from me that you're getting from her. It's hard for me to have an experience and document it at the same time. But she's doing a great job of it.
And then if you want to see some images from the graphic novel version of Coraline, you can. (I'm really excited about the movie, with "PC" from the fabulous Mac vs. PC ads, as the dad.)
Yes, I do need to read something other than blogs or magazines so I can talk about it here. I did read I Capture the Castle, noted over in the sidebar, and decided that it's probably not really a children's novel. Maybe YA. I found it on a table at B&N with Virginia Woolf, Khaled Hosseini, Alexander McCall, and plenty of other grown-up authors. It's got a front-cover blurb from J.K. Rowling, though. And the author, Dodie Smith, is perhaps best known for writing 101 Dalmations, next on my list...