Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Worst Ever

Dude, what's with all the picture-book hateration lately?

Clearly copying off Laurel Snyder, the American Scene recently ran a column titled, "Worst. Children's Books. Ever." It included some of our favorite love-to-hates (hey, Love You Forever! Howdy, The Giving Tree!), but I was surprised by the depth of vitriol reserved for The Polar Express. Wow. Just . . . wow.

And don't miss the comments. I know I say that all the time, but seriously, don't. Heck, stop on by the Guardian snippet that pointed me there and have a look at those comments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Randolph Caldecott is a Rock Star

Or something. And now, the most unusual music video about the Caldecott award I've ever seen, created by Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 fame.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wild Things at Comic Con

Okay, I know you're saying here, "How is that news?" But I mean the other Wild Things--you know, the Caldecott winners.

I happened upon a scrap from and another from to the effect that the upcoming movie wowed audiences at a Comic-Con panel over the weekend. Good to know. Also good to hear? Sendak's enthusiastic support for a movie that seems to have diverged quite a bit from the original text.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book Review: Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School by Nathan Hale

Book: Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School
Author: Nathan Hale
Illustrator: Nathan Hale
Published: 2007

Yellowbelly is starting school, and so is his best buddy Plum. After all, they do everything together. Plum is a little shy at first (well, he is a teddy bear) but when he disappears to play with some other kids, it's Yellowbelly who has the meltdown. Can this first day of school be saved?

The story itself is a very familiar one to anyone who's ever had a child (or been the child) who brings his best stuffed buddy to school with him. There's a kooky edge even in the writing--their favorite games include envelope (stuffing themselves into the mailbox) and meteor shower (dumping the contents of a trash can over each others' heads).

What makes this book truly delightful is the cast of characters. Without making a big deal of it in the narration, Nathan Hale creates a world with all sorts of critters (monsters doesn't seem to be the right word when they're so friendly) that coexist happily with humans. Detail-loving kids will pore over the spreads, especially one of the schoolyard with hundreds of first-grade critters playing together, including a shark in a tutu, a giant bumblebee, and a number of dinosaurs. Talk about everyday diversity.

Exuberant Yellowbelly and deadpan Plum balance each other perfectly, and there's no preachy lesson about letting go of your toys as you grow up. Great for any age, but especially for new kindergartners or preschoolers anxious about what's to come.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are You an Ilk?

Cuz I totally am.

From Trap Door Sun, an interview with Mo Willems. He talks about the difference between TV and books from a writing standpoint, how and why books command respect, and his own glorious uncoolness.
My books are made for un-cool people; that is to say they’re for folks who are willing to be silly, absurd, or just plain weird. Turns out that most kids are joyously un-cool while many adults fear un-coolness. So, my books are put on the kid’s shelves where they can be enjoyed un-self-consciously by children, the occasional goofy grown-up, and their ilk. Especially their ilk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Owl Babies!!

Tell me you didn't squeal that when you saw this Cute Overload post.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kids, Parents, and Summer Reading

Tweeted from Jen Robinson, (from whom I acquire all my early literacy news) comes this tidbit. She found an article from the Children's Book Review on how parents can keep their kids reading during summer break. My favorite are numbers two and three:
  • Visit the library. If your child doesn't have a library card, summer is a great time to sign up. In addition to a wide selection of books to borrow, many libraries have fun, child-friendly summer reading programs.
  • Lead by example. Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor's office, and stuff a paperback in your beach bag. If kids see the adults around them reading often, they will understand that literature can be a fun and important part of their summer days.
Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Check out the article for more.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here's a Twist

She's been threatening to do it for awhile, and now Laurel Snyder has come through with
the worst picture books EVAH.. Or some of them, anyway. She points out that the top three are about creatures--human, bunny, tree--who love to the point of totally frakkin' creepiness. Interesting.

As it happens, I agree heartily with two of her choices and went, "Awwww, nooo!" at the third. How about you?

My personal add to this list would have been Guess How Much I Love You. Competitive much?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hold onto Your iPhones, Kiddies

. . . because the Pigeon is Twittering. Not twittering like most birds, but 140-character "what are you doing?" Twittering while author Mo Willems is at ALA.

No updates yet, but I'm already following.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

File This Under "Squee!"

Mo Willems posted an extra-cool sneak peek at his blog--news of a brand-new series! Woohoo! The first two "Cat the Cat" books come out next winter.

My co-worker and I discussed whether they were picture books or easy readers. They seem to fall into both camps, but then, we're just going by the covers. What's your take?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reading Roundup June 2009

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 25
Early Readers: 2

Writing: Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Illustration: My Friend the Starfinder by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Stephen Gammell
Overall: Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Because I Want To Awards
Dreamiest: Cat and Fish by Joan Grant
Most Likely to Give Kids Ideas: Let's Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile