Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true this year! Tonight is a full moon so I thought this image of a cute little vintage card was fitting but do you think he's having a taste of sparkling apple cider? Cheers to all!
We'll be staying in tonight with our family and reading Owl Moon for bedtime. Seems fitting.
See you in the New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Richard Scarry's The Naughty little Reindeer from The Animal's Merry Christmas. It's one of my favorites! Have a Wonderful Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hello ...Santa?

This little kids big book is gorgeous! It's Monsters of the Household Variety by Ruth Ashton. My sister thinks it should be placed on a pedestal (not to be left in the hands of little ones!) I agree. It's a masterpiece I would love to own. Hello.... Santa?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Last Night of Hanukah

Tonight is the last night of Hanukah and I just wanted to share this sweet little illustration by Maurice Sendak from the out of print and hard to find book: Happy Hanukah Everybody, (published in 1954 by the United Synagogue of America).
Enjoy the evening with your family.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Here Comes Jack Frost

When my sister Nancy came for a visit, she told me about this great new book that she just got in her store: Here Comes Jack Frost. Finally I got a chance to see it at our local bookshop. It's wonderful and it just happens to be by one of my favorite artist/authors: Kazuno Kohara. I did a review of her other book, Ghosts in the House here. She is a talented Japanese artist who now resides in Cambridge and her specialty is linocut printmaking. Her style is simple and sweet, designed for all ages to enjoy.
The story is about a lonely boy who has nobody to play with until he meets Jack Frost and discovers how mystical and enchanting winter can be!
So far, Kazuno has Fall and Winter covered and I'm hoping she'll come out with Spring and Summer stories soon too. I haven't been able to find Kazuno's website or contact info, so Kazuno, if you happen to read this post, I'd love love, love to have you as a guest on our blog for an interview. Let me know when you're free. I have so many questions to ask!
P.S. I forgot to mention that Kazuno's Ghosts in the House was a NY Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year and an ALA Notable Childrens Book of 2009 and Here Comes Jack Frost is a big winner in my book too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Angel Wings

Tonight the girls chose bedtime stories from our latest haul of Christmas books from the libray and we read On Angel Wings by Michael Morpurgo. You'll recognize Quentin Blake's ilustrations from most of Roald Dahl's books. Here they sparely complement the story, but I always like to see more QB illustrations.

This Christmas story is one to settle into and read with awe and feeling. The narrator is a grandfather recounting his boyhood memory of the night he met baby Jesus. After being abandoned by his family to stay and watch the sheep, he is taken to Bethlehem to meet the holy family on the wings of the angel Gabriel.

It's a fanciful and poignant tale and most of all, it's a nativity story unlike others. It's not as sad as The Little Drummer Boy although there are similarities, and it's not about Mary and Joseph's journey. It's about the Chritmas message that rings true.

"As we flew, I was so full of questions. I wanted to know so much about Jesus, this child King who was going to save the world. How will he do it?..."

" 'Love,' he (Gabriel) said. 'He will bring us love, and through love we will at last have peace and goodwill on earth.' "

I particularly liked the way the angels appeared to the shepherds. The shephard boy made stars out of stirring up sparks in the fire, and instead of the sparks flying up to join the other stars they took the shape of human figures bathed in glorious light. And the angels were singing. Which reminds me... of a track I heard on the radio by the acapella group, Chantileer, titled Sweeter Still. I was searching for a good video performance of that song but couldn't find it. So, I'm posting Chanticleer singing Dulaman, an Irish Gaelic song. BTW I'm always looking for new Christmas music compilations so if you have any favorites please let us know.***

Friday, December 4, 2009

Colonel Trash Truck

We've been reading a lot of comic books lately. Here's another fun book for 3-6 year olds with illustrations in the comic book vein : Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley. The fun illustrations are by Manuel "Macs" Conde.
Colonel Trash Truck is a big green chomping hero who teaches children the importance of cleaning up after themselves and recycling to keep our world green. It's written in simple, easy, silly rhyme and will keep kids laughing and entertained.

"Please give him a hand, and do understand that he wants to keep the world clean. He does it for us, no matter the fuss, and hopes that we try to live green."

I found this cute little handmade trash truck (above) with removeable people. It's by nindesign and could make a perfect holiday gift for a little trash truck loving preschooler. Pair it with this book!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Secret Science Alliance

My 6 year old son took this photo of the display he made for his favorite book: The Secret Science Alliance by Eleanor Davis. The package arrived in the mail last week and I handed it to D as soon as he came home from school. "It's a book for you, sent from the author of Stinky" I said. Eagerly, he tore into the package, dropped to the floor and read

and read
and read
and read........... all 154 pages in one sitting! This must be a record for a 6 year old or at least it is for mine (who has a hard time sitting still :)
We are big fans of Stinky (book review here) and Eleanor Davis(interview here).
Now I will conduct a short book review/ interview with my son who has read The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook twice already and is an expert on the subject.

This story takes place in: middle school

Main characters were: Ben, Greta and Julian

The problem was: A copycat crook copied their inventions by stealing Julian's secret invention notebook.

In the end: Julian throws a glue bomb and the copycat crook, Dr. Stringer gets caught by the officers who take him to jail. The glue bomb picture is the coolest. It looks like green slime with legs. The ingredients are vinegar, orange soda and laundry detergent.

The thing I really liked: was the spring- loaded super-boots that Ben invented. The springs pop Dr. Stringer in the bellybutton! Ben's other invention, the stink-o-meter is pretty cool too. It makes stinky objects odor free!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cute Cartoon

Here's a cute childrens Finnish cartoon and song I just discovered : Ella ja Aleksi. Don't forget to leave a comment here by Friday the 20th for a chance to win a signed copy of A Wonderful Week, just released by Bees Knees Books!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Coastside Books and Bees Knees Review

Thought I'd share this nice little article in the Half Moon Bay Review on Coastside Books and Bees Knees (:
Enjoy the Week-end!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

GIVEAWAY! A Wonderful Week Book Launch

It's been A Wonderful Week and I have some photos to prove it! A visit with my sister (We are the Bees Knees:) Kim Baise left and Nancy Arruda right

Nancy's bookstore: Coastside Books in Half Moon Bay, California
A Wonderful Week Release Party Book Reading
Book Signing with Author/Illustrator Marjolein Varekamp
Marjolein came all the way from her hometown Netherlands to be at this event
Here's the Great Giveaway: Pig loves to eat his pancakes on Saturdays. What do you like to eat on Saturdays? Comment below to win a beautiful 12x11.5" hardcover copy of A Wonderful Week (signed by Marjolein) between now and Nov. 20th. On Saturday, November 21, I will contact the lucky winner via email. Good Luck!

Monday, October 26, 2009

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Winter's Tail Book and Prize Pack

Winter's Tail is a brand new Scholastic book release from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of Owen and Mzee.

Winter is a little bottlenose dolphin who triumphs against all the odds. After being mangled in a crab net, she loses her tail and is rescued and brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida. With the miracles of modern technology, a tireless group of prosthetic engineers create a prosthetic tail that enables Winter to swim again. Winter has become an inspiration for millions who must overcome all kinds of difficult challenges in life, especially to children who are amputees themselves. The tale doesn't end there. The special technology used for Winter's prosthetic tail is being used to develop prosthetics for Iraq war veterans who have especially sensitive injuries.

One (1) winner will receive a Winter’s Tail prize pack!

* Dolphin Plush
* Dolphin Key Chain
* Copy of Winter’s Tail: How OneLittle Dolphin Learned to Swim Again Book
* Winter’s Tail game forNintendo DS
To enter the contest please post a comment below and tell us if you have ever seen a dolphin and where (ocean, aquarium, etc..) from October 26 -November 9th
You must be 18 years or older and live in the Continental US to be eligible.

Please make sure we have your email address!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's A Bees Knees Book Release Party!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, It's Here, It's Here!!!!! BeesKneesBooks' much anticipated release of A Wonderful Week by Marjolein Varekamp.
You are officially invited to our release party this Saturday, October 24th, 2009 at Coastside Books in Half Moon Bay, CA. Marjolein will be visiting from her hometown, Netherlands to answer questions and sign books (a rare opportunity) so be sure to be there from 2-4 pm and join us for storytime, refreshments and fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Love these girls and their ABC dance on Sesame Street. So much fun!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Tree That Bears Books

As I am writing, I am also avoiding picking up all the books that are scattered about the living room floor.... Wouldn't it be great to have a tree like this one?!! Designed by Shawn Soh.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Moon's a Woman

Outside the door of my son's school library were these 2 great discards that I picked up. Both were bound in linen and illustrated with beautiful black and white etchings. Terrapin's Pot of Sense by Harold Courlander (1957) is filled with early African American folklore, narratives based on Old Testament themes, yarns of the supernatural and riddles like this one:
The Moon's A Woman:
River's all muddy,
Creek's gone dry,
If it wasn't for the woman
The men'd all die
Do you know the answer? The sun's a man and the moon's a woman because the sun is regular about his habits (always in the same place at the same time) BUT the moon changes to give us rain.......and "if it didn't ever rain three hundred sixty-five days a year, the sun would set the world on fire wouldn't it?" Then everything would dry up and the men would not survive.
Oh My!
The little green book is Jonathon Bing (1936) by Beatrice Curtis Brown. This one is full of wonderful little poems. I will leave you with a taste from
Jonathon Bing's Dreams:
When Jonathon Bing lies down in his bed
Most wonderful dreams come into his head;
He dreams of purple and pink and blue
And of various colors he never knew.
He will sometimes swim and he'll often fly;
He jumps on a cloud as it passes by-
Bouncing and swooping and floating afar,
He takes off his hat to the Evening star.
And sometimes when Jonathon goes to sleep,
He dreams of a cave which is dark and deep,
Where beautiful sounds go Boom and Bong,
Like a very mysterious ancient song.
Or he sometimes goes where the sky's pale green
And the leaves on the trees are all ultramarine,
Water is silver and apples are gold,
And the amethyst rain is a joy to behold.
"O fortunate Jonathon B.,
I wish in my dreams I could see what you see!"
"Oh, they're fun and they're pretty,"
says Jonathon Bing,
"But the wide-awake world is my favorite thing!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


My family has officially relocated to California and we are finally starting to feel settled in for the fall/winter season. Because we are living in a rental apartment, I am coming up with creative ways to make it cozy for the kids. Their bedroom has taken on a woodlands theme. Note the squirrel print from Wonting and acorn decal decor from Ikea. Since the previous post was about autumn foxes, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to blog about fall and squirrels.

First I must add this in because
Sleepyking's little plush handmade squirrel is on my favorites list right now. Just look at those cute rosy cheeks!
She even has a cute little brown fox for you, Nancy :)
Sarah from Tilbury House sent me this lovely book: The Very Best Bed as a gift for our new baby. She is so thoughtful and sweet.
It just happens to be about a little bushy gray squirrel. Author/illustrator Rebekah Raye takes us on a little squirrel's search for the coziest place to sleep as the moon rises higher and higher in the autumn sky. Rebekah's animal illustrations are beautiful.
It's a great bedtime story to curl up to with your toddler or pre-schooler and drink hot cocoa with. Enjoy the season!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I have to share the trailer of The Fox and the Child as this film is gorgeous. Perhaps it is a little slow for what kids are used to watching these days but the cinematography is a visual treat. Filmed in the French and Italian Alps the English version of this French film is narrated by Kate Winslet and tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who befriends a fox. Over the course of a year she and her wild friend share adventures that lead her to the realization that you can not possess what you love- especially foxes that instinctively distrust all potential predators, for good reason. My suggestion- get some hot chocolate and popcorn and enjoy this movie at home with or without kids.

Thinking of foxes, we got the new movie tie-in edition of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox in at the bookstore this week and Quentin Blake's illustrated version as well. Definitely read the story, or read it to your little ones if you haven't already, and then check out the movie.

Of children, Roald Dahl said, "They love being spooked... They love chocolates and toys and money... They love being made to giggle."

This is a wonderful time of year... fields covered in orange pumpkins, crisp mornings, soft sweaters, and rosy-cheeked children!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bookmark This Bookfair

If you're in the SoCal area or passing through, October 4th is the West Hollywood Book Fair. Don't miss this one! It'll be lots of fun with loads of books, author signings and great things to do with the kiddies. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 4, 2009

GIVEAWAY ALERT! Travels with Tarra & Just For Elephants by Carol Buckley

Come and Join us this week-end on Tilbury House's Elephant Tour!
Two books will be given away from the comments on this blog post. The winners will be announced on Sept. 10th and hey-you can also win a book stamped by Tarra the Elephant! Super Awesome!

These two gorgeous hardcover books, Travels With Tarra and Just For Elephants are an educator's/home-school parents dream. They have wonderful photographs on every page, excellent supporting materials and the Elephant Sanctuary website contains a K-8 downloadable curriculum guide full of fun activities to go along.

Travels With Tarra is the true story of how an elephant and her trainer (author Carol Buckley) became friends and founded an elephant sancturary in Tennessee. The sanctuary provides a haven for old, sick and needy elephants. For younger audiences this book works well as a read-aloud.

Just For Elephants is the non-fiction story of how Shirley the elephant comes to the elephant sanctuary and makes friends with Jenny elephant. It reveals the complexity and intelligence of elephants and their ability to feel and express intense emotions as well as bond with fellow elephants. The picturebook format makes the story accessible for all ages (with teacher/parent support for those age 5 and under).

Oh My! I almost forgot to mention that there is another blog comment giveaway for this post from Tilbury House as well, a collection of 3 animal books: The Goat Lady, Thanks to the Animals and an advance copy of Bear-ly There.

So Comment! Comment! Comment!

(And- anyone who tweets from now- Sept. 9th about the elephant blog tour will also be able to win a copy of Travels With Tarra or Just For Elephants :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Spin on Garden Spiders

We've been staying at my folk's house for a week now. It's the same home I grew up in as a child and I am reminiscing about all the fun times I had playing in the wonderful big backyard, rescuing bees from the pool, feeding the anthills sugarcubes and admiring spider webs glistening with dew in the early morning.

Author Ginger Wadsworth's latest book release Up, Up, and Away just arrived in my mother's mailbox and my son (who loves spiders)immediately snatched it from my hands and ran to the sofa to read it for us. I knew he would love this one.....especially the part where the spider "bites her prey with powerful jaws and sucks up juicy beetle guts or sips fly stew." EEEEeeewwwww!!!! ;) Ginger Wadsworth knows just how to hold a little one's attention.

The story teaches us garden spider facts
while following a little spider who searches for a home of her own. While there are a few moments that may be a little tough for a small child to grasp, (when "a brother crunches a sister for lunch" or when the mother spider "ties the egg sac tight, then dies")they are true to life and nature. These are important moments to take advantage of allowing us as parents and teachers to discuss the natural cycle of death and new life.

Patricia J. Wynne's illustrations are beautiful, bold and colorful. She depicts the Zipper Spider aka the Banana Spider of the South. We had lots of these in our garden in Virginia. I haven't come across any in So. Cal yet. They have bright yellow and black markings on their abdomens and spin silky webs with thick white zig-zags down the center.
Here's the wonderful trailer:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Smile Baby Smile

Yikes! I know it's been a while since the last post....with a combination of new baby, our big move out west, school starting, Nancy and the bookstore, and a new book release for October, but we are still reading books to our kids daily and my mom just gave me a new book for the baby that I absolutely adore. Smile Baby Smile by Moira Butterfield with illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw.
Little S is now 4 weeks old and I'm not sure when most babies start smiling, but my mom was able to coax the first smile out of him. I didn't believe her until she started talking to him and I saw him smile! It really wasn't from gas! It was a big wide open mouth smile. I tried to take a picture of it, but each time was too late. Here's his debut picture with the start of a grin that later turned into a smile.
This is the story of a little family just like ours, where baby makes 5 (big brother, little sister and baby brother). When baby starts to cry, everyone in the family try all they can to make him smile again. A song, a game and even a drive in the car don't work. "Then the baby did a funny burp... and then the baby... smiled!"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Louds Move In

As I write this, Steve is apartment hunting in L.A. and I know that he will find just the right place for our family to move into. Yesterday he called and said he had found a cute place... EXCEPT that it was upstairs from an old lady. That won't do (our 6 year old son likes to stomp and jump and run) unless............ we do as the "Louds" do!

My fave children's librarian, Sarah gave me the big thumbs up at checkout for The LOUDS Move In. She said to be sure to read it in my best Jersey accent ( oooo I wish Steve were here:)
I read that the author, Carolyn Crimi got the brilliant idea to write this book after hearing a very LOUD family of four choosing a movie at Blockbuster. She thought "Oh my gosh, I am so glad I don't live next to that LOUD family."
All the neighbors on Earmuffle Ave. engage in silent, solitary hobbies (pin cushion collecting, watching a goldfish ...) and hardly speak to one another. When the Loud family moves in, they are friendly and welcoming as well as loud, funny and a little chaotic.
The quiet neighbors start off disliking the Louds, asking them to leave and then come to miss the family and their friendliness when they are away. When the Louds return, they are happily welcomed back.
The neighbors change of heart brings a nice ending to the book and is very heartwarming.
Regan Dunnick's illustrations capture the emotional feel of the characters with the Loud family's happy, wide, open mouths and the quiet neighbors with closed mouths -until the end.
This is a fun, feel-good book about reaching out to accept and appreciate others and letting a little bit of noisy friendship into your life. I hope it will encourage young readers to keep an open mind about others and not to prejudge.
I also hope our new neighbors will be kind and accepting.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Sweet Print

I bought this print today for you Nancy as a bookstore/house warming gift to hang in the New shop. I LOVE this artist, Emily Martin and can't wait for her to have some childrens picture books out someday. Her style is soooo dreamy and sweet.
Congratulations to you and family as well. These really are exciting times!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lullaby for Baby

This is such a lovely musical collaboration- I thought I would post it for Kim's new baby. Enjoy!
Slumber My Darling Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Coastside Books, Linden Tree,TTMD and Baby!!!

As I've been busy with Coastside Books- Hey I got an article in the Half Moon Bay Review this week! I also read that another local independent bookstore, Linden Tree is looking for a new owner. The couple who started the store are planning retirement after 25 years in business and I do hope the community will rally to find a buyer to step-up and keep the doors open to this valuable resource.

Many of you many have read Through the Magic Door's, Charles Bayless' opinions on the kidlit listserv following the blogger/publisher relationship thread. I particularly liked TTMD's slide-show presentation on Building a Reading Culture which I've embedded below. Bayless notes that 50% of the population elects not to read anything other than what is necessary for their jobs or to function in society. Are we as a society that distracted? Is it consumer culture that is robbing us of time to read and reflect? Beethoven said that music was the medium between the spiritual and sensual worlds. I think that is also true for art and literature. And where besides the majesty of nature is your favorite place for discovery?

As I've been writing this post, I just got a call that Kim had her baby! It's grandmother Caroline's birthday too! Congratulations Kim and Steve! We can't wait to meet him!!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2009 Tattoo Barbie

One thing that I love to do for visual inspiration is browse etsy and add images to my favorites. Last night I came across these magnetic paper dolls. Oh, I could have soooo much fun playing dress-up with these tattoo ladies on my fridge! Aren't they lovely?

While filling up on visual inspiration, I came across an article featuring the hottest toys of the summer and found the contoversial and top selling "Tattoo Barbie" near the top of the list.
Jokingly, I told my husband, "Maybe we should get this for S," (my sister's little girl who will turn 3 in a few days).
Ironically, my sister just called me this morning from a coffee shop because the barrista there had beautiful colorful tattoos on her shoulder and it somehow reminded her of me. I told her about tattoo barbie and we laughed. We both agreed this was a post-worthy subject!
For Barbie's 50th Birthday this year, Mattel has released Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie. It must be a sign of the times. She has over 40 fun tattooo stickers for both the doll and the kids and even comes with a pink tattoo stamp gun!
While I see this as a future collector's item and something hilarious that's also edgy and cool, I probably wouldn't buy it for my own daughter. And my goodness Barbie! I wouldn't recommend any young girl to get a tattoo of a man's name on her body!
That's a BIG No No Noooooo! in my book.
Okay, since this IS a blog about childrens literature, I found this untoppable kidlit tattoo blog post by 100 Scopenotes. Seems there are kids books about EVERYTHING nowdays!
Can you believe this one? Mommy Has A Tattoo Oh....I just can't stop laughing!
And here's some more for your entertainment:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

She's Lost Her Head

Summer has become a blur of raising young children and navigating the details involved with a new business venture. It seems the last few days I've been bumping up against images of headless dolls, and the Red Queen. My three year old exclaimed very matter of factly, "Yes well, she's lost her head." I took that as a metaphorical reflection of my personality the past week. Children know us and test us. It's their job.
"The Gryphon sat up and rubbed its eyes: then it watched the Queen till she was out of sight: then it chuckled. 'What fun!' said the Gryphon, half to itself, half to Alice.

'What is the fun?' said Alice

'Why she,' said the Gryphon. 'It's all her fancy, that: they never executes nobody, you know. Come on!'"
- Lewis Carrol

The photo is from Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland due out in March. Burton's fiance, Helena Bonham Carter plays the Red Queen. We won't be taking the kiddos to see this film, but I'm looking forward to it. BTW late in the evening when all the household mess is somewhat cleared I've been escaping the noise and clutter with Olive Kitteridge . It's terrific summer reading.

Friday, July 3, 2009

For Pizza Lovers

Tony and the Pizza Champions is a picture book that was just released this year,2009. It was written by the famous nine-time world winning pizza champion himself, Tony Gemignani.

It's a fun book for kids of all ages based on the true story of Tony and his team's travel to Italy to compete in an international pizza tossing competition. It also includes Tony's famous pizza recipe and dough tossing instructions (which we haven't tried yet).

Matthew Trueman who was raised in Italy and is now living in New Jersey, did a Primo job with his colorful illustrations, capturing the humor of it all.

Tony and his brother Frank own Pyzano's Pizza in Northern California and just opened up a new place: Napoletana and pizza school in North Beach, San Francisco. We'll have to stop by for an autograph and a slice when we visit Nancy.

Because I can't talk about our family trip to New York without mentioning pizza! Here I am, round as a tomato (due any day) enjoying a slice at Stromboli's with the kids. While the sauce here is on the sweet side, it's perfect for the kids' first taste of New York and it's in my old East Village neighborhood which brings me back to many a good time.

By the way, the hottest new pizza joint in NYC is Artichoke Pizza on 14th street, so if you're on the east coast, be sure to get a slice!

Now here's the Amazing Tony:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Coastside Books and Lafayette Library

I've always been a DIYer and when a good bookstore in our little town closed and another went up for sale, we pulled together all our resources and some future resources and decided to buy and run the store. So now I'm in the midst of owning a store and all that entails, promoting Maybelle, Bunny of the North which released April 1st and publishing Marjolein Varekamp's book, A Wonderful Week, which releases October 1st. Yeah it's a busy season in my life.

Coastside Books has been in Half Moon Bay for 30 years and we will be the third owners. Our oldest daughter will start kindergarten in the fall and our little one has one more year of preschool, so I'm jumping back into full-time work in September. Is it a bit risky? Probably, but life is short, the children are growing quickly. Soon enough there will be college to pay for and I don't need to be telling stories about the missed opportunities of my youthful days when I'm 80- God willing I'll ever be 80. Plus the bookstore business will dovetail nicely with our fledgling publishing projects and it all makes me happy and grateful.

Kim is also in the middle of big changes. Here she is, almost ready to deliver their third child in July and reading Maybelle, Bunny of the North to a group of children at the Layfayette Library's Storytime. I love that the book is available for circulation in libraries and Keith Patterson's endearing illustrations are reaching a wider audience. Kim and her family are moving to California a month after the baby is born. And she is working on illustrations for a book of stories that we plan to release in the spring. I'm not the only one juggling here : ))

Because of this juggling I'm behind on letting you all know about these links to Maybelle Reviews from fellow kidslit bloggers and a post at the Two Sister's Bakery in Homer, Alaska! Enjoy the weekend!!!

Menasha Library

(BTW this is an excellent resource for children's literature.) Children's Book Reviews

(By the wonderful children's writer, and also very busy, Lori Calabrese)

Two Sisters Bakes

(This is a fun blogspot with recipes, and what's on their ipod.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Moomins Take Over NYC

Our Trip to New York was Fabulous and I must report several Moomin sightings all over town. I've always found NYC to be way ahead with the trends and the book stores and toy stores must be well aware from PW that the Moomin books by Tove Jansson are being re-released for their 65th anniversary next year (by Square Fish, the Macmillan imprint) with new cover art by Taeeun Yoo. There will also be some new Pre-school Moomin books! I haven't read all of the original books and I can't wait to have them in our collection.

The Moomins were very popular throughout Europe and Japan in the 60's and 70's but their popularity didn't reach America. Our last night in the city was spent with a friend who grew up in Japan and I got to sleep on a Moomins pillow case! She told me that the Moomins are very big in Japan right now and that's where much of the adorable product spoons, bowls, plush dolls and candies are made these days.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Old Pirate of Central Park

We had a blast at the annual Hampton Blackbeard Festival this year. Especially little D! Unfortunately, his friend and little sister were afraid to get in this shot........

In a few days we will be headed to New York City for a family vacation and so, I thought I'd combine our vacation fun with this one great book: The Old Pirate of Central Park. Originally, I picked up this book because the illustrations looked like lionocuts and I was baffled by how the artist/author, Robert Priest managed to block in all the colors to perfection. After reading the copyright page I learned that his method was not linocut but airbrushed enamel on clayboard, amazing! Stencils and scratching? I may have to track down Mr. Priest for an interview and find out more.

The kids' choice for bedtime for the past 3 nights, it's the story of an old, retired pirate living in New York city. He builds a tiny replica vessel of his ship, The Laughing Dog, and sets it to sail on the model boat pond in Central Park. Then, along comes a retired queen with her ship, The S.S. Uppity Duchess, which took over the pond nearly sinking all the other ships and sailboats. A cannonball war ensues between the two and "Thus began the infamous Battle of Central Park." The cannonballs were flying and "people hid under tables and dogs broke free and ran wild after years of being cooped up in tiny apartments."

Finally a truce is called as both retirees need to go home to take their naps. Now these two "Old Retirates" become the best of friends and can be found sitting together on a bench beside the pond in Central Park. I will be on the lookout for them when we visit.
The Central Park Water Conservancy model boat pond was inspired by the model boat ponds of Paris. It was also the setting for E. B. White's famous boat race in Stuart Little.
So if you're in New York with your little pirates, be sure to drop by the sailboat pond located on the east side between 72-75th Street. It's free and so much fun!