Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A day in the life of baby with ABC, Baby Me!

Recently I had the opportunity to connect with author Susan B. Katz about her latest board book, ABC, Baby Me! (Random House/Robin Corey Books). Susan is a national board certified teacher, specializing in bilingual teaching and educational consulting in literacy, classroom management and strategies for English language learners. She launched her new book earlier this month.

Given Susan’s educational background, it’s no wonder that this book has a unique teaching element, as it follows the English alphabet through a day in the life of a baby. And not just one baby – many babies from different cultural backgrounds, with their parents, siblings, grandparents, and even family pets (which as a dog and cat “mommy”, I absolutely love).

From “A” – “Adore me” – through “Z” – “Zzzzz, I’m fast asleep” – each page is beautifully illustrated in soft, gentle watercolors by artist Alicia Padron. And the rhythm and rhyme adds a sing-song quality as you read aloud. The book is like a good hug, really. Perfect for naptime or bedtime reading.

I also appreciate the form of this board book – it’s sturdy, and at 7.4 x 6.4 inches, great to take on the go with baby or toddler.

Once she makes her arrival (hint, hint, Baby), I’ll be reading ABC, Baby Me! to my little girl, over and over. Thank you Susan and Alicia, for creating such a lovely board book.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From peaceful piggies to peaceful nurseries

In my last post I promised to share a great parent-to-be resource book. After this, I'll be back to picture books (already building a stack of 'em).

From the day of discovering I was pregnant, I've turned to the world of books to help me on the journey. Between my own purchases and hand-me-downs of well-loved books from other mamas, I've amassed quite a library of mom-to-be titles.

Many are the typical monthly play-by-play of what's happening with mother and baby. Others are pure comic relief. The one book that I've highlighted and sticky-tabbed the most however, may be a bit of surprise.

The Peaceful Nursery (Bantam Dell, 2006) was written by home and lifestyle experts (and sisters) Laura Forbes Carlin and Alison Forbes. And its title doesn't do it justice for just how much it covers in the way of preparing for a baby.

The Peaceful Nursery starts with a "Life Design" exercise which turned out to be a great way to get me thinking and journal writing about what kind of life experience I want for me and my new family.

The book then flows into preparing your home using Feng Shui and space-clearing principles - like 12 steps to clearing clutter. It then shifts into preparing the child's room, paying close attention to comfort and safety, color, lighting and materials (the same tips can be applied to any room in the house). Important for all new parents, the book also covers how to create positive sleep environments - in both the nursery and the adult bedroom.

The last chapter in particular is one of my favorites. Here Carlin and Forbes offer suggestions on self-care, what to expect the first 40 days after delivery, and building a relationship with your new baby. As with every chapter, it closes with a section of helpful "Quick Tips."

Nice extras like what to pack for the hospital, positive affirmations to physically, mentally and spiritually prepare for parenthood, an introduction to the principles of Feng Shui, and a robust "Resources" section, have all kept this book near and dear to my heart.

And of course, I have to mention the photography featured in the book. All of the images are soothing and inspiring, and provide good visual reference for creating indeed a peaceful home and nursery.

I'm off to re-read the last chapter again with a nice cup of tea.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This little piggy went to meditation

Preparing for motherhood over the last nine months has allowed me to indulge in two new genres of books - books for moms, and books for babies. Instead of instantly veering over to the new fiction section of the bookstore, I find myself looking up and back towards the typical location of children's books.

Recently my husband (and co-author) Tom were at East West Bookstore in Mountain View, CA. East West is perhaps best known as a new age bookstore, but they also have a wonderful children's books and toys section at the back of the store.

One of the picture books I couldn't leave behind is Peaceful Piggy Meditation, a colorful soft-cover about "peaceful piggies" that know how to use their breath, in and out, to be calm. Even when they have to eat something they don't like, someone takes their toy or they're having a hard time with their homework.

I love that the book also includes fun instructions on a meditation that kids and parents can do together (the book was written and illustrated by Kerry Lee MacLean, a Certified Children's Meditation Instructor).

Even though the book was published a few years ago, it seems especially timely given the amount of media coverage about how kids and meditation make a very positive and healthy combination.

In my next post, I'll share one of the parenting books that has made the biggest difference in helping me prepare for motherhood.

Until then, this peaceful piggy says "Om."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wild Animals and Five Faves

I had a nice visit with my sister, Nancy last week-end. We left the kids at home with their Dads (jumping on the bed) to enjoy a day of shopping and couldn't decide whether

to buy this
or this. All fitting!

This week, I have five favorite blogs to share with you:
One of my favorite artists, lili scratchy has three children (like me:) who share an art blog called (1)lilifefe they are amazing artists (like their mom!)
another favorite is (2) cowboy bunny because she is funny and creative (she's having a sweet little handmade giveaway right now so be sure to visit her and comment!)
(3)maxiluchini 's colorful childrens illustrations for inspiration
(4)mypapercrane the art and craft of Heidi Kenny (be sure to view her little stump cake with the mushrooms on the sidebar!)
(5)kickanandconkers is another mom blogger with three kids. she features lots of vintage and modern ideas, childrens books both old and new, and letterpress printmaking which I really and truly love.
Here's a funny clip I found via cowboy bunny's blog:

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to school with blogger Rachel Formaro and It's a Book!

We're Back to School! The girls are loving their classes and teachers and Kim and I are excited to invite friend, writer and soon to be mom, Rachel Formaro to post at Bees Knees Reads!
I met Rachel and her husband Tom at the bookstore last year when they were releasing, their children's book, Alfonso the Christmas Pumpkin. And now they are expecting their own sweet, little girl "pumpkin" right around the end of October. So I'm sure we will have many wonderful picture book reviews and joyful insights from Rachel.

We have to catch you up with what we've been doing... Kim is making art for Etsy and getting back into the studio and printmaking. Her baby turned 1 last month! Little C is 3 and D is now 6. My baby turned 5 last month and started Kindergarten and my 6 year old has found a new love, HORSES, and her 1st-grade friends of course. I have a Horse book review post planned for all who share that passion. And I've been enjoying running Coastside Books. The shop is ever evolving and it's a challenge to keep up with the new releases!

One of the reasons we love to blog is that there is no obligation to do so and we can connect with so many literature- loving creative people on the blogosphere. We are grateful to Margo at The Fourth Muskateer for passing along the Versatile Blogger Award. And we're gathering our lists so we'll be passing on the award to 15 Versatile Bloggers in the next few posts.

My picture book pick of the month is Lane Smith's It's a Book, that clever, clever man. I get that people love their e-readers yet the art of the book and the tactile experience of books can not be replicated electronically. And I do like electronic media, I'm a blogger after all, but reading, for me, especially children's books is a pleasure best reserved for paper pages. I've included the trailer for fun but the book has a punchline that will make any adult smile wryly. Smith's publisher, Macmillan says, "... IT’S A BOOK is a delightful manifesto on behalf of print in the digital age...." You'll just have to find it and read it to get to that smart-ass last line : )

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that today is Tasha's Tudor's Birthday and here is a lovely post by Clarice over at Storybook Woods celebrating Tasha Tudor Day 2010. Reading Tasha Tudor's books with my mom and sister is a favorite childhood memory. I dreamed of the pastoral life and intimate country traditions Tudor illustrated and I especially loved her Christmastime and holiday illustrations.

Well, I've packed a lot of news into this post and I'm looking forward to Kim and Rachel's favorite picture books and versatile blogger award lists. The rules say we can pass it along to 15 bloggers so I'll link 5, Kim will link 5 and Rachel will link 5. Happy back to school!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Congratulations to my 6-year-old nephew whose band The Legos just won a professional studio session with their original song at an LA battle of the bands competition!!!!

In honor of your new hipster status D, I'm sending you a copy of Alternative ABC'S (Chunky Edition) to read to your little bro.
This is the ABCs book for future skaters and rock guitarists but also for earth lovers and environmentalists!

Look for it in the mail soon Kim xoxoxox

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

NYC Book Week and Powered By Girl

Today, Monday, May 24th is the start of BEA's New York Book Week. There are some amazing events planned to celebrate all week long. If you live in NYC or just happen to be there visiting, be sure to stop by Tilbury House's newest children's book, One of Us release party. I got to view this wonderful book was so impressed with its message about "bravely being who you are, "that I wrote a little blurb about it here.
Bring your kids to Book Culture (at Broadway and 114th St.) today, May 24th at 4pm to hear this brand new story read by author Peggy Moss (recommended for ages 5-11) and see first-hand how a book is made. Then, illustrator Penny Weber will lead the kids with glue and glitter to create their own story characters.
At 6pm, the party will move to Book Culture on 112th st (between Broadway and Amsterdam) where you will hear some amazing speakers including author Lyn Mikel Brown, author illustrator Dimitrea Tokunbo and her daughters and girls and women advocate/ humorist, Betsy Sweet. The reception will have music, refreshments, prizes and interactive projects.
There will be an exhibit of small self-portraits by children's book illustrators on display all week at Book Culture and on sale to benefit Powered by Girl, a new campaign from Hardy Girls Healthy Women. I have donated my self portrait to be included in the show! (above)
Hope you can stop by to join in the fun!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Children's Book Week Poster

I hope everyone had a joyful Mother's Day! Today kicks off Children's Book Week and this year you can send away for this poster by Jon Muth. How nice it would be to have Stillwater around the house to read to the children... Hmmm in my make believe world, like the Land of Make Believe as Fred Rogers would have it. (But maybe not as scary as some of those puppets.)

There is a book out titled 75 years if Children's Book Week Posters: Celebrating Great Illustrators of American Children's Books by Leonard Marcus if you're inclined to start collecting. This should be a good week around the kidslit blogs and here is a page with CBC activities and events. Enjoy the week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Of Mice and Hamsters

Nancy's cat Jake passed away. He was 20 years old. I think the girls took it kind of hard. They had a nice funeral in the backyard but I heard that her littlest daughter wanted to dig him back up because she missed him dearly.

So now there is a new addition to her family and it is a dwarf hamster named Tiny. I don't know much about hamsters. We had one as kids but I was too young to really remember. Nancy recommended this book which is all about dwarf hamsters.

Meanwhile we have been reading Petshop Lullaby by Mary Ann Fraser. It's nighttime in the pet shop but the littlest hamster can't sleep. The animals try everything to soothe and calm him. In the end they discover that he likes to sleep in the daytime. It's a great way to teach kids about nocturnal creatures. I wonder if Tiny's keeping Nancy up at night too? My little guy has a new tooth coming in so I'm there with you!

Since we're on the subject of cute rodents I must share this adorable blog I just found called Mouses Houses . Isn't it amaaaazing?!
Seems we have a soft spot for mice. Here's a few of our past book reviews on mice to check out: Mary and the Mouse the Mouse and Mary, Chopsticks, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears and Miss Bianca.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ocean's Child

I must return this overdue library book today. I've been holding onto it for a bit too long....

Ocean's Child by Christine Ford is a poetic, soothing bedtime story about parental love and oneness with the universe.
A pregnant inuit mother and her child paddle in a small boat through the ocean at dusk and observe the "children of the ocean" being snuggled to sleep by their mothers.

When the last lullaby of the whale song is sung, Baby naps on Mother's back.
To Ocean's child we say good night.
Goodnight, little whale, good night.

I held onto this book because the inuit seascape illustrations by (Caldecott award winning artist) David Diaz glow and radiate with a warmth that I've never seen before in any illustration and I'm in love with the peaches, yellow and turqoise color combinations....

(and also because I wanted to share this book with you).

It's a wonderful rhythmic and hypnotizing bedtime story that is sure to calm, soothe and lull your little one(s) to sleep.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Author/ Illustrator, Marjolein Varekamp sent this darling photo of her daughter and her Easter Rabbit, Jip. Marjolein who wrote and illustrated A Wonderful Week with Bees Knees Books is currently working on a new book about a little mouse named Harold for a Dutch publisher due out fall next year. Congratulations Marjolein!!!

My family is enjoying a very wet and windy Easter indoors this year and the girls are looking forward to a week off for spring break. It looks like we'll be planning some crafty things to do inside the house. And some gardening when the weather clears and the earth is nice and soft.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Windy and Foggy, Dolls and Origami

Lately, I've been on an an origami bend. I stay up late at night folding butterflies to make these cheerful color garlands. I also like reading the blogs of other artists and recently connected with Australian feltist, Trudi from Me and Ewe. She's stayed in a teepee too.

Trudi has a little shop where she sells this Waldorf bead doll kit. You can make your own dolls! I think they're the cutest.

So, when I came across this book at our library last week, everything seemed to fall into place. Windy by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman is done with photo tableaux and contains both Waldorf dolls and origami. Just look at those adorable origami chickens and that's Windy flying her kite above the colorful cut-out paper trees. It's the sweet story of a little girl who lives beneath a tree. She loves to fly her big blue kite, but when the wind blows it away she sets out on an adventure to find it. You'll be surprised at where it finally appears.
I did a little googling and found out that Windy has her own blog here and is also on facebook, where she gives away prizes and free coloring pages to download and print
It just so happens that Canadian authors/artists, Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman just had a book launch on March 20th at Collage, Collage. Foggy is the fourth book in the Windy series and it looks to be just as incredibly adorable. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Don"t Lick The Dog

Spring is officially here and we've been out and about, strolling here and there with the kids.

The apartment clustered neighborhood we live in (Sherman Oaks) must be second in the world to West Hollywood's largest pet-owned dog population. On an 8 block walk to school we encounter an average of 15 dogs being walked!
The best is when it rains here and the dogs are wearing raincoats and sweaters. I need to get my camera ready but I don't want to be rude. Dogs are not always in the mood to smile.
Don't Lick The Dog (Making Friends with Dogs) is a new book by Wendy Wahman. It teaches kids how to interact with unfamiliar dogs with silly rhyme and humor. The illustrations are wildly outrageous which make it even more fun to read to kids.
Wendy provides really great helpful tips about all kinds of dog behavior: slow down, stay still and remember, don't lick the dog!
" Good dog manners show you care...... when meeting new dogs everywhere."
The adorable Springy- Boston Terrier Dog illustration above is by etsy artist Brian Rubenacker.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wormy Worm Meets Hip Hop Dog

My sister Nancy and I are big-time Chris Raschka book fans, so much, that we talk about his books over phone conversations.
Yesterday, I was telling her how my little C, who just turned 3 (rhymes) wants me to read Wormy Worm over and over again as she squeals in delight!

It's part of his series of Thingy Things published by Hyperion from 200-2002.
Some in this series include: Moosey Moose, Whaley Whale, Sluggy Slug, Doggy Dog, Snaily Snail, Whaley Whale, Goosey Goose and Wormy Worm.

I know we've already had a few Chris Raschka posts at Bees Knees: there's one on the Hello, Goodbye Window which you can revisit here and A Kick in the Head here.

Meanwhile, Nancy is raving about Chris' new book: Hip Hop Dog published by Harper Collins which I haven't seen or read but can't wait to check out. The illustrations are not by Chris but Snoop Dogg fan, Vladimir Radunsky. It's a great combo!
Here's a super neato trailer I found of it:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dark Night

French author/illustrator Dorothee de Monfreid has created quite a few wonderful picture books. Unfortunately, Dark Night is the only one I found that has been translated to English.

These are some of my favorite illustrations from the story. You can find an excellent review of Dorothee's book by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.
If your library gets a copy in, check it out asap. It's wonderful!

Friday, March 5, 2010

In Our Mothers' House

My sister, Nancy passed Gringa ( A Contradictory Girlhood) by Melissa Hart on to me when she came down for a visit a few weeks ago.
Hart tells her coming of age story which starts early on with forced separation from her lesbian mom by the court system in California in the 1970's. " You can't grow up parented by two women. It's unnatural." This was the rationale of the court system back then.
She finds comfort in Latino culture as she tries to find her identity and tells of her desires, aspirations and vulnerabilities with total honesty (which made me laugh out loud a few times).
Melissa Hart grew up in So Cal with her father and stepmother and in Oxnard with her two mothers in the 70's and 80's and attended college in UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara , same as Nancy and I, so it was extra fun to read.
After my Tuesday Babygarten class with C, I noticed that our Studio City branch Library just got in a brand new picture book which happens to run along the same vein:
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco is a beautifully illustrated and wonderful story celebrating an untraditional family with two mothers raising their three adopted children in "a big old brown shingle house on Woolsey Street in Berkeley, California." Marmee and Meema's house is full of love and they teach their children that different is not wrong. But one family in the neighborhood doesn't accept them because they are different: "How can a family have two moms and no dad?"
Polacco shows an amazing, unique family that lives by its own rules and one that is held together by a very special love. The story lets us watch the three children grow up into perfectly normal adults with children of their own. Marmee and Meema enjoy their grandchildren and when they grow old and pass away, they are laid to rest in a green hillside overlooking the bay "near the place where they pledged their love to each other so many years ago."
The house remains as a gatheing place for the three children and their families. "All of our hearts find peace whenever we are there, together, in our mothers' house."

Now I'll leave you with a fun clip of Melissa Hart's recipe for the California 70's Frito Boat (I forgot to add that each chapter in Gringa ends in a recipe) Good Stuff!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dr. Seuss Day

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS! D and I made this Green Eggs and Ham get-up for you. He proudly wore it to school this morning for NEA's Read Across America and to Honor you, Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Animals A To Z

Last week-end, my sister Nancy came down for a visit. We managed to sneak away sans the kids and do a little shopping. One of the vintage stores we shopped at had this amazing animal print fabric (above) and I know Nancy is still debating where she could incorporate it in her home. Well Nancy, it's still at the shop waiting for you and I snapped this image and also immediately thought of another great artist whose blog I follow: Elizabeth Graeber

This is her self-published book available in paperback on LuLu : Animals A To Z. Elizabeth Graeber is an amazing non- stop artist. She posts new works on her blog almost daily. Her art is outsiderish and almost undescribable.....sometimes quirky, silly, serious, wonky and always fresh and real. You can preview her alphabet animal book here. Believe me, it's unique and beautiful!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Noonie's Masterpiece

Since our move back to Los Angeles, I have been discovering lots of wonderful local artists. One artist whose blog I've been following is Sarajo Frieden. I think she actually might even live in my neighborhood. In December she had a show just a few blocks away. Her art is so inspiring!

She has just illustrated an amazing book published by Chronicle Books that we got before my son's field trip to the LACMA. He's a first grader now and learning about art and artists. (His favorite is Picasso.)

Noonie's Masterpiece was originally written as a play by playwright Lisa Railsback. The story is about 10 year old Noonie Norton. Her mother passed away and her father is traveling the world leaving Noonie with relatives who can't appreciate fine art and the brilliant abstract paintings Noonie creates. Uncle Ralph is an unemployed salesman, Cousin Junior is obsessed with aliens and Aunt Sylvia only cares about clean teeth. Noonie's eclectic art teacher tells her that "artists have the power to change the world." She creates an abstract painting for her relatives but the relatives detest it and take away her paints. Then, Noonie is visited by the spirits of Picasso, Van Gogh and O'Keefe who encourage her and tell her that "an artist never quits." Ultimately, Noonie does learn that artists do have the power to change the world!

Here is an awesome trailer of Noonie's Masterpiece:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Juanita's Olvera Street

On Sunday, we packed up the kids and stroller and met my parents at the metro station in North Hollywood. From there, we all took the red line subway to Union Station. I took this photo of the gorgeous mural. (above)

We crossed the street and headed over to Olvera Street. Olvera Street is the birthplace of the city of Los Angeles, otherwise known as El Pueblo Historic Monument. The original pueblo was built by the 44 settlers of Los Angeles in 1781. The village features 27 historic buildings with a traditional Mexican style plaza area.
Leo Politi's book, Juanita is all about a little girl and her family who run a small shop or "puesto" in Olvera Street.
The puestos have lovely Mexican names such as "La Paloma" (the dove), "La Amapola" (the poppy), "La Casita" (the little house), "Cielito Lindo" (beautiful heaven)... "The shop 'Juanita' belongs to Antonio and Maria Gonzalez who named it after their little daughter Juanita."

Here the Olvera Street vendors make and sell candies,

toys and pottery, candles, hand embroidered clothing and all kinds of colorful and interesting things.

For Juanita's birthday "there was laughter when someone broke cascarones on Juanita's head." "Cascarones are decorated egg shells filled with confetti."

Leo Politi's illustrations from 1948 have come full circle and are strangely uber modern again. Just look at his color palette: peach, turqoise, moss green, coral, tan, pink, cream and gray. His illustrations are gorgeous!
I remember reading his books as a child and my mother remembers them too. I am so glad that Getty Publications has reissued them!
As a little girl, I also remember visiting Olvera Street with our family often. I loved it and especially the wooden marionette puppets, delicious Mexican food and candy.
" The Blessing of the Animals is a ceremony which takes place every year on the day before Easter Sunday." "On this day the animals are blessed so all will go well with them during the year." Juanita looked forward to this day because she could walk in the procession with her dove.
My mom took this photo of the Blessing of the Animals mural (above). It is painted and signed on the right of the mural by Leo Politi!
The story ends with a lovely bedtime song Duermete Nina with lyrics to sing along to in English. There's a sweet image of Mamacita rocking Juanita to sleep as the old mission bells ring
and Juanita's pink lacey Easter dress hangs above her bed to wear in the morning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter Drift

We got stuck in the library after Babygarten Storytime this afternoon because of a freak hailstorm. We drifted about and found a new favorite book! Nanook and Pryce by Ned Crowley. This story is told in silly rhyming verse and takes two cute, almost faceless (big parka hooded) Eskimo ice fishermen on a trip around the world. They are so oblivious to what is around them that they don't even notice the dangers they encounter!
While fishing, their ice floe breaks loose and they adventure through the oceans of the world, only to return back home again, never catching a single fish (actually, they do catch a ton but the pelicans steal them away). The last page shows them asleep in their cozy beds with a jar of peanut butter (butter knife left inside)on the nightstand.
The watercolor illustrations by Larry Day (click on his name to see an amazing pompadour image!)are wonderful with many full page spreads, including a killer whale and giant pink squid. Lovely stuff!
On the back of the book is a sweet photo of the author and illustrator dressed in big hooded parkas sans faces just like Nanook and Pryce. It's Genius!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Garden-Vegetable Olympics

Now that I live in California, it's nice to be near my mom who also loves to shop at craft stores with me every few weeks. She has been making the sweetest embroidered dishtowels for each month of the year to give to friends and family. (Nancy, there's one she made for you too :) So, I have been paying lots of attention to all the wonderful embroideries out there and I am smitten by this adorable fruit bowl shopping bag (above) by Gracey May. With a family of 5, I just can't have enough shopping bags to carry all my fuits and veggies home from Trader Joes.

Recently, I received a copy of Champions of the Garden Games in the mail which arrived just in time for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
That's Pete the Red Beet snowboarding in the picture above!

With the Olympics beginning this week-end, everyone will be watching their favorite athletes in the world compete. " What better way to talk about sports and to show children the variety of options they have to enjoy winter and be active year round?" asks author Marvin van Lemon. Through his narration, Marvin introduces children ages 4-8 to several sports that will take place in the Winter Olympics and with this book he has begun a campaign to get children interested in sports and healthy eating.

Studies have shown that it is essential to establish healthy active behaviors early in life. Children who are overweight at an early age have a high risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure and are also more likely to become overweight as adults.

Using a cast of colorful fruits and vegetables illustrated by P. Byron, children can learn about the luge, ski jumping, curling and bobsledding as well as other sports. Through an imaginative and fun tale, this book also introduces children to the importance of being a team player, and my favorite lesson: not letting life's obstacles get in the way of having fun.

On the Olympics note, recently illustrator Jon Klassen (one of my contemporary favorites) co- designed a gorgeous animated Winter Olympics commercial. I think it's the greatest I've seen. So, if you have any time to spare, please have a look. I hope Jon has plans to do a children's book soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Banjo for Kiddos

Thanks to the comment left by Playing by the Book on Kim's previous "Dolly" post, I've been listening to lots of banjo in the car with the kids. (OK this recording has been out for a while but I'm a little slow catching up with it.)

Anyway, thought I'd share a you-tube clip of Steve Martin, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka playing a track from The Crow below.

And, because I'm having fun with this ad I'm working on for the store I'll post what I have so far. I think all you book lovers will appreciate it.
I still have a couple of days to finish it and
I might change the Mark Twain quote to something more practical like: Open 7 days a week. Free gift-wrapping. ????

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Dolly Parton!

Today is January 19th and it's Dolly Parton's birthday. Dolly has a few books of her own out and this is one of my treasured favorites: Coat of many Colors. It's actually a true story told from her childhood and also the lyrics to her very popular song.

Dolly is one of 12 children raised in poverty in Sevierville, Tennessee. One winter, when she was a child, she did not have a winter coat, so, her resourceful mother made her a "coat of many colors" from a donated box of rags. It was handsewn with love and her mother told her the story of Joseph and his colorful coat from the Bible. She wore her new coat proudly to school the next day, only to be laughed at and teased by the other children.

Most children I know have way too much stuff, so this book could be used to teach an important lesson. The way Dolly handles the teasing is wonderful. Because she is so secure and strong from her family's love, she doesn't need things to be complete.
Judith Sutton's illustrations are beautiful and heartwarming, a perfect match for Dolly's story.
Here's a clip of Dolly singing Coat of Many Colors: