Hater Fairies, UNITE!

So it was  just a matter of time until Rainbow Magic broke out with The Princess Fairies.

It's All Fun and Games Until Maddie Decides to Get Medieval on You

And now is the time. We have Hope the Happiness Fairy (woted Most Obvious), Cassidy the Costume Fairy (voted Most Likely to Be Entertaining), Anya the Cuddly Creatures Fairy (voted Most Likely to Wedge in as Many Hooks as Possible), Elisa the Royal Adventure Fairy (my life is kind of a Royal Adventure), Lizzie the Sweet Treats Fairy (voted Most Likely to Turn Out to Be a Stripper), Maddie the Fun and Games Fairy (voted Most Likely to Poke You in the Eye with a Stick), and Eva the Enchanted Ball Fairy (voted Most Likely to Be Shunned by the Other Princess Fairies).

You know I am buying copies of all of these for the Children’s Room. With resentment in my heart, but still. The children will be glad I did.

Incidentally, Scooby-Doo comes back into vogue every seven years or so like a plague of locusts, and guess what? I think it’s been seven years. Those of you who are children’s librarians, consider yourself warned.

Board Books I Like: Go Baby Go! by Marilyn Janovitz

Go Baby Go! by Marilyn Janovitz has a great cover: a smiling, big-headed baby in a baby swing with his/her (I think you could interpret either way) arms thrown wide on a bright lime green background with yellow flecks. It’s welcoming and stands out in the board book bin. The book itself focuses on baby spending a day outdoors with the family cat and dog doing things like making mudpies, playing in the pool, and having a picnic. The text is longish for a board book but also rhythmic: “Now we want a bottle/Then we’ll want a burp/Our little baby likes to SLURP SLURP SLURP!” The illustrations are bright and friendly throughout with its wavy lines and big faces, and it’s the kind of book that can be engaging in multiple ways. Little ones will enjoy looking at those cheerful pictures (A CAT! A DOG! BUBBLES!) on their own, it’s a fun book to read aloud, and it may even provide parents with some inspiration about activities they can do with their babies and toddlers on beautiful days. A keeper.

The Butterfly Effect

Things have been happening around here.

For instance, yesterday Rochester was hit with a plague of butterflies. Just now, looking out my office window, I counted about ten of them flitting around. They’re fun when you’re outside on foot, but if you drive through a swarm in your car, it’s disturbing. Butterflies make a bigger thunk than you’d expect. Also, the June bugs are out, and the May flowers all bloomed weeks ago and are spent. The world seems to be reflecting the mildly controlled chaos in my life as I’ve been running around doing social things, working like crazy to try to get the house ready to sell, and working on magazine edits and audiobook reviews.

It’s been intense, but I’ve been doing it. I should have the house on the market in two weeks, I’ve found some places I am excited about maybe living next, and, as a bonus, a royalty check showed up in the mail yesterday that I’d completely forgotten to expect.

The house is currently a mix of ready and unready to sell. Here’s an example of what some areas currently look like:

The State of My Desk on May 4, 2012

My desk is a busy place and almost always looks like this. I’m going to have to figure out how to make it more tidy for when people come here to see the house. I in no way love the idea of people tramping through my house looking at my stuff. I also don’t like thinking about how much it’s going to freak Benny and Ella out when I have to haul them somewhere every time someone looks at the house. I try not to think about these things.

Instead, I organized my comic book collection:

Perhaps the Nerdiest Thing I've Done in a Lifetime of Doing Nerdy Things

Previously, my comic books were all in a drawer that probably would have given Jason a heart attack if he’d ever seen it. The box is much more satisfying, and I have the comics all in order. I’m afraid my collection has grown since I first started reading and collecting single issues. I have the whole run of Models, Inc. and 28 Days Later. I have all of Buffy Season 8 and some odd issues of Serenity. I have almost all of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s Oz books and am reading the new ones as they arrive. I love Young’s art so much I want to marry it. Ella seems to like it, too:

Ella Loves Skottie Young's Art So Much She Wants to Sleep on It, But I Won't Let Her

I’m also currently reading/collecting Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith. (Angel & Faith continues to be better than Buffy, which surprises me, as I never loved Angel the TV show.)

Meanwhile my books and CDs remain in no discernible order, and you really do not want to open the cupboard where I keep the Tupperware-type containers in the kitchen. I’m off work today and will be working on some of these things, and I’ll be Craigslisting other things. Craigslist is my new ATM.

Here Tanita writes of bridges. I am continuing to take forward steps. It’s an exciting time and an overwhelming time, a time of great change.

Things are just getting interesting.

Dear Boxcar Children, I Think Your New Covers Are Ridiculous

Exhibit A:

The Boxcar Children Abomination

Exhibit B:


Lightning Thief


You can read more about my issues with The Boxcar Children covers here and here. Usually I’m all behind updating covers, but I think in this case it’s a mistake. The whole appeal of The Boxcar Children is that they’re retro, and they had this highly recognizable and popular brand going. I’m ordeirng this, but I’m irritated about it.

The Neverending Story

Bastian liked books that were exciting or funny, or that made him dream. Books where made-up characters had marvelous adventures, books that made him imagine all sorts of things.

Because one thing he was good at, possibly the only thing, was imagining things so clearly that he almost saw and heard them. When he told himself stories, he sometimes forgot everything around him and awoke–as though from a dream–only when the story was finished.
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, translated by Ralph Manheim

The Neverending Story was a great favorite of mine when I was a child, both the book and the film, but I hadn’t revisited either as an adult until I started listening to a new audio production of the story to review for AudioFile. It’s a fantastic production and a tremendous book, so much in it that I must have understood on some level as a child but see more clearly as an adult. It’s such a careful and beautiful study of grief and pain and their place in our lives. It’s also a German novel, which I’d never noticed, and now that I do, I see echoes of it in Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart. I keep thinking that all children should read this book at some point; all humans should probably read it at some point.

I’m going to get a couple new copies for the library’s collection.

I Am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems

So yesterday Jason and I spent some time in the Story Room practicing telling I Am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems with this swell new felt board I made. During the two months I was working on this particular felt board, I often wondered if it would work and if we’d use it enough to justify my time and effort.

I didn’t have to wait long for an answer.

When we were practicing, even though we were all rough and halting and laughing, kids started wandering toward the room. Some came in and listened to us tell the story multiple times in a row. More listened outside the window. When we were done and walked out of the Story Room, several adults applauded.

This tells me that this felt board is going to be a hit.

It reminds me that a story doesn’t have to be perfect to be entertaining.

And it teaches me that Jason and I are really, really loud.

I Am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems

What We Did in Storytime Today and How It Worked Out

“1, 2, 3, We Are Dancing”

Whenever Jason plays this song (which he wrote), it is stuck in my head for the rest of the day. So right now, my internal soundtrack is blaring, “1, 2, 3, we are blogging now. We’re happy as can be, because we’re blogging. So sing along with me, and keep on blogging. Until we get to 1, 2, 3.” It seriously works for all daily activities. Unfortunately. Great storytime song, though.

Jason does this thing where he has the kids do stretches. During this today, one of the girls shouted at me, “Don’t listen to him, Miss A! He’s crazy!” Little does she know that the stretches were a subject of some controversy between Jason and I a few weeks ago.

My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
Love this Elephant and Piggie book. It’s one of the most profound ones in the series, in my opinion. Adults go through this kind of thing exactly as often as kids do. Maybe more often.

“There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”
When I’m feeling good, which I was today, I like to have this exchange with the kids:

Me: Do you guys eat flies?
Kids: NO!
Me: Do you guys eat spiders?
Kids: NO!
Me: Do you guys eat cows?
Kids: NO!
Me: [raise eyebrows] You sure?

That’s when we have to move on quickly before I get in trouble.

Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems
I like this book for a lot of reasons, but what really motivates me to pull it out of the bag is how much I love saying “Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie.” The kids listened closely to the story today. One of the other things I love best about it is the richness of its vocabulary, with excellent words like “extinct,” “protest,” and “persuasive.”

“We All Join In”
Jason’s musical version of the Quentin Blake poem.

“I Saw a Snake Go By One Day”
I have been doing this in pretty much every storytime I’ve done since maybe September. I keep thinking I should give it up and move on to new ones, except it’s still making me laugh every single time I do it. And the kids laugh, too. So I’m going to keep doing it.

“Hoppity Song”
Jason’s been playing around with his arrangement of this lately, and that’s been fun. Keeps things fresh, which is especially important given my unwillingness to give up “I Saw a Snake Go By One Day.” That’s what you call teamwork.