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1. Will Someone Save PDI/DreamWorks’s Pirate Bar?

Now that PDI/DreamWorks is shutting down, who will save the studio's Pirate Bar?

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2. Nick’s Upcoming ‘Bad Seeds’ Renamed ‘Harvey Beaks!’

"Bad Seeds," the upcoming series by "Chowder" creator C.H. Greenblatt, has been renamed "Harvey Beaks!"

0 Comments on Nick’s Upcoming ‘Bad Seeds’ Renamed ‘Harvey Beaks!’ as of 1/27/2015 6:25:00 PM
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3. Sapir Prize

       They've announced that הבית אשר נחרב ('The Ruined House') by Reuven "Ruby" Namdar has won this year's Sapir Prize (פרס ספי), one of the leading Israeli literary prizes.
       It's apparently noteworthy that longtime New York resident Namdar is an "expat" author -- the first to take the prize. See, for example, Beth Kissileff's Reuven Namdar Wins Israel's Sapir Prize at Tablet, or her Q & A with the author in the Forward.

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4. FERAL PRIDE by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Feral Pride is the third book in Cynthia Leitich Smith's Feral series. She is Muscogee Creek. Books in the series consists of a series of chapters, each one told from the point of view of one of the characters.

Prior to this and her Tantalize series, Leitich Smith wrote three books I highly recommend: her picture book Jingle Dancer, the early reader chapter book Indian Shoes, and her young adult novel Rain is Not My Indian Name. Each one is a terrific story featuring Native kids and their families. All three are set in the present day.

Feral Curse, the second book in the Feral series, introduces a Native character. Her name is Jess. She is Osage. Kayla, one of the main characters in Feral Curse, is a shapeshifter. Kayla and Jess grew up together and are good friends. In her early teens when Kayla realized she is a shapeshifter, she started to keep to herself, afraid of what people and friends will think about her, and afraid that she might inadvertently hurt or frighten them.

Some people in the world Leitich Smith creates are fine with shapeshifters; others aren't. It is that facet of the story that stands out to me as a Native women. The world Leitich Smith creates--and the attitudes of people in it--reflect the real world. Here on AICL, I've written about U.S. assimilation policies. Some of those laws and policies took land from Native peoples as a means to destroy our nationhood, and others sought to "kill the Indian and save the man." Those laws and policies were driven by attitudes held by people who did not want 'other' in the U.S.

That history is in my head as I read Feral Pride, or any book. It doesn't matter what I read. I see gaps. And misrepresentations. But as I read Feral Pride, I see Leitich Smith filling those gaps, meeting them head on.

Here's an example from early in Feral Pride. It picks up where Feral Curse left off. Feral Pride opens with Clyde. Like Kayla, he is a shapeshifter. Clyde, Yoshi, and Kayla are on the run. Both Clyde and Yoshi have more experience with being hunted than Kayla does. Jess is driving them in her dad's squad car. He's a sheriff in the small town in Texas where Kayla and Jess are from. They're headed to the Osage reservation. Here's their conversation (p. 3):*
"None of this makes sense," Kayla says from the backseat of the squad car. "It's not illegal to be what we are. Why would federal agents be gunning for us?"
"Why wouldn't they?" answers Yoshi, who's beside her.

Clyde thinks:
They're both right. It's not illegal to be what we are. But whenever anything goes wrong, anything bloody and brutal, shape-shifters are presumed guilty.
As I read "It's not illegal to be what we are" I thought about all the young people in the US today who some segments of society think of as "illegal." I thought about them being hunted, living in fear of being deported. I thought about how they are unfairly blamed for one social ill after another. Those who aren't branded "illegal" may not notice the work this particular part of Feral Pride is doing, but you can be sure that those who are considered "illegal" will note that passage. It speaks to them, as does Jess, on page 9, when she says:
"Shifters are people. There are terrific people. There are terrible people. Most fall in between."
I keep reading Jess's words. The list of peoples in the world that have been dehumanized and demonized by terrible people is astounding. Feral Pride pushes us--if we're willing--to think about that and why it happens.

Weighty topic, I know, but Leitich Smith lightens that weight with the banter the teens engage in as they drive. They're into superheroes and science fiction characters.

And! The parts of the story where characters shift or are talking about clothes? Well, I find those parts exquisite and they make me wish I could see all of this on a movie screen. And the parts where characters from the Tantalize series join the characters in the Pride series? Well done!

There are other tensions throughout the novel that provide opportunities to think about, for example, relationships across race. Characters who experience these tensions reflect on the ways that their own flaws and experiences shape what they say, do, and think. Their reflections and conversations give them space to revisit what they think, say, and do--and of course, provide those opportunities to us, too.

Elsewhere, reviewers note some of what I did above, and they call Feral Pride compelling, action-packed, sexy, campy, and wickedly funny. I agree with all that, and am happy to recommend it.

Feral Pride is due out this year (2015) from Candlewick.

*I read an advanced reader copy of Feral Pride. Page numbers I noted above may not correspond to the book when it is published.



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5. Margaret Bloy Graham RIP

"Children’s book illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham, widely known for her depictions of Harry the Dirty Dog in a series of books by her former husband Harry Zion, died January 22 in Cambridge, Mass. She was 94." More at Publisher's Weekly

Also by: 




—————

Read along on FacebooktumblrTwitterEtsy and Graphic Novels My Kid Loves.

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6. Child Poets - Clementine Beauvais

‘The ink was in the baby, he was bound to write a tale

So he wrote the first of stories with his little fingernail’

Nathalia Crane was nine years old when, in 1924, she wrote ‘The First Story’ and many other poems, published in a collection called The Janitor’s Boy. She was one of many child poets in the 1920s, which saw a spate of precocious poetry and prose in the UK and the US. In the 19th century already, a cult of poetic precocity in children had erupted with the rediscovered works of Marjory (/Marjorie) Fleming, a little Scottish girl who wrote everyday from the age of six and conveniently died before she was nine, in 1811 - embodying forever the vision of glorious, pure and doomed childhood genius for the Victorians (this is a great article on the subject)

a rather haunting sketch of Marjorie Fleming by (?)Isa Keith
I’m currently looking at those works by child poets and at the adult discourse which developed around them, and it’s fascinating to see the extent to which such works were simply not allowed to be on their own: they were relentlessly explained, explored, excused, by the adults who read, published and critiqued them (another great article).
We get, of course, the usual amount of ‘how cute they are!’, and the associated Romantic claims that they were ‘close to nature’, ‘close to God’, ‘close to universal truth’. Not coincidentally, references to classics of children’s literature recur when critics analyse those poems: they talk of Alice in Wonderland and Rudyard Kipling, and James Matthew Barrie prefaced a novel by nine-year-old Daisy Ashford. This was around the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of children’s literature, at a time when children and childhood already had cult status; the verbal abilities of the precocious poets gave hope that their word might be interpreted, and ‘teach’ adults about the beyondness to which childhood supposedly had access.
But those poets were also thought of as dramatically unstructured and lacking technical skill. In 1926, an academic reviews ‘some child poets’ and gives Marjorie Fleming the kind of review anyone would cringe to see written about oneself:
‘An affectionate little soul, with a real joy in nature, and a strangely precocious taste for books, she found her surroundings prosy, though her heart expressed itself in bursts of pitifully inadequate song.’
He goes on to expose Marjorie Fleming’s ‘limitations’ by indicating that she often invents words to make up for a lack of rime (heaven forbid!) and:
‘Another shift which she found useful was the introduction of a purely irrelevant line:
At supper when his brother sat
I have not got a rhyme for that.’
Purely irrelevant indeed. Thankfully, George Shelton Hubbell reassures us that young Shelley was also a ‘juvenile blunderer’ in matters of poetry.
A strong concern of much of the general audience at the time was whether the children were actually writing those poems, or if adults were sneakily doing so. A passionate correspondence developed in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in 1919, concerning little Hilda Conkling, who dictated poems to her mother:
‘Dear Poetry: Could you not give your readers more explicit information as to just how those poems of Hilda Conkling’s are done: To what extent does her mother select, rearrange and give form? Is it all actually improvised as given?… What a delightful little genius!… (E. Sapir.)’
‘I do not change words in Hilda’s poems,’ replied her mother, ‘nor alter her word-order; I write down the lines as rhythm dictates. She has made many poems which I have had to lose because I could not be certain of accurate transcription.’
The ‘accurate transcription’ of childly thoughts, the ‘authenticity’ of the child’s poetry needed to be ascertained at all costs, to the extent that Nathalia Crane, perhaps the most controversial of all child poets, was asked to produce a poem in the same room as a journalist. 
Nathalia Crane was quite unique in that her poetry got published in a newspaper without the editor’s knowledge that it was a child’s. The editor, Edmund Leamy, wrote an afterword to her collection, in 1924, in which he talked about his astonishment when he discovered the ‘imposture’:

My surprise is excusable. So many times I had received “poems” from youngsters who were careful to give their ages in addition to their names; so often I had received visits from doting parents or relatives requesting publication of verses by their children or sisters or cousins that I never dreamed any child would ever submit any work from his or her pen without adding the words “Aged — years”. But little Nathalia was the exception — and there was nothing in her poems that I received to indicate her age. The poems bought were accepted on their merits and on their merits alone.

‘On their merits alone’, with no ‘child-loving’ bias (to quote Kincaid’s famous study); this was, therefore, proper poetry. Yet it made adults feel relentlessly uncomfortable. Her poetry was more structured, more sexualised and more aware of the constraints of the adult world than other child poets, and adults didn’t know how to tackle it. Louis Untermeyer, in 1936, prefacing Crane’s new collection ‘Swear by the night’ (she was 22 by then), talks about the uncanny feeling he had when the poet was a little girl: 
‘She was ten and a half years old and she puzzled me. She puzzled me as a person even before she puzzled me as a poet. … There was even then a queerness about her, an almost too pronounced childishness coupled with a curious vocabulary.’
The blending of categories is always troublesome, the difficulty to draw lines between adulthood and childhood always a problem. Adults then, but still now, find it difficult to make sense of moments when the presence to the world of children is felt literally, fully, rather than wrapped in layers of symbols.
Nathalia Crane died in 1998 and I’ll leave you with one of her early poems, because it’s fair, after contributing myself to obscuring the works of those child poets with my own, to let her have the last words. I think the work might still be under copyright, so I'll only put the first stanza here; click to redirect to her collection on the Internet Archive.

LOVE


_____________________________________

Clementine Beauvais writes in French and English. She blogs here about children's literature and academia.

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7. DreamWorks Producer Kristine Belson Named President of Sony Animation

Sony Pictures Animation has named Kristine Belson as the new president of its Sony Pictures Animation division.

0 Comments on DreamWorks Producer Kristine Belson Named President of Sony Animation as of 1/27/2015 6:25:00 PM
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8. Nerdtopia



The TV reality show King of the Nerds asked permission to include a print of Dinotopia's Waterfall City in the set, called "Nerdvana." This is the third season of the program, which premiered last Friday night on TBS.

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9. Whitbread Costa Book of the Year

       They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) this year's Whitbread Costa Book of the Year, selected from the five category winners -- and it is the Biography-winner, H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald.
       It's not even out in the US yet -- coming in March; pre-order your copy at Amazon.com -- but has already enjoyed considerable success in the UK; get your copy at Amazon.co.uk.

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10. Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act

By Davey Nieves

As Aspen Comics announced towards the end of last year the Fathom universe’s anti-hero Kiani would get a new volume in her saga. Written by Vince Hernandez, with Giuseppe Cafaro on art, this February will see Fathom: Kiani Vol.4 #1 hit stores.

Following the catastrophic destruction of the Volna, the Russian Government’s secret Blue research facility, the United States has decided to take action against the rising threat of the Blue. However, in Africa, Kiani and Anika discover that their family bond is stronger than any one army—as their fight to survive above the surface will lead to a revolution amongst the people that will change the landscape of the human race forever!

Fathom: Kiani #1 will be out February 11th, 2015. Check out the preview below including a painfully cute cover by MLP artist Agnes Garabowska.

01 FAK4 01 CMYKcrop 98x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act 00 FAK4 01 CMYKcrop 98x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act 02 FAK4 01 CMYKcrop 98x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act 03 FAK4 01 CMYKcrop 98x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act FathomKiani v4 01d Valentine 99x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act FathomKiani v4 01c Agnes 99x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act FathomKiani v4 01b Konat 99x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act FathomKiani v4 01a Cafaro 99x150 Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act

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11. Books I Won’t Read

Back in the distant past, about two or three months ago, someone commented on a book review about not reading books on certain topics and perhaps that might be something I could write about sometime. This being in the murky past, I have no recollection of who made the comment nor on what book review post it was made. I thought it was a great idea at the time but had so many other fascinating things to write about I never got around to it and soon forgot about it. Until this morning when I was dredging my brain for something to post about besides links to interesting articles. So tonight’s the night! Avoiding books because of subject matter.

I’m not talking about book genres here so there’s no, “I never read romance novels” or some kind of blanket thing like that. It’s more like, “I can’t read books with child murders in them.” There’s a difference, yes? My first thoughts were that there is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t read about. But of course, that’s not true. Nonetheless, I had a hard time with it because it is such an automatic response I am not even aware of it most of the time. And sometimes I might make exceptions for one reason or another.

This list then, I’m not sure how accurate it is. I might have left something off. But I can say that this is a list of topics/plots/things I tend avoid when reading:

  • Books about women whose main goal in life is to shop their way to happiness or find the perfect husband. I never read The Devil Wears Prada because I thought it was this sort of book. I never saw the movie either until this last fall after a coworker told me it was totally not what I thought. And she was right. I liked the movie quite a lot. I have no plans to read the book because it seems the movie covered it all and I didn’t like it that much.
  • Books that will give me nightmares. This is one of those “I know it when I see it” sorts of things. It’s usually a horror-type novel. I will never, for instance, read The Shining. But it’s not a blanket horror ban because I really liked Peter Straub’s Ghost Story. I can do psychological horror such as Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House. Loved that book. I guess it’s more of the graphic supernatural violence/horror that gives me problems. But not only that. It’s also the idea of a threat without having any kind of predictability. If there are rules like “don’t blink” I can handle it. But if it is random or unexplainable, no way will I go there. You are all welcome to psychoanalyze me now.
  • Books that are overtly misogynist and deliberately degrading and cruel to anyone, especially to women.
  • Books with dogs. These tend to fall into two categories. The worst are the emotionally manipulative smarmy ones. If it’s not one of those I still won’t read it because I will at some point during the book break down into a sobbing mess usually in the last chapter when the dog inevitably dies. My trauma around this began when I was in third grade and read Where the Red Fern Grows. Twice. And then the second time having my mom walk into my room when I was in the midst of a glorious sobfest and she was, briefly, very concerned and a bit scared about why I was crying. So perhaps it’s not about the dogs at all but a personal concern about scaring people who might find me sobbing. Because I do sometimes make an exception. However, while reading those exceptions when I come to the crying part I try really hard to make sure I’m alone.

There you have it, the books I will pass by if they are any of these things. I think I got them all but as soon as I push the “publish” button I will probably remember one I forgot. Or Bookman will read this and say, “and what about …?” That’s what updates and comments are for, right?

What about you? Are there topics or plots or other things you will not read?


Filed under: Books, Reading

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12. Writer Wednesday: Revising Out Loud

I've been doing a lot of editing lately, both for clients and for my own books, so I thought I'd share a tip with you all today. I talk a lot about how I edit books backward in one of my reading passes, but something else that is just as important (maybe more important) is reading the book out loud.

I can't stress this enough. Yes, you will probably lose your voice if you revise too much in one sitting, but reading aloud allows you to identify so many weakness in your writing. Don't believe me? Ask people who have had their books made into audio versions if their readers (the person making the audio) identified errors. I bet they did. 

Here are just a few things you'll hear when you read your book aloud:

Repetition  Every manuscript I edit has repetition it in. Every single one. And in 
most cases it's unnecessary repetition that you don't want. (My editors get on my case for this too because seriously, everyone does it.) If you read your book aloud, the repetition pretty much slaps you in the face, and then you can get rid of it. You'll be thankful when the book reads more smoothly and the pace picks up, too.

Missing Words  Yes, you can hear missing words. You hear them because they aren't there. When we read in our heads, we don't always catch a missing "the" or "an," but you will when you read aloud.

Awkward Wording  You'll stumble over sentences that aren't quite right if you read them aloud. If you have to slow down or reread a sentence, something is wrong with your wording. Maybe it's a case of poor word choice or a phrase that doesn't quite read correctly. Either way, this is the time to fix it.

Contractions  I've had clients make words into contractions that have no right to be contractions. ;) It's awkward for the reader. In the same token, most kids don't speak without contractions, so if you're avoiding them completely, think again. Reading aloud will highlight areas that don't sound like real life speech.

Italics  Sometimes you have to make sure your intent with emphasis is clear. Italics will do that. So if you're reading a sentence and the emphasis could be placed on the wrong word, make life easier on your reader and add italics to the word or words you want emphasized.

I could probably keep going, but I think you get the point. It's worth the extra time it takes to read a manuscript aloud. 

Do you make reading aloud part of your revision process?


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13. Science Fair Season

Do you remember Science Fair time? Was it a fun time or a stressful time for you? When I was a student, we had the option of doing a science fair project or a social studies project. While I remember some parts were fun (my social studies fair project on Helen Keller was an educational highlight for me), finding ideas for science fair projects was always rather daunting. I didn’t really enjoy science experiments or activities until I learned more about the importance of STEM education and put together science experiment programs at my library.  Thankfully, there is an amazing amount of fabulous science experiment books that should help both students and adults discover the fun aspects of science:

481868_cover.indd

(image from Wiley)

If I ever get to San Francisco, visiting The Exploratorium is tops on my “must do” list. Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with their awesome books and website.  The Exploratorium Science Snackbook features modified versions (“snacks”) of their exhibits. If you’ve ever opened up a science experiments book and groaned at the very specific materials needed for experiments, fear not. All experiments feature easily obtained materials. Best of all, scientific principles behind the experiments are carefully explained. Each lesson plan includes  advice, tips and time estimates.

vancleave

(image from Wiley)

Anyone in need of easy science experiments definitely needs to be familiar with Janice VanCleave’s vast library of science experiments. Janice VanCleave’s Guide to the Best Science Fair Projects  not only includes detailed instructions for engaging experiments (everything from astronomy to zoology!), but offers points on the scientific method and the ins and outs of research. If you need experiments for very young students (kindergarten and such), check out her Play-and-Learn series.

 

wedareyou

 

(image from Skyhorse)

For fun and creative science experiments that anyone can do with easily obtained materials, Vicki Cobb’s books will provide a vast amount of inspiration and knowledge. We Dare You!  explores geometry, physics, and many other fields of science with fun (and sometimes funny!) science activities. “Insider Information” explains the scientific activity in each experiment.

Do you have any favorite authors or titles of science experiment books? Talk about it in the comments.

The post Science Fair Season appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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14. Prince Charming’s 5 Proven Techniques for Finding Love

Manelle Oliphant Illustration - Illustrator and Writer

In my recent story, Cinderella’s Prince, you can read about one Prince Charming’s method for finding love. After I published the story Alabaster mentioned to me Cinderella’s Prince Charming used one of 5 usual methods for finding his love.  I was unaware there were “usual” ways these things were done but was interested in what Alabaster had to say. I imagine you are as well, especially if you are a prince looking for love. Alabaster graciously agreed to write another guest post for us. If you are interested in Alabaster’s other posts they are  5 Tips for Finding True Love and Become a Wicked Stepmother in 4 Easy Steps.

Let me introduce you to our guest blogger Alabaster Daisy.

Alabaster Daisy

Alabaster Daisy

Mrs. Alabaster Daisy has been studying the residents of the enchanted forest for some years now. She has a FTB (Fairy Tale Bachelors) in the Habits of the Fairy Tale World, and has been featured in Forest Fairy Daily sharing her expert tips on life in a magical land. This is her first post at manelleoliphat.com especially for the genlemen among us. Lets here what she has to say.

 

Prince Charming's 5 proven techniques for finding love. #cinderella #fairytale

 

Hello, you wonderful readers!

I’m so excited to share some of my insights on helping all you young Prince Charmings out there find the love you are looking for. If you’re not a prince you can try the techniques but I can’t promise they will work for you. If you are a prince, however, I guarantee one of these methods will bring you the love you seek!

These techniques are listed in no particular order. Each one has been proven successful, so pick the method you think is best for you, and it won’t be long until your dreams come true. (That sentence rhymes like a beautiful poem.)

Alabaster Daisy’s 5 Ways for Prince Charming to Find his True Love

1. Try kissing dead girls

Ok, she’s not really dead just under a sleeping curse. ;) Sleeping curses are famous for being broken by true love’s kiss. This has been a popular technique in the past, however, it’s fallen out of favor in recent years. Probably because it’s sometimes hard to tell if the young women in question is under a curse or actually dead. For some reason the idea of kissing corpses doesn’t appeal to most men. If you’re not faint of heart, however, your chances of finding a girl under a curse are greatly increased these days!

2. Explore a Tower

Beautiful maiden’s in fairy tale lands are famous for hanging out in towers. This could be a castle tower, but if you find a tower in the middle of the woods or other secluded area your chances are very good there is a princess inside. Many times she will be awake and waiting for you, but it’s also possible she could be under a sleeping curse. If the lady is awake you can often find her tower by listening to her lovely singing voice. Tower Maiden’s are one of the most convenient of the five ways to find your lady, but be aware of witches and conniving lady’s maids who will try to keep you from your goal.

3. Be cursed (especially into some kind of animal)

This advice may not appeal to you but, rest assured, given a little time it is %100 effective. When looking to be cursed it is best to be mean to a witch or other magical lady who isn’t fond of men. The nice thing about this method is once you are cursed your work is pretty much done. Your true love will break your curse by falling for you even in your deformed, ugly or disgusting state. Popular animal curses are frogs and bears but I’m sure if were turned into a mongoose or kangaroo you would still be able to find success with this method.

4. Rely on objects to find her

Prince Charming’s the world over have been using this method for generations. There is a %52 chance your royal parents found each other this way.  The most popular objects for finding true love are shoes and rings, but you can use anything this as long as it fit your lady perfectly at some point. Some experts argue this method is unreliable since a shoe or a ring may or may not be enchanted, and could fit on any number of lady’s feet or fingers. Bah! I think the success of the technique speaks for itself.

5. listen to your cat

This method is less popular but like our third technique it has a %100 success rate. It’s also the only method that works if you are a peasant. I personally know of two princes who have not only found their true love by following advice from their cats, but also got their kingdoms this way. This method is different from the others in another way. There are no substitutions. It seems it only works with cats. Men have tried following the advice of pet dogs, birds, and even turtles but they haven’t had success. It’s actually rather dangerous to try with *animals other than our cunning feline friends.

 

Well you handsome princes you, I hope you find this advice useful! Don’t hesitate to contact me by mirror if you have any questions. I’d love to meet your lady loves and hear your success stories as well! Helping people is such a joy! Until next time.

Alabaster Daisy!

 

*Prince Ronaldst Rington Charming tried following the advice of his dog Wilbur and ended up playing fetch for 197 years. It’s a world fetch playing record that’s never been broken. Ronaldst did gain much fame and fortune from his exploits but his body, except for his throwing arm, was too weakened after it was over to be attractive to the ladies. He died a bachelor.

The post Prince Charming’s 5 Proven Techniques for Finding Love appeared first on Manelle Oliphant Illustration.

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15. Publishing in ... Africa

       In The Herald Beaven Tapureta offers A tale of two book industries, comparing the situations in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
       High book prices, lack of media coverage, and the failure of schools to develop a reading culture are among the problems identified.

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16. A bit of watercolour noodling

scanned them before I do a bit more- they were on sort of scraps of paper.
They need to be darker/more colour- they dried way paler and chalkier than I'd imagined as I did them.  Still- I was sort of mucking around.



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17. Review: Gotham Academy #4 Just Schooled You Son

By Davey Nieves

Gotham Academy #4

STK659751 198x300 Review: Gotham Academy #4 Just Schooled You Son

Story: Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan

Art: Karl Kerschl

Color: Msassyk, Serge LaPointe

Letters: Steve Wands

Publisher: DC Comics

 

Written by Becky Cloonan(DEMO, Killjoys) and Brenden Fletcher(Batgirl, Assassin’s Creed), Gotham Academy #4 continues its mystery as young Olive Silverlock uncovers the ghost of the north hall. The academy itself is much like Gotham City, written with an atmosphere that makes it feel living but never outshines the characters. Along the way Olive’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend Kyle continues to reach a breaking point as a possible new interest literally catches her. It’s not just her love life that’s bending. Like any young girl, Olive finds fitting in has challenges of its own. In this issue her self-esteem will be tested as she stumbles upon gossip she might not be ready to deal with.  Readers are enticed with more details as to Silverlock’s forgotten summer and the burning question of what happened to her mother.  These pages flow so well together that once you hit the end of the book it feels like a crime not to dive right in to the next issue. One of the very few minuscule problems I’ve had with the series is the way issues leave readers on a cliffhanger but subsequently pick up moments after it in the next chapter. Hopefully with the major punch this issue ends on that won’t be the case for issue five.

While the book is a rich ensemble full of unique voices from Olive’s sister figure the spunky young Maps all the way through to Headmaster; issue four is more Olive’s book as you really see her three sides. Who she is among friends, who she is to herself, and the part of her she doesn’t know. Moments in the book like her confrontation with the “ghost” of Jane Cobblepot illustrate it best.

Gotham Academy is consistently a pretty book. It plays with a Manga influence that in most other American titles would be a deterrent. Karl Kerschl’s (Majestic, Teen Titans) line work is the first part of this recipe. Where a lot of Manga-style books stumble is in the framing of their shots. Kerschl’s work doesn’t suffer from that one bit as everything feels like a natural camera position. When you add the colors of MSASSYK and Serge LaPointe it makes the page vibrant in a way few books are. The end result feels like a hybrid of Anime, cinema, and emotional Disney animation.

The series isn’t without imperfections of its own, since the first issue there’s a stumble that merely tugs on you in the way a fly tugs on an elephant. It probably only knows it’s there but doesn’t really ruin their day.  Gotham Academy has so many moving parts that some thing feels as though it falls by the waste side when I’ve seen it. Bruce Wayne’s brief appearances; they almost feel shoehorned in. Granted the book is only in the orbit of the Batman universe by association, but that means the series should get to a point where it only needs Bat appearances when absolutely necessary. It’s a minor complaint that does little to hinder the enjoyment overall, but you know… internets.

Growing up in the 90’s, for me it was all about: Batman: The Animated SeriesPepsi, and the band Rancid. Perhaps what stood out to me most about TAS was how much I cared about the players who weren’t Batman. Two-Face, Leslie Thompkins, one and done Charlie Collins, even Gotham City itself were all stories I invested in. As of late, Bat group editor Mark Doyle has added books to the bat-ecosystem that have captured a similar type of magic previously only on Fox Kids programing. Gotham Academy has been an underrated prime example of it. Issue four continues its unfolding of the institution’s connection to Gotham’s lore through the lens of adolescence.

Ultimately, Gotham Academy is a niche audience book that outstretches its boundaries by being energetic and refreshing. While its Young Adult nature might not appeal to the hardcore superhero crowd; there’s a good story about a troubled girl trying to find herself, which in a way makes her relatable to millions of people out there. If the Gotham Academy team is a band, then issue number four is their Let’s Go. What’s scary and exciting about that is the possibility that issue five could be their And Out Come The Wolves. For the non-punk rock fans out there, what that boils down to is Gotham Academy #4 figures out the strengths of the series. Issue five could be where everything fires on all cylinders and I have no doubts that it will be a book I can enjoy being a 72yr old man and then pass on to my adolescent niece. In short the definition of all age storytelling.


If words like Gretzky, Clutch, Zayn, and Archie are in your vocabulary then feel free to follow and unburden your anger at Dave on twitter @bouncingsoul217

 

1 Comments on Review: Gotham Academy #4 Just Schooled You Son, last added: 1/28/2015
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18. Malice review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Higashino Keigo's Malice.
       Higashino is phenomenally successful in eastern Asia -- his native Japan as well as China and South Korea, where he is among the most successful authors. Two of his 'Detective Galileo'-mysteries have been published in English (The Devotion of Suspect X and Salvation of a Saint), with a third to follow this year; Malice is from his 'Detective Kaga'-series (a 1996 novel that has only now been translated -- but apparently the fourth in the series); there's also the stand-alone Naoko. This haphazard and very limited presentation of his work -- he's written dozens of novels, and these 'Detective Galileo' volumes are also random ones in the larger series, not the first two ... -- can't be helping his success in the US/UK, which falls well, well short of his Asian success -- but he's gotten pretty good US/UK-press reviews, including for this book -- much better, in fact, than the book deserves, in my opinion.

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19. YALSA Board @ Midwinter: Advocates Advisory Panel Update

During the Annual 2014 Conference, the YALSA Board approved an agenda item that proposed a new framework to formally include the voices of professionals in related fields with similar goals and objectives. The Advocates Advisory Panel will be charged with tackling a specific area of focus related to the Strategic Plan, the Future of Library Services for and with Teens report, or other topics as identified by the Board each year. The hope is that through this process, YALSA will gain valuable outside perspective on topics that are important for teens, expand its reach through new and/or strengthened relationships, and model the kind of collaborative, collective work that is called out in the Future report.

Because the Board approved the proposal in concept, as the author, I’ve been tasked with working with the Board Standing Committee on Capacity Building to create an inaugural focus and to hammer out some of the logistics. Although there’s obviously any number of topics that might be interesting to pursue with this, we decided that one viable option would be for the panel to consider strategies that YALSA might pursue in order to connect key principles and guidelines (such as the those presented in the Future report) to LIS education. We determined that this might be a sensible place to start because:

  •  A deeper dive into the state of and needs of LIS educators in light of the report may help inform the work of the Board as well as priority content areas for subsequent Panels
  • Without connecting directly with the ways in which students in LIS programs are recruited and educated, YALSA can’t guarantee that the work recommended in the Futures report can move forward
  • An academic perspective is lacking in YALSA’s current leadership. By actively recruiting experienced LIS educators to serve on the panel, YALSA may build capacity in this area
  • Engaging the perspective of educators in other fields on this issue has the potential to create the opportunity for increased cross-pollination or future collective impact efforts

You can view the full proposal and other Board docs here. If you have questions or ideas related to this proposal, I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to connect with me at shannon.peterson@gmail.com

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20. Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard, by Janice Dean | Book Review

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard does an excellent job of creating a creative way to get kids interested in learning about the science of weather.

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21. Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews

HEADER 669x1028 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews

Valiant has done an incredible job looping endless previews and press information to the various news outlets. While last week’s batch of previews was filled with ongoing titles from Valiant Entertainment like X-O Manowar, Unity, and the upcoming Quantum and Woody mini-series. This new batch features some of the upcoming Valiant next launches leading with the much anticipated Ninjak #1.

Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.

Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.

$3.99 US | T+| 40 pgs. | ON SALE 3/11/15 (FOC – 2/16/15)

42 201x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews 51 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews 6 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant PreviewsThe character of Ninjak has been building in the Valiant Universe naturally since the first year of the publisher. It’s going to be interesting to see how the comics market reacts to one of the most highly sought after Valiant ongoing series since The Valiant. Unfortunately, Marvel and DC are also moving pieces of their line around in some pretty major ways at the moment, but that certainly won’t discount the strong upcoming creative team for the title with Matt Kindt, Butch Guice, and Clay Mann. Who doesn’t love the idea of a ninja working for MI-6. The idea is enough to drive not 20, but 40 pages of story content at a cool $3.99 price point. Possibly the most intriguing part of the series is how the comic is flashing forward between the early exploits of Colin King, all the way to the Batman-esque excellence of the current Valiant Universe Ninjak.

Take a look at the full preview here.

 I 1 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 2 197x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 3 212x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 4 210x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 5 212x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 6 205x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews I 7 208x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant PreviewsValiant’s most heinous supervillain team is also returning for a follow-up issue with Imperium #2, featuring none-other-than Joshua Dysart manning the helm of the comic alongside artist Doug Braithwaite on art. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but evil Professor Xavier, a robot, scientist, alien-assassin, and terrorist walk into a bar.

 A psychic dictator, an inhuman robot, a mad scientist, a murderous alien and a super-powered terrorist are about to try and take over the world…and you’re going to be rooting for them every step of the way. THIS IS IMPERIUM.

$3.99 US | T+| 32 pgs. | ON SALE 3/4/15 (FOC – 2/9/15)

One of Valiant’s most ambitious series yet, Divinity is also shifting towards a second issue. This is another title with Matt Kindt at the helm, featuring a character of color with the power of a god. The lead in Divinity is also soviet cosmonaut, believe me, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. This comic ships in a larger format also sporting the relaxed $3.99 price tag with a 32 page second issue.

 

DIV 2 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DIV 3 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DIV 4 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DIV 5 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DIV 6 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DIV 7 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant PreviewsX-O Manowar kicks off Dead Hand in a few months. The story features Aric killing some robots, that’s all you need to know. We covered the current arc of Armorines in the pages of X-O Manowar that is set to directly lead-in to the upcoming storylines.

This is it…X-O Manowar…face-to-face with a ROBOT ARMY HELLBENT ON THE DESTRUCTION OF EVERYTHING! Blast off with New York Times best-selling creator Robert Venditti (ARMOR HUNTERS,Green Lantern) as he begins the most shocking arc yet of his seminal run on Valiant’s flagship series!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale MARCH 4 (FOC – 2/9/15)

 DH 1 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DH 2 300x228 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews
DH 4 202x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews
DH 5 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DH 6 210x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews DH 7 206x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews
There’s STILL MORE, Ivar Timewalker #1 was the latest issue of Valiant Next that came to store shelves. The comic is still revealing the full scope of it’s premise thus far, but Ivar does indeed walk through time. In the first issue of the story, he prevents a scientist from inventing time travel. The series looks to continue to pick up steam from here.

Can a man resigned to forever walk through time truly make up for the mistakes of his past? And just who is the mysterious sociopathic leader of Oblivi-1, and why does she have such an interest in Ivar and Neela’s time traveling team-up?

Find out here as Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry – the team that brought you ARCHER & ARMSTRONG – continue their clock-stopping race to the end of time and back!

$3.99 US | T+| 32 pages, full color | ON SALE 3/18/15 (FOC – 2/23/15)

IT 1 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews IT 2 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews IT 3 200x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews IT 4 200x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews IT 5 200x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews IT 6 200x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant PreviewsIssue #2 of The Valiant stepped on the gas, and illustrated the full potential of the writing present from Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt fusing the story with the wonderful art of painter Paolo Rivera. The Immortal Enemy’s appearance last issue was the stuff of nightmare fuel. The vision that Rivera brought to the comic propelled the series to one that demands reader attention.

The Immortal Enemy has all but won and only Bloodshot and The Geomancer are left to stand against his darkness. Are they willing to save humanity if it means losing their own – and each other?

$3.99 US | T+| 32 pages, full color | ON SALE 3/25/15 (FOC – 3/2/15)

TV 1 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 2 204x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 3 195x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 4 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 5 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 6 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant Previews TV 7 198x300 Nice Art: Rivera, Braithwaite, Mann, and more Shine in Valiant PreviewsWill Ninjak’s ongoing make a splash in the direct market? Keep your eyes peeled to the sales charts during February and March, and pick up these comics on store shelves.

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22. Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington

Continuing on my quest to find books for my soon to be nine-year old niece, I read Karen Harrington's Sure Signs of Crazy last week. While I enjoyed the book a lot and recommend it for the over ten crowd, I think I'm going to hold off my girl until she's a wee bit older.

Protagonist Sarah is 12 and new in town. She and her father move around a lot as Sarah's mother was the object of a notorious trial and is now committed to a mental hospital. Her father was also tried but found innocent; he still struggles a decade later to cope and while a loving father, definitely self-medicates with alcohol.

In the course of one summer, Sarah fulfills an English assignment by writing letters to Atticus Finch, crushes on the college boy across the street (we've all been there) and builds up her courage to challenge the family secrets. She's smart and funny and determined which makes for a great protagonist. Most interestingly though, considering her family drama, Sarah is also very easy to identify with and I'm sure many young readers will like her a lot.

For my purposes though, I think the alcohol and the reasons behind her mother's trial, are just too much for my particular nine-year old. At least a year, maybe two and she will be ready. I'll be keeping Sure Signs of Crazy for the future.

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23. 2015 Mock Newbery discussions at Emerson, part 6: The Swap, The Witch's Boy + The Zoo at the Edge of the World

“Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said..."As if something were left between the pages every time you read it." -- Cornelia Funke, Inkspell
When our students look back on our Mock Newbery discussions from this year, they will see parts of themselves in the books they loved and championed. Each book appealed to different readers -- and that's something the Newbery committee wrestles with as well. How do you clearly evaluate the art while acknowledging the personal response? Our discussions just started to dig into this topic, but they helped students listen to each other and consider all that goes into selecting the ultimate award-winning books.
The Swap
by Megan Shull
Katherine Tegan / HarperCollins, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-13
Ellie and Jack might look like they each have everything going for them, but they're each struggling on the inside. When they bump into each other on the first day of school and magically switch bodies, they're forced to see life from a different perspective. While the premise might seem familiar to adults, my students found it compelling and well-written.
"Megan Shull described the setting really well because I felt like I was in the story. I could totally imagine where they would be. Once, when the two characters were switched and the boy was at soccer practice with the girls' team, I could imagine being on the field practicing."
"Oh, and I remember how they were at the swimming pool in the very beginning and Ellie's friend was so mean to her."
Shull creates characters and social situations that my students understood because they were so familiar. From sleepover party dramas to friendship issues, our readers saw elements from their own lives. Emily said,
"The Swap was awesome! The characters were super strong. I could feel that they were actually real people.... The girl was being bullied but when she switches bodies with a boy, he helps her with it."
It was interesting how none of the kids found it difficult to keep track of which character was talking -- they could really feel and understand the nuances in the characterization. I saw the ending as a bit too predictable, but my students focused on the emotional journey and resolution for the two main characters.
The Witch's Boy
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
Students were drawn into Barnhill's the fantasy world in The Witch's Boy by Ned's journey to stop the coming war and make sure that magic is used wisely and justly. As Alessandra said, it has something for all types of readers. Those who want adventure will like the danger and obstacles Ned and Aine face. Readers who want fantasy will like the magic, the talking stones, the moving forest. But, as Alessandra notes,
"The author did a good job making sure there was friendship and some sadness, weaving in different kinds of stories so different kinds of readers would like it."
As I think back on The Witch's Boy, I think that this is certainly a book that would benefit from another rereading. I could tell that students responded to the themes of courage, justice and inner-strength, but we didn't have enough time to really talk fully about these.
The Zoo at the Edge of the World
by Eric Kahn Gale
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2014
Your local library
Amazon
ages 8-12
Our 4th graders were especially excited to recommend The Zoo at the Edge of the World to one another. "If you like animals, you'll love this book," said Claire in her nomination. I was happy to include an action-packed adventure in our selection. However, students did not end up citing it during our final discussions.

Students like the development of Marlin's character, as he discovered his ability to speak directly with the animals even though he stuttered so badly that he couldn't speak to other people. I was concerned by the characterizations of the zoo employees who were native to British Guiana. They were never fully developed, but rather used as a contrast to Marlin and his father. I think students really responded to Gale's exploration of treatment of animals in captivity.

The review copies came from our school library and my personal collection. Review copies were also kindly sent by HarperCollins. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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24. Would You Read It Wednesday #159 - The Trouble With Homework (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Wait til you hear how forethoughtful I'm being!

Seriously.  You are NOT going to believe it.

It's Sunday night.  SUNDAY.  And I am putting the finishing touches on this post which isn't due to go up until Wednesday!

Wednesday is like 2 1/2 entire days from now!

I don't think this has ever happened before in the history of my blog!

Don't worry.

You're in the right place.

I have not been possessed by aliens or anything.  (Of course, I would probably say that if I had been, wouldn't I? Because they'd make me... But I'm pretty sure I haven't!)

It's just that the weatherperson in these parts seems pretty convinced that we're going to be getting heavy snow - at least a foot - maybe 3 - and that means, in all probability, that I will have no internet.  So my usual operating procedure of finishing my Wednesday post 37 seconds before it's due to go up may not pan out well.  And I don't want today's pitcher to miss her day!

PLUS!  We have not one, but TWO Straight From The Editors to share - always educational AND fun - so I wouldn't want you to miss that either.  Or the most important part of the post... Something Chocolate :)

Black Magic Cake

Yummmmm!  Scrumptious!!

I know how you all count the hours until Wednesday for your chocolate treat, so far be it from me to deprive you! :)  I would never want it to be said that I don't take good care of you!

Alrighty!  Now that we're fortified, let's see what the editor has to say!

Straight From The Editor for October:

You will recall Michelle's winning pitch:

Miss Knaffle and her second graders all just want to have fun at school. But when her students take theiridea of fun too far—conducting a farting symphony during reading time, smuggling coffee beans to the class hamster, and using their desks for a bubblegum sculpture contest—Miss Knaffle decides that only a field trip to the zoo will avert classroom disaster. Once there, the canny teacher enlists irritable zoo animals to her cause. When Fátima tangles with a snake and Mario ends up on the wrong side of a baboon, the students quickly come to appreciate the zoo rules—and their teacher—in a whole new way.

Here are editor Erin Molta's comments:

This is so cute! My only suggestion is to be more specific about the zoo incidents like Fatima tangles with a snake because she did what? You are specific about the farting symphony (hilarious!) and the coffee beans to the hamster so we need to see the zoo side, too—at least one. I’d omit the bubblegum sculpture contest to fit in more specific zoo incidents.
Straight From The Editor for November:

Here is Heather's winning pitch:

The harpsichord is dusted, the tea is poured, the vases are arranged on doily laces, and Hubert the pug is settled calmly on the rug. Lottie Dobson is ready for her fancy luncheon party. But when the members of the Grandview Rose Society arrive with even more blooms, poor Hubert's allergies kick in. What happens next is a riot of mishaps that gets him banned from the room. But when a wily rat sneaks in, steals the cheese, and dangles from the chandelier, it sends the proper party guests on a crazy chase--with a sneezing Hubert in the lead. One big sneeze will save the day! Too bad for Hubert, the sneezing doesn't end there. 

And here are Erin's comments:

Cute! The only problem I saw with it was that why wouldn’t Hubert be allergic to the roses that are already there? Would more make that much of a difference? I think Hubert’s allergies should be a new issue—a surprise, so to speak. And then be specific about at least one of the mishaps. Otherwise, it’s very fun and sounds like a delight!
As always, I find Erin's comments insightful and helpful!  I hope they help you in your mission to create the perfect pitch!

Today's pitch comes to us from Maria.  Maria is an educator with the best job in the world – she works as a Fire & Life Safety Educator for a municipal fire department! When she isn’t teaching others how to be safe, she can be found writing under a pecan tree, playing with her dogs and cats, or cruising around town with the top down searching for inspirational ideas or the next big story.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Trouble With Homework
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-9)
The Pitch: What’s a kid to do when he’s waited until the lastminute to do his homework? Sometimes, you just have to improvise!

Join Connor along with his zany classmates as they prepare (some more than others) for their first-ever demonstration speeches.  Follow Connor’s speech outline and you, too, can show others what skills and talents you have.
Disclaimer: No snails or house cats were harmed in the making of this book! 

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Maria improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in June so you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Maria is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting my internet back so I can catch up on everything I've missed!  It should be back this morning, but we shall see... (Of course, I'm just assuming... because it's SUNDAY! so I don't know yet what will happen!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone, and for everyone who lives on the East Coast, I hope you all weathered the storm okay!!!

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25. this week I be mostly using


 A little while back, probably through one of my poorer periods (one of my even more poorer periods), I decided that I would not buy any more pens until I'd used some of the many thousands that I already have. Well, okay, so yes, I have bought more - but just the black, brown and blue fine liners I use a lot of - but for the most part I have kept to that self imposed challenge.
The best thing about it is that it's making me use things I wouldn't normally choose to use. You know, the stuff that isn't the black, brown and blue fine liners. I've used lots more colour felt pens, markers and other stuff I can't think of right now. Things, when  bought, I thought I'd use all the time. They'd push me in new directions, etc. Then they sat in pencil cases and pots and on shelves and I never touched again.
Many moons ago, way before I'd taken up drawing, I got these fountain pens. I went to the Artist & Illustrators fair in London and was talked into spending a huge amount of money on these Pilot Parallel pens and a load of coloured inks. I thought I'd use them for calligraphy. Then I put them in a pencil case and didn't even look at them for a decade.
Now, I've always been a big fountain pen fan. Somewhere in this house I have a box full of old-school fountain pens, inks and nibs. I have always loved playing around with my handwriting and there's nothing better than a fountain pen for that. So rediscovering these modern fountain pens and the variety of lines they make has been a joy.
 And, what's more, it has pushed me. Next time you have a craving for a new pen why not have a dig around in your drawers (!!!) and see what you can find. I really love the results and the marks I've been making with these. Next stop is those scratchy old fountain pens that are lurking around just waiting for me to dig them out.
 So, hands up, who's gone and ordered the Pilot Parallel pen now? That wasn't the point of this post, remember?!
 
And, by the way, these little Toulouse Lautrec inspired drawings are up for sale dirt cheap. Yes, I'm going through one of my even more poorer periods again. get them HERE.


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