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1. Children’s Book Review of "A Father’s Love" & Book Giveaway

    by Sally Matheny

A Father's Love
     It's time for a book review and giveaway! Be sure to read below how to enter for the drawing.

      I’m so glad Zonderkidz is publishing I Can Read! books like A Father’s Love, part of the NIV Adventure Bible series. 

A Father’s Loveis a level 2 book, which means it is a high interest story for developing readers.

     The full-page, colorful illustrations are beautiful. Most of the thirty-two pages contain thirty words or less. Sentences are broken up into about ten words per line. The print is large and easy to read.

     Of course, this is the familiar story Jesus told about a father and his sons. One son leaves his father and squanders his inheritance until he is eating with pigs. He decides to go home and ask for his father’s forgiveness. If you haven’t heard the story, I’ll not tell you the ending, but I will tell you that not everyone is happy to see the prodigal son.

    

     This is a great story to share with youngsters. Most first – third grade students will find the text within their reading range.

     A Father’s Love  will open up discussions on responsibility, forgiveness, jealousy, and acceptance.
     I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book.

     In fact, I plan to give a copy of this book away this week. Everyone who leaves a comment below will have their name placed in a drawing for the book. We’ll announce the winner at 3:00 p.m. (EST)  March 7, 2015.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
            

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2. The Story of Max, My Giant Mal

Giant Malamute


Someone who read my book, Life with Jesse Daniels, emailed me and asked if I put my giant malamute Max in my book under the name "Manny." My book, of course, is pure fiction; but if you've read it, you may be wondering this as well, so I'm going to attempt to explain. The short answer is: No.

But it's complicated.

I wrote Life with Jesse Daniels in 2006, during my last semester in college. My Max is only 3 years old today. When I got him, I was not actively looking for a giant malamute just because I wrote about one in my book. I stumbled across an ad for him. His first owner had a stroke and could no longer handle him due to his large size, and the fact that he was expected to get bigger. My husband always wanted a large dog, and — being taller than your average Great Dane — this one was perfect. So we brought him home.

He was ten months old and had zero training. He was hyper and could not even sit on command. He could not fit in the largest kennel at Petco, so we had to order a jumbo for $200+.

He was taller than our couch.



His original owners kept him outside so he wouldn't destroy their house. They told us he'd terrorized his neighbor's ducks. To us, he had to be an indoor dog.

He could not fit in the tub. The first bath was a disaster because, well, he's stronger than me, and he could barely even fit in the bathroom.

And ever since, he grew taller. He is actually the tallest malamute our vet has ever seen. Even taking him to the vet is a task, because it's nearly impossible to get him in the Jeep. His head comes up past our extra-tall baby gate, making him about 42" tall.

But oddly enough, he acts just like Manny in my book. He is mischievous. He loves his treats. He loves his ball (he's destroyed several). He sticks his nose in everyone's business, and — Max, at least — thinks he's a lapdog.

He also gets excited about, plays with, and chases nothing — every once in a while.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence that I stumbled upon him, but he's just like I imagined him. Well, aside from the obvious coat and color difference. lol (For the record, Max was born all-white; now he's cinnamon and white.)

So now you know — Max and I were just meant to be.


Giant Malamute

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3. REAL TALK: $ix Figure Book Deal$

PS on top: I found some posts by other smart folk like agent Mandy Hubbard and author Jim Chines - if you want to like, double or triple-reinforce the point I'm making. But I'd already started typing by the time I saw those soooo... here you go.

One of the questions I dread most at conferences is, "how much money do books make?" I have a sort of pat answer I usually give, whilst eye-rolling. Something along the lines of "somewhere between $1 and $1,000,000." or "I dunno, how long is a piece of string?"

But let's get real. Many new authors will probably be offered $4-8,000. on a debut picture book text-only to a normal mid-sized traditional publisher. $5-12,000 on a chapter book. $8-20,000 on a middle grade novel. $12-30,000 on a YA.  I'm talking average - yes, some will be higher, some whill be lower.

These numbers will be much lower for small presses (and probably much MUCH lower for digital publishers or startups). The numbers will be higher for extremely commercial books with great crossover potential, or for an author who is well-known, or if there is lots of competition for a title or it is "hot" in some way. (The numbers may also be different depending on what rights you sell.) Still, these would be what I'd consider to be unexceptional starting offers. Nothing to get mad about, just, you know. Normal.

Yet we all know of people who got paid a lot more than that.... so what about THEM? Well, first of all, I'd say they are outliers. Yes, I have certainly had awesome six-figure debut sales. But they consist of maybe -- 10% of deals. Most are Normal. On the high side of what I quoted above, perhaps, when all the negotiating is done, but still, not megabucks.

SHUT UP JENNIFER! SHUT UP! THIS IS DAYDREAM TIME!

 OK fine. Cue the mystical bossa nova music and IMAGINE IF YOU WILL:

You're a new author - maybe you don't even have an agent yet, but you are actively querying, reading all kinds of Publishers Weekly deal announcements, and dreaming of the day your very own manuscript will go on submission and sell, too.

These magic words echo in your daydreams.... six-figure deal. SIX-FIGURE DEAL! With that kind of money, you could quit your day job, pay for your kid's college tuition in cash AND afford to supersize them fries, possibly from the comfort of your Mercedes-Benz. CHA-CHING, AM I RIGHT? Soon you'll be in a beach house, smiling gently whilst typing away on your latest brilliant novel. Everything is clean and inexplicably made of white linen or similar and somebody has brought you a cup of tea and there's a cool ocean breeze that also somehow smells of chocolate chip cookies and all the cares of your old life behind you--

Not so fast, Hoss.  Here comes the dream-shatterer. *music screeches off*

COMMISSION: If you got a six-figure deal, you probably have an agent, too. Your agent will take 15% of your income (possibly 20-25% in the case of foreign income or film deals). This is money worth spending, because without your agent, you would have probably had a lot less dough in the first place, or nothing at all. And your agent is protecting your interests and guiding you in the long-term. OK, fine. But don't forget about --

TAXES:  Even if you have a day-job, when you get paid for writing, you are also self-employed. A freelancer. As a writer, you have to pay both Income Tax AND Self-Employment Tax on everything you make writing. Does that suck? Hell yes it does. Sorry. You can expect to pay about 30% of your writing income in taxes.

Also: I might sound like a broken record on this one, but seriously, if you are going to be a career writer, TREAT YO' SELF to a good accountant who knows a lot about artists and freelancers. They will save you much money and angst in the long run, and, your accountant's fee is tax-deductible.

EXPENSES: As I said, you're self-employed. All the fun stuff like office supplies, a new laptop, travel to some conference or bookstore, HEALTH INSURANCE, etc? Probably coming straight out of your pocket. The good news is, anything related to your writing job, including said office supplies, your office space, travel for research or promo, and other self-promotional stuff, is tax deductible, at least in part, so keep good records. The bad news is, well, you have to pay for it in the first place, "tax deductible" doesn't mean free. (As far as insurance, unless you're lucky enough to have a great day job or a spouse who can provide, well... thanks, Obama. Seriously... thanks, and God bless you, Sir.)

PAYOUTS:  Most book deals in the kids book world are structured so the payments are split into 2 or 3 parts. (Many huge deals and books in the grownup world are divided even more than that!) So you get one part on signing, one part on delivery and acceptance (D+A) of the final manuscript, and sometimes one (often smaller) part on publication.

SO LET'S CRUNCH THE NUMBERS. If you luck out and get a "six figure deal" today, assuming all works according to schedule in a perfect world, and your agent doesn't have to chase down any money for you, and your publisher doesn't go under, and your editor gets notes to you in time, and you have no crises ... your deal might look something like this:

March 2015: Make the deal! Yay!  It's a nice one. 2 books for $100,000 total! Welcome to the six-figure club! :D

April/May 2015: Your agent gets contracts and negotiates!

June 2015: PAYMENT - on-signing, 20k each book, 40k total - minus 15% for agent, and let's be generous and say 25% for taxes because of that great accountant: $24,000 total

November/December 2015: Book 1 Due (for publication Winter 2017)

January 2016: PAYMENT - D+A book 1, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

November/December 2016: Book 2 Due (for publication Winter 2018)

January 2017: PAYMENT -  - D+A book 2, 20k - minus 15% for agent, 25% for taxes: $12,000 total

February 2017: Book 1 Publication

March 2017: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 1, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

February 2018: Book 2 Publication

March 2018: PAYMENT - On-Pub Book 2, 10k - minus 15% and 25%, $6,000 total

So you didn't make 100k, actually, you made 60k (or less), spread out over the course of four years, and probably at least one of those years you get... not much. In this example, $24k in 2015, $12k in 2016, $18k in 2017, $6k in 2018.

I mean, you know, that's not NOTHING, it's a great deal for most kids books... but it's not exactly "bathe in champagne" time. You'd make as much or more working minimum wage at the Gap for four years.

SO, what to do?

The single best thing you can do for your career is KEEP WRITING GREAT BOOKS.  Seriously. Keep writing. Success builds. Books in print, books that continue selling, may make you money for years to come. A nice fat ADVANCE is great, but ideally you'll earn out your advance and collect royalty checks for the rest of your life.

But earning out and seeing more $ probably won't happen until after the book has been released, and sometimes it doesn't happen till LONG after... and can never be counted on to happen at all. So that means that you probably won't see a non-Advance check on these particular books until late 2017 at the very earliest - probably, in reality, not until sometime in 2018. Meantime, you'll be dead of starvation. So yes. Don't quit your dayjob. Or do, and WRITE MORE BOOKS!


I could go on and on but I think that's enough out of me - maybe "how to quit your day job" can be another blog post for another day. What about you, any thoughts on this or further questions?

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4. Week in Review: February 22-28

The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought]
Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library]
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

This week's recommendation(s):

I'd say The Lilies of The Field and The Warden!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Winter Walk

Floating in the river, there are
Chunks and bits of ice,
Lazily meandering,
Their journey imprecise.

The water’s gray, the sky is blue;
A smokestack bellows white.
An early morning winter walk
Such eyeings do invite.

The promenade belongs to me;
Manhattan’s yet to stir.
The neighborhood is mine alone;
The pigeons would concur.

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6. Teaching Children the Importance of Good Deeds: A New Easter Tradition {Carrot Saves Easter Book Review}

Disclosure: We received a free copy of Carrot Saves Easter for our review, but as always my opinions are honest and I'd never promote a book we didn't enjoy!

Since becoming a mother over 5 years ago, it's been important to me to not only teach my children the ABCs and 123s, but also teach them practical skills, values, ethnic and religious heritage, and instill in them a sense of identity and belonging. Through our family's traditions, my children are not only learning all of these things, but are forming lasting memories for years to come.

What are our family traditions? 

Well, each October a "Halloween Ghost" visits us for 31 days and leaves a little treat behind (yes, each day). In November we trace our hands, cut them out, and write one thing we are thankful for on the back, then hang our "leaves" on our "thankfulness tree" built out of branches we find in the yard. In the winter, we donate toys to children in need, and cut down our own tree at the local farm. At Christmastime, our Elf Sparkle brings us a Christmas book to read each day, and leaves a new version of The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve each year.

We have smaller traditions and rituals like having pizza every Friday night, going out for dessert on Thursday evenings, and reading exactly 3 books before bed.

A new tradition
Today I'm sharing a new book, Carrot Saves Easter, that will inspire our newest family tradition.


Created by a local Philadelphia mother of two and speech pathologist, Amanda Macielinski , Carrot Saves Easter teaches children about the importance of doing good deeds. While the book is about Easter, it isn't overtly a religious story. The creator's intent with writing the book is to bring families closer through a new tradition, and hopes that families enjoy reading all of their good deeds together, year after year.

The tale of a bunny helper
The story of Carrot Saves Easter takes place on Easter Island where a magical factory relies on kindness to help make sweet treats for little boys and girls to eat on Easter. But a problem arises when the Easter Bunny realizes the supply of good deeds is running low! A bunny helper named Carrot comes to Easter's rescue by traveling far and wide to bring stories of good deeds back to Easter Island.  

Each copy of the book comes with its own bunny helper like Carrot, who reports back to the Easter Bunny all the good deeds that your child does during the Easter season. Children are encouraged to "Each night before Easter tell your bunny helper the good deeds you have done" so that Easter can be saved year after year. There is a journal in the back of the book to record all of your child's acts of kindness.

What do I love about this book?

  • It provides great talking points for parents and children to discuss what it means to be a kind person, perform selfless acts, and why these things are important. Discussions like these are important for receptive and expressive language development.
  • It's a book that truly encourages parent and child bonding time in an age of technology 
  • It gives specific examples of children doing good deeds.
  • It provides the opportunity for children to practice writing skills with the inclusion of the journal.
  • It makes a wonderful family keepsake to look back on each year.
  • It's a sturdy and well-made product! The book will withstand being a favorite and the bunny helper is high quality to withstand cuddles from any child for many years. 


In addition to my being a fan of the book, my children really enjoyed reading it too. The illustrations are full of vibrant colors, and include one hidden egg on each page (which my children thoroughly enjoyed finding). This book inspired my daughter to make me breakfast in bed one morning (it was not yummy at all, but so cute), and I'm very impressed at my daughter's desire to do good deeds. My son is younger and only beginning to understand what it means to be a "good" person, but I know this book will him this year and in the future!

If you'd like to adopt your very own bunny helper and make this new Easter tradition a part of your family, books can be purchased online at www.carrotsaveseaster.com


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7. Dream Agents

Don't get your heart set on a single "dream" agent.

http://scribblebabble.blogspot.com/2014/12/writing-wednesdays-on-dream-agents.html

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8. The Weekend Writer: More On Dialogue And Tagging

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about dialogue tags, the little bits in a piece of writing that indicate someone has spoken. Author Martyn V. Halm discusses some additional ways to deal with said and tagging in WRITING: Dialogue and the 'Said' Rule.

Also, in The Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue, pay particular attention to Item 2, Impossible Verbing.

I caught both these articles at a Writer Unboxed Facebook discussion, by the way.

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9. Got A Nice Feature In Illustrator's Magazine!

I got a very nice feature/write up in "Illustrators" magazine in issue #9! Thank you Peter Richardson - this is a must have magazine for illustrators - you can pick up a copy here http://www.illustratorsquarterly.com/



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10. "At some well-chosen moment Melville took out the book whose publication they had both been awaiting..."

“At some well-chosen moment Melville took out the book whose publication they had both been awaiting and handed his friend an inscribed copy of Moby-Dick, the first presentation copy. In no other way could Hawthorne have had a copy so soon, one that he had read by the fifteenth or sixteenth, in time to have written a letter Melville received on the sixteenth. Here, in the dining room, Hawthorne for the first time saw the extraordinary dedication and tribute to his genius – the first book anyone had dedicated to him. Never demonstrative, he was profoundly moved… .”

- from Hershel Parker’s biography of Herman Melville, more on the story of Melville dedicating Moby Dick to Nathaniel Hawthorne. They met at a hotel to have dinner—and as it was so unusual for two men to meet at a hotel, they were the subject of intense gossip in the town. This is via Rich Kelley at the Library of America blog. (via alexanderchee)

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11. A test loafer for @dirk_lav The final #Meccariello #Aurum will be the Valerius loafer

A test loafer for @dirk_lav The final #Meccariello #Aurum will be the Valerius loafer by a.meccariello
10986019_655142217942218_266511351_n.jpg

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12. Big Apple Con Only One Week Away March 7, Kids' Admission 2-for-1 After 2PM‏

Hey -I don't even get a freebie out of this but I'm feeling generous!


Only One Week Away Until
MIKE CARBO'S BIG APPLE CON
Kids’ Admission 2 for 1 Starting 2 PM!
Saturday, March 7th 10am~6pm Penn Plaza Pavilion, NYC


 In celebration of its 20th ANNIVERSARY, MIKE CARBONARO’s BIG APPLE CON, New York City's longest-running comic book/sci-fi/fantasy/horror/Cosplay convention, returns to PENN PLAZA PAVILION (401 7th Ave @ 33rd Street -opposite Madison Square Garden) on SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2015 from 10am to 6pm. This amazing explosion of pop-culture will present hundreds of tables of vendors, top comics creators & celebrities, with panel discussions, a costume contest & more in one incredible day!

BIG APPLE CON proudly hosts a full “Artists Alley” of comic book, animation, & trading card creators, including: Rich Buckler (Deathlok, Fantastic Four), James O'Barr (The Crow), Mark Bode (Cobalt 60, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Mark Texeira (Ghost Rider, Black Panther), Joe Sinnott (Fantastic Four, Thor), Herb Trimpe (Incredible Hulk, Wolverine), Ramona Fradon (Super Friends, Aquaman), Larry Hama (G.I. Joe, Bucky O’Hare), Basil Gogos (Famous Monsters of Filmland), Billy Tucci (Shi, Sgt. Rock), Bob Rozakis (‘Mazing Man, Joker’s Daughter), Bill Plympton (the “King of Indie Animation”), Bob Camp (Ren & Stimpy, ThunderCats), Tom DeFalco (Thor, Spider-Girl),  Danny Fingeroth (Spider-Man, Daredevil),  Jim Salicrup (Avengers, Papercutz), Sean Chen (Iron Man, Valiant Comics), Jamal Igle (Molly Danger, Green Lantern), Rodney Ramos (Punisher War Journal, Transmetropolitan), Bob Wiacek (X-Men, Avengers), and Brian Kong (Upper Deck, MLB, NBA, NFL).


 The headlining media celebrity guests include: Pro Wrestlers “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, andBrimstone, Power Rangers Jason David Frank and Steve Cardenas, The Walking Dead’s Chris Harrelson, Moses Moseley and Theshay West, Paris Themmen (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Star Trek: Voyager), Playboy Playmate Cathy St. George, GinaMarie Zimmerman (Big Brother), Johnny Brennan (Jerky Boys, Family Guy), John Altamura (Toxic Avenger 2 & 3), Taimak (The Last Dragon), and Mike Zapic, Ming Chen & Robert Bruce from AMC’s Comic Book Men.


Captain Zorikh's Costume Contest will once again bring the most amazing costumers and Cosplayers together! And at 7pm, the Captain will be hosting the NY SciFi & Fantasy Fire & Ice Official After-Party at Quinn's NYC, 356 West 44th St!


DATE: Saturday, March 7th ~ 10am -6pm PLACE: Penn Plaza Pavilion ~ 401 7th Ave. @ 33rd St.
TICKETS: Advance $20 (adult), $10 (child 5-12, 2-for-1 after 2pm, 4 & under free!), More at the Door
TICKET PURCHASE & INFORMATION: www.nycbm.com

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13. Greeting Card Samples

These arrived today. A group of cards that Legacy picked up. They will be in stores in spring. It's always nice to have samples arrive in the mail.

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14. Seuss on Saturday #9

Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I don't like to brag and I don't like to boast,
Said Peter T. Hooper, but speaking of toast
And speaking of kitchens and ketchup and cake
And kettles and stoves and the stuff people bake...
Well, I don't like to brag, but I'm telling you, Liz,
That speaking of cooks, I'm the best that there is!
Why, only last Tuesday, when mother was out
I really cooked something worth talking about!
Premise/Plot: Peter T. Hooper is bragging to a girl, presumably his sister? presumably named Liz? that he is the best cook ever, and that he recently made the best scrambled eggs ever. Of course, his scrambled eggs weren't ordinary. His eggs didn't come from ordinary hens. His eggs didn't come from a store. He sought out extraordinary birds--both big and small--and spared no expense or effort. He even recruited helpers to help him collect the most exotic bird eggs. 

My thoughts: Like If I Ran the Zoo, this is all about the rhyme. This is classic Seuss coming up with silly, bizarre yet oh-so-fun words to say.
Then I went for some Ziffs. They're exactly like Zuffs,
But the Ziffs live on cliffs and the Zuffs live on bluffs.
And, seeing how bluffs are exactly like cliffs,
It's mighty hard telling the Zuffs from the Ziffs.
But I know that the egg that I got from the bluffs,
if it wasn't a Ziff's from the cliffs, was a Zuff's.
The book is definitely silly and over-the-top. And Seuss is definitely beginning to develop his style.  Is it my favorite? Far from it.

Have you read Scrambled Eggs Super? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you think of it!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Horton Hears A Who!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Vermeer-related lecture

steadman

LUNCH HOUR LECTURE: VERMEER’S CAMERA AND TIM’S VERMEER
Philip Steadman
Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, London
March 5, 2015, 13:15-13:55
price: free
contact: +44 (0)20 3108 3841 | events@ucl.ac.uk
event page

In 2001 Philip Steadman published Vermeer’s Camera, a book that offered new evidence that the great Dutch painter relied on optical methods. An American video engineer Tim Jenison read the book and, believing he could take the argument further, proposed a simple arrangement of lens and mirrors that Vermeer might have employed. Jenison used this setup to paint a version of Vermeer’s Music Lesson in the Queen’s collection. The process was filmed for the Oscar-shortlisted documentary Tim’s Vermeer, released in 2014. Jenison’s method throws more light, literally, on how Vermeer could have achieved his distinctively “photographic” tonal effects.

The lecture will be streamed live online and recorded for YouTube or downloaded.

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16. February Reflections

In February I reviewed 56 books.

Board books: 0

Picture books:

  1. Vegetables in Underwear. Jared Chapman. 2015. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Scrambled Eggs Super! Dr. Seuss. 1953. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. What If...? Anthony Browne. 2014. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Such A Little Mouse. Alice Schertle. Illustrated by Stephanie Yue. 2015. [March 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe? Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Monkey and Duck Quack Up! Jennifer Hamburg. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. 2015. [February 2015] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  7. If I Ran the Zoo. Dr. Seuss. 1950. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Dr. Seuss. 1949. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Thidwick The Big-Hearted Moose. Dr. Seuss. 1948. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  10. ABC Bunny. Wanda Gag. 1933/2004. University of Minnesota Press. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
Early readers/Early Chapter books:
  1. The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! Heather Alexander. Illustrated by Diane Le Feyer. 2015. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. All Hail the Queen (Anna & Elsa #1) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Memory and Magic (Anna & Elsa #2) Erica David. Illustrated by Bill Robinson. 2015. Random House. 128 pages. [Source: Library] 
Middle Grade:
  1. The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands. Louise Borden. 2004. Illustrated by Niki Daly. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Cats in Krasinski Square. Karen Hesse. Illustrated by Wendy Watson. 2004. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Wanderville.  Wendy McClure. 2014. Penguin. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Little Author in the Big Woods. Yona Zeldis McDonough. 2014. Henry Holt. 176 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. On the Banks of Plum Creek. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1937. 340 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6.  Rain Reign. Ann M. Martin. 2014. Feiwel & Friends. 240 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. Winterbound. Margery Williams Bianco. 1936/2014. Dover. 234 pages. [Source: Bought]
  8. All the Answers. Kate Messner. 2015. Bloomsbury USA. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women. Cornelia Meigs. 1933/1995. Little, Brown. 256 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Thimble Summer. Elizabeth Enright. 1938/2008. SquareFish. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  11. Debby. Siddie Joe Johnson. Illustrated by Ninon MacKnight. 1940.  Longmans, Green and Co. 214 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Elizabeth Foreman Lewis. illustrated by William Low. 1932/2008. Square Fish. 302 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. The Graham Cracker Plot. Shelley Tougas. 2015. Roaring Brook Press. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
  14. Boundless. Kenneth Oppel. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 320 pages. [Source: Library] 
  15. Best Kept Secret. (Family Tree #3) Ann M. Martin. 2014. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Young Adult:
  1. Tesla's Attic.  (Accelerati #1). Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman. 2014. Disney-Hyperion. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Entangled. Amy Rose Capetta. 2013. HMH. 336 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. Beyond the Parallel. Robin Brande. 2015. Ryer Publishing. 348 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Adult Fiction:
  1. The Lilies of the Field. William Edmund Barrett. 1962/1988. Grand Central Publishing. 128 pages. [Source: Gift]
  2. The Warden. Anthony Trollope. 1855. Oxford World's Classics. 294 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. (Perry Mason #9) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1936. 189 pages. [Source: Bought]
  4. Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1) Rhys Bowen. 2007. Berkley. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Hard Times. Charles Dickens. 1854/1992. Everyman's Library. 336 pages.  [Source: Library]
  6. Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope. 1863. 403 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. Sleep in Peace Tonight. James MacManus. 2014. Thomas Dunne Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust. Flavia de Luce #7. Alan Bradley. Random House. 392 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Dying in the Wool. (Kate Shackleton #1) Frances Brody. 2009/2012. Minotaur Books. 368 pages. [Source: Library]  
  10. Medal for Murder. (Kate Shackleton #2) Frances Brody. 2010/2013. Minotaur Books. 432 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. Murder in the Afternoon. (Kate Shackleton #3) Frances Brody. 2011/2014. Minotaur Books. 400 pages.  [Source: Library]
Adult Nonfiction:
  1. Shadows of the Workhouse (Call the Midwife #2) Jennifer Worth. 2005/2008/2013. HarperCollins. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Jane Austen Cover to Cover: 200 Years of Classic Book Covers. Margaret C. Sullivan. Quirk Publishing. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
Christian Fiction:
  1. The Trouble with Patience. (Virtues and Vices of the Old West #1) Maggie Brendan. 2015. Revell. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. The Crimson Cord: Rahab's Story (Daughters of the Promised Land #1) Jill Eileen Smith. 2015. Revell. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Where Trust Lies. Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan. 2015. Bethany House. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
Christian Nonfiction:
  1. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
  2. First Love: The Joy and Simplicity of Life in Christ. John MacArthur. 1994. Victor Books. 191 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. Tyndale's New Testament. Translated by William Tyndale. A Modern Spelling Edition of the 1534 Translation with an introduction by David Daniell. 1996. Yale University Press. 466 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It's Not Safe To Believe. Tom Doyle. 2015. [March 2015] Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts. Joe Rigney. Foreword by John Piper. 2015. Crossway. 272 pages.
  6. What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover: What It Means and Why It Matters. Rabbi Evan Moffic. 2015. Abingdon Press. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Wycliffe New Testament 1388: An edition in modern spelling, with an introduction, the original prologues, and the Epistle to the Laodicieans. William R. Cooper, ed. 2002. British Library. 528 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  8. Chiseled by the Master's Hand. Erwin Lutzer. 1993. Victor Publishing. 153 pages. [Source: Bought]
  9. The Unexpected Jesus. R.C. Sproul. 2005. (AKA Mighty Christ in 1995). Christian Focus. 142 pages. [Source: Bought] 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Looking into the Future

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18. This week in the Internet

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19. Golden Advice: Musings on Aldous Huxley's Essay "Sermons in Cats"

Hi folks, this is my February series on Golden Advice. I like to spend the month of February digging into the wisdom that has come my way, and that guides my art, my craft and my life. I find having some wise stuff in the soul helps me write stories with purpose. This week's thoughts are my musings on Aldous Huxley's essay: "Sermons in Cats."

I've had author crush on Aldous Huxley since my teens. He wrote books like Brave New World. I read it, and we became best friends. He wrote screenplays: Pride and Prejudice (1940)and Jane Eyre (1944). He wrote essays, poems, travel journals, and even (gasp) a children's book. (You are making me look lame, bestie.)

This week I'm musing about his essay "Sermons in Cats." A young author once asked Huxley how to become a novelist. Huxley encouraged the young author to buy lots of paper, a pen, ink, and write. The young author was not satisfied with this answer and begged Huxley for his writing formula. Huxley then urged the young writer to go to a fancy university and study writing. The young author was still unsatisfied and asked Huxley "did he keep a notebook or a journal," did he jot things on napkins or did use cross indexed cards, did he read novels exclusively or be well read across all subjects, and more questions.

Finally Huxley had enough and he offered this: "My young friend," I said, "if you want to be a psychological novelist and write about human beings, the best thing you can do is to keep a pair of cats."

The young writer left disconsolate. He wanted some magic formula, but Huxley put some heavy truth on the table instead. What makes stories interesting is when we look under the veneer of "manners, conventions, traditions of thought and feeling." Cats are malcontents. Imagine the marriage of two Siamese cats. They are at each other throats and fur flies. It's no fairy tale. Watching the behavior of cats will keep you from banality and untruths that parade as true relationships.

I have two cats and they are true characters. They are friends one minute and sinking in fangs in the next. Those twitching tails indicate perverse plans in the future. They are also affectionate, nuzzling and rubbing, and then out of nowhere, biting. My cats will moan like the world is coming to an end at night outside my door, and then purr like motorboats when I let them in, and then scratch me a few seconds later. Yes, Huxley has something here. Some big sermons for writers are hidden in the lives of cats.
I hope that this series helps you no your journey. I will be back next week with my Lucky March series.

Here is a doodle for you:






A quote for your pocket: 

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm. Aldous Huxley

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20. Best Books of February 2015

February 2015: 42 books and scripts read

Picks of the Month
Beyond the Parallel (Parallelogram #4) by Robin Brande
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman
The Apartment screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

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21. Still Building!

We librarians are still building our Everyday Advocacy muscles, but we need to add one other thing to the mix, diversity. How can we as librarians connect advocacy and diversity? The talk of the day, the happening of our time, the attention grabber of our consciousness is the conversation taking place currently about diversity. The events in Ferguson, Missouri and similar events in other locations, the insensitive remarks spoken at a National Book Award event honoring Jacqueline Woodson and the on-going We Need Diverse Books campaign are stories which have captured our attention.

At breakout sessions during an ALA Midwinter meeting on diversity sponsored by the Children’s Book Council and ALSC, some takeaway ideas included the following:

  • Use parents and caregivers as resources.
  • Create virtual programs to reach untapped communities.
  • Develop partnerships which are crucial.
  • Create more diverse books.
  • Contact Barnes and Nobles to suggest a list of books that are not on its shelves, and then ask why.
  • Go to patrons wherever they are.
  • Be a change and a leader in your community

Issues raised during the meeting included: There should be more diverse staffing at publishing companies, there should be more characters with disabilities in literature for children. Jason Low of Lee and Low Publishing, suggested that a diversity problem is a cultural problem. Librarians asked these questions: How do you create a more diverse library? How do you reach out to diverse communities? ALSC and the CBC asked librarians in attendance,   what are some gaps you think we can fill? There were even more questions. One of the speakers asked the audience, what changes are you willing to make as librarians? When will you make a change, in one week, one month, one year?

There are many unanswered questions. There are even some final questions to ask ourselves: What are some of the challenges that your library is facing concerning diversity? What are the gifts you bring to the conversation? Gifts is a key word here.

We librarians bring our gifts every day to the jobs we do as librarians. It is part of the everyday advocacy that empowers us. Conversation is the thing that is being added to the mix, and the thing that will ultimately bring closure to the unanswered questions.

*************************************************************

Today’s blog post was written by Barbara Spears, a member of the ALSC  Advocacy and Legislation Committee.

The post Still Building! appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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22. We bite stupid people

That was the sign tacked onto the rail at Oceanside Pier, right next to this fellow. I was within arm’s reach before I noticed him.

pelican

Rose wants to know if she can hang the same sign on her bedroom door.

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23. Baby book - Baby Time Rhymes Coming Soon!


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24. Red Butterfly

There are some stories that are SO tender that you finish them and want to pick it up and start over.  That is what A. L. Sonnichensen's Red Butterfly was to me.  It is a very touching story of Kara - a baby abandoned at birth and taken in by an american woman living in China.  What we find out a ways into the story is that Kara's "mama" is not legally in China and Kara has never been officially adopted.  Kara is immediately taken away, at age 11, and sent to an orphanage to start over with her life.  Her emotions are tender and raw and her anger and hurt is real.  When another family, from Florida, is chosen to be her new family, Kara doesn't desire to be a part of their family and her confusion and frustration are so real that I ached right along with her.  The novel is told in prose and I loved literally EVERYTHING about it - tender, touching and oh so wonderful!

 

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25. Books A Million Selling Variants Online and Getting DC from Diamond

Princess-LeiaThis may well spoil things for people trying to flip variants on eBay, but it looks like Books A Million will let you order (and pre-order) variant covers off their website.  And it looks like they’re expanding how many different publishers they’re getting variants from:

And that Princess Leia link is for the sketch variant.  Yes, BAM now has variants and sketch variants for some of the Star Wars titles.  A Marvel variant will set you back $7.99, but a sketch variant is $9.99  Start saving your pennies, kids.

There are a lot more variants available than just those, with Marvel leading the way in terms of volume.  On the BAM site, the publisher of the comics is always listed as “Diamond Comic” or “Diamond Comic Magazine,” amusingly reminding use where these are coming from.  I’d take as a good sign for how BAM’s doing with non-returnable fare that they’re adding all these variants and from all sorts of publishers.

And then there’s DC.  BAM lists a few DC titles online.  Here’s Convergence #1.  It’s not listed as being an exclusive cover, but it’s got “Diamond Comic Magazine” as the publisher and an ISBN number:

  • ISBN-13: 9781492472070
  • ISBN-10: 1492472077

Here’s the link for Convergence: Suicide Squad #1, which BAM has listed as a hardcover (almost certainly an error).

DC did not get back to me about why some of their titles are showing up on BAM’s site as Diamond titles, but since they’re not listed as variants, it’s entirely possible they weren’t aware those listings existed.

In the meantime, if variants are your thing, you don’t have to pay a jacked up price for the BAM variants on eBay if the title in question is still available on their website.


Have you read Todd’s book Economics of Digital Comics?  You can also ignore him on Twitter at@Real_Todd_Allen

 

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