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1. Seuss on Saturday #21

Sleep Book. Dr. Seuss. 1962. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence:
The news 
Just came in
From the County of Keck
That a very small bug
By the name of Van Vleck
Is yawning so wide
You can look down his neck.
This may not seem 
Very important, I know.
But it is. So I'm bothering 
Telling you so.

Premise/plot: A book to read at bedtime. It's addressed directly to readers, to you. Readers meet plenty of Seuss creations that are either already asleep or nearly so.

My thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book. I can't read it--even silently--without yawning. I love so many things about it including...
  • the time for night-brushing of teeth is at hand.
  • the number of sleepers is steadily growing. Bed is where more and more people are going.
  • the Audio-Telly-o-Tally-o Count, a machine that lets us know who is down and who's up
  • They're even asleep in the Zwieback Motel! And people don't usually sleep there too well.
  • moose dreaming of moose juice, goose dreaming of goose juice...
  • Ziffer-Zoof seeds, which nobody wants because nobody needs.
The Sleep Book is one of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss. I love the story, the rhythm and rhyme, the silliness.

Have you read The Sleep Book? 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 (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Dr. Seuss' ABC.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. Noelle Stevenson, Tom Brokaw, & Dr. Seuss Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

Nimona Cover (GalleyCat)We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending May 17, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #8 in Young Adult) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: “Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.” (May 2015)

(Debuted at #12 in Hardcover Nonfiction) A Lucky Life Interrupted by Tom Brokaw: “Tom Brokaw has led a fortunate life, with a strong marriage and family, many friends, and a brilliant journalism career culminating in his twenty-two years as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and as bestselling author. But in the summer of 2013, when back pain led him to the doctors at the Mayo Clinic, his run of good luck was interrupted. He received shocking news: He had multiple myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood cancer.” (May 2015)

(Debuted at #14 in Children’s Illustrated) Seuss-Isms! by Dr. Seuss: “The one and only Dr. Seuss dispenses invaluable advice about life in this collection of his most memorable quotes. Featuring over sixty pages of cherished Seuss art and quotes from such classics as The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hatches the Egg, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and many more, this humorous and inspiring collection is, indeed, a perfect gift for those just starting out…or those who are already on their way!” (January 2015)

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3. Fusenews: “Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg to win a peg-leg pig”

  • When two people sent me this link I assumed that everyone must have already seen it. But when it didn’t show up on PW Children’s Bookshelf I decided that perhaps I might have a scoop. At the very least, it appears that when people think Nick Cave meets Dr. Seuss, I’m the logical person to send that link to. And they’re right. I’ve been hoping for years that some karaoke bar I wander into might have “Red Right Hand” on the roster. So far it hasn’t worked out but I live in hope. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan and Marci for the link.
  • There was a nice obituary in SLJ about Marcia Brown, the woman who currently holds the title of Most Caldecotts Ever Won By a Single Person (though David Wiesner looks to be catching up). She’s a former co-worker of mine, if by “co-worker” you give or take 50 years (we both worked in the Central Children’s Room, now called The Children’s Center at 42nd Street). Jeanne Lamb of NYPL gave some great background in this piece. I did speak to someone recently who was surprised that the Shadow controversy hasn’t come up in any obituaries discussing Ms. Brown’s life. I suspect that has more to do with our shortened memories than anything else, but it may be an indication of folks wishing to remember her in the best light.
  • You know, just when you think Travis Jonker has come up with all the brilliant posts he’s going to, something like this comes along and blows it all out of the water. You, sir, are a certified genius. You, and your little Aaron Zenz too.
  • Work on Funny Girl, my anthology, continues unabated. In that light, Shannon Hale’s magnificent post Stop Shushing the Funny Girls is particularly pertinent. Consider it your required reading of the day.
  • “Social fluency will be the new currency of success.” The Shelftalker blog said that Jewell Parker Rhodes’s closing keynote, “Diversity and Character-Driven Stories,” at this year’s ABC Children’s Institute was worth reading and seems they’re absolutely right. Downright inspiring too.  Maybe this should be your required reading.
  • Nope. I was wrong.  Those two posts are your required reading, on top of this one from Art Director Chad Beckerman.  His Evolution of a Cover post on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl makes you wish he wrote such things daily.  It also clarifies for many of us the sheer amount of work a single book jacket takes.
  • This is coming to America next year. As such, I must respectfully ask the universe to please make next year come tomorrow. I am willing to wait 24 hours. See how patient I am?  I think I deserve a treat.
  • Let’s say you work in a library system where, for whatever reason, you need to justify a massive summer reading program. And let us say that what you need, what you really and truly want, are some cold, hard facts to back up the claim that there is such a thing as a “summer slide” (summer slide = the phenomenon of children sliding back a grade or two over the summer if they don’t read during that time) and that summer reading prevents it. Well, thanks to the efforts of RIF, we now have research to back us up. So for those of you fond of cold, hard facts, tip your hat to RIF.

There’s just something about that Alligator Pie. When twenty-five graphic novelists were asked to name their favorite children’s books, not one but TWO of them mentioned Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee, illustrated by Frank Newfeld. Canadian to its core, it’s one of those classics that most Americans, heck most U.S. children’s librarians, just don’t know. Next time I’m in Stratford, Ontario I’m picking up a copy. After all, any book that influenced both Mariko Tamaki and John Martz has got to be doing something right.

Did you hear about the diversity survey Lee & Low has spearheaded? Did you read the comments on the article? And do you know whether or not any of the big five have agreed to participate yet? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Sure, this news already ran in PW Children’s Bookshelf, but hearing it more than once never hurt anybody. We all have our pet favorites. Mine just happen to be German sometimes:
NorthSouth Books’ Associate Publisher, Andrew Rushton, has acquired a second book by German author/illustrator Sebastian Meschenmoser. Gordon & Tapir, which tells the comical story of odd-couple housemates (a particular penguin and an untidy tapir), received a Special Mention at the Bologna Ragazzi awards (category Fiction) and is short-listed for the German Children’s Book of the Year Award. The author will be on tour in the US this June ending at ALA in San Francisco.
  • I miss Peter Sieruta. I miss him a lot. Nobody else had his wit and timing and sheer, crazy historical knowledge in strange obscure areas. So it was with great interest that I recently discovered Second Look Books. Librarian Carol Matic highlights older gems each week, giving a bit of context and history along the way. Good for those still going through Collecting Children’s Books withdrawal.
  • Daily Image:

Need I say more?

Jules, I thought of you. Thanks to Stephanie Whelan for the image.

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4. Seuss on Saturday #20

Ten Apples Up On Top! Dr. Seuss (Theo LeSeig). Illustrated by Roy McKie. 1961. Random House. 72 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: One apple up on top! Two apples up on top! Look, you. I can do it, too. Look! See! I can do three! 

Premise/plot: A lion, a dog, and a tiger take turns boasting about how many apples they can balance on top of their heads. It's not enough to have a lot of apples, you also have to do wild and crazy things while balancing a lot of apples up on top. By the end, everyone has had quite an adventure. How many animals will end up with apples up on top?

My thoughts: Last week, I reviewed The Sneetches and Other Stories. And the week before that I reviewed Green Eggs and Ham. Ten Apples Up on Top is a bit disappointing when compared to some of his other books. Though I should mention that it was published under the name Theo LeSieg and not Dr. Seuss. It is not illustrated by Dr. Seuss.   

Have you read Ten Apples Up On Top? 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 (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Dr. Seuss' Sleep Book.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Seuss on Saturday #19

The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence of The Sneetches:
Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches
Had Bellies with stars.
The Plain-belly Sneetches
Had none upon thars.
First sentence of The Zax
One day, making tracks
In the prairie of Prax,
Came a North-Going Zax
And a South-Going Zax.
First sentence of Too Many Daves
Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?
First sentence of What Was I Scared Of?
Well...
I was walking in the night
And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid
Of anything. Not very.
Plot/Premise of The Sneetches: Star-Belly Sneetches and Plain-Belly Sneetches have trouble playing and working together. The Plain-Belly Sneetches are envious of the Stars on the Star-Belly Sneetches. And the Star-Belly Sneetches look down on the Plain Belly sort. Sylvester McMonkey McBean takes advantage of the whole situation with his "Star On" and "Star Off" machine. He makes a LOT of money in the process. Will the Sneeches ever learn?

Plot/Premise of The Zax: A North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax meet. Neither Zax will budge because, of course, the North-Going Zax will only go North, and the South-Going Zax will only go South. Take a step in the wrong direction?! Never! How long will these two be stubborn?

Plot/Premise of Too Many Daves: The premise of this one is simple and clearly stated in the first sentence: The McCave family has too many sons named Dave. The joy in this one comes from reading it aloud. All the names she wished she'd chosen. Names like "Hoos-Foos" "Putt-Putt" and "Oliver Boliver Butt." 

Plot/Premise of What Was I Scared Of? The narrator of this one claims he's not scared of anything. But one night when he sees a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them...he becomes very frightened indeed. Will he ever overcome his fear? Should he overcome his fear?

My thoughts on The Sneeches: This is a fun story. And it's so very quotable! This is a great start to a great story collection.

My thoughts on The Zax: Another fun story, and very true to life. Sometimes people are really that stubborn.

My thoughts on Too Many Daves: This one is shorter than the others perhaps, but, it's quite enjoyable! Some of the names are quite memorable too.

My thoughts on What Was I Scared Of? This one is probably my most favorite of all. I love, love, love this one. I had the record of this book, but, it is the audio narration of this one that has stayed with me the most. It is just a wonderful little story. And so quotable!!!
After that, a week went by.
Then one dark night in Grin-itch
(I had to do an errand there
And fetch some Grin-itch spinach)...
Well, I had fetched the spinach.
I was starting back through town
When those pants raced round a corner
And they almost knocked me down!
and
I ran and found a Brickel bush.
I hid myself away.
I got brickels in my britches
But I stayed there anyway. 
and
I said, "I do not fear those pants
With nobody inside them."
I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them. But I lied them. 
Have you read The Sneetches and Other Stories? What did you think of it? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Is it one you grew up reading?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is 10 Apples Up on Top.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. Seuss on Saturday #18

Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 62 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
I am Sam
Sam I am
That Sam-I-am!
That Sam-I-am!
I do not like that Sam-I-am!
Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them,
Sam-I-am.
I do not like
green eggs and ham.
Plot/Premise: Sam-I-am tries to convince the narrator to try something new: green eggs and ham. Sam I am is definitely persistent! He stays calm while the narrator doesn't! Who will prove more stubborn?!

My thoughts: Green Eggs and Ham is one I've read dozens of times. It's fun and playful. It's repetitive. What's not to love?!

Have you read Green Eggs and Ham? What did you think of it? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Is it one you grew up reading?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is The Sneetches and Other Stories. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. Netflix and Warners Will Serve Up ‘Green Eggs and Ham’

The next Dr. Seuss screen adaptation may be the most expensive animated television program ever.

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8. The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist, by Margarita Engle | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Sky Painter, by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. Giveaway begins April 28, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 27, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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9. Five Family Favorites with Margarita Engle, Author of The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist

Margarita Engle, author of The Sky Painter, selected these five family favorite children's books.

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10. Seuss on Saturday #17

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Dr. Seuss. 1960. Random House. 60 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
One fish
two fish
red fish
blue fish.
Black fish
blue fish
old fish
new fish.
This one has a little star.
This one has a little car.
Say! What a lot of fish there are.

Premise/Plot: Does this book have a plot? I'm not sure it does! It does have a premise however. "From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere" (9). "From near to far from here to there, funny things are everywhere" (55). " Readers find plenty of funny things within the pages of the book. Classical Seuss rhymes make this one lovely.

My thoughts: I like this one very much. Some pages are more memorable to me than others perhaps. For example,
Who am I?
My name is Ned.
I do not like
my little bed.
and
My hat is old.
My teeth are gold.
I have a bird
I like to hold.
Have you read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish? Did you like it? Did you love it? I'd love to hear what you thought of it! Both what you liked, and what you didn't like.

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Green Eggs and Ham.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Random House Doubles New Dr. Seuss Print Run

516cV6HTvWLRandom House Children’s Books has big plans for the previously unpublished Dr. Seuss book, “What Pet Should I Get?”

The publisher is banking on a hit and has increased its original print run from 500,000 copies to 1 million. The title is currently available for presale and is already No. 1 in Children’s Books on Amazon and No. 19 in all Books. It ships in July.

The book tells the story of a brother and sister’s visit to a pet store to pick a pet and adventures ensue.

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12. Seuss on Saturday #16

Happy Birthday to You! Dr. Seuss. 1959. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I wish we could do what they do in Katroo. They sure know how to say "Happy Birthday to You!"

Premise/Plot: The narrator shares how birthdays are celebrated in Katroo. Every single moment of the day is packed with special fun just for you to celebrate how wonderful and unique you are. It begins with The Great Birthday Bird from the Katroo Happy Birthday Asso-see-eye-ation coming to your house. But his special birthday greeting is just the start.

My thoughts: Happy Birthday to You is not a book I really enjoyed. Oh, I love Dr. Seuss's silly rhymes in general. But I didn't find this one particularly wonderful. I hope other readers appreciate it more than I did.

Have you read Happy Birthday to You! What did you think of it? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Is it one you grew up reading?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. Seuss on Saturday #15

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1958/2008. Random House. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence of Yertle the Turtle:
 On the far-away island of Sala-ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond. A nice little pond. It was clean. It was neat. The water was warm. There was plenty to eat. The turtles had everything turtles might need. And they were all happy. Quite happy indeed.
First sentence of Gertrude McFuzz:
There once was a girl-bird named Gertrude McFuzz and she had the smallest plain tail ever was. One droopy-droop feather. That's all she had. And, oh! That one feather made Gertrude so sad. 
First sentence of The Big Brag:
The rabbit felt mighty important that day on top of the hill in the sun where he lay. He felt SO important up there on that hill that he started in bragging, as animals will and he boasted out loud, as he threw out his chest, 'Of all the beasts in the world, I'm the best! On land, and on sea...even up in the sky no animal lives who is better than I!'
Premise/plot of Yertle the Turtle: Yertle the Turtle is king, but, he doesn't want to rule supreme over a small pond, so, he starts turtle-stacking to expand his kingdom. After all he "rules" over everything he can see, so the higher the better, right?! But what happens when the turtles below him start to grumble and complain?!

Premise/plot of Gertrude McFuzz: Gertrude McFuzz is jealous and foolish. She wants MORE feathers, beautiful feathers so she can be the most beautiful bird. Her uncle doctor gives her some advice--reluctantly perhaps knowing that she will go too far with her vanity. She starts eating a berry to make her grow tail feathers, and, well, she should have been wiser. Will all end well?

Premise/plot of The Big Brag: A rabbit and bear get into a bragging contest until a worm intervenes.

My thoughts on Yertle the Turtle: I liked Yertle the Turtle. I did. I wouldn't say it's my favorite or best. But it is a good story on selfishness and tyranny. I'm glad the turtles started speaking up and gained their independence!

My thoughts on Gertrude McFuzz: I liked Gertrude McFuzz too. I thought the story was a great lesson in being careful what you wish for and being content with what you have!

My thoughts on The Big Brag: Of the three stories in this collection, this is probably my least favorite. The bear and the rabbit are quite annoying. Of course, that is the point. Bragging won't win you friends and will just make you look foolish.

Have you read Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories? What did you think of it? Of the three stories, which is your favorite?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Happy Birthday to You.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Seuss on Saturday #14

The Cat In the Hat Comes Back. Dr. Seuss. 1958. Random House. 63 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
This was no time for play.
This was no time for fun.
This was no time for games.
There was work to be done.
All that deep,
deep, deep snow,
All that snow had to go.
When our mother went
Down to the town for the day,
She said, "Somebody has to
Clean all this away.
Somebody, SOMEBODY
has to, you see."
Then she picked out two Somebodies.
Sally and me. 
Premise/plot: It's a sequel to The Cat in the Hat. The two children have learned a lesson or two since the previous book. Do they invite him in? Do they take joy in his arrival? Hardly!!! They are anxious to be rid of him. While they're HARD at work shoveling snow, the cat arrives and enters their house. They don't want him IN the house, they're afraid of what he might do. But despite their good intentions, they might be a little too late. For the Cat in the Hat takes a bath in their tub--while eating cake--and when the water is drained, they notice something awful: A BIG, LONG PINK CAT RING! How will they get rid of this mess that looks like PINK INK?! They know--though the cat obviously doesn't--that it shouldn't involve ANYTHING that belongs to their mother or father. From cover to cover, this one just SATISFIES.

My thoughts: The Cat in the Hat is probably my favorite and best book by Dr. Seuss. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It's just so enjoyable, so satisfying, so funny. And it's also so very quotable!!!

Have you read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to know what you think of it! Also, how do you think it compares to The Cat in the Hat? Which of the two is your favorite?

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories. 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Seuss on Saturday #13

The Cat In the Hat. Dr. Seuss. 1957. Random House. 61 pages.  [Source: Library]

First sentence:
The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day.
Premise/Plot: Sally and her brother can't find ANYTHING fun to do on a rainy day until a strange cat comes to their house, invites himself in, and turns everything topsy-turvy. This rhyming book also stars a fish, who knows that the Cat in the Hat's fun only leads to trouble, and Thing One and Thing Two.  (One of the games they play is up-up-up with a fish. Another is fun-in-a-box.)

My thoughts: I've read this one dozens of times. It's so familiar, so fun. It's hard for me to imagine what it would be like to read it for the first time. I've also heard the audio book read by Kelsey Grammer. Is this my FAVORITE Seuss book? I'm not sure that it is. But it's so fun and silly.

Have you read The Cat in the Hat? 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 reading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Who is your favourite character from children’s literature?

In order to celebrate the launch of The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature in March, we invited OUP staff to dress up as their favourite characters from children’s books. The result was one surreal day during which our Oxford offices were overrun with children’s literature characters, ranging from the Cat in the Hat to Aslan, from Pippi Longstocking to the Tiger Who Came to Tea, and from Little Red Riding Hood to the Very Hungry Caterpillar. It was a brilliant and brave effort by all those who attended. Particularly those who commuted to and from work in their costumes!

The post Who is your favourite character from children’s literature? appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. New Dr. Seuss Museum to Open in Massachusetts

Seuss Sculpture GardenThe directors behind the Springfield Museums intend to launch a new cultural institution in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel. An opening date for the permanent exhibition (first floor) of the “The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum” has been set for June 2016.

According to the announcement, a permanent exhibit on the first floor will consist of three sections: Mulberry Street, Dr. Seuss’s Neighborhood, and Readingville. Visitors will encounter “a series of environments that replicate scenes from Dr. Seuss’s imagination and encounter life-sized three-dimensional characters and places from the books.”

The second floor area will showcase “a re-creation of Ted Geisel’s studio, an exhibition about the making of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden and other related displays.” It will not be made available to the public until 2017. (via TheArtery)

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18. Seuss on Saturday #12

If I Ran the Circus. Dr. Seuss. 1956. Random House. 58 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
"In all the whole town, the most wonderful spot
Is behind Sneelock's Store in the big vacant lot.
It's just the right spot for my wonderful plans,"
Said young Morris McGurk, "...If I clean up the cans."

Premise/Plot: A young boy imagines the circus he could have if only he cleaned up the vacant lot behind his favorite store. What a circus, he'd have. The best, BEST circus ever. He shares his plans for all his sideshow acts and for all the acts under the big tent too. Page after page, readers see one fabulous act after another.

My thoughts: Loved it. I wasn't expecting to love it. No one quite does rhythm and rhyme like Dr. Seuss. His books are fun to read, but, they're even better read aloud. He makes it look so simple and easy. To write in rhyme, to entertain young ones with a fun, imaginative story. But the thing is, it isn't that easy at all. So. I am definitely enjoying reading and rereading Seuss this year! I can't believe I never read this one growing up. But it's NEVER TOO LATE.

Have you read If I Ran the Circus?  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 (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is The Cat in the Hat.

Bonus: How The Grinch Stole Christmas was published in 1957. I reviewed this one in December of 2014.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. Seuss on Saturday #8

If I Ran the Zoo. Dr. Seuss. 1950. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
"It's a pretty good zoo,"
Said young Gerald McGrew,
"And the fellow who runs it
Seems proud of it, too."
"But if I ran the zoo,"
Said young Gerald McGrew,
"I'd make a few changes.
That's just what I'd do..."
Premise/Plot: Gerald dreams of all the changes he'd make if he ran the zoo. He wouldn't dream of having ordinary animals that you could see at any zoo. No, he wants fantastic animals that have never been seen or heard of. His animals have strange names and come from faraway places. His animals still need to be discovered, hunted, captured. The zoo he dreams up will be something.

My thoughts: This one is silly enough. It is ALL about the rhyme. Making up ridiculous-yet-fun sounding names for animals and countries. For better or worse, sometimes the text and/or the illustrations don't quite hold up so well.
I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant
With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,
And capture a fine fluffy bird called the Bustard
Who only eats custard with sauce made of mustard.
and
I'll go to the African island of Yerka
And bring back a tizzle-topped Tufted Mazurka,
A kind of canary with quite a tall throat.
His neck is so long, if he swallows an oat
For breakfast the first day of April, they say
It has to go down such a very long way
That it gets to his stomach the fifteenth of May. 
In the last example, it isn't so much what is said as to how it is illustrated. 

Have you read If I Ran the Zoo? Did you like it? love it? hate it? I'd love to hear what you thought 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 Scrambled Eggs Super!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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20. 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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21. Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”

Dr. Seuss Birthday

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. I’ve always felt him to be a personal friend. Green Eggs and Ham was the first book I ever read, well recite. I probably could recite it before I could read it.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go when you read! March 2, 2015 is NEA’s Read Across America Day and this year, the book is the Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

NEA’s Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

A Look At Our Friend Dr. Seuss

Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped millions of children learn to read.

Dr. Seuss was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to acquire a doctorate in literature. At Oxford, Geisel met Helen Palmer, whom he wed in 1927. Upon his return to America later that year, Geisel published cartoons and humorous articles for Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time. His cartoons also appeared in major magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair, and Liberty. Geisel gained national exposure when he won an advertising contract for an insecticide called Flit. He coined the phrase, “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” which became a popular expression.

Geisel developed the idea for his first children’s book in 1936 while on a vacation cruise. The rhythm of the ship’s engine drove the cadence to And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar.

The Cat in the Hat Is Born

In May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 225 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Geisel authored and illustrated 44 children’s books. His enchanting stories are available as audio cassettes, animated television specials, and videos.

While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

(Courtesy of Random House)

Oh,The Places We’ve Been

We do a whole lot of global reading around here as well as take some incredible reading adventures. To celebrate one of our favorite authors today we’re reading around the world and sharing all the places we’ve been. Here are some of our most popular book reviews and book jumps that have taken us all over the world.

China

Thailand

Scotland

Wales

Africa

Native American lands

Australia

Kenya

France

So read loud, read strong but mostly Read together Across America!!! Or a very special place of your choosing. Happy Read Across America Day

Seuss-quotes-1

READY GO! ‪#‎readyourworld‬ ‪#‎readacrossamerica‬

Take the pledge http://www.nea.org/grants/ReadAcrossAmericaPledge.html

More info from NEA about Read Across America http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm

Read Aloud.org launches their big campaign too this month Join us! http://www.readaloud.org/

The post Happy Read Across America Day! Oh The Place’s We’ve Gone appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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22. Seuss on Saturday #10

Horton Hears A Who! Dr. Seuss. 1954. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
On the fifteenth of May, in the Jungle of Nool, in the heat of the day, in the cool of the pool, He was splashing...enjoying the jungle's great joys...When Horton the elephant heard a small noise.
Premise/Plot: Horton hears someone yelling for help from a speck of dust, a tiny someone. But a person's a person, no matter how small. So Horton makes quite the effort to help, to save whoever it is.

My thoughts: I love Horton Hears a Who! I do. Poor Horton has to undergo a lot of torment to protect the Whos in Who-ville. Horton is the only one who hears them. All the other animals think he's making it all up. All the other animals are BULLIES. But Horton is steadfast, and, he'll always do his best to protect this speck of dust resting on a bit of clover. But his best may not be good enough. EVERY Who will need to speak up to be heard when all is said and done.

Have you read Horton Hears A Who! 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 (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is On Beyond a Zebra.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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23. Fusenews: Nothing but death, deer, and Zionism as far as the eye can see

  • Top of the morning to you, froggies!  I had one heckuva weekend, I tell you.  Actually it was just one heckuva Saturday.  First there was the opening of the new Bank Street Bookstore location here in NYC.  I was one of the local authors in attendance and, as you can see from this photograph taken that morning, I was in good company.

At one point I found myself at a signing table between Deborah Heiligman and Rebecca Stead with Susan Kuklin, Chris Raschka, and Peter Lerangis on either side.  I picked up the name tag that Jerry Pinkney had left behind so that I could at least claim a Caldecott by association.  Of course that meant I left my own nametag behind and a certain someone did find it later in the day . . .

Then that afternoon, after wolfing down an Upper West Side avocado sandwich that had aspirations for greatness (aspirations that remained unfulfilled) I was at NYPL’s central library for the panel Blurred Lines?: Accuracy and Illustration in Nonfiction.  This title of silliness I acknowledge mine.  In any case, the line-up was Sophie Blackall, Brian Floca, Mara Rockliff, and her Candlewick editor Nicole Raymond.  It was brilliant. There will perhaps be a write-up at some point that I’ll link to.  I just wanted to tip my hat to the folks involved.  We were slated to go from 2-3 and we pretty much went from 2-4.  We could have gone longer.

  • I’ve often said that small publishers fill the gaps left by their larger brethren.  Folktales and fairy tales are often best served in this way.  Graphic novels are beginning to go the same route.  One type of book that the smaller publishers should really look into, though, is poetry.  We really don’t see a lot of it published in a given year, and I’d love to see more.  The new Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award may help the cause.  It was recently announced and the award is looking for folks who are SCBWI members and that published their books between 2013-2015.  It makes us just one step closer to an ALA poetry award.  One step.
  • How did I miss this when it was published?  It’s a New Yorker piece entitled Eloise: An Update.  It had me at “The absolute first thing I do in the morning is make coffee in the bathroom and check to see what’s on pay-per-view / Then I have to go to the health club to see if they’ve gotten any new kettlebells and then stop at the business center to Google a few foreign swear words.”  Thanks to Sharyn November for the link.
  • Y’all know I worship at the alter of Frances Hardinge and believe her to be one of the greatest living British novelists working today, right?  Well, this just in from the interwebs!  Specifically, from agent Barry Goldblatt’s Facebook page:

BSFA and Carnegie Medal longlister Frances Hardinge’s debut adult novel THE KNOWLEDGE, about a London cab driver with a special license to travel between multiple alternative Londons, who, after rescuing a long-missing fellow driver, finds herself caught up in a widening conspiracy to control the pathways between worlds, to Navah Wolfe at Saga Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in Summer 2017, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary on behalf of Nancy Miles at Miles Stott Literary Agency (NA).

Mind you, this means I’ll have to read an adult novel now.  I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

  • Speaking of England, I’m tired of them being cooler than us.  For example, did you know that they have a Federation of Children’s Book Groups?  A federation!  Why don’t we have a federation?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we haven’t earned it yet.  Grrr.
  • Ooo!  A new Spanish language children’s bookstore has just opened up in Los Angeles.  And here we can’t get a single bookstore other than Barnes & Noble to open up in the Bronx in English, let alone another language.  This is so cool.  Methinks publishers looking to expand into the Latino market would do well to court the people working at this shop, if only to find new translatable material.
  • Fancy fancy dancy dancy Leo Lionni shirts are now being sold by UNIQLO.  Some samples:

Smarties.

  • Roxanne Feldman is one of those women that has been in the business of getting books into the hands of young ‘uns for years and years and years.  Online you may recognize her by her username “fairrosa”.  Well, now she has a blog of her very own and it’s worth visiting.  Called the Fairrosa Cyber Library, it’s the place to go.  However – Be Warned.  This is not a site to merely dabble in.  If you go you must be prepared to sit down and read and read.  Her recent posts about diversity make for exciting blogging.
  • Me Stuff: Because apparently the whole opening of this blog post didn’t count.  Now Dan Blank is one of those guys you just hope and pray you’ll meet at some point in your life.  He’s the kind of fellow who is infinitely intensely knowledgeable about how one’s career can progress over time and he’s followed my own practically since the birth of my blogging career.  If I appeared in Forbes, it was because of Dan.  Recently he interviewed me at length and the post is up.  It’s called Betsy Bird: From “Invisible” Introvert to Author, Critic, Blogger and Librarian.  I feel like that kid in Boyhood with Dan.  Really I do.
  • Fact: The Cotsen Children’s Library of Princeton has been interviewing great authors and illustrators since at least 2010.
  • Fact: Access to these interviews has always been available, but not through iTunes.
  • Fact: Now it is.  And it’s amazing.  Atinuke.  Gary Schmidt.  Rebecca Stead.  Philip Pullman.  It’s free, it’s out there, so fill up your iPod like I am right now and go crazy!  Thanks to Dana Sheridan for the info!

The other day I linked to a piece on the term “racebent” and how it applies to characters like Hermione in Harry Potter.  It’s not really a new idea, though, is it?  Folks have always reinterpreted fictional characters in light of their own cultures.  This year the publisher Tara Books is releasing The Patua Pinocchio.  Now I’ve been a bit Pinocchio obsessed ever since my 3-year-old daughter took Kate McMullen’s version to heart (it was the first chapter book she had the patience to sit through).  With that in mind I am VERY interested in this version of the little wooden boy.  Very.

  • Ever been a children’s nonfiction conference?  Want to?  The 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference has moved to NYC this year and it’s going to be a lot of fun.  I’ll be speaking alongside my colleague / partner-in-crime Amie Wright, but there are a host of other speakers and it’s a delightful roster.  If ever this has ever been your passion, now’s thWe time to go.
  • Diverse books for kids don’t sell?  To this, Elizabeth Bluemle, a bookseller, points out something so glaringly obvious that I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned it before.  I’m sure that someone has, but rarely so succinctly. Good title too:  An Overlooked Fallacy About Sales of Diverse Books.
  • And speaking of diverse books, here’s something that was published last year but that I, in the throes of the whole giving birth thing, missed.  The We Need Diverse Books website regularly posted some of the loveliest book recommendations I’ve ever seen.  We’ve all seen lists that say things like “Like This? Then Try This!” but rarely do they ever explain why the person would like that book (I’m guilty of this in my own reviews’ readalikes and shall endeavor to be better in the future).  On their site, the WNDB folks not only offered diverse readalikes to popular titles, but gave excellent reasons as to why a fan of David Wiesner’s Tuesday might like Bill Thomson’s Chalk.  The pairing of Lucy Christopher’s Stolen with Sharon Draper’s Panic is particularly inspired.  The covers even match.

Daily Image:

I am ever alert to any appropriation of my workplace that might be taking place. Recently I learned that in the Rockettes’ upcoming holiday show there will be this set in one of the numbers.  Apparently Patience and Fortitude (the library lions) will be voiced by (the recorded voices of) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  I kid you not.

Years ago when I worked in the old Donnell Library I looked out the window of the Central Children’s Room to see three camels standing there chewing their cud or whatever it is that camels chew.  They were with their trainer, taking a walk before their big number in the Rockettes’ show.  The crazy thing was watching the people on the street.  The New Yorkers were walking past like the it was the most natural thing in the world.  This is because New Yorkers are crazy.  When camels strike you as everyday, something has gone wrong with your life.

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24. Seuss on Saturday #11


On Beyond Zebra! Dr. Seuss. 1955. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
Said Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell,
My very young friend who is learning to spell:
"The A is for Ape. And the B is for Bear.
"The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare.
"The M is for Mouse. And the R. is for Rat.
"I know all the twenty-six letters like that...
"...through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well."
Said Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell.
Premise/Plot: One little boy claims his alphabet starts where other kids' alphabets end. He introduces the letters, "YUZZ," "WUM," "UM," "HUMPF," "FUDDLE," "GLIKK," NUH," "SNEE," "QUAN," "THNAD," "SPAZZ," "FLOOB," "ZATZ," "JOGG," "FLUNN," "ITCH," "YEKK," "VROO," AND "HI!" Of course, there's reasoning behind each new letter. Crazy fun as only Dr. Seuss can do. For example:
Then just one step a step further past Wum is for Wumbus
And there you'll find UM. And the Um is for Umbus
A sort of a Cow, with one head and one tail,
But to milk this great cow you need more than one pail!
She has ninety-eight faucets that give milk quite nicely.
Perhaps ninety-nine. I forget just precisely.
And, boy! She is something most people don't see
Because most people stop at the Z
But not me!
My thoughts: What's not to love?! I'll admit this is the first time I've read On Beyond Zebra! And I'll admit it didn't instantly become my new favorite Seuss book or anything. But is it worth reading? Yes! I like the rhyming and the storytelling. It's a very imaginative book. If you grew up reading and loving There's A Wocket in My Pocket and you haven't read On Beyond Zebra yet, well, I think you'll enjoy it.

Have you read On Beyond Zebra!? 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 (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me!  The next book I'll be reviewing is If I Ran the Circus.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. Five Family Favorites with Todd Tarpley, Author of My Grandma’s a Ninja!

My sweet little boys somehow grew into teenagers, so we have to take a trip back in time to talk about the five books that are special to my family ... Read the rest of this post

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