Good morning, my fine and frisky young denizens of this sphere upon which we make our homes. I’m particularly chipper today as I’ve just returned from a lovely trip to Boston where I attended the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards and managed NOT to lose my glasses in the process. More on that tomorrow, but today I’ve a whole heaping helpful of fun videos for your perusal.
First up, I’m happy to announce that last weekend I conducted a Literary Salon with James Kennedy and Eti Berland on the subject of 90-Second Newbery. The fun doesn’t really get started until the five minute mark, but that’s the wonders of live streaming for you. A million thanks to James for figuring out how to get the new YouTube streaming feature to work on his computer at all. Phew!
Now we’ve a very cool video up next. Do you like John Steptoe? Do you like Sesame Street? Then behold this very early Sesame Street when Gordon-with-hair read Stevie to the viewers. This is something I’d love for current day Sesame Street to pick up again. Wouldn’t it be great if Chris (you can see that I’m hip to the current cast) read Last Stop on Market Street to Telly? It could happen.
In other news, we’ve an election coming up. Or didn’t you know? Well I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Aaron Reynolds for a new little show I’m participating in called LadyBird & Friends. If you want to bypass the whole Betsy talking element to the proceedings, skip to the 18:20 mark where Aaron reads aloud President Squid. It will be the funniest damn thing you see all day. The man is a natural performer.
And speaking of natural performers, how did I miss this promotional video for Robo-Sauce when it first came out? My bad.
Now welcome to New Zealand, where librarians have more fun. Don’t believe me? This synchronized . . . I’m sorry. This synchronised shelving proves it. Thanks to Jean Reagan for the link.
And for our final off-topic video today . . . AUGHHH!!!!!
Does the clownfish remind anyone else of the Goldfish from Mars Evacuees? Anyone? Anyone? No?
Just me then.
What could bring together teachers, community organizations and hungry friends of First Book?
First Book is proud to partner with Pizza Hut and excited to take part in their new 10-year campaign, Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project. When friends, families, and co-workers sit down to eat or order online from Pizza Hut they’ll be able to add a donation to First Book to enable access to books for children in need. The funds raised from each Pizza Hut location will go to local educators so they can purchase books and resources from the First Book Marketplace. The combination of this campaign’s worldwide reach and local community focus will bring the greatest impact.
The funds raised from each Pizza Hut location will go to local educators so they can purchase books and resources from the First Book Marketplace. The combination of this campaign’s worldwide reach and local community focus will bring the greatest impact.
Kyle Zimmer and Artie Starrs
Some of the students at PS 30 in New York City got a “taste” of the Literacy Project on September 8th, when they were treated to pizza, a visit from representatives of Pizza Hut and the United Federation of Teachers. In honor of the occasion Artie Starrs, President of Pizza Hut, and Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO, First Book, read Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin and got a copy of the book to take home.
“The teachers we serve tell us that when a child discovers a love of reading, not only do they unlock their potential, but ultimately the community benefits,” said Zimmer, “But too many low-income communities simply don’t have the resources to provide children with access to books, and teachers in these classrooms and programs often spend hundreds of dollars of their own money to try to provide what students need. Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project will unlock the potential of millions of underserved children and communities.”
Each Pizza Hut location will also be organizing reading-centric events with community partners — fun things ranging from building pop-up reading nooks or bookcases to simply reading with children who are hungry to learn.
And maybe for pizza, too.
If you serve children in need, please visit theliteracyproject.pizzahut.com to learn more about the events in your community and First Book’s partnership with Pizza Hut: The Literacy Project.
The post Using the Power of Pizza to Transform Lives Through Literacy appeared first on First Book Blog.
By Adam Rubin
Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Dial (an imprint of Penguin Books)
On shelves October 20th.
When I whip out the old we’re-living-in-a-golden-age-of-picture-book-creation argument with colleagues and friends, they humor what I’m sure they consider to be my hyperbole. Suuuuuure we are, Betsy. Not prone to exaggeration or anything, are you? But honestly, I think I could make a case for it. Look at the picture books of the past. They were beautiful, intricately crafted, and many of them are memorable and pertinent to child readers today. What other art form for kids can say as much? You don’t exactly have five-year-olds mooning over Kukla, Fran and Ollie these days, right (sorry, mom)? But hand them Goodnight Moon and all is well. Now look at picture books today. We’re living in a visual learner’s world. The combination of relaxed picture books standards (example: comics and meta storytelling are a-okay!), publishers willing to try something new and weird, and a world where technology and visual learning plays a heavy hand in our day-to-day lives yields creative attempts hitherto unknown or impossible to author/illustrators as recently as ten years ago. And when I try to think of a picture that combines these elements (meta storytelling / new and weird / technology permeating everything we do) no book typifies all of this better or with as much panache as Robo-Sauce. Because if I leave you understanding one thing today it is this: This may well contain the craziest picture book construction from a major publisher I have EVER seen. No. Seriously. This is insane. Don’t say I didn’t warn you either.
We all know that kid who thinks pretending to be a robot is the most fun you can have. When the hero of this story tries it though he just ends up annoying his family. That’s when the narrator starts talking to him directly. What if there was a recipe for turning yourself into a REAL robot? Would you make it? Would you take it? You BET you would! But once the boy starts destroying things in true mechanical fashion (I bet you were unaware that robots were capable of creating tornadoes, weren’t you?), it’s pretty lonely. The narrator attempts to impart a bit of a lesson here about how to appreciate your family/dog/life but when it hands over the antidote the robot destroys it on sight. Why? Because it’s just created a Robo-Sauce Launcher with which to turn its family, its dog, the entire world, and even the very book you are reading into robots! How do you turn a normal picture book into a robot? Behold the pull out cover that wraps around the book. Once you put it on and open the other cover, the text and images inside are entirely robotized. Robo-Domination is near. It may, however, involve some pretty keen cardboard box suits.
So you’re probably wondering what I meant when I said that the book has a cover that turns into a robot book. Honestly, I tried to figure out how I would verbally explain this. In the end I decided to do something I’d never done before. For the first time ever, I’m including a video as part of my review. Behold the explanation of the book’s one-of-a-kind feature:
These days the idea that a narrator would speak directly to the characters in a book is par for the course. Breaking down the fourth wall has grown, how do you say, passé. We almost expect all our books to be interactive in some way. If Press Here made the idea of treating a book like an app palatable then it stands to reason that competing books would have to up the ante, as it were. In fact, I guess if I’m going to be perfectly honest here, I think I’ve kind of been waiting for Robo-Sauce for a long time. Intrusive narrators, characters you have to yell at, books you shake, they’re commonplace. Into this jaded publishing scene stepped Rubin and Salmieri. They’re New York Times bestsellers in their own right ( Dragons Love Tacos) so they’re not exactly newbies to the field. They’ve proven their selling power. But by what witchcraft they convinced Penguin to include a shiny pull out cover and to print a fifth of the book upside down, I know not. All I can be certain of is that this is a book of the moment. It is indicative of something far greater than itself. Either it will spark a new trend in picture books as a whole or it will be remembered as an interesting novelty piece that typified a changing era.
Let’s look at the book itself then. In terms of the text, I’m a fan. The narrator’s intrusive voice allows the reader to take on the role of adult scold. Kids love it when you yell at a book’s characters for being too silly in some way and this story allows you to do precisely that. Admittedly, I do wish that Rubin had pushed the narrator-trying-to-teach-a-lesson aspect a little farther. If the lesson it was trying to impart was a bit clearer than just the standard “love your family” shtick then it could have had more of a punch. Imagine if, instead, the book was trying to teach the boy about rejecting technology or something like that. Any picture book that could wink slyly at the current crop of drop-the-iPhone-pick-up-a-book titles currently en vogue would be doing the world a service. I’m not saying I disagree with their message. They’re just all rather samey samey and it would be nice to see someone poke a little fun at them (while still, by the end, reinforcing the same message).
As for Salmieri’s art, the limited color palette is very interesting. You’ve your Day-Glo orange, black, white, brown, and pale pink (didn’t see that one coming). Other colors make the occasional cameo but the bulk of the book is pretty limited. It allows the orange to shine (or, in the case of the robot cover, the limited palette allows for something particularly shiny). And check out that subtle breaking down of visual stereotypes! Black dad and white mom. A sister that enjoys playing with trucks. I am ON BOARD with all this.
I won’t be the last parent/librarian/squishy human to hold this book in my hands and wonder what the heck to do with it. What I do know is that it’s a lot of fun. Totally original. And it has a bunch of robots in it causing massive amounts of destruction. All told, I’d say that’s a win. So domo arigato, Misters Rubin and Salmieri. Domo arigato a whole bunch.
On shelves October 20th.
Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.
Like This? Then Try:
Professional Reviews: A star from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus,
Misc: Still need some help figuring out the cover? Check out the book’s website here.
It only takes a couple of beautiful autumn days and the holiday season suddenly feel so much closer. Readers are not wasting time getting into the holiday spirit: this month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the delightful rendition of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Nutcracker, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
Autumn is a beautiful time for reading. Award-winning Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo, is this month's best selling picture book from our affiliate store—it's a delightful selection for fall.
Ooh, the weather outside is ... perfect for snuggling inside with one of these best selling picture books. Snow, by Cynthia Rylant, is this month's best selling picture book from our affiliate store—it's a beautiful book.
This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the lively board book Peek-a-Zoo!, by Nina Laden.
This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store continues to be the lively board book Peek-a-Zoo!, by Nina Laden.
This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the gorgeously illustrated Sleep Like a Tiger, written by Mary Lougue and pictures by Pamela Zagarenski.
This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store remains the same. It's the gorgeously illustrated Sleep Like a Tiger, written by Mary Lougue and pictures by Pamela Zagarenski.
Exciting news: This month our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is a non-fiction book. Hooray for our smart and engaged readers!
This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the gorgeously illustrated Gaston, written by Kelly DiPucchio and pictures by Christian Robinson.
This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the entertaining If You Happen to have a Dinosaur, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack.
This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the uber entertaining Press Here, by Herve Tullet.
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 2, 2012
Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases and bestsellers.
THE HOT SPOTS: THE TRENDS
Best Young Adult Books with Forever Young Adult
Books for Boys: 5 Funny Kids Books
How Picture Books Play a Role in a Child’s Development
Author Interview: Gary Paulsen
Where to Find Free eBooks for Children Online
THE NEW RELEASES
The most coveted books that release this month:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
by William Joyce
Bink and Gollie, Two for One
by Kate DiCamillo
Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess
by Rachel Renee Russell
Dragons Love Tacos
by Adam Rubin
THE BEST SELLERS
The best selling children’s books this month:
Every single book on this list is purely entertaining, each in their own special way. Like all good picture books, the illustrations are winning. As per usual, we've shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times.
How Could This Perfect Bubble Be Scary?
This new title, Big Bad Bubble is by picture book power duo Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. They are known for Dragons Love Tacos and Secret Pizza Party. The cover grabs your attention right away with a yellow monster with sharp teeth falling over at the sight of a tiny bubble. They reader learns that bubbles do not disappear when they pop. Instead they reappear in La La Land where monsters live. The monsters are terrified of bubbles. One monster is most frightened of all and thinks the bubbles will kill them. However, all the monsters soon learn the joy of bubbles. This fun story will have the attention of young readers who have faced a fear and they will be delighted at the end when the monsters learn to face the fear and love bubbles. Children will want to play with all sorts of bubbles after reading this title. Check out the book trailer below and order your copy today
Our best selling picture book for the past month is Herve Tullet's completely awesome Press Here (Chronicle Books, 2011). As per usual, we've shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times
Herve Tullet is a picture book hero! His best selling picture book Press Here (Chronicle Books, 2011) has been joined on the best selling picture book list by his incredibly fun Mix it Up!