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These days, I've been lucky to be working on several projects that are books in series. I am working on a sequel to Underpants, Thunderpants!for Parragon UK, and the Mouse Math series for Kane Press.
Here are a few characters you will see later next year in a Penguin Level 1 Reader, which is part of the Puppy Diaries series that I am working on, written by Jill Abramson and Jane O'Connor. Ready or Not, Here Comes Scout! released a couple of months ago, is a picture book Jill wrote about her puppy, Scout, and companion book to her adult book Puppy Diaries. You can read about it here. She and her sister, Jane, are continuing on with Scout's adventures in this adorable reader, with another one to follow. Can't wait to share them with you!
When Connor was little he used his diaper like pants pockets. He would tuck all sorts of things in the top and sides of his diaper, and when we changed him, they would all tumble out. The stash was varied from day to day, but by far what we would find most often were folded up pieces of paper with print on them. Pages out of magazines, ads from the Sunday paper, notes with telephone messages, and even an occasional mini-book. The kid loved paper, and his favorite piece of paper was a picture he had torn out of the newspaper featuring Sacramento Zoo’s new red panda (which I never even knew existed until I had pulled the picture out of my son’s nappy a dozen times). And from that time on, Connor has always gravitated toward non-fiction offerings that tell him stuff he didn’t know. Even at the public library or the school library when all the other kids were choosing story books and fairytales, he would flip over a book about planets or mythology or dogs. Or rocks. Lord, the child renewed one book about rocks and minerals about ten times. Teachers would often remark how thoroughly entrenched in non-fiction he was, refusing anything shelved by author’s last name. But I did learn a lot from his choices. In Chris Arvetis and Carole Palmer’s What Is An Iceberg?, we get just the facts, ma’am. Like did you know all icebergs are chipped-off pieces of glaciers? Connor probably does.
Kids can read in the traditional way with “page turns” and either they can read to themselves or be read aloud to by a parent or caregiver. There’s also a “read to me” feature with a pre-recorded voice. And now, with the new interactive ability, there’s some animation and activities – while still staying true and respectful to the book’s original art and intent, we think (yes, we were skeptical at first too). But LITTLE WHITE RABBIT is darling when he hops. SPLAT THE CAT hides under his bedsheets, peeking out periodically, making us giggle. FANCY NANCY allows the reader to create and draw and interact. It’s pretty darn cool.
I know, it seems crazy to talk about the holiday season already. But this is also the point where we start putting in book orders for the latest titles and replacing old books as well. So let’s jump in and talk about some of the newest books for the holiday season:
THE HAPPY ELF by Harry Connick Jr., illustrated by Dan Andreasen (On-sale now). Based on the song by Harry Connick Jr., this comes with a CD. You can also watch the video.
A CHRISTMAS GOODNIGHT by Nola Buck, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright (On-sale now). In its starred review, Publishers Weekly said that this book “serves special status, to be kept off-season with other holiday decorations and then brought out each year at Christmas.”
THE LITTLEST EVERGREEN by Henry Cole (On-sale now). School Library Journal calls this “a fine Christmas choice with an environmental message.”
Here in the United States, most eyes are on New Hampshire today, as Democrats and Republicans head to the polls to decide their Party’s candidate for the 2008 presidential race. Further South in New York however, where it’s currently a very sunny 59 degrees Fahrenheit, I find my mind has wandered out west, to Mojave, California. (more…)
My favorite tip came from MAC, a new author who recently sold out of her debut novel at its sneak preview during NY Comic Con, who advises parents to run over the video game console with the vacuum cleaner. Here's her book cover.
The cartoon illustrations by Gary Hovland drew me to this book. The big heads and dialogue balloons are eye-catching and make it fun to read the interesting facts related to all of the Presidents' stays at the White House. From George Washington to George W. Bush, O'Connor lets readers know that George Washington is the only President who never lived in the White House, William Howard Taft was so large that he had to have a jumbo-size bathtub installed- one big enough for four people, and Abraham Lincoln didn't mind that his sons kept pet goats in their bedrooms. A great resource to use not only during an election year, but all year round.
There are two new Christmas books which I have read and recommend: Auntie Claus: Home for the Holidays and Fancy Nancy: Splenderific Christmas.
Auntie Claus captures the magic of Christmas in New York City. The illustrations are as if a window display at Macy's came to life! My favorite line in the book is: "Red is the new black!" You'll especially love this story if you have ever been to New York City.
Here's a description of the book from Amazon: Sophie Kringle had always dreamed of being the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school play. After all, Sophie is a Kringle. Her family lives at the Bing Cherry Hotel, and her favorite aunt, Auntie Claus, serves Christmas cookies at teatime -- even in July. When Auntie Claus hears that Sophie will make her debut in the school play, she decides to have her cake and eat it too -- this year Auntie Claus will be home for the holidays and the North Pole will move south to New York! Finally getting to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, the department store windows, and the 57th Street Snowflake with Auntie Claus -- Sophie will have a Christmas that she never could have imagined!
The other book is from the super popular Fancy Nancy series. It's called Fancy Nancy: Splenderific Christmas and here's the story description: What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles—and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited about decorating the Christmas tree. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and has been waiting for Christmas to come. But when things don't turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? In this merriest of stories from bestselling duo Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Nancy proves once again that a little fancying up can go a long, festive way!
Jane so beautifully includes gigantic (that's a fancy word for big) words in the story to stretch kids' vocabulary in a fun way that blends easily with the character's personality. Fancy Nancy is very infectious. My favorite fancy word in this book is compromise which Fancy Nancy explains means what mom wants.
A little sidenote: The author of Fancy Nancy is Jane O'Connor, and Jane is my editor for the Night Before series.
Click on the headline link above for other recommended holiday stories and gift ideas at Cookie Monkey Books.
I wanted to share this article from Publishers Weekly as an inspiration for authors to stay in the game, and so that my readers can see what my editor for my Night Before books looks like! Her name is Jane O'Connor, and she's also the writer of the popular Fancy Nancy books. Here's the link.