A Very Handsome Bear Approves of This Year’s Caldecotts

Hi everyone!


Somebody is TWO now!  Can you believe it?  Two years old!  So big!  Our little rock star, aww.  He has at least a 20-song repertoire he’s ready to sing at any given moment, so he’s pretty sure he’s ready for an arena concert now.  ;-)  And he’s Mr. Nonstop Chit-Chat, even in his sleep . . . two nights ago at 2am, he suddenly shouted “want to go to a RESTAURANT!” (not a sentiment he’s ever forcefully expressed during waking hours) three times and then went quiet again.  And a few nights before that, at 4am, over the monitor we heard: “mmmmMAUI!  Sunshine!  What are you DOING!  C’mere, RIGHT NOW!”  Yeeeeees . . . it is a little unsettling to hear the way we talk to the dogs mirrored back at us.  Sorry, Sunshine!

Plus we are firmly in the “I must do everything myself!” phase, where ginormous meltdowns can be triggered by, say, one of us daring to hand him his toothbrush (the horror!), rather than letting him reach for it himself so he can knock over everything on the vanity in the process.  And let’s not even discuss the epic tragedy of a banana breaking in half while it’s being peeled OMG END OF THE WORLD EPIC DESPAIR NOTHING WILL EVER BE BEAUTIFUL EVER AGAIN.

Poor toddlers!  It’s so very hard to be them.  And we haven’t even inflicted moving or a new baby on him yet!  Two months to go till our due date, and the next little bear had better stay in there until we’re unpacked, if you ask me (ack! not panicking! not thinking about it!). 

In writing news, Almanzo is out in the world!  Everyone run out and get Farmer Boy Goes West!  At least, if you WANT to know what happened to Almanzo Wilder between Farmer Boy and meeting Laura.  🙂

FarmerBoy Goes West

Shiny new book!  Full of horses and trains and pioneer adventure!  :-)  I really really hope you like it!  I came across this lovely review of it online, which totally made my day – thank you, Tina!  :-)  And also this one from a wonderful and clearly very intelligent 10-year-old (thanks, Ella!).

I am also hard at work (as you can see from the fact that I am blogging, la la la) on exciting future things that will be coming soon to a bookstore near you (like, this summer!  Yay!).  So I promise to blog about that soon.  Oh, and I’m going to be at the Massachusetts School Library Association Conference on Sunday, March 4, so if you’re a Massachusetts librarian and plan to be there, please stop by and say hello!  If you tell me you’ve read my blog, I’ll not only have major joy conniptions, I will seriously give you something exciting, like a school visit discount or a free bound galley, if I manage to drag them along with me.  (Dragging things along with me is getting RAWTHER difficult these days!)  🙂

And in books-not-by-me news, Jonah and I are big fans of all the Caldecott books this year, especially the winner:

A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka 

This wordless picture book is SO adorable, all about an expressive little dog very much in love with her ball.  And it’s extremely relatable for this age, because guess what happens?  The ball POPS!  OH NOES!  DISASTER!  It’s just like the Great Banana Tragedy of 2012!  Only Daisy, unlike some people, does not lie on the floor sobbing about it for half an hour, ahem.  (He did not care to have this pointed out to him.)  She is very sad, though, which our little guy completely sympathized with.  And THEN the dog who popped it brings her a NEW ball to say sorry, and they play with it together, and joy is restored to the universe.  Hooray!  Super, super cute.  🙂

He’s nearly as enchanted by all the Honor books as well, even the ones I would expect to be fairly well over his head:

Me, Jane, by Patrick McDonnell

Two pages into this, I was like, “AHA, this is going to be one of those books that turns out to be about a real person; I’m guessing Jane Goodall,” and indeed it is.  It’s mostly about her childhood and the dreams she had of growing up to live in Africa helping animals.  I like it very much, but I’m not sure why exactly Jonah has loved it from the moment he picked it up . . . perhaps the illustrations of animals, particularly the toy chimpanzee?  Or maybe the page where she’s swinging through the jungle with vines, just like Tarzan.  (Awesome.)  🙂

Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith

This book is gorgeous and thoroughly mysterious.  It’s the story of Grandpa Green’s life, wherein the illustrations are mostly topiary—like, it starts with him being born, illustrated as a baby carved from a hedge, then living on a farm with chickens made from hedges, going off to war (a cannon made of hedges), meeting his wife in France (Eiffel Tower made of hedges), etc.  I’d love to walk through a garden that told a story like this!  A really really beautiful book; Jonah wasn’t interested at first, but now he asks for it all the time, and I’m not sure what the turning point was.  (OK, it might have been the Eiffel Tower.  Are two-year-olds supposed to have favorite famous landmarks?  :-)  Because after spotting the Eiffel Tower in (1) Madeline, (2) the little plate we brought back from Paris for him, (3) a set of landmark flashcards, and (4) Grandpa Green, the bear has decided to add it to his vocabulary and point it out with extreme glee whenever he can.  TOO FUNNY.)

Blackout, by John Rocco

Another ridiculously gorgeous book, about a night when the lights went out in NYC, and the family ends up spending time together instead of all the things they normally do when they have electricity.  I was actually living there during the August 2003 blackout, and I believe I spent most of it helping my friend Dayna eat all the ice cream in her freezer (we have our priorities straight, people).  😉

But Jonah’s very very favorite (and mine, too) is actually a Geisel Honor book this year:

I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen

I don’t want to give away the fantastically wicked, funny ending, so I’ll just say run out and read it!  If you need more convincing, perhaps this book trailer will help.  It has to be one of the funniest picture books I’ve seen, and Jonah seems to think so, too . . . plus I love how very polite the bear is to everyone!  How can you not sympathize with a bear who says, “Thank you anyway” to each animal who can’t help him?  I mean, really. 

All right, I’d better go see if I can accomplish anything else tonight (it’s only 3am, after all).  :-)  February gallops on apace!  Ack all the things I have to do ACK!

Quote of the Day:
Schmidt:  Are you out of your mind?  How do you think this is your towel?  Do you even wash it?
Nick:  No, I don’t wash the towel!  The towel washes me!  Who washes a towel?
New Girl