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Archives for October 2011

Need braaains… and nimble fingers

In high Halloween spirits, Cindy, interns Melissa and Caitlyn, and I tried Duy Nguyen’s activity book ZombiGami: Paper Folding for the Living Dead (Sterling, October). After perusing the thirteen zombie-centric projects, we settled on the paper-folding tribute to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller“—who doesn’t love an undead dance scene? And, believe it or not, the two-sheet, forty-plus–step […]

Stories for a Spooky Night

I hope I will see some of you this evening at 6:00PM at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square for a conversation I’ll be leading about The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, just out from Houghton Mifflin. Sponsored by the Harvard Book Store, the panel includes Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Lowry, and Margaret Raymo. Unfortunately, neither […]

Blue Chicken

I have been hauling around a copy of Blue Chicken for at least four months. Something about that big-footed little yellow duck and her chicken friend on the cover and the streaks and drips of blue, blue, blue kept me returning to it. Here we have two barns,  an unfinished farm scene painting resting on a […]


Mother Goose waddled to the window. Ah, there was the moon, perfect and round, its light streaming into bedrooms everywhere. She sighed.Mother Goose was upset. How could parents say that…word, that awful word, to their children? How could they use it in front of innocent little darlings almost fast asleep? Their drowsy eyes. Well-washed hands […]

Serial thriller

Dreams of the Dead (Bloomsbury, 2009) kicks off Thomas Randall’s original paperback trilogy The Waking with a killer first line: “Akane Murakami died for a boy she did not love.” After moving to Japan’s Miyazu City with her recently widowed father, American high school student Kara befriends the sister of murdered schoolgirl Akane. When their […]

Sono tornato

But am still discombobulated after Milan-Venice-Madrid-Amsterdam-Brussels in less than two weeks. I am not a savvy traveler like my friend Elizabeth, who goes to Europe for ten days with one carry-on. I am also not good about Asking–luckily, Richard is (although i think he is still harboring murderous intentions toward the Flemish, whose eagerness to […]


I’ve been struggling with this book for a while. There’s a lot to love about it, but what I’m not in love with is how Rocco has drawn the central characters. Is this just a personal dislike or is it actually a problem with the book? I don’t love beans, but that doesn’t make succotash […]

Review of Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

At Macy’s department store, marionette maker Tony Sarg started inside and worked his way out. He designed mechanical storybook figures for Macy’s window displays before inventing the giant balloon characters that would become the signature feature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sweet’s whimsical mixed-media collages, embellished with little dolls she made herself out of odds and ends, reinforce the theme that, for Sarg, work was play. He loved his job just as much as the cheering crowds loved his balloons (one of Sweet’s watercolor illustrations shows open-mouthed children fairly dancing with delight).

Naamah and the Ark at Night

Holly Meade uses watercolor collage (which matches this story of water perfectly) to tell Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s lullaby story of Naamah, Noah’s wife.  We learn in her fascinating author’s note the mystery of her name and also about the ghazal, the poetic structure Bartoletti followed to write this poem. So, a story from the Old […]

Why, books!

No surprise, here’s the line I liked best from Wednesday’s Twitter party: “Not so fast on the demise of the print book (says the tech editor, no less).” –tweeted by SLJ’s technology editor, Kathy Ishizuka I immediately thought of Mo Willems’s 2011 Zena Sutherland Lecture, “Why Books?” which will appear (in print!) in the November/December 2011 issue of […]