01 January 2009

I just counted up, and it seems I read over 200 books last year. And, that's not counting picture books because a) doing that seems an unfair way to bump up the numbers and b) I could never remember all of those anyway. Maybe later, if I am feeling expansive and reflexive and typey, I will ruminate on those 200+. After all, one of my don't-call-it-a-resolutions is to post more, all over yon internet.

But, because I won't be mentioning picture books and because it seems a swell thing to do for posterity, I did want to note the ones I particularly liked this year. With brief commentary, even! The sad(?) fact of it is that I never really think of myself as being someone who likes picture books. One of the reasons I was hesitant to embrace being a Children's Librarian, instead of the Y.A. Librarian moniker I originally coveted, was an antipathy to them. (Other reasons, equal antipathy to flannel boards and fingerplays, a sense that I wasn't chipper enough or passionate enough about children's services and a general feeling that storytime just wasn't "my thing.")

But, I've grown into it a bit. While they still don't get me super excited, generally speaking, the way that the prospect of a good novel does, I appreciate them and have fun with them and have definitely developed a repetoire of favorites. And doing the Mock Caldecott and a bit of historical research has helped me appreciate them as art.

In any case, my standouts for 2008 are as follows. In looking at this now, it seems that I may be unfairly biased by the New York Times (honestly, I hadly ever even read it) and the books we discussed and finalized on for this years Queens Mock Caldecott, but whatever. We are all a product of our influences.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatheford, illus. Sean Qualls - because it's lovely and fun and appropriately musical. Generally speaking, there are a lot of biographical picture books and a vast majority of them I do not like. Too often, they are biographies first, with no movement and strucure as a story and the illustrations are middling to fair. I just don't think they work, beyond fulfilling the real-but-annoying need for biography-for-a-young-kid reference questions. But, that's so not the case here. I kind of love it.

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee - because it is so spirited and funny and has so much detail that's just an all-out pleasure to read. Marla Frazee has done tons of books, but I've never really gotten into her. This makes me want to read more of them though, which is always a good sign.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea - because, hands down, it was my favorite picture book of the year (and that's why it gets the accompanying-picture nod.) I love the simplicity of, the use of typeface and the FUN of it. I also love the fact that it's super, super fun to read at storytime (I'm a great roarer) and it can work with so many ages and get participatory action every single time.

The Dog Who Belonged to No One by Amy Hest, illus. Amy Bates - because I heartily admit to being a sucker for many things, including a heartarming story and pretty art

Don't Worry Bear by Greg Foley - for many of the same reasons I loved Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (minus the growling), plus Greg Foley is pretty crushworthy. I loved the other Bear book too and look forward to the next.

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara - because woodcuts and limited color can be really beautiful.

Keep Your Eye on the Kid: the Early Years of Buster Keaton by Catherine Brighton - because it's another well-done picture book biography, despite the use of first-person and the art has a definite Little Nemo feel to it, which I'm all about. I keep putting it on display in the hopes of it being checked out, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be happening yet.

Lazy Little Loafers by Susan Orleans, illus. G. Brian Karas - because it made me laugh and I think that G. Brian Karas is consistently solid

Little Yellow Leaf by Karin Berger - because I am constantly asked for seasonal books and most of them are forgettable. And the collage is used just so well-done and interesting.

Spuds by Karen Hesse, illus. Wendy Watson - because, once again, I love the retro, gentle art and it's a nice little story. One of my dirty little librarian secrets is that I don't especially like Karen Hesse, but I dig (heh. You'd know why that was funny if you read it.) this.

A Visitor for Bear by Bonnie Becker, illus. Kady Macdonald Denton - because it made me happy. Sometimes you can go with a traditional story and if you do it well, all will be well.

Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein, illus. by Ed Young - because Ed Young has illustrated about a bazillion books, and this is the first one I've ever really responded to. Not exactly one that will have kids clamoring, but ... And, it seems to be a love it or hate it sort of books, which probably means that those oddsmakers are right and it will, in fact, win the Caldecott.

01 December 2008

a note to self, mostly

New York magazine's take on indie bookstores. Some of these I've been to and really, really like. Some I need to check out. I hate to say it, but almost four years in New York and I still can't say I've found a bookstore that feels like home ...

And also, quite obviously, Queens needs more.

26 November 2008

oh, so notable

The New York Times have released their notable books list and this year it makes me feel like such a slacker. Usually, I average about ten books on the list. This year I read a dismal one. One!* I guess this was not my year to be current and hip.

And, um, grown-up. If we turn our attention to the Children's list (and really, it's children's and teens) I've knocked out five of them. I just finished Hunger Games last night and have been thinking about it all day, and have spent the latter half of the year talking up the E. Lockhart. Little Brother I liked but think has been overrated and the picture books were darling. Where is the love for the middle grade reader though?

* In my defensive, I started at least four others on the list and just could not get into them. And, the McCracken is in my checked-out-and-waiting-to-be-read pile.


It always gives me a slight pause when, post-craft program, a kid offers me what we've just made. It doesn't warm my heart the way spontaneously-made pictures do (yes, I'm still a sucker for that), but it's sweet. And as an occassional crafter, I know it's really all about the process, much more so (usually) than the final product.

But, I always try to talk them into taking it home, because honestly? I'm just going to throw it away.

22 November 2008

object of my desire

On the Kristin Miller posted about Adam Wallacavange's work on the Kiki Strike blog today and I cannot stop obsessing over them.

21 November 2008

So ... all the reviews I've been seeing of Twilight make the movie sound so, so awesomely bad. Like it is possibly, maybe, very likely the Showgirls of its time.

This obviously increases my interest in the moive about 1000%.

20 November 2008

This post on the ALSC blog about the Personal Librarian Kit caught my attention, not for the actual product (which I don't mind and would probably like having-just-to-have, although I'd not really use it and I'd never want to pay money for it, so someone would have to give it to me as a gift. And actually, I'm surprised no one has, because that's the sort of thing that people like to give as gifts to people like me.)

But! That first line of the ALSC post got me thinking: I wonder how many librarians used to play librarian when they were little? I definitely did. I made little slips and was (brifely) the Happiest Little Girl in the World when someone bought me my very own date stamper.

So, did you?

And, just for the record, other professions I also remember playing include detective, school teacher, store clerk and astronaut. Only one of which I have subsequently done as an adult.

19 November 2008

my storytime crowd is not nearly so large

I think it's super cool that the Life pictures archives are available on google images. No more dreading the decades assignments and fearing that our books on the sixties will get cut up!

Also cool: the fact that the winner of the National Book Award (for young people) honed her writing chops penning star wars novelizations. And the book does sound pretty darn good.

18 November 2008

I have to say, I'm pretty excited about the Coraline movie, even though we're a ways away from relief date. And the presence of Teri Hatcher (whom I'm so not a fan of) won't even deter me, especially when I lurve so many of the other people involved. (John Hodgeman! Ian MacShane! French & Saunders!) USA Today has an article and picture gallery and I think that the poster is movie poster is pretty swell.
(thanks, Early Word!)

10 October 2008

time to revive?

i don't know. maybe? i've felt the urge, although it could just be due to the fact that i've had trouble sleeping the last few nights and what doesn't one give deep thought to when in the throes of insomnia?

although, surely giving voice to it like this is almost a guarantee that it won't actually happen.

we'll see.

15 July 2008


And, to follow up the last post, it seems that the die-hard Stephenie Meyer fans are not too thrilled with the EW cover either. Just look at those comments!

I think it's kind of funny. But I'm probably feeling snarky (or just looped out on cough syrup - summer colds are the worst!). I should probably maybe give the series another chance.

In other news, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is becoming a 3D movie. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

And, I haven't been able to stop thinking about the New Yorker's article on Anne Carroll Moore, E.B. White and children's literature/library service. I may have to post said thoughts at some point ...

12 July 2008

Am too busy with summer reading things to think, much less compose blog entries.
But, the Go Fug Yourself take on the Twilight Entertainment Weekly cover is too delightful not to mention. So, you know, I am.

25 May 2008


Awesome story, about a Canadian boy whose award-winning science project just might help save the earth. (via Neatorama) Something to keep in mind, the next time you get a bazillion science fair questions.

Sometimes, I really wish that the local schools would invite me to their science fairs or living museums. After helping so many students with the raw resources, it would be nice to see how it all comes out.

But, yeah. I hate plastic bags too.

23 May 2008

Oh, you and your navel gazing pop-ups

So all the cool kids are seemingly abuzz about the new Weezer video, featuring many internet celebrities. Only, one of whom I recognized. Does this mean I am totally divorced from the zeitgeist? Maybe. I wonder if I ought to pay more attention to these things?

And yeah. Totally exciting Friday night. I am so totally living the dream. Sometimes, though, you just don't want to think. And you have to work on Saturday, totally shooting down the whole three/four day weekend excitement.

Mostly, all I want to do lately is lie on the couch and read cheap mystery paperbacks.

And no, there is really no point to this entry at all. Except maybe that I feel sort of "eh."

20 May 2008

NPR on Buffy love and survival.
I'm a dork, because I got chills and then a little teary.

16 April 2008

just randomly throwing things out there

I have a lot of things saved that I've been meaning to post about and haven't. This actually happens all the time and usually I just let them sit around until they are hopelessly out of date and then delete them. But, today I'm feeling productive and the apartment is quiet, so I'm actually sitting down to post. Oh the novelty of it all! Thus, without further ado ...

* You know what looks really bad? My Beautiful Mommy, the coming-soon book for children that explains mother's plastic surgery. On oh, so many levels. (via Feministing)

* The fact that this new Laika statue exists makes me really, really happy. Reason 87 to visit Moscow. (via BoingBoing)

* If anyone were in the market to buy me a present, this t-shirt from the good folks at Mental Floss is one very good way to go. But, if you aren't feeling it, why don't you exercise some creativity and come up with your own? There will be prizes!

* And finally, in order to the geekin' out I plan to do this weekend at the New York Comic Con: Charles Schulz + Alan Moore = Watchpeanuts = Love. (also via BoingBoing)

09 April 2008

You know what's totally lame?

When the book you've been waiting for forever finally comes in on reserve, and then you check it out and are just getting comfy for a long night of reading when you discover it's been totally vandalized. As in, the first chapter and random pages throughout the book have been expertly sliced out.

I guess maybe I'm stopping at Border's on the way home from work tonight ...

08 April 2008

We got some new books in today, and I am left with these thoughts in the face of them

I do not understand the appeal of Fancy Nancy.

But the Star Wars pop-up? Amazing. And I'm not even that keen on Star Wars.

08 March 2008

sucker allure

Am breaking my completely unintended hiatus to post this article from the New York Observer, about teen girls and vampire fiction. Because I think it brings up interesting points and I'd never really planned on not-blogging anyway.

Personally, I'm not that keen on the Twilight books. I understand their popularity and appeal. I read the first one and was totally into it, but at the same time felt grubby and ashamed the entire time. I took a stab at the sequels, but couldn't get passed the first pages, because the melodrama of the prose irked me so much. But, I'd also read a few interviews with Stephenie Meyer that really turned me off, so maybe I'm just a hater. Other contemporary takes on the vamps, um ... save the few mentioned below, not so much.

That said, I love the Blue Bloods books (Melissa De La Cruz has got way more skills than one might expect) and thought that Peeps was bloody brilliant. And yes, as an adolescent, I totally succumbed to Anne Rice (only the first three though) and read Dracula multiple times. Beyond that though, I was flat out-and-out obsessed with all things Poppy Z. Brite. Who, incidentally, would totally take Meyer and company down in a vampfest. And Buffy is pretty much my favorite tv show of all time.

So, I dunno. It is what it is. But zombies definitely make for better movie material.

25 January 2008

we don't need no stinkin' titles

Being struck with the winter doldrums make blogging difficult, I think. It's not that one doesn't have ideas. Those are always floating around in the ether, even popping in at the most inopportune moments. But the actual sitting down and typing ... who wants to do that when there are new episodes of Project Runway to watch and yellowed paperback mysteries you found for fifty cents when back in Ohio (I miss you, Half-Price Books!) to read?

Nevertheless, the Internet trucks on and for those of you who are as equally at loss for entertainment on a quiet Sunday afternoon - it's either do this or the dishes and I'm not quite up for the dishpan hands yet - I offer a few random things from it which have lately caught my eye. Maybe later I'll actually find the wherewithal to compose some of those floaters.

* Mental Floss wants to know what your favorite sandwich is and so do I. Lately I have been obsessed with good old p.b. n' j. but for my daily lunch I tend to go with turkey and swiss more often than not. Neither are particularly inspired so maybe you can share something a little more creative?

* I'm a big fan of Largehearted Boy, for oh so many reasons and find consistent enjoyment in the Book Notes series, where authors offer soundtracks to accompany their books. This week Sara Zarr - who I have been meaning to read forever - offers one up for her new novel Sweethearts. And it includes an Over the Rhine song and I used to be really into them. As such, I've finally put in a request for Story of a Girl and will look forward to Sweethearts.

* Fuse #8 doesn't exactly need my link, but I can't resist one to her review of the new Enola Holmes just because of the opening. I feel exactly the same way and am totally anticipating this one. I used to get the ARC hook-up with these. I don't anymore so it's a good thing it's coming out this week (although when it will show up on our library shelves is another issue entirely).

* On the social networking front, I'm somewhat intrigued by Listography. So far I haven't joined, although I keep eying it and wouldn't be surprised if I soon succumbed. Because lists are very satisfying to make.

* What You Can Learn by Looking at the Bloggie Nominees: People like food. And gossip. And Dooce. Food I'm more than okay with but I've never been able to get into Dooce, despite acres of people I know holding her exploits near and dear. And a year or so ago I made this deliberate effort to not pay attention to celebrity gossip. Which I hesitate to tell people, because I fear it comes off high and mighty, but it isn't if I explain that I made the decision because before that I paid way too much attention the celebrity gossip. In any case, I'm intrigued enough by some of the smaller/more personal nominees to throw 'em on the bloglines and see if they stick.