Book Crave*

I am somewhat of a thematic programmer, but I am also a weirdo who connects books, rhymes and songs the way Thelonius Monk improvises– it makes glorious sense, but not in the way you’d usually expect.

I needed a new story time to take out on some preschool visits, and I was blanking on what I wanted to present. I’d recently read aloud to a group of third graders for a Day of Reading, and I’d taken some books from our woefully under-utilized folk and fairytale collection: The Talking Eggs by San Souci, illustrated by Pinkey, and Gobble, Gobble, Slip, Slop: A Tale of a Very Greedy Cat, told and illustrated by Meilo So.

I’d wanted to use more of So’s books with kids ever since I’d discovered the wonderful Tasty Baby Bellybuttons (have I told you about how a colleague and  I told that story using stick puppets? Remind me to do that, will ya’? It presents interesting problems regarding fair use, copyright infringement, and whether or not small children should be exposed to handcrafted stick puppets).

Anyway. I read that book to the 3rd graders and we all fell in love with it. The watercolors! The ontemontepeia! The decadent grossosity of that greedy, greedy cat! The classic fairy-tale trope of cutting your way out of a greedy creature’s belly!Read More »

excerpt from Ain’t Love a Kick in the Head

Lisette’s nostrils were suddenly filled with the rich odor of apples and hay, with a sharp, sweet undertone of sugar. The scent made her heart clip clop in her chest. It took her back to her childhood on her Uncle Schaffer’s farm, to those long, summer days spent riding horses, mucking their stalls, braiding their manes and tails.

She felt warm breath on her neck, and the whiskery muzzle of a horse lipping at her…she turned quickly, but instead of a horse she found herself looking into the huge brown eyes of Blake B’eauty, the Belgian exchange student with the long flowing hair and tight, tight pants.

“What are you doing here?” she asked breathlessly.

“Sorry,” he murmured. “You smell so sweet…like sugar.”

“My mother gave me a brown sugar scrub for Christmas,” she said.

“Ah…it’s delicious,” he said, and laughed, stomping his foot on the ground as he did.

Anyone want to add more to the story? Please do so in the comments!*

*Note: some comments may not be suitable for work…or home…or anywhere, really. So read at your own peril.

I’d read it.

Pulled this from the comments on my Liar post. I’d read it. In fact, I asked Ian* for a sample chapter. Let’s see if it happens!

Dear Sir or Madam:

I would like to offer for your consideration my book “Kicked in the Head by Love”, a historical romance featuring centaurs, the hot new heirs to werewolves and their oh-so-last-week cousins, vampires.

The epic sweep encompassed by my novel dwarfs that of … well, The Catcher in the Rye, for example. The mood set by the brooding, socially maladjusted, seemingly emotionally vulnerable (but actually detached and unavailable because of several incidents in his childhood involving getting shod) main character is … I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten where this sentence was going.

In conclusion, let me also say that I am quite versatile as a writer, and could easily change the centaurs to aliens or harpies at a moment’s notice, in case the centaur wave has already passed.

Sincerely,
A Real Writer
(No, really)

*On an unrelated note, we’re blog template buddies!

reading, pronouncing, and announcing

Peter over at Collection Children’s Books wrote a great post about having a reader’s vocabulary–you know, those words you know from reading them, but are deathly afraid of using in conversation because you have no idea how to pronounce them? (Subcutaneous was a word I loved, but never spoke aloud. I think I heard it in my head as sub-cut-tan-ee-us.)

Are you that person who huffily corrects people’s pronunciations, spelling and grammar? Are you a jerk about it? Do you get a dirty little thrill from making someone look and feel stupid? Do you do it to CHILDREN as well as adults? Well, quit it. You should be helpful, and use the word again with the correct pronunciation (if you’re sure you’re right), but don’t be that person that makes other people feel stupid. All you’ll really succeed in doing is preventing them from ever using new vocabulary words ever again, and that would be sad. If you love words so much, don’t you want more people using a wider variety of words?

So enough with the word shame. Embrace those mis-hearings and mispronounciations, correct them nicely when you can, and encourage people to use the words they read in the books that we (librarians, teachers) love so much.

Oh, and stop by Collecting Children’s Books and let Peter know what words you mispronounced in your youth.