Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pronunciation Guides

Wondering how to pronounce the name of your favorite children's author?

There's a great article that Jon Scieszka wrote for the Horn Book about how to pronounce the last names of well known children's writers and illustrators. The article was written in 1996, and there have been some new additions to the ranks of children's literature since then... but it's a terrific starting place (and really, really funny).

Thanks to the child_lit listserv, I just found out about this fantastic resource on TeachingBooks.net. It has sound clips of children's authors pronouncing their own names (and if they don't know how to say it, who does?) with great stories about the origins of their names.
I highly recommended it.

If you're interested in how to pronounce character names and spells from the Harry Potter books, check out Scholastic's Harry Potter website. They have a great pronunciation guide for just about everything having to do with the boy wizard.

The one author's name missing from all the websites above is J.K. Rowling's. According to her biography on her official website, here's how you pronounce her last name: "'Rowling' (the first syllable of which is pronounced 'row' as in boat, rather than 'row' as in argument) lent itself to woeful jokes such as 'Rowling stone', 'Rowling pin' and so on."

By the way, if you're wondering how on earth to pronounce Jon Scieszka's last name- it rhymes with Fresca.

And if you want to know how to pronounce the name of the title character in Knuffle Bunny, see the bottom of this post.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Baby Beebee Bird

It usually takes my son a while to adjust to a new book. He listens intently during the first reading, and by the third or fourth reading he falls in love with it.

But there's also the rare book that's an instant hit, that he likes immediately and can't ever get enough of. Books like Knuffle Bunny, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Bears in the Night fall into this category.

We found another amazing book last night that was an immediate success: The Baby Beebee Bird. My son shouted along with it from the very first page. What makes this book so great? It's funny, it has wonderful illustrations and a clever story, but most of all, it's incredibly interactive.

The plot is fairly simple... a baby beebee bird just moved into the zoo and he keeps all the other animals awake at night with his incessant singing of "Bee bee bobbi bobbi." The animals are, displeased, to say the least. By means of revenge, they sing "Bee bee bobbi bobbi" all during the day until the bird gets the message. The song is repeated on virtually every page, and is unbelievably fun for kids (and adults) to sing along with.

The Baby Beebee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie was originally published in 1963. The version that I'm referring to is a re-make of the original and was published in 2000 with new pictures by the amazing Steven Kellogg.

This is an immediately addicting book... if you have a 2 to 5 year old, give it a try. It's also a great book to read to groups... the librarian who recommended it to me said it was one of her favorite books to use for preschool storytimes.

If you read more than one book right before bedtime (like we do), I'd make this the first book of the evening. It's more of a rile-you-up and get-out-all-your-excitement book then a calming last-book-before-bed.

Once you read it, though, get ready to hear "Bee bee bobbi bobbi" over and over and over. And over. And that's just from your spouse. Your kids will say it even more.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Calling Harry Potter theorists

Spoiler warning!


Okay, so you've definitely finished?

Here's something you might find funny.

There was a website created between the publication of the 6th and 7th Harry Potter books called dumbledoreisnotdead.com. You can probably guess what it was about. Alas, the Dumbledore site doesn't exist today... but a parody HP conspiracy theory website has sprung up called hedwigisnotdead.com. I got quite a chuckle out of it. Thanks to Fuse #8 for the heads up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stone Soup: Now in Color!

I love the comic strip Stone Soup (read more about why in this post). I just got a copy of the recently published Desperate Households (the sixth Stone Soup collection so far) and found it as entertaining as the other five books.

But there was something unusual about this one. It's in color. No, not just the Sunday strips. ALL the strips in this book are in color. I've got a pretty good library of comic strip books, and this is the first time I've ever seen weekday strips colorized in a book. Sure, sometimes they're colorized online, but never in a book.

It looks great, though and the full color really makes this collection stand out. I was hoping it would have the strips about the new baby... but alas, that's too recent. I'll have to wait for the next collection.

Friday, September 7, 2007

For Better or For Worse: The hybrid begins

The new For Better or For Worse has arrived. Lynn Johsnton refers to it as a hybrid strip- because it's a combination of old and new material. There's more information about the strip's new format in this post and this one.

The best way to check out the hybrid is on the For Better or For Worse official site, starting with Monday, September 3rd. If you haven't visited the FBoFW website lately, it's well worth taking a look at Coffee Talk... a new blog featuring letters from readers.

Originally Lynn announced that the hybrid would take over completely in September 2007 but now it appears that the new content isn't ending for a few more months. Lynn just gave a very revealing new interview in Editor & Publisher: "End of Marriage Leads to New Content in Revamped Strip" where she discusses how changes in her personal life altered her original plan. There's also another article (with less detail) in the Kansas City Star.

I realize that For Better or For Worse isn't autobiographical- but in some way I feel I have followed a chronicle of Lynn and Rod's marriage for two decades through reading the strip.... so the Editor & Publisher article was pretty heartbreaking to read. I have to admit, though, it explains a lot of what's been going on in the strip... particularly the storylines involving Paul and Anthony.

So, what do you think of the hybrid strip? See the new poll.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Even More Bookstores!

Thanks to the wonderful people on the CCBC-Net listserv, my list of bookstores has doubled! All bookstores listed are independent and are either children's bookstores or have great children's departments.

The list is now threatening to take over this blog, so I've moved it to the bottom of the links section. Read this post if you're curious why the list is so incredibly long.

Also, I have to mention the fabulous list of bookstores (and lots of other resources) at the Association of Booksellers for Children website.

Am I missing your favorite independent bookstore? Please let me know