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November 2008

Poetry Friday: Boo!

Happy Halloween! You'll recognize the following, from "Macbeth." We're planning for soda instead of hell-broth tonight, but only because we weren't sure where to find a fenny snake.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

More Halloween tricks and treats:

Kelly Link, who's written some otherworldly tales in her day, recommends some scary short stories at About Last Night. Link's latest is the young-adult book Pretty Monsters.

Junior, who flew off to school wearing a ghoul costume, is currently relishing the book Revenge of the Living Dummy, from Goosebumps' new Horrorland series. Unlike his parents, he is not an NPR news fan ("Can we please listen to some music?"), but if he were, he could have heard Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine talking to Lynn Neary on "Morning Edition."

My friend Suzanne Urban and the rest of the Eclectic Halloween Artist Group are hosting an art giveaway at their blog.

In the Not Halloween But Diwali department, Literary Safari offers a handy list of good Diwali books for children. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights; it was on October 28th this year.

Today's Poetry Friday roundup takes place at Poetry for Children.

Children's Books Pop Quiz, Oct. 30

Normal_pencil_5 Students, please go to the nearest mouse. It's time for a pop test. Those who wish to cheat may do so by clicking on the blanks or reading the answer key at the end.

1. The largest children's bookstore in North America is in ___________________.

2. An adaptation of The ____, the ____, and the ____ is the next musical at Minneapolis's Children's Theatre Company. (Starts November 11th.)

3. The Calvert County (Maryland) Board of Library Trustees voted unanimously to keep the book ______________ on the shelves in the children's section, with the other picture books.

4. On this day before Halloween, you can test your knowledge of literary ________ by taking a quiz at The Guardian.

5. At the recent Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature, artist E.B. Lewis said that the 2005  _______ show at the Eric Carle Museum gave him a new appreciation for that author-illustrator's work. By the way, the next meeting of the ________ Society takes place at the Sloane Club, in London, on December 6th.

6. Related to #5, the book  __________ celebrates its centenary this year.

7. The upcoming bicentennial of ________'s birthday has inspired the recent publication of many books, including _____ ______ Crosses a Creek: A Tall Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend); The ______: A Scrapbook Look at _______ and Mary; and ______ Honest Words: The Life of ___________.

8. ___________ tops the picture-book bestseller list at the New York Times this week. 

9. There is a "race row over golliwogs sold in __________ shop" in the UK. The shop's owner defends her wares and poses for a photo. Both the defending and the posing are remarkably ill-advised.

10. Readers can sign a petition asking the post office to make a stamp honoring  _______________ , the 1963 Caldecott winner.

Answer key:

1. Vancouver; 2. Lion, Witch, Wardrobe; 3. And Tango Makes Three; 4. witches; 5. Beatrix Potter, Beatrix Potter; 6. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck; 7. Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, Lincolns, Abraham, Abe's, Abraham Lincoln; 8. ABC3D; 9. Enid Blyton. 10. The Snowy Day.

On the Books, with YA Author Tanita S. Davis

Www.randomhouse.comalacarte  A big welcome goes out to Tanita S. Davis, the author of  A la Carte (Knopf, 2008), a young-adult novel—with recipes. Powell's even classifies the book as "gastronomic literature." I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Lainey, a teenaged vegetarian chef who must decide to what lengths she will go for an increasingly troubled friend. You can read an excerpt over at the publisher's place. Another novel, Mare's War, is scheduled for June 2009.

A blogging friend from way back, Tanita and I often like to chat about chickens, but this morning I have a bookish question for her: What are you reading these days? Let's hear from Tanita.

I'm reading Canadian author K.V. Johansen's THE STORYTELLER, which is a collection of short fiction for older teens and adults where nothing is exactly as it seems. There are gods and demons, enchanted swords, bravery and tragedy on an epic scale for such a short book. Also, in honor of his general awesomeness and his continuing battle with Alzheimer's Disease, I'm re-reading all 36 of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, and I’m GOING POSTAL this month, which is GREAT. Next up on my bedside table is THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU, by Heather Duffy Stone.

Tanita and her colleague Sarah Stevenson blog at Finding Wonderland and Readers' Rants.

Previously in Chicken Spaghetti's "On the Books" series:

Marc Tyler Nobleman
Betsy Howie
Susan Taylor Brown
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Janet Halfmann
Elisha Cooper
LD Podcast's Whitney Hoffman

Bruce Coville Interviewed at Gizmodo...Underestimating Kids...4th Grader Recommends

Author Bruce Coville lands at Gizmodo: The Gadget Guide. My Teacher Is an Alien, first published almost twenty years ago, and the rest of the series sound like books for the boy in the back seat who asked yesterday, "Mom, what's faster? The speed of light or the speed of sound?" Zip over to "My Favorite Childhood Sci-Fi Author Fries My Brain," by Mark Wilson, at Gizmodo. Part I, Part II

Meanwhile Anecdotal Evidence makes a less-than-satisfactory visit to his sons' school library.

I left the library suspecting we underestimate the capacity of children to embrace a challenge, learn from it and wish to seek another. When we over-simplify and sugarcoat, kids learn to expect even less of themselves, and so we perpetuate a quiet, passive dumbness – ripe for video games and television.

Last, but certainly not least, a fourth-grade girl recommended Lois Lowry's novel Gossamer to me. "It's the best book I've ever read." When you get a suggestion like that, you've gotta run with it.

Poetry Friday: October 24th

Poetry Friday, a roundup of blog posts, takes place at Big A, little a today.

Last night I was happy to meet Grace Lin and Elaine Magliaro, bloggers at Blue Rose Girls—and  two of the kidlitosphere's favorite poets. We heard Nick Clark's opening talk at the Rabbit Hill Festival of Literature; Grace is one of the festival's starring author-illustrators, along with Steve Jenkins, E.B. Lewis, Barbara McClintock, David Wiesner, and Mo Willems.

So, in honor of Grace and Elaine, I'm going to send you to the Blue Rose Girls blog. You may not see a Poetry Friday entry for today, but there's still plenty of good reading.

Poetry Friday explained, at the Poetry Foundation.

Miss. Books, Music, and Beverages

My friends at Lemuria Books, in Jackson, Miss., have redesigned their blog, and it's looking fine. Right now the spotlight is on two locally produced nature books for children. Drop by and say hey.

Of interest to music fans is another Mississippi-based blog, Highway 61 Radio: The Best in Blues Music and Culture: Past, Present, and Future. Highway 61 even offers a free download of a Mavis Staples song.

Don't forget about the Southern Foodways Alliance, currently touting its upcoming symposium "The Liquid South, from Well Water to Sparkling Muscadine." Not to worry: "Buttermilk will get its due."

Children's Books Go to the Birds


Browsing around Etsy, the "online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade," I happily stumbled across these decorative birdhouses made out of Little Golden Books. (I wonder how many books one would need to make a chicken coop...) Little Acorn Products is the shop that creates and sells them. Do you recognize Scuffy the Tugboat, above? How about the Poky Little Puppy?


I just started reading the illustration-rich Golden Legacy (Golden Books, 2007), by children's book historian Leonard Marcus, and look forward to finding out "How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way." I doubt there's any mention of birdhouses, which perhaps constitute a new chapter for the sturdy books.

The images here are used with the permission of Little Acorn Designs.

Breakfast with Links, 10.20.08

IMG_1897 Cue up the Isley Brothers song "Who's That Lady?" ("I would love to take her home/But her heart is made of stone") No doubt you recognize the Statue of Liberty. We waved at her from afar during a recent voyage on the Circle Line.


Looking for some good new reads? The longlists for the 2008 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards offer many.

At the blog Mitali's Fire Escape, author Mitali Perkins reprints her acceptance speech at the Jane Addams Book Awards. Geared to 8 to 12 year olds, her prize-wining novel Rickshaw Girl was one of our favorite read-alouds last summer. (Read a review at Paper Tigers.)

People are talking about Andrew Sullivan's "Why I Blog," in the November issue of The Atlantic. (via Educating Alice)

"Reaching an Autistic Teenager," by Melissa Fay Greene, at the New York Times Magazine, is a fascinating article; parents of non-autistic children can borrow some of the ideas used by a small school for autistic youth, too.

Bill Clinton recommends a book at Tina Brown's new site, The Daily Beast. GalleyCat reports on increased sales of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, the novel from which Brown took the name of her publication.

The blog Picture Book of the Day is the site of the weekly conglomeration of links about nonfiction for children.

Bookmobiles are nice, but here's something special: a biblioburro, in Colombia. (via the New York Times)

Photo credit: Susan Thomsen. All rights reserved.

Poetry Friday: Mary Ann Hoberman, New Laureate

The big news in the world of children's poetry is that Mary Ann Hoberman is the new children's poet laureate, succeeding Jack Prelutsky. The Poetry Foundation, which created the laureateship with its bountiful endowment, announced Hoberman's appointment earlier this month; the Foundation's web site currently features an article on her long career.

Here at Chicken Spaghetti, I've written about the poet's work on several Poetry Fridays:

Mary Ann Hoberman

Mary Ann Hoberman's "Fish"

"You Read to Me, I'll Read to You"

Mary Ann Hoberman's "Snow"

For more poetics on this beautiful October morning, check the roundup of links at Becky's Book Reviews. Everyone with an interest in poetry, children's or otherwise, is welcome to submit a post and participate.