Friday, June 20, 2008

Litereat, Literate

My son and I were reading Hop on Pop when he came up with the idea for a Hop on Pop picnic with Mr. Brown and Mr. Black. I suppose this wasn't too much of a stretch since we were reading the book at lunch time.

"Get this blanket. Orange," my son said. "And cheese, and green apples, and bananas, and milk, and these," he said.

By the way, "these" refers to the mystery food item above the bananas on page 50. I know what they look like to me, but I sure wouldn't want to eat them. Any more appetizing guesses out there?

My son put his budding editorial skills to use when he substituted plain cheese for the sandwiches on page 51.

We'd love to hear of other litereat picnic experiences (How many of you have done Green Eggs and Ham?). Try and think of what book you could dine with next. Don't forget, you can always "snack, snack, eat a snack. Eat a snack with Brown and Black."

Book Appetit!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mussel Penguins and More

Here's author/illustrator Marla Frazee at Kidspace in Pasadena, showing us the first picture she ever drew. I'll give you a hint-- it's not a fried egg.

If you want to find out what it is, then you're going to have to catch up with Marla on her current book tour for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. Sudo Nimm doesn't allow spoilers on this blog.
This is my family after learning the mysterious creature's identity.

Here's Marla creating a composite portrait from the features of five different kids. It was amazing to watch.
On to mussel penguins, and I don't mean the body-building kind. I mean the bivalve kind. Marla's newest picture book contains a simple three-step recipe for creating a penguin from a mussel shell. Unfortunately, the dark lighting in the photo masks the fine specimen she's holding.
Not photographed are Marla's cool kicks, a pink polka-dotted pair of chic shoes.
Technical note to aspiring and perspiring picture book authors: Check out Marla's newest book, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, for examples of writing contrapuntally.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Unlucky for the Superstitious

My computer programming brother informed me that the 13th day of the month occurs on Fridays more often than on any other day of the week (he wrote a program to find out).

Are there any Friday the 13th bad luck book stories out there? For a few moments this morning, I entertained the creepy horror of receiving a rejection on this Friday the 12+1. Luckily, I ate enough garlic earlier in the week to suppress any further superstition.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Parallel Reading

Here's my son at "Feria del Libro" engaged in an activity I call "parallel reading," which is probably just another form of "parallel play." While the L.A. librarian read Peggy Rathmann's Officer Buckle and Gloria, my son opened up Where the Wild Things Are.

The scene made me imagine what the two stories, or any two stories, would sound like if read aloud at the same time. Would a third story emerge from the seeming gibberish, in the spaces in between the two stories? Uh-oh, it sounds like I may have another experiment on my hands.

Back to "parallel reading." Sometimes my son selects a bedtime book for me to read. Read that sentence again. That's right. He will choose a book for me to read aloud to myself, and then he selects a book for himself. Can anyone else speak to this interesting reading behavior?

Fun stuff: Note the "sizzling storytime" poster in the background of the above photo. In one of my many literary laboratories, I am working on a helio-biblio index that charts the temperatures for book festivals in the L.A. area. My research has revealed the following so far: books are hot! (based on data collected at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, the West Hollywood Book Fair, and Feria del Libro).

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And Now on to What This Blog Is About

My son and I headed to downtown Los Angeles for the "6th Annual Feria del Libro: A Family Book Fair" this past Saturday. We had the great fortune to catch one of my former UCLA Extension Writer's Program instructors, Alexis O'Neill, (a.k.a. A Lexus? Oh, kneel!) in action.

Here she is in the above photo releasing a gigantic book-eating butterfly into the atmosphere. She also managed to somehow squeeze in two lively performances of her books, Estela's Swap and The Recess Queen.

I must admit that for the past year I've had "push 'em and smoosh'em, lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em, kitz and kajammer 'em" stuck in my head at various times.

This delightful refrain comes from The Recess Queen, and don't tell me I didn't warn you. This book will infect you with its rhythm. I think the CDC is in the process of issuing a global warning.

Now that I've seen Alexis perform it with hand/arm gestures, the rhythm infection has spread from my brain to my limbs. It makes it hard to hold my fork steady when I'm eating.

By the way, look out for that book-eating butterfly. Its caterpillars have such voracious appetites that they have been known to consume entire library budgets. This is especially worrisome in the L.A. region.

More to follow...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh, I've got it!

Here's a math joke I made up for one of my brothers:

Why did the man walking under the geometree grab his foot?

He stubbed his toe on a square root.

Update

Still trying to think of something to say...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

...06/07/08 Blast off!

Testing 1,2,3...I think we're on the air.

Oh, great. I'll be back when I have something to say. In the meantime, feel free to look around. Just don't knock anything over. Thanks.