105 Ways to Give a Book

Back on Track

While it was frustrating to be offline for much of the month, it may be just what I needed to get back on track. Or at least to find the track. We'll see how it plays out.

My schedule at work is settling a bit, now that I'm not covering summer vacations, and with the girls at school, I'm enjoying having a place to go, work, and earn money. I'm on the committee to select books that we'll promote for next year's summer reading program. I'll also be moderating a panel at Fall for the Book, so I think they like me.

Teen got the coveted - by her - role of Tatiana the fairy queen in her high school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. We worked on her callback material together, and she's going to be great. She also was selected as the lead critic for her school's Cappies program, probably due in part to the three reviews that she got published as a critic last year.

In the first week of school, the Kid finished a fantastic performance of 13: The Musical. It was so professional these teens could have gone on tour with the show. The next week she got the part of Mayzee, the amazing bird, in Seussical. As soon as I heard her sing the bluesy "How Lucky You Are" I knew she was getting that role.

My mom is feeling much better back at home, completely recovered from the radiation side effects and back to herself. She negotiated getting her house painted and is able to drive again. Though she restricts herself to the doctor, the supermarket, and the animal shelter where she volunteers.

Without books on the brain, I've been tackling some long overdue household organization. Still a lot to go, but it's a process. Also I'm feeling less nervous about the election, so that's a relief.

So that's what's been going on. Now that we're all caught up here, I hope to be a little more present - mentally and virtually. And hey, on Friday I'll be heading to New York City for KidLitCon! Can't wait to see everyone!

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Technical Difficulties

We have been experiencing technical difficulties here at MotherReader. Pretty much for the month of September, the site has been offline. My tech guy - or spouse - explained that the hosted name wasn't pointing to the blogger site, which also wasn't working, even though I could see it to post. I don't know. But it's fixed now, and I feel a little bad for my absence.

I completely missed announcing the 2012 Cybils panelists, with a special nod to my own team for Fiction Picture Books. So let's knock that out first with a hearty Hooray!!!

I haven't been able to promote KidLitCon in NYC, but I'm hoping that I'll see some friendly faces there. Who's coming? It's going to be fantastic to be at my favorite conference with my favorite people in my favorite city. I think I better bring my favorite wine to round the whole thing out.

If you're in the D.C. area, I can point you to a session from the Fall for the Book festival. I was asked to moderate the Young Adult session discussing "the widening demands for Young Adult fiction — with a focus on fiction that might be considered “too dark” for young adult reader," with guests Kristen-Paige Madonia, author of Fingerprints of You, Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars, Carmen Rodrigues, author of 34 Pieces of You, and Timothy Travaglini, Director of Children’s Acquisitions at Open Road Integrated Media. It's at 4:00 on Sunday at One More Page Books in Arlington. Yes, I'm heading straight from New York to this panel, because I'm a boss.

Hopefully with the site back on track I can follow suit with book-loving posts to come. As the Obama campaign says, Forward!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.

Poetry Friday: I've Lost My Hippopotamus

I've been taking a break here concentrating on the 2012 Cybils ramp-up and getting the girls back at school. But I did have a chance to see a book for Poetry Friday, hosted today at Random Noodling.

I've Lost My Hippopotamus
by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

Greenwillow 2012, review from library copy

I've Lost My HippopotamusGenerally I'm not a big fan of Prelutsky, but I wanted to give this new collection a shot. The cover notes that the book contains more than 100 poems. And that "more than" offers a hint of the problem. It's not exactly 100 poems, which would have set a limit. It's mostly animal poems - with a few exceptions. It's mostly the pun-filled, silly poetry Prelutsky is known for - but there are a few plain, thoughtful haiku which seem like leftovers from If Not for the Cat. All those factors together make this feel like a collection of leftovers, which could have been solved by tighter editing with more consistency. Urbanovic's illustrations add to the light and humorous feel of the poems. The black and white sketch drawings will fit perfectly when this book is turned into a Scholastic paperback sold at book fairs, but seem unfinished in the hardback book with its quality paper and lovely cover. But in a way, none of this matters because kids will like it.

My own problem with Prelutsky is that I rarely find that his poems reach across the wacky, silly, imagined worlds to reflect deeper things - like the Silverstein poems I see as his predessor. In the whole collection, I only connected with this one, and that's because my hamster also died, and I miss her:
The afternoon my hamster died,
I moped around and cried and cried,
Although I readily admit
That I was far from fond of it.
It was a poor, unpleasant pet
That I should probably forget.
it never had a proper name...
I miss it deeply, all the same.
My hamster had annoying ways-
A tendency to sleep for days,
A knack for making noise all night,
A need to gnaw, an urge to bite.
In fact, it bit me more than twice.
It simply wasn't very nice.
Despite these faults, I cried and cried
The afternoon my hamster died.
-Jack Prelutsky
I think it's only right to add that my hamster was very nice and had a name - Cookie. She was particularly cute and social, always looking around for company. As the girls lost interest, she became my little nocturnal friend when I was up too late or couldn't sleep. Like the poem, she also had annoying ways - like dumping food in her wheel and then running in it turning the whole thing into a hamster maraca - and I cried when she was gone.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.