Monday, July 28, 2008

Mouse vs. Maus

Can you learn all you need to know about Graphic Novels by reading just two books? If one of them is mine, then the answer is yes—yes you can. Absolutely.

(...or...not.)

Anyhoo, a blogger recently mentioned how Babymouse and Maus are her go-to graphic novel recommendations:

But since I was a kid, I haven't been into comic books very much, so when people ask me to recommend a good graphic novel I find myself offering up one of two choices. Choices that have only one thing in common--mice. Both comics have mice as the main characters. Baby Mouse is by Jennifer (writer) and Matthew (illustrator) Holms. Baby Mouse is fun, funny and just wants straight whiskers. Most of us can identify with Baby Mouse. This series is aimed at the younger set--3rd and 4th graders but if you pick up a copy, I promise you that you will enjoy it.

The other end of the spectrum is Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Speigelman. Maus recounts the story of Speigelman's father during the Holocaust. In 1992 it won a Special Pulitzer Prize Award--that is how good it is. For some reason graphic novels are very good at tapping into our raw emotions and bypassing the analytical mind. Maus hits hard and is extremely powerful. Read this one when you need a dose of humanity.

Babymouse at Media Macaroni

Just came across a 3-week-old post at Media Macaroni, in which the author describes her first impressions of reading Babymouse:

Babymouse, My New Hero

On out last trip to the library, an 8-year-old took it upon herself to find books that Olive and I might enjoy. She recommended her very favorite series, Babymouse, a line of graphic novels by brother-sister creators Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. The books looked pretty appealing, so I took a couple home.

As I was part way through the first book, Babymouse: Queen of the World, some hairs on the back of my feminist mommy neck began to stand on end. Babymouse envied the popular girl at school, Felicia Furrypaws, and would do anything to get invited to her party. Same old story, right? Then Babymouse starts having these imaginary episodes - battling a giant squid, commanding a spacecraft, riding through the old west, impersonating Cinderella and Frankenstein - and the book comes to life with this delightful character. Turns out our Babymouse is a great role model for girls.
Aww, shucks.
Reading through these books you can imagine that there was a pitch meeting where Babymouse was presented as Captain Underpants for girls.
Geez. I wish we had thought of that. We might have sold the book to a publisher a lot faster.

BIG NEWS: United Media Licensing Signs Babymouse!

Yes, a big announcement I've kept under wraps for many, many months:

We've signed a contract with the great United Media Licensing to pursue Babymouse merchandise deals! Wooo-hooooo! Here's the text of the press release:

UNITED MEDIA SIGNS THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOK SERIES BABYMOUSE

Popular Black and Pink Graphic Novel Series for Girls Currently Boasts Eight Titles with Two Additional Titles Planned for Release Each Year

New York (July 26, 2008) - United Media (UM), a leading licensing and syndication company announced today the addition of the critically acclaimed Babymouse series from creators Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm to its current portfolio. Effective immediately, UM will assume agency representation for Babymouse merchandise and work with the creators to develop a comprehensive program in the U.S. and Canada. This program will target 6 – 11-year-old girls, as well as older girls who are young at heart. Initial focus will be on apparel, accessories, stationery, gift, back-to-school, interactive, toy, and craft.

With eight titles currently in the market and an additional two titles planned for release each year going forward, the Babymouse graphic novels have quickly cultivated a loyal following among young readers, parents and educators alike. Babymouse is available wherever books are sold.

“Babymouse is sassy and funny,” said Joshua Kislevitz, SVP Domestic Licensing at United Media. “She’s one of a kind. Coupled with a trend-forward comic-style look, Babymouse is a unique and exciting brand for girls today.”

“It’s incredibly exciting to be working with the people who bring Peanuts to the marketplace,” said Jennifer Holm, who, along with her brother Matthew, is the co-creator of Babymouse. "We're tickled pink to be in such terrific company!"


About Babymouse
Babymouse lives in two worlds. In her day-to-day existence, she longs for excitement and travel. What she gets are dodgeball games, a recalcitrant locker, and garbage detail at home. In her dream world, though, Babymouse assumes secret identities, solves mysteries, and generally wins the praise and adulation of her peers. Babymouse has an active imagination, one that frequently gets her into tough situations at school and at home. Somehow she manages to triumph by the end of each story and stay true to herself. For more information visit www.babymouse.com.


About the Creators
Jennifer L. Holm is a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a New York Times bestselling children’s author. Jenni loved reading as a child and would even rake the lawn while reading a book. She won a Newbery Honor for her first novel, Our Only May Amelia, which was inspired by her father's family stories. She is the author of several other highly praised novels, including the Boston Jane trilogy, and Penny From Heaven, which won a Newbery Honor in 2007 and was a New York Times bestseller.

Matthew Holm is the co-creator of the Babymouse series of graphic novels from Random House Children’s Books. He is also a professional graphic designer and the Consulting Creative Director for Hot Knife Design, Inc., of Boston, Mass. Prior to working on Babymouse, Matt spent eight years writing about kitchens (among other topics) for Country Living Magazine. He currently lives in Portland, Ore., with his wife and dog.


About United Media
United Media is a worldwide licensing and syndication company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content. The company recently partnered with HISTORY, the award-winning cable network, as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent for the brand and its acclaimed programming that includes the popular Ice Road Truckers series. United Media licenses and/or syndicates other properties, including Peanuts, Hallmark’s hoops&yoyo and Maxine, Dirty Dancing, Televisa’s El Chavo, Deadliest Catch, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Precious Moments, Dilbert, and Fancy Nancy. United Media is an E. W. Scripps Company. For more information, visit www.unitedmedialicensing.com.

Jennifer Holm on the Dian Rehm Show: Podcast available

Well, not the podcast so much as the RealAudio and Windows Media stream. In any event, if you missed Jenni's appearance on the Diane Rehm Show last week, in which she and the other guests discussed Anne of Green Gables, then you can catch it now at this link. (Click on "Listen to this segment" on the right of that page.) Amusing in light of the recent Anne of Green Gables/No Strong Heroines flap.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"A Scurry of Mouse Books"

Well, at least SOME mothers aren't up-in-arms about the proliferation of filthy, dirty, disease carriers.

Scholastic Books blogger Librarian Mom wrote a post called, "Long May They Squeak: A Scurry of Mouse Books," in which she gushed about the marvelous history of mouse-themed books for kids. (Including Babymouse, natch.)

Babymouse. Or rather, Babymouse! Lover of cupcakes and books! Master of living inside her own head, because it is so much more interesting and exciting than dull old everyday reality! Cartoon heroine for the ages! Or at least, for about ages 6-9, especially those who like graphic novels. By Jennifer and Matthew Holm.

Babymouse takes the cake ... via Martha Stewart!

Jenni came across an incredible Babymouse: Beach Babe cake on MarthaStewart.com:


The killer cake (sculptural cupcake?) was created by Bethann Goldberg of Studio Cake in Menlo Park, Calif.


Go, Babymouse! Go, Bethann! (And happy birthday, Adele!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Babymouse at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

It's a few months after the debut, but I just got some materials back from the museum, and it jogged my memory:

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is running a year-long exhibit (through May 3, 2009) called Comic Book Heroes. We gave them some Babymouse materials and commentary to use in the exhibit, and I see that it was put to use in the exhibit's teachers' study guide (PDF). It has a couple of nice lessons, so I'll be adding this to my TLA resources page, too.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Quick recap of Jennifer Holm at BYU symposium

Jenni was in Utah this weekend for the 21st BYU Symposium of Books for Young Readers. The diligent blogger SherMeree wrote a recap of all of the speakers' presentations:

Jennifer Holm (in her pink dress and mouse ears) gave credit (or blame) for the inspiration of a couple of her stories to her mother. Her mother and grandmother gave Ms. Holm the idea for Penny from Heaven (one of my favorite books.) Her mother is a pack rat and has kept tons of stuff in her basement that inspired the Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf: A Year Told through Stuff. The new Baby Mouse is orange for Halloween. And I loved the pink bike her husband gave her. She told us that her husband loves it when she researches materials for her books, because one of the things she likes to do is try out the food from the region, country or time period her book is placed in. She tried out some dishes from the historical Boston Jane series. She thought her attempt was disgusting, but her husband chowed it down. She wanted to try out of the Italian dishes from her Italian side of her family (read Penny From Heaven), but her aunts don't share well, let alone write anything down.
Sigh. Those pesky, old-school Italian aunts of ours!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Random online Babymouse sightings, plus CUPCAKES!

I came across (via Google News Alerts) a couple of Babymouse mentions online.

First up is a library Reader of the Week recognized by the Albert Lea (Minnesota) Tribune:

Claire Jones, Reader of the Week
That's Claire Jones, about whom we learn the following:

Claire Jones is 9 years old and will be in fourth grade at Lakeview School. Her parents are Brady and Wendy Jones and she has two brothers Ben, 13, and Daniel, 11. She has a dog named Buddy and her favorite things to do are paint and shop. Her favorite book is “Camp Babymouse” by Jennifer and Matthew Holm. She likes the whole series because the books are funny and have good stories in them and she likes the authors.
Go, Claire! (And if she has a dog named "Buddy," wait until she gets to Babymouse: Puppy Love!)

Then, I came across the Cooking With The Kids blog, the authors of which are participating in the latest Web meme (read: chain letter):
We've Been Tagged!
How funny - our mom tagged us! Even though she already knows all this stuff about us, she thought it would be nice if we shared this with our readers. And we thought she was the only one that read our blog!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up
Cooking Kid Sabrina noted, as one of her random facts:
3. Babymouse series books are my favorite - the books are about a middle-school aged mouse named "Babymouse", and she loves cupcakes, surfing and reading.
Cooking with the Kids finally led me to the site Cupcake Hero. It's like Iron Chef, only with cupcakes. Check out the dee-lish-looking recipes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Milton Canadian Champion tells kids to get lost

... um, in a book, that is.

The article, "Get your child lost in a good book," recommends, among many other books, the Babymouse series:

... Graphic novels have become very popular, and there are many different series available now in both the children's and YP areas. Some popular titles include: Megaman NT Warrior; Hardy Boys, Undercover Brothers; Nancy Drew, Girl Detective; Bone by Jeff Smith, Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley, Babymouse by Jennifer Holm and Goosebumps Graphix by R. L. Stine.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guess where I'm going ... the airport!

Since I see that the Kidlitosphere Conference is taking place a scant few miles from my house, I guess I can't help but go. To be honest, it'll be a nice change to go to the airport without a 12-hour transcontinental travel day involved.

Jennifer Holm on Diane Rehm Show 07/23/2008

Attention NPR-ophiles:

My sister, Jenni, is going to be a guest on the Diane Rehm Show next Wednesday, July 23, 2008 (11am ET). The segment is about Anne of Green Gables; Jenni, who wrote an introduction to an edition of Anne of Avonlea some years ago, will be discussing how the book influenced her own writing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Akron Suburbanite recommends Babymouse for summer reading

Erika Irwin of the Ohio-based paper The Akron Suburbanite mentions Babymouse as a good choice for summer reading in her article, "A summer fun reading list:"

... A new trend in books that may help reluctant readers is the graphic novel. Children’s librarian Jen Welsh at the Lake Branch of Stark County Library has a display of the books available. Many books such as the Babysitters Club by Ann M. Matthews and Goosebumps by R.L. Stine are now available in comic book form. A new series entitled Baby Mouse by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm is also very appealing.