Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Babymouse vs. Math!

A nice review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER from a different angle than usual, via the blog Math Hombre:

... Babymouse is a math-hater, because she is bad at it. Her teacher, shockingly, starts her on her adventure by sending her to be a mathlete. While there is no math per se in the book, it is all about immersion and expectations by the Mathlete coach, and employment and approximation on Babymouse's part. And all with excellent connections and fantasies of our great fantasies, Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Potter. A homerun all around. My only unrequited wish - more actual math. All that for only $6 at Amazon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Babymouse's character

I came across a post by Joy Simpson of the Devon (UK??) Primary Strategy Literacy Team, "Using Graphica in Literacy."

I loved this:

... I decided to do a bit of reading of graphica. I chose BabyMouse - Puppy Love by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm as I was interested in those that were written with girls in mind, and Clan Apis by Jay Hosler....

BabyMouse is written in black and white with shades of pink used throughout.... A character study of BabyMouse would be interesting. Self-centred is my opinion but the clues to this are really quite subtle. I am hooked!

Yes, it's true. When you think carefully about her, Babymouse can come across as a bit self-centered.

(But then, what kid doesn't?)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tomie dePaola!

A lovely couple in Western Massachusetts with an unpronounceable name (no, that's wrong--it's easy to pronounce; just impossible to spell) has helped organize a birthday tribute to the fabulous Tomie dePaola, who has turned a quite respectable seventy-five years of age!!

The tribute web site, Three Kisses for Tomie (if you don't catch the reference, go read Strega Nona and come back), collects Tomie tribute art from a few all-stars of children's book art, plus me.

I first met Tomie in Dallas, Tex. I was there for a library conference, just a brief few days after my father's funeral. Needless to see, not the Best Time Ever. But I ran into Jarrett Krosoczka, who, having heard what happened, went out of his way to make me laugh and feel better, at least for the evening. And he brought me back to the hotel bar to sit and hang with Tomie de Paola, who carried on in his usual marvelous way, laughing and joking with his knowing, squinting little gnome-face. He told me scandalous rumors about other children's authors, and I forgot all about my troubles and, for the first time, felt like an insider, like I was actually a part of the children's book author/illustrator community.

It was pretty awesome. So I'll always be grateful to Jarrett, and to Tomie.

Go see the artwork!

Here's my contribution:

I also love "Arrangement in Grey and Black" (AKA "Whistler's Strega Nona") by Erin Eitter Kono:

Friday, September 11, 2009

The nicest fan letter ever ...

My sister received the following fan letter from a young Indian gentleman today:

My Dear Madam,

With due respect and humble submission, I beg to draw your kind attention that this is one of my countless attempts to reach you, and needless to say once again that I am an ardent admirer of yours. In fact, I am growing accustomed to your books.

But now, it seems to me that you have decided,not to reply my letters of deep admiration, as this is one of my countless attempts to reach you. Please tell me, is it good to break the heart, you are ruling?It's a pity! it's a pity! that I am still writing to you. In fact, you are my source of inspiration. That is why, I use to write to time and again despite your apathy towards me. Upon my words, you are absolutely unique and beyond compare. And you are my ideal of a perfect personality.

Therefore, I'll be grateful to you, if you please take the trouble of sending me your much awaited and cherished autographed photograph, for memento. Because when I'll grow too old to dream, I'll have this memento of yours, to remember. Please take a very good care of yourself.

With high regards

S.K.[name removed]

Sanjay Kumar [name removed]
[Address Removed]
West Bengal

Wow. Now THAT's how you write a fan letter!

So, here you go, Sanjay:

PS--Alas, we are not his only love.

Libri Dilectio reviews BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER

'brarian blogger Becky reviewed BABYMOUSE DRAGONSLAYER over at Libri Dilectio:

... I highly recommend this hilarious series, especially Dragonslayer! I LOVE BABYMOUSE! It's great that she's a cute girl mouse who loves pink hearts and cupcakes, but always imagines herself as the character having the adventures. She casts herself as the knight slaying the dragon, the detective solving the mystery, or the creepy monster, never the damsel in distress. She's probably too cool to hang with me, but I would definitely want to be her friend!

Oh, don't worry. Babymouse is definitely not too cool for anyone--I have it on good authority that she's a total dork.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


A lovely review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER by Melissa over at Book Nut:

Today, I took M across town to Barnes and Noble so she could spend a giftcard she got for her birthday. And while she was killing time figuring out which book to get (or how many), I searched out the newest Babymouse....

Say it with me, people: Babymouse totally rocks!

Babymouse's challenge this time: math.

She flunks a math test, and as retribution (or, rather, extra credit), she is forced to join the mathletes and participate in the upcoming Math Olympics in order to win the Golden Slide Rule. Can she do it? (Of course she can!)
Read the full review!

PW: "Patterson Signs 17-Book Deal with Hachette"

The story is not that James Patterson has just inked a 17-book deal (11 for adults, 6 for young readers—good on him; glad he's still so into the kids' market). But rather, that the deal "will keep him with publisher Hachette through 2012."

Just through 2012?? Good heavens. I'm working flat-out on four books this year; I can't imagine racing through 17 in a little over 2 years.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Wow—a wonderful and rousing review of BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER over at Jen Robinson's Book Page:

... I think this might be the best of the series so far. Certainly it's the most appealing so far for fantasy fans. That's because Babymouse: Dragonslayer is chock-full of references to fantasy sagas, old and new. Where else can you find:
  • A locker that's a portal to another world (complete with fur coats);
  • The Fellowship of the Slide Rule; and
  • A geometry problem involving the flight of a boy and a dragon?
Short answer: nowhere else. (There's also a wonderful Harry Potter reference, but I don't want to spoil it.) Babymouse: Dragonslayer is full to the brim with creativity and fun.

...There are swords. There are dragons. There are math problems. There are cupcakes. What more could anyone ask? Jenni Holm and Matt Holm are far, far from phoning it in with this series. Babymouse: Dragonslayer is my favorite yet. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Graphic Novels for Kids: the late-2009 edition

In an article on SLJ entitled, "Good & Plenty: It used to be hard to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. My, how times have changed.", Peter GutiĆ©rrez writes:

Just a couple of years ago, it was tough to find good graphic novels for the K–4 crowd. Sure, there were some standout selections, such as Andy Runton's Owly, Jimmy Gownley's Amelia Rules!, and Jennifer and Matt Holm's Babymouse, but they were lonely exceptions in a barren landscape. Things quickly changed when publishers realized that the same set that reads (and buys) picture books might also be drawn to graphic novels. Plus, what about the younger brothers and sisters of tween and teen manga readers or superhero fans? Weren't they also a potential new market for graphic novels?

These days, children's book and comics publishers offer tons of graphic novels for young readers. In fact, now there are probably too many choices, which, of course, is a nice problem to have.
He goes on to give a nice round-up of recent offerings that stand on their own (eschewing series, largely) and have been mostly overlooked. Certainly, a good Fall/Winter graphic novel reading list.