Saturday, August 24, 2013

Some great graphic novels for young kids

Hi all! Is it just me or have there been a lot of terrific graphic novels for young kids lately? I thought I'd put up a random and incomplete selection of some of our current faves (because "random" and "incomplete" is easier than "exhaustive" and "organized").

Clementine is four, and we've read all of these with her. A few of them require some selective altering of words while reading aloud, but none have anything big or visually violent or disturbing.

In no particular order ...

On the very gentle end of the spectrum, here's a silly, wonderful story about friendship and quirkiness. Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Sara Varon. It gives us the giggles :-)

This isn't new, but we love Bake Sale, written & illustrated by Sara Varon. Another sweet and gentle story of friendship. Conflict-free. With recipes :-) It's just so pleasant. Perfect for really littles.

Jim Henson's The Storyteller. I guess this was a TV show that I totally missed in the late 80s? How did that happen? *shrug* Anyway, the book is a gem. An anthology of nine stories by different writers and artists (some gorgeous art), some a tad mature for the wee ones, but only a tad. Mostly they're a delight. Clementine adores them, and so do we.

The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz (who is German and lives in London). A sweet tale of a trio of sheep who walk in dreams to rescue children from their nightmares. As the story begins, they are old and just beginning to create apprentices to replace themselves when they retire. For instance, an old quilt finds new life as a bear, because the little boy who owned it used to wrap himself up in it and pretend to be one. It's a unique story, offbeat, poignant, and pretty deep. 

Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell. A fun one! The premise here is that in the fantastical 1860s England in which it is set, every town has its own monster, which terrorizes it ... to the delight of the townspeople. Basically, having a good monster is a source of civic pride, not to mention a tourist draw. But Stoker-on-Avon isn't so lucky. Their monster's depressed sighs can be heard all the way in town, and he isn't scary in the least. Until a discredited doctor and a street urchin set about trying to help him get his mojo back ... discovering along the way that the monsters serve a much more important function than scaring their town, and that is protecting it. 

For something a little different ... Sundarkaand: Trimph of Hanuman, for those of you who've been wanting to start your kids on the Ramayana :-) From India's Campfire Comics, this is just beautiful, and though *some* judicious editing is called for while reading aloud to the littlest, it's a big action epic refreshingly free of death and blood. The art is beautiful, and it's just very far from the usual Western fare. There are more in the series. We have Sita, it's gorgeous, but we haven't finished reading it yet. I'm not otherwise providing links, but since this one's tricky to find, here it is at Powells.

(Fun coincidence, the newest movie added to Clementine's very limited repertoire of movies was A Little Princess, the Cuaron version, and the Ramayana is woven into it, if you recall, by way of Sarah's stories. Sita and Ram and Ravana, and the neighbor monkey is even named Hanuman. It was perfectly congruous, to read this when we did. Clementine is going around putting curses on people like Sarah does in the movie, "Rakshasa ..." :-) Also, the book comes with a Hanuman poster, which is now on the wall.)

Though I've posted about these before, another shout out for ...

The Wizard's Tale by Kurt Busiek and David T. Wenzel (Previous post here), a strong favorite, 
and ... 

The Hilda books by Luke Pearson. (Previous post here.) I adore these books. If I had to weed Clementine's library down to a single shelf (the horror!), these would make the cut easily. 

Okay, well there's a few. I'm sure I'll be back with more! These I gathered in Clementine's room in the dark while she was sleeping, and didn't want to dig around too much and wake her up. Cheers!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Wooo! In honor of the paperback release of DAYS OF BLOOD & STARLIGHT in the UK, my British publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, commissioned this very cool "Vox Pops" trailer*, featuring reader-generated content: art, short videos, photos. And it is SO COOL!! 

Thank you so much to everyone who participated and contributed. It will be cool to include all of your names in a special back page of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS! 

Meantime, happy paperback UK birthday to DAYS! Right on time, I got a big box of these in the post yesterday ... 

And then later in the day, these ...

Thank you Kate Howard and Hodder & Stoughton for being AMAZING!!!!

Oh, and I can't leave this out. This also came from Kate the other day:

Marks & Spencer commemorative Royal Baby shortbread tin! Hee hee hee. I love it!

(And the shortbread is delicious!)


*"Vox populi" describes that kind of "man on the street" interview. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fun cloud

Fun cloud this evening all perfectly lined up behind the chimney -- isn't it cool? 

That's all. Good night!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kiddo birthday!

My tiny is four! FOUR! Not so tiny anymore!

We celebrated with friends, trampolines and cake jars* :-)

Wonder Woman jumped wildly!

Clementine had no idea what she wanted for her birthday. She has no covets and wants, I guess. She asked only for "ribbons," which was very sweet and Little House on the Prairie-y :-)

She got a record player, in fact, and lots of vintage kiddo records. She's in love with it, and so are we. It's been YEARS since I had a turntable in the house!

CAKE JARS: so easy, so cute. Just make sheet cake, keeping it kind of thin, then into circles with biscuit cutter. Assemble in jars with layers of frosting between (I used food-colored white cake alternating with chocolate cake, and buttercream frosting, but you could do ANY kind of cake). 

I first tried this last summer when a cake failed to come out of the pan in one piece. Into a jar it went, layered with frosting, and was frozen until a beach picnic came along. And man, was it gooood. It was a single large family-size jar in that case, and we found ourselves referring to it as Cake Jar, without prepositions. As in, "Pass Cake Jar," and soon that carried over to Spoon too. "Give me Spoon so I can dig into Cake Jar." I think it was chocolate drunkenness. 

Anyway, this year it was planned (also I've finally learned my lesson to aaaaalways line my cake pans with parchment, aaaaaalways!). For the tops of the canning jars, cut out circles of scrapbook paper, or custom labels or whatever you want to do. Would be adorable with little toy animals or charms glued to the tops of the jars. Also very cute to tie a ribbon around, attach individual spoons. I had too many cake jars for ribbon-tying (36, no time to tie 36 ribbons, ha!) Easy to transport, to give out, and soooo cute :-)

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