Monday, November 29, 2010

Review #76: Mostly Monsterly

Gracie (age 10):  "Mostly Monsterly" by Tammi Sauer and Scott Magoon.
Lily (age 7):  It's cute.
Gracie:  Hilarious.
Lily:  Bernadette is a monster who isn't very much like a monster.  She could be like a monster, but she doesn't want to be like a monster.
Gracie:  She's blue with freaky hair and really big eyes.  And horns.  And fangs.  She's cute.  For a monster.  But if I saw a kid like that, I'd freak out.
Isaac (age 12):  She can be mean like a monster, but she also likes to do other stuff.  Like picking flowers and making cupcakes and singing songs.  She doesn't really have feelings like a monster.
Gracie:  The book says that Bernadette was nervous when she got to her new school.  But anyone would be nervous at that school.  There are teeth on the gate.
Isaac:  At the monster school she messes everything up.
Gracie:  She's really nice even though she's supposed to be gross.  Nobody likes her because she's not gross.  She sings "Love Me Tender" and gives everyone cupcakes.  But the monsters are like, "Ew! Yuck!"
Lily:  She's too nice.  Everyone else is mean because they are monsters.  Monsters like to eat and growl and scratch.  They like to eat eyeballs.
Gracie:  And bug parts.
Lily:  And fish heads dipped in goo.
Isaac:  Gut blubber.
Dad:  Yech.
Gracie:  Finally she makes everyone cards.  But they are yucky cards, so everyone gives her a big piled-up group hug.  Everybody is dog-piling on top of her.  I think that picture is awesome because there are so many monsters.
Dad:  What did you think about the writing in this book?
Gracie:  The story is hilarious.
Dad:  What's hilarious about it?
Gracie:  Fried snail goo.
Lily:  Eyeball guts.
Gracie:  Eyeballs dipped in hotsauce.
Dad:  Hilarious?  Or disgusting?
Isaac:  Hilarious because it's disgusting.
Dad:  What did you think of the illustrations in this book?
Isaac:  The art is cartoony and simplified.  But not to the point where it is too simple.  Like, the illustrator doesn't really blend the colors together.  They're flat.
Gracie:  But he also puts in lots of details.  Like, you can see the little strands of hair and the little fur on her hands and tail.
Isaac:  So some parts are simplified and some parts are --
Gracie:  Compli-fied.
Dad:  What did you think of the art, Lily?
Lily:  The monsters don't have too big of heads.  Except for one guy.
Gracie:  The monster designs are cute.
Dad:  Do you have a favorite creature?
Lily:  Bernadette is my favorite.
Isaac:  I love that guy!  Goat weirdie!  Goat weirdie!
Gracie:  My favorite guy is a little yellow circle with fly's wings.  One eye.  No mouth.
Isaac:  It's a one-eyed bumblebee.
Lily:  It's cute.
Isaac:  A monster can be anything.
Lily:  What if you could make yourself into whatever kind of monster you wanted to?
Isaac:  My hands would be covered in those little sticky pads like lizards or salamanders have so I could climb up walls.  And I would have horns.  And an extra arm.
Gracie:  I'd give myself 12 arms.
Lily:  I'd make myself just like that little bumblebee thingie.
Gracie:  I love Bernadette's personality.  You can connect to Bernadette.  Actually, each monster has its own personality.  Everyone can find one to connect to.
Dad:  Why, which monster are you most like?
Gracie:  That little bug thing.
Dad:  So guys, how would you sum up this book?
Isaac:  The writing is a mash of monsterlicious mayhem.
Dad:  And the art style?
Gracie:  It's pretty awesome.  It makes my eyes pop right out of my head.
Dad:  The monsters should like that.  Then they can have a snack.
Gracie:  Oh.  Yuck.

Lily meets a monster, by Lily

Goat Weirdie and a scary cupcake, by Isaac

Bernadette and little Bug Thing, by Gracie

Author: Tammi Sauer
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Published, 2010: Simon and Schuster
Like it?  Here it is

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bookie Woogie Returns!

Next Monday, November 29, Bookie Woogie is back!  All new reviews.  Every Monday morning.

If that bit of news makes you happy, we'd love it if you spread the word!

See you then, bright and early!

(And big thanks to Gracie for our announcement picture!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hanging Around the House

Kids tease about the goofiest things.  One day last year Gracie came inside, all upset.  A little neighbor girl told her "Most kids have posters of Hannah Montana up in their room.  You only have paintings by famous artists.  You're weird."  Well, of course we told her not to worry about things other kids say.  And we assured her that in OUR opinion, for whatever it's worth, the Z-Kids' rooms were way cooler than those decked with Hannah Montana decor.  She was mostly upset by the name calling.  She loves her room.

Inspired by the robot drawing in our previous post, I thought today I'd share some of the art that decorates the walls of our home.  Now, I would love to go out and purchase lots of original art.  I dream about it.  But like the factory guys that work day in and out assembling cars they'll never be able to afford themselves, this starving artist isn't likely to be purchasing art any time soon.  We do have some of my own pictures on our walls.  And we've been blessed - incredibly, incredibly blessed - by folks who have shared their artwork with us.  We treasure it.  I thought some of you might get a kick out of seeing a few of the things on our walls...

Signed print from "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan

Signed prints from "Little Panda" by Renata Liwska
(these hang front and center in our living room above the couch)

Original art from a Babybug magazine cover by John Sandford

Top: Original art from Babybug magazine by John Sandford
Bottom, left to right:
Original art by Mike R. Baker
Signed print by Alberto Cerriteño
Postcard by Lori Mcelrath-Eslick
Postcard by Amy Young

Original art from Ladybug magazine by John Sandford

Original sketches by Dan Santat

Update:  Here is some more artwork we've added to our walls since the original post:

Left to right:
Signed poster by Cyd Moore
Original art by Dar Hosta
Original art by Nina Crittenden

 Original art from "My Pony Jack" by Amy Young

Top to bottom:
Original sketch by Cory Godbey
Original art by Adam Rex
Original art by Jarrett Krosoczka

Top: Signed poster by Bill Thomson
Bottom, left to right:
Signed print by Grace Lin
Signed prints by Brook Boynton Hughes

Signed prints by Grace Lin

Do you have any special wall hangings you treasure? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Yellowy Wonder

I thought I'd share a few things related to Bookie Woogie that happened even while Bookie Woogie wasn't happening.  In fact, I've got three, count 'em three, cool things to share...

What's more fun than getting fan art?  How about getting fan art OF your fan art!

You may remember our review of a great book called "Oh No!"  In the story, a giant menacing robot is ultimately defeated by a super-sized frog... a frog that is then seemingly left unchecked to wreak his own havoc.  Well, Isaac decided to design a second robot, a new robot, to go after the frog:

The book's illustrator, Dan Santat, enjoyed Isaac's image so much, that he drew up his own version of Isaac's design!

He shipped the picture to us, and - unbeknownst to Dan - it happened to arrive here the morning of Isaac's birthday!  It's now framed and proudly displayed on Isaac's wall.

Thanks, Dan!

You know of superstar kidlit blogger Tara Lazar, yes?  If not, go check out her fantastic 30 day "Picture Book Idea Month" Challenge (going on this very moment!)  Tara's debut picture book "The Monstore" is in production, set for a 2013 release.  Yea!

Tara and I were exchanging emails a little while ago, and she shared this cool bit of information:
"One of the main characters in THE MONSTORE is named Gracie, like your daughter.  I have to say it was the first name that popped into my head and I think it did because of reading Bookie Woogie.  So, in a way, that character was named after her."
Cool beans!  And congrats on "The Monstore," Tara!

You may remember our review of the first two books in the "Lunch Lady" graphic novel series by Jarrett Krosoczka.  In the review, Gracie had this to say: "It's an action-packed book of yellowy wonder."

The books have been quite successful - in fact, the 5th book in the series, "Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit," is already set for a December 2010 release.  Well, look who's got a blurb displayed on the back of book #5:

Congrats on a great series, Jarrett!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Family Update

It's a funny thing about plans.  I've come to the conclusion that they exist primarily so that things-can't-go-according-to them.

Seeing that same old entry sit here at Bookie Woogie for months bums me out, so I thought I'd freshen up the scene and post a little family update.  When you last heard from us, we were taking a brief hiatus to get a new mystery blog rolling, then Bookie Woogie would be right back.  That was the plan.  But just a few days after I announced the blogging break, our landlords dropped a big surprise.  They were going to sell the house we'd been renting for the last 9 years, and they wanted us out in two months.  Didn't see that coming!  So our summer and fall consisted of house hunting, packing, cleaning, moving, unpacking, and... we're still unpacking.

Of course there was no time for extracurricular pursuits like blogging.  There wasn't even time for necessary pursuits like working in order to put food on the table!  Right now my work hours involve a whole lot of scrambling and catching up.

So about that other blog -- I'd still like to do it, but obviously it's not going to happen in the way I'd hoped - or in the "when."  I'll also get Bookie Woogie reviews going again as soon as I can - but honestly we're still in survival mode at home for a bit longer.  I do want to thank those of you waiting for our return!  (I for one have certainly missed Bookie Woogie!)

To close today's post, I thought I'd provide some literary content by sharing a few bookish photos of the Z-Kids...

Here are Isaac and Gracie in one of their favorite spots at our old house.  If memory serves, I believe Gracie was reading L.M. Montgomery and Isaac had some Kazu Kibuishi.

Elijah and Evangeline are in front of our new bookcases.  We lost a whole wall of built-in shelves at our old place, so this was one of the first purchases we had to make for our new home.

And anyone who really knows Lily knows that Lily really likes ducks!