Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Little Crooked Bookshelf

A Taro Gomi Christmas Book

This week's pick is from Cottager Jamie Michalak.

What it's all about ...
When Santa has so many presents to deliver, and so little time, he makes snap decisions and chucks a gift into each recipient's window. The trouble is he's moving too quickly to see who really lives in each house!

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf …
This is no ordinary Santa. He's a cool, mustached dude in pink--and he flies a helicopter! Also, Taro Gomi is the creator of Everyone Poops, one of my favorites. Presents Through the Window is just as surprising, adorable, and funny. 

My favorite lines …
Ohh, look at those scary crocodile teeth!
I'll just toss him this extra-large sweater. 

My favorite illustration…

From PRESENTS THROUGH THE WINDOW. Illustration copyright 2016 by Taro Gomi.

Why kids will love it ...
Because they'll be in the know, unlike Santa! Die-cut windows frame who Santa thinks he sees inside of each room, but when kids turn the pages, they'll discover the hilarious true identities of the gifts' recipients. 

Why grown-ups will love it ...
An unusual Christmas book promising lots of laughs and a gentle lesson in slowing down this holiday season.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Little Crooked Bookshelf


words by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Chris Turnham

This week's pick is from cottager Kara LaReau.

What it's all about
Charles' brother and sister say there's no such thing as a wish tree. But he sets out to find one anyway with his loyal friend (and sled), Boggan. Along the way, Charles comes to the aid of a series of woodland creatures — and when night falls and Charles grows too tired to go on, the animals in the forest come together to help Charles fulfill his quest.

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf…
Kyo Maclear has created a lovely, lyrical wintry tale, with magical illustrations from Chris Turnham.

My favorite lines…
"La-di-da-di-da-di-daaaa," sang Charles.
"Whishhhhh," sang Boggan.
They had the whole day ahead of them.
The whole day to find a wish tree.

My favorite illustration…

Why kids will love it…
It's an exciting adventure about a young boy setting out in search of a magical tree — and it ends with a delicious midnight feast!

Why grown-ups will love it…

It offers a lovely lesson about kindness, generosity, and community, one worth sharing now more than ever.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mr. Pig Live . . . with Toby! + a TOBY Literary Lunch!

Happy Friday, folks! I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a heartwarming, feel good episode.

And that's just what we have for you today.

Please welcome today's friendly, four-legged and furry guest…



Toby is the real life pooch who inspired Hazel Mitchell's picture book of the same name.  

First, let's watch this very charming clip. . .

Ahh, what a sweet story. Okay, Toby, hop up on the couch so we can have a chat. Good boy, Toby.

(Note, the transcript for this interview has been translated from woofs to human, by our trusty canine translators.)

What is your full name?

What one word best describes you?

What is the best thing about being you?
Living with my excellent people.

TOBY. Copyright © 2016 by Hazel Mitchell.
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

What is the worst thing about being you?
I get scared of a lot of things. That makes it hard for me to enjoy things, sometimes.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?

Glad you didn't say bacon. What is your idea of the perfect day?
Wake up. Run around the garden. Get a cuddle. Nap. Wake up. Run around the garden. Get a snack (pepperoni). Nap. Have supper. Run around the garden. Get a cuddle. Bedtime.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Find homes for all the animals without people of their own.

What are you reading right now?
Because of Winn Dixie.

What is your favorite word?

TOBY. Copyright © 2016 by Hazel Mitchell.
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

What is you least favorite word?

What is your favorite sound?
Daddy’s car drawing up.

What is your least favorite sound?

Share one thing that most of our readers don’t know about you.
I was lost for eight days in wildest Maine.

If you could dine with three characters from other books, who would they be?
Snoopy, Lassie, Winn Dixie.

If you have a pocket, what is in it right now?

What is your most embarrassing moment?
The time when I was running fast, fast, fast and ran into a lawn chair and the cat was watching.

What is your pet peeve?
When my sister, Lucy, steals my hidden snacks. It’s so rude.

Quite. What was it like working with Hazel Mitchell?
She is pretty good. She draws me just right. I gave her a bit of help on the layout of my book, but otherwise it was ok. She always has pepperoni to share. Making books makes you hungry!

Speaking of hungry, we have a very special TREAT for you, Toby. Nina, from Mamabelly, has made you your very own Literary Lunch! While we roll the credits, follow me to the kitchen.  

TOBY by Hazel Mitchell
Publisher - Candlewick Press
(September 2016)
ISBN: 978-0763680930

"Inspired by her own dog’s adoption story, illustrator Mitchell’s ... first book as author centers on a boy who has moved into a new neighborhood with his (presumably single) father...The highlight of this getting-to-know-you tale is Mitchell’s visual channeling of her characters’ emotions, both human and canine."
— Publishers Weekly

"Toby is a pleasing pup."
— Kirkus

"The book’s warmth and appeal come from the artwork. Pencil drawings are tinted with a soft palate of watercolor washes and digitally added colors. And while the soft browns, blues, greens, and grays create a subdued, rather melancholy tone throughout the book, both the boy and his lovable dog are smiling by the final scene."
— Booklist

Hazel Mitchell has illustrated numerous books for children. Toby is her author-illustrator debut. Originally from Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Maine with her husband and a brave rescue poodle named Toby, whose eight-day disappearance drew national attention when the story was shared across social media

[TOBY. Copyright © 2016 by Hazel Mitchell. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.]



Meet TOBY, the star of Hazel Mitchell's new heartwarming book about a boy, a rescue dog and the challenges to grow into a family. The book is based on the author's own experience of rescuing her dog Toby.

Nina from made a lovable lunch to match:
  • grapes with Toby's name (although never feed your dog grapes!)
  • ham with a (dog) friend
  • cucumber and carrot hearts representing the love between Toby and the boy
  • animal crackers for the other shelter dogs waiting to be adopted
  • and a Toby cream cheese sandwich
Want more fun literary lunch ideas? Follow Mamabelly here:
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* twitter: @LunchesWithLove

Monday, November 7, 2016

Little Crooked Bookshelf

by Elise Hurst

This week's pick is from Cottager Jamie Michalak.

What it's all about ...
Imagine a city where lions read books, bunnies and bears ride bicycles, and the world has no edges. Join two children as they embark on an adventure of imagination and possibility.

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf …
It's almost impossible not to get lost in Elise Hurst's rich, dreamy illustrations. Readers will find lots of stories and surprises on every page.

My favorite lines …
Where buses are fish
and the fish fly the sky

My favorite illustration …
From IMAGINE A CITY. Illustration copyright 2016 by Elise Hurst.

Why kids will like it …
Imagine a City is an open invitation to daydream, and it's fun to find favorite creatures hidden in its pages.

Why parents will like it …
The perfect book for sharing. Parents and children can take turns finding stories in the illustrations and telling them.