Thursday, July 7, 2016

Our Summer Plans, and a THANK YOU!

The Cottagers have left the building—but don't worry, it's just for the summer. We'll be back in September with a full schedule of all your favorite features: Mr. Pig Live, Literary Lunch, Behind-the-Book, Little Crooked Bookshelf, Quote of the Week, Studio Visits and more.

Head on over to our pal Dylan Teut's blog to see previews of new releases coming in fall/winter 2016 and 2017. We hope to feature a whole bunch of them in the Cottage next season.

And speaking of new releases, Kara, Anika and Jamie all have new books out this summer! So in addition to lounging on the beach, reading in hammocks and roasting marshmallows under the stars, we'll be on the road meeting readers! We hope you'll come out and celebrate with us at one of our upcoming events.

Here's what we've got cooking:

Kara's LaReau

"Hi, friends! My summer's looking busy, busy, busy, as I have three projects in the works — a revision for the second book in the Unintentional Bland Sisters trilogy, a new chapter book I'm preparing for submission, and a contemporary middle grade novel I'm drafting. When (and if!) I have any downtime this summer, I'm hoping to enjoy some fun in the sun with my family, including some quality time with my toes in the sand, both here and in our favorite vacation spot, Camden, Maine.

Last but not least, my new chapter book series, The Infamous Ratsos, launches on August 2nd! Check out my calendar of appearances on my website — hope I'll be seeing you!"


Anika Denise

Happy Denises in Oxford, MD!
On sale 7/12/16 HarperCollins

"Fresh off attending the amazing ALAAC16 in Orlando, I'm rolling into a vacation with my family on the eastern shore of Maryland—one of our favorite spots to kick back, swim, kayak, grab a bushel of crabs and a bucket of beer (root beer for the kids) and RELAX. Which is great, because after the week off, I'll be gearing up for the launch of a new picture book, MONSTER TRUCKS, and the release of BAKING DAY AT GRANDMA'S in a new, super-sweet board book edition.

I'm really looking forward to attending the CHILDREN'S BOOK CELEBRATION at the QUEENS MUSEUM on July 10th, as well as celebrating the launch of MONSTER TRUCKS at two great events: THE HARVARD COOP on July 13th  and  BARRINGTON BOOKS on July 16th.

If you're in the neighborhood, please swing by and say hi. I'd love to meet you! You can visit my author site for details on these and other upcoming events.

Vroom, vroom! Hope to see you soon!"

Jamie Michalak

Taming the Beast

"When not working my day job at Hasbro, I'll be frolicking in the sun, reading a stack of creepy mysteries, and binge-watching "The Good Wife." I'll also attempt to tame my unwieldy WIP, a 97,000-word-and-counting novel I started too long ago to admit without weeping. Will this be the summer I finally whip it into shape?! Yes. Yes, I say!

Soon I'll be gearing up for the publication of four NEW books, including Joe and Sparky, Party Animals! But more on that later. . . . Happy lazy summer to you!"

Mr. Pig

Piggy Bahama
"It's a summer of travel for me! First stop is NYC, to see Hamilton! (If you're wondering how I got tickets, let's just say, it helps to be a world renowned pig.)

Cowtown Rodeo Giant Cowboy
Next, I plan to visit the Brandywine River Museum's exhibition: GET THE PICTURE! CONTEMPORARY CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATION. I'll drop in on some relatives who live on a farm down there, then head to New Jersey to see my friend Midge, who's performing a limited engagement at the Cowtown Rodeo, 'the oldest weekly running rodeo in the USA.'

I'll spend the remaining weeks on the road, reading, making notes in my travel journal, and doing research for a new cookbook I'm writing, titled Chicken, the Only White Meat. (Porcine Chef Press 2017). See you in September!"

We want to thank everyone who visited the Cottage this year and took the time to read and comment. An extra special thanks goes out to our guest contributors who shared their time and talents with us.

Josh Funk
Brendan Kearney
Audrey Vernick
Maria Gianferrari
Thyra Heder
Ellen Potter
Kelly DiPucchio
Eric Wight
Samantha Berger
Mitali Rose Perkins
Deb Pilutti
Tara Lazar
Troy Cummings
Laurel Snyder
Linda Ashman
Nancy Tupper Ling
Stephanie Ruble
Jessica Haight
Stephanie Robinson
Megan Maynor
Rosalinde Bonnet
Tim Miller
Julie Falatko
Joyce Wan
Trisha Speed Shaskan
Stephen Shaskan
Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Wendy BooydeGraff
Bryan Langdo
Lindsay M. Ward
Elizabeth Rose Stanton
Megan E. Bryant


Friday, June 17, 2016

The Little Crooked Bookshelf

When Green Becomes Tomatoes
Poems for All Seasons
by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad 

This week's pick is from Cottager Jamie Michalak.

What it's all about ...

A celebration of the seasons -- from the "tiny, blue hello" of a crocus blooming in the snow to "berry hands and berry knees," from "waiting for sweaters" to cozy, snowy days when "the house sounds like slippers."

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf … 
Because it's a swoon-worthy picture book. Julie Fogliano's spare, child-friendly poems are sprinkled with gentle humor and pair perfectly with Julie Morstad's inviting art. You'll want to linger on every page.

My favorite lines …
and if a firefly
should one night appear
suddenly in your bedroom
flickering you out of awake
and well into dreaming
don't forget 
that even small things
lost but still glowing
love a small, whispered thank you

My favorite illustrations …

From WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano. Illustration copyright 2016 by Julie Morstad.
From WHEN GREEN BECOMES TOMATOES by Julie Fogliano. Illustration copyright 2016 by Julie Morstad.

Why kids will love it …
They'll recognize themselves in every poem and find lots to look forward to all year long.

Why grown-ups will love it …
The poems celebrate nature and the joy of simple moments. They're also organized by date, so you can read aloud one at a time according to the calendar, if you're the organized sort -- or all in one sitting. Perhaps at the beach with plums and peanut butter sandwiches a "bit salty and warm from the sun?"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Summer Reading List... and a Giveaway!

School's out (or will be soon) for many of us, so that means it's time to share the Cottage's summer reading list — a list of the books we're looking forward to curling up with — on the beach, in a hammock, or tucked into a sleeping bag, with a flashlight.

Plus, we have a special guest in the Cottage, author Maria Gianferrari, to tell us about her new book (perfect for summer reading) Penny & Jelly Slumber Under The Stars, illustrated by Thyra Heder. 

Leave a comment in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy! 

On sale June 14, 2016; HMH Books for Young Readers 

Maria is a favorite guest and frequent visitor to the Cottage, so we asked her to fill in our familiar Crooked Bookshelf questions about Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars. Take it away, Maria!

What it's all about:
"Penny's invited to a sleepover under the stars party at the local recreation center. She's really excited to go, but then she learns no pets are allowed. She tries making pretend Jellys, but when she discovers that there's no substitute for the real Jelly, Penny finds a solution."

My favorite line(s):
"My favorite lines are the last lines of the book: 'Penny slumbered under a constellation of friends, surrounded by a galaxy of Jellys. Even though only one of them was just right.' And Thyra’s art makes them even more meaningful and touching."

My favorite illustration:

"I love Thyra’s art for both Penny & Jelly books, but one of my favorites has to be the bedroom spread early in the book where Penny is pointing out constellations to Jelly. Once again, Thyra has included such lovely details: Penny’s purple pawprint pajamas, the dog star, Sirius in constellation Canis Major, glowing on the ceiling, the bright blue color palette, Penny’s star quilt."

Why kids will love it:
"I hope they will love it! Who wouldn’t want to slumber under some stars with their favorite animal friends? I think they’ll also like the funny Jellys that Penny makes. Thyra outdid herself with these!"

Why grow-ups will love it:
"It’s a sweet friendship story, and Penny is loyal to her canine BFF, Jelly. What I love about Penny is her dogged (ha-ha!) determination—she’s creative, resourceful and a problem solver. These are all admirable qualities that parents would love to see in their own kids."

We can't wait to read it, Maria!  (Readers, don't forget to comment below to enter to win a copy!)


Here are a few more books we can't wait to get our hands on this summer.

From Kara . . .

The Blobfish Book by Jessica Olien 
"Because nothing says summer like ocean facts presented by a very ugly (misunderstood) sea creature."

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner 
"Kate Messner is a master storyteller; I can’t wait to dive into her latest, in which a young girl can’t seem to get her family’s attention…until she manages to catch a magic fish that grants her wishes."

Sea Change by Frank Viva 
"I love Frank Viva’s picture books; looking forward to reading this story for older readers, about a boy sent to spend the summer with family in a remote fishing village in Nova Scotia, and how he eventually finds a place for himself there."

From Jamie . . . 

Monster Trucks by Anika Denise; 
illustrated by Nate Wragg;
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau; illustrated by Matt Meyers;
Project (Un)Popular by Kristen Tracy
"Because ... duh." 

The Inn Between by Marina Cohen
"My idea of heavenly summer reading is a big stack of dark and creepy middle grade mysteries, such as The Night Gardener, the Lockwood & Co. series, The Greenglass House, and Nooks & Crannies. So this tale about two best friends who stay in a frightening, old Victorian hotel is high on my to-read list."

Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen
"Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. Until Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. But Peter rebels, and makes the long trek to find his dear pet. I've been hearing glowing praise for Pax since it pubbed, and am looking forward to reading it—with a box of Kleenex handy."

This is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter
"This book had me at 'Giselle Potter.' And 'dollhouse.' And descriptions like this one. Yes, please."

From Anika . . .

Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd; illustrated by Abigail Halpin
"I believe summers were made for long stretches of unstructured time outdoors. Finding Wild beautifully celebrates that spirit."

Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson
"I was a city kid who went off to my grandma's house in upstate New York every summer, so I'm especially looking forward to reading about Annie, who takes a similar journey from the Big Apple to rural New York, where she meets a free-spirited girl named California. I love a classic friendship story, and this one is told in the perfect summer setting."  

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Sonny Liew 
"My daughter and I have been checking out more and more graphic novels from the library recently. This one, by children's literature ambassador Gene Luen Yang, is next on our list. It's a revival of the original 1940's comic book series about The Green Turtle, the first Asian superhero." 

What are you looking forward to reading this summer? We'd love to know. Tell us below for a chance to win Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars by Maria Gianferrari!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Little Crooked Bookshelf

Best Frints in the Whole Universe 
by Antoinette Portis

This week's pick is from cottager Kara LaReau.

What it's all about

Yelfred and Omek have been best frints since they were little blobbies. But can their “frintship” survive life on planet Boborp, where teef are long and tempers are short?

Why it's on The Little Crooked Bookshelf…

This book delighted me when I caught a glimpse of it at ALAMW this year. Now that I’ve had the chance to take a closer look, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Antoinette Portis has created a funny, fresh tribute to the trials and tribulations of friendship. And as ever, her illustrations are out-of-this-world.

My favorite lines…
SO HARD TO CHOOSE. Here’s just a sampling, from a falling-out between Yelfred and Omek:

“YOU SCHMACKLED MY SPOSSIP, you double-dirt bleebo!”

“Go jump in the peedle pit! YOU ARE NOT MY FRINT!”

My favorite illustration…

Why kids will love it…

Hilarious illustrations and playful language; this book’s more fun than a game of “eyeball in the peedle pit.” (A Boborpian tradition, along with “eating a nice yunch” and sharing “blurfday gifts.”)

Why grown-ups will love it…

Underneath all the funny, this book offers a sweet lesson in how even the best friendships (and frintships) can hit rough patches and still be mended.