It's Friday: Whatcha Readin'?

Well, the big news on the picture book front in our house is we finally got the latest Fancy Nancy.  Fancy Nancy: Fanciest Doll in the Universe [by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, Harpercollins, 2013] was Little Sis's pre-K graduation gift from Yours Truly.  The three of us girls snuggled in bed Wednesday night to read it, and Little Sis spent all day yesterday in various states of "fancy" dress.  The missing Fancy Nancy sock was recovered, the little plush Nancy was cuddled...

This is the second BIG Fancy Nancy release since I lost my bookstore job.  Last January, Harpercollins sent my just-closed store an event kit anyway [Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet], which a fellow bookseller and I split between us.  This year's kit looks like it must have been really cool.  I'm sure our remaining big-box store held a Fancy Nancy event, but I just can't bring myself to go there.  I miss doing this stuff myself.  Waaaahhhh...

So in this book, Nancy's little sister, Jo-Jo, in full pirate mode, draws a tattoo on Nancy's beloved doll, Marabelle Lavinia Chandelier.  Nancy is devastated and angry, as the tattoo will not wash off.  To cheer her up, her mother takes her to a "History Doll Gala."  (A-ha!  So Marabelle is an American Girl-type doll.)  While there, Nancy's doll accidentally gets switched with another girl's doll, which is in worse shape than Marabelle.  It is because of the tattoo that Nancy's doll is recovered.  While Nancy isn't happy that Jo-Jo defaced her doll, she does forgive her in the end.  (Cute touch - on the last page, we see that Jo-Jo has written her name in permanent marker on the wall.)

I do like the Fancy Nancy books.  I understand how people can tire of them, but I like that Glasser's illustrations are full of Nancy's improvised, homemade versions of "fancy."  Check out the clothespins on Nancy's "hoop skirt" on the cover of the new book!  And Mr. B says, "I like the parents."  They know Nancy's over-the-top, but they're kind and encourage her to be herself with a wink.

I've read a few books myself this week.  I've finished the second book in the All-of-a-Kind Family series.

All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown
by Sydney Taylor.  Follet, 1972.

I'm enjoying the series very much, all ye who convinced me to read them.  

And thanks to this post, I have read The Selection.

The Selection by Kiera Cass.
HarperTeen, 2012.

Here's the book trailer, if you're interested.

Oh, dear.  I haven't decided if I liked the book, but I know I'll have to see the series through.  And the library doesn't have Book #2, The Elite.  Shall I buy it?  Oh, and they're working on a series for The CW.  I probably won't watch it, as I really don't watch much series television.

And for younger kids (but older than mine), there's the first book in The Time-Traveling Fashionista series, which despite the title - which held no appeal to me - I decided to check out.

The Time-Traveling Fashionista
by Bianca Turetsky.
Poppy, 2011.

And despite the title, I rather enjoyed the book.  I like vintage clothes and Old Hollywood, too, of course, but I'm no "fashionista."  (HA!  Nooooooooo....)  It sounded pretty silly.  But the book was actually rather cool, with a little history lesson (the Titanic!) and some awesome illustrations.  Aaaaaaand, my library doesn't have Book #2, The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette.  But of course!

Oh, yeah, book trailer:

And at bedtime, we're still reading the Clementine books, Big Sis is reading Magic Tree House and Ramona books, and I'm trying to memorize lines for a Wild West version of Two Gentlemen of Verona.  (I'm playing Speed, but as a female.)  

One last thing before I break for the weekend.  This afternoon, I'm going to a funeral for a friend.  This woman, a beautiful and creative elementary school art teacher, passed away from brain cancer this week, after only being diagnosed last summer.  So if the opportunity presents itself, wear something bright and colorful this weekend and give all your loved ones an extra hug or "I love you."  

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Happy (Belated) Birthday, L. Frank Baum

L. Frank Baum in 1911

Yesterday was the 157th anniversary of L. Frank Baum's birth.  If you read this blog enough, you know I love my Oz books.  (Silver shoes...)  You can check out my posts about The OZ Museum in Wamego, KS, or this bit about reading the first book to my youngest, or visit my Marvelous Land of Oz pinboard.  But as I did for Lewis Carroll's birthday, I thought I'd put together a little round-up of some of the nicest editions of the Baum Oz books currently in print.

Top Row:  The Annotated Wizard of Oz, illustrated by W.W. Denslow, edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. W.W. Norton, 2000.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Michael Sieben.  Harper Design, 2013.  The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Books of Wonder edition), illustrated by John R. Neill.  HarperCollins, 1995.  (Reproduction of original 1913 edition.)
Middle Row:  The Wizard of Oz (Illustrated Junior Library).  Puffin, 2012.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up, art by Robert Sabuda.  Little Simon, 2000.  The Wizard of Oz and Other Wonderful Books of Oz: The Emerald City of Oz and Glinda of Oz (Classics Deluxe Edition), jacket illustration by Rachell Sumpter.  Penguin Classics, 2012.
Bottom Row:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illustrated by Robert Ingpen.  Sterling Children's Books, 2011.  Oz: The Complete Collection, Volume 1.  Aladdin, 2013.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Kansas Centennial Edition, illustrated by Michael McCurdy.  University Press of Kansas, 1999.

If you want your own Oz collection in hardcover, with the original illustrations, but can't afford to hunt down the original editions of the books, do check out the beautiful reproduction copies from Books Of Wonder, published by HarperCollins.  The illustrations by W.W. Denslow (first book) and John R. Neill (all subsequent books) look stunning.  We checked each title out from our public library first, except for Rinkitink in Oz, which I had to buy.  (Our library didn't have that one.)   I've been adding a few to my collection ever since.  I'm up to The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Book 7), pictured in the collage.

And a few Oz links:
The Wonderful Wiki of Oz
"Frank Baum, the Man Behind the Curtain" at Smithsonian Magazine
The International Wizard of Oz Club
NPR's Backseat Book Club Reads The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of's Enormous Link Page

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Where Did the Baby Go?

Where Did the Baby Go? by Sheila Hayes, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.
Golden Press, Western Publishing Company, Inc. 1974.

Some excerpts from another Little Golden Book, illustrated by the wonderful Eloise Wilkin.  (You can find my Eloise Wilkin pinboard here.)

There once was a little girl who always asked questions.

She finds a photo of a baby wearing a big hat.  She asks her mother (who is busy refinishing a chair - I love that touch) who the baby is.  Her mother tells her she sees the baby everyday.  The mother drops hints about what the baby was like, and what the baby likes to do now.  

We know where this is going...

Today is Little Sis's preschool graduation.

The title of this book?  I'm asking myself the same question.

Come mid-August, both of my babies will be in all-day school.

Mommy is having a hard time right now.

Owl Babies

Some board books take longer to outgrow than others.  We love Owl Babies.  

And you can watch it, too!  Here's a sweet little Owl Babies break for you today.

(By the way, my husband has been informed that he "doesn't read it right."  It's my job.  I do the cuter Bill voice.)

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell,
illustrated by Patrick Benson.
Candlewick Press, 1992 (USA).

Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: The Baby-Sitters Club

In the fall of 1986, I was 9 years old and in the fourth grade. We had just received our Scholastic book club flyers, and my best friend, Jennifer, ordered a bright yellow book called The Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy's Great Idea.  Our orders came and she wouldn't stop raving about how funny and great her book was.  Not to be outdone, when the following month's catalog arrived, I ordered a book called The Baby-Sitters Club #2: Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls.  (Jennifer didn't.)  When my book arrived, we immediately traded books, since I hadn't read book #1 yet.  From then on, we were hooked.  Every month, either via Scholastic or our mall book stores, we raced to get the latest adventures of Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, Dawn, Mallory, Jessi, and everyone else in Stoneybrook, Connecticut.  We were Baby-Sitters Club fanatics.  (And of course, we got our own copies of the books we'd borrowed from each other, too.)

My well-beaten copies of the first two Baby-Sitters Club books from 1986.
Kristy's Great Idea is missing the last few pages.  Sadness.

The following year, Jennifer and I both found ourselves in new schools.  Jennifer had moved to a new house not far from her old one, but it put her in a different school district.  My birthday was drawn via lottery for the school busing program, and I would be bused to a school outside my neighborhood.  But we had the phone and weekend sleepovers, and we would share BSC news.  Then midway through the year, Jennifer called me crying.  Her father had taken a job in Houston, and the whole family would be moving away for good.  We would see each other when she'd come back to Kansas on summer breaks, and occasionally, one of us (usually her) would find the other's phone number and we'd catch up.  This continued through my college years.  A few years ago, I found her on Myspace, and we had a wonderful marathon phone call, and when she came through town, we met at a Cracker Barrel in our old hometown.  I'm sorry to say we haven't kept in touch since.

I kept reading the BSC without Jennifer.  Dawn came, Stacey moved away, Mallory and Jessi became junior sitters, Stacey came back.  The original girls in the books were 12 and in the 7th grade when the series began.  Several books later, they were 13 and in the 8th grade.  When I was in the 8th grade, I was still reading the books, but I was starting to read classics, with a little Stephen King and Dean Koontz thrown in.

Early in 8th grade, my neighbor friend across the street and I became friends with another girl.  We thought we'd start a Baby-Sitters Club of our own.  I was so excited.  We were at my house, and I brought it up with my dad as the girls were still there (bad idea).  He said no.  I cried.  Soon after, the other girl didn't want to be our friend anymore.  I hated middle school.  It wasn't at all like Stoneybrook Middle School.  I didn't have a tight-knit group of friends like the Club.  I had a few groups of friends, but I had no idea where I fit in in those groups, and there were classes I dreaded because of bullies.  I stopped reading the books.

But the books went on.  There was a TV series, there was a movie.  The movie came out after I graduated high school!  It starred Schuyler Fisk, the daughter of Sissy Spacek, as Kristy.  (I still haven't seen it, but I loved this song from The Last Kiss.)

Some of the changing backs of the books (new officers, etc.)  From inside the books:  Join the Baby-Sitters Club (offer expired June 1987), Win a Trip to New York City (1990), ads for BSC games, planners, and videos.

For nostalgia's sake, I've been following The Baby-Sitters Club on Facebook.  There, I managed to win a copy of the new prequel, The Summer Before.  There is a sticker signed by Ann M. Martin inside the book.  

I read it last week.  It was so much fun to visit Stoneybrook again.  Occasionally, I would hit on a detail that probably related to changes made in the later editions of the original books - they were still in the stores with new covers when I started my bookstore job in 2000!  After all, the originals were so hip in the late '80s...

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin.  Scholastic, 2011.
Some BSC Links:

The Baby-Sitters Club at Scholastic
Ann M. Martin's page at Scholastic
The Baby-Sitters Club on Facebook
"The Legacy of The Baby-Sisters Club" at The Atlantic Wire
The e-book re-releases with classic covers (not the original covers, though...)
The Baby-Sitters Club Wiki

And here's the first episode of the TV show I didn't watch:

And here's the trailer to the 1995 movie (haha, love the Tori Amos, Better Than Ezra, and The Cranberries playing in the background - I was listening to The Bangles and Tiffany when I was reading the BSC books, but the music of my high school and college years was so much better!!!):

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