Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yeah for help (or: You Love Us, You Really Love Us!)

Thank You Thank You Thank You

--to everyone who has come out and helped with our move, from hardworking Heather Jo McVoy (mother of the coolest general manager of a bookstore around) to local authors, illustrators, and reps! Some shout outs are in order:

Vicky Alvear Schecter is the author of the book Alexander the Great Rocks the World, and she herself rocks for all the awesome effort she put in!

Tom Murphy of Murphy-Scheer is responsible for one of the coolest non-book items in the store: if you've ever seen the Galison magnetic paper dolls (which come in a variety of wonderful styles for girls, and even a monster one for boys!) then you know the kind of awesome things Tom brings us. Yay for reps like Tom!

Yes, we rave about Elizabeth Dulemba all the time. But I'm starting to worry--where does she find the time to help us move, spread the word about local artists and writers and otherwise expound so wonderfully on her blog, and promote her new book? I'm telling you, her energy is otherworldly.

Thank you again, one and all, to everyone who has pitched in even a little.

See you all in the store next week! (Oh yes, we're excited)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


We're moving!

The day has finally arrived! After much anticipation, we move next week! That's right, your favorite bookstore, Little Shop of Stories, will be closed next week as we move all of 100 yards across Decatur Square to our new location-- 133a East Court Square.

We are sooo excited: bigger space, better location... we couldn't ask for more! The new store will have larger sections for kid's nonfiction, picture books, YA and so much more. How can we get you more excited? Maybe with pictures of the new space?

Ha Ha Ha, I'm cruel and mean--no pictures until we open. How's that for makin' you want to come see us?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Title of this post/ is haiku if I mention/ the season is Spring

Our grand and benevolent manager Terra loves poetry. Loves loves loves poetry. And she loves recommending haiku to folks who are looking for some good introductory poetry for kids and adults.

The great thing about haiku? In my mind, it's completely accessible to everyone. You read a good haiku, and it's like a single perfect chord strummed on a guitar--it resonates and you can feel it's vibe, if you know what I mean. It's also accessible in that, once you've seen several, you can write your own. The very direct rules of haiku give you a clear direction, and once you've got that, you're off and running.

The tough thing about haiku is, it's not as easy as it looks. Yeah, we all know the 5-7-5 syllable thing, and that most haiku must have some kind of connection--whether an explicit reference or simply a word that suggests--nature or the season.

But it's not that simple: look at my title--technically it follows all the rules. But let's face it, it kinda blows. Oddly enough, in my opinion kids write the greatest haikus.

My good friend Sam Riddleberger, author of The QwikPick Adventure Society, likes to have kids write poems about awful smells when he does school visits (the book is about some kids on a quest to see a "poop fountain" before it's gone. Don't ask, just go read the great book). Check out some in this old post on his blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Poetry blogging rolls on like a rhyme off the tongue...

Christopher Myers' Jabberwocky is a phenomenal adaptation of the Lewis Carroll poem from Through the Looking Glass. This is published as a picture book, but don't let the packaging fool you.

Myers has reimagined the classic nonsensical poem as a face off on the basketball court between the dark, shadowy Jabberwocky and a kid with vorpal blade shoes. The ominous swirl of black inks amidst the bright colors of the background turn the whimsical poem on its ear. Suddenly the light, funny, even bucolic poem is revealed to be dynamic, fraught with tension, and explosive.

This is my favorite new read-aloud, my favorite new picture book, and it has renewed my love of the original poem. You don't get much more fantastic than that.

above: interior illustration from Jabberwocky by Christopher Myers

Monday, April 7, 2008

Moomin Book Review by Nora, age 5

I like Moomin. Moomin is a comic strip by Tove Jansson. There are two Moomin collections. I look at them every day.

Moomin looks like a hippopotomus but he isn't one. He is nice and smart too. He loves Snork Maiden, and they live with MoominMamma and MoominPappa. They have adventures all over the world that are funny and silly. The art is very very good.

One time, Moomin's friend Mymble fell in love with Mr. Brisk, who is great at sports but not as good at skiing as Mymble. This makes Mr. Brisk sad and angry, and everyone acts silly.

You should read Moomin too!
above: sample Moomin strip, which unfortunately doesn't capture the intricate art and whimsey of the strip.--ed

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hooray for Poetry Month!

We're kicking off a month of poetry blogging here at Little Blog of Stories, and we're starting with the grandaddy of modern kid's poetry, Shel Silverstein.

HarperCollins just re-issued one of his earliest books, Don't Bump the Glump! And other Fantasies. This originally was published in 1964, the same year as his classic The Giving Tree. They've given this a big push, with a gorgeous book filled with watercolor illustrations.

The art is wonderful, a great new way to see someone whose work you think you are familiar with. But how's the poetry, you ask? Silverstein's classic biting wit is on full display here, though he still hasn't quite found his sea legs when it comes to his rhyme and meter. The poems aren't near so memorable or clever as his later work like Where the Sidewalk Ends or A Light in the Attic.

Well worth a look, though, especially if you love bestiaries or the prospect of getting eaten...