Monday, October 24, 2011

Some Newish Picture Books to Love

Fall is our favorite season for new books. With the approaching gift buying season, the quality of stuff arriving each day is outstanding.  It especially feels like Christmas in October when we get to open the boxes filled with new picture books!

Here are some of Diane's newish favorites:

Peter Brown is #1 on my list of Authors and Illustrators Who Have Not Visited Little Shop Yet But Need to As Soon As Possible. So, if he's reading this, he needs to know this: Peter Brown, You Will Be My Friend!

In a sort of sequel to last year's absolutely adorable, Children Make Terrible Pets, our exuberant bear friend, Lucy, decides that she will make a new friend. Today.  Like. Right. Now.  She learns the hard way that sometimes being especially eager might not work, but really, there is a friend for everyone, if you just be yourself.  She's a bear after my own heart.

Illustrator Bob Staake is a not so distant second on my list.  Okay, maybe he and Peter Brown are actually tied for first.

Past favorites that Bob has either authored and/or illustrated include The Donut Chef, Cars Galore, and Look! A Book!  He has a wonderfully engaging and unique style, and we just GUSH over his books at the shop.  Written by first time picture book author, Jack Lechner, Mary Had a Little Lamp, is an irreverent retelling of a song from childhood with which you might be familiar.

Dear Emma Dodd,

We love you, especially now that we have your delicious little book, I Am Small

Will you marry us, or atleast come visit?

Little Shop of Stories

I think that I write about Susan Jeffers every year when I talk about some of my favorite picture books.  Some of you might be familiar with her version of The Nutcracker, which is our favorite of all the versions.  She also illustrated the lovely edition of Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening that we always sell out of at Christmas time.  Her latest is a yummy-to-look at retelling of Hansel & Gretel.  And yes, I am waiting for her to come visit.

It has occurred to me that all of the books on this list fall under the category of Authors and Illustrators Who Have Not Visited Little Shop Yet But Need to As Soon As Possible.  And that all of the above mentioned authors and illustrators are #1 on my list!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Picture Book Proclamation

There seem to be a lot of proclamations flying around these days. Here is one that we can stand behind. A group of picture book writers and illustrators have banded together to write a proclamation in support of picture books. It begins "Proclamation: We are tired of hearing the picture book is in trouble, and tired of pretending it is not." What follows are a list of beliefs, comdemnations and declarations about the current state of picture bookdom. There are some great insights here, put forth by some big names, including Lemony Snicket, Jon Scieszka, Adam Rex, Carson Ellis and others. Click the image for a better look at what they are proclaiming, or go here to see a big version. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New life to old rhymes

I picked up a book over the weekend for my son, as a reward for helping serve root beer for two hours (thanks to everyone who drank with us) and wanted to let others know what an incredibly great book it is.  Nursery Rhyme Comics is a collection of 50 nursery rhymes illustrated by some of the best and brightest in the cartooning world today. Its a brilliant concept, and the results are often inspired and surprising. One of my son's favorites was Dave Roman's take on "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe", which involves a wizard/inventor, clones, sticks of butter, and of course, a big fat hen. It was a fine example of what is great about this book. The old worn-out rhymes are often re-interpreted in a way that gives them new life and relevance to an audience beyond drooling, book-gnawing toddlers. 
Each rhyme is presented in simple panel format, making it a great book for beginning readers like my son, who was able to sit down and read through most of it on his own. And if you are a connoisseur of cartooning and illustration, you will love the incredible work in this collection. My favorite was Craig Thompson's "The Owl and The Pussycat". Thompson is the mind and pen behind Blankets, considered one of the finest graphic novels out there. His drawings of the Owl and Pussycat tale are truly beautiful. 

Next time you are in the shop, be sure to take a moment and page through this collection. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Root Root Root for your Favorite Root Beer

The results are in, and they prove that while kids really are different than adults, they're not all that different.

A total of 87 people rated the root beers and other beverages at the First Annual Decatur Root Beer Festival held at Little Shop of  Stories on Saturday.

In the root beer category, Abita was the clear favorite for kids, followed by Sprecher.  Jones was a distant third, and Blue Sky was fourth.

Adults had a strong preference for Sprecher, followed by Abita, Virgil's, and Blue Sky.

In the non-root beer category, Sprecher Orange Dream soda was ranked first by both kids and adults.

Kids put Dr. Brown's Cream Soda and Reed's Spiced Apple Brew in a virtual tie for second place.

Regatta Ginger Beer came in second among adults -- kids ranked it dead last -- followed by Reed's Spiced Apple Brew.  Adults appear not to have liked the selection of creme sodas.

Thanks to everyone who came!  We received several suggestions about next year's festival.  Moxie ("Make Mine A Moxie!") from Maine was the most requested beverage.

Two words for next year: burping contest.

"Wait," I hear you saying, "where am I going to get my root beer fix between now and next year???"  I have some suggestions.

Brick Store Pub - Not only do they have great beer, they have great root beers available as well.  They typically have interesting sodas, such as Virgil's, available, along with all the other typical soft drinks.  Brick Store also helped us bring in many of the beverages we featured at the Root Beer Festival.

The Beer Growler in Avondale Estates has Abita Root Beer on tap.

Your DeKalb Farmers Market has some interesting sodas.  The downside is that you have to buy it by the case.

David's Produce Market on LaVista Road has a very unique selection of sodas that can be purchased individually.

The Fresh Market - there are several in the Atlanta area - has a wide selection sold both individually and by the six-pack.  Most of their root beers are well known but not widely available.

We'll see you next year!!!  (Actually, we hope to see you many, many times in between.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day for a Root Beer

It's a beautiful day for a root beer
At the Root Beer Festival today

The fans are out to get a ticket or two
From Warrenton in Warren County up to Calhoun

It's a beautiful day for a root beer
But even a cream soda's okay

We're gonna say "cheers"
And groove
And raise a hallabaloo
At the Root Beer Festival today!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some Tickets Remain for the Decatur Root Beer Festival

The first ever Decatur Root Beer Festival is
at Little Shop!!!
There are still tickets, and they're only $5!!!

This is a ticketed event because we want to make sure that everyone who attends has a good experience ... and plenty of root beer.  As of right now it appears that tickets will not sell out, so you can come the day of the event.

There are two time options: 2 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m.  To see a complete list of the thirteen available beverages to sample, click here.

Abita!  Mmmmm.     Jones! Mmmmm.     Sprecher! Mmmmm.

We're really excited!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Diane Has Actually Read Two Books in One Week!

This doesn't happen often, folks- so please take note.  With too much time on my hands, I have resorted to reading books in their entirety- in just a matter of days.  It makes Marcy look like a lazy reader.*

Here's what's grabbed my attention this past week:

OMG!  I'm a sucker for a great cover and title, and this one just sucked me in.  Both the cover and title are brooding and mysterious, just like the novel's main character.

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel is a haunting and beautifully written prequel of sorts to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  A young and conflicted Victor struggles with the darker side of human nature as he attempts to save his beloved twin brother's life.  It's a brilliant story, and readers of Frankenstein will have no trouble seeing how Victor the boy became Victor the man, determined to disregard the bounds of science and mortality.  Teens who have enjoyed Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series will really enjoy this one.  It's a perfect book to curl up in bed with on a rainy, cool, kind of creepy fall night...much like tonight!

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy is a wonderful, new book for readers of middle grade.  Part historical fiction, part fantasy, part coming of age with a sweet, sweet young romance, it's the story of 14 year old American Janie, forced to move to London with her parents after they are suspected of being Communists during the Second Red Scare in the early 1950s.  She quickly becomes friends with Benjamin, a wannabee spy, when Benjamin's father, a mysterious apothecary, goes missing.  Espionage, nuclear weapons, magical elixirs, and young love- I love this book!!

*This is a test.

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Annual Decatur Root Beer Festival Details

We're really excited about the upcoming Decatur Root Beer Festival.

Tickets are still available.  Amazingly, they did not sell out in the first hour, the first day, or the first weekend!

However, we did sell a substantial number, so don't miss out.  Come in and get your tickets soon.

Not only will you get a chance to taste each of these drinks, you will also receive a commemorative  plastic cup!

Little Shop sends out a huge 'thank you' to the Brick Store Pub for helping us get in a lot of these great beverages!  Remember them the next time you are thirsty.

Here's a final list of beverages to be presented at the First Annual Decatur Root Beer Festival:

Root Beers 

1.  Abita Root Beer - Abita Springs, Louisiana

2.  Blue Sky Root Beer - Hansen Beverage Company, Corona, California
3.  Dr. Brown’s Root Beer - made by Canada Dry, part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Texas
4.  Jones Root Beer - Seattle, Washington 

5.  Sprecher Root Beer - Glendale, Wisconsin

6.  Stewart’s Root Beer - made by Canada Dry, part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Rye Brook, New York (limited supply)

7.  Virgil’s Root Beer - Los Angeles, California 

8.  A (hopefully) special surprise root beer 

Not Root Beers

9.  Dr. Brown's Cream Soda - made by Canada Dry, part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Texas

10.  Jones Cream Soda - Seattle, Washington

11.  Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew (ginger beer) - Los Angeles, California

12.  Regatta Ginger Beer - Westport, Connecticut

13.  Sprecher Orange Dream - Glendale, Wisconsin

I was also going to bring in some standard fare, such as A&W Root Beer.  However, we'll have a sufficient supply of the really good stuff.  We've got enough for each person to drink the equivalent of three 12 oz. bottles of soda.  You may not get caffeinated, but you will get sugared!


Updated: October 7, 2011