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Missed Reviews

Fall was... oh, so busy.  Crazy, crazy busy.  That's the only way I can explain how I JUST came across these reviews for my cheer series at 3am.  (Obviously, I bypassed the whole winter, too!) 

Booklist (October 1, 2010 (Vol. 107, No. 3))

Grades 5-8. “Smile!” The focus is on positive attitude in this title in the Ready, Set, Cheer! series, which features lots of full-page color photos of middle-school cheerleaders. Along with all the smiles, there is also straightforward, direct advice about preparing for tryouts (“practice, practice, practice”). The tone is reassuring and also down-to-earth: attend every practice; be energetic; wear comfortable clothes; pull hair up and away from the face; and always, even if you mess up, keep smiling. A final chapter on tips for cheerleading camp includes a checklist of what to bring (lip gloss and a favorite stuffed animal are fine) and what not to bring (no laptops or cell phones). Even the many wannabes who don’t have a hope of making the team will enjoy browsing these pages, filled with photos of young people performing amazing handsprings, group pyramids, and more. The glossary, with words like excel, elite, and stamina, says it all.

This cheerleading series will appeal to tween and young teen girls who have always wanted to cheer. The series begins with Cheerleading Basics, which provides the history of cheering and the basic motions and jumps of cheerleading. The importance of a positive attitude and contagious spirit is the focus of Cheerleading Spirit. The last two books delve into the more technical elements of cheerleading. Cheerleading Stunts and Tumbling explains the different levels of stunts, such as pyramids, and the importance of the roles of each cheerleader, and then briefly touches on tumbling. Cheerleading Tryouts and Competitions focuses on the process of clinics, tryouts, and competitions and gives tips for achieving your best at each. The packaging of the series is well done. The photographs are spread throughout and range from elementary-aged girls to university cheer squads. The text is easy to read, with bullet points and call-out sections throughout the series. The information gives the reader a broad understanding of the topic and its various themes. Some of the information could be used for reports but will mainly be for recreational reading. While the series will not teach readers how to do the tumbling and stunts per se, it will provide ideas and engender enthusiasm toward the sport. Reviewer: Kristin Fletcher-Spear

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National Library Week

Librarians: Masters of the Info Universe? I like the sound of that! And who knew that Casanova was a librarian?

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Because BOTH of my computers were hijacked, (BOO, HISS to mean, rotten, EVIL people) I missed all sorts of  fantastic news this week.  I'm just now finding out that my writing bud, Linda Bozzo, had her book nominated for an SCBWI Crystal Kite Award.  Congrats, Linda!

This book has received lots of great reviews and knowing how hard Linda worked on it, I'm not surprised. Linda is an expert interviewer.  She worked so hard to nail down awesome people to interview for all the books in this series.  For those of you working in NF and have to do this, you know how time consuming, frustrating, and HARD it is to actually land the interview let alone come away with new, fresh, exciting material.  

When I wrote my cheer books, Linda shared some invaluable tips and tricks for snagging an interview and gave me the nudge I needed to approach certain people like Kristin Capasso, head cheer coach of Harvard's Crimson Squad.  Not only was Kristin GREAT in every way, she said something to me that really hit home and clearly resonated with my daughter, Sarah, as she tackles "life." 

So, not only do I want to congratulate Linda, I want to thank her, too!

I don't know who else was nomintaed yet but a big shout out to ALL of you! web stats

Bean Boozled!

Dog Food Jellybean anyone?  How about a Moldy Cheese or a Pencil Shaving Jellybean?
BARF!  (Yep- they have that, too!)
Where have I been the last few years?  Yep- it's been out that long but I never saw/heard/read about it.

The 411:  You simply spin the spinner and land on a colored jelly bean.  When you pick out the bean, you don't know if you're getting a yummy flavor or a fake, disgusting want-to-gag flavor.  That's the fun of it. 

Fun until someone starts to cry... :) 

The flavors:

An easter basket delight for sure!  I'm actually getting a few of them this week to have on hand for Sarah's confirmation party.  A sure-fire hit with my nieces and nephews!  The big question is...will I be brave enough to join in?  After all, it's all fun and games until someone gets bamboozled!

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A few years ago, my daughter proudly held forth her school photo.  Since those things can be hit or miss, we were both so happy with the way it turned out.  She was entering that awkward girl phase but you couldn't tell by the picture. 

She pointed to her gleaming, white teeth:  "See, I AM brushing."

That had been an issue. Oh, my.

The photographer is around the block and I immediately went to order more for Christmas gifts,  That's when I saw her photo proof.  And a minute later, what an editing program could do.  Gone: pimples, less than bright shiny teeth, even her hair lightened in some places and the fly-away hairs gone gone gone.

The other day, I saw several of her friends photos from this year.  All had glowing skin, whiter than white teeth, and perfectly coiffed hair.  These girls are beautiful young ladies but they were all photoshopped.  WAY TOO MUCH.

Maybe that's why many of my daughter's friends can be seen taking a million pictures on cell phones and cameras and then deleting picture after picture because the teeth look "weird" or hair is a "mess."

Not a good thing.

Today, this camera caught my eye.  Look at what it can do with just a press of a button. www.stylelist.com/2011/03/21/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fp7-digital-camera/

Scroll down to see all 3 before and afters. 

While all of this makes me feel a bit mad and sad that we can't be ourselves, I must admit part of me wishes I had that camera for my upcoming trip to Turks and Caicos. 

I'm always the one that doesn't want my picture taken for various reasons.  Maybe a photoshopped-type of picture is better than no picture at all? web stats

By the Numbers

6: Number of new chapter books I was asked to write for Calico Chapter Books (imprint of ABDO Publishers) on Friday. May I say Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea, Yea, and Yea?!  After I finish up my next two Katharine books, I'll start the new series.  Fun!

5: Number of "glitches" I've had with my newish built-for-me-computer.  The most recent one being this past weekend,  It's in the shop now.  The last glitch: the day I had a freelance assignment due.  Luckily, it only took the tech guy 30 minutes to fix that problem.  The one in December?  A whole week!  Boo to that!  (I'm typing on a tiny keyboard now and it's taking me forever to get used to it.)

4: Number of Confirmations I have in next two weeks.  One of them is Sarah's.  She is SO excited!  When I made mine, I was terrified that the Bishop would ask me a question.  When our class found out he had recently recovered from a heart attack and wouldn't ask anyone questions, we cheered.  We got in trouble and were made to feel pretty guilty.  Hmmm...can you say Catholic Church?  Here is the dress Sarah hopes to wear IF it gets here in time.  (She'll wear it with a shrug.)


Kids Make Terrible Pets is Fabo!  A PERFECT picture book!

 2: Cases of pneumonia in my family: Sarah and my sweet MIL. Hopefully, both are on the road to recovery.  Not fun.  For anyone.

1: Tooth that came out on stage this weekend.  The owner of that tooth?  Matthew!  He's been playing Mike Tevee the last two weeks in a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  During a scene where he eats a lot of candy with Wonka, I noticed his voice was a bit low.  I could hear him but not like I usually could.  What I didn't know was that a banana Laffy Taffy pulled out his slightly loose tooth!  But, the show had to go on and he did great! His "mom" wore a wig to look like Matthew.  Too funny!

Cake made by Jayne from Super Sundaes

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Delivery of the Day

The latest books John plucked from the book drop:


I was totally smitten with Here Comes the Garbage Barge written by Jonah Winter and Illustrated by Red Nose Studio. It's "a mostly true and completely stinky story that's sure to make you say 'Pee-yew!'" about trash from Islip, Long Island, that had nowhere to go. It's a NYT Best Illustrated Children's Book Award. A GREAT book to read any day but perfect for Earth Day and introducing recycling to little ones. Amazing artwork. (If you're a teacher and looking for a K-5 book for a One Book, One School type of program, I think this could be it! A great lesson in responsibility.) If you're an artist, you MUST watch this:


Have you seen Mirror by Jeannie Baker? Another unique illustrated book. It's published by Candlewick so you know you're in for a treat. Besides the first page, it's a wordless picture book that shows a day in the lives of two families living in North Africa and Australia. So different yet very much like one another. It's fun to read both stories side-by-side reading one left to right and the other right to left.


Adventure Annie is adorable. A perfect picture book in every way. Loved it. A must read for kindergarten. Toni Buzzeo is simply amazing and a must-have for school visits.

Pobble's Way is beautifully written by Simon Van Booy and illustrated by Wendy Edelson. Both are new names to me. Father/daughter walking through the woods on a quiet, snowy evening when Pobble loses her mitten. The animals that find it take guesses as to what the pink object can be. Very cute. I would have loved sharing this with my first and second graders and it lends itself well to creative writing and art activities.

Lulu's Piano Lessons was timely for me as Matthew seems to want to do anything and everything else BUT practice his saxophone. I was happily reading along and then it was over super quick. Poof. I just noticed it's written by Alan Alda's wife, Arlene. (Illustrated by Lisa Desimini) Arlene has fourteen children's books published? Wow. I'm suddenly curious to see them so I'm off to dig around Amazon a bit.
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Some Husbands Bring Home Flowers...

mine brings home books! Now that John's a K-5 media specialist, I get my daily dose of picture book reading without having to trudge through the snow and ice. These were his choices from yesterday. Two of them (Cowboy Camp and Little Chimp's Big Day) I had already read but reread again:

I love to see what he brings home. Sometimes, he'll throw in one he doesn't like and we'll discuss it. We usually agree on the dislikes. Usually. Sometimes he'll bring one home and tell me it's "huge" in the library at the moment. It's always good to know what's "in" at the moment from a kid's POV. Most are ones he's really connected with and they're usually a bit offbeat and quirky like The Lonely Phone Booth which he LOVES. It's one of his new favorites of the year.

A good stack!

Did you know there are only FOUR surviving phone booths in Manhattan? Does it surprise you?


(If you know a child obsessed with trucks, The Trucker is a MUST!)

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Google Logo...

In honor of Valentine's day, here's their logo today:

It was created by pop artist Robert Indiana. He paid tribute to his own LOVE stamp in 1973.


Is it just me or did you think it was something related to Glee, too?

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I Heart Colin Firth, Geoffery Rush and...

John and I celebrated Valentine's Day a little early. So glad we saw this movie yesterday. Loved, loved, LOVED it! How can they not Oscars for their performances? (Helena Bonham Carter, too!)

The "R" rating is is shame and misleading. Why the R rating? A string of curses during a therapy session. Nothing else. NOTHING else.

My kids have heard much worse on the bus ride to school. Having seen it, I wouldn't think twice about letting my two kids see it if they wanted to. (6th and 8th grader.)

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