Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Little Crooked Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay + The Uncanny Giveaway Winner!



Don't Forget Dexter
by Lindsay Ward

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Anika Denise.)

What it's all about...
When Dexter T. Rexter's best friend, Jack, leaves him behind at the doctor's office, he panics. What if Jack never comes back? What if  Dexter is replaced by another toy? Can anybody help him?

Why I love it...
Dexter is hilariously neurotic. Ward's adorable cut-paper, pencil, and ink illustrations further amp up the comedy.

My favorite lines...
Nope. This isn't happening to me,
I'm Dexter T. Rexter.
The toughest, strongest, coolest dinosaur 
there has ever been.
EVER!
Right?
I mean, look at my tail.
See how swishy it is?
SWISH 
SWISH 
SWISH!

My favorite illustrations...



(All images courtesy of Two Lions; (c) 2018 Lindsay Ward)

What's the kid-appeal?
Kids are sure to find Dexter's separation anxiety and neurotic chatter riotously funny and familiar.

What's the grownup appeal?
Parents and educators, too, will relate to Ward's toy's-eye-view tale of abandon and rescue. Plus it's a nice pivot to a reassuring discussion about being apart—but never left behind.

Where to find/ buy Don't Forget Dexter
Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or at a school or library near you!

Photo courtesy of Michael Haley
Born and raised in sunny California, Lindsay decided to try snow and moved to upstate New York where she received her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University. Lindsay Ward was inspired to write this book after her husband texted her a photo of a toy dinosaur abandoned at a doctor’s office. The caption read: “Well, they left me here.” Lindsay thought it was so funny that she sat down to write Dexter’s story immediately. She is also the author and illustrator of Brobarians, Henry Finds His Word, and When Blue Met Egg. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play. Most days you can find Lindsay writing and sketching at her home in Peninsula, Ohio, where she lives with her family. Learn more about her online at www.LindsayMWard.com.


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And now... last week's UNCANNY GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED! 
The prize includes signed copies of The Uncanny Express and the new paperback of The Jolly Regina with snazzy bookmarks, a pack of Jolly Regina postcards, and an official Hugo Fromage mustache! We put all who commented or retweeted into Mr. Pig's official prize teacup and pulled a name!

And the winner is...

CHARLOTTE

Congratulations! Please email your mailing info to littlecrookedcottage@gmail.com
or send us a direct message on Instagram or Twitter @CottageCrooked!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Mr. Pig Live ... with Magique & Hugo Fromage! PLUS AN UNCANNY GIVEAWAY!*

Hello, friends! It's time for an all-new episode of MR. PIG LIVE -- a talk show of scintillating interviews with your favorite children's book characters, hosted by me, MR. PIG!

Today, we have TWO special guests joining us. Please give a warm welcome to the colorful characters of Kara LaReau's latest Bland sisters adventure (out today!!!), The Uncanny Express . . .



Magique and Hugo Fromage!
<<applause>>

Thanks for visiting! I must say, you two are my most mysterious guests. Will you reveal your full names? 
M: Magique, darling! Or, if you like, you can call me the Queen of Magic.
H: I am the great detective, Hugo Fromage. *bows* So pleased to make your acquaintance, Monsieur Pig.

What three words best describe you?
H: Brilliant, perceptive, and of course, humble.
M: Mysterious, marvelous, and of course, MAGICAL. 

I hope this isn't too personal, but ... do you have a belly button?
M: I prefer to leave that a mystery, like just about everything else about me.
H: Excuse moi?
All images copyright Jen Hill.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring?
M: My Disappearing Cabinet, in case I need a change of scenery.
H: A magnifying glass. Hugo Fromage is always on the case!

When do you feel the happiest?
M: When I’m pulling off a really good illusion. And of course, when I’m hearing applause.
H: When I am able to bring the guilty to justice!

Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible? (Or can you already fly or be invisible?)
H: I would prefer to be a fly…on the wall, to truly observe my suspects.
M: I can do both, darling. I am a magician, you know!
All images copyright Jen Hill.

If you have a pocket, what is in it right now? 
M: Magicians never reveal what’s in their pockets, or up their sleeves!
H: I do not carry anything in my pocket, mon petit lardon. Everything I need is up here, in what I call my brain stew. *taps a gloved finger against exceedingly-round head*

Do you have any siblings?
H: There is no other Fromage but Hugo. When they made me, they broke the mold, as they say.
M: Hmm…I don’t like to reveal spoilers, so you’ll have to read THE UNCANNY EXPRESS to learn more!
All images copyright Jen Hill.

What was it like working with Jaundice and Kale Bland?
M: I’m afraid they don’t have a dramatic bone in their bodies, the poor dears. But they were surprisingly effective as my assistants.
H: I must agree with you, Mademoiselle, Magique. In the end, they proved themselves worthy of my esteemed company.

What was it like working with my cottager roomie Kara LaReau?
M: Talk about a magician — she conjures characters and stories out of thin air! Though she really could use some flair in her wardrobe. I’d suggest more capes, caftans, and turbans.
H: Much like a good detective, Mademoiselle LaReau keeps her eyes and ears open. 
M: And she was the one who brought you and me together. Let’s not forget that. 
H: Her instincts are, as they say…uncanny.
M: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thank you for making us the first stop on your tour, Magique and Detective Fromage! And for those of you at home, the fun doesn't end here. Add a comment below to enter to win an uncanny . . .

* GIVEAWAY!!! The prize includes signed copies of The Uncanny Express and the new paperback of The Jolly Regina with snazzy bookmarks, a pack of Jolly Regina postcards, and an official Hugo Fromage mustache!
Winner announced on Tuesday, January 16.


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The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
The Uncanny Express

by Kara LaReau
illustrated by Jen Hill
(Amulet, 2018)

An inventive story in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient ExpressThe Uncanny Express has all the whimsy and humor that readers who are looking for an anything-but-bland adventure will love.

"Fans of Dame Agatha’s whodunits will enjoy catching the sly riffs." -- Booklist

"LaReau has a lot of fun with her Agatha Christie homage, filling her book to the brim with requisite gags and puns...Move over, Holmes and Watson. There's a new detecting pair in town, and the name's Bland." -- Kirkus


The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters
The Jolly Regina 
(Amulet, 2017)

In the spirit of A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters will captivate middle-grade readers looking for humor, hijinks, and a swashbuckling good time. Meet Jaundice and Kale Bland, two sisters who avoid excitement at any cost. Together, they patiently await the return of their parents, who left on an errand years ago and have never returned.


"LaReau serves her humor dry, adding some serious swashbuckling for good measure...Meanwhile Hill's pen-and-ink cartoons give the book precisely the right strange and silly tone." -- Kirkus

"Filled with puns, intrigue, and ample evidence that women make excellent—and ruthless—pirates, it’s a promising introduction to the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series." -- Publishers Weekly


"Replete with puns, gags, and life lessons, this transgressive voyage may “ketch” fans of envelope pushers like Barry Yourgrau, Alan Katz, or Roald Dahl." -- Booklist



Kara LaReau was born and raised in Connecticut. She received her Masters in Fine Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and later worked as an editor at Candlewick Press and at Scholastic Press. She is the author of picture books such as UGLY FISH, illustrated by Scott Magoon, and NO SLURPING, NO BURPING! A Tale of Table Manners, illustrated by Lorelay BovĂ©; an award-winning chapter book series called The Infamous Ratsos, illustrated by Matt Myers; and a middle-grade trilogy called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, illustrated by Jen Hill.  Kara lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and son and their cat.









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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Little Crooked Cottage Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay


Lines
by Suzy Lee

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Jamie Michalak.)


What it's all about...

It starts with a line -- a tip of a pencil and a blade of a skate. At first, this seems to be a simple wordless picture book about an ice skater. But then the real and imagined blur to create magic!

Why I love it...

The art! Whoa. Exquisite. You'll wonder if the pages are made of ice.

Sample illustration...



From LINES. Illustration copyright 2017 by Suzy Lee. Published by Chronicle Books.

What's the kid-appeal?

They'll gasp at the surprising turn the story takes when the skater falls, and -- well, I don't want to give too much away. But they won't see it coming.


What's the grownup appeal?


Beyond the gorgeous visual poetry, Line is a story about picking yourself up when you fall, trying again, and helping others out when they need a hand. This book might also inspire a drawing lesson --- start with a line.



Where to find/buy LINES

Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or at a school or library near you!



Suzy Lee is the author-illustrator of Wave, Shadow, and Open This Little Book. Her books have been published and lauded around the world. She was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen medal, and Wave and Shadow were selected as New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the year. Suzy lives in Seoul, Korea. Learn more about her at www.suzylee.com.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Little Crooked Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay



No More TANTRUMS (a Big Kid Power book) 
by Maria van Lieshout

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Kara LaReau.)

What it's all about...
You thought I was going to pick a holiday book, didn't you? Well, this is a holiday book — or, at least, one that will help you and your little ones get through the winter break, and beyond!

Why I love it...
Every book in this Big Kid Power series spotlights a toddler milestone. Their book I Use the POTTY was indispensable in our house! (My review of it here.)

Favorite lines...
When I was little and I didn't get my way, I cried.
"I want to go home!"
"I DON'T want to go home!"
"I want a CUPCAKE!"


Sample illustration...




What's the kid-appeal?

It conveys all the emotions and details of this milestone experience with gentle humor and bright, fun illustrations. 

What's the grownup appeal?

Um, the title says it all!

Where to find/buy NO MORE TANTRUMS
Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or at a school or library near you!

Maria van Lieshout is the author-illustrator of several picture books, including Backseat A-B-SeeFlight 1-2-3, and the first two titles in the Big Kid Power series, Bye-Bye Binky and I Use the Potty. Born and raised in Holland, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Little Crooked Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay

ELF IN THE HOUSE
by Ammi-Joan Paquette
illustrated by Adam Record

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Anika Denise.)

What it's all about...
On a snowy Christmas Eve, a little girl tip-toes from her bed to find some surprise friends in her house, including a mouse, an elf, and even the big jolly guy himself.

Why I love it...
Paquette's first book in the series, Ghost in the House, is a perennial Halloween favorite my youngest daughter loves. I purchased the new one at a signing I did with Joan back in October. I plan to wrap it up and give it to my daughter on Christmas Eve. She'll no doubt recognize and appreciate the bouncy rhymes and adorable illustrations that echo the first book.

My favorite lines...
And the ELF goes third
on this snowy Christmas Eve,
In a line dance of jingle-bell hop!
Festive friends in a row,
Down the hall they go,
Until suddenly they hear. . .
CLIP-CLOP!
 
My favorite illustrations...




What's the kid-appeal?
The best part of Christmas Eve for those that celebrate is often the anticipation! Elf in the House will ramp up holiday cheer in the countdown to Christmas.

What's the grownup appeal?
Just like the first, this book is simple, sweet, and fun to read aloud. It's the perfect book to tuck  between leaving cookies out for Santa, and that goodnight, see-you-on-Christmas-morning kiss.

Where to find/ buy Elf in The House
Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Or at a school or library near you!

Ammi-Joan Paquette is the author of many books for young readers, including the spooky picture book Ghost in the House. In addition to her writing, she is a literary agent representing authors of children's books. She lives outside Boston with her family. Visit her on the web at www.ajpaquette.com.




Adam Record started doodling on a bench in church and now gets inspired by old children's books and vintage posters. He lives in Utah with his wife and three children. See more of Adam's work at www.adamrecord.com.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Little Cooked Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay



SMOOT: A Rebellious Shadow
by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Sydney Smith

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Kara LaReau.)

What it's all about...
As a shadow to a boy with a "yawn-colored" life, Smoot yearns for "sky blue-colored freedom." Then, one day, with a *pop*, he breaks free, and his adventure begins!

Why I love it...
I can't resist a book with "rebellious" in the title, especially this inspiring tale by Michelle Cuevas, with lovely, lively illustrations by Sydney Smith.

Favorite lines...
Other shadows watched Smoot.
The sight made them brave.
"If he can follow his dreams, we can too."


Sample illustration...



What's the kid-appeal?

What child (of any age!) doesn't yearn to break free like Smoot, and go a little bit wild?

What's the grownup appeal?

It's also a story about being bold and brave, and following your dreams.

Where to find/buy SMOOT!
Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or at a school or library near you!

Michelle Cuevas graduated from Williams College and holds a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She lives in Massachusetts.

Sydney Smith was born in Nova Scotia and has a BFA in drawing and printmaking from NSCAD University. He is an award-winning children's book illustrator whose work can sometimes also be found in magazines and on festival posters and album covers. Sydney also plays a little banjo, stands on his hands, and can ride his bike really fast. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and baby son.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Little Crooked Bookshelf on #ReviewsDay


TWINDERELLA, A FRACTIONED FAIRY TALE
by Corey Rosen Schwartz
pictures by Deborah Marcero

(This week's #ReviewsDay pick is from cottager Anika Denise.)

What it's all about...
Think you know the true story of Cinderella? Guess what, you don't know the half of it! Turns out Cinderella has a twin sister, Tinderella, who splits the chores.

Why I love it...
In signature Corey Rosen Schwartz style, this fractured "fractioned" fairy tale delivers irresistible wordplay, plenty of girl power, and a unique twist on a beloved classic. Deborah Marcero's charming mixed-media illustrations are perfect for the story.

My favorite lines...
They'd each do:
Half the mopping,
half the raking,
half the shopping,
half the baking.
Half the folding,
half the mending,
Half the mean
stepsister tending.
   
My favorite illustrations...





What's the kid-appeal?
It's a fantastic read-aloud with fun-to-read rhyme and math puns throughout. Young readers love a clever twist on a fairy tale, and this one delivers on every level: humor, relatability, and a satisfying, super-cute ending.

What's the grownup appeal?
Parents and story hour hosts will enjoy its bouncy rhythm and clever concepts. Educators can use it to make STEM connections, and for fairy tale/ creative writing units.

Where to find/ buy Twinderella:
Indie Booksellers
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or at a school or library near you!

Corey Rosen Schwartz always longed to write a fractured fairy tale and got the perfect inspiration from her son. When he was three years old, he was asked if he spoke Spanish. His answer was: “No, but I speak a little karate.” Instantly, the idea hit her . . . the three little pigs could go to ninja school! Corey has no true Ninja training, but she can sure kick butt in Scrabble. She is the author of The Three Ninja Pigs; Hansel and Gretel, Ninja Chicks, Ninja Red Riding Hood, What About Moose? and more. She lives in Warren, New Jersey with her family. Learn more about her books at http://www.coreyrosenschwartz.com.



Deborah Marcero grew up in Michigan farm country where from a very young age drawing, writing, and reading filled her time.  She received a BFA in drawing, printmaking, and photography from the University of Michigan, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Writing. After teaching in Chicago Public Schools as a Literacy Specialist, Deborah realized that writing and creating books for kids was how she wanted to spend her life. Learn more about her work at http://deborahmarcero.com.