Tag Archives: children’s books

Spot’s House of Horrors!

It is safe to say that it has been a while since I have contributed our blog. My excuse is being pregnant and having a baby. I don’t know what those other slackers are using for an excuse. As my baby boy hits the one year (and some change) mark, I felt like it was time to dust off the blog and jump in again. While I have managed to still carve out time for myself to read, a lot of my time during the day is spent reading board books. Board books are an amazing invention, because pretty much everything ends up in my kids mouth. The few “regular” picture books I have let him go near have ended up with ripped pages, which hurts my soul. He has a few books that he insists that we read every day, and I will be slowly reviewing them, along with more YA and adult books. This brings me to todays book, Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill. Spot I know what you’re thinking. Cute picture book? Lift the flaps to play hide and seek with Spot? WRONG! Lift the flaps and you DIE! Spot’s mom, Sally, goes looking for Spot around the house because he has not eaten his supper. First she looks behind the door. What could possibly be behind a door in a normal home? Coats? Boxes? No. It’s a fucking BEAR people. He is eating honey, but there is nothing that says that once he is done that he won’t be eating your face off. 11H5531040-01-lpThat’s cool. We just found a giant bear in the house. We should TOTALLY keep looking.

Maybe Spot is inside the clock? This is a rational place to hide… if you are a giant PYTHON lying in wait to strangle innocent puppies! You hear that?! Puppy murder by asphyxiation! Why is Sally not phased by this? What kind of mother is she?! How is she not showing any concern as to whether or not her baby boy has survived a bear and a python?

The piano. Definitely has to be hiding in the piano. That is where I would go to hide from a bear and a python. Oops. NOPE. Just your friendly neighborhood HIPPO. First, hipppn-618b_3zos are mean and will crush you. Second, what the hell kind of piano do they have that can hold a hippo (maybe a baby hippo?), and how do they even play the piano with their paws? BURNING QUESTIONS IN CHILDREN’S LIT. Again, Sally is not shocked. This may be because the hippo does appear to be high, and thus, not a threat. Unless he got the munchies and really wanted puppy. My bet is on Sally being the worst mom ever. This makes me feel better about my own mothering skills.

We’re running out of room for large dangerous animals here. Under the stairs seems like a safe place to hide. Maybe go into your little closet and pretend to be Harry Potter? Wrong AGAIN. wheres-spotThat is obviously where they keep their LION. He’s trying to play it cool and is all “No, I haven’t seen Spot,” but what are you hiding back there Mr. Lion? Could it be blood and guts? How do they feed all of these wild animals?

Next, we find a monkey in the closet, which would be fine and cute and cuddly if I didn’t know that monkeys have sharp teeth and throw their poop. From a hiding standpoint, this is not good.

We move on to under the bed. Kids across the board pretty much fear what is under their bed at some point in their lives. So what does Sally keep under the bed? A hungry crocodile with razor sharp yellowed teeth! This guy has been around the block and is biding his time to snatch you as soon as you close your eyes!

Now I don’t want to ruin the end for you, but suffice it to say that reading this book might give you night terrors. Go buy it. The kids will love it!


Books with Pictures are the BEST

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Quirk/2011) has everything I could hope for in a novel.  Superpowers, secret worlds, pictures, a hint of time-travelling children….

Growing up, Jacob loved hearing his grandfather’s childhood stories from his days in an orphanage for ‘peculiar children.’ That is, until the kids at school started giving him a hard time about his ‘fairy stories,’ and he decided that his grandfather was crazy, or worse, a liar.  Jacob’s opinion is unequivocally altered however, when he finds his grandfather dead in the woods, and catches a glimpse of the many-tongued monster that did him in, lurking in the bushes.  So, pro—grandpa’s not a liar, con—Jacob may be insane.  With the help of his shrink (natch), Jacob convinces his folks he needs to visit his grandfather’s former home, on a remote British island.  Once there, Jacob discovers the orphanage abandoned, bombed out from the war.

Jacob remains convinced, however, that there is something he’s missing.   And of course he’s right—the real orphanage is safe and intact, preserved in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again during World War II.  And you can only reach the right time and place by going through a cave, and yes all the stories his grandfather told him were true, and maybe someone is using Jacob to get close to the peculiar children, and animals are suspiciously dying in Jacob’s real time, and also, he may have made out with his grandfather’s former girlfriend.   Got all that?

Riggs novel is original and captivating.  Sure, it’s not perfect.  Jacob’s a little whiny, and maybe a bit thick too (you didn’t realize your grandfather’s neighbor, your pool guy, your bus driver and your shrink were ALL THE SAME PERSON?  Major fail bro), but you can’t help but be pulling for the guy.  Riggs has created a magical world with an underbelly of discontent and complexity, where even the good guys have their own secrets.  I look forward to the follow-up, and recommend you borrow this, right after Princess Consuela returns it.


In which I Strong-arm My Way Into This Blog*

Through a strategic maneuvering of whining and harassment I’ve managed to get myself invited to blog (I frequently wonder how I have any friends).  There are so many many YA topics I could tackle here (expect an in-depth analysis of time-traveling children in the near future), but I think I’m going to follow the previous lead and describe my library set-up first.  This is in no part due to the fact that I’m verging on a kettle corn/frozen yogurt induced coma (I typed comma first and for some reason I thought that was hilarious.  This is only a sampling of the literary gems you have to look forward to).

This picture is kind of crappy because I took it on my phone, but you get the important parts–1) obviously I don’t have a boyfriend and 2) I don’t have nearly enough bookshelves.

Last time I moved I did a huge overhaul and got rid of a bunch of books, but I’ve quickly replaced them (amazon shouldn’t make it so easy to order things).  Now I’m at the point where I’m stacking books sideways on top of other books, which is just a road to nowhere.  I guess I could get rid of some dachshund figurines, but it would really throw off the delicate decorating aesthetic I’ve created here, and no one wants that.

Unlike previous bloggers (I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be anonymous so I’m not calling anyone by their names.  Unless we can come up with secret blog names in which case I want to be Sparkles) I’m not BFF with all sorts of authors that sign things for me or make special trips to certain TLA booths in order to give people signed copies of first editions.  Sadly.  So instead of showing you pictures of those I was just going to tell you about my favorite non-time-traveling-zero-magic-no-vampires-no-one-even-falls-in-love-and-yet-it-is-awesome children’s book!  It has the unfortunate title of Goodnight Mr. Tom (I like to think that this ms came up at the end of the acquisitions meeting, and everyone was tired of sitting on those uncomfortable chairs, and like three people had to pee, and no one brought chocolate to this meeting, and the boss kept getting up to take calls in her office, and everyone was just like, yeh that title is fine.  It’s great!  I love it!  Lets just go with that).  Anyway, despite the title (and a dopey picture on the front) that sounds like it’s a picture book or a book for slow-learners and makes me kind of hide it with my bag if I’m reading it on the subway or in line at Kroger (which I do sometimes if the line is really long, because, multi-tasking ya’ll) it is totally awesome.  It is about this boy, Will, during World War II, who gets sent to the English countryside when they evacuate kids from London because of the bombing.  And Mr. Tom ends up taking him in because there’s no one else to do it, and Mr. Tom is all gruff and old, and Will’s mom used to beat the crap out of him so he’s all weakly and afraid, and they need each other and Mr. Tom becomes nicer and starts interacting with the community because of Will, and Will becomes a lot cooler and makes friends, and they have a dog, and a Jewish friend, and then Will’s mom makes him come home because she’s sick, but she’s not really sick, and then she locks him in a closet, and Will also can draw really well.

I think that pretty much sums it up.  It’s one of those books that lots of things happen, but there’s never like, a build-up, climax, resolution…its kind of like: this happens, this happens, this happens.  I can tell I’m really selling this.  No wonder my Borders went out of business.

Anyway, here is a picture of the two (yes two! Ballin’ out of control!) copies I have:As you can tell one has been chewed on by a dog and dropped in the bathtub repeatedly well loved, and the other is in pristine condition.  The nice looking one is because we were supposed to exchange copies of our favorite childhood book with each other at our office Christmas party, but then people didn’t want too, and I had the flu, so yadda yadda now I have two.  If you want to borrow the non-gross one, you may.  Also, I still think that exchange idea was a good one.

Anyone have a favorite childhood book that is relatively  unknown?

*I am uncertain about the use of hyphenation in this title, and yet too lazy to look it up.