This week, the Big Red Dog gets a big party; a bookstore takes “llama llama” literally; HMH celebrates Curious George, a pair of author go “camp”ing, Obert Skye takes on Vegas; and a Louisiana school welcomes a visiting author.
Talk about a happy birthday: in honor of Clifford the Big Red Dog turning the big 5-0, Scholastic and author Norman Bridwell are celebrating, big-time. The publisher launched a birthday area on its Clifford site, where kids can send the pup a card, enter a sweepstakes, view a new video featuring Bridwell, and download a free copy of Clifford’s Big Birthday App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod. NPR Weekend Edition Saturday interviewed Bridwell and his wife, Norma, and at the Scholastic headquarters on Monday, NYC schoolkids sang an in-person Happy Birthday to the crimson canine. Scholastic also reunited the author with some very important people – all of his living book editors to date: (l. to r.): Cecily Kaiser, Rotem Moscovich, Grace Maccarone, Samantha Schutz (his current), and Eva Moore (a longtime editor of Bridwell’s who was originally assistant to Bridwell’s first editor, Beatrice Schenk de Regniers).
It was a wild rumpus indeed on September 25, when Anna Dewdney, creator of the Llama Llama picture books, brought two real-life llamas with her to the Wild Rumpus bookstore in Minneapolis. The crowd numbered more than 100 two-legged guests. “It was nice having it during the day, when preschoolers are looking for something to do,” bookseller Katie McGinley said. The store’s copies of Llama Llama Time to Share (Viking) sold well in the wake of the author’s appearance, and other Llama Llama titles are also moving briskly – though perhaps not quite as nimbly as their mammalian namesakes.
Curiouser and Curiouser
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt held its annual celebration of all things Curious George, Curiosity Day a little later this year – September 22 rather than the usual September 16, H.A. Rey’s birthday, due to scheduling issues with the Boston Public Library. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of attendees from HMH Children’s Book Group (from l.) Amanda Barsuhn, Alex Preziosi, Mary Huot, Curious George (aka Cara Llewellyn), the Man with the Yellow Hat, Anna Meier, and Meredith Wilson. HMH provided free event kits – some 400 of them – to stores and bookstores around the country so they could host their own events. On Rey’s actual birthday, CBS Sunday Morning ran a segment saluting the artist and his simian creation.
NYC’s Symphony Space hosted a reunion on September 22 for its Thalia Kids’ Book Club Camp, a summer literary program for middle-grade readers, featuring a pair of author guests. Adam Gidwitz (second from l.) and Matthew Cody (center) each read from their newest releases – In a Glass Grimmly (Dutton) and Super (Knopf) – and took questions from former campers and current club members. The Thalia Kids’ Book Club, run by (from l.) Jennifer Brenna, Katherine Minton, and Madeline Cohen, brings authors to Symphony Space year-round.
What Happens in Vegas…
Obert Skye’s tour for Potterwookiee (Holt) tour kicked off on September 18 and continues through October 1. He did some pre-pub events in his local Idaho, and is now visiting 10 cities and three to five schools each day, followed by an in-store signing in each city that lasts an average of two hours. His September 20 stop: Las Vegas, where some kids from a school visit earlier that day stopped by Barnes and Noble to get their books signed by the author. Potterwookiee is the second in the Creature from My Closet series; the third volume, a mash-up of Pinocchio and Dracula, is due out next fall.
On September 17, Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jefferson Parish, La., hosted author Myra McEntire, author of Hourglass and Timepiece (Egmont USA) for a talk, Q&A and book-signing. Librarian Elizabeth Kahn organized the visit in cooperation with Judith Lafitte of Octavia Books in New Orleans; the school had just reopened after a seven-day closing due to Hurricane Isaac. McEntire (r.), seen here with Enjoli Gilbert (l.), a PFTSTA graduate and former president of Bookmarked – the high school book group – and Courtney Beamer, the book group’s current president, also did an interview for a student-created video.