Monster Mash

On tour for Pinocula, the third book in his Creature from the Closet series for Henry Holt, Obert Skye stopped at Alamosa Books in Albuquerque, N.M., for a lively reading of the Dracula-meets-Pinocchio mash-up. Many guests among the standing-room-only crowd came dressed in inventive mash-up costumes, including one dressed as Captain Hook/Gandalf. Perhaps Captain Hookalf (Gandook?) will be next to emerge from the closet.

That’s the (Animal) Spirit!

The Wild Rumpus bookstore in Minneapolis hosted a launch event for the Scholastic multiplatform series Spirit Animals, which takes place in a world in which children are paired with a unique spirit animal. Brandon Mull, creator of the series and author of the first book, Wild Born, was joined by two real “spirit animals,” llamas named Pablo and Pedro. Here, Mull poses with Wild Rumpus events coordinator Drew Sieplinga and the furry guests of honor. The store also supplied a “nectar-drinking” station where kids in attendance could choose their own spirit animals. Wild Rumpus was a fitting venue for the launch because, true to its name, it always keeps a few animals of its own on-site, including a tarantula named Thomas Jefferson and an orange cat named Daniel Handler.

From the Heart

A launch party for Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings (HMH) marks author Joyce Sidman’s third collaboration with illustrator Pamela Zagarenski. During a launch party at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn., Sidman read some poems and handed out “comfort stones” to audience members, who were then asked to write about their sources of comfort and strength. Also reading at the event was Clara (r.), Sidman’s niece, who recited “Blessing on the Downtrodden,” which she also recorded for the book’s trailer. The occasion concluded cozily, with milk and cookies.

Acting Out

Debut author Frances Sackett celebrated the release of her middle-grade fantasy, The Misadventures of the Magician’s Dog (Holiday House), at Children’s Book World in Los Angeles. To bring to life a scene from the book, which is about a boy whose magical dog teaches him the art of conjuring, Sacket enlisted the help of her partner, Steve Valdez (l.), and their friend Bob Johnson (r.), who performed for an enthusiastic audience of face-painted, dog ear-wearing children (that’s Sackett’s daughter in the lower left corner).

Beautiful Music

Illustrator Rudy Gutierrez (l.) and author Gary Golio (r.) were guests at a benefit for the Coltrane Home in Dix Hills, N.Y., held at EN Japanese Brasserie in Manhattan. The event was organized to raise money for transforming the late John Coltrane’s house into a museum and educational center. Golio and Gutierrez, who collaborated on the picture book Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion), signed copies of the book at the event. Among the guests in attendance were Carlos Santana, who spoke to the audience about the jazz legend, and Ravi Coltrane (center), John Coltrane’s son.

It’s a Supervillain Thing

John Martin (l.) and Scott Seegert stopped off at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, Ill., on October 8 during their two-week tour of the Midwest for the latest installment in the Vordak the Incomprehensible series, Time Travel Trouble (Egmont). During the event, Martin engaged the audience with a drawing lesson and Scott read selections from the Vordak books. Here, a young fan tries out Vordak’s elaborate headgear.