Gee-Haw Whimmy-Diddles and Other Non-Fiction Casualties O’ the Day

It’s not every day that a King’s bones are dug up.  So let’s celebrate with some bones we dug out of our non-fiction collection today!

Preface: I’ve been in my department head position for almost a year and a half.  I made a conscious effort not to kick off any big weeding projects until I had been on the job for a full year so I could get a good sense of our patrons and what the community was digging.  Now that I have a sense of things, we’re off to the races! While my colleagues do a brilliant job of all the nitty-gritty work, I take a quick pass through everything before it goes out the door.  I present to you the top casualties of the day.

Something about this super-jacked half rabbit/half man makes me cock my head in confusion. Same with the wolf/human and his spectacles.
Perhaps an ancestor of James Marshall’s Portly McSwine?
Copyright 1973!!! Note the author: I guess this is what Mr Green was up to pre-Looking For Alaska. This is essentially a compendium of Canadian Sasquatch sitings. I’ll be taking this treatise next time I head into the deep bush, for sure.


And, finally, the book that gave this post its name:

This little gem hasn’t circulated in 15 years. WHY THE HECK NOT!?

I am in love with this book.  My favorite excerpt:

Don’t hook this book

My young whippernap,

For nickels and dimes

It cost-ed my pap.

Don’t know if that qualifies as a whimmy-diddle or not.

I think it’s also worth noting that the author, a Mr. James Still, has a bio in the back of the book that says “Critics have hailed his verse and fiction for its beauty, humor, and integrity.”

And keeping with our old bones theme, I give you my favorite Grade 7 slow dance jam.

A Creative Use For Paint Chips

One of the greatest joys I find in starting a new book is the task of selecting a new bookmark.  I have developed a rather strange habit of collecting various colours of paint chips that I can then match to book covers.  It’s kind of like accessorizing.  Behold (I have also included some super articulate reviews in the captions):

A lovely use for my sea foam green chip:

I loved this book.

Dark navy goes with a lot, but this was a particularly good match:

This book was weird. You won't want to eat KFC ever again after reading this.

I knew I was going out on a bit of limb picking this stormcloud lavender but it found a good home:

This book was creemazing (creepy/amazing). I still have to remind myself that Christian isn't real and I don't have to check my closets for him before going to bed.

The best thing about this hobby is that it gives you something to do if your significant other is putzing around at Home Depot or some other ghastly place.  There is also the added fun potential of seeing if the name of the colour on the paint chip corresponds at all with the plot of the book.  Martha Stewart paint chips are the worst for this as she has really boring names for colours like “Spanish Moss” or “Azurite” (all Martha chips are displayed here).  Benjamin Moore is usually a bit more expressive.

A Pink Best Birthday Saturation Point?

How many pink, adorable birthday books by wonderful female illustrators can the market handle?

Apparently two – and one a month at that!  I had a deja-vu moment tonight when I read a review for Jennifer Larue Huget and LeUyen Pham’s The Best Birthday Party Ever.  Looking at the book cover didn’t help me either.

Did I order that book?  Yeah, I think I did.

But I hadn’t.  I had ordered this:

That’s The Best Birthday Ever! By Me (Lana Kittie).  Now, they’re clearly not identical books and the illustrators have completely different styles.  But you have to admit that there’s some definite similarities in titles and colour schemes.  Also, they were released a month apart. The Best Birthday Ever! By Me (Lane Kittie) was released January 4th and The Best Birthday Party Ever was released February 22nd, which makes me feel a bit less like a dunce for being completely confused.

About ten minutes later, I had another confusing moment when I was checking to see if I had ordered Arthur Geisert’s new wordless wonder, Ice. We already had two books titled Ice on order but they were a little different:

Someone really needs to start a book review blog comparing and contrasting books with the same title.  The above comparison would be especially interesting, methinks.

The Top 10 Most Uninspired Rainbow Magic Fairies

Warning: snark alert.

But seriously, doesn’t this “Daisy Meadows” gal grind your gears some days?  Am I the only one who thinks “What the crap – they’re really reachin’ here!” when I see some of these gals?  Behold:

Flora the Fancy Dress Fairy: That ain’t no fancy dress!  That’s a mermaid costume, lady.

Carrie the Snowcap Fairy: A snowcap?  Is that even a thing?

Grace the Glitter Fairy: Okay, I know that the chidlers who read this series probably aren’t concerned with mutual exclusivity, but don’t all these fairies qualify as glitter fairies?  Aren’t they all glittery?  Or is Grace merely the most glittery of them all?

Imogen the Ice Dance Fairy: I’m picking this purely because of the name “Imogen.”  Far out, Daisy.  Interesting to note that the new version features the name Isabelle instead.  Also, ice dance is lame, with the exception of this.

Megan the Monday Fairy: No one likes the Monday fairy.  And that skirt looks much more appropriate for Saturday.

Abigail the Breeze Fairy/Evie the Mist Fairy: Like snowcap, I think that the breeze/mist are not consequential enough to require their own representatives in the fairy world.

Mia the Bridesmaid Fairy: This is the one that fans picked in some vote a while back, so I probably shouldn’t make fun of it.  But really, I can’t help but imagine the Bridesmaid fairy as one who carries around a lot of vodka and broken dreams and insists that she’s not married yet because “She’s putting herself first” (also, wasn’t this book made into a terrible movie with Katherine Heigl?)

Paige the Pantomime Fairy: Because every child is concerned with pantomiming.  And why the dang is she classified as a “Christmas Fairy” on the website?

Kate the Royal Wedding Fairy: No fascinator?  Girl, please.

Naylor’s Alice Series – Whatta Makeover!

During the last ten minutes of my shift, I always like to walk through the Children’s area to make sure all is right with the world (and that no icky book has somehow ended up on display).

Tonight I had a horrible realization.  We don’t have Alice in Rapture, Sort Of !!!

If I could fire myself, I would.  In my defense I’ve only been at this job for five months.  But still.  STILL.

Part of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s epic Alice series, Alice in Rapture, Sort Of is one of my top ten favourite books of all time.  Actually, probably top five.  I LOVED it is a kid and I still LOVE it.  I love it with a passion that makes me weepy.  No other book so perfectly captures middle grade romance.  My stomach gurgles just thinking of it.  From the Lift Up Spandex Ahhh-Bra to Alice’s cute new bikini to the country club date with Patrick.  There’s nothing better! I still haven’t finished the series because I can’t bear for it to be over.  And I can’t stand the thought that Alice might not end up with Patrick!  (don’t put spoilers in the comment field or I’ll cut you)

Well, I busted on over to Amazon to get the ISBN to order it from ULS and saw that most of the Alice books have had a makeover.  A seriously dern CUTE makeover.  Now, the series has had several incarnations but I think this is the best yet.  Here’s Alice how I knew her in the 1990s:

And here she is now:

Here’s another version.  I’m not crazy about photos of kids on covers but these kids are pretty legit:

And another.  Quite vague and stock photo-y:

But I do have to say that I think this newest look is the best.  Here are some of the other titles all spiffed up:

I think there is something delightfully vintage about these covers and I like that Alice actually looks her age.  But does this look too vintage?  Are my 1950s/early 1960s tastes atypical?  I think real live 9-11 year olds might be into this – it’s sort of reminscent of  Charice Mericle Harper’s Just Grace books but less cartoony.

I do think that the images could have incorporated a bit more humour.  Alice is a klutz and is quite funny, and she looks quite sweet and a wee bit saccharine here.  But overall, I think I’m sold.

I’m rarely happy with cover makeovers as I form pretty intense attachments to the originals.  But I can’t wait to re-read the new beuts on Capri Island this summer when they are released in early May.

Capri Island - the best reading raft in the world (I didn't name it that. It says right on there). Thanks Costco!

YA Covers: Can Black Not Be the New Black?

The YA collection at my library looks like it came from bottom of a coal mine.  Black.  Black.  Black.  And it’s not our fault.  With the paranormal explosion came the black/dark cover explosion..  I wonder how Jerry Spinelli is doing these days as the turquoise wonderfulness of Stargirl literally shines out from the  charcoal abyss.

Since fangy and wingy dudes are supposedly on the decline, I’m hoping that colour might come back.  Especially because colour can still be edgy.  I got to thinking about this when I saw the cover of a new Simon and Schuster book, Choked.

Despite being a dark, murder-y , mystery-y type deal, it’s pale pink.  Yes, there’s some black on there, but using it sparingly actually has the effect of making the book look darker and creepier than if the whole thing was drenched in Dracula’s favourite colour (I assume Dracula’s favourite colour would be black.  But actuallly, now that I think about it, it would probably be red, hey?  Like a deep, deep red.  Whatever. Just go with it).

Here’s hoping there are more pink (and red and turquoise) covers coming our way.

Oh, and here’s the inspiration behind this title’s blog post (at the 2:05 mark, but you should really watch the whole thing because it’s hilar).

Scholastic’s I Am Canada Series: Making History Manly

Awhile ago, I posted in anticipation of Scholastic’s new I Am Canada series.  I had a few reservations.  My feelings about the name remain (a bit beer commercially), but I’m won over by the prettiness.

The first two books are Hugh Brewster’s Prisoner of Dieppe and Paul Yee’s Blood and Iron. Both these authors are natural choices for these topics as they’ve already done their homework: Brewster’s Dieppe: Canada’s Darkest Days of World War II came out last year and no one should ever forget about Paul Yee’s Tales From Gold Mountain and Ghost Train.

The I Am Canada website, as is the case with the Dear Canada site, is stellar.  It is also  imbued with a healthy amount of testosterone and perfectly reflects the books in all their navy blue glory.  I’m really impressed with the cover design – it has enough in common with Dear Canada with the photo and the weathered paper, but also stands alone, too.  These boys and girls sure look smart together, don’t they?

We stand on guard for good book design.

It’s interesting that the I Am Canada books seem available only in paperback (correct me if I’m wrong here).  Perhaps because of the maxim that boys prefer paperbacks?  If so, very interesting.

While I think boys might be reluctant to read the Dear Canada books (there’s a picture of a chick on the front, plus the hardcovers have a ribbon for a bookmark), I can see gals partaking in I Am Canada.

Next up is to give these new boys on the block a read and see how they measure up.  But with authors like Brewster and Yee on board, I suspect the final verdict will be… Shannon: 0  I Am Canada: 1