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If you like picture books, peanut butter, or both, you've crash-landed in the right spot. Fluff your reading pillow, grab a spoon, and stay awhile!

Monday, December 14, 2009

And Nuttin' But The Tooth!

Whoa! Whoa-whoa-whoa! MonkeyKid just lost her first tooth! (No, this has nothing to do with PBs or PB--well, only slightly--or Outer Space-ace-ace-ace, but I'm just so happy and excited for her! Woo-hoo, MonkeyKid! CONGRATULATIONS, MonkeyKid!

It was so funny... she was enjoying her afternoon snack (PB cracker sandwiches--with cheddar cheese stuffed inside, go figure--and a Rice Krispie treat, when all of a sudden she whispered, "My tooth just fell out." It hadn't, but it had turned around completely and was practically out. I told her, than said, "I'll bet if you take one more bite of your Rice Krispie treat, that'll do it!" She did, and it did! Woo-hoo!

Much to do to prepare for the tiny Fang Fairy's arrival this eve (including assembling this SO-charming Tooth Fairy "Rest Stop" Gazebo I found at the brilliant Marilyn Scott Waters' The Toymaker site (, so I'll have to make this post a shorty, even though I know I really owe y'all a longie, because I hadn't posted in the last week whilst vanquishing The Ick once and for all! (I hope!) The best advice I can give about Swine Flu? Don't get it! HA HA HA!

Anyway, y'know what I REALLY need to do? Update my side column, because if anybody's noticed, it looks like I've been reading The Hunchback Assignments and listening to Alvin Ho for like, a month! (They're both fabulous, of course, but I do read/listen faster than that!

On the recently read MG/YA book list, there was also the fantasy MGBarkbelly by Cat Weatherill, illustrated by (PB Planet fave!) Peter Brown (Yearling, 2008), which is now officially One of My Favorite Books of ALL TIME! I also read another illustrated-by-Ross-Collins MG, Fairy Nuff: A Tale of Bluebell Wood by Herbie Brennan (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2002). Oh, and there was the YA werewolf novel Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Press, 2009), and I just re-read the original Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Hyperion Books for Children, 2008)--because it's brilliant! And, I'm sure I read other stuff while I was sick and just don't remember it. (Gosh, I hope that doesn't mean I did dumb stuff and don't remember it, too!) I'm currently reading The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall (Yearling, Random House Children's Books, 2005)--so far, it's wonderful!

On the recently listened-to list, we also heard Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park, narrated by Christina Moore (Recorded Books, 1998), and Ivy and Bean break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows, narrated by Cassandra Morris (Recorded Books, 2007). Both were magnifico! (We don't have anew audiobook yet, so I'll leave Ivy and Bean up for now.)

Woo-hoo! Caught up! (Kinda.) See you soon, PBnauts!

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Dude, This is Easy!" PB Cookies... And More!

Howdy, PBnauts! Did you have a nice weekend? Hope so! Read any great kidlit? Hope so!

I have to start with a big ol' THANK YOU to Kathy Temean, NJ SCBWI Regional Advisor, who sent me the greatest prezzie! It's Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself by Eileen & Jerry Spinelli, illustrated by Julia Rothman (Alfred A. Knopf--a MOST excellent publisher, hee hee hee!, 2009). This book is amazing! Each page represents a date, and for each date, there's a quote from a children's book, a cool illustration and conversational little paragraph describing it, and a little resolution you can make. Here, let's pick a page together, and you'll see what I mean. Get a month/day date in your head. You're thinking... September 5, aren't you? Okay, let's turn to the September 5 page and see what it says.

THE QUOTE: "When Lucy's house got too loud, she went to the library."
THE SOURCE: Lucy's Quiet Book by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst.
THE PARAGRAPH: Isn't it nice to know there's a place like the library? For those times when you want mild, not wild. A place that's always the same, that welcomes you, that says "Come on in, friend--out of the cold, out of the heat, out of the noise." Think of the library as your other room.
THE "I WILL": Today I'll make myself at home in the library.

Isn't that beautiful? I love it. Thank you, Kathy! (Oh, that's a pic of a bunch of people I don't know waiting outside my library for it to open--the daily "doorbusters." I did ask permission to take and post their picture, though.)

Okie-doke, I'm (valiantly, I must say!) fighting off The Ick again, so we'll keep today's post short and sweet: just one PB review, one PB recipe, and one cool space-related thingie. Here we go!

First, the PB review! Big PB Planet applause for The Duchess of Whimsy: An Absolutely Delicious Fairy Tale by Randall de Seve, illustrated by Peter de Seve (Philomel Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2009). (The first "e" in "Seve" has an accent grave, but my computer's being uncooperative with accents right now.) Gorgeous illustrations (the shoe-wheels have GOT to be seen) accompany this delightfully unusual love story. The Duchess of Whimsy was the life of the party. The Earl of Norm, who loved her... was not. Desperately, he tried to win her attention and affection. But his borrowed giraffe did not impress her. His poetry did not impress her. And his fancy cape was just ridiculous. But when the Cook falls ill and the Earl makes a grilled cheese sandwich... A lovely example that people are often more than they appear when you really get to know them.

Now, the PB recipe! I finally tried that "sounds-too-good-to-be-true" three ingredient PB cookie recipe, and it's... PHENOMENAL! One seriously easy, seriously tasty cookie that looks, browns, and tastes just like the standard recipe! Here's how to make them (I'd love to credit somebody, but I've seen it everywhere, so let's just credit it to the universe!) But here's my title for them:

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of PB (smooth or crunchy)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the three ingredients until blended, then drop by level tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between cookies. Do the little criss-cross thing with a metal fork, smooshing them down slightly. Bake for 15-18 minutes--done when light golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes 2 dozen cookies, which will probably be gone in a few hours.

(I know, I know--I ALWAYS use that blue plate. MonkeyKid made it. It's special. It's... my Blue Plate Special! HA HA HA!)

Okay, the space thingie: you know her. You love her! It's INTERPLANET JANET!

That's it, PBnauts! I'm off to go wallow in icky self-pity for a day or two. Maybe another PB cookie would make me feel better... See ya Wednesday or Thursday--I hope! STAY WELL!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Houdini and A Humpback Whale Walk into Alcatraz...

Hi, PBnauts! I got to do something really fun yesterday! I was a... Secret Santa! I'm participating in the fabulous Book Blogger Holiday Swap ( and yesterday was Package O' Goodness shipping day! I hope my Santee likes their stuff--I LOVE what I got from my BBHS Secret Santa! Here it is:

It's a collection of the public street sign mascots, advertising characters, etc. from Japan! Kore wa kawaii, desu ka? Thank you, thank you Secret Santa... whoever you are! Wanna get in on the fun? Leave yourself a Post-It to sign up for next year!

Got a fun reply from illustrator Ross Collins--I may have found my weirdness equal!

Great birthday with Monkeykid! And, ever wonder what's inside those star-shaped weights that they tie onto helium balloons? Monkeykid and Husband Guy did... and then, they attacked it! KI-YA! So, what's inside? It's CEMENT! So now, we have a teeny star-shaped cement stepping stone in our garden!

I just splurged on an $89/year Amazon Prime membership. Me want book. Me order book. Book arrive with free shipping two days later. Me happy! (Me likely to spend mortgage payment on books.)

And other little extravagances... I just discovered there's a Peanut Butter of the Month Club! Listen to this: "gourmet, hand-crafted peanut butters from boutique, regional producers across the country." Whoa. From Amazing Clubs:

Can you stand some more leftovers? Nope, not turkey and stuffing--PBs! I just looked at my return-to-the-library bag, and I can't really pull together a "theme" for my PBs today. (Note my failed post title attempt!) But, like real leftovers often are, these are good, too! Here are just a few recent reads:

Alcatraz to Zanzibar: Famous Places from A to Z by Colleen Dolphin (ABDO Publishing Company, 2009). Amazing photos and cool facts about famous places all around the globe. My fave: the Giant's Causeway, a natural rock formation in Northern Ireland. (It looks like a giant left a big pile of stone Legos on the beach!)

Humpback Whales Up Close by Jody Sullivan Rake (Capstone Press, 2010). Amazing photos and cool facts about humpback whales! Something I didn't know: a group of humpback whales will swim below a school of fish, blow bubbles from their blowholes to confuse the school--then gulp 'em up!

A Picture Book of Harry Houdini by David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler, illustrated by Matt Collins (Holiday House, 2009). Amazing illustrations and cool facts about Harry Houdini. Something that made me go, "Ohhh!": at age eleven, Houdini took a job with the local locksmith, where he soon learned to open all the locks without keys!

Hey, wait a minute! Those are all non-fiction titles! So hey, we have a theme after all! "Cool New Non-fiction Titles!" HOORAY!

I have a Broomstix deadline this week (yea, YULE! You RULE!) so I'll see ya Friday or Monday, PBnauts!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

John Rocks! Art Rocks! (And Space Rocks!)

Hey, PBnauts! Have a good Thanksgiving? Hope so! Healthy? Hope so! Big stuff on PB Planet today... let's get started!

First, a well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS KITTY to awesome guy and STNY agent John M. Cusick on the sale of his debut novel! Girl Parts was purchased (at auction!) by Candlewick Press, editor Deb Noyes-Wayshak. Audio rights purchased (at auction too!) by Tim Ditlow at Brilliance Audio. UK and ANZ rights are still being discussed. WOW, way to go, John!

Continuing today's lotsa-love theme... I have a new fave illustrator to rave over! Joining the brilliant Sir John Burningham, Polly Dunbar, Russel Ayto, Peter Brown (and newcomers Neil Numberman and Leeza Hernandez) in Ame's "Dang, They're Fantastic!" Hall o' Children's Book Illustrator Fame is... ROSS COLLINS!

(Here's a pic of Ross Collins I stole off his website. But since I'm sitting here saying how totally rad he is, he won't get mad, right?)

If you're thinking that you've heard of him before here on PB Planet, I owe you a gold star! I'd Spotlighted his fabulously funny Dear Vampa around Halloween. It was so awesome, I had to check out some of his other stuff, too. Here, have a peek at these great Ross Collins PBs!

Alvie Eats Soup by Ross Collins (Arthur A. Levin Books, Scholastic Press, 2002). As the title suggests, Alvie eats soup. The problem? Alvie only eats soup--soup for every meal! His folks try everything to get Alvie to eat anything else, but nothing works. Worse, Alvie's grandma Francesca the gourmet chef is coming to town! (You'll love the pics of steadfast Alvie, especially the soup spoon tucked behind Alvie's ear like a pencil!)

Germs by Ross Collins (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2004). Moralistic Pox is ridiculed by the other germs--Pus, Rash, and Snot--at the Germ Academy. When he's assigned to infect a cute little girl, will he be able to do it? A super-fun introduction to the whole germ/defenses releationship, and the absolute cutest disgusting book you'll ever see!

Jack and the Dreamsack by Laurence Anholt, illustrated by Ross Collins (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003). The most imaginative, beautiful, fabulous children's "dreamscape" fantasy ever. EVER!

The No-Nothings and Their Baby by Anne Mazer, illustrated by Ross Collins (Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic Press, 2000). Riotous illustrations accompany the tale of the world's "simplest" (and by simplest, I mean "dumbest," but I didn't want to be mean) new parents. (Love their laundry line, their car, and their crazy get-ups!)

The Three Grumpies by Tamra Wight, illustrated by Ross Collins (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003). When a girl wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, Grumpy, Grumpier, and Grumpiest follow her about all day. (And, they're really rather fetching in their stripey sweater accessories!)

After all this PB goodness, I had to check out one of Mr. Collins' MGs, too!

Medusa Jones by Ross Collins (Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic, Inc., 2008). All your fave Greek myth monsters as mid-grade misfits! From the amazing first line ("Pleeeaase can I turn them to stone?") to the climactic ending, you'll love Medusa and pals' efforts to get along with the annoying but beautiful Champions. Hysterically funny B&W illustrations throughout. (And how awesome are those headsnakes?)

The prolific Mr. Collins has other books, too--go check 'em out!

Now, because I like you: here's the promised pic of my space rock! It's a tektite, a natural glass formed when a meteorite hits and melts the rock around it. It feels like the sucked-down inside of a peppermint, and smells a bit like a cotton ball.(I didn't taste it, so I don't know what it tastes like.) Isn't it cool? (Okay, so I'm prone to fits of geekness. Shhh, don't tell.)

Tomorrow is Monkeykid's birthday, and I've got a whole lotta little cupcakes (PB? I wish! Not allowed at school) to bake, so I'll see ya Wednesday, PBnauts!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's PB Time!

Greetings, PBnauts! Well, one good thing about Swine Flu: you get plenty of time to browse catalogs for PB items and read PBs! Here are a few of my recent PB finds:

Check out this ingenious tool: the PB & J Spreader! PB swirls in your jelly jar? Jelly globs in your PB jar? Clever dual-sided silicone spreader eliminates double-dip results and two dirty knives (or fingers)! Machine washable, and only $10.00! Sold by Uncommon Goods (

PB time! Have you read any of these PBs? What did you think?

Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril (Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009). The nephew of Peggy Parish continues the adventures of everyone's favorite too-literal comedienne... as a kid!

The Banshee by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully (Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). SUPER-spooky/suspenseful tale of a boy's determination to confront a real-life banshee in his yard... or is it?

How the Nobble Was Finally Found by C.K. Williams and Stephen Gammell (Harcourt Children's Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009). Truly unique, poetic quest story of a truly unique creature's search to find a friend. LOVE the Nobble's esoteric hiding places: the bottom rung of the number eight, the space between Wednesday and Thursday, etc.

Little Devils by Robert J. Blake (Philomel Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2009). Charming family loyalty/bravery story starring three unusual protagonists: triplet Tasmanian devil pups, who must rescue their beloved "mum" from a trap! Blake's beautiful paintings truly bring to life the big, mischievous personalities of these little... well, devils!

On Our Way Home by Sebastien Braun (Boxer Books, 2009). Sweet first-person "me and my Daddy bear" bedtime story. Little ones will enjoy spotting the other forest friends in the charming pictures.

Princess Hyacinth: the Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith, design by Molly Leach (Schwartz & Wade Books, Random House Children's Books, 2009). A fantastically funny and beautifully illustrated version of the classic fairy tale.

Timmerman Was Here by Colleen Sydor, illustrated by Nicolas Debon (Tundra Books, 2009). Suspenseful but surprisingly heartwarming Depression-era account of friendship between a girl and her home's kind yet mysterious boarder. Where does Timmerman go on those late-night walks? And why does he need that shovel?

Now, here it is: the PB Planet Spotlight Review! Big PB Planet applause for The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Gwen Millward (Schwartz & Wade Books, Random House Children's Books, 2008). Two little girls tell their Mom they're going to Annie's house to play. Instead, they sneak off to the magic pond in Bluebell Wood to fish for newts--but catch something much better. Whimsically, gorgeously written and illustrated, with a beautiful-but-not-preachy "nature is best left in nature" message, it's a truly fantastic read. In fact, I DARE you not to "it's-so-good!" cry with this one. (I did. Each of the three times I read it.) So... zoom on over to your local bookstore and bring a copy back to your home planet today!

TTFN, PBnauts! In the next few posts: I'll show you my space rock! I'll gush about a fave new illustrator! And, a salute to recent Alfred A. Knopf PB titles! (Why? Oh, I dunno...) ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Joey Fly, Private Eye Day!

PBNAUTS! I'm back from tooling around the universe, and wowie, what an adventure! There were good parts (Disney World) and there were stinky parts (getting swine flu, which I'm still fighting--SNORT-SNORT!). But, it's SO good to be home! And what a great day it is here on PB Planet, because today is JOEY FLY, PRIVATE EYE day!

Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Neil Numberman (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2009).

I know you hipsters have probably already heard of/read/bought multiple copies of this new AWESOME insect-o-rama whodunnit graphic novel that's got folks buzzing (pardon my bad pun).

You've probably already oohed and aahed at the AMAZING book trailer:

You've probably already caught some of the cool promo posts on other blogs--it's okay, I know you read other blogs--or checked out the sweet websites o' Aaaron and Neil: or

You may even be following the wry humor of Joey Fly and Sammy Stingtail on Twitter:

But, I KNOW you haven't yet read this EXCLUSIVE mini Q&A with author Aaron Reynolds:

ME: So Aaron, if you could be a bug for a day, what kind would you be, and what would you do with your 24 buggy hours?

AARON: I think I'd want to be a grasshopper, and I'd probably just eat gum off the ground the whole time.

EWWW! (But hey, the guy's authored several rockin' books--including the new Joey Fly books in the works right now--so who are we to judge?)

Guess what? (Alright, who said "chicken butt!"?) Just click on the handy title of today's post to connect to, where you can peek inside Joey Fly (the book, not the fly himself--that would be gross) and conveniently order! Order for yourself, your kids, your mystery-lovin' friends, your teacher, your classroom (great for Insect Week!), your nieces and nephews, the paper boy, your pest control guy... oops, shouldn't have gone there.

Got praise or a question for Aaron and Neil? They're lurking in the shadows today (in a nice way), ready to respond to your comments!

Enjoy, PBnauts! New post soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holly Hobbie… and the Plague?

Dearest PBNauts,

I didn’t mean to neglect you! I’m sorry! It’s just super-duper chaos here at the space station (the good kind!), so my posts for the next week or two might be a little erratic. (On the bright side, since I can’t follow a schedule, it’ll be a surprise when you come visit and see a new post! And who doesn’t like surprises? SURPRISE!)

But for now, I have some great PB (both kinds!) info to share! Here we go!

First, the edible PB news: for all you PB&J lovers, there’s a new bread “base” for you! Arnold now makes these fab little pre-sliced Sandwich Flatbreads! See the one I had for breakfast this morning? Lightly toasted, PB and cherry jelly. YUM! Buy a pack, create your own Masterpiece PB&J, and leave a comment about it!

Now, the PB-with-pages news and reviews!

What a strange mix o’ books I read in the last few days! Here’s a few for ya! Did you read them? What did you think?

Aunt Matilda’s Almost-Boring Party (Front Street, Boyds Mill Press, 2009). A young boy is nodding off at his Aunt’s oh-so-perfect party, and that’s when things get interesting…

City Alphabet by Joanne Schwartz, photos by Matt Beam (Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2009). Extraordinary urban A-to-Z featuring photos shot in the downtown of a major city. (Nope, not gonna tell you! Pick it up, thumb through it, and see if it looks like your city!)

Constance and Tiny by Pierre Le Gall, illustrated by Eric Heliot (English translation by Shannon Rowan and Robert Agis, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2009). The adventure of a truly horrid little girl and her enormous kitten, Tiny. (The back cover states, “You’re going to love hating them!”—and you will! You really will!)

Constance and the Great Escape by Pierre Le Gall, illustrated by Eric Heliot (English translation by Shannon Rowan and Robert Agis, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2009). Constance is sent to the Jolly Boarding School, where she hatches a truly devious plan to get out and rejoin her beloved kitten, Tiny.

Fanny & Annabelle by Holly Hobbie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009). In this second Fanny book, Fanny writes her own PB, starring her doll, Annabelle. This fun story-within-a-story is sure to inspire the young author in your house! (And I’ll tell ya a secret: I had Holly Hobbie—the character—wallpaper in my room when I was in middle school. You know you’re jealous!)

Fish School by Nancy Poydar (Holiday House, 2009). Charlie wishes his goldfish, Wishy, could accompany him on his school trip to the aquarium. Then he gets an idea…

Lucy’s Cave: A Story of Vicksburg, 1863 by Karen B. Winnick (Boyds Mill Press, 2008). Powerful fictionalized account of a real eleven-year-old girl’s experience living in a cave in Vicksburg, Mississippi during the Union army attacks of Spring, 1863.

The Medieval Plague by Shevi Johnson (Capstone Press, 2010). Another chipper book from our friends at Capstone, the folks who brought you The Miserable Life of Medieval Peasants. (I had to watch Teletubbies for a bit to recover after reading this one. Needed the giggling baby sun and some bunnies to bring me back.)

OK GO by Carin Berger (Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009). Unique “go green!” message with zany collage art.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… the PB Planet Spotlight Review! I’m super-thrilled to have discovered I Want a Dog! by Helga Bansch (North-South Books Inc., 2009). Lisa LOVES dogs. Dreams of dogs. Wants a dog! But her parents insist their apartment is too small for one. When her efforts to change their minds fail, Lisa comes up with a wonderfully inventive compromise that makes everyone happy (and helps someone in need, too). A MUST-HAVE if Lisa’s request is common to your house, too! So… zoom on over to your local bookstore and bring a copy back to your home planet today!

Gotta blast off, PBnauts! And remember, even if I’m not blogging regularly, I still love you! (“Awwww!”)

OOPS! Just realized I still haven’t posted about my fabulous “searched for it for 20 years PB!” (Ain’t I a tease?!)


Monday, November 2, 2009

Whittling Down the Mountain!

Howdy, PBnauts! Did you have a great Halloween? Boy, I did! And check out this awesome treat Super PBnaut Jeanne sent: a Reese's PB Pumpkin! I'd never seen one before, and did a delighted dance. (Sorry I ripped it open to snarf it before I remembered to take a pic first!)

Writers: does Halloween make you want to write monster stories? It does for me. (Which is funny, because Thanksgiving doesn't make me want to write pilgrim stories!)

Okay, I was so busy rumpus-ing and eating candy this weekend, I barely made a dent in my "PBs To Read" mountain, but here are just a few recent reads. Have you read them? What did you think? If you didn't read them, which would you pick up?

Ballet Kitty by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams (Boxer Books Limited, Sterling Publishing Co., 2007). Kitty can't find her ballet slippers in time for her piroutte playdate! (I feel your pain, Kitty!)

Ballet Kitty: Ballet Class by Bernette Ford and Sam Williams (Boxer Books Limited, Sterling Publishing Co., 2008). More ballet slipper drama when Ginger Tom proves it isn't the shoes that make the dancer.

Brave Charlotte and the Wolves by Anu Stohner, illustrated by Henrike Wilson (Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books, 2009). Brave Charlotte outsmarts the (oddly-named) Wolfie the sheep and his gang, and makes a new friend, too.

Buffalo Wings by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Paulette Bogan (Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books, 2007). Rooster's determined to procure buffalo wings for the big football-watching fiesta on the farm. But what will he do when he discovers what they're really made of?

Creamed Tuna Fish & Peas On Toast by Philip Christian Stead (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2009). Super silly rhyming story on the lengths a man will go to in order to ditch his least-favorite food.

The Everything Machine by Matt Novak (A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, 2009). What do you do when the machine that does everything for everyone stops working? (You mean, like when Mom has the flu? HA HA HA HA HA!)

Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again by Dave Horowitz (G.P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2008). Can anything "egg" the rock-climbing celebrity out of retirement?

Jack the Bear by Christina Leist (Simply Read Books, 2009). Jack the Bear's super-important job is revealed. (Nope, ain't gonna tell ya. Read the book!)

The Marshmallow Incident by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (Scholastic Press, 2009). From the creators of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.) The long-standing feud between the towns of Left and Right comes to an abrupt halt when some unusual ammunition is used to keep the peace.

One True Bear by Ted Dewan (Orchard Books, Hachette Children's Books, 2009). Beautiful tale about one brave bear's volunteer assignment to become a difficult boy's special friend.

Trouble Gum by Matthew Cordell (A Feiwel and Friends Book, Macmillian, 2009). Ruben the pig gets hold of some gum. Some messy, sticky gum...

When You Meet A Bear on Broadway by Amy Hest, illustrated by Elivia Savadier (Melanie Kroupa Books, Farrary, Straus and Giroux, 2009). Charming how-to manual details what to do if you meet a little lost bear on Broadway, and how to reunite him with his Mama.

Wild, Wild Hair by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by George Cephas Ford (Scholastic, 1997). Tisa knows Monday means one thing: Mama's going to tame her wild, wild hair before school.

Now, I totally have to crow (Rocka-rocka-rooooo!) about this recent fabulous PB discovery. PB Planet Spotlight on... Dear Vampa by Ross Collins (Katherine Tegan Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2009). (Yes, I know I should have done a Halloween-theme book post, but better late than never!) The Pires have new neighbors. And they're weird. REALLY weird. They stay up all day. They go out in the sunshine. And they have no idea what a good drink really is. Told in humorous deadpan style (no pun intended!) in little Bram Pire's letter to his "Vampa," with a great surprise ending. (Nope, not gonna ruin it for you--read the book!) With Collins' fantastic ink-and-color illustrations, this is sure to be a new family favorite. So... (I gotta say it!) zoom on over to your local bookstore and bring one to your home planet today!

Hey! I just realized I never made good on that promise to review my "I looked for it for twenty years" book from my childhood! Next post, PBnauts!

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