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Posts Tagged ‘joint post’

Happy birthday to us!

Happy birthday to us!

Our blog turns three today! To celebrate, we look back at some of our favorite posts. What makes them our favorites? They’re silly, quirky, and really fun to write. Our top five, in no particular order:

1. Pet Peeves On the Loose: when we got fellow kidlit bloggers to tell us what drives them crazy. We had as much fun asking them as we did reading their responses. And of course, we weren’t shy about sharing our own.

2. For the Love of Romantic Restraint: boy protagonist meets girl protagonist. Why must sparks fly? Also–designing the flowchart made Jen cry.

3. Our Great Redwall Feast: it tastes far better than it looks, but Redwall food is best in books!

4. Daleks in the Library: Dalek doodles. Need we say more?

5. What Came From the Stars: where we argue over how to pronounce hanorah over the effective platform of google chat.

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Are we in Narnia yet?

Are we in Narnia yet?

In light of the long weekend, we decided to pack as much activity as possible into a NYC adventure. We started the day ambling around Fort Tryon Park, home of an actual fort overlooking the Hudson river. An ancillary site to the Battle of Fort Washington, the ornate lampposts put us more in a Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe mood than a Chains mindset.

We were hoping to bump into Friar Hugo and some Dibbuns.

We were hoping to bump into Friar Hugo and some Dibbuns.

Tucked inside the park is The Cloisters, an abbey-like branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Built from the stones of actual French abbeys, it’s the home to medieval art–in particular, the famous unicorn tapestries. But our favorite part of the Cloisters was the well-manicured medieval garden in the inner courtyard. With plants such as dittany and tansey, we’re sure the Redwall folks would have felt right at home there.

Monica, with her book, Africa Is My Home!

Monica, with her book, Africa Is My Home.

Next, we rushed downtown to meet Monica (Educating Alice). Having taken the most tortuous route possible, we arrived feeling as harried as the March Hare, but Monica soon put us at ease. We had a great time chatting about all things kidlit and admiring her new book, as well as her beautiful Kipling illustrations. (Did you know Monica is a really talented artist? We didn’t.)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay too long, because we were attempting to strike it rich at the Matilda lottery. We’ve been itching to see this musical since it opened in the West End; thanks to the recording, we know all the songs by heart. But with only twenty available tickets, luck was not a lady that night. Still, Lisa managed to snag tickets for another day, so stay tuned for her review. We ended up watching The Glass Menagerie instead, via standing room only. (There was a unicorn, though not from the tapestry.)

Because Columbus Day = library closed, we couldn’t visit The ABC of It at the New York Public Library. Ah well, until next time…

Somewhere on a show we heard that a picture tells a thousand words. So telly, if you bothered to take a look, is the equivalent, of like, lots of books!

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Now that we’ve paired authors and audiobooks, and actors and audiobooks, for one last bit of irreverent fun, we’ll let chance pair the narrator, the audiobook, and the circumstance under which it’s read. Click on our “Narrator Generator” to take it for a spin and share what you come up with!

narrator generator

A sample of some of the weirder combinations we got:

- Miss Piggy reads Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as a rousing speech to put fire into the hearts of men (a la Battle of Pelennor Fields)

- The Queen of England reads Are You My Mother? as a message to the American people

- Miss Jean Brodie reads Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Deadliest Weapon with a phony French accent

- Darth Vader reads What Came From the Stars to an enthusiastic KidLitCon audience

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In line with our Authors Doing Audiobooks post, we also brainstormed some actors we’d enjoy as narrators:

willowsJim Dale–Return to the Willows (Lisa: definitely Jim Dale. He’s awesome.)

The FitzOsbornes in Exile as a BBC radio play (also, Penelope Wilton aka Isobel Crawley aka Harriet Jones as Aunt Charlotte)

Michelle Fairley–A Greyhound of a Girl

Stephen Fry–The Cheshire Cheese Cat

ToysComeHomeAmy Poehler–Toys Come Home series

David Tennant–Warrior Sheep (because it would be fun to hear him rap)

Nathan Fillion–the Origami Yoda books

What are your actor/kid lit dream combinations?

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Without considering their oratory skills, we did some wishful thinking and compiled a (by no means comprehensive) list of authors we’d like to follow Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, and Lemony Snicket’s example…and narrate the books they wrote.

The Grande Dames:

waitingLois Lowry: Gossamer (sob) and The Giver quartet (double sob)

Susan Cooper: The Dark Is Rising sequence (gritty English accent and fantasy = win)

Katherine Paterson: everything (triple sob)

Patricia MacLachlan: Waiting for the Magic (because she was unexpectedly snarky at The Exquisite Corpse and that would work well for WftM)

The Great Uncles You Wish You Had

Richard Peck: everything but The River Between Us

Michael Morpurgo: War Horse

team human (more…)

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susan_cooperBeloved and best known for her The Dark Is Rising fantasy sequence, legendary author Susan Cooper introduced her latest novel, Ghost Hawk, to audiences at Porter Square Books yesterday evening.

Growing up in England during WWII, Cooper studied English under professors J.R.R. Tolkien (who mumbled during lectures) and C.S. Lewis (who had a flair for Renaissance literature). Because the Oxford curriculum extended only to 1832, she “inhaled myths” at university and read lots of Beowulf, Malory, and Spenser. As one friend put it, “they taught us to believe in dragons!” This, combined with her childhood experiences of being read to in bomb shelters during air raids and walking to school with a schoolbag and a gas mask slung over her shoulders, imbued her writing with a strong sense of place and Good & Evil–no surprise to anyone who’s read The Dark is Rising.

The concept for her “most challenging book yet” hatched from Cooper’s interest in place–this time, the woods surrounding her house in Marshfield, Massachusetts. After a trip to the library, she discovered the land she lived on was once inhabited by the Pokanoket tribe before the English deeded it to a man who was, of all things, a cooper.

ghost_hawkFrom there, she started to wonder how local relations between English settlers and Native American deteriorated so rapidly between the first Thanksgiving dinner and King Philip’s War just sixty years later. “I became obsessed with knowing what went wrong,” Cooper said, but “I wasn’t going to write a history book. I’m a storyteller. I make things up.” So she invented the characters of Little Hawk and John Wakely, who, despite their circumstances, develop a genuine but dangerous friendship.

That’s not to say Cooper’s research wasn’t extensive. She read piles of books and archival materials and all of Roger Williams’ letters. The process of writing Ghost Hawk became as mucha voyage of discovery” for herself as Little Hawk and John Wakely’s story is for us. As for the shocking turn of events midway through the book, Cooper assures readers that despite her penchant for brooding myths and her wartime upbringing, because she writes for children, she always leaves the last line of everything not in despair but with hope.

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cover_wtmmtmWe’re always jealous of people who live in New York when it comes to their proximity to plays and musicals based on kids’ books (we’re still dreaming of seeing Matilda). But the upcoming theater season in Boston makes us glad to be where we are:

The Hobbit (Oct 25 – Nov 24): strategically timed to coincide with the movie. We’re especially looking forward to the Smaug puppet. Since it’s at the Wheelock Family Theatre, will the dwarves be played by kids and teens?

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Oct 31 – Nov 3): will be monumentally depressing (how will they stage the whale?). Better bring tissues. Don’t think we’ll be okay for now when we leave the theater.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Apr 11- May 11, 2014): Another dragon on stage! And good incentive for me to read the book before May, when WtMMtM makes its East Coast debut, also at the Wheelock.

Also, in non-kidlit theater news, at least two local theater companies are putting on Chekov’s The Seagull this season. Would you recommend it? For those in the Boston area, please feel free to share productions we shouldn’t miss out on.

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