“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, August 29, 2011

Night Flight Picture book

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic 
By Robert Burleigh  illustrated by Wendell Minor
Available now  Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books Ages 4 - 8

An American Library Association Notable Children's Book Nominee
Story:  Award-winning author Robert Burleigh has captured Amelia Earhart's first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1932. She was only the second person to do this – and the first woman. Rich in detail, feeling and incident this is nonfiction with edge and action, a you-are-there experience made more dramatic and real by Wendell Minor's vivid paintings.
Story behind the story:  Wendell Minor -- who's worked on 50 children's books! -- talks about NIGHT FLIGHT, about Amelia Earheart as "an iconic figure" who "represents, for young women, anything that a man could do", his research (particularly with the Air & Space Museum), and much more... take a peek at this video:

"A gripping narrative and dynamic art immediately pull readers into the story of Earhart's historic 1932 solo transatlantic flight. Urgent yet lyrical, Burleigh's (One Giant Leap) account opens with Earhart's takeoff: "It is here: the hour, the very minute. Go!" .... Minor's (The Last Train) gouache and watercolor paintings easily convey the journey's intense drama, balancing lifelike closeups of Earhart with images of her imperiled plane. Stunning skyscapes are suffused with shadow and light; a breathtaking spread reveals streaks of multicolored clouds at daybreak as "Splinters of sunlight stab down through cloud slits and brace themselves on the vault of the open sea." Hearts will be racing. Back matter includes notes on Earhart's life. 

"A worthy new addition to the recent spate of books about the famous aviatrix, Burleigh's story concentrates on Earhart's 1932 solo flight from Newfoundland to Ireland, placing compelling poeticemphasis on her single-hearted struggle. "Why? Because 'women must try to do things as men have tried,'" writes Burleigh, quoting Earhart.... Minor's illustrations maintain tension by alternating between cockpit close-ups and wide views of the plane crossing the foreboding ocean. Predominant reds and blues convey the pure excitement of the nail-biting journey.Finally, Minor's endpapers, with a well-drawn map and mechanical illustration of the plane Earhart called the"little red bus," also work to inspire further learning."

Order your reviewer's copy now.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Who's YOUR favorite librarian?  Tell us -- well, tell the award committee.  While catching up on industry news today, I learned (from Media Bistro's Galley Cat) that it's that time, again, for the annual "I Love My Librarian!" award, organized by the American Library Association, with contributions from  The New York Times and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Got a favorite? Nominate yours.   To get nominating, click on these links: school librarian or public librarian or college, community college, university librarian.

10 librarians will win.  Open through September 12th. Prizes include $5,000 prize, a plaque and $500 travel stipend for the New York City awards ceremony. 
For more on the award, click here.
Plus you can read about last year's winners and download some bookmarks here.  
I know a few Picnic Basketers who seem award-worthy... let's see our colleagues get the recognition they deserve!
One last thing:  we know librarians inspire so many of us each and every day.  Here's some archived posts on librarian love from children's book authors Amy Hest, Laurie Halse Anderson, Mitali Perkins, G. Neri, Carolyn MacCullough, Christine Brodien-Jones and others ...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who doesn't love a sale? Especially one that helps build your (digital) library...

If you're a fan of bestselling, super-creative pop-up master David A. Carter (author of ONE RED DOT) or seriously silly kids' poet Alan Katz (author of SMELLY LOCKER, silly dilly school songs), listen up: Ruckus Media Group announced special Back-to-School pricing of $0.99 per app on its entire digital library of 15 apps starting tomorrow, Friday, August 26 through the Labor Day weekend, ending Tuesday, September 7, 2011. The discounted pricing offers parents and students the opportunity to enjoy bestselling and award-winning interactive storybooks for iPad, iPhone and iTouch at savings of more than 50% off the regular price.  

“We’re always looking to provide our customers with tremendous value, but especially so as they kick off the school year,” says Jim Young, COO, Ruckus Media Group, “We’re thrilled to be able to help families grow their children’s mobile reading library with more affordable educational and entertaining digital experiences.”

Each Ruckus Media app features distinctive interactive elements that allow children of all ages to experience a story through an array of sensory-driven activities.   

Reading readiness begins for preschoolers and young children with stories featuring their favorite Hasbro characters, Chuck and Friends: Friends for the Long Haul, as well as the Parents’ Choice Award and About.com Readers’ Choice Award winner, A Present for Milo, with more than 80 touch-interactive objects that initiate more than 125 animations. Toddlers and preschoolers can learn their colors with Spot the Dot, a dynamic, eye-popping game and the first app from pop-up master and New York Times best-selling children’s book author David A. Carter.  Elementary schoolers learn to read and master use of language with Best Apps Ever Award finalist, Andrew Answers from bestselling author Alan Katz, while science-curious kids will learn all about the rainforest in Rainforest Survival Challenge, created with the Stepping Stones Museum for Children and the Rainforest Alliance.

As Rick Richter, Ruckus CEO (and and former President of Candlewick as well as Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing) says, “The goal of Ruckus is to combine the most creative minds in children’s media with tremendously exciting new mobile devices. We’ll be satisfied when a mom or dad can hand their phone or tablet to their child without one ounce of guilt, knowing that the experience the child is about to have will entertain them, challenge them, perhaps make them giggle, and be utterly satisfying.”  Here's to all of the above!

The entire Ruckus Media library of 15 interactive storybooks can be found on iTunes for $0.99 from Friday, August 26 through Monday, September 6, 2011.

PS Teachers and librarians -- Ruckus would love to hear how you use interactive storybooks with your students.  Share your thoughts on apps, what works, what doesn't, what you look for in an app, how you share them with the kids, if and how you incorporate them into your lesson plans or programming, and more by commenting here on the Picnic Basket -- and Ruckus will send you a sample for your Apple mobile device (25 samples available on a first-come, first-served basis).  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scary School • Middle-grade fiction

Scary School
by Derek the Ghost    illustrated by Scott M. Fischer
Available now    published by Harper Collins    Ages 9 - 12
"I died laughing.  Weird monsters in silly situations.  Why didn't I think of that?" 
-- Dan Gutman, author of the MY WEIRD SCHOOL series
Story: Congratulations on your acceptance to Scary School!  The drawbridge lowers at 7:30 am and classes begin at 8 am.  Your homeroom teacher, Ms. Fang, will provide you with textbooks, garlic, and goblin repellent.  If you are late, you will have to report to detention with a hungry T. rex, so please be on time and mind your fingers and toes at all times.  Some of your classmates may bite. Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!
Story behind the story:   Derek is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn’t work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer from Los Angeles.

What people are saying about SCARY SCHOOL:
 "A laugh-out-loud offering that should find a broad and appreciative audience among boys and girls alike." - Kara Dean, Booklist

"The book was downright funny to the point of me wetting myself!"  - Annemarie Ager, Best Books

"You'll be laughing your head off (oh, but not literally so it's okay!)!" - Books Kids Like

"What a great comic storytelling talent Derek the Ghost is.  I wish he’d been around when I was a kid. School would have been a lot more fun! - Charles Busch, author and star of Psycho Beach Party

"Fans of Monster High will easily lose their heads after getting a laugh out of this spooky tale of non-stop fun!!" - Natalie's World

"Spooky, ooky, and kooky! Scary School reminds me of my middle school!"  - Chris Grabenstein, award-winning author of The Haunted Mystery series

"I was addicted to this book!...Certainly a book I won't forget." - E & K Family Book Review, 8-year-old E

Tour Scary School, meet the students and faculty, play games, meet the author on tour, listen to scary music and more -- visit the Scary School website.

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...