Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Bird-Day Carolyn!

Happy Bird-day, Carolyn!
May your feathers ever stay fluffy!

For all our readers who might not know. Here are 3 things about Carolyn. Only 2 of them are true. Can you guess which is not?

1. Carolyn Crimi is the author of MANY funny and wonderful children's books including these wonderful titles and the new and very funny THE LOUDS MOVE IN. She has lots of other titles coming down the road, too! Hurray!

2. Carolyn Crimi has been named Chicken Dance World Champion seven years in a row! She says the secret to her success is in her sound effects. "Bwock. Bwock. Bwock." We think it's the way she dances with glasses on. No other Chicks can do that!

3. Carolyn Crimi is the silliest chick in the world and we love her!

Happy Happy Dear Chickie!

Andrea & Julia

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In the Coop with Cyn and Greg Leitich Smith

We think Cyn and Greg are the cutest Christmas couple around! Cyn's fab books include Indian Shoes and Rain Is Not My Indian Name. Greg has written the wonderfully funny middle grade novels Ninjas, Piranhas and Gallileo and Tofu and T-Rex. Santa Knows is their first collaboration. We hope it's the first of many!

You are husband and wife and you've written a book together. We think this is a little insane. Can you explain the process?

Cyn: Greg and I had been talking about how there just can't be enough uproariously funny picture books, including those with boy protagonists—or at least there should be more, and I was speculating about how hard it was to hold to the “magic” of childhood in today’s high tech, super rational world.

So I wrote a rough draft, explaining that Santa’s “magic” was really the product of “elf science and technology.” We mere humans just aren’t brilliant enough to fully understand…yet.

In my house, Greg is the one with the two electrical engineer degrees, so I went to him first to help me explain the more nuts, bolts, and interdimensional portal aspects.

Greg: After we generated the first draft, we sent it off to our agent, who sent it to a couple of publishers, who—sadly—were clearly not ready to face the truth about Santa Claus. Finally, our agent sent it to Mark McVeigh at Dutton, who replied with a four-to-five page revision letter, single spaced (which needless to say was longer than the manuscript). We talked about it and generated a new draft over cocoa and Christmas carols.

How do you know when what you write is funny?

Greg: We’re holding Ed McMahon prisoner in our basement. We read something to him, and if he laughs, you know it’s got to be funny.

Cyn: Shhh.

Do you have any tips for writing funny books?

Greg: You have to write what you think is funny. You can’t rely on some notion of what you think “kids” think is funny. Also, the humor has to work thematically. No matter how funny a scene is, if it’s ultimately irrelevant to the story, then it doesn’t belong.

Cyn: For me, the humor springs from the characters. If they’re funny, the story is funny. It’s more about them than me.

What are some of your favorite funny books?

Greg: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar (Dutton, 2005); The Wizard, The Witch, and Two Girls from Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou (Razorbill, 2005); Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman (Hyperion, 2002).

Cyn: Exempting books by my honey and those gorgeous silly chicks, on the picture book front, I'll add: Altoona Baboona by Janie Bynum (Harcourt, 1999); Chance by Dian Curtis Regan, illustrated by Dee Huxley (Philomel, 2003); Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin (Simon & Schuster, 2000); Hop Toad by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Karen Lee Schmidt (Harcourt, 2003); What a Truly Cool World by Julius Lester, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Scholastic, 1999).

I also echo Greg's novel choices and add: Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee (Arthur Levine, 2003); The Amazon Papers by Beverly Keller (Harcourt, 1996); Burger Wuss by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick, 1999); Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler (Dutton, 2006); Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won The Girl by D.L. Garfinkle (Putnam, 2005); and Terry and the Pirates by Julian F. Thompson (Atheneum, 2000).

I could go on, but let me just add that I also admire Joan Bauer's ability to interweave humor and sensitive themes.

Who do you like more, The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?

Greg: The Marx Brothers. Largely because WGN in Chicago used to play Duck Soup every New Year’s Eve.

Cyn: Neither. Jeepers. I’m a girl.

What was your best Halloween costume?

Cyn and Greg: Our critique group traditionally holds a Halloween meeting in which we come dressed as characters. Last year, we came dressed as Santa (Greg) and an elf (Cyn).

Greg: The coat was really hot (I think it was about 80 degrees over Halloween here in Austin).

Cyn: I only wish I could wear bells every day.

What is your Dream Job For a Day?

Cyn: I would like to be one of those creepy people painted silver who strike thoughtful poses on the streets of Paris.

Greg: Pretty much what I’m doing now, only I’m independently wealthy, have staff, and have much more time to write. J

Clown V. Mime Deathmatch. Pick your winner.

Greg: Ideally, they would self-destruct, but if I were forced to choose, I’d pick clown, but only because I have fond memories of Bozo’s Circus from when I was a kid in Chicago.

Cyn: Mime (see above Paris dream job).

Funniest dead person you'd like to meet?

Greg: William Shakespeare.

Cyn: Gilda Radner. Hint to the universe: picture book biography?!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

And the winner is . . . .

Bwock! Bwock! Bwock!

We have a winner in our first ever caption contest! And boy was it tough to decide! The entries really cracked us up. Thanks to all who entered and all who dropped by just to get a good laugh.

And the winner is ............ drum roll, please .........

"Happy Hollandaise, everyone! And now I'd like to introduce the panel of speakers at our first annual Christmas Chick Lit Writers Conference: Shell Silverstein, Yolko Ohno, Egger Allan Poe, Al Bumen, Ben Laid, and Ova Ezee." -- Elaine Magliaro

Congratulations, Elaine! (Please send us your snail mail addy at and we'll send you some snails. . . oops . . . some yummy peppermint bark).

Thanks to everyone who brightened our holidays just a bit with your very funny entries.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays!!!!

The Three Silly Chicks

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Contest Deadline LOOMING!

Hey Lovely Readers!

Remember, the deadline to enter our Caption Contest is tomorrow at midnight! We have some mighty fine entries and choosing will be tough!

The winner will be posted by Monday!!!! (Maybe sooner!)

The Management

P.S. Bribes will be accepted until the winners are actually posted. Enormous bribes will be accepted ANYTIME!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry Un-Christmas

Merry Un-Christmas
Written by Mike Reiss
Illustrated by David Catrow
HarperCollins Publisher

ISBN 9780060591267
A new bike, a computer, roller skates and a pony! What could be more exciting for Christmas? When you've just celebrated Christmas 364 days in a row, how about NOT getting a pony? The latest holiday book by author Mike Reiss and illustrator David Catrow, explores Christmas City in the state of Texmas where Un-Christmas comes but once a year. And what a treat that is! Un-decorating the tree! Taking down the lights! NOT shopping!

Reiss mines all the possible angles of this scenario and provides some fine laughs
along the way. Can you guess what chubby man with a sack comes to visit on Un-Christmas.? (We can't tell and spoil the surprise!) Catrow, whose trademark illustration style is fun and funky as always. Ho! Ho! Ho! Fun! Fun! Fun!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Chick Alert!

Our own Julia Durango has just announced a contest on her blog! She's giving away signed copies of 3 of her fabulous books!!!!!

Quick! Go enter! What are you waiting for?
Julia's Drawing

And don't forget! Just 9 days left in our Holiday Caption Contest!

Santa Knows

Santa Knows
Written by Cynthia & Greg Leitich Smith
Illustrated by
Steve Björkman
Dutton Children's Books
ISBN 0525-47757-8

Alfie F. Snorklepuss is a very silly boy. He does not believe in Santa and wants all the world to know it. He tells his little sister, Noelle, who thinks he's nuts. He scolds the kids at school, writes wicked letters to the editor, hits the radio and tv talk show circuit, and blabs his news on the World Wide Web. No one believes him. Still, Alfie is not to be stopped. On Christmas Eve, he waits up for Santa "to not arrive." What a surprise Alfie gets when the man in the big red suit shows up!

The authors expertly create a fun tale that explores Santa's world and provides some very surprising answers to those nagging questions about Santa and his mysterious magic. How does Santa travel so far in one night? How can he possibly carry such a load of toys? Inquiring minds want to know! From our first glimpse of Alfie on the title page, we know that he is a boy with an attitude. Björkman's animated watercolor perfectly capture Alfie's range of emotions from defiant to exasperated to remorseful and finally joyful. Santa Knows is a holly jolly read for the holidays.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas in the Coop

We love this time of year! It's a time for caroling, merriment, gingerbread lattes, sleigh bells, shopping for gifts, waiting in lines, looking for parking spots, running up credit card limits, gaining weight, snapping impatiently at idiotic salespeople who don't know their own stock--

Oh my. Let's start over, shall we?

We love this time of year! It's a time to browse through all the heart-warming holiday books extolling the beauty of the season. We're all in favor of new authors creating new books, but we still have our sentimental favorites. Here's our list. We'd love to hear about yours, too!

Carolyn's favorites:

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry. My best friend and I used to read this every year while eating ice-cream sandwiches. It's entirely possible that it's my favorite because of the ice-cream sandwiches.

My favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Story. If you have any doubt as to why this is such a classic, I have three words for you: Pink Bunny Suit.

Andrea's favorites:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by the man! Just because you gotta love the Grinch!

How Murray Saved Christmas, by Mike Reiss and David Catrow. I love this because it makes my kids roll on the floor laughing.

The Christmas Crocodile, by Bonnie Becker, illustrated by David Small. I especially love the eccentric family in this book. They remind me of my own family!

My favorite all time Christmas movies: It's a Wonderful Life. The Grinch. Holiday Inn. And quite possibly the best animated short movie ever--The Snowman.

Julia's favorite:

Santa Mouse and the Ratdeer, by Thacher Hurd. Why? Because the Ratdeer's names are Blunder, Basher, Lousy, Loopy, Bugsy and Twizzlebum.

Now there's an author after a silly chick's heart!

Okay, folks, spill it! What are your favorites and why?