Sunday, January 27, 2008

Millie Waits for the Mail

Millie Waits for the Mail
by Alexander Steffensmeier
Walker & Company

ISBN: 978-0802796622

Oh, how we love a good barnyard book, and -- could it be? -- we may have found our favorite of all time in this winsome tale. Millie is a milk cow with a penchant for mischief: her favorite hobby is to scare the stuffing out of the poor mail carrier, resulting in a string of damaged deliveries to one irritated farmer lady. The bedraggled mailman finally comes up with an ingenious plan, but things quickly go awry, leading to a crazy chase scene that leaves everyone a little worse for wear. Will Millie redeem herself? Let's just say Millie's got a few surprises to deliver! (And while Millie may be the milk cow with the mostest, check out her chicken friends, who do their best to steal the show.)

Millie Waits for the Mail is a German import, originally titled Lieselotte lauert. From Alexander Steffensmeier's website we see that another Millie book has been published in Germany, called Lieselotte im Schnee. We have no idea what that means (Sprechen zie Deutsch, anyone?), but we want that book! Walker & Company, hear our cry! More Millie, more Millie, more Millie! Pretty please?

Monday, January 21, 2008

In the Coop with Jessica Swaim

Today we are forgoing our usual cluck-cluck-clucking to give up a mighty AH-ROOOO in honor of our guest, Jessica Swaim , author of that dog-gone hilarious book, Hound from the Pound. She also has the world's best bio:

"Short-haired and feisty, Jessica Swaim is part Jack Russell terrier, so is it any wonder that every book she writes has a dog or dog relative (fox, werewolf, etc.) in it? Jessica's favorite activities include long walks on a loose leash, napping in front of the fire, and rolling belly-up in the grass. When irritated, she yips at the top of her lungs and has been known to bite the mailman for delivering rejection letters. When Jessica jumps the fence in search of adventure, she invariably finds it, but the best part is always coming back home."

Without further ah-roos and ado, onward to the interview!

How do you know when what you write is funny?

I write to amuse myself, which is a pretty simple task.

Do you have any tips for writing funny books?

Not a one. Do you?

Has being funny ever gotten you into or out of trouble?

No. But lying has.

What are some of your favorite funny books?

Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
anything by Lisa Wheeler
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

If you could live in one of your books, which one would you choose?

Since my most brilliant books are not yet published, I would choose The Hound From the Pound. It's a fantasy of mine to be owned by an unlimited number of dogs and not get arrested.

Do you prefer the Marx Bros or Three Stooges?

Monty Python, please.

What was your best Halloween costume ever?

When I was in first grade, my mom made me a little Red Riding Hood costume. The red crepe paper cape lasted slightly longer than the basket of cookies.

What is your Dream Job for a day?

It's a toss-up between dog trainer on a movie set or taste tester at the Cadbury chocolate factory.

Clown v. mime deathmatch. Pick your winner.

My father always said, "You can't run a circus without clowns," so I'd let the clown win. At least the mime would suffer silently.

Funniest dead person you'd like to meet.

Mark Twain, who said, "Be good and you will be lonesome."

BONUS QUESTION: What is your favorite funny dog breed?

Wiener dog. Love those faces, love those buns.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tap Dancing on the Roof

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
by Linda Sue Park

illustrated by Istvan Banyai

Clarion Books

ISBN 978-0618234837

Yes, yes, we know we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it's tough to gaze upon the whimsical dust jacket of Tap Dancing on the Roof without feeling hopefully giddy about the pages inside. Happily for us and you and children of all ages, the poems within more than live up to the promise of that little red-dressed girl and her very large scissors.

As explained in the Author's Note (a gold mine of information and tips for readers, writers, and teachers alike), sijo is a form of Korean poetry with a fixed number of stressed syllables and a surprise joke or twist at the end. Poem after poem, Linda Sue Park serves up witty observations
about everything from long division to bedtime snacks, with plenty of unexpected surprises along the way. Istvan Banyai's playful illustrations -- rendered mostly in gray tones with dashes of color here and there -- wisely complement the poems without ever overwhelming the text. It's the book equivalent of a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top. Perfect!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Crowing from the Rooftop... congratulate two of our all-time favorite writer chicks, whom we adore as much in person as we do on the page:

Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
, winner of the Schneider Family Award for Reaching for Sun; and

Lisa Wheeler, winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel
Honor Award for Jazz Baby! (Read our interview with Lisa here.)

And let us not forget our double duty man Mo Willems, who pulled down a Caldecott Honor Award for Knuffle Bunny Too and the Geisel Award for There Is a Bird on Your Head!
(Read our interview with Mo here.)

We are celebrating with a grand party here in the coop, complete with kazoos, whoopie cushions, eggsploding won tons, and a posse of Shriner guys in little cars and fezzes.

Three cheers for Tracie, Lisa, Mo, and all the 2008 ALA Award winners!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Survey Says...

Andrea had the pet chicken and does the Popeye.

Carolyn had the Uncle Bobby and channeled Snoopy, Templeton, and Jesus on stage.

Julia had (and still has) selachophobia and JackBlackalacka.

(If you have no idea what we're talking about, scroll down a few posts or click here!)

As such, thusly, and therefore, the official CHICK PICK winners are:

1st place: Sara
2nd place: Jo Knowles
3rd place (3-way tie!): Brenda Ferber, Carol Grannick, and Wild About Words

Winners, please send an email to three_silly_chicks AT yahoo DOT com and let us know where to send your fowl prizes!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Henry, The Dog With No Tail

Henry, The Dog With No Tail
Written by Kate Feiffer, Illustrated by Jules Feiffer
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
ISBN: 1416916147

What do you get when you combine 2 Feiffers, 1 tail-free dog and one oh-so-cute PUG? Why, a Chick Magnet, of course! You had us at "hello."

In this punny, funny book, Henry, the Australian shepherd, yearns for a tail. After all, his other friends have magnificent tails. Grady's tail is big and black and he "swings it like a baseball bat." Pip, the aforementioned pug, can tie her tail in a bow. And Larry has a tail that sticks straight up. But where does a dog go to find a tail? (Waiting, waiting...) Did you guess? He goes to a tailor. Unfortunately, the tailor creates a tail that cannot wag, so Henry is forced to go to a... (think hard now) wagon maker. The wagon maker can't help Henry with his tail, but he does make him a wagon, which Henry takes to Battery Park in NY. There Henry finds a...(have you caught on yet?) battery, which he attaches to his wagless tail. Soon Henry's tail is wagging so fast he is lifted off the ground. Eek! Will Henry be able to put his days of yearning for a tail behind him?

Such silly, crazy fun! Don't miss this zany tale of a tail!

Friday, January 04, 2008

WHICH CHICK? A New Year's Contest

Happy New Year, dear Readers & Friends
of all that is Silly!

After spending the first few days of 2008 downing the eggnog before it expires, we are hereby getting off our tail feathers to ring in the New Year with a very silly contest!

Here's how it goes. We will list a half dozen amazing and undisputed silly chick facts below. Your challenge is to guess WHICH CHICK the fact pertains to. Is it Andrea? Could it be Carolyn? Or might it be Julia?

Leave your answers in the Comments section below, then check back on Sunday, January 13th, to see if you're a winner! Prizes include autographed books by the Chicks, chick magnets, rubber chickens, and other random poultry goodness.

Ready...set...blast off!

Which chick called the tennis player Bobby Riggs "Uncle Bobby" because he was, in fact, her uncle by marriage for the first twelve years of her life?

Which chick actually had a pet chicken named Chico when she was a kid?

3. Which chick was always on stage in her youth and who, despite being a girl, played such challenging roles as Snoopy in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN, Templeton the rat in CHARLOTTE'S WEB and Jesus in GODSPELL?

4. Which chick once ate a shark for Thanksgiving and now has nightmares that a shark will one day eat her on a major U.S. holiday?

5. Which chick does a mean Popeye impersonation? (Note: The impersonation is mean. Not Popeye!)

6. Which chick thinks Jack Black was robbed (again!) of the Sexiest Man Alive title from People Magazine in 2007?