Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love

Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love
By Patricia Martin
Schwartz & Wade Books
ISBN 13: 978-0-375-84016-6

There are many things in this world that make our fluffy yellow hearts sing. Bean dip and salsa. Dancing the Cha-Cha. Malted milk eggs with that speckled candy coating. And characters. True blue characters.

We love characters who are complete from the moment we meet them. Characters who make us feel as if we have been dropped down into their life in progress and who make us glad to be there.

Such a character is Miss Lulu Atlantis. We meet Lulu on the day her mother comes home from the hospital with her baby brother. It’s the same day Lulu decides to run away. Wouldn’t you? All that racket from her mom singing lullabies to the baby. And those horrible loud snuffly noises the baby makes when he’s sleeping. It’s more than a girl can take!

What Lulu needs is true blue love. But where to find it?

Luckily, Lulu has a true blue friend to help on her quest. Harry, the top-hat-clad spider accompanies her on her adventures, dispensing advice (which is usually ignored) and worrying about the dietary habits of some of Lulu’s other friends like Yogurt Skunk. Skunks eat spiders, don’t they?

Lulu Atlantis and the Quest for True Blue Love is a gentle, satisfying, funny read which leaves us feeling as if we have a new true blue friend of our own.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In the Coop with Bruce Hale

Author Bruce Hale won us over long ago with his snort-out-loud-funny Chet Gecko series, about an intrepid reptilian detective with great taste in snacks (stinkbug pie, anyone?) and sidekicks (e.g. Natalie Attired, one of the coolest sidechicks of all time). Who can resist the allure of titles such as The Malted Falcon and The Big Nap? Not us, dear readers, not us. We are fools for that gecko.

And now Mr. Hale has brought us a brand-new series called
Underwhere to keep feeding our need for silly. The Prince of Underwhere, the first title in this half-novel, half-comic book series, truly has something for everyone: zombies, spies, talking cats, science experiments, rappers, and of course, lots and lots of undies.

Ladies and Gents, please help us welcome Bruce Hale to the coop!

How do you know when what you write is funny?

If it makes me laugh, grin, or feel a tickle in my funny bone, I think it's funny.

Do you have any tips for writing funny books?

Write what YOU find humorous. Everyone's tastes in humor are different. I may love Monty Python, you like the Three Stooges, and we both wonder what *she* sees in Adam Sandler. Follow your tastes.

What are some of your favorite funny books?

I love so many of them. Here are a few...

BUCKING THE SARGE by Christopher Paul Curtis
FLAT STANLEY by Jeff Brown

Do you prefer The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?

Marx Brothers, no contest.

What was your best Halloween costume ever?

One year, I went as the Wolfman, complete with torn shirt and spirit-gummed hair sprouting from my face. I was quite a sight, riding to the party on a friend's moped.

What is your Dream Job for a Day?

Being a chocolate chip cookie taster.

Clown V. Mime Deathmatch.? Pick your winner.

Clowns rule. I think Bozo could kick a mime's butt any day.

Funniest dead person you'd like to meet?

It's a tie between Mark Twain and James Thurber. Although they wouldn't be much for conversation after all these years.

BONUS QUESTION: Hanes or Fruit of the Loom?

Neither. I'm a Calvin Klein kind of guy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ma, There's Nothing To Do Here! A Word From Your Baby-in-Waiting

Ma, There's Nothing To Do Here! A Word From Your Baby-in-Waiting
written by Barbara Park
illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
Random House
ISBN 0375838521

Have we mentioned lately how much we adore Barbara Park? Or how we sometimes daydream about having tea with her at the Drake Hotel? And how in this daydream Barbara (or "Babs" as we like to call her) says things like, "Oh, you're so funny, you chicks!" and then we say, "Oh, no Babs, you're the funny one!" and then we all do a group hug and Babs pays the tab?

You mean we haven't mentioned that? Oh, well, we do it all the time. So of course we were delighted when we saw that our BFF had a new picture book out, which is filled with nonstop giggles and grins. The young protagonist in this book is a baby in utero. The poor thing is, quite simply, bored out of his gourd. After all, what's a guy (or girl, the text doesn't say which) to do in "a womb with no view?"

I'm all in a heap here.
My feet are asleep here.
I'm flat out of space.
I've got knees in my face.
And I'm totally bored with this dumb bungee cord...

Can you say absolutely perfect baby shower gift? We thought you could. We also think it's a wonderful book to share with the older brother or sister who is waiting for the big event. They might even be inspired to create their own book after looking at Viviana Garofoli's lively illustrations.

Oh, and Babs, if you're reading this, please, don't worry. If we ever have tea at The Drake we will totally pick up the tab.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Quick Chick Picks: Books for the Young (and the Restless)

This week, we received a query from a friend. Our friend was looking for funny books for a 2-year-old.

Two-year olds are at a very specific age. (Two to be exact, but let us not dwell upon the obvious.) They have learned that books are not just for chewing and throwing. Two-year-olds know that books are for chewing, throwing, AND reading! And sometimes, they are even funny!

This was a tough challenge. But we are tough chicks. (Not to be confused with tough old birds, thank you!) We put our beaks together and came up with a few titles for this young age.

But we'd really like to hear YOUR favorites. What books do you recommend for the young tots in your world?

Here's our Quick Chicks Picks:

WHO HOPS? and WHO HOOTS? by Katie Davis
JAMBERRY by Bruce Degen
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
Sandra Boynton pick a title, any title!
Ten Hungry Monsters by Susan Heyber O'Keefe
Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly
Not a Box and Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis
Who is Driving? by Leo Timmers
Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

And, of course, we LOVE Julia's Cha Cha Chimps