Sunday, November 30, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Jo Kittinger!

Welcome Jo Kittinger, our newest Honorary Silly Chick! Jo is a children’s book writer and is also the Co-Regional Advisor for the Southern Breeze SCBWI. Hurray for SCBWI!

To go along with this promotion she’d have to say one of her favorite fun books is I BOUGHT A BABY CHICKEN, by Kelly Milner Halls, illustrated by Karen Stormer Brooks. This fun picture book has every member of a family buying up baby chickens, until the house is running over with chicks. Kids will love this rollicking counting book in rhyme and darling illustrations.
Jo possesses the mad skill of seeing both sides to any situation. While that helps her be a peace maker, it can also frustrate the stew out of her husband!

We are very pleased that Jo is bringing scrumptious gingersnaps to the Coop and here's the recipe. Thanks, Jo!

Jo’s Gingersnaps
Nothing smells quite as wonderful as Gingersnaps hot from the oven!

¾ Cup shortening
1 Cup Brown Sugar
¼ Cup molasses
1 egg

2 ¼ Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger,
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves.

Cream shortening, brown sugar, molasses and eggy in mixer until fluffy.
Stir together other ingredients, then mix everything together.
Roll dough into one inch balls and roll the balls in granulated sugar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees approx 8-10 minutes or until the tops begin to crack.

Honorary Silly Chick - Corey Schwartz!

Hurray for Corey Schwartz! She's an Honorary Silly Chick! Thank you, Corey, for helping others through your gift to Heifer International.

Corey is a children's book author and blogger at Thing1 and Thing2. Corey’s mad skill is not breathing very much which is very handy when scuba diving. Corey can dive for over an hour and still come up with over 2000 lbs of air in her tank which is a lot. Her favorite kids' book is Knuffle Bunny. (What's not to love about Mo Willems?) While Corey's favorite food is Thai chicken pizza she is very thoughtfully leaving it at home and bringing some watermelon for us to share at the Coop. She's lovely, generous, talented AND has watermelon! What a Silly Chick!

Honorary Silly Chick - Toni Buzzeo!

Look who just joined the Coop! It's our friend, Toni Buzzeo, author of many wonderful picture books. Many know Toni from her wonderful kids' books and her tireless work on behalf of educators everywhere. Toni is the authority on school visits.

Thanks Toni! And what a swell chapeau you are sporting!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Hester Bass!

Hello Hester Bass! And thank you for donating to Heifer International and becoming an Honorary Silly Chick!

Hester is a children's author who finds it difficult to choose just one favorite funny book, but for sheer silliness, she'd pick one that she and her kids howled over when they were little, and still do years later: "Earth Tigerlets, as Explained by Professor Xargle" by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross.

Hester possesses mad skill as a Finger Knitter, First Class. Ropes galore at her house! Perfect for the cat who has everything.

And best of all, she's bringing Congo Bars to share in the coop. We don't know what Congo Bars are, but we suspect they make you dance and we love that! Hester was kind enough to send us the recipe! Thanks, Hester!

Recipe from Hester Bass, Children’s Author

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch square pan.

In a saucepan, melt ¼ cup butter (use the real stuff) over low heat.
Take pan off the stove and stir in 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar.
Set aside to cool.

Into the cooled butter-brown sugar mixture, stir in one large (unbeaten) egg.
Then add:
¾ cup flour (whole grain works just as well as refined white)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Blend well.

Then add to this mixture:
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips (Ghiradelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chips are awesome!)
Mix well.

Spread mixture in baking pan and bake for 25 minutes, more or less – only until
a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Caution: Do not overbake or
they will become not Congo Bars but Congo Bricks.

Cool in the pan and cut in squares.

Honorary Silly Chick - Katie Llamapeep

It's Katie's Birthday and an anonymously silly person has given her a gift of chicks! Welcome to the Coop, Katie! You are now an Honorary Silly Chick!

We are very glad to hear this because Katie is bringing cupcakes to share in the Coop. Oh how we lurves the cupcakes! AND since Katie reads more than just about any Silly Chick anywhere, she'll probably bring along a whole trunk of her favorite books including The Warriors Series and, of course, Harry Potter. We can learn a lot from this Silly Chick because she possesses mad napping skills. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ . . .
Happy Birthday Silly Chick!

Honorary Silly Chicks - The Runnels Family of Auburn, Maine!

We must give one great big shout out to all the Silly Chicks of the Runnels family of Auburn, Maine who passed the hat at Thanksgiving Dinner and came up with $80.18 for Heifer International! That's 4 flocks of chicks and a couple of Tootsie Rolls to boot!

Thank you all!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Honorary Silly Chick - Angie Stevenson

Meet Angie Stevenson, our first Honorary Silly Chick!

Angie Stevenson has been given a flock in honor of her birthday (by an anonymous and truly silly donor!) We are so glad to welcome Angie to the coop. Especially since she'll bring us some delicious Miss J's crab dip, crackers, and a bottle of Russian Hill pinot noir. Angie's favorite funny book is The Gas We Pass. (We wonder if Angie also shares our love of bean dip. Hmmmmm.)

Angie also possesses a great mad skill. She has the ability to make the piles of "stuff" around her house actually multiply whenever she attempts to reduce them.

Welcome, Angie!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Be an Honorary Chick and Help the World!

Chicks Around the World!

Are you a silly chick at heart? Is your inner chicken yearning to let loose and join the coop? Well, here's your chance!

Starting now and continuing through Christmas, we are offering the title of Honorary Silly Chick to anyone who joins us on our quest. (And yes, we mean ladies AND gentlemen!)

But what, you ask, is our quest? To use chicken power to make the world a better place!

For only $20, the charity Heifer International will give a family somewhere on this globe a flock of chicks. Each starter flock has from 10 to 50 chicks. One flock gives a family in a developing country a much needed source of food and income.

Did you know that chickens:

  • lay up to 200 eggs in a year.

  • require little space.

  • thrive on readily available food scraps.

  • control insects & fertilize gardens.
  • Can make an enormous difference in a family's life?

And you thought chicks were just cute and silly!

Please join us in helping families from Cameroon to the Caribbean. Donate now and send a notification card to Or send us a copy of your receipt to as proof and we will name you an Honorary Silly Chick and give you a post on our website! (Note: The receipt does not contain any financial information!)

And if you're extra brave, send us a picture of yourself and we'll transform you into one very silly chick indeed! Also, tell us a little bit about yourself including these important items:
  • Your favorite Kids' book
  • A mad skill you possess
  • What snacks you'd like to bring to the coop! (Recipes welcome!)
Thank you for helping us spread Chicks Around the World!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Doing the Braggy Pants Dance

Get out your Braggy Pants! It's time to dance!

We're giving a great big shout out to Carolyn's Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies! It's the 2008 winner of the Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award AND the Texas Armadillo Children's Choice Award!!!!

And that ain't all! That crazy bunny is nominated for all of these state awards, too:

Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award
California Young Reader Award
Colorado Children's Book Award
Illinois Monarch K-3 Children's Choice Award
Kansas Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Awrd
Maryland Black-eyed Susan (Picture) Book
Missouri Show Me Readers (1-3) Award
North Dakota Flicker Tale Picture Book Award
New Hampshire Ladybug Picture Book
Nevada Young Readers' Award
Tennessee Volunteer State Award Nominee
Washington Children's Choice Picture Book

That is one busy rabbit!

Big shouts out to Julia for Cha-Cha Chimps, nominated for the following state lists:

Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award
Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award
Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award
Georgia Children's Picture Book Award

And congrats to Andrea for some super news about her two titles:

Cicada Summer

2008 National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Medal winner!
Anderson's Bookshop Mock Newbery title
Kansas City Star Noteworthy Books of 2008

Doctor Ted is also a 2008 National Parenting Publications Awards Gold Medal winner!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Three Horrid Little Pigs and the Big Friendly Wolf

The Three Horrid Little Pigs and the Big Friendly Wolf
by Liz Pichon
Little Tiger Press

Something happens to us chicks when the weather turns crispy and cool and the leaves start to change. While we fluff ourselves up to stay warm, our thoughts turn to cozy blankies, hot soup and apple crisps. (Not bean dip, you ask? Silly Reader, we answer, our thoughts never stray from bean dip.) In short,though, we want comfort. And that includes comfort in our books. So, we are always excited to find a new twist on a comfortable old tale. Enter the Three Horrid Pigs and the Big Friendly Wolf.

These are pretty horrid pigs, it's true. They are so rude and mean that their own mother kicks them out into the world to build their own homes. Of course, they are too lazy to give it much of an effort. Enter the friendly, neighborhood carpenter Wolf. One by one, he helps the horrid pigs build homes from the usual materials (straw, sticks...) But are they grateful? Oh no! Not these horrid pigs. When he asks if he can come in, they threaten the Big Friendly Wolf with no end of huffing and puffing.

This take on the old classic includes all the essential Three Little Pigs elements (straw, bricks, and big cooking pots) but ample role reversals and enough twists surprises to keep your guessing what will happen next. Comforting and funny. Add a little apple crisp (and bean dip), and we're happy!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Illinois School Library Media Association


We want to give a great big shout out to all the friends we made yesterday at the Illinois School Library Media Association Conference in Arlington Heights, Illinois!

We had a blast presenting a collection of our newest favorite funny books to a standing-room only audience!

Of course there were whoopie cushions, gummy chickens, and quite a few laughs, but we hope everyone left with some great information, too!

We had a lot of people ask us for the list of books we presented so we're
including the titles here.

Special thanks to Christine who made our session run so smoothly and to Chris Graves and all the wonderful folks at ISLMA for inviting us!

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
by Lenore Look
Illustrated by Leuyen Pham
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN-13: 978-0375839146

Lazy Little Loafers
by Susan Orlean
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Abrams Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0810970274

I Love My New Toy!
by Mo Willems
Hyperion Books
ISBN-13: 978-1423109617

Chester’s Back
by Melanie Watt
Kids Can Press
ISBN-13: 9781554532872

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-you Note
by Peggy Gifford
Schwartz & Wade
ISBN-13: 978-0375842702

Natalie & Naughtily
by Vincent X. Kirsch
Bloomsbury USA
ISBN-13: 978-1599902692

Wild Boars Cook
by Meg Rosoff
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Henry Holt & Co.
ISBN-13: 978-0805075236

Twelve Terrible Things
by Marty Kelley
Tricycle Press
ISBN-13: 978-1582462295

Katie Loves the Kittens
by John Himmelman
Henry Holt & Co.
ISBN-13: 978-0805086829

Millie In the Snow
by Alexander Steffensmeier Walker Boo ks for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0802798008

Monkey with a Tool Belt
by Chris Monroe
Carolrhoda Books
ISBN-13: 978-0822576310

Ducks Don’t Wear Socks
by John Nedwidek
Viking ISBN-13: 978-0670061365

A Visitor for Bear
by Bonny Becker
illustrated by Katy MacDonald Denton
Candlewick ISBN-13: 978-0763628079

Adventures of Cow
by Lori Korchek
photographs by Marshall Taylor

Tricycle Press
ISBN-13: 978-1582461892

Doggone Dogs!
by Karen Beaumont
illustrated by David Catrow

ISBN-13: 978-0803731578

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In the Coop with Marty Kelly

Sometimes authors and illustrators sneak up on us. It's not nice, really. They tend to be so big and wear pointy shoes. Little chicks like us don't stand a chance. And yet, it happens all the time. Most recently, it happened with author/illustrator Marty Kelly. Somehow, we had not noticed this funny guy sneaking up behind us with all his funny books and then BAM! He pops out his latest title, TWELVE TERRIBLE THINGS and gets us smack on our feathery heads.

We loved this funny book which relies almost entirely on illustrations to deliver its punch. Try to think of the most mortifying things you tried to avoid in your childhood and you're sure to come up with at least one of scenes from TWELVE TERRIBLE THINGS. From the terrifying great-aunt out to pinch your cheeks to the view from atop the high dive, they are all here.

Our personal favorite is the clown scene. Frequent readers of our interviews will understand why.

Like this spread, some of these jokes might zoom past very young readers (and that might be a good thing), but 2nd and 3rd graders will snort with laughter.

Tricycle Press
ISBN: 978158246229

Okay, so we invited sneaky Mr. Kelly to drop by the coop and tell us a little about himself. Here's what we learned:

When you create a book, do the pictures or story come to you first?

I usually work on the words first, but the pictures are always there, lurking in the back of my head. There have been a few books where I’ve done the words and pictures at the same time, but that’s not typical for me.

How do you know when what you write is funny?

First, it has to make me laugh. When I’m writing, I really write for myself. I know I’m on the right track if I can actually make my wife laugh, though. She’s really tough. Here is my secret testing procedure: I give my wife a glass of milk and ask her to drink it while I read my story out loud. If at any point during the reading, milk sprays out of her nose, I know I’ve got a funny story.

Do you have any tips for creating funny books?

Don’t do it. It just makes more competition for me. Go find another job. Seriously. You have millions of choices. Go be a chicken rancher. Go be a jelly doughnut filler. Go be a test subject for experimental medical procedures. You can be anything you want to be; except a writer and illustrator.

How does being a former 2nd grade teacher affect your work?

I actually prefer the term “Recovering Second Grade Teacher”. Teaching taught me that kids have highly developed senses of humor. The secret is to write about boogers or underpants exclusively. My next book is tentatively titled “Underpants with Boogers in Them”. Okay, that’s not exactly true. Kids like stories that are funny or exciting or irreverent. My trouble is not relating to kids; it’s relating to adults who have lost touch with what kids actually enjoy.

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

Yes. It seems that lots of people don’t share my opinion that almost everything is funny. Start laughing in the middle of a teacher staff meeting when the principal is talking seriously about the toilets in the boys’ room being unflushed and you’ll see what I mean.

Who are some of your favorite funny authors?

Oh, there are so many… For my own reading, I love Christopher Moore; PG Wodehouse; Chuck Palahniuk; David Sedaris and William Goldman. For kid’s books I love Roald Dahl, William Steig and Barbara Parks.

Do you prefer The Marx Bros or Three Stooges?

This is a deep, profound question. The Marx Brothers are very clever and witty, but watching Curly get whacked on the head with a monkey wrench is high art. And, seriously, is there anything more delightful to watch than a big ol’ pie fight? I’ll definitely have to go with The Stooges. But not with Joe or Curly Joe.

What was your best Halloween costume ever?

When I was in second grade I got this amazingly cool Star Wars Stormtrooper costume, complete with the flimsy plastic outfit and the stiff plastic mask that makes your lips all clammy and damp when you breathe in it. I loved that thing. I wore it for months. If it still fit, I would wear it every day.

What is your Dream Job for a Day?

As if what I do isn’t cool enough… I would be a drummer for Frank Zappa’s 1978 touring band, or James Brown, or AC/DC.

Clown V. Mime Deathmatch.? Pick your winner.

The way I see it, and believe me, I would give a kidney to see this, the clown will win. He will wait until the mime goes into an invisible box, then he’ll lock the door. Then he’ll get on a circus elephant’s back and make it sit on the mime.

Funniest dead person you'd like to meet??

Actually, in my fairly limited experience with dead people, I’ve found that they are actually not very funny. Sure, you can dress them up in party hats or put a kick me sign on them, but they are only marginally amusing at best. Plus, they have a peculiar odor about them that is not at all funny.

Future projects?

I just finished writing a chapter book and I’m waiting to hear what the publisher thinks of it. It was a lot of fun to work on and I’d love to do more of those. I'm also working on a CD with my friend Steve Blunt, a great children's musician. I play drums and generally act ridiculous. Beyond that, I’m still working on my plans for total world domination. Stay tuned for more details (and start getting used to the expression “All Hail Marty”).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Debbie Diesen...Come on Down!

Debbie Diesen, former Reese's Peanut Butter Cup lover, current Junior Mints aficionado, and children's book author from Michigan, is our Trick or Treat winner! Debbie, please send your snail mail info to three_silly_chicks AT yahoo DOT com...and thanks to everyone for playing!

Now that we have that important business out of the way, the chicks are ready to rock the VOTE tomorrow! All three of us are proud supporters of the Authors & Illustrators for Children campaign to put our fellow Illinoisan in the White House. Come tomorrow night, we hope to bring down the coop with some big-time celebratory chicken dancing.

See you at the polls!