Weekly Readings (Guido and Bonnie Edition)

 

 

Weekly Readings - Guido and Bonnie Ed. FB II.5

 

 

Welcome one and all to another edition of

“Weekly Readings”

Normally, your lit. rat reviews a range of books solo, but today my canine-feline colleagues, Guido & Bonnie (@GuidoandBonnie), we’ll be helping me review today’s book roster, as our theme speaks to two topics near and dear to their hearts and mine, pet empowerment!

First up, the book that inspired Guido & Bonnie to be the pet advisers/entertainers they are today-

 

Dear Tabby

Dear Tabby

by Carolyn Crimi

Illustrated by David Roberts

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pub. Date: February 8th, 2011

 

 

Even pets have problems, but while humans have countless newspaper columns, call-in radio shows and daytime television programs, where can pets go for advice?

 

That’s where Tabby comes in…

 

One of the things I LOVE about Tabby is  that she’s inclusive rather than exclusive. She doesn’t only advise her like species, but also birds, dogs, hamsters, and even trained Circus bears!

 

She’ll also counsel the wilder critter folks, such as a lovelorn skunk who could be Pepe le Pew’s long lost distant cousin. Well. minus the french accent and “Don Juan” complex…

 

Author Carolyn Crimi nails the epistolary form. Each exchange between the animal inquirer and Tabby short and sweet  with tons of personality.

 

David Roberts illustrations have this hip and slick retro style that still feels contemporary, and in this era of digital communications, seeing the use of paper, pencils, and typewriters delights the nostalgia buff in me. 

KatieDavis2013

 

I have to give a shout out to Katie Davis who through interviewing Carolyn for her podcast “Brain Burps About Books” I discovered Carolyn and her body of work, but in particular this book, which will be celebrating it’s 5th anniversary (or “Book Birthday” if you prefer) February 2015!

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Carolyn’s a former Michigander, and your

lit. rat lives in the mitten state (as does T.A.A. HQ)   

 

As I mentioned at the outset of the review, this book has a special place in the hearts of my friends,

Guido & Bonnie, so I asked them to share their thoughts-

 

GUIDO's GLAM SHOT

I may be a dog, but unlike previous canine generations, I don’t subscribe to the conventions of cat and dog relations.

My best friend and confidant is Bonnie, who just happens to be a cat.

Granted, we got off to a rough start when we first met, but now we’re B.F.F.Bs(i.e. Best Friends Forever with Boundaries)

Sure, there are some cats who rub me the wrong way, but it’s subjective, just like there are fellows and ladies my own species I don’t jive with.

What I love best about “Dear Tabby” is that as Taurean mentioned in his review, Tabby’s inclusive, advising cats, dogs such as yours truly, and all the domestic and feral folks in between.

 

 

 

 

BONNIE GLAM SHOT

   

BONNIE

When Guido first proposed the idea of being in the pet empowerment/entertaining business, I thought he was just dreaming of the impossible.

I’m the realist in our friendship (though Guido argues it’s more like the “closet Pessimist”), and after having a fun, but stressful stint at being a show cat in the pageant circuit, I was not thrilled about being in the public eye any time soon…

But Guido and Wendy (our fairy god-mouse, long story there…) convinced me to go for it, and this book (a favorite of my human, Andrea, in her pre-adolescent era) gave me the courage and sparked the passion in myself to do what Tabby does.

While our methods are more high tech and global, versus Tabby’s network being analog and smaller scale, our goals are the same, to give pets a voice, and if possible, a little advice to aid their journey through this existence we call life.

But Guido and I are taking it a step further to help pet parents get their pets a little better, and hopefully entertain them both along the way.

Of all the countless “Out there” ideas Guido’s had (and still has) over the years, this I have to admit is his most brilliant yet.

Thanks Guido, Wendy, and you, Dear Tabby, for inspiring me to take the first step into this challenging but fun and fulfilling life!

Check Out T.A.A.’s

Fan Trailer

For “Dear Tabby”

Also, Check Out

A Special Fan Tribute to “Dear Tabby”

(Featuring Bonnie and Swinebert Glockchester from “Swinebert & Dempsey”)

 

 

 Also, check out Carolyn’s interview

with Katie Davis from a Classic 

“Brain Burps About Books”

(Ep. #48)

 

 

 

Help Me, Mr. Mutt

Help Me, Mr. Mutt!

Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems

by Janet Stevens

and Susan Stevens Crummel

Illustrated by Janet Stevens

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: April 1st 2008

Cats aren’t the only species in the “Pet Advice” business.

 

Like his feline counterpart “Dear Tabby” Mr. Mutt gives dry wit and matter-of-fact tone to reply the the hounds, terriers, spaniels and mutts of all kinds who write him.

 

Epistolary stories (i.e. Stories told entirely via letters) are tricky to pull off because just like in straight prose, each exchange has to pull its weight, and this book does just that.

 

Unlike “Dear Tabby” that had a variety of pets and/or pet parent issues, all the letters to Mr. Mutt have two things in common, dogs with human issues, and all wonder why their cat roommates get better treatment, consideration, or otherwise special treatment from their humans they don’t.

 

Another twist in “Mr. Mutt” is that his cat roomie, known only as “The Queen”, often hi-jacks his column to counterattack his jabs about cats.

 

At one point, she pulls a “Garfield” and takes over the column Diva-Style! But unlike the more laid back and naive Odie from the iconic Jim Davis comic strip, Mr. Mutt’s got four-legged friends from all over, who are more than willing to lend a paw to impeach “The Queen” from her throne… 

 

As you might suspect from the cover credits, Mr. Mutt’s a family affair, being the brain child of two sisters, Janet and Susan Stevens who co-wrote the story, and the wispy atmospheric illustrations (done by sister Janet, who’s also an illustrator) contrasts yet compliments the pithy quips from Mr. Mutt and “The Queen.”

 

Help Me, Mr. Mutt! Expert Answers for Dogs with People Problems” is a rough and tumble, tongue and cheek look at the world of pets advising pets.

 

To paraphrase “Casablanca” Here’s at

looking you,  Guido & Bonnie-

 

 

 

 

GUIDO

 

It’s nice to know there are other dogs of a certain age like me who’re joining the pet empowerment profession, for me, Mr. Mutt’s right up there with “Dear Tabby.”

 

Though I do take issue with his narrow views on cats, but he’s from a different era, where cats and dogs had a lot of proverbial axes to grind toward each other.

 

Or in the case of of the popular cartoons back then, axes were used in the literal sense!

 

That aside, Mr. Mutt’s an okay dog in my book, and on my bookshelf.

 

 

BONNIE

 

You might think I’d side with “The Queen” given she’s the main cat of this book, but you’d be wrong.

 

Like Mr. Mutt himself, I’m not fond of her, either, it’s cats like her that give ALL cats a bad rep not only to dogs, but humans, too!

 

The Queen’s lucky she doesn’t live near me, or we’d give new and more literal meaning to the term “Cat Fight.”

 

Anyway, it’s books like this that remind me how lucky I am Guido and I can live/work in harmony, which doesn’t mean never fight, or get annoyed with each other, it’s just not a “War” every time.

 

 

Letters From A Depserate Dog

Letters From A Desperate Dog

by Eileen Christelow

Publisher: Clarion Books

Pub. Date: October 16th, 2006

 

 

Emma is a dog with human problems.

 

Most of the time, life with her human, George, is great, but as every pet (and pet parent) knows, there are days when the kibble hit the fan, and Emma’s overall a good dog, she makes her share of missteps, though George’s temperamental nature doesn’t help!

 

(He’s an artist, they can be moody sometimes…) 

 

Emma, both heartbroken and furious, finally decides it’s time to get some help, in the form of “Dear Queenie” a canine advice columnist who gives sassy and succinct counsel to pets at the end of their proverbial rope, and under the alias “Desperate Dog” Emma begins a string of correspondence between herself and Queenie that ultimately leads her to leave George’s home to the cat and be her own dog!

 

Best known for her “Five Little Monkeys” series, author-illustrator Eileen Christelow brings us a funny and fast-paced tale that dog lovers everywhere will find as much truth as there is fiction.

 

Inspired by the exploits of the “Original Emma” (the author’s dog who sadly died in 2013) Eileen’s frenetic yet warm illustrations reflect inviting yet quirky tones of the story, fans of “Martha Speaks” will definitely take to Emma’s direct and spunky voice.

 

The use of the comic panel format (similar to “There’s A Wolf at the Door” that T.A.A. reviewed for Halloween 2014) adds a fun twist that is well executed. If you’ve got pups of your own, who are hard-pressed to read (or have read to them) anything in non-comic format, this book surely delight.

 

As an author myself, I know there are often callous jokes in publishing about authors advised not write about their dogs, if Eileen heard this counsel, I’m  SO GLAD she didn’t listen to them!

 

“Letters From A Desperate Dog” is like reading a “For Better Or Worse” comic strip from the dog’s POV.

 

Big Words I know, but if the Patterson’s late canine friend, Farley, could read, this might’ve been his favorite book.

 

After all, family issues are a two-way street, even between us and our furry friends. 

 

On that note, here are Guido and Bonnie’s

thoughts on the book-

 

 

GUIDO

 

I also have to admit that like Emma, things between my master and me have rarely been smooth.

 

He’s a great guy, and his wife and “pups” are good to me, but I sure have my share  of complaints…

 

The biggest is the matter of family vacations.

 

Often Bonnie and I are left out and either stay home or at some daycare.

 

Which to be fair, is a nice place, and you make new friends, but do they HAVE to call it “Doggie Daycare?”

 

I mean, I’m not a newborn pup, folks, I’m often the oldest dog there these days.

 

While Bonnie did go on a car trip with Andrea (her human) to Canada to visit Bonnie’s sister Marjorie and her new kittens, the last time my master took me on vacation with him was over 9 years ago, and in dog years that’s nearly a century!

 

I think I’ll write to “Dear Queenie” myself soon… (Even Pet Advisers need advice themselves, too, you know!)

 

 

BONNIE

Emma and George’s relationship reminds me a lot of my human Andrea’s relationship with her father , who’s Guido’s human, now that Andrea’s in the whirlwind of adolescence, she and her dad have many a battle over everything from clothes, food, to dating! 

 

The biggest fight we ever had was when she was 10 and I accidentally ate a special picnic lunch

she made for her (eventual) boyfriend (long story, but let’s just say a tuna melt and shrimp balls were involved…)

 

Anyway, while I enjoyed “Letters From A Desperate Dog” I didn’t get as into it as Guido, but I appreciate the cat in it wasn’t “Evil” which is often how we feline gals and guys are portrayed in books from a dog’s POV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Desperate Dog Writes Again

The Desperate Dog Writes Again

by Eileen Christelow

Publisher: Clarion Books

Pub. Date: October 28, 2010

I was psyched that “Letters From A Desperate Dog” got a sequel and I can attest it’s just as great as the first!

Emma, and her human, George have more or less worked out the strife they went through in the previous book, but peace doesn’t last long when George starts dating a woman that Emma suspects is up to no good.

The (un-named) cat, who also lives with Emma and George, tries to explain that this woman is merely his new girlfriend, and possibly something more…

But Emma’s certain that Loretta (George’s girlfriend) is , and her dog, Hankie, even more-so.

When her efforts to protect and warn George backfire BIG TIME, Emma once again writes to “Dear Queenie” canine advice columnist, under her alias, “Desperate Dog” in hopes finding a way to warn George of Loretta’s “True Colors” before it’s too late!

Author-illustrator Eileen Christielow pulls out all the stops with this follow-up story. 

The use of comic panels shows a greater confidence in the overall presentation from both a artistic and functional standpoint.

“The Desperate Dog Writes Again” is yet another love letter for pets and pet parents everywhere, and a humorous reminder that not all changes are bad, especially l when they involve PIZZA!

With that, take it away, Guido & Bonnie-

GUIDO

Another great book about a “Desperate Dog” who’s anything but to me, and if I weren’t already in a relationship with a fine Irish Terrier (after YEARS being of single) I’d totally ask her out. That said, Emma, could you invite me and Bonnie over next time it’s Loretta’s pizza night? 

BONNIE

I got into the sequel much more in large part because the (unnamed) cat got more page time, and I love how his and Emma’s dynamics mirror mine and Guido’s.

I’m often the rational sort and like Guido, Emma’s the free-spirited “Thinks outside the box” type, and while that has its merits, it can be problematic at times…

Check Out T.A.A.’s Fan Trailer for

“The Desperate Dog” Books

(You Can Also Get Social With 

“The Desperate Dog” on Facebook)

 
That’s All For This Special Edition of “Weekly Readings.”
See you next time.
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Talking Animal Addicts 5th Anniversary

T.A.A. 5th Anniversary FINAL

 

 

T.A.A. turns 5 today, and your lit. rat’s so happy he began this journey back in December 2010 to bring you the latest happenings in the world of fantastical fauna, and 2014’s been our most special year yet, and 2015 looks to be our most ambitious year yet.

 

I also want to give special thanks to my colleagues who will be offering regular contributions to T.A.A. in the coming weeks and months-

 

Guido and Bonnie 2-Shot (MINI 3)

Guido & Bonnie

(from T.A.A. FM, our upcoming podcast network)

(@GuidoandBonnie)

 

 

 

Swinebert & Dempsey (Fancy 2-Shot) - FINALSwinebert Glockchester and Dempsey Woyzeck (@Swinebert_and_D)

(from T.A.A. FM, our upcoming podcast network)

 

 

 

 

To those of you followed us since the beginning, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and give a hearty welcome to those of you new to T.A.A. 

 

In closing, I’d appreciate if you’d leave a comment below and tell me what you’d love to see on T.A.A. in 2015: Author interviews, more special feature articles, more ways to get involved in the T.A.A. community?

Any ideas for our YouTube channel? 

 

Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

 

Taurean J. Watkins (@Taurean_Watkins)

“The Literary Rat” 

Founder/Editor-in-Chief

Talking Animal Addicts

 

 

 

Squeak This Out to your fellow Animal Fantasy Fanatics!Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedIn

Weekly Readings (Many Thanks 2014 Edition)

 Weekly Readings Many Thanks 2014 Books 3.5

Welcome to another addition of 

“Weekly Readings”

 

For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews books I’ve read here and there.

 

While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…

 

This week, in honor of (U.S.) Thanksgiving at T.A.A. HQ, your lit. rat reviews a quartet of tomes celebrating family, friends, and of course, FOOD!

 

 

 

Baking Day at Grandma's

Baking Day at Grandma’s

by Anika Denise (@AnikaDenise)

Illustrated by Christopher Denise (@cadenise)

Publisher: Philomel

(An Imprint of Penguin)

Pub. Date: April 29th, 2014

 

REVIEW of this book in progress, check back soon!

 

Here’s the OFFICIAL book trailer for

“Baking Day at Grandma’s”

 

 

 

 

Now from baking bears to a family of foxes who learn about “The Art of French Cooking” from a brother who knows what’s up in the kitchen-

 

Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke

 

 

Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke

by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Illustrated by Henry Cole

Publisher: Philomel

Pub. Date: September 1st 1995

 

 

The title may be a tounge twister, but there’s no cofusion about how awesome this book is!

Being the ambitious cook in my family, the cover drew me to this book right away, I’m not quite as experienced in French cuisine as Fosdyke, but I’m making strides this year! (but that’s another story to be shared another time)

 

I’m new to Pamela Duncan Edwards work, and this was a fun book to get me introduced to her work. Illustrator Henry Cole (Best known for the sadly controversial “And Tango Makes Three”) gives us colorful and spry illustrations and gives special attention the furry pelts of our foxy brood.

 

While Mom’s taking a Florida holiday, her quintet are left to fend for themselves, and while four of the siblings are keen to put their hunting skills to the test, their brother Fosdyke does his “Julia Child” thing in the kitchen.

 

When his siblings tease him for taking the frou-frou route, he’d say, “A fox is a fox. Whatever the food.”

 

On that note, I’d like to give a short history lesson, and no, it won’t be boring!

 

If you’ve read our last two “Weekly Readings” you know that like weasels, as well as rats such as myself and Gabriel (from my upcoming debut novel), foxes are often typecast as the villains and tricksters in fiction.

 

While Fosdyke’s sibs are all too happy (at first…) to be the barnyard stalkers, Fosdyke himself has no qualms with cooking with whatever’s easily on paw, and seriously, mushrooms are a BLESSING for those of us who’re omnivores who want to keep their meat consumption in check.

 

I asked my new acquaintance, and the newest member of our T.A.A. family, Thorne Thistlestop (aka @TheBookishFox on Twitter) and a friend of our Swine-Feline duo “Swinebert & Dempsey” (@Swinebert_and_D) to weigh in on this book- 

 

Thorne

(Thorne Thistlestop “The Bookish Fox”)

 

When “The Literary Rat” that my friends, Swinebert and Dempsey have been working with these past couple years, told me about reviewing “Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke” I couldn’t wait to read it!

 

But being short on cash, I was elated that Bookmobile Sentinel (the traveling library on wheels I work at as librarian) had a copy and I read it during lunch hour.

 

When I was growing up, you’d be hard pressed to find non-evil foxes in books, even wolves have their share of heroes on the side of good, if weren’t not the petty crooks or full on villains, we’re super-sexualized to the umpteenth degree, and that’s particularly interesting in my case being gay.

 

my only (non-evil) literary role models were Mr. Fix-it (from Richard Scarry’s World) and Shutta Crum’s “Fox and Fluff” which T.A.A. reviewed a ways back…

 

From the title on, “Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke” is a fun story combing alteration, unorthodox rhyme, stellar illustrations and wordplay using repetition to clever effect.

 

Special Thanks to Thorne Thistlestop for sharing his paws-on experience with the book, as well as a bit of himself, so look forward to hearing more from “The Bookish Fox” in the coming months…

 

Now we go from a “Foxy Gourmet” to robber dogs on hard times-

 

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Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam

by Tracey Corderoy (@TraceyCorderoy)

Illustrated by Steven Lenton (@2dscrumptious)

Publisher: Nosy Crow (@NosyCrow)

(Imprint of Candlewick Press [@Candlewick])

Pub. Date: August 6th, 2013

 

NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: This is  a re-post of our original review of “Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam.”

 

Whoever said it’s easier to make a dishonest living never met Shifty and Sam, two dogs with major hard luck in the thievery racket.

 

For every “Artful Dodger” or “Bonnie and Clyde” there’s a “Laurel and Hardy” of the robber fraternity, and that’s the badge of dishonor these dogs wear. Their “Swag” bag often empty of loot, and as such short on money.

 

One night, they hatch their most promising plan yet, invite their neighbors to tea, treat them to bite-sized feast, then slip out and ransack faster than you can say “R.S.V.P.”

 

The only thing is: they can’t afford to get a ready-made spread, and they’ve never baked before!

 

But hey, desperate times call for learning the precise measurements behind baking, and as a fledgling home baker myself, that’s no idle matter.

 

Luckily with a cookery book on their paws, and the gumption only desperation can bring about, they surprise themselves (and their guests) with a feast of truly delectable edibles.

 

“Operation: Trojan Tea Party” didn’t go off without a hitch, but that’s only the beginning of their problems…

 

Author Tracey Corderoy uses a light rhyming scheme and couplet paragraphs that convey a concise yet complete narrative that nicely blends with Steven Lenton’s illustrations that use color, light and shadows to excellent effect, I truly felt like I was living out a short film as I read through.

 

While we at T.A.A. don’t condone theft, of course, we do support anyone who changes their ways for the better, and without spoiling the ending, let’s just say “Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam” bring a fresh spin on the often spoken adage “Crime Doesn’t Pay.”

 

To invoke the words of Jiminy Cricket- 

“Let your conscience be your guide.”

 

 

Here’s our fan book trailer for

“Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam”

 

Finally, this lit. rat is PROUD to share a story that will make even the most inexperienced in the kitchen want to rise to the challenge-

 

Tiny Pie

Tiny Pie

by Mark Bailey and Michael Oatman

Illustrated by Edward Hemingway 

(@EdwardHemingway)

Publisher: Running Press Books 

(@Running_Press)

Pub. Date: May 7th, 2013

 

It took forever to get to this one, which is becoming an unintended theme of my reviews as of late, but as I suspected it was worth the wait.

 

The story begins at a fancy party.

 

Given the choice of either early bedtime or stay and be out of the way, Little Ellie opts to stick around for what she thought would be a fun time. While her parents and the big folks are having fun, Ellie’s not, but soon that would change…

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to my share of gatherings that left a lot to be desired, but while I was more apt to be the wallflower rattling on the outskirts of large gatherings, Little Ellie is far from shy, but not only is she not having fun, she’s STARVING!

 

But everyone’s too busy saying Ellie’s “Too Small” to be here to notice.

 

Before she gives into despair, Ellie notices a hole in the wall, and being the curious gal she is, peaks inside- She discovers the miniature set of the (appropriately named) “Hole in the Wall Kitchen”cooking show, hosted by a mouse chef, and that alone was enough to get me, and while I’ve not yet seen Pixar’s “Ratatouille” (I’m getting to it, okay?) anything involving food or cooking will always spark my interest.

 

Illustrator Edward Hemingway’s retro-inspired art style is like this love child between colorized “New Yorker” cartoons with the exaggerated facial features of “MAD” (though a lot more tasteful, in my opinion, no pun intended) creating something that feels old and contemporary at the same time. Not an easy feat to achieve.

Plus, the excellent use of rhyming by our minature culinary friend adds a fun dimension to the story.

 

“Tiny Pie” is a charming reminder that no matter how small we feel, whether in the figurative or literal sense, nothing worthwhile is out of reach, and sometimes it takes a little gal’s (or guy’s) touch to do BIG things!

 

Side Note From The Literary Rat: I haven’t gotten the chance to try the recipe at the end of the book yet, but I will, and share my thoughts during our holiday showcase.

 

 

 

Here’s our fan book trailer for 

“Tiny Pie”

 

 That’s it for Weekly Readings! See you next time.
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Picture Book Month 2014: Future Releases

 TAA Picture Book 2014 FB

As “Picture Book Month” come to a close for another year, it’s time to unveil T.A.A.’s “Most Anticipated Reads of 2015!

 

A Penguin Named Patience  (A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

A Penguin Named Patience

(A Hurricane Katrina Rescue Story)

by Suzanne Lewis 

Illustrated by Lisa Anchin

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press 

Pub. Date: February 1st, 2015

2015 will the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

and while there’s still a long road to recovery for many day to day, we’ve also seen great stories of survival and rebirth of lives most impacted by the devastation the storms left during and after’s it’s wake.

This picture book tells the story 

T.A.A. will do something special in remembrance of this disaster, and also something to help keep their recovery on track.

We’ll have more info in the coming year, and if you want to be among the first to know our plans, please sign up for our mailing list on the right side of this site!

Abracazebra

Abracazebra

by Helen Docherty

Illustrated by Thomas Docherty

(U.S./U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: February 5th, 2015

 

The husband-wife team behind “The Snatchabook” team up again for another magical adventure.

 

Learn more about Helen and Thomas in our Picture Book Month 2013 coverage 

 

The Snatchabook (U.S. and U.K. Edictions) 3

(U.S. and U.K. Covers for “The Snatchabook”)

 

Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of their last book together, “The Snatchabook”

 

Big Pet Day

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Illustrated by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(U.S./U.K.) Publisher: Scholastic Press

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2015

It’s no secret T.A.A. LOVES pet stories, but with so many awesome ones, it takes really special ones to stand out from the countless classics, but I have confidence this is will be an exceptional one. It doesn’t hurt that Gus Gordon’s charming illustrations sweeten the deal for this lit. rat.

If you haven’t already, check out T.A.A.’s Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Gus Gordon!

Also, check out your lit. rat’s review of Gus’ “Herman and Rosie”

 

 

Crickey and Cat

Crikey and Cat

by Chris Mckimmie

(U.S.) Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pub. Date: May 1st, 2015

We’re trying to review more books that star or feature cats on T.A.A. I may the lit. rat, but not all cats hunt rodents such myself anymore, and hey, we’ve got plenty of fab felines that deserve T.A.A.’s spotlight.

 

 

 

bear-book-final-cover

I Thought This Was A Bear Book

by Tara Lazar (@taralazar)

Illustrated by Benji Davies (@Benji_Davies)

Publisher: Aladdin

Pub. Date: August, 2015

 

The author of “The Monstore” (2013) and founder of PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), Tara Lazar is back with a new book where the three bears meet alien abduction, nicely drawn by illustrator Benji Davies. (The Storm Whale)

 

Check out Tara Lazar’s interview with Katie Davis on “Brain Burps About Books”

 

Also check out our spotlight feature on Tara and James Burks (illustrator of “The Monstore” and author-illustrator of his own books)

 


Last_Stop_on_Market_Street 

Last Stop On Market Street

by Matt de la Peña (@mattdelapena)

Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

(Imprint of Penguin Books USA)

Pub. Date: January 8th, 2015

 

While we mostly cover animal stories on T.A.A. we do give humans their due, and with the ever-increasing outcry for more diverse humans in children’s books (as well as behind the scenes in publishing) we’re honored to bring this book to your attention.

 

Gaston

The book’s illustrator, Christian Robinson,  illustrated one of your lit. rat’s favorite books of the year, “Gaston” (written by Kelly DiPucchio) which T.A.A. will be reviewing soon!

 

Chris also illustrated “Josephine” released in 2013, and has done animation work that’s appeared on Sesame Street (Which recently celebrated PBS’ 45th anniversary)

 

Otter in Space

Otter in Space (@i_am_otter)

by Sam Garton (@SamuelGarton)

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

(An Imprint of HarperCollins)

Pub. Date: May 5th, 2015

 

T.A.A.’s favorite otter returns with her latest adventure, which as you can tell from the cover alone, involves intergalactic exploration, or at least the closest thing you can get without being trained by NASA, or going to space camp!

 

Learn more about Otter, play fun games, and read exclusive web stories (complete with picture!) at her OFFICIAL website: iamotter.co.uk

 

Also, check out our Author/Illustrator spotlight for “Picture Book Month 2014″

 

If you haven’t checked out Otter’s first book (one of our first “Most Anticipated Reads”), check your lit. rat’s review! Finally, please share this teaser video (made by your lit. rat) to help spread the word, and rest assured it’s Otter Approved!

 (Otter in Space Teaser Video)

 

 

Bears Don't Read

Bears Don’t Read!

by Emma Chichester Clark

(@emmachichesterc)

Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015 One of which involves a bear who doesn’t yet know the joy and empowerment reading has to offer.

 

Check our Author/Illustrator Spotlight on Emma!

Finally, read your lit.rat’s review of “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas To Remember”

 

Plumdog

 

PLUMDOG

by Emma Chichester Clark

(@emmachichesterc)

Pub. Date: TBA 2015

One of my favorite authors is bringing us a double feature in 2015! One of those books is “Plumdog” and while I’m still a bit down over the loss of my beloved Pepper back in June 2014, I’m still reading my share of dog books,  they’re healing, and after a drought of new voices in the picture book canine district, I have a strong feeling Plum will fit right in, the fact that she reminds me of Pepper in some ways is an added bonus.

GUIDO's GLAM SHOT

I know Guido (my canine friend from T.A.A. FM’s “Guido & Bonnie” [@GuidoandBonnie]) is just as psyched as I am for Plum’s debut in America! 

There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight

There Was an Old Dragon

Who Swallowed a Knight

by Penny Parker Klostermann (@pklostermann)

Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

(@randomhousekids)

Pub. Date: August 4th, 2015

 

There’s been many a tale of an old man, woman, and even a coyote who swallowed something they shouldn’t have. Now in a Ye Olde twist to a long remixed tale, we’ve got a dragon who finally bests a knight through feasting him.

How will this pan out?

We’ll find out Summer 2015!

 

 4cdafd4677c91cdc959a79358416cf6f

WOLFIE the Bunny

by Ame Dyckman 

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora 

(@ZachariahOHora)

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub. Date: February 17th, 2015

 

Author Ame Dyckman, best known for her books “Boy+Bot” (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino) and “Tea Party Rules” (illustrated by K.G. Campbell) teams up with author-illustrator Zachariah OHara (of “No Fits, Nelson!” fame)

 

This is one of those books that has caught my eye on the merit of the title/cover alone, and I can’t wait to have this book in my paws, and review it for you, my precious readers.

Your lit. rat hopes you’ve enjoyed our special features and author/illustrator spotlights we did this year. We’ll have more fun goodies in store for our Holiday Showcase starting this week!

 

Until next time, may the fantastic fauna be with you.

 

P.S. One Last Video the lit. rat hope you watch and share-

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Emma Chichester Clark – Picture Book Month

Emma Chichester Clark Spotlight

Check Out Our Previous Author/Illustrator Spotlights-

Sam Garton and Otter

Tara Lazar and James Burks

Gus Gordon

 

As our celebration of “Picture Book Month” continues, your lit. profiles the prolific and multi-published Emma Chichester Clark!

 

In her long and abundant career, Emma Chichester Clark’s created many iconic figures in the picture book world.

 

Both pairing her illustration with another author’s work, as well as writing/illustrating her own books, many of which are well known icons in the picture book world-

 

From Blue Kangaroo-

Blue Kangaroo Series

To Melrose and Croc

(A personal favorite of mine)-

 

Melrose and Croc Series

 

To  various retellings of classics (whether the author, or illustrator, or BOTH!)-

 

ECC FAIRY TALES

Frankly, this lady’s got so many books under her belt I can’t list them all here!

 

So, you’ve quite an extensive back-list before you even get to her more recent releases!

On that note, for my U.S. and Canada T.A.A. fans, get ready for a double feature in 2015! (Our UK friends can check them out now!)

ECC Coming SoonIn the meantime, check out our review of “Melrose and Croc: A Christmas To Remember” we did for last year’s Holday Showcase!

 

Learn More About Emma, her books, and MORE at her OFFICIAL website-http://www.emmachichesterclark.co.uk

 

She’s Also on Twitter via @emmachichesterc

 

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Gus Gordon – Picture Book Month

Gus Gordon Spotlight

 

Check Out Our Previous Author/Illustrator Spotlights-

Sam Garton and Otter

Tara Lazar and James Burks

 

As our series of Author/illustrator spotlights continues, your lit. rat is honored to introduce you to author-illustrator Gus Gordon

 

While his best known book outside Australia is “Herman and Rosie” (more on that later) he’s got a slightly bigger blacklist in his native homeland  which I discovered recently-

 

 

 

wendy-cover

 For now, this seems to be an “Down Under” exclusive, but hopefully it’ll come stateside, eventually…

 

Herman and Rosie

 

Herman and Rosie

by Gus Gordon (@IllustratorGus)

(AU) Publisher: Viking

(An Imprint of Penguin AU)

(U.S.) Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

(An Imprint of Macmillan)

Pub. Date: October 15th, 2013

 

This was one of my favorite finds last year and reviewed it as part our “Holiday 2013 Showcase”

 

That said, it’s not a seasonal title, but I included it in the showcase as it embodies the goodwill and spirit the winter holidays universally represent whatever you celebrate.

Check out my fan book trailer for

“Herman and Rosie”

 

In addition to books Gus has written and illustrated, he’s also teamed up with various authors over the years-

 

I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!

I Am Cow, Hear Me MOO! 

by Jill Esbaum 

Publisher (U.S.): Dial

(Penguin Imprint)

Publisher (AU): Penguin Books 

Pub. Date: May 15th, 2014

 

If you LOVE Sam Garton’s “I Am Otter” (No relation, mind you) than this is another book to have on your radar if it’s not already. T.A.A. will review this in near future!

 

 

In the meantime, check out the fan book trailer created by my colleague, Patricia Miller- 

 

For my T.A.A. fans in the U.S. and Canada, get ready for Gus Gordon’s most recent author collaboration-

Big Pet Day (AU+US)

(Big Pet Day Cover, AU Left, U.S. Right)

Big Pet Day

by Lisa Shanahan

Publisher (U.S.): Templar Publishing (@templarbooks)

Publisher (AU): Hachette (@HachetteAus)

Pub. Date: January 1st, 2014

 

Learn More about Gus, his books, and more at his website-

http://www.gusgordon.com

 

He’s Also on Facebook and Twitter via @IllustratorGus

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Tara Lazar and James Burks – Picture Book Month

Tara and James 2

Click here if you missed our first spotlight!

 

Today’s entry in our Author/Illustrator spotlights (in honor of “Picture Book Month“) features debut author Tara Lazar and illustrator James Burks.

 

piboidmo2014banner

 

Tara Lazar is best known for founding PiBoIdMo (Pie-Beau-Id-Moe), otherwise known as “Picture Book Idea Month” back in 2008, and is now in it’s 6th year!

 

PiBoIdMo was created as a challenge to NaNoWriMo, aka “National Novel Writing Month” to give authors and/or illustrators of picture books an event to call their own!

 

But while both challenges are a month long. the similarities end there, for while NaNoWriMo’s goal is to draft a whole novel in a month, PiBoIdMo’s about generating 30 ideas for picture books.

 

While your lit. rat’s primarily a novelist, I do want to jump into the world of picture books, and last year was my first year taking part in the challenge and I got my 30 ideas.

piboidmo2013-winnerbadge-700x700

 

I’m taking part again this year and while I’m not at 30 ideas yet, I will make some headway this final week of November!

 

 

 

Anyway, while Tara was building community through her PiBoIdMo challenge, she was working away on picture books of her own, and is now beginning her path as a published author-

 

The Monstore

Her debut picture book, “The MonStore” (Illustrated by James Burks) was published on June 4th, 2013 by Aladdin, and T.A.A. will be reviewing it soon!

 

bear-book-final-cover

Her second picture book “I thought This Was A Bear Book” (illustrated by Benji Davies) will be published by Aladdin in August 2015.

 

Learn More about Tara, her books, and PiBoIdMo, at her official website: http://www.taralazar.com 

 

Also, check out her interviews on

“Brain Burps About Books” the #1 podcast about the business and craft of Children’s Publishing, founded and hosted by author-illustrator Katie Davis-

 

Ep. #201 (How To Get Ideas For Your Picture Book | Picture Book Idea Month)

 

Ep. #68 (Picture Book Month)

 

She’s Also on Twitter via @taralazar

 

the-iron-giant

Illustrator James Burks first began his career working in animation, his best known film being  “The Iron Giant” (Released August 6th, 1999) which is celebrating it’s 15th Anniversary in 2014, and later began his foray into illustrating children’s books-

James Burks Books

In addition to illustrating Tara Lazar’s debut “The MonStore” and “Open Wide!” (written by Stephen Krensky), James also writes and illustrates his own books: From the “Bird Squirrel” graphic novel series, to picture books such as “Gabby and Gator” (Coming out in Paperback February 2015!) and “Beep and Bah”

 

Learn more about James at his OFFICIAL website: http://www.jamesburks.com

 

He’s also on Twitter via @jamesburksart 

 

Also, don’t forget to check out his interview on

“Brain Burps About Books”

 

(Ep. #204:Tips for Illustrators with James Burks | Celebrating Picture Book Month)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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