Sunday, March 30, 2008

Art and Writing Contest update

Now you can download and print the annual Just For Kids Art and Writing Contest guidelines and entry form. Don't forget, the deadline is May 15th, so start working on your masterpiece now!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Toy recalls, Goosebumps HorrorLand, and other things that go bump in the night

There's been a lot in the news lately about toy safety, and we'd like to reassure our customers that children's health is our first concern. As an independent store, we're fortunate to have our own buyer who can keep tight control over the toys that are coming into the shop. Additionally, the CE certification marking on many of our items indicates they conform to the strict European Safety of Toys Directive standards. When you see this logo you will know a toy has been extensively tested for physical hazards and toxicity and been deemed safe.

On a more fun-scary note, remember Goosebumps, R.L. Stine's frighteningly popular middle-grade horror novels? Stine's back with another Goosebumps series called Goosebumps HorrorLand, featuring an amusement park populated by just the kinds of supernatural creepy-crawlies you'd expect from Stine. You can pick up the first two books in the series, Revenge of the Living Dummy and Creep from the Deep, in the Curious George chapter book room, in addition to several original Goosebumps installments. Be sure to check out another middle-grade frightfest favorite series, Choose Your Own Adventure, where you decide the characters' fates.

If murder most foul is more your kind of scary, check out the recreation of Parker Brother's 1963 "Clue." Everything about this cool, retro board game will make you want to hunker down and figure out who done it. Perfect for a dark and stormy spring night!

A brand-new addition to our graphic novel section is the Toon Books series, which combines the simple sentence structure and accessible vocabulary of an early reader with the visual excitement of a comic book. Otto's Orange Day and Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons are perfect for even the youngest comics fan.

New (and totally hip!) for spring is a slew of Paul Frank merchandise. One cannot live on George alone, so grab your Julius monkey journals, alphabet flash cards and stationary sets before someone else gets their paws on them.

Baseball season is upon us and we've devoted the JFK Street window display to Boston's favorite summer pastime. Be sure to pick up copies of Red Sox 101 for all the little fans in your life, peruse the vast selection of baseball-themed novels on display in the chapter book room, and devour the gorgeous paintings in Kadir Nelson's We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball (the clean design and informative but friendly text make this heavily illustrated gem a must-have for baseball fans and art enthusiasts alike). Go Sox!

Harvard Square's Bookish Ball update - Goings on at Curious George:
3 p.m. Illustrator and Curious George staff member Julia Denos will display sketches and join children in bookmark making.
4 p.m. Local sailor, painter, and story-teller Timothy Basil Ering will appear at Curious George Books and Toys. Ering will help to celebrate children's books by reading and signing his own quirky picture books Frog Belly Rat Bone and Necks Out for Adventure.
5 p.m. Clarinetist Todd Brunel, Curious George's own pied piper, will lead children in an hour of musical activities.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring has sprung (we hope)

Happy first day of spring! It may be blustery outside, but at Curious George we're in full spring swing with tons of Easter swag. If you're still searching for the perfect stuffed rabbit or a copy of The Golden Egg Book for somebunny's basket, come on by. We'll be open from noon (post egg hunt!) to 6 PM on Easter Sunday, March 23rd.

Upcoming events at Curious George:

Warmer weather is arriving just in time for Harvard Square's Bookish Ball on April 12. This event includes a walking tour of the Square's many bookstores. Participants gather stamps in their passports and can enter a raffle at the conclusion of the day. As part of the festivities we'll be hosting children's events in the store from 3 PM to 6 PM.

Curious George will be hosting Marcella Comerford, a rare and gifted silhouette artist, on Saturday May 3rd from 10 am to 5:30 pm. Slots are filling up, so make an appointment for a 10-minute slot in-store soon. Wigglers welcome!

It's that time of year again: Curious George is now accepting original works to be judged in our annual Art and Writing Contest! If you are between the ages of 5 and 13, consider entering an original illustration from your favorite poem, fairy tale, short story or book OR an original short story, poem or essay, OR enter both contests! Submissions will be judged by Curious George staff. Winners will have their artwork displayed in The Yellow Hat Gallery in the store and pieces of writing published in a special Curious George newsletter. Prizes of Curious George gift certificates will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place submissions in 3 age categories. Win up to $75! Pick up an entrance form and you could soon be celebrating with a shopping spree at Curious George!

Speaking of celebrating, we're happy to announce that we now carry Curious George party supplies! Paper plates and cups, noisemakers, mini bubbles, pinatas, and much more featuring our favorite little monkey are available in store and online at the Curious George Books and Toys website. Rent our adult Curious George costume and complete the party experience with a George appearance at your event.

Some other new and notable arrivals:

Avi's latest, A Beginning, A Muddle, and an End, has hit our shelves. This philosophical take on the art of writing stars Avi's beloved Avon the snail and Edward the ant from 2004's The End of the Beginning. Check it out in the Chapter Book Room.

Also new in Chapter Books is the latest installment of Mary Pope Osborne's "Magic Tree House" series. Dark Day in the Deep Sea takes Jack and Annie on a search for a monster from the deep with scientists from the world's first floating science laboratory.

Staff Picks for Primary Season Reading:

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Vote! by Eileen Christelow
I Want to be President a Sesame Street book
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
What to do About Alice by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
First Daughter: White House Rules by Mitali Perkins
As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President by Donna Gephart

Also check out "The People's Choice" presidential card game from U.S. Games Systems, Inc. and early reader biographies of the candidates!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle!

Welcome to our new blog! Here you'll find news and information about all the goings-on at Curious George Books and Toys in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We hope you'll visit us here often to see what we're reading, what we're doing, and what we love.

Some things to think about...

Times's awastin' and spring holidays are coming up fast! Come find everything you need to fill your Easter baskets, dress the Purim part, and brush up on your Irish folktales in preparation for St. Patrick's day. There's lots to see in our holiday displays.

One Hen
by Katie Smith Milway can be found on our new picture books display. This book, recently reviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered," is based on a true story about the ability of a small gift -- a single hen -- to turn one African family's luck around. Read more about it at and be sure to ask us to help you find other titles about sustainability, social justice, and keeping green.

In other book news, we are excited to finally have copies of the 2007 Newbery Medal winner Good Masters, Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz. You might want to grab your copy before this poetic gem up and goes out of stock again!

We have also begun carrying The Sleepover Squad series written by P.J. Denton and illustrated by our own Julia Denos. When you drop by to check out the Squad look for Julia's other books and peruse artwork by staff illustrators in the store's Yellow Hat Gallery. Look for links to their websites to the left.

On March 10th the New Yorker's Janet Malcolm shed an interesting light on a series about characters we just love to hate. This article makes us understand a bit better why Gossip Girls by Cicely von Ziegesar just, like, totally fly off the shelves.

Most important of all, make sure to see the folks in The Hut about enrolling in our new Advantage Card program during your next store visit. The Curious George Books and Toys Advantage Card for our special customers tracks your purchases and awards you with a $15 credit slip each time you spend $100 pre-tax. It's also totally free to join.

That's all for now. Check in again soon for info about some events we've got coming up and sign-ups for the annual Art and Writing Contest for kids!