Saturday, December 27, 2008

Got the Post Eggplant-Parm-and-Wrapping-Paper-Clean-Up Blues?

'Twas the weekend after Christmas, and all goodies had been found, especially the pie. The leftovers were Tupperwared with care, in hopes a belly could be hungry again. The stray strips of wrapping paper were all snug in recycling bins, with memories of their discovered secrets dancing in their heads...

In addition to taking serious (seriously bad) liberties with Clement C. Moore's genius, we are continuing the holiday cheer with a sale: 50% off all Christmas and Hanukkah themed toys, gift wrap, and ornaments, 30% off all Christmas and Hanukkah books.

If you're undecided how to use your George gift certificate, there are new items coming in all the time. MerryMakers has new plush in the form of stylish, spunky graphic novel star Babymouse, (whose newest adventure comes out in January, yes!), and Ezra Jack Keats's Peter of The Snowy Day. Our book buyer, Donna, has said of this squishy, be-snowsuited Peter, "this is the cutest thing I've seen in a long, long time." And Donna does not lie.

Brain Noodles--giant (about 18 inches long!), soft pipecleaners in assorted colors and styles--are super fun and popular. Each pack comes with a booklet of ideas, and you can go online for even more project suggestions. Unlike some old-school styles of thin pipe-cleaners, these don't have any unfortunate pokey ends, making them safe for crafty types from preschool age on up.

For Narnia fans, HarperCollins brings us Boxen, a gorgeous collection of Animal-Land tales written by C.S. Lewis and his brother, W.H. Lewis, in their youth. This is the first collection to include all of the Boxen stories, including some previously unpublished. Illustrations and handwritten pages by the authors make this a true gem for avid collectors and fantasy fans alike.

Laurie Rosenwald
's all the wrong people have self esteem: an inappropriate book for young ladies (or, frankly anybody else) treads the precarious/hilarious territory between Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Tanen's Appetite for Detention, Emily Strange, and Don Hertzfeldt...and probably many other awesome things I just don't know about. It's hilarious, it's off-beat, it's collage art, and despite what it tries to tell you, it's actually good for you. I find myself having trouble pegging it to an age, reader type, or genre; therefore, you should just peruse it yourself and form your own opinion!

In the realm of pictures books (more commonly known as the street level floor), Amnesty International has put out We Are All Born Free, an illustrated declaration of human rights with contributions from various artists, including Peter Sis, John Burningham, and Chris Riddell. Each spread is literally, sometimes painfully (a "tortured" rag doll for Article 5) and sometimes sweetly (Burningham's children of the world playing in a park for Article 3), rendered, making the abstract accessible for the elementary crowd.

Many of our staffers are excited about the 35th anniversary edition of Marlo Thomas & Friends Free to Be...You and Me, full of classic, stereotype-breaking favorites like "William's Doll" and "Boy Meets Girl." It also features new artwork, putting Tony DiTerlizzi and Peter Sis (he's everywhere!) beside Arnold Lobel and Henry Cole. And, of course, it comes with the CD, worthy of many repeats. I love how many people coming into the store look up at the Hut in astonishment, saying "I remember this!".

For a slightly older audience, Nikki Giovanni edited Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat, a diverse collection of poetry, song, and artwork with such contributors as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mos Def, Aesop Rock and Walter Dean Myers. The topics range from identity and family to school and first love, with accompanying illustrations in various mediums by a handful of artists, such as Kristen Balouch and Damian Ward. The audio CD included has some incredible selections, ranging from Brooks's "we real cool" to Queen Latifah's "Ladies First," culminating in Martin Luther King, Jr's speech "I Have a Dream."

We are waiting for the return of some of the New York Times Best Illustrated; sadly, Wabi Sabi and River of Words are still out of stock at the publisher, and Pale Male looks close to it as well. At least it shows the well-deserved attention these books are getting!
How to Talk to Girls, an advice book from Alec Greven, 9 years old, is experiencing the same kind of popularity: we can hardly stock it fast enough, and the publisher already has to reprint. Follow-ups slated for 2009 include How to Talk to Moms and How to Talk to Dads, must-haves for the social connoisseur.

If none of these are exactly to your taste, just ask in store for more specific suggestions!

No comments: