Thursday, May 27, 2010

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

We're thrilled to announced the winners of this year's annual Art and Writing Contest (fanfare and ticker-tape, please!):

ages 5-7 art

1stAugie Oppenheimer"The Dragons of Wayward Crescent"
2ndBen Pratt"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus"
3rdPiper Larin"Arthur Writes a Story"
HMJulia Rasmussen"The Old Meadow"

ages 8-10 art

Bennett Graff"National Audubon Society Field
Guide to Fishes of North America"
2ndValerie Dubinsky"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate"
3rdIrene Wu"If You Give a Pig a Pancake"
HMLena Rhie"Yummers"

ages 11-13 art

1stCharlotte Holt"The Hundred Dresses"
2ndKay Goodhart"Indigo's Star"
3rdSara Mittelmeier Curtis"Silent Pond"
HMAbigail Dickson"Highwire 66"

ages 5-7 writing

1stPete Christensen"The Monkeys are Scared"
2ndGrace Valaskovic"We Us Mittens"
3rdPeter Loutzenhiser"The Bear and the Hare Were Fighting
Over a Pear"
HMKayla Bernard"Jazz"

ages 8-10 writing

1stJohn Vernaglia"Ode to Baseball"
2ndSam Wachman"Dugongs"
3rdBen Ringler"A Flock of Leaping Words"
HMEliza Broughton"A Pilgrim's Diary"
HMLila Cardillo"The Pre-Birthday Mystery"
HMGabriel Colburn"The Unknown, the Mysteries, the Death"

ages 11-13 writing

1stMax Zegans"Like a Rat"
2ndDasol Lee"Peculiar Happenings"
3rdCoby Gray"Inheritance"
HMEva Koplow"Reading Emily"

All the writing and artwork is posted on our separate contest-centric blog. See the winning entries here and congratulate the authors and artists!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stuff Natasha Wants to Buy

Tin Animal Diary
Downstairs in the Chapter Book Roo

Do you have secret plans for world domination that you need to hide under cute animals and lock and key? Well, maybe you just want a nice diary...I do, too! Not like, for secret plans or anything... This diary is 3 things:
1. Super Cute the cover has cute forest animals!
2. Super Secret it has a lock and key!
3. Super Awesome it's tin on the outside and it comes with magnets that you can decorate the cover with!

Walrus hand puppet
Upstairs on the puppet tree


Here are 6 possible uses for this amazingly awesome puppet:
1. Re-enact "The Walrus and the Carpenter" from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass
2. Scare your cat
3. Go out on the road with Wally the Water-Safety Walrus, who gives safety advice at swimming pools (just in time for summer!)
4. Puppet shows that take place in the ocean
5. Have him lip-sync the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus"
6. Make paper shrimps, crabs and sea cucumbers and then bring him to the dinner table and show your family what (and how!) walruses eat

Sand cupcake set
Upstairs by the hut
Now that the weather is warming up, it's time to head to the beach. When I spend a day playing and reading and swimming near the beach, I get really hungry. But now, thanks to this awesome set that allows me to make and decorate cupcakes with sand, my beach-snack problems are SOLVED. Here are nine fake flavor combinations one could make with this set:
1. Starfish Strawberry
2. Tutti Frutti Turtle
3. Chocolate Crabby Cakes
4. Gingerbread with Goldfish Ganache
5. Fish Fruitcake
6. Triple Turtle Torte
7. Goldfish Gingerbread
8. Tiramisu Turtle
9. Starfish Shortcake

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reminder: R.L. LaFevers and Kelly Murphy signing TOMORROW!

Tomorrow (that's Wednesday, May 19th), author R.L. LaFevers will be here to discuss and sign her Theodosia Throckmorton and Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist books! A brand-new installment of each of these middle-grade fantasy series just came out (Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus and The Basilisk's Lair), so there's a new adventure for Egyptologists and Beastologists alike.

As if that weren't awesome enough, Kelly Murphy -- illustrator of the Nate Fludd books, Masterpiece, and many picture books -- will be here as well to draw and sign.

I'm so excited I might have to put my Eye of Horus tattoo on early!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The end of an era....

Today's the last day for sending in entries to our art and writing contests. So far, we've gotten an unprecedented amount of submissions, and they're still coming!

On May 28th, we will announce the winners here and on our contest blog, with the winning entries posted on the contest blog and the winning art displayed in the store. Winners will also be notified by mail.

Thanks to every kid who has submitted their work, and thanks to all the parents and teachers - especially those kind, worried souls rushing in these last few hours.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kid Reviews #5

Here's a fresh batch of reviews from young readers!

Title: The Sea of Monsters
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewed by: Will
Rating: 5 bananas
“It is a follow-up to The Lightning Thief and great!”

Title: The Secrets of Droon series
Author: Tony Abbot
Reviewed by: Emma
Rating: 5 bananas
“It was full of action and adventure. It was very exciting!

Title: Goldie the Sunshine Fairy
Author: Daisy Meadows
Reviewed by: Madeline
Rating: 5 bananas
“It’s great!”

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Author: Jeff Kinney
Reviewed by: Jessica
Rating: 5 bananas
“It was about a boy named Greg and how he has adventure.”

Title: Harry Potter series
Author: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Solana
Rating: 5 bananas
“It was a little scary.”

Title: The Mysterious Benedict Society
Author: Trenton Lee Stewart
Reviewed by: Cleo
Rating: 5 bananas “I loved this book! All the characters brought out the best in each other. The storyline was imaginative. Very mysterious! 5 bananas!”

Thanks to our reviewers -- keep reading and writing! (You can fill out a review form in the Chapter Book Room, or email your review to We love to hear from you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stuff Natasha Wants to Buy: Tiny Edition

So last week, I totally bought the MoMa Modern Play House. We do still have some in, though! Now that I have an ultra-posh pad, I'm on the lookout for tiny things to visit it. Maybe you, too, are looking for tiny things to give as gifts? To decorate presents? To take on a plane or road trip? Either way, here is a feast of tiny things that are awesome, and newly arrived at the store.

Firstly, and Most Importantly...they have arrived:
Silly Bandz
Upstairs by the Hut, $2.95

We have Dinos and Animals, and more to come...

Never-fall UFO Windups
Upstairs around the hut, $3.95

Wind these guys up and they will never fall off a counter, table or airplane tray!

Gumby and Pokey Bendies
Upstairs on the hut, $2.99

We've also got more of these retro, lovable clay-dudes!

Hedgehog Pups

On the Shleich display at the Hut, $5.95

These cute baby hedgehogs by Schleich are roly, poly and TINY!

Travel Activity Kits

Upstairs on the Hut, $12.99

These new travel activity kits are GREAT for keeping little ones entertained on the go. We have a Curious George one, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and Five Little Monkeys. Each kit comes with a book, crayons, a coloring book, stickers, a game (like bingo), and a CD with a read aloud and music.

A balloon for Isabel, a book for you

Ah, spring books. They are full of joyous things: there are flowers, there are bunnies, there are cupcakes and sunshine. There are adventures, capers, and songs. Of course, you occasionally get the extra syllable stuffed uncomfortably into a rhyming couplet, a heavy-handed moral, an illustration trapped in the gutter...but all good and mediocre picture books pale in comparison with my newest favorite.

Drumroll please. I give you:
A BALLOON FOR ISABEL by Deborah Underwood.

This is the tale of a kindergarten graduate who desperately wants a balloon at graduation - but isn't allowed one because she is a porcupine. Her predicament, her friendships, her waving quills, her series of creative solutions to her predicament: everything in this book is smart and endearing, but never overly clever or saccharine. You will sympathize, you will laugh, and you will crave gumdrops. It is, in a word, fresh. Its audience doesn't even need to be strictly graduates (of any age), it appeals to all of us who dream the impossible, and as humans, how can we not?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two great events for your little (and middle-grade) monkeys!

We have a busy, event-filled spring ahead of us, starting with one this Saturday!

LESLEA NEWMAN, author of Heather Has Two Mommies, has a new mommy-centric picture book out just in time for Mother's Day. She'll be here this Saturday, May 8th, at 12pm for an extra-special story time. She'll read and sign Just Like Mama and make Mother's Day cards with us! Show your mama (or mommy, or mother, or mum) you know no one loves you just the way she does -- and no one loves HER just like you do! -- with a signed copy of this sweet mother and child story and a handmade card.

As if that weren't fun enough, R.L. LaFEVERS will be here May 19th at 4pm to sign the third Theodosia Throckmorton installment, Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, and the second Nathaniel Fludd Beastologist book, The Basilisk's Lair -- and all the previous Theodosia and Nathaniel Fludd books. Whether your interests run more toward Egyptology or beastology (or perhaps, brave soul, you're adventurous enough for both!), there'll be activities galore at this exciting evening event!

You already know my heart belongs to Neil Gaiman.

But throw in Charles Vess illustrations and fairy tale allusions, and I'm a goner.

This is what I took home with me this weekend:

Aaaaaannnd.... This is my reading before bed (and on the train, and in the bathtub, and on my lunch break -- you get the idea):

Coincidence? I think not. ♥

Saturday, May 1, 2010

And the publishing houses said, let there be lookalikes...

...Because booksellers need something to amuse themselves with. I like to think of it more as a test of memory, beyond the usual "I remember this book from my childhood about a pig named Horace, or maybe Norace, who..." request. We do love those games, and especially the excited customer response upon finding that special remembered book, but there's certainly something special about finding a lookalike.

Deb Caletti's new teen novel, The Six Rules of Maybe may look familiar...

..Because you saw that puffy vest and boardwalk on a paperback edition of:

You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye by Patricia Hermes.

Now that's enough internet s(m)urfing for this blogger, I hope you all go out and enjoy this lovely, lovely May Day weather - And wear sunscreen while you do it (My mum raised me well!).

Don't forget to swing by Harvard Square tomorrow for the annual Mayfair - dancing, music, great food, kids' train rides, and hot air balloon rides!