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What’s New on the Nightstand, Wednesday Edition: “Incantation,” by Alice Hoffman; “The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People,” by Jordan Reid & Erin Williams; “Joy in Every Moment: Mindful Exercises for Waking to the Wonders of Ordinary Life,” by Tzivia Gover

May 24th, 2017

“Incantation,” by Alice Hoffman (Egmont Press, 2006, young adult readers, 173 pages): Estrella DeMadrigal, a young woman living in a small village during the Spanish Inquisition, falls in love, learns her family’s secrets, and tells us her story. This is a gem of a book. I’ve been carrying it around in my backpack for close to a year, reading a chapter or two at a time, feeling like a thief, glimpsing into someone else’s life. Not mine.

“‘We are leaving and that’s that. Never look at other people’s bad fortune,’ my mother said. ‘If you do, it will come back to find you instead of its rightful owner.’”

And my favorite quote from the book:

“You cannot disprove the ridiculous. You cannot argue reasonably with evil.”

And now, on to something really goofy. (How’s that for shifting gears?) Only, for real, there is no way to segue into this next book, cuz it’s nutty mcbuddy. Or, “Funny as hell,” says Amy Morrison, founder of “Pregnant Chicken.”

Ready?

“The Big Fat Activity Book for Pregnant People,” by Jordan Reid & Erin Williams (Penguin Random House, 2017, $16, 172 pages). It’s very…. “Free to Be, You & Me,” this book. If “Free to Be” mated with “The Joy of Sex,” which I guess it did, in the ’70s, and that’s my generation, and here we are, not running the country, man, because some orange clown is in charge.

You wave at clowns in parades, people, you don’t vote for one and let him run the country.

Where was I going with this?

This book is hysterical and weird and I must say, you should buy it for the pregnant mommies you know or new parents and let them go nuts and have a laugh. Coloring sheets! Puzzles! Mad Libs!

“The Pinterest Nursery,” yes, which makes us realize “that we are wildly inadequate in virtually every area of our existence.”

“some divine secrets about your baby”: astrological info gone somewhat wacky. ie — “Cancers love things that are old. They also love garbage and refuse to throw away anything, including grandmothers, which is nice.”

My favorite: “Welcome to the Land of Being Amazing”

Great book. I’m not even pregnant (I thank God for that, daily) and I still enjoyed it. Mazel tov, new parents. You can do it.

“Joy in Every Moment,” by Tzivia Gover (Storey Publishing, 2015, $12.95, 219 pages): Ahhhhhh… I’ve been loving on this book for about two years now, since it came out. Daily affirmations and a lot more.

It’s divided into sections on joy — all day long, at home, at work, on the go and so on. It’s a sweet book, I’m enjoying it.

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.” — Chinese Proverb

(That’s what I’m saying.)

Bon appetit, babies.

wm

What’s on My Nightstand, Sunday Evening Edition: “Dream,” by Matthew Cordell; “Lead the Way,” written by Ace Landers, illustrated by Garrett Taylor; “Feminist Baby,” by Loryn Brantz; “Welcome: a Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals”; “Night Night, Groot,” written by Brendan Deneen, with pictures by Cale Atkinson

May 14th, 2017

“Dream,” by Matthew Cordell (Disney-Hyperion, 2017, $16.99): Cordell is an old favorite of mine (“hello! hello!”, “Special Delivery,” “Wish” and other titles.) He has a nice style. Approachable. This one, just in time for Father’s Day, is about a gorilla family, so happy to be together. “I dreamed of the many stars in your small eyes. Of the music in your voice surrounding everything, everyone, everywhere.” Beautiful story, lovely art, and a gentle touch.

“Lead the Way,” by Ace Landers, illustrated by Garrett Taylor. (Inspired by the “Cars” movies, Disney Press, 2017, $16.99): This inspirational book for the younger set is sweet. You need “somebody who reminds you that when you can’t do something right the FIRST time, KEEP PRACTICING. YOU’LL GET IT EVENTUALLY.” OK, the ALL CAPS make me wanna tear the pages out and tack them up on the wall, but THAT’S OK. We all need a little inspiration sometimes. :)

“Feminist Baby,” by Loryn Brantz (Disney-Hyperion, 2017, $12.99): Here’s a wacky little board book about an “irrepressible” feminist baby. Oh, yes she is. Don’t mess with her. She loves to dance, says no to pants, likes pink and blue, and “sometimes she’ll throw up on you!” Well, there you have it.

“Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals” (Hyperion Books for Children, 2017, $15.99): You know my (imaginary) friend Mo Willems, don’t you? Piggie and Elephant and that crowd? Here’s a title that’s a little unusual. This board book contains not one, but two mirrors, and lots of sweet and serious sentiments for the new arrivals. “You are a unique combination of Love + Time + Luck” and… “We anticipate that you will encounter both drawings of cats and actual cats during your stay. And not just cats. There are: MOUNTAINS + FRIENDS + BAGELS + INFINITE REMARKABLE THINGS.” #truth. Additionally, I love that Mo Willems’ bio on the back cover describes him as “a former baby, now a New York Times #1 best-selling author and illustrator.” Give this one for a baby present, or for any other occasion. It’s different, fun and original.

“Night Night, Groot,” written by Brendan Deneen, with pictures by Cale Atkinson (Marvel, 2017, $12.99): This is a “Guardians of the Galaxy” thing, I am told. It’s cool, even though 1) I don’t really know how “cool” is defined anymore. I’m still calling this “cool.” The art is lively, the story is good, and I think the kiddos will enjoy it.

What’s on My Nightstand, the Good Friday Edition: “The Gumamazing Gum Girl! GUM LUCK,” by Rhode Montijo; “How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves,” by Dr. Sophia Yin; “Vampirina at the Beach,” by Anne Marie Pace & LeUyen Pham

May 11th, 2017

I stashed this away and just found it :)

wm

blog post
4/14/17

How’s about some books, kids? Turn off the computer. I mean it. Power that tablet down and leave it to charge. Hide your phone in the drawer and grab something to read that doesn’t require a battery, just your brain.

“The Gumamazing Gum Girl! GUM LUCK” (by Rhode Montijo, with Luke Reynolds; Disney-Hyperion Books; on sale June 13, 2017; ages 6-8; 160 pages; $14.99.) Gabby Gomez is here to take you with her on some adventures. Are you ready? We’ll start with the scratch-n-sniff cover. Yum. Now, on to the adventures… Last time with Gabby, she saved a passenger plane with her bare hands. (“The Gumazing Gum Girl: Chews Your Destiny.”) This time? A school field trip is involved, and perhaps a trip to the dentist for Gum Girl. Did I mention that the dentist is her father? And he doesn’t know that his daughter is a superhero? Dun, dun, dun… The pink/black/white color scheme is great, the illustrations are pretty much perfect, and the story is lively. The villain? Hates gum. Spanish and English? No hay problema, there is no problem, we go back and forth between the two languages. I think you’ll like this one.

Next up:

“How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves” (by Sophia Yin, D.V.M.; T.F.H. Publications, Inc.; 2004; 244 pages). OK, I haven’t actually finished reading this one yet, this amazing, well-written how-to book. (I’m a few chapters in.) I have tried, valiantly, and failed, miserably, to get through it. Actually? I gave it to my friend Max, who doesn’t even need it because his dog is super well-behaved. I left it for my kids to read (before I gave up and gave the book away). They ignored it, too. We are bad dog owners at our house. It’s true. For example, I just put poor wild dingo in her crate (after taking her outside, bringing her back in… four times… feeding and brushing her, loving on her), just so I could write.

Her’s a good girl, but a little nutty.

She won’t come when we call. She slips her leash, collar and halter like she’s canine Houdini. She growls at everyone. She thinks Chase-the-Cat is the best game she’s ever invented. We watched that movie, “Marley & Me”? She makes that dog look like a damn amateur. Every night, she’s sprawled out in the middle of my bed, snoring and being adorable. She bats her eyelashes at you. She is pretty.

She looks like a deer, with those long legs. “Is she a polar bear?” the kids ask. “A dingo? A monkey? A cow? A little lamb? Or… a wolverine?”

Who knows.

I might take a nap after this, though, because having a dog in the house wears me the hell out. She’s a puppy, she just turned a year old. She’s a yellow lab/golden retriever mutt. She weighs a lot so far. Sixty-five pounds or so? Most likely due to the fact that she likes to eat, oh, how she likes to eat, just about anything. Oyster shells, an entire plate of brownies, anything from the garbage/the floor/the counters. As much Purina One as we’re willing to dole out. The entire drip line irrigation system from the back yard, her toys (especially the rope pulls. She will eat an entire one of those, no problem).

I love her. Dog, I promise to borrow the dog book back from Max, I promise to try to figure out how to behave. Let’s keep working on it.

And last, but certainly not least:

“Vampirina at the Beach,” written by Countess Anne Marie Pace, illustrated by Mistress of the Night LeUyen Pham. (No, I did not make that up, it’s what they put on the cover.) (Disney-Hyperion Books, 2017, 40 pages, ages 3-5, $16.99.) (Sequel to “Vampirina Ballerina” and “Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover.”)

This one is dedicated to Kevin: “…the werewolf who taught our vampire girl not only to dance, but to fly.”

I kind of have a soft spot for book dedications, and that one is particularly nice.

Vampirina’s family looks a little like the Munsters, or the Addams Family, so that’s cool. They drive around in a hearse. They head to the beach! It’s a full moon, and they’re going to make a night of it. I’m enamored of this book, it’s pretty adorable. The colors are bright and pop off the page; the story is engaging; our heroine is a darling.

Bon appetit, babies! More reading, more, I say. Just do it.

xo

wm

What’s New on the Nightstand — Tuesday Book Review: “If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed”; “Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York”; and “The Book of You, for My Child, with Love”

May 2nd, 2017

“If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed,” illustrated by Zachariah Ohora, written by Denise Vega, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017, $17.99, ages 3-7): “‘Time for bed!’ Who hates those words more than anything? That’s right. Your monster.” Parents know a lot about putting human kids to bed, but not monsters. Welcome to the land of nightmares and toss-the-slime-ball. The blocky, bright illustrations make this an appealing, and funny, read.

“Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York,” by Florence Mars and Pauline Leveque, Clarkson Potter, 2017, $19.99): Cute, and divided into categories that include Greetings, Style & Beauty, Playtime, and Parties & Holidays. Mars had a French upbringing and is now a Brooklyn girl; Leveque, who practices a more “American style” of parenting, lives in Manhattan. Parisian-style: “Don’t eat with your hands!* You’re not a baby. *Exceptions: bread, asparagus, and artichokes.” American-style: “Go ahead and eat with your hands — whatever is easiest for you.” Beautiful line drawings, and a light sense of humor throughout.

“The Book of You, for My Child, with Love,” by Kate and David Marshall, Plume/Penguin Random House, 2017, 73 pages, $15): Darling baby book/coloring book/journal for those months before and after baby arrives. Just the right size to write and draw in, and not so precious that new parents will be intimidated by it.