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Review! The Cranium Ultimate Book of Fantastic Fun & Games; Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug!; and Hug Time

December 8th, 2007

Reviewed today:

The Fed Ex girl was the most popular visitor at our place this week. She arrived with a couple of boxes of books and games from Little, Brown and Company for review, just in time for the holidays. I’ll review three at a time, so no one gets overlooked. We’ll make it a family affair.

“Hug Time,” by Patrick McDonnell, stars Jules, the sweet little tiger kitty. (Click on the Little, Brown link above to hear Patrick McDonnell read from “Hug Time.”) We’re big fans of the Mutts comic strip over here (Grandma likes Mutts, too, especially Jules, aka “Shtinky Puddin'” and his little pink sock). In this artfully painted and written children’s book, Jules travels the world, collecting as many hugs as he can, from as many creatures as he can find along the way, including a wombat, a humu-humu fish, and a polar bear. We’d hug him, too, if he stopped by here.

On to Cranium… If you call yourself “The Ultimate Book of Fantastic Fun & Games,” then you’d better hurry up and live up to your title. This set does. It includes plastic frogs for flipping, an egg timer, a deck of Cranium cards, a dri-erase pen, a spinner, a pull-out game board, and purple modeling clay, so you can sculpt tiny brains or anything else you feel like sculpting.

It’s for ages six and up, but the five-year-old at our house was extremely taken with the set, especially once he figured out that the whole book is rewritable, so you can play the games over and over.

Hockey God and Wacky Boy, on Ed Emberley’s “Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug!”:

WB: It’s very funny.

HG: What happens? Can you say, without giving away the end?

WB: No.

HG: Do you like the Big Bad Bullybug?

WB: No, I like the queen ants and the flying bugs.

HG: They’re flying bugs, for sure.

WB: They’re queen ants, silly!

The pages are die-cut, with each page revealing a little something from the next page. It’s a clever device for the younger set, as the Big Bad Bullybug is gradually revealed, in all its comical horror.

And now, some big news — I have so many goodies to share that Melissa Lion (who, like me, is a North Portland blogger and writer) and I are going to throw a meet ‘n’ greet. We’ll do it sometime in January. We’re thinking… a coffee house in North Portland. Just for something a little different.

I’ll give away kid books for door prizes! Ms. Lion may bring copies of her young adult novels to sign and sell. I think she should, don’t you? I think once you’re a published author you should just carry a stack of your books with you everywhere. That’s what I’ll do, if and when I get a novel published. I’ll be all, “My name, see? On the cover. Woo!”

I love Melissa’s writing, it’s true and honest, and she hooks you right from the first paragraph, but the real reason she’s won my heart? She taught me what others have tried, and failed, to teach me: I now know how to purl.

Melissa’s books:


  1. melissa lion says

    Hey thanks! You were ready to purl, I just gave you the nudge.

    Oh, I have my books tattooed on my back. And in boxes in my house, so yes, I’ll bring them.

    December 8th, 2007 | #

  2. melissa lion says

    One more writing thing — “That’s what I’ll do, if and when I get a novel published.”

    Just when. Never if.

    December 8th, 2007 | #

  3. nan says


    We never get free giveaway get-togethers around here. Send me a canape.

    December 9th, 2007 | #

  4. Dawn says

    It took me decades to figure out purling!

    December 9th, 2007 | #

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