1. After almost 10 years of thinking hard about doing it, I finally submitted a book review and got it published! Here's the review from this month's School Library Journal:
BLUME, Judy. Soupy Saturdays with the Pain & the Great One. illus. by James Stevenson. 104p. Delacorte. Aug. 2007. Tr $12.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73305-2; PLB $15.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90324-0. LC number unavailable.
Gr 1–3—This book expands the picture book The Pain and the Great One (S & S, 1984) into a beginning chapter book. Third-grader Abigail calls her little brother "The Pain" because he causes so much trouble. Jake is in first grade and calls his older sister "The Great One" because she thinks so highly of herself. The book doesn't follow a traditional story arc; instead, it is a series of vignettes in which the children continually clash and then reconcile. While the stories are funny and sometimes poignant, often they're a bit heavy with sentimentality and nostalgia. The theme is that arguing with your sibling is part of the fun of growing up, but there isn't much child appeal in that adult perspective. How many kids enjoy being told that they really love their brother or sister, despite all the bickering? Nevertheless, the stories are sweet and accurately depict the growing pains of childhood. Stevenson's black-and-white ink illustrations are entertaining, particularly the drawing of mashed potatoes with peas strewn across the page. Overall, this is a successful effort with great illustrations and humor, but it's not an essential purchase: the picture book was more succinct.—Laura Lutz, Queens Borough Public Library, NY
Yep, that's my name in print. I feel a little exposed and self-conscious about it - it's not comfortable knocking a book by Judy Blume so publicly. Especially when other reviews that have been printed about it are more positive than mine. But I'm excited nonetheless and stand by the review.
2. I also spent some time this morning reading a great interview with JK Rowling. It was an online interview and she got 120,000 questions! There's spoilers galore here so don't read it until you've read the whole Harry Potter series. But I was happy to have some questions answered after reading the interview.
3. I've mentioned the "Chocolate and Zucchini" site to a lot to people, but I want to draw particular attention to the picture gallery on her blog. Clotilde Dusoulier's recipes and narrative are wonderful, but I love her pictures the best. I've been trying to take more pictures of the meals I make, but they're not fit to print compared to hers. Try to look at the pictures without having your mouth water profusely.