Spring 2009 Publisher's Preview: Random House

I went to the Spring 2009 preview at Random House yesterday, and this is what you need to know about that:

Kathy Kras. (librarian extraordinaire) told a story about passing Ina Garten in the halls of Random House. In my excitement, I forgot to ask Kathy when this event took place. Nevertheless, Kathy apparently started carrying on…in the presence of Ina…and, according to Kathy, embarrassed the hell out of the Random House folks. It couldn’t have been that bad, though, seeing as the Random House people still invited Kathy back for yesterday’s shindig. It would be a dreeeeeeam to meet Ina in the halls of RH, though I’m utterly convinced that I’d make a complete arse of myself. Thank goodness it was Kathy meeting her and not me!

Oh, and there were books there, of course. Here are the ones I took special note of:

- What a Good Big Brother! by Diane Wright Landolf, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. A new sibling book where the oldest child doesn’t despise the new baby? Refreshing. (1.09)

- A Very Curious Bear by Tony Mitton, illustrated by Paul Howard. My first impression is that the text might be too sentimental for my tastes…but the illustrations we saw were really beautiful. (4.09)

- Babymouse: The Musical by Matt & Jennifer Holm. Well, dur. Who isn’t looking forward to this one? (1.09)

- Stone Rabbit series: BC Mambo and Pirate Palooza by Erik Craddock. The editor called this the answer for a boys’ version of Babymouse. Looks promising. (1.09)
- Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson. The sequel to 100 Cupboards. The editor said that some of the criticism about 100 Cupboards was that it was weird and strange (I concur) so this one is more “solid fantasy.” For all your weightlifting kids: this has 480 pages. (2.09)

- Duck & Goose: How Are You Feeling? by Tad Hills. Oh god, sooooo precious. The whole room swooned. (1.09)

- This Little Bunny Can Bake by Janet Stein. Stein, a debut author, studied with a world-renowned pastry chef in Barcelona; she’s the real deal. Yay! Foodie books for kids!

- You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter, illustrated by AndrĂ© Carrilho. This is from the spunky gals at Schwartz & Wade, and they passed the book around. I didn’t get to read the text much, but the illustrations are phenomenal. They manage to be very modern and stylized with a limited palette…but also very retro. The cover is a really cool holograph. Trivia: the artist apparently had never seen a baseball game when he was signed on to this project. Schwartz and Wade sent him Ken Burns’ Baseball as a primer. (3.09)

- The Enemy: a Book About Peace by Davide Cali and Sere Bloch. “Anti-war book for children.” Kid appeal aside, I was moved by the few pages we saw here. An important message, for sure. (4.09)

- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. The editors compared this to A Handmaids Tale…to me, the description seemed to have tones of The Giver as well. I’m having dinner with Ms. Ryan next Monday so I’ll be reading this over the weekend. It certainly helps that Sarah Miller gave the book good praise! (3.09)

- The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino. I luuuurve Dan Yaccarino’s artwork…but don’t ask me to explain why. It just seems so…joyful. (3.09)

- Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli. Because I’ll read any word she puts on paper. (3.09)

The special guest (Random House always has one) was Graham Salisbury, promoting his upcoming book Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet (3.09). Like all of Random House’s guests to date, Graham Salisbury was engaging and funny – the room seemed delighted with every story he told.

In conclusion, can you believe Kathy saw Ina Garten just walking around Random House????

Note: Tracy Bloom Lerner, the Library Marketing Manager at RH, asked the room at one point to show hands if we’d be interested in seeing pages from books electronically. Needless to say, the show of hands was overwhelming. In front of me, Kate McClelland raised two hands. I raised both mine and clapped. To be able to see content online and, hopefully, cut down on the number of ARCs and review copies would be stupendous. It would save trees…and save space in my work area. Amen. (And thanks to HarperCollins and Candlewick, among others, who already have this kind of content available!)

One more thing: Random House did a really fun Hawaiian theme, in honor of Graham Salisbury. Lots of leis and inflatable palm trees. Super fun, given the autumnal weather seeping in!

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