Random House Summer 2009 preview

I'm not that great at keeping in touch with people. Believe me, lots of people will attest to that - some of them are probably readers of this blog (MC - my mom-in-law - once told me that she read my blog and MySpace because that was the only way she heard about what was happening in our lives).

I make no excuses....however, I want to point out that I'm not avoiding anyone when I don't write back and it certainly isn't an over-inflated sense of self-importance. My problem lies with my warped perception of Time's passage. I'll read an email from a friend...I'll pledge to respond later...then 3 weeks have passed! It floors me and shocks me every time. Do I write back then? No. Because then I feel bad that I didn't respond sooner. Then I feel bad because I'm still not responding...instead, I'm avoiding. Thus the cycle perpetuates itself.

Which is where I'm at with the Random House Summer 2009 preview. It was 5 weeks ago! Wha...?! Time is sooooo not my friend. But this time I will not avoid - I will respond - I will be brave! Without further ado, here is my report:

The morning started with Random House's tribute to Kate and Kathy. It was simple and lovely. I thought I had control of my tears until it was announced that RH would start a scholarship fund under Kate and Kathy's name; the fund will be used to send a librarian to an ALA conference for the first time. It's a wonderful way to memorialize two extraordinary women.

Schwartz & Wade Books was up first with Being a Pig is Nice: a Child's-Eye View of Manners by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Dan Krall (5.09). The art is vivid and fun, and the book appears to be very kid-friendly. Not to mention it's obvious appeal for parents. Sugar Would Not Eat It by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Giselle Potter (5.09) stood out to me because it seemed to have "foodie-books-for-kids" appeal...but I've never been a fan of Potter's artwork. I try to like it...but to no avail. So I'm bummed, particularly since I enjoy Jenkins' books so much. I was thrilled to see Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look (6.09). My friend and QL colleague Lori came to the preview with me and we did a high-five when Alvin was described as having "a phobia of camping" - so do we, Alvin. So do we!

Knopf and Crown were up next, and I'm super-excited about A Small Surprise by Louise Yates (5.09) - a darling picture book about a bunny that wants to join the circus. I also loved The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (6.09). It is a true concept book with a "chicka chicka boom boom" type refrain that makes it storytime ready. Another foodie-books-for-kids title came up: Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks (8.09). How can you go wrong with the refrain "Fo fi fum fee! Monsters don't eat broccoli!"? Storytime gold, people! And I'll pick up Poisons of Caux: The Hollow Bettle by Susannah Applebaum (8.09) based on the cover alone. Lastly, I can't even express to you how awesome Jarrett J. Krosoczka's new graphic novel series Lunch Lady is - I saw it for the first time at ALA Midwinter and thought it was absolutely hilarious. It's one of those rare books that actually has girl and boy appeal...it'll be a "circbuster." The first two books in the series - Lunch Lady & the Cyborg Substitute and Lunch Lady & the League of Librarians - will both pub on 7.28.09.

David Fickling Books, among other things, talked about Pip: The Story of Olive by Kim Kane (6.09). I'm not so sure about the cover we were shown, but it had one of my favorite quotes that morning: "Sometimes the best comeback is just a wink and a laugh." I'm pocketing that one for the future.

Wendy Lamb Books talked up The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes by Kelly Easton (6.09), which featured some of the cleverest, funniest spot art I've seen in awhile. In particular, the "world's oldest liontamer". Trust me when I tell you that you haven't really, truly laughed until you have seen this piece of art. The artist is Greg Swearingen, and you might recognize his work from the Gilda Joyce covers.

Random House and Golden Books showed us a few books that got me excited: Sylvie by Jennifer Sattler (5.09) is bright and vivid...it has storytime potential. I also liked The Zoo I Drew by Todd H. Doodler (7.09). We always need more concept books and this looks like it'll fit the bill. I just have to remember to buy the library edition, as the regular hardcover has a textured, fluted cover that won't last a day in our stacks. At Midwinter, I picked up a galley of Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (5.09) and I finished it a couple days ago. It's hillarrrrious! It's for 14-years-old and up (if not older)...it also has every taboo in existence...I'll just sum up by saying "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll". It's offensive, raunchy, and bawdy. Not for the faint-hearted grown-up. The teens will love it.

Bantam Delacorte Dell shared Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie (5.09) as a "junior Indiana Jones" adventure story. Sold. And we also have the best analogy of the day: Camille McPhee Fell under the Bus by Kristen Tracy (8.09) was described as "George Costanza if he was a 4th-grade hypoglycemic girl." Sold! I also got to hear about The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises (7.09), which I shared here several weeks ago. I looooved this book, but I have to wait a couple more months before I review it here...which means that I'll have to read it all over again. Darn.

We finished the event with a visit by the delightful Phyllis Reynolds Naylor who shared stories and ate lunch with us. Lori read her new book Faith, Hope, and Ivy June (6.09) and said that it made her miss living in the South because it had such a sense of place. What a compliment!

Overall, another lovely day with the folks at Random House! Thanks to them for the preview!

Note: For everyone's information, I don't mention all the books when I do a preview recap. There are waaaay too many titles for me to do that. I just mentioned the ones that were of particular interest to me and/or books I thought all of you might want to know about.

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