O’Sullivan Stew

You’ve got to love a heroine named Kate O’Sullivan. And with her daydreaming tendencies, fiery spirit and equally fiery red hair, it’s hard to resist her in Hudson Talbott’s book O’Sullivan Stew. When Kate witnesses an old hag’s horse being stolen by royal tax collectors, she tries to rally her fellow villagers who ignore her pleas. But when the hag starts causing all sorts of disaster to happen, Kate hatches a plot with her dad and brothers to steal the horse from the castle. The O’Sullivans are quickly caught and Kate must, once again, devise way out of this particular pickle. And in true Irish folklore style, Kate’s wits, determination (and stew) save the day. Talbott’s text is lively and energetic and his illustrations are vivid and lovely. This is a fun little romp through Irish folklore and a sure-fire winner in the hearts of children.

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Monday: Adventures in Cartooning

For any budding cartoonists out there, have I got the book for you! Written by the top dudes at the Center for Cartoon Studies, Adventures in Cartooning is a fun, unique approach to teaching kids the basics of comic strip development. What’s refreshing about this l cartooning how-to is that it focuses less on “how to draw” (remember those books that would have you start with a circle, draw two triangles and three lines on each side and voila you have a cat?) and spends more time on the fundamentals of cartoons: speech bubbles, speed lines, motion indicators, etc. And the format is fabulous – the book actually tells the story of a knight, a horse and an elf – and teaches these comic lessons as the story unfolds. This is a great book for interested artists and a super-duper birthday gift for future cartoonists. All in all, a gem of a  book!

Monday: Star Wars – A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy

Around our house,  Star Wars is King. And not in some sort of ineffectual, outdated Monarchy kind of way. I mean, truly Kingly – in charge, ever-present and downright overpowering. We talk about Star Wars, we dream about Star Wars, at times we dress like Star Wars, and we read every book available on the topic. So imagine my utter delight when my mom purchased Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy for my sons. I swear the Heavens opened. Angels sang. And my boys found themselves completely blissed out on every eye-popping, 3-D page. (Pssst…there’s even a light-up light saber…). This is the perfect gift for any Star Wars-oholic, young and old…made by the expert hands of pop-up author Matthew Reinhart. It’s so awesome, they even keep it in plastic wrap at the book store. I mean, how can you resist? Star Wars is King, I tell you. And long may it reign.

Tuesday: Bedhead

If you saw me walking to school this morning, I apologize on behalf of my bedhead. It was truly epic and yet, for a variety of reasons (spilled oatmeal, exploding kitty litter and a late alarm clock notwithstanding) I did not have time to tame the beast. So I subjected you all to its horror. And for that I am truly sorry. I feel much better, though, knowing that Oliver, the mane, er, I mean, main character in Margie Palatini’s delightful book Bedhead has it much worse. Poor Oliver wakes up. Shuffles into the bathroom. Takes one look into the mirror. And there it is. Bedhead. Even the back of his head looks like a cat’s “coughed-up furball.” Trust me, I can relate. So Oliver’s family takes action and tries combing, brushing, moussing, gelling – to no avail. Only a baseball cap will help at this late hour. But when Oliver arrives at school and its PICTURE DAY for heaven’s sake (no baseball caps allowed), what will our follicularly challenged child do? A marvelous book for any and all who have suffered through bedhead…or are still recovering from seeing mine.