World of Julie

World of Julie

Mom on the edge.

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New Review: Nighttime Ninja

This book! It’s like a thriller! For kids! Perfect, perfect tension (and a lot of it). Zuzu’s eyes get impossibly large every time we read this. There should be more picture books that are this frightening, with such satisfying conclusions, I tell you! Lots more!

I review it today on Brain Burps.

Also today on Brain Burps: Katie interviews two authors, Jim Averbeck and Dashka Slater. It’s a good thing I sometimes let reviews write themselves for a few days in my head, since I was mentally working on reviews of both of the new books by these two (Averbeck’s Oh No, Little Dragon! and Slater’s delicious Dangerously Ever After). They are great books and I’m really looking forward to hearing this interview (and I’m glad I didn’t take the time to write and record redundant reviews).

You can find out more about the podcast here, and you can listen directly by clicking here.

Fart Brain

“Eli, who’s that for?”

“I haven’t decided yet. But I have some pretty good ideas.”

fart brain | World of Julie

Ivy + Bean: 9 Books of Awesome

This post should have been written months ago. For months I’ve been thinking about how much I love Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, about how consistently hilarious all the books are, and about how Sophie Blackall could illustrate anything and I’d love it (she has taken this to heart and illustrated Craig’s List ads for us).

At the beginning of September I received a review copy of Ivy and Bean: Make the Rules, which is book 9 in the series. Here’s the deal: I was confusing this series with something else. I can’t figure out what I was thinking of, but for some reason I thought this was a series of insipid frothy “we hate boys” girlishness. I’M SORRY. I was completely wrong.

I gave the book to Zuzu. I said, “Here, you’ll like this,” because she’s going through a phase where she picks way-out-of-her-age-range chapter books at the library, based solely on girls and sparkles on the cover, and then carries them around possessively and pretends to read them.

She wanted me to read her this one. This was when I couldn’t really walk, so I figured I might as well read it, since I was stuck on the couch anyway.

Ivy and Bean Make the Rules starts off with Bean’s older sister Nancy getting ready to go to Girl Power 4-Ever Camp, which, of course, totally cemented my wrong preconceived notion that this was a book about lip gloss and how much fun it is.

But then. Well. Something happened. The book started to get funny. Really funny. Then my boys came home from school, and we all squished onto the couch and read the whole darn book, stopping occasionally to laugh really, really hard. See, what happens is, Ivy and Bean make their own camp, Camp Flaming Arrow, which is loosely based on the informational sheet about Girl Power 4-Ever Camp that Bean’s mom pulled out of her purse, and by the time we got to the chapter where they practice first aid, and one of their campers, being a doctor, says, “One-twelve over five in the plexercarpaloo,” we were smitten. In love. We wanted way more Ivy and Bean.

And so, now, every time we go to the library I grab all of the available Ivy and Bean books like I’m getting the last Tickle Me Elmo on the day after Thanksgiving. And then we read them over and over.

And this morning, something happened that made me realize I just had to write this post already. Zuzu, Ramona, and I walked to our local bookstore to get gift certificates for teachers, and right after we went in, Zuzu started screaming, and she grabbed my arm and pulled me to the back of the store, pointed at the Ivy and Bean paper dolls, and said, screamingly, ‘I NEED TO HAVE THAT.” (And then I did a terrible thing: I bought them, and now won’t let her have them until Christmas.)

If something with book characters on it makes my kid SCREAM with excitement, like she’s seeing whatever boy band people are screaming about these days, well, then, I need to tell you about it.

One last word of book recommendation love from me: there need to be more series like this. I can’t think of any chapter book series besides Clementine and Ivy and Bean that thoroughly captivated all of my kids, from the 2-year-old to the 9-year-old. It’s not an easy thing to do. And Clementine and Ivy and Bean are amazing, amazing books. And luckily for us there are five Clementine books and nine Ivy and Beans, so just reading and rereading those should take us a while.

(There are other series like Invisible Inkling that the boys and I love so much, and I realize this is a RIDICULOUS thing I am asking for: a chapter book that will entertain humans from age 2 through adult. I just get all excited about the ones that do.)

Stuff I’m Getting my Kids for Christmas

Ok, here it is! After juggling 6 catalogs, 12 browser pages, and a super-secret piece of paper with notes and circles and arrows on the back, here is the World of Julie rundown for this holiday. (Forgive me for the lack of pictures, but I’m compiling this post with kids in the house, and I don’t want them to see anything.)

More »

Make City! Destroy City!

List makers breed more list makers. Here is Henry’s list for today.

Note: I am now redoing everything, so this can be my daily list too.

Can I even tell you how much I love this?

My 9-year-old's list for the day | World of Julie

New review: hello! hello!

Oh, boy, is this book amazing. You may remember my intense love for Matthew Cordell’s Another Brother. I was so excited to read Cordell’s new book, hello! hello!

This book…oh, this book. I’m kind of speechless about how awesome it is (well, not THAT speechless, since my review today on Brain Burps is one of my longest ones ever). It’s a beautiful book, visually, but it’s also timely and, frankly, very very important. It’s a book about lifting your head up from all those electronic devices and really seeing the world again. Remember trees? Remember people? Real people, in front of you? Remember your kids? Hello!

I will also say that I recorded this review at 8:00 pm on election night, as an effort to get myself to stop maniacally refreshing twelve different web pages of election results. So if there’s a slightly crazed, hysterical edge to my voice in this review, that’s why. Another little funny thing for you to listen for is that I inexplicably didn’t start gesturing until halfway through, and you can hear me start talking a lot more animatedly. Yes, I even talk with my hands when I’m all alone recording reviews for you to hear.

Check out the review on the latest Brain Burps podcast, which is an interview with the amazing Tony DiTerlizzi, who is an incredible illustrator, and co-author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, which are my favorite kidlit chapter books set in Maine.

One last (important!) thing. If you buy hello! hello! by November 30, 2012, Matthew Cordell will send you ALL KINDS OF STUFF. He’s so cool. Check out his blog post here about all the cool art and things he’ll personally send you if you have a receipt that proves you bought the book!

Nerdy Book Club (+ book recommendations)

How do you raise a reader? Head on over to the Nerdy Book Club to read my post about what I’m doing to get my children to love reading. By request, here is a list of the books I mention in the post:

Board books and picture books:

Easy Reader and Chapter books:

Note: the above are Amazon affiliate links. Please visit your local independent bookstore whenever possible!

Newbery Interview over on Colby Sharp’s blog

I’m so honored to be the guest over on the magnificent Colby Sharp’s blog today. Go over and read about how Bridge to Terabithia was the first book that made me cry. And leave a comment saying what your favorite Newbery book is!

Piggy Bunny, Adam Rex, PiBoIdMo, and my knee

Did you catch my review of Piggy Bunny on Brain Burps last week? You’ve got to read this book. If anything because it has now inserted the phrase, “This is a problem that’s called fixable” into our lives. Ok, reading that sentence, that doesn’t sound that earth-shattering. But once you read the book, you’ll see how great that phrase is. C’mon: it’s a pig who wants to be the Easter Bunny! Even though his family doesn’t even believe in the Easter Bunny! You can hear my review on Episode 118, here.

What else? On Halloween Adam Rex, Genius, had a Twitter contest to write a Halloween poem that fits in a tweet (140 characters). In a fit of chocolate-fueled madness I wrote a few, and tweeted the best one. And: I won! Or, well, was a runner up. We’re getting two signed Adam Rex books as a prize! The kids were super psyched. I’m totally thrilled, even though one of the books, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, is the earwormiest book that ever did earworm (meaning, you’ll get songs stuck in your head for days). I’m still so completely giddy over this win.

And congratulations to my pal Carter Higgins, who was also a runner up! (And make sure you check out Carter’s astoundingly awesome trailer for Picture Book Month, which is also happening right now in November and you should go play around on the Picture Book Month website for a few hours right now.)

November is the month for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). I participated last year, and I got a huge batch of ideas. My favorite part is how the whole idea of writing down one book idea a day primes me to see ideas everywhere. I got a dedicated PiBoIdMo notebook this year, so I’m hoping I can keep that inspired-by-the-world vibe going way past November, and fill that notebook.

Ok, last thing, for now: knee. Getting better. I can almost walk like a normal person. Though I still go up and down stairs like a toddler (one step, one step, one step, one step). However, I got yelled at by a physical therapist because my knee is not as straight as it should be by now. Scary. Like, if I don’t get it straighter asap, it’ll NEVER BE STRAIGHT AGAIN. Yikes. Never mind the fact that I can’t bend it very much either. But straight is more important at this point. So I work a lot on getting it straight, which, frankly, hurts like the dickens.

Photos: this week

The work around here continues to be colored by my knee. Apparently you don’t just have ACL surgery and then hop up the next day to do the hustle. It takes six months before that can happen (and then another six months of intensive dance lessons from Leif Garrett). And so, two weeks (and change) later, I am off crutches, but still in the giant knee brace, which renders me slow (and on stairs, slower).

So I’m still sleeping in the library off of our living room (note: this is an actual room; I’m not sleeping in the Little Free Library). Which makes it really hard to put the books back on the shelf, so the library floor is now taken up entirely by a mattress and huge drifts of books.

ACL surgery = many more messes (and ironic book placement) | World of Julie

We put the bathtub (tiny tiny bathtub) in our upstairs bathroom-to-be (tiny tiny bathroom-to-be). Progress!

Henry in our new tiny bathtub | World of Julie

Zuzu likes to take the camera and take 48 photos of toys she wants from a catalog, 22 photos of her feet, and 14 super-close photos of her own face. Dave swears she looks exactly like me in this one:

Zuzu, self portrait

And here’s one where she doesn’t look so serious:

Zuzu, self portrait

And with this post I further cement my role as The Blogger Who Isn’t Afraid to Show Her Messy House or Her Crusty Children.

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