Posts tagged ‘Books’

December 13, 2011

Mama Elf: Slacking Off? Or Being Realistic?

Some of my mommy friends have recently asked what we’re giving Jacob for Christmas, and I think they’ve been pleasantly confused by my answer.


Jacob’s Christmas morning will look like this:


– Two books (Blueberries for Sal and a children’s book of saints)

– A big boy toothbrush

– A pack of those capsules you drop in water and when they open, little foam animals come out


That’s it.


Although there are about seven billion things we could get him, and would love to give him, there are two very good reasons holding us back (and one isn’t even our budget):


a) If past holidays (Christmas, Easter, and so on) are any gauge, the kid’s going to make out like a bandit, courtesy of our fun, loving, and generous family.


b) Jacob spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon like this, in his bathtub with a spatula and a kitchen timer.

What do you say to that, Fisher Price?

November 17, 2011

The Secret Life of Mailers

Motherhood has afforded me all sorts of revelations, and the one I have to share today is nothing short of astounding. Prepare yourself.


You know those mailers you get in the mail from time to time, advertising credit cards or sales at clothing stores? I finally found out what they’re for. They’re not really marketing tools to persuade you to open a new account or buy a pair of jeans. Really they’re destined for something much more honorable: They’re for babies to lovingly and carefully play with as if they were the greatest toys on earth.


We’ve established that Jacob has little to no respect for the physical integrity of his books.




Spines mean nothing to him (despite how much they mean to me) and dust jackets are no better (does he understand how much work goes into them?!).


We don’t have a ton of room—and we do have a ton of books—so I stow the more precious books as far away from Jacob’s reach as I can, while keeping them accessible to, you know, read them.


Despite my best efforts, our autographed Laurie Halse Anderson picture book has had its dust jacket stripped at every opportunity. And the copy of Make Way for Ducklings one of my best friends gave us at my baby shower? That jacket, to my great horror, is considerably torn.


But the Chase mailer we received at least two months ago, while bent, is in otherwise pristine condition. Some days Jacob carries that thing all over the place, the way other kids carry a doll or a teddy bear. He seems to have no desire to rip, chew, or otherwise demolish it. Every night when I clean up his toys, I put it back on the shelf, knowing there’s a chance he’ll play with it the next day, and it will make him happy.


One great mystery debunked, another left perhaps forever unsolved.

November 14, 2011

Free Books! Seriously.

Today I’m donning my editor hat because I have something really fun to share with you, reader friends—especially you mommies and anyone else who loves picture books.

A few weeks ago, I met with the founder of a pretty cool new digital picture book platform called uTales. It’s a subscription-based picture book service, kind of like Netflix, kind of like Spotify. The cool thing—okay, there are lots of cool things—is that you can not only read picture books, but you can create them, too. The books on the site are not ones you’re going to find at your library or local bookstore. They were created on the site, and while they may be published in print in the future, currently, they’re only digital.

Lest you be wary about the quality, as I initially was, know that there is an editorial panel—of both professionals and hand-picked “uTalers”—who determine which books are worthy of being “published”. From what I’ve read thus far, probably a dozen of the 150 titles, there are a few punctuation issues, but the stories and illustrations are top-notch.

So where do the free books come in?  Well, having met with the founder (fingers crossed that I find a place on the editorial panel in the future), he offered me a free 15-day trial to share with you!

This isn’t a contest; there’s no limit to the number of people who can take advantage of it. It’s simply an effort to get the word out about this new take on what “picture book” means and how readers interact with them.

Here’s the link for the free sign-up:

I really encourage you to give it a shot. The books work on computers, iPads, and iPhones. The site just launched at the beginning of November, and the more people who try it now, the more the folks behind it will know about the public’s interest. I currently have no professional association with them, I just think it’s pretty cool. So does Jacob. To him, it would only be better if I let him press the buttons on the computer.

Happy reading, reader friends!

P.S. You can also buy individual titles. For now, ignore the “Buy” buttons under the titles. The free trial really is free, and the entire library is open to you!

P.P.S. This one’s for you, Uncle Michael:

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