Happy Hallowe'en from NYRB

Over at A Different Stripe, the blog of NYRB Classics, they have a very nice Hallowe'en gift for you. You can download the very scary "Casting the Runes" by M.R. James.

The story appears in this very covetable anthology:

Here's what you get for the exceedingly reasonable price of $9.07:

The Haunted Looking Glass is the late Edward Gorey's selection of his favorite tales of ghosts, ghouls, and grisly goings-on. It includes stories by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, M. R. James, W. W. Jacobs, and L. P. Hartley, among other masters of the fine art of making the flesh creep, all accompanied by Gorey's inimitable illustrations.

W.F. HARVEY, "August Heat"
CHARLES DICKENS, "The Signalman"
L.P. HARTLEY, "A Visitor from Down Under"
R.H. MALDEN, "The Thirteenth Tree"
E. NESBIT, "Man-Size in Marble"
BRAM STOKER, "The Judge's House"
TOM HOOD, "The Shadow of a Shade"
W.W. JACOBS, "The Monkey's Paw,"
WILKIE COLLINS, "The Dream Woman"
M.R. JAMES, "Casting the Runes"


Heart Rendering

University of Guelph has just created an online archive of their Lucy Maud Montgomery collection. I love this picture of her childhood bedroom.

(Lucy Maud Montgomery's old room in grandparents MacNeill's home, ca.1880's. Cavendish, P.E.I.)



Oh look, here's a very sweet blogger calling for a French translation of When You Were Small and Where You Came From.

When You Were Small Doll

My darling son has grown tired of waiting for someone to make a Henry doll to go with my books and has made one of his own.

Here he is in his little thimble hat.


We Are All Born Free

Oh, this is useful - Euan and I were talking just the other day about the Declaration of Human Rights, and now I have a snazzy little slideshow explanation complete with illustrations by John Burningham, Chris Riddell, Polly Dunbar and others, thanks to the Guardian.

Here's the scoop:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed 60 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly. We Are All Born Free is a version for young people, illustrated by stars from the world of children's books, which has been translated into more than 30 languages and is due to be made into a short film. The artwork is on display at Waterstone's Piccadilly until October 31.

The subject of the Declaration of Human Rights came up because we were reading the marker in John Humphrey Lane, which is not too far from our house here in Hampstead, Quebec. Humphrey, who was born in Hampton, New Brunswick, was the author of the Declaration. You can learn more about him here.


A World Less Ordinary

Places I want to visit:
The Incredible Book Eating Boy room created by Jennifer Ward of Minor Details and featured in Cookie Magazine. (Thanks to weheartbooks for the link). You can visit the room if you are in New York this month - check out the schedule and activities here.

Bemelmans Bar in NYC (Thanks to BookLust for the link) which features murals of Central Park painted by Madeline creator Ludwig Bemelmans. According to the hotel site:
Every Saturday, Bemelmans Bar hosts a delightfully playful afternoon and sing-a-long for parents and children alike. Enjoy Madeline's Childrens Buffet, afternoon tea, and an รก la carte menu for adults while listening to songs from the Madeline Song Book with Tina de Varon.

And as long as I'm in the neighborhood, I would really like to stay at The Library Hotel. Don't you think they should offer special rates for writers?



Accidentally gobbled up The Graveyard Book much too quickly and then was very sad when it was over.


The Speaking of Verse

There's a very good piece by Daisy Goodwin in the Times about the value of teaching children to recite verse:

Learning a poem at an early age is an investment for the future. As T S Eliot said, you don’t need to understand a poem to enjoy it.

A seven-year-old might miss every nuance of Kubla Khan or Ozymandias — but, learnt young, the poems will stay in the head for life, adding lustre to the good moments and illumination in the bad. Memorising a poem means you own it.

The BBC is running a competition called Off by Heart which I think we should emulate over here ... CBC can you hear me?

And since I'm talking about poetry, let me take this opportunity to plug Kids Can Press's wonderful Visions in Poetry series.

I badly covet the latest addition to the series, Emily Dickinson's My Letter to the World and Other Poems with illustrations by Isabelle Aresenault.

I see from the Kids Can site that their beautiful Jabberwocky, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch is now up on Lookybook where you can have fine browse through it. You really should go and have a look.

My son learned to recite the poem from this edition, and every time I hear it recited by my very own beamish boy, it makes me chortle in my joy.



Since it's a Wednesday, I would like to announce a new prize.

This prize is called My Favourite Person That I Don't Yet Know. And the winner is Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of two of our household picture book faves: Little Hoot and Little Pea.

I have just been having a browse around on Amy Krouse Rosenthal's fabulous blog. There is so much here to get excited about. But I'll start with:

1. The sounds of motherhood

2. A nodcast

3. A short video narrated by one of her offspring.

Oh look, and there's a contest too:


Submission categories include: Music of all kinds / Bands/ Singer-Songwriters / Videos / Short films / Animation / Paintings / Drawings / Art / Illustration / True stories / Made-up stories / Poems/ Lists / Monologues / Plays / Dance / Inventions / Crafts / Photographs / Cell phone snapshots / Architecture / Design / Culinary creations / Journal pages / Collage / Sand castles / Everything

Please know that we are VERY open to all kinds of uncategorizable creations. As stated in the film,“Whatever it is you’re making, if it’s lovely, send it to us.”

Please submit whatever it is you’re sending via YouTube, email, or other electronic medium for review. If your piece is selected, we’ll ask you to submit the original, hi-res version (e.g. tape, large photograph, hi-res audio file, etc.) so please make sure to keep the originals of whatever you’re sending so we can have access to it if it is selected. Email is missamykr@yahoo.com PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME, AGE, AND COUNTRY. You may also send through standard mail: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, 222 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60601

HUGELY IMPORTANT: You must take a look at this Creative Commons Attribution License. If your creation is chosen, this is the agreement we will refer to. It simply protects YOU and keeps things straight between us, ok?

Don’t worry if your creation/submission isn’t in a visual or film-friendly format. It will be our challenge and joy to find a way to bring it to life on the big screen.

About compensation: As we do not know enough yet about where this project is going, making any sort of monetary offerings or promises seems unwise and premature. This is a big whopping experiment, and we are just going with it. That said, if there is money to be made down the road, we would feel it only right to compensate the contributors in some way as a good faith gesture. For now, what we CAN promise you is this: All contributors will be credited fully and openly (with associated website/contact information when applicable) both in the final movie and on The Beckoning of Lovely website. Contributors would be flown in for the premiere and cast party. We would do everything we can to make this a rewarding, beneficial and super fun experience for you. Bottom line about this “collaboration with the universe”– it is our mission and intention to find the most lovely stuff floating out there, and if you are the creator/maker of it, we want the world to know about it and you.

LASTLY, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE AN “AMBASSADOR OF LOVELY” AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THIS PROJECT, email missamykr@yahoo.com. We’ll happily get you set up in no time.

Oh, yes, I do want to be an Ambassador of Lovely!


Trailer Hitch

My in-house filmmaker has offered to make a book trailer for my new book.

Trolling around for inspiration, we watched the trailer for Me Hungry! by Jeremy Tankard:

But that sort of animation is beyond our collective abilities.

As is this, for The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Hanna:

And then there is this wonderfully bizarre trailer for Little Hoot by Amy Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace and featuring "The Body Part People."

Our search for inspiration continues. Suggestions (and animators) are welcome.

Where You Came From

There's a fun article in The Times in which children explain where babies come from here. I liked this bit: "Mummies have the baby and daddies get to choose the name. There are some differences between boys and girls. Boys have short hair and girls have long hair. Boys are tough and girls are girlie. Boys don't really like princesses. Boys and girls both have nipples. We don't really talk about things like this at school."


Updating the blogroll

Was just browsing a blog called Wagging Tales whose subtitle: Talking animals discussing rhyming books in passive voices cracked me up. I don't think that's actually a subtitle, but what is it?

And there is also a lovely new blog from Laura Miller which talks about her new book The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia and a myriad of other fascinating things including H.P. Lovecraft's hometown. Her site includes a very good list of recommended reading for Narnia fans and an interesting little opinion piece on critics and emotion.

I tend to use the blog reader over at JacketFlap as a way of having a quick browse around and would recommend signing up to anyone who hasn't already done so.

The Boy In the Dress

David Walliams -- Little Britain star and swimmer extraordinaire -- has written a children's book. I think this is brilliant news ... and the title bodes well: The Boy in the Dress. You can read all about it here. Oh and Quentin Blake has done the illustrations ... not too shabby. (Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom for the heads up.)


A bedtime story from Neil

Oh look, over at Mouse Circus you can watch/listen to a chapter a night from Neil Gaiman's new release, The Graveyard Book. The first chapter was uploaded today (October 1st). Get the milk and cookies and tuck yourself in, is my advice.