How To

There is just one problem
with Julie Morstad's  new book
How To
(Simply Read Books).

How to choose a favourite page?
Here are a few sneaky peeks at the book.  For a closer look visit designer Robin Mitchell's page at Behance or visit Julie's own site.  While there you might want to pop by the shop and treat yourself.

I've been working with Julie for the past seven years and she continues to amaze me.  This book is simply beautiful.


Trailer Park: The Dark by Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen

I love this trailer for The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen.

The first time I watched it I was very impressed by the voice talent and then learned at the end that it was Neil Gaiman reading, so that explains that.

Everything works together on this trailer - the reading, the use of children to show the demographic, the fact that it's clearly a beautiful book in terms of both text and illustration, the music, and the brevity.

I've got a board on Pinterest called Trailer Park where I am collecting some of my favourite children's book trailers.  Suggestions more than welcome!


International Women's Day Book Choice: Scribbling Women by Marthe Jocelyn

A Ginger Dot & Wee Henry

Was thinking today of the many things my darling boy has made me in relation to my books.  There has been a Henry doll, a sequel to the first books (written when I was too slow producing one), an audiobook version of WYWS, a pop-up prototype (a gift to Julie Morstad on her last visit to Montreal). 

Now he's producing Scots versions of all three of The Henry Books.  

Here's Whaur Ye Cam Frae and When Ah Was Wee.


When Ye Waur Wee

My son Euan is on March break and has been making the most of all those extra hours in his day.  

His latest project has been to translate my first book When You Were Small into Scots - inspired by the Scots translation of Roald Dahl's The Twits which is quite wonderfully titled The Eejits, as well as a joke Wikipedia page talking "beuks for bairns".  He was wondering what my book would be called and then found a British dialect translation site called Whoohoo and patiently plugged in a good chunk of the text (see below).  That was thrilling enough but now he has made a new cover to go along with it.

An excerpt from When Ye Waur Wee
Every nicht at bedtime Henry an' his faither hae a caw th' crack. it aye begins th' sam way. "Dad," says Henry. "Teel me abit when Ah was wee."
When ye waur wee ye used tae hae a pit ant an' ye woods tak' heem it fur walks oan a leash.

 When ye waur wee we used ye as a chess piece, coz uir chess board was missin' a body ay th' knights an' ye waur th' perfect size. 

When ye waur wee we used tae gie ye baths in th' teapot, an' when ye waur dain we coods jist tip it ower an' poor ye it.

 When ye waur wee we lit ye sleep in a body ay mah baffies. th' left a body. Ye used a fuzzae wash clootie fur a blankit an' a tea poke fur a pillaw.

 When ye waur wee yer maw ance tint ye in th' bottom ay 'er purse. When she foond ye again, ye waur clingin' tois an earrin' she'd tint thee years afair.

When ye waur wee ye wair a thimble fur a hat. 

When ye waur wee ye rode oan th' car's back loch ye waur an emperur an' he was an elephant. 

When ye waur wee ye used a ruler fur a toboggan. 

When ye waur wee we pit ye oan top ay th' christmas cabre insteid ay th' angel. 

When ye waur wee ye cooldnae hauld a spoon sae ye used tae sit oan th' edge ay mah porridge bowl an' dip yer heed in loch a bairn spyug.  


The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup

One of my first-born's favourite books when he was small was Roy MacGregor's The Night They Stole Stanley Cup from The Screech Owls series.  He owned a bunch of other titles too but that's the one I recall.  We had an audiobook version featuring players like Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour reading which was produced by Frontier College and he listened to it semi-religiously.

We went through a period of years where the boy was obsessed with hockey.  Hours and hours of his days were devoted to playing hockey in the parking lot with anyone willing to join in.  He did play one year of ice hockey but since he was a Vancouver boy and hockey and soccer are both winter sports there we asked him to choose one.  He chose soccer.  No more Stanley Cup dreams, it was all about the beautiful game for the next phase of his life.

All this is by way of saying that I was very pleased to see Tundra Books reviving the Screech Owl series and even more pleased that they're letting me give away the first set of six books that are being released this spring - including The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup.  We're giving the books away on Kristen Den Hartog's Blog of Green Gables where I've written a guest post about getting boys reading.  Pop over and leave a comment if you'd like to be entered in the draw.  Meantime, here's a great post by Roy MacGregor on 49th Shelf about writing the Screech Owl books.
I had never written for children, did not read children’s books— had not read many as a child, even, as I much preferred comic books. But Doug Gibson, then publisher of McClelland & Stewart, wanted to talk to me. M&S had heard from librarians and teachers that the reasons boys did not read much was because there were few books out there on subjects that fascinated active boys. He wanted me to consider writing hockey books for kids. 
Mine is just one of a number of kids (both boys and girls) who grew up on these books.  Many of them may have kept on playing hockey and (better still to my way of thinking) many of them may have also kept on reading.  My son did get to have his moment with Stanley Cup after all.  A group of uncles and cousins brought the cup across the bridge from PEI to Nova Scotia via limo a few summers ago after his cousin - just a few year's older than he was - was a member of that year's winning team.  The kids ate their breakfast cereal out of it.  Not a scenario we could have dreamed up all those years ago when he was reading about the thrilling if barely credible adventures of a bunch of Canadian boys.