How To Dress a Bookshop Window

Just look at the window that the fantastic Vancouver Kidsbooks has done for Julie Morstad's new book How To (Simply Read).  

Kidsbooks is one of the things I really miss about Vancouver.  We had some great times at events there when my firstborn was young and they did a beautiful window for When I Was Small.  Kidsbooks is precisely the kind of neighbourhood bookshop we all need and they do a brilliant job of handselling books.  

How To is getting great buzz right now. I think it's the best work Julie Morstad has done (although I am rather partial to her Henry books).   It's simply a beautiful book and once you see it you're going to want one for yourself and one for someone you love.  Trust me.

If you want to leave a comment telling me what you like about Julie Morstad's books I will enter your name to win a copyof How To from Simply Read Books and their Canadian distributor Raincoast books.  

UPDATE:  I've contacted one lucky reader for their address and they will be receiving a copy of How To in their mailbox one day soon.  Thanks all for playing.

How to share the joy.

FURTHER UPDATE:  I have since learned that Kathy Traeger is the name of the artist responsible for the design & dressing of that window.  You can see more of her work here


From A.A. Milne & Christopher Robin to Darth Vader: Picture Books for Father's Day

I've made a board on Pinterest where I am collecting picture book suggestions for father's day.  Some titles: The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Night Cars by Teddy Jam (Matt Cohen), and When You Were Small by my shameless, self-promoting self.  Further suggestions always welcome.  

Here's a recording of  A.A. Milne reading from Winnie-the-Pooh in 1929.  

And here's a beautiful image of father, son and the toy bear named after a real bear named after a soldier's home town of Winnipeg.

Christopher Milne in later life wrote about how he was never terribly happy about having been the model for Christopher Robin.  A cautionary tale for writing parents, I've always thought.

Jeffrey Brown is onto a very good concept with Darth Vader and Son and Vader's Little Princess.  We've only read the first but it was pretty charming.  Here's the book trailer for it.

Finally, a shout out to book blog Read It Daddy and their campaign to get more Dads (and Mums) reading to their small people.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there.  If you are still lucky enough to have a small child about the house do yourself a favour and read them a book today.  


Give a Kid a Classic

Recently I was trying to explain the Cozy Classics concept to someone and they just weren't getting it. I was actually shocked. How can you not love this idea.  Great classics of literature reduced to 12 word board books and illustrated with beautiful needle-felted figures. I wish I'd thought of it! Not that I could needle-felt to save my life.

Holman and Jack Wang are the Vancouver-born brothers behind this fantastic series. I happen to share a publisher with them (Simply Read Books) so I was lucky enough to get an early peek at the the first two books they produced: Moby Dick and Pride and Prejudice. And it was pretty much besottedness at first sight.  They have since added Les Miserables and War and Peace and Jane Eyre and Oliver Twist are in the works.  There's no end to the wonderfulness in store.

Note: You can see Holman talk about the books on Global News here

Now, I'm not a huge proponent of flashcard parenting. I don't think babies need to learn their times tables before they learn to walk and I don't expect them to be able to write an essay about Jane Austen based on a board book. But there is absolutely nothing po-faced or enrichment-flavoured about the Cozy Classics approach. What there is in its place is something as simple as joy.

Reading these books it becomes apparent that you are never going to get all of Moby Dick into twelve words. Surprise! But what you can do is introduce some of the characters and elements of the story. What you can do is make Ishamel and the Pequod part of your child's lexicon and how can that be a bad thing?

Sharing the books you love with your little one is a huge part of parenting and Cozy Classics just shows us that this sharing can take myriad forms.

all images property Cozy Classics

It may seem that I am displaying bias in promoting books published by the same house as publishes my own picture books. But really, what Simply Read Books has always done well is occasionally produce books that are so beautiful that to see them is to want them. I'd just like as many people as possible to see them.

For your further browsing pleasure:

~a good article from Vancouver Sun on the brothers and the books
~more on this blog
~the Cozy Classics website
~Simply Read Books
~Cozy Classics on facebook