Kidsmomo Podcast #29: “Just Beachy”

July 13th, 2010 by

A snobby mermaid, a kooky hotel, breakfast with Mickey Mouse, and special reading goggles — you’ll find them all in our latest podcast, all about beach reads! Plus, Nancy and Karen psychoanalyze each other, according to the world of the Baby-Sitters Club. C’mon, you don’t want to miss that!

      (11:38) 
    Download the MP3 (5.6 MB)

  • A surprise guest at the pool party (and Nancy goes all gaga over a cute guy) — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our beach read recs (The Pink Motel, BSC prequel The Summer Before)
  • A sunny review by YOU (Sand Dollar Summer)

Also, don’t forget: our new theme is globe-trotting adventures! So send us a review of your favorite book about thrilling foreign travel (or an epic journey between countries) and check out our picks for globe-trotting adventures.

— Karen and Nancy

Duck, Duck, Goose (Cats)

June 26th, 2010 by

My sister, Cindy, has had two cats since they were kittens — one named Duck and the other Goose. They are brother and sister so obviously, they have very different personalities. Despite that, they love each other! Here they are giving each other a hug:

Goose is on the left, Duck is on the right.

I like to imagine that when we’re off to human work doing human things, they don’t just lie about sleeping. They are like Chester Cat from Bunnicula — they have intelligent conversations and read excellent literature.

Goose is the older brother, and although he’s very much a cat, I’ve always thought he acts like a dog — he’ll even beg for table scraps! Here he is, ready to pounce on some hamburgers we’ve cooked up:

His love for food is so great that it has overcome his modesty and belly. Long ago when Goose was a kitten, he was quite the active “sports kitten.” He would relentlessly chase laser lights and play with balls of twine. Now… well, check out this recent photo of him:

As he’s become accustomed to the cushy lifestyle Cindy has provided for him, he’s less of a “sports cat” and more of a sports fan — a sports fan who particularly enjoys snacking while watching the game. Which is why I know he’d love these two books from our food books theme and sports books theme, respectively: The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling and Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica:

But Goose isn’t just a meathead cat with sleep and food on his mind. He’s also a proud and sensitive soul — here he is, defending his home from the neighborhood bully:

Which is why I know he’d also enjoy Crash by Jerry Spinelli, all about Crash Coogan, a smug jock and bully who changes for the better.

When that mean neighborhood cat sneaked into our home, it upset Duck, Goose’s little sister, to no end. She’s always been a little skittish, and whenever someone new enters a room, she’ll run and hide:

When the humans aren’t home, I think Duck is spending all her time looking into conspiracy theories. I think she believes she’s a human, her brother thinks he’s a dog, and she’s spent her lifetime trying to figure it all out. So a book she would have read over and over would be The Doom Machine by Mark Teague:

But despite her… erm, unique theories, she’s still just a nerdy, shy, nervous kitten at heart — so someday she should pick up Ann M. Martin’s Mary Anne Saves the Day (BSC #4) and Libby on Wednesday by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

These two books are all about two shy, smart, sensitive girls who eventually come out of their shells.

Perhaps one day I’ll go visit Duck and Goose and catch them with their reading glasses near the fireplace, curled up next to a good book, right before bed:

A rare moment where Duck doesn't run away. But she doesn't like having her photo taken, either!

Based on what I’ve told you about Duck and Goose, my eccentric feline nephew and niece, what books would you recommend to them?

— Nancy

Nancy spends quite a lot of time giving personalities to animate animals and inanimate objects. She loves to eat, sleep, and is a little bit skittish herself, too.

More about Nancy »

Breaking Book News: BSC Prequel and Reissues

January 5th, 2010 by

The upcoming BSC prequel -- out in April!

The upcoming BSC prequel -- out in April 2010!

Recently, it was announced that a new Baby-Sitters Club prequel is in the works. My response: throw hands up in the air, do a little happy dance, get kind of dizzy, sit down.

I do happen to work at Scholastic, which is the company that publishes the BSC books. But my joy at this news has nothing to do with that. I’m not involved in the editing or publishing of the books at all. But I kind of wish I were, because as a kid, I was absolutely devoted to Ann M. Martin’s series about a group of middle school friends who start their own baby-sitting business. I’d order a new installment every month through those book club fliers that come to your school. And when we stopped getting those fliers, I systematically went through every BSC book in my local library — and my best friend’s collection.

My BFF and I weren’t the only two girls who enjoyed escaping into the series. As you can see from her zombiefication of the books, Nancy was also a huge fan. Basically every female who’s around our age (which is to say, ancient) has fond memories of the BSC books.

The old version of BSC Book #1. Like, really old. Like, from when Nancy and I were kids. Seriously.

The old version of BSC Book #1. Like, really old. Like, from when Nancy and I were kids. Seriously.

And I know they’re still somewhat popular today, although Scholastic stopped printing new copies a long time ago. That’s why in addition to the new prequel, Scholastic will also be reissuing the first five books in the series — so that they’re more easily accessible again.

At the same time, they’re also making some small changes to update the setting from the 1980s to today, like saying “headphones” instead of “cassette player” and “expensive hairstyle” instead of “perm.” Do you guys even know what a cassette player is? That actually brings up an interesting question — well, interesting to me anyway, and I’m the one writing this, so too bad for you:

As the target audience for the reissued books, how do you feel about these kinds of changes? Do you think they’re necessary? Is it harder for you to get into a book if it seems like the technology and fashions are outdated? Or does it not matter to your enjoyment of the story? Leave me a comment with your take on this issue. I’m really curious to hear your opinion!

And if you’re already a fan of the series, leave a comment telling me your favorite baby-sitter and/or your favorite book. (In case you were wondering, mine are Stacey and Book #13: Good-bye Stacey, Goodbye.)

And, of course, keep an eye out for the BSC prequel and the first two reissued books in April!

— Karen

NOTE: Nancy and I both work at Scholastic, but all the information for this blog post came from a recent New York Times article. Well, and from my childhood recollections — obviously not as reputable of a source as The Times

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