Molly’s Magic Pencil Book Club Ideas

     It comes as no surprise that the vivid images composed of rich colors by illustrator, cartoonist, designer, and author Peter Davies engage the emergent reader.  In fact, my three-year-old snatched the book from my hands and proceeded to tell the story in her own words using only the bold pictures as guidance.  With a sprinkle of Harry and the Purple Crayon mixed with a dash of Aladdin’s magic carpet, Davies’ words add a memorable tale with a positive message to Molly’s Magic Pencil.
     The English teacher within could not help but notice the run-on sentence on page one as well as some missing commas throughout.  Distracting for a thirty-something, but ignored by the target audience, three-year somethings.  In addition due to editing, a picture of Grandpa looks as if he is missing part of his left arm, but I assured my toddler that Grandpa was completely intact.
     For book club regardless of weather, definitely incorporate a flying carpet into the storytelling area.  This may be a sheet, rug, or blanket.  Allow the kiddos to take a ride with their minds as they listen to Molly’s Magic Pencil.  Snack may be the creation of a flying carpet using graham crackers, peanut butter or icing, and various colored sprinkles in order to create the carpet of his/her choice.   To conclude “baby” book club, give each book club member a “magic pencil” and paper allowing the creative juices to flow and to review Molly’s Magic Pencil.

Peter Davies

Learn More about YA Author Jan Blazanin

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .
ET—Being a sucker for the underdog, I can’t resist his big, sad eyes. Poor guy. I want to cuddle his slimy-looking little extra terrestrial body and make him feel better.

Describe your first kiss.
I was sixteen. His name was Ron, he had dark brown hair and glasses, and he was a grade behind me in school. Shocking! A group of us were driving around town after a football game. Ron and I were in the backseat. I didn’t hear bells or music, but the kiss was thrilling enough to convince me that I liked kissing. I still do.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . .
THE GIVER—Long before the current wave of dystopian fiction Lois Lowry created a practical, realistic world where horrifying occurrences are commonplace. Her ability to reveal each inhuman event in a matter-of-fact way increased the shock value. And who could not root for Jonas?

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .
Protecting animals from cruelty and preserving the environment because we must.


If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Scarlett O’Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND, with all her spunk and determination but without that ridiculous infatuation over Ashley Wilkes. I’d take Rhett any day.

Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
My worst job was also my first job—detasseling corn at age fourteen. The day began with climbing into an open truck at 5:00 a.m. and riding into the Iowa countryside where twenty other girls and I were dumped at the edge of a monstrous cornfield.
Our mission: To pull the tassels from the tops of six-foot cornstalks. We wore long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid being cut by the corn leaves, and our clothes were soaked with dew within the first 5 minutes. By afternoon, we were drenched with sweat and peeling off whatever we could. All of us were sunburned, stinky, and covered with cuts.
At the time—several decades ago—we were not supposed to talk, sing, or listen to music. We broke all of those rules. The water jug was to be used sparingly. Our bathroom was any finished row. We brought our own lunches and ate sitting on the ground. Some girls quit after the first day. I lasted the whole two weeks, but I never did it again.

A quote that motivates you . . .
Never, never, never quit—Winston Churchill

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
Rockstar by Nickelback—cleverest lyrics ever!

Three Wishes
  1. That malignancy will die and not kill
  2. That kindness and compassion will wipe out cruelty
  3. That people will respect their connection with all living things

Favorite game you played as a child . . .
This is going to make me sound completely crazy, but I narrated my own life. I turned whichever chore I was doing—cleaning my room, raking leaves, helping to paint the house—into a story. Sometimes I’d been kidnapped and forced into labor, or I was in disguise hiding from evildoers. Whenever I wasn’t reading a book I passed the time by narrating my life in third person to an imaginary audience.

Duck! Rabbit! Book Club Ideas

     Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Duck! Rabbit! engages the young reader through simple illustrations and text while teaching them to compare and contrast.  Giggling youngsters will inevitably engage in friendly debate regarding the identity of the main character.
     To further experience this children’s read, access Duck! Rabbit through the Tumblebooks Library where the sound effects are provided much to the emergent reader’s delight.
     For snack, a nice carrot cupcake would please not only the rabbit supporter, but also fulfill the bread-loving needs of a duck.  You may have the kiddos ice the cupcakes with white icing using Popsicle sticks and place the one eyeball on the cupcake using either a raisin, m&m, or chocolate chip.  For the ears/bill, place white-chocolate-covered potato chips into the icing.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Learn More about Children’s Author Peter Davies

A film that brings tears to your eyes – This has got to be the squirrel in the animation film “Ice Age” his antics as he tries to save his acorn had me laughing so much it brought tears to my eyes. Brilliant!
Describe your first kiss – In a romantic context I don’t remember much about it as I had my eyes closed at the time.
Your favorite children’s book and why – “Mr. Ben” by David McKee I read these stories to my son Richard when he was young and then made up adventures along the same theme that we called “The Magic Cupboard” where Richard was the main character which he thoroughly enjoyed.
A cause that is closest to your heart and why – The prevention of cruelty to animals the reasons why are obvious.
If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be? – Agatha Christie’s “Poirot”, I would have loved to experience the genteel life of the 1920’s traveling on the Orient Express, visiting Europe and Africa when the pace of life was slower and you took time to enjoy the pleasures of exploring places before mass tourism was possible and beautiful remote locations were spoilt by the development of ‘resorts’. Add to that the challenge of solving the many mysteries of murder and you have (for me) the sublime lifestyle.
Explain the worst job that you’ve held – Being a “cold call” salesman. You have to have a particularly resilient personality to be able to walk in unannounced and try to sell someone something they don’t really want when your earnings are dependent on commission from sales. I don’t have that sort of personality and so I wasn’t successful.
A quote that motivates you – “Do or do not, there is no try!” (Yoda)
The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island – Anything by Roy Orbison but probably “Pretty Woman”
Three wishes – Health, wealth and happiness takes a lot of beating.
Favorite game played as a child – Hide and Seek I loved the suspense and the challenge of trying to out think the other kids.

Peter Davies

Dead Reckoning Book Review and Book Club Ideas

     Having just completed book 11 in Charlaine Harris’ series, I am filled with a sense of sadness that I have turned the last page and a pang of disappointment that this novel feels more transitional than stand-alone. The main protagonist, Miss Stackhouse, finds herself involved in yet another dilemma- this time concerning the status of her relationship with her beloved, Eric, as well as his future in the vampire kingdom.  Glimpses of well-developed characters in past novels seem only to make cameo appearances leaving the reader with several unanswered questions.  Usually the Dead novels are a one-night read, this time the pull of the novel did not seem to occur until nearly 80% of the pages had been read.  Nevertheless, I will impatiently wait for book 12 in which I am hopeful I will find the answers to which I am looking.
     If choosing this novel for book club, it is worth the attempt to experience the novel as much as possible as a means to not only spark conversation, but also to immerse the reader into the pages.  Thus, without a doubt, to set the ambiance, play Elvis’ “Kentucky Rain,” “In the Ghetto,” and “JailhouseRock.”  Refreshments could include Miss Stackhouse’s cheese straws- crisp with the right amount of spice- salted pecans, Maxine’s punch, a delicious cake from the bakery, and, of course, plenty of V8 disguised in bottles with the True Blood label.

Charlaine Harris

Learn More about Author Annie Fox

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . . Just one?! But I’m so easily moved to tears! OK how about 3: Ghost, Tootsie, Up 

Describe your first kiss
. Two 11 year-olds at the beach. Surprising. Sweet. Fantasy-inducing.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . . 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Such pathos, such empathy in just a few words and some simple line drawings. 
A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . . Bullying. While kids grow, their sense of self is so vulnerable. When they’re targeted by others (at school or at home) the way they think about themselves is altered in unhealthy ways. They can start to assume there’s something “wrong” with them that makes them “deserving of disrespect.” That will undoubtedly erode their self-confidence and hold them back in life. Kids whose aggression is tolerated are also being changed. They assume that threats, manipulation and violence are acceptable ways to behave. That can set them on a path of regrettable choices. And there’s a third group… the largest one playing a part in the dramas that take place daily in schools around the world: the silent bystanders. The Culture of Cruelty changes them as well and they begin believing that they’re powerless in the face of injustice.  That’s no way to help develop a new generation of leaders.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. She brought herself and others out of darkness into the full bloom.

A quote that motivates you . . .
“If you’re not modeling what you teach, you’re teaching something else.” (I don’t know who said it first)

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
“Defying Gravity”  
 Wishes:
To work together to make our own corner of the planet a safer, saner, cleaner, greener more equitable place for everyone.
 
Favorite game you played as a child . . .  Pretending that my bicycle was a horse and riding really fast

Annie Fox

Learn More about Author Susan Stephenson

A film that brings tears to your eyes: The Blind Side.

Describe your first kiss
: I don’t remember my first kiss, but fortunately I can recall the last one in complete sensory detail – sweet and romantic.

Your favorite children’s book, and why
: My favourite children’s book changes day by day. But an old favourite is Enid Blyton’s The FarawayTree. I love the world that Blyton built and how it feeds our imaginations.

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why
: Children’s literacy is of huge importance to me. I love to read, write, create and educate myself. I believe many of the world’s ills could be solved by such education, particularly encouraging parents to read to their kids. And the thought of libraries closing due to lack of funding absolutely appals me.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
I would be Anne in Anne of Green Gables. 

Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
My worst job was being Latrine Officer in a children’s camp. When one of the kids dropped her gold watch into the pit, it was my job to fetch it back for her. I came to fully understand the meaning of trust as I was lowered by my ankles.

A quote that motivates you
:“It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.”  (Barthold Georg Niebuhr)

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island
: “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” – in the hope that such a positive affirmation will help me withstand the solitude!

Three Wishes

   1. For me: I wish, oh how I wish, that I could draw.
   2. For my family and friends: health and happiness.
   3. For the world: an end to greed.

Favorite game you played as a child:
Imaginative games – roleplaying Robin Hood and building cubbies in the bush so we could spy on the Sheriff.

The Book Chook

Learn More about Author Derek Haines

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .
The God’s Must Be Crazy for sure. The final scene with the girl, the table and the continually toppling red and white Tupperware had tears rolling from my eyes. They still get damp at the mere thought of the movie.

Describe your first kiss.
Inaccurately aimed at first, then sort of somewhat damp.

Your favorite children’s book, and why . . .

Noddy by Enid Blyton, because it was banned. It probably did unimaginable harm to me in my formative years. 

A cause that’s closest to your heart, and why . . .
Difficult question for a heartless soul like me. But probably oil. I hate it because it doesn’t just run cars, it starts wars. I’d prefer cars to run on milk or grass clippings. 

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
Zaphod Beeblebrox without a doubt. Anyone who signs the destruction order for Earth because he thinks someone just wants his autograph is someone who really has celebrity coolness. His extra head also offers a lot of advantages on lonely evenings alone. 
Explain the worst job that you’ve held.
Easy. Author. All the rest paid a salary and I didn’t get criticised daily.
A quote that motivates you . . .
When one door closes, there always seems to be another ready to slam in your face.

The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .
“Honky Tonk Woman” by The Rolling Stones. 

Three Wishes
   1.  A red Ferrari.
   2. World peace.
   3. Three more wishes.
Favorite game you played as a child . . .
Mouse Trap without a doubt. The greatest board game ever invented. I really should buy it again!
 


Learn More about Author Rhonda Tibbs

A film that brings tears to your eyes . . .Steel Magnolias

Describe your first kiss.
Quick, a little bit scary, sweet

Your favorite children's book, and why . . .
Harry the Dirty Dog, because I read
it to my son approximately 1,254,999 times

A cause that's closest to your heart, and why . . .Stopping domestic abuse,
because my mother died at the hands of my stepfather.

If you could be a character in any novel, who would you be?
  Beth Thomas,
because she never loses sight of who she is or her core values 

Explain the worst job that you've held.
  Making boxes, midnight shift.

A quote that motivates you . . .
“You did then what you knew how to do, And when
you knew better, You did better.” Maya Angelou


The title of the one song you could take with you to that deserted island . . .

Wow, so many choices! Til I Gain Control Again - Blue Rodeo


Three Wishes

    1.  I wish all my children health and happiness
    2.  No more mistreated, lonely, broken, abandoned, hurting children
    3. I would like for more people to read my book (selfish wish)

Favorite game you played as a child . . .
hopscotch
 
Rhonda Tibbs

Learn More about Author Carol Galusha

My first kiss: seventh grade on the back of a school bus - sooo not romantic :(

Favorite children's book: I loved Pokey the Puppy. I always wanted a dog like him.

Favorite character from a novel: Melanie from Gone With the Wind. She was pure goodness!

Quote that motivates me:
Success is the best revenge. (I consider being happy a great success.)

Three wishes:

1) My children to be happy.
2) For my husband and I to retire together and travel.
3) For people to be kind to one another.

The one song I would want on my iPod if on a deserted island:
can't pick one song for my island living. But I would love to listen to the Eagles while I'm sippin' on my fruity drink!

Also, the book I'd take on the island: To Kill A Mockingbird 
 
Favorite game as a child: I loved playing Chinese checkers. My mom taught me. My siblings and I would put on our pajamas and play a few games before we went to bed. That was many, many years ago, and the thought brings tears to my eyes. 
 
Carol Galusha