7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #120: Featuring John Burningham
and Malcolm the Cat

h1 June 21st, 2009 by Eisha and Jules


(Click to enlarge.)

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

And Happy Father’s Day to all our papa-readers out there!

I tried hard—I really did—to get some Father’s-Day-related illustrations today. (If the publisher pulls through and sends me the spreads I had in mind, how about I post ‘em at a later date?) So, I may not have some art in honor of the papas of the world, but I do have Malcolm, the cat who wears fancy clothes and a hat-with-a-plume and attends secret cat parties at night in which the Queen of the Cats appears. And who sprung from the mind of John Burningham. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my deep and abiding love for John’s books and illustrations rivals only my love for Sendak’s for the Number One spot in the category of Best Picture Book Creators Ever.

It’s a Secret! is John’s newest title, released by Candlewick this month. One of Burningham’s appeals, in my book, is the terrifically spot-on child-like dialogue in his titles. And it’s more than just dialogue. It’s the way he gets so easily into a child’s way of thinking. Clearly, he is on their side. For instance, in this one, when a young girl named Marie Elaine starts to wonder where cats go at night and then has her opportunity one night to find out when she spots Malcolm, her cat, dressed to the nines and on his way out the door, she doesn’t even blink. She begs to join him, and when he tells her that, well, she’ll have to get dressed up, she does so. And then when he tells her “but you’ll have to get small,” she does so (as you can see in the opening spread above). “Marie Elaine got small, and they went out of the house through the cat door.” And that’s that. No explanation needed for a wee child, thanks very much. What matters is that she got out and gets to see, indeed, what her cat does all night. And the art is signature Burningham — the bold lines, the seemingly quick sketches alternating with the textured, sprawling spreads, and the use of color to excellent effect.

Best of all? Burningham never, ever talks down to children. There is both joy and sorrow, side-by-side, in his titles: Ever read Granpa? Whew.


(Click to enlarge.)

As for the above image (look at those colors! Holy saturation!), there’s always a spread in a Burningham book, usually involving feasts, which I wish were available as a print that I could hang on my wall. (I wish I could hang this—someone else online has posted it—from the fabulous Mr. Gumpy’s Outing in my kitchen.) In this new book, there are some wonderful night-time party spreads (including, OF COURSE, a delicious midnight feast). It’s a cat party, you see, and yes, the Queen shows, but I won’t say anymore, in case you want to read yourselves.

[Time interlude. Had to pick myself up off the floor.] You know, I’ve read a bit here and a bit there about a John Burningham collection of sorts that is supposed to be released soon. I just did a search and found this. Be still, my heart. A foreword by Sendak? “Copious notes” from Burningham himself? A signed book plate? ON SALE IN AUGUST? I. must. find. out. more. And start saving.

{IT’S A SECRET! Copyright © 2009 by John Burningham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, on behalf of Walker Books, London.}

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

Hey, Happy Father’s Day to all the good dads out there!

1* Okay, well, that news about the John Burningham book is pretty awesome.

2* I finally saw the new Star Trek movie. OMG, you guys. KICK. ASS. The casting is brilliant, the special effects are amazing, and I loved the way they incorporated elements from the classic series but still made something that feels modern and edgy and new.

Blackbringer3* And I saw it with a few friends from work, and then we grabbed significant others and went out for a yummy dinner. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy Saturday.

4* I’m rereading Laini Taylor’s Blackbringer in preparation for reading Silksinger. Dang, I’d almost forgotten what a fun, inventive, edge-of-your-seat story it is.

5* When my mom and sister were in town, we went to the Corning Museum of Glass, since I had such a good time there when my mother-in-law was visiting. This time, I got to make a glass pendant in the glassmaking workshop. I’ve worn it out a couple of times, and keep getting compliments on it. I’m not exactly crafty, so it’s quite a rush to be able to say, “Oh, this old thing? Yeah, um, I made it.” Here’s my sister making hers:

My sister, making her pendant.

6* All this recent entertaining has led me to take a long, hard look at our bed sheet situation. I realized that 1.) I don’t remember the last time we bought any new ones; 2.) we seem to have misplaced one of our better sets in the last move; and 3.) the ones we have left are looking sorta pitiful, plus they clash with our newish bedspread. So after some serious hunting, I bought these delicious new sheets on sale. They’re like, I dunno, 6000-gazillion thread-count or something – certainly the nicest sheets I’ve ever had, and they’re a great shade of dark gray (sounds boring, I’m sure, but gray is truly one of my favorite colors). I love them, even though they don’t make it any easier for me to get out of bed in the mornings.

7* This past week was one of the more challenging ones I’ve had at work. Most of the department was out of town for a rare book conference, and for some reason a whole mess of new researchers picked this week to come in, plus we acquired two new collections of personal papers, plus the digital reproduction unit finally got some broken equipment replaced and started churning out our backlog of repro orders, etc. etc., so we were crazy busy and crazy understaffed at the same time. But you know… I honestly kind of like that sort of week once in a while. Keeps things interesting, you know? And everyone was great about pitching in and doing more than their usual share. But HOO-BOY, am I glad it’s over.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

Well, the news about the Burningham collection being available soon is now a major kick for me, but I decided earlier to kick it with The Basics this Sunday, with the things for which you can always assume I’m grateful — but perhaps never say enough. I’m grateful my girls are healthy and happy, I’m grateful my husband and I have jobs and can do things like pay the mortgage and have a bit of fun, and I’m grateful for him. He teases me sometimes that he doesn’t show up in my kicks enough, and I told him one day I’d do kicks 1-7 as “Blaine, Blaine, Blaine…”

So, Happy Father’s Day to someone my girls are extremely lucky to have as a dad. Here are my kicks this week:

1). Blaine
2). Blaine
3). Blaine
4). Blaine
5). Blaine
6). Blaine
7). Blaine



(The wee one’s got the right idea by snackin’, huh?)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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48 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #120: Featuring John Burningham
and Malcolm the Cat”

  1. Clearly, she’s able to become smaller readily due to multiple readings of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    Who wouldn’t want to follow a cat, especially if he’s all dressed up?

    eisha: Sounds like you had a great weekend filled with family and friends! :)
    Your sixth kick caused me to sing Sheets of Egyptian Cotton from Uptown Girls. Na na na na na na na na…
    Congrats on making it through your challenging work week. Breathe. Breathe.

    Jules: That’s sweet.

    My kicks:
    1) Rehearsal
    2) Performance
    3) Updates
    4) Persistence
    5) Theatre (Free tickets = better still!)
    6) Good books
    7) The future


  2. Oh, I wanna be small like Marie Elaine! It’s a Secret looks so good, and the new book coming out in August has me hyperventilating!

    Glad you got through a tough week, Eisha, and feel good about everything that was accomplished. Would love to see a picture of the necklace you made :)!

    Kicks:

    1. Blaine with the girls. We know what a good father and person he is by all the things you say, Jules, and I love seeing him as your kicks 1-7! I especially like hearing about all the delicious things he bakes or cooks. :)

    2. Len’s nephew and wife are visiting from NH this weekend, and we are enjoying their company. They told us a secret yesterday about a special arrival in January, but I’m not supposed to tell anyone. Sshhh!

    3. Dinner at our favorite restaurant last night. Our server was very interesting — a cross between Edith Piaf and Velma Kelly from Chicago, only in miniature form.

    4. Our baby birds have fledged! We miss them, but happy they are now having new adventures in our woods.

    5. My Dad! Happy and grateful that he’s still with us, at age 94.

    6. Got a new TV for our bedroom. We had the old one forever, 30+ years, but it was analog. Now we need to get a new antenna.

    7. Snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip pecan, and chocolate chocolate chip cookies. We’re allowed to have extra treats when we have houseguests. :)

    Extra kick: The amazing feast of an interview with Pamela Z. (a visual extravaganza), and Andrea’s comment last Sunday. Just two more reminders of the continuing awesomeness of this blog, and how much it means to the kidlit world!

    Happy Father’s Day to all the papa types out there!


  3. I read Mr. Gumpy’s Outing with some regularity at storytime, and whenever I do, I now always think of one kid who some years ago said in all seriousness at the end, while all the other kids were smiling happily, “I don’t get it.”

    Love Burningham. Love kids. Love storytime.

    Eisha, I’m having a sheet-like realization about my towels. I can see through most of them now. That’s not good. Huzzah on a little luxury.

    Also, I have GOT to get back to the Corning Museum. Tammy and I keep talking about taking the boys, but then there’s that whole part where you have to be organized and find time and everything.

    Jules, I agree with Little Willow, that’s sweet.

    My kicks:
    1. A coworker sent me this earlier this week after I was making fun of his plain ol’ Bic pen: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3QR3AC2WXWHIT. Tee hee.
    2. The EarlyWord blog had a giveaway for ARCs of David Small’s forthcoming Stitches, and I got one. What a story, what a book. I read it in one sitting.
    3. I’m also almost done with Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Every week should involve reading books as good as these two are.
    4. I had dinner with my mother-in-law and stepfather-in-law earlier this week. I see my father-in-law all the time, but I see the others less frequently, as they live most of the year in Arizona. I’m grateful to still have a relationship with all of them, and I’m grateful to see that they’ve all healed as much as they have after my husband died.
    5. I ran a TON of errands this week. I hate errands, so I felt very accomplished and proud of myself.
    6. Last night, I had friends over for game night, and it was so fun. They brought their kids (including a nine month old baby–cute, cute, cute!) , and we had pizza and I made a nice salad and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (SO RIGHT about the extra cookies being just fine when you have houseguests rule, Jama).
    7. Today, I am spending the day with my BFF and lots of strawberries–drying strawberries, freezing strawberries, and making strawberry jam. Mmmmmm, love strawberries.


  4. Love Burminghan. Really must introduce his books to kids next year. Cool that a new one is coming out.
    Eisha, I am thinking the same about our bedding and our guest bedding.
    Jules, those photos are too darn cute.
    LW, what did you see?
    Jama, Hug your dad extra, how lucky you are to still have him around.
    Adrienne, strawberries,yum!
    My kicks:

    1.School’s out.
    2. Listening to Linda Zukerman yesterday about developing characters in writing.
    3. My daughter’s reaction when getting my digital camera. (I upgraded).
    4.My writing group metting.
    5. Revised 5 poems this week.
    6. Garden planted. (20+ tomatoes, some Jerses tomatoes in Oregon soil…Jersegons)
    7. Packing of Disneyland this week.
    Have a great week.


  5. Go, Leslie! Eisha, I wanna see Star Trek! I wanna see Star Trek! My mother-in-law is taking care of her ailing boyfriend, and I wish him the very best. But she’s our usual babysitter. It’s harder to get dates now.

    And I’m with Jama: I wanna see that necklace.

    Little Willow, here’s to free theatre tickets.

    Jama, aw, thanks for kick #1 and the extra kick. Enjoy your company, and congrats on their secret good news. My girls looooove snickerdoodles, and I like to say snickerdoodles. Did you all get a snazzy new t.v. — like one of those science-fictiony-looking ones that looks very flat on the wall? These have a name, I know.

    Adrienne, that is a very funny ode to a Bic pen. Did your co-worker see the comment under his from one Mr. Benjamin P. Greenwood? Even more uses for the pen!…I want to have a game night. I miss Pictionary. So glad you got to see your in-laws. And I’m going to go request The Hunger Games at my library’s home online AS SOON AS I stop typing, ’cause I’ve just got to read that already.


  6. Jone, congrats on school being out! (We were typing at the same time, I suppose.) Are you taking the grandchildren to Disneyland?


  7. One family is going with us…There will be 4 adults, and 4 kids: 18, 14, 11, and 4.5. should be a blast.
    Eisha, forgot to mention I am almost through Silksinger. Love it.


  8. Hello all! Here are my kicks, which will cover a couple of weeks:
    1. I had last Sunday to recover from what had been a very social weekend, with outings Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night.
    2. At the Saturday night event (a party/meeting), I was elected an at large member of the board of the Durham Savoyards, one of only two theatre groups with which I’m currently active.
    3. I went to Target on Monday and discovered that Frito-Lay offers a “Smart Pack” giant bag which contains 20 small bags of baked snacks. It’s hard to find snacks that are both easy and safe for my sensitive tummy, so this was a big happy.
    4. On Tuesday I flew to Cincinnati where I got to spend the evening with my family, including my dad, who left for Boulder on Wednesday.
    5. On Wednesday I spent the day with my mom and brother, and had another food-related glee when I discovered oatmeal in tiny packets sweetened only with evaporated cane juice and maple sugar. (Unfortunately it was meijer store brand, and we have no meijer here at home.)
    6. On Thursday my mom fitted me for my wedding dress, which she is making. My top and my bottom and my front and my back are all different sizes, so if clothes are going to be stunning on me they have to be so fitted as to approach being haute couture. The pattern I’d bought for the dress required a few alterations, which my mom expertly made in some muslin to make a second, properly fitted pattern to use before she started cutting the satin she’ll use to make the dress.
    7. On Friday, my sister called and asked me to dinner because she didn’t want to go home to her empty house yet.

    Here’s to a new week full of shiny new kicks for all!


  9. New ideas for our summer story time in Dohertyville (and the TBR pile). Think I need to “go to Burningham” for some summer reading.

    Jules – The snaps of Blaine and the girls trumps artwork any day! Maybe Santa will surprise you with the book.

    Eisha – I second the vote for a pendant pic! Hope this week is a little smoother.

    Congrats Jone on the start of summer & Disneyland with the family! Yum Adrienne – making strawberry jam was always a big deal in our house!

    1. Opening my email on Monday morning to find this note from Jules about last week’s Kicks.

    2. Watching Catherine and some girls play “secret spy” in the dark. [I didn't know spies giggled so much.]

    3. Being the audience while Dad and Catherine dance to Cheetah girls.

    4. Getting the spectacular news that a friend’s chemo has gone SUPERB! and she’s out of the woods.

    5. Roses, honeysuckle, and clematis all in bloom.

    6. A doe and just-walking fawn foraging in the yard.

    7. The sun … after a week of rain!

    Woots! all ’round for Father’s Day …


  10. Happy Father’s Day, all you dads out there. Love your kicks, Jules. Eisha, enjoy your Blackbringer re-read. Inventive is exactly the word. LW, love your kick #7. Adrienne, WORD about every week should bring such great books to read. My kicks:

    1. Yesterday I cleaned up my to be read shelves, sorting through some 70+ picture books, plus organizing various MG/YA titles, (some read, some to be reviewed, some unrequested, not-for-me titles that are going straight to the library). The children’s dept. at the library is going to be pretty pleased to look through my four boxes this week.
    2. Made chocolate-chip brownies yesterday – one of my few specialties. Wish I could share with you all.
    3. We had a relatively new friend over for dinner last night, and had a nice time getting to know her better. It was even warm enough (with sweatshirts) to eat outside.
    4. I finally read The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas. Very fun!
    5. I finally joined twitter (@JensBookPage). I’m still a little overwhelmed, but I think it’s going to be a good resource for finding and sharing reading news. And I’m very grateful for the warm welcome that I received from my friends there. It’s always nice to feel wanted.
    6. I re-read one of my favorite all-time books this week (despite the size of the TBR stack) – The Stand by Stephen King. I was kind of racing through it, and then I made myself stop and slow down – saying “reading is a journey, not a race”.[Actually, these kicks do that for me, too, force me to slow down and reflect, on a Sunday morning. Thanks, J&E!]
    7. Just found what we think is the coolest present ever for our godson’s first birthday.

    Wishing you all a restful Sunday!


  11. jama: The description of that server cracks me up! Hello, baby birds. I picture them encircling Snow White.

    adrienne: That pen review is hilarious. Enjoy your strawberry fields forever – or at least all day today. Strawberries are my favorite type of berries. RE: “I don’t get it.” – love it.

    Jone: The Little Foxes. Kudos on your poetry, revisions, and planting.

    jules: Muchly!

    Kiba: Huzzah and lots of (hugs) for your busy, busy week! I’m so glad that you got to visit with them. Your dress is going to be beautiful. Yay for good-for-you foodstuffs.

    Terry: Have they read the original Cheetah Girls books? Say hi to Bambi and company for me.

    Now: Watching An American in Paris.
    Soon: Rehearsal for the lovely play!
    This evening: Audition for another play!


  12. Happy Kicksday, everybody!

    The people which John Burningham draws suggest Jules Pfeiffer to me, a little, and that’s by NO means meant as anything but a compliment. [Aside: not sure I've ever written a sentence before containing the phrase "means meant."] I’m nowhere near as familiar with him as y’all are, big surprise, but like you, Jules, I *loved* that big spread of the people and animals sitting down for a meal together!

    (Also, the “get small” line reminded me of this Steve Martin routine (SNL season 2 monologue). So right off the bat I was grinning.)

    Great kicks, Jules — all seven of ‘em.

    Eisha: Your bedsheet issue is familiar to me us. The Missus was so happy with the pale-blue sheets I brought to the relationship, so to speak, because they were so soooooffft. Imagine her disappointment when she realized that was just because they were old and many-times-laundered. (Note careful failure to mention frequency of laundering.)

    Little Willow: your kicks 4 and 7 dovetail nicely. We see fine things for you at every horizon.

    Jama (and Jules): another snickerdoodle fan here. My mother used to make them at Christmas together with another cookie called Jam Strip Cheesers (sort of a shortbread, with a narrow layer of pastry-type cheese on top of the cookie proper and different varieties of jam running the length of the cheese strip). Saying “snickerdoodles” and “Jam Strip Cheesers” in the same sentence is way fun.

    adrienne: What a hoot of a Bic review!

    I missed kicking last week because we were out of town, so my seven today will in part be more than 7 days old.

    [I'm seriously annoyed with the I.T. department at work, which opted this week to block from access apparently ALL blogs -- and thus prevent me from doing much here during the week. (How dare they require 100% productivity!) But I'm focusing on the kicks, focusing on the kicks, focusing,...]

    1. New Orleans. Especially crawfish boils (my first!), this restaurant, and this bar.

    2. A birthday present from The Missus: a book called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. A *fabulous* book for movie freaks. Although, yes, as a birthday present for someone approaching 60 the title does sorta lean in two directions, if you know what I mean.

    3. Joined the “smartphone” revolution this week. Still not 100% convinced about it, y’know. But the Web browser DOES let me get to blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. anytime I want, so… *cough*

    4. Twin Peaks, still, the marathon ongoing. (Four episodes left to watch.)

    5. Not really New Orleans-related per se, but almost got whiplash on way back when I saw this from I-10. I love castles. Especially unexpected ones.

    [Hey, I bet all these links are going to relegate this comment to spam, aren't they???]

    6. Unanswered curiosity-geek question of the week: When you heat water in a “whistling teakettle,” just before it starts to whistle the bubbling water goes eerily silent for a moment. Is there a name for this silence? What’s going on inside the kettle at just that moment?

    7. Hunting for a good title for the work-in-progress is very frustrating but also strangely… umm… pacifying? absorbing? Whatever. The air around me is probably just saturated with alpha brain waves when I’m doing it.

    *Bonus: Oh man, yeah, absolutely: Andrea’s comment on last week’s 7 Kicks post!


  13. P.S. Jules, dang it, I screwed up that last link — and I thought I was being so careful! Please close the link n the second line of Kick #5, and sorry for the confusion and extra work!


  14. Wow, that John Burningham collection sounds beautiful. I want it too!

    Eisha: Star Trek! Star Trek! Star Trek! That movie is so good. I wanna watch it again.

    Jules: You haven’t watched Star Trek yet?! You haven’t read Hunger Games yet? Hahaha. Actually, I haven’t read Hunger Games either. I want to read Battle Royale first so that I can see any similarities between the two.

    I love all your kicks this week, Jules. :o) *heart*

    Jama: Why is it that I can always tell it’s your kicks just from the first sentence???

    My kicks:

    1. A nice company team building session last Sunday. I got to know more of my coworkers!

    2. Going out Friday night for dinner and drinks with a couple of girl friends / coworkers.

    3. Wong Fu Productions (http://wongfuproductions.com).

    4. There’s a new sky garden here in Metro Manila. A lovely garden path, amphitheater, and lots of nice eating places all suspended over a major street. And best of all, I got to explore it with my dad and my youngest brother Brian.

    5. Time with Brian and my other brother JP. :o)

    6. My dad. And just when I think that I can’t possibly love him any more, he starts talking about starting a children’s publishing company with me! (There are only two here in the Philippines so far.)

    7. Watching episodes of Heroes season three. :o)

    Happy Father’s Day! And I’m with Kimberly, here’s to a new week of kicks!


  15. Eeee! LW, love the idea of our little birds circling Snow White (or Cinderella). And I forgot to mention our server wore glasses very low on her nose and had slick curls pasted against the side of her face. Quel dramatique!

    Tarie, that sky garden sounds wonderful! And to be able to enjoy it with your dad and brother. Faboo!

    Jules, our TV isn’t too fancy, but is a flat panel/flat screen (not a wall mount).

    Jen, even with all the treats we have here, I’d still love some of your brownies.


  16. Wow, lots of lists up already! Maybe the longest day is inspiring everyone.

    Eisha, it sounds like you’re onto a winner of a guest entertainment feature with that glass making. I need to find something like that around here so that it’s not just the standard Cambridge tour! And I like madly busy weeks occasionally too.

    Jules, your list is very sweet!

    I love strawberry season too, Adrienne, but don’t think I’ve ever had dried strawberries before.

    Kimberly, how lucky are you that your mum can make your wedding dress for you?!

    1. One of my friends has happily announced she is pregnant. Very exciting! Also convenient as it was getting harder to not stare at her tummy and wonder if she was just putting on weight in one spot or whether it was indeed a baby.
    2. We had friends over for cocktails last night. Great conversation & yummy food and cocktails
    3. Leftovers today include homemade quiche (friend), chocolate & cheesecake brownies (me) and fruit salad (British famers).
    4. I reorganised the bookshelves and despite realising I have been completely in denial over the need for more shelf space (I kept thinking that of course there would be enough space once the DVDs were shifted out of the way) I am loving having a better idea of where my books are on the shelf now. And playing with books for an evening is always fun.
    5. I went to Brussels by train for work this week, and got to meet colleagues from all over Europe, which was cool.
    6. I forgot to say, I got to see a nightjar up clsoe recently. It was great to have a chance to see this normally well-hidden bird.
    7. I made an effort to ride to work more often this week (to help celebrate ride to work week) and really enjoyed myself. For other lovers of cycling I recently posted a great quote on the introduction of bicycles on my blog.


  17. Jules–I love the pictures of “Daddy” with his little darlings. I hope Blaine has a Happy Father’s Day!

    Eisha–I’m fascinated by glass blowing. When my husband and I were up in the Stowe, Vermont area vacationing a couple of summers ago, we visited the workshops/studios of two different glass artists. It was so interesting watching the glassblowers make vases and pitchers and Christmas ornaments. It must have been fun making your own pendant!

    Well, we’ve had rain for nearly an entire week. I’d like to see the sun! We were supposed to celebrate Father’s Day with my daughter and her fiance–and with Peking duck and sushi. Unfortunately, my daughter came down with a stomach bug this morning. We’ll just have to postpone our celebration till next Sunday.

    I did have one kick this week: A children’s poet and anthologist from the UK contacted me a few days ago. He wants to include one of my humorous poems in an anthology he is compiling. The book is scheduled for publication in 2010.


  18. Jone, safe travels and have fun!

    Kimberly, that is very special that your mama is making your dress. And congrats on your new board position at the theatre. I know you’ve spoken fondly of them before here at the kicks, so that is a fabulous thing.

    Terry, great news for your friend. It seems that people I know and love are getting bad news about cancer—for themselves or people they love—every time I turn around, so it’s excellent to read that good news. And mmmm. Honeysuckle. And I love to spot deer. I never really do here. I want to spend a week at Jama’s house, where she sees them a lot.

    Jen, so nice to read that in kick #6. Kicks not only make me slow down, too, but I find myself jotting down kicks during the week. An exercise in gratitude and mindfulness — but also, I admit, ’cause I’m absent-minded. And have Mommy Brain Sieve.

    And do tell (if you can): What’s the gift for the godson? I bet it’s a book. And I think I’ve already said this, but I’d like to read The Stand. It’d make my husband happy, too.

    Little Willow, yeah, that story from Adrienne about the child saying he didn’t get it was pretty funny. When I write about picture books at the blog, I try (but oftentimes forget) to not write things like: “Children will respond in so-and-so manner…” or “children will love so-and-so…” ‘Cause: To each his own.

    As always, break a leg at your audition tonight.

    John, I think I fixed all your kicks-snafus. Hope so. Very funny link to the Steve Martin monologue. Haven’t seen that.

    And, hey, did you know middle Tennessee has a castle? As you’ll read, it’s the centerpiece of the TN Renaissance Festival. What’s wild is that now there’s a relatively new highway running right next to it. Not as secluded anymore as the builder would probably like, and it’s wild to see it as you’re driving on a majorly busy, boring highway.

    As for #6: I have no clue, but I hope you find the answer. Please do report back, if you do. …I think I’d love a copy of your movie guide, too. I have the equivalent — but about books. Which might sound kinda lame for someone with a book blog, but when it comes to books written for adults, I need guidance. And feel like I missed out on too many lit classes, being a “foreign” language major and all that (“foreign,” for lack of a better word. ASL is a full-fledged language, but I guess it’s not really “foreign”). It’s ’cause of this book that I read Paul Auster finally, which you and I have discussed before.

    So glad you all enjoyed New Orleans! I’ve never been and would like to fix that one day.

    TARIE! Okay, so I’m excited about kick #6 and had to make it in big font. I think your dad is on to something. Are you going to explore the idea? Hope so. Hope so. …So glad you got to see your family.

    I’ve never heard the phrase “sky garden” before? Am I being dense, or is this something I just haven’t seen?

    Emmaco, our house = too many books, too many DVDs, too many CDs, and not enough space. It’s a perpetual problem, and I feel like I’m constantly weeding books, too (donating review copies, in particular, to the library, as Jen does). I’d like an entertainment room with lots of shelving, but that’s not going to happen in this tiny house. Glad you made some progress with all your books.

    What I Learned From Emmaco This Week: Nightjars. I love this: “They have an almost supernatural reputation with their silent flight and their mythical ability to steal milk from goats.” Someone needs to write a story about a nightjar, methinks.

    Good bike quote. Does your bike have a bell so that you can do your “light ting, ting“?

    Elaine, CONGRATS! That is fabulous news about the anthology! Sorry about your cancelled Father’s Day meal, but I hope you all enjoy yourselves next week — and that your daughter feels better soon.


  19. I love it that you’ve devoted your kicks to Blaine today. My niece, Emily, says that dads are the “super glue” of families.

    Obviously with Emily entering hospice care, it’s been a rough week. But not without kicks. A whole bunch of Girl Scouts showed up to welcome her home from the hospital by lining her driveway and porch with luminaria, each with a personal message for her. Is that not beautiful?

    I’m also grateful for my family who were able to come this week for my son’s graduation from high school. We toasted and embarrassed and celebrated him and it was fabulous. Plus, my sister and I had a rare day together to visit an art museum and go shopping.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog and left messages of support for Emily and her family. It truly helps—both me and them. Thank you with all my heart.


  20. Okay, Sara, those Girl Scouts? Truly beautiful. I mean, ineffably beautiful.

    I kinda can’t get you and your family out of mind, and I continue to send good thoughts your way. And big, big hugs.

    And happy graduation to your son!


  21. Jules, not only are there only two children’s publishing houses in the Philippines – those two only publish picture books. There is a need for a house that will publish middle grade and teen fiction. It is definitely an idea worth exploring. Heck, if we don’t do it, somebody better do it!!!

    I had never heard of sky gardens before either. When I googled the term I got something on rooftop gardens. But the one here is not a rooftop garden, it’s a floating green ribbon with a waterfall. *grin*


  22. Jen: Thank you in advance for donating all of those books to your library! Yay!

    JES: Thank you. It’s an anticipatory silence as the kettle is considering its next move.

    Tarie: The sky garden sounds lovely. I wish you both well in your publishing company endeavors, should you choose to pursue it!

    jama: *vocalizing a la Snow White* Ah-hah-ah-hah-aaaah! Can you hear me from there?

    emmaco: Congrats to your friend’s family. Hello to the nightjar. (The birds outside of my domicile are chirping as I type this.)

    Elaine: Congratulations on the future publication! :) Stay dry! I hope she feels better soon. May next week’s celebration be joyous.

    jules: To each his or her own: Very much so. Thank you! I’m looking forward to tonight’s audition and hope I get a part.

    I WANT A CASTLE!

    Jules and emmaco: Clearly, nightjars = chupacabras.

    Sara: Much love and strength to Emily, and to your entire family – and that includes her friends. I’m sending the best and brightest thoughts in Emily’s direction.


  23. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Blaine looks like David Boreanaz with a beard. :)

    We had a lovely week in Santa Fe. We saw a double-rainbow, got to enjoy the beautiful high desert landscape and relax. I loved sitting under the aspen tree in my mom’s back yard.

    –Farida


  24. emmaco I know I’m very fortunate to have a talented seamstress for a mother. She made my junior marshall dress, my senior prom dress, my graduation dress, and my wedding dress (as well as many other dresses and costumes through the years). AND she taught me by example how to make very fitted garments on the few occasions when I sew myself.


  25. Little Willow, I had never heard of chupacabras before. I think my nightjar is a cute version.

    Jules my bike does have a bell but I feel a bit rude ringing it, as though I’m saying “get out of my way!”. Instead people tend to hear me squawk as I nearly fall off my bike/run them over as I misjudge the distance needed for stopping. Sigh. Maybe Flora’s quote will encourage me to see the bell as a cheerier hello, and use it more! I have to admit, I can be a wee bit anti-social on my walks to work so I can see why Flora liked her bike!


  26. As I type this, my sister’s four gorgeous and LOUD children (18, 16, 14 and 8) are visiting at 10pm. If they wake up Cy and Ruby, I might have to eat them, but only because they are so scrumptious, just like the pastries I saw at a bakery by Greenwich Park today.

    Eisha – Gray is one of my favorite colors too. And I need new bedding.
    Jules – love your kicks.
    Emmaco – congrats to your friend. I just love pregnancy announcements and watching baby bumps grow.
    JES – I can’t wait to get back to New Orleans. Some of the best food I have ever had.

    My vacation is npt going as well as I had hoped, what with two sick kids and extreme crankiness and whining. But there have been some bright spots. So, my kicks this week are:

    1 – Cy’s first ride on a double decker bus. He loved it just as much the second and third time too.
    2 – Having a friend’s 7 month old son fall asleep on my shoulder. There is no greater compliment in my opinion.
    3 – The NHS. Ruby needed to see a dr, so we ended up at the local Accident and Emergency unit (aka the ER). She is okay, by the way. What would have cost me $250 in Tennessee didn’t cost me a penny.
    4 – Cy having a playdate with his cousin and the next door neighbor. He won’t want to go home.
    5 – Listening to Cy talk nonstop to my brother for about 30 minutes. What 4 year old wouldn’t want to talk the ears off a real life firefighter?
    6 – Ruby is really chatting up a storm these days, and because she still very much looks like a baby at 18 months, it is so funny to hear her talk coherently.
    7 – My 16 year old niece, Georgia, has a HUGE crush on Shia LaBoeuf. So much so, she dragged her 14 year old sister, Grace, up to the London premiere of Transformers 2 (central London is a 30 minute train ride away). And guess what – she got Shia’s autograph!!! That makes me so happy because I would have killed for my favorite celeb’s autograph when I was 16. Their next premiere: New Moon, because Grace has a thing for Rob Pattinson (and Georgia doesn’t mind a bit of Taylor Lautner either).

    Have a great week!!


  27. LW: Now dang it. I just Googled “anticipatory silence” kettle and got 125(ish) hits. So far none of them has proved to be more than coincidentally including the phrase and the word on the same page.

    So I’m sorta resigned to finding out that’s not actually THE name for the silence. But it’s darned sure A great name for it, especially with your explanation!


  28. Okay, still no answers from anyplace on the Web about the pre-boiling silence. BUT I did find this cool creepy Australian poem, “The Bunyip and the Whistling Kettle” — with some background and analysis — here.

    …He felt the water kiss and tingle,
    He heard the silence – none too soon!
    A ripple broke against the shingle,
    And dark with blood it met the moon…


  29. Well, since you asked:

    I made this!

    Little Willow, YAY for all things theatre, especially free tix! And I applaud your persistence – your persistence in being AWESOME, that is.

    jama, count me in among all the snickerdoodle fans you’ve brought out of hiding today. YUM. Although all those varieties sound delicious. Happy Father’s Day to your amazing dad!

    adrienne, I loved Hunger Games so bad, I can’t wait to read Catching Fire. And you just made it that much worse. Also, I fully support your desires, and feel you should 1.) Go to the CMoG. 2.) Buy the towels. 3.) Make all the cookies you want.

    jone, all those tomatoes! DELICIOUS. And Disneyland too? Sounds like you’re already having a wonderful summer.

    jules, if I could come babysit for you myself so you could see Star Trek, I totally would. Ooh! You should call my mom! I bet she’d do it.

    Kimberly, I hope you’re going to post wedding pics so we can see this dress in action. And maybe she can send you care packages with that yummy-sounding oatmeal, too!

    Terry, I’m so glad about your friend! And honeysuckle is my favorite scent of all time. How heavenly.

    Jen, thanks for the slow-down reminder – we could all use more of that, I bet. And thanks for virtually sharing the brownies. And yeah, Magic Thief IS fun.

    JES, New Orleans sounds fabulous. And you know how I loves me some Twin Peaks, although you’re at the point in the series where… I don’t want to say it jumped the shark, but it maybe kind of hopped toward it a little. (Note how carefully I avoid asking about sheet-washing-frequency. Nope. Walking away from that one.)

    Tarie, is Battle Royale a book too? I thought it was just a movie. Dang, now I gotta find that one too. I would totally see Star Trek again with you if we were on the same continent. And PLEASE oh please start a MG/YA publishing company! The world needs your expertise and experience and enthusiasm! Do it!!!

    emmaco, nice show of restraint in not asking your friend outright if she’s pregnant. And I’m with jules – that nightjar thing is freaky, and needs a story post haste.

    Elaine, WOOT! That’s great news about the anthology! I hope the postponed celebration will be even more fabulous. Maybe even sunny!

    Sara, that is heartbreaking about your niece. I’m so very sorry. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a lovelier, more poignant gesture made in someone’s honor.

    Farida, sounds lovely indeed! A double-rainbow!!! And I didn’t even know aspens grow in Santa Fe.

    Zoe, too bad the vacation isn’t going quite as smoothly as hoped. But you certainly squeezed some great kicks out of it anyway. Holding a sleeping baby is totally the BEST. And Shia LaBoeuf is totally crush-worthy – I commend Georgia’s taste.


  30. Tell me this isn’t a kick!

    (For those of you just tuning in, cats and otters are my favorite creatures.)

    Go eisha! You crafty lady.

    JES: I was just being poetic. :)

    Zoe: Glad that Ruby’s okay. Enjoy your visit with the kids. So sweet of him to give her an autograph.

    emmaco: The X-Files gave me my chupacabra education.


  31. If this embed code doesn’t work . . .

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  32. Tarie, yup. Need to do it.

    Little Willow, if I could build you a castle, I would. And how about that otter?

    Farida, so glad you had a great time. I had to look up David B., even though you’ve told me that before.

    Emmaco, surely if you ring the bell with a big smile and when clearly no one is in your way, it will communicate a cheery hello. Right?

    Zoe, so sorry about the crankiness. My goodness, what happened to Ruby? Sounds like you’re making the most of everything, though.

    John, creepy. (Poem, that is.)

    Eisha, lovely, lovely necklace.


  33. eisha, we’re paying my best friend (a professional wedding photographer) a pretty penny for pictures (she’s the most expensive item in our budget), so you can bet I’ll be posting them everywhere once I have them. Those and any candids the family takes.

    I’ll tell you this: the dress is hunter green and shiny. (I want actually to feel pretty on my wedding day, and I never really do in white. I look too washed out.)


  34. So much goodness in the kicks this week I wanted to write an epistle of length, but want to keep your goodwill so am leaving a lot out. But thanks to all who mentioned things that reminded me of good memories! The luminarias gave me joy and tears (the good kind). I also need a castle and love that there are some with all the “mod cons”. I want the answer to the teakettle question. I also now want a sky garden (had just read about the newest park in NYC–it’s a garden walking parkway along the edge of buildings there several stories up), but T’s sounds much more beautiful! Adrienne have you ever heard of freezer jam? My Mom got the recipe from my Granny in Portland OR & it was divine! Anyone who wants to try dehydrated strawberries can get them in Special K red berries version cereal. I usually like my berries by themselves, but this is something that is wonderful, esp. in winter. I think of it as a defiance against gloom for breakfast! Loved, loved, loved the Bic pen review, I will be reading again and laughing and doing the same with the comments there also!

    The new John Burningham looks wonderful, thanks for nailing the fact that he does not talk down to children. I know when something is good but can’t always say why. Actually another book you mentioned is a reminder of one of my most embarrassing on-the-job memories. For about three years I read Mr. Gumpy to classes, but I read it as Mr. Grumpy! That’s what I thot it was! We even discussed what the word grumpy meant! I finally discovered the error of my brain/eyes when I saw I needed to “correct” the title on a check-out card or something (pre-computer check-out, remember the days?) I couldn’t believe it! I also couldn’t believe nobody had said anything to me about it, but then of course my listeners were beginning readers or pre-readers! But what about the teachers or parent volunteers!? Humilitating!!
    But, I still love John Burningham and I love Jules Pfeiffer, who I agree has some similarities.

    Kicks this week:
    1) Rest–after the end of my school work year and taking care of my 5 yr old g’son for a week! Much needed and appreciated!
    2) Being more intentional about my summer time this year, in spite of resting I was more intentional in getting things I want to do over the summer done! I usually give myself the first week “off”, but this year I already began my work reading project–reading novels & non-fiction from our school library. I can keep up with the picture books (mostly!), but with a frozen book budget since a year ago Jan., I want to be better able to promote what we have on our shelves already. I’ve already read two novels towards this goal!
    3)Found out from the 3M website that “Post-It’s” are recyclable! Yes, even with that sticky stuff on them. I do try to recycle and I love those little stickies!
    4)Nature–Looked up from finishing a book the other day and out my window saw a beautiful bird hanging out on some wildflowers we had planted. They didn’t really grow last year, but came up like crazy this year. And here was this beautiful bird, small lovely grey-green body, dark cap, white and black tail, yellow front, long tail just getting seeds or insects or down from this stalk of flowers and lingering there for me to watch. If I were a morning person I’d be a bird-watcher (and if I’d begun learning about it as a hobby when I was younger). There has been a dearth of birds and bees and butterflies the last few years, but now I’m seeing all of them again! In my own yard. Sublime! I’ve tried to find out what kind of bird, but can only so far narrow it down to probably being a warbler or flycatcher of some type.
    5) Finally began walking yesterday–it was cool for us here, low 80′s (only thru today). My sister and I went for a 2 hr. walk in our lovely “2nd or 3rd largest municpal park in the U.S.” in our small city/big town. Saw two other kinds of birds there I’d never seen!
    6) Was a good “girl” and did phoning and errands this week revolving around lowering expenses, since widowhood is not a rich place to be for me (ha, never was rich before, either!). I hate phoning strangers, but now feel confident and competent and while monthly it won’t seem like a lot, the yearly savings is worth it for sure! This is esp. helpful since I’m not a teacher so don’t get to spread my pay out over 12 months. I work 10 and get paid for 10. So, mentally a great victory for me and also a great summer starter.
    7) Got to follow online as my youngest niece was in South Africa for 9 days building buildings at an orphanage. This is a permanent, but also a demo project that is role modeling this quick team-building approach and they were working with African leaders who will be doing this in many countries. Styrofoam blocks are a new addition to this kind of project. She was the youngest on the trip (turned 16 during the flight over), the only high-schooler, so will also have some great women mentors here when she returns. We’re in CA and her group worked with a group from Phoenix AZ. Her older sister, who wanted to be a nurse would have been so proud of her!
    For some reason my nephews have had a harder time finding their way, but the nieces on both sides of the family are a blessing. One works with autistic pre-schoolers, one does ASL intepreting and works as an aide to deaf K/1 students (think she’s moving up with one to higher grades) and the other is a new college grad who is entering the Peace Corps!

    So, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all Dads and surrogate Dad’s who help children! May you be rewarded many times over. I still have my wonderful Dad and was married to a great one, so I know how important you are!

    Bonus kicks–more food! Discoved real treat, a non-dairy “chocolate milk”, called Almond Breeze. I come from the biggest almond producing area in the world, so anything almond is good! This stuff can sit on the shelf for several months, only needs the fridge when you open it. (By the way, the way we tell natives in my part of the world, they pronounce the word almond without the “l” sound. The local joke is that if you’ve ever seen them harvested with a knocker, you know they knock the “l” out of them. Don’t know the real reason.
    Also, on the South African trip one of the gals is part of the Lundberg family which grows rice (first organic rice growers in the U.S.). My Dad grew up with her Dad and uncles and also grew rice for many years. Anyway, they sell internationally so she went looking for Lundberg Bros. rice products and in a small shop there found some!! She introduced herself, bought all they had and donated them to the orphanage. Small world!

    Now, you know why I think bees are good, altho. I personally don’t like to be close to them! Our crops around here would die without them!

    New summer goal–write shorter Posts!


  35. OMG, that otter! Look at its wittle paws!


  36. Kimberly, I salute your choice. Hunter green is a gorgeous color, and yeah – why not be gorgeous on your wedding day?

    Andrea, whew, your summer is off to quite a start, too! I’d love to find out what that bird was – it sounds so pretty. And your family sounds like quite a force for good in the world. Thank them all for me.


  37. Eisha, that is a pretty necklace! Thank you for sharing the pic. :o) And yep, Battle Royale is totally a book. I am not reading The Hunger Games until I have read Battle Royale. And thanks so much for the support re: the MG/YA publishing house. Man, if my dad and I can’t do it, we sure will help the people who can! It’s one of my dreams!


  38. Tons ‘o goodness here again, like every week. It’s a bit daunting to see 36 comments when I open the page, but it’s always worth it.

    Andrea, I’m so jealous that you live somewhere that produces megatons of almonds. I love them, and we eat them often, but they’re an expensive-ish treat here.

    1) An excellent Father’s Day, where I felt pampered and loved.
    2) My first viola recital. If you’ve ever taken up anything as an adult beginner, and then performed for the first time in public, you’ll know how very terrifying and exhilarating it was. Kinda fun too, at least once I realized that I could still play the song I wrote, even with 40 pairs of eyes staring at me.
    3) The Squid and the Whale…what a fantastic movie. So, so good, if a little hard to watch at times when things hit too close to home. Also really enjoyed Rabbit-Proof Fence from a few years back.
    4) Tunnels and Deeper by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams…I’m not even sure that they’re great YA books, but they sure hooked me hard. Looking forward to the third one in the series.
    5) Rain. Seriously, we hadn’t had a proper rain since the snow melted several months ago, and forest fires were becoming a constant threat. This week we finally got several days of cooler, wetter weather and it was most welcome…although the cherries are just about ripe and could use some sun.
    6) Maybe a cheater kick, because I already used used up one when I finished and ordered my Blurb book of ice photos…but the 10 copies I ordered arrived this week and I was very pleased.
    7) Vacation starts Wednesday…cross-country road trip to see my wife’s family, my extended family and old friends. Winnipeg might be the least exotic vacation destination ever, but it’ll be fun. At the very least, I won’t be working.


  39. Andrea, OMG re: Mr. Gumpy / Mr. Grumpy. *hug hug hug hug* And I love your stories about the Lundberg gal and your niece in South Africa! I want to go to South Africa….


  40. Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day to all!

    I have been missing all of you, but lots of stuff workwise here keeping me crazy busy.

    Malcolm the Cat is fabulous!

    JES, your link to the Napolean House ties in to my first kick and made me smile, as I am a born and raised New Orleans girl:
    1. Father’s Day and remembering my Dad, long gone since 1990. He used to sing opera at the Napolean House many years ago, and there is a funny family story about the first time he took my mom there when they were first married back in the 50′s.
    2. Saw a friend from high school and college this weekend who I hadn’t seen in 20 years – it was wonderful to catch up and talk and laugh and laugh!
    3. Trials! I am back in trials again, had 2 last week, and they are just as fun and challenging as I remember.
    4. My vegetables – zuchini and tomatoes are coming in!
    5. Summer and biking to work.
    6. Finished The Conch Bearer by Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni and halfway through The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson.
    7. A sweet BF who had cocktails waiting for me after I had a hellacious day.

    Have a great week!


  41. r.m., I’d love to know the funny Napoleon House story. (Actually I love hearing anybody’s stories about his/her parents’ first meeting.)

    Jeremy: You modest guy, you — failing to include in this week’s comment the link to your beautiful ice-photos book.

    Andrea, like Eisha said, your family sounds like they rock the world in just about every direction. Where does that service ethic (dull phrase for such an exciting matter!) come from?

    Eisha: Twin Peaks still (I mean, at this point in the arc of the re-watching) kicks. But yeah, these last few episodes prior to the finale have some wince-some moments where you think to yourself, “Oh, man — they’re really trying too hard now.” Like the Josie’s-stretchy-face-in-the-drawer-pull moment. Never boring, though, I’ll give them that!

    Jules, forgot to mention I loved the look of the TN castle and loved the story behind it. The Missus and I have been debating a vacation this year — not whether, but where — and have talked about Tennessee, particularly Memphis. (Neither of us has been to TN before.) If we do that trip a little detour to Castle Gwynn might have to be arranged. Since it’s a private residence, open only briefly each May, we may have to get “lost” and show up at the door, like, at the height of a thunderstorm at night; maybe that’ll get us asked in. But if Boris Karloff answers the door — or Cloris Leachman, for that matter, or (egad) both of them, with horses whinnying in the background — I’m headed back to the car.


  42. Kimberly, HUNTER GREEN! Rock it. I love love love that you’re not going to wear white.

    Andrea, I love the notion of defying gloom at breakfast. That’s sometimes a battle for me. Not. a. morning. person. Also: I bet you that many a librarian has read that as “Mr. Grumpy,” so don’t beat yourself up too much. …I love your kick #2, and I’ve always wanted to become a bird-watcher, too, and learn more about birds. Did you see this book?

    Yay for your nieces, Andrea! Sign language interpreting was my first career (before getting the library degree).

    Jeremy, such kicky goodness there. Congrats on that recital! I want to order one of your books — next month, I hope. And have a great time on your trip. Selfishly, I know that every time you travel, we’ll be rewarded with new photos.

    RM, yes to the boyfriend who has cocktails in hand after a hard day. Woot! Have fun trial’ing and biking to work. We’ve missed your kicks…good to have you back.

    John, if you come anywhere near that castle after all AND don’t come visit us or otherwise meet up for coffee or some such thing (I promise not to grill you with seven questions over coffee), I’ll be sad, indeed.


  43. Thank you, my love. You made my day. You make most of my days, but your kicks made me especially happy.

    The quiet kettle is because the water temperature is finally even just before the whistle. A lot of the noise is caused by bubbles – which form near the hot element – collapsing in cooler water as they rise. When the kettle is about to whistle, the water is hot enough for the bubbles to make it all the way out to the air without collapsing. So, it’s quieter just before the steam sets off the whistle. I don’t know if it’s got a name, though.


  44. Jama, I wish I could share the brownies. Maybe for the KidLit conference…

    Jules, you would think that the gift for our godson would be books, but we always give him books (and give books to his older brother), so this time we went for something different. The WaterWheel Play Table. We kind of hope to have a chance to play with it ourselves one of these days.


  45. Blaine: Color me gobsmacked on that explanation. I was just thinking I’d need to throw myself on the mercy of somebody like Alton Brown and along you came.


  46. Just catching up with blog reading.
    LOVE your blog. LOVE john Burningham. He is definitely in my top tier of a handful of author/illustrators most influencing my own work. Thanks for bringing so many inspiring illustrators and writers to your table!


  47. Jennifer, thanks!

    I’ve been re-reading John’s books a lot these days, even finding some I hadn’t seen before. Love his stuff. Can’t wait for that new Candlewick title.


  48. [...] folks shortlisted here, so I shouldn’t single out anyone, but to say I’m a ginormous John Burningham fan doesn’t even quite cut it, so I’m particularly excited about [...]


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