"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Five on a Friday

Let's get right to it. Happy Friday!

1) Attention to detail
So it's totally my job to think my children are geniuses. It's just part of being a mom. It happens from the first time you spot your newborn staring at some random toy and remark how intelligent their eyes are. Yes, I've totally done that.

Anyway, I'm not here to post about my genius children, but I do want to mention this.
Regarding my daughter.
Attention to detail.
She's got it.

Take for example this finely crafted rendition of our favorite mouse (no, not Stuart Little. Despereaux!) After seeing the movie, she insisted upon coming home and making her own craft version.

So note two things:
1) The red thread around him.
2) The tail on the flip side.
These came out of her own mind. These two items were important to her. And these two items are incredible details. Details that turn a regular two-dimensional mouse into our three-dimensional Despereaux. Which is quite a bit for a 4-year-old.

OK, where was I? Oh, yeah. My children are geniuses.

2) Hardbacks.
I say this, even realizing my own book, The Emerald Tablet, is in hardback. But I wonder more and more at the choice to put some books in hardback. Some I understand, but for instance there was one particular ARC I got last fall of a kid's book that is much in the spirit of Captain Underpants or Supernatural Rubber Chicken. I handed the ARC to my son to read, and he handed it back 20 minutes later proclaiming he read it, loved it, and wanted more.
I checked the back of the ARC and noticed it was to be released as a hardback for $15.99.
Yes, I love the book industry, and I want my children to read. But even I'm going to hesitate (and probably not buy) a $16 hardback that my kid will read in 20 minutes. My cost per minute is too high.
I don't know. Thoughts on this?

3) Reading update
Read. Loved. SHIFT by Jennifer Bradbury. Buy it!
I had another book all set to read next, but then my shipment from Amazon arrived (yay)! Now I have my Kiki Strike books and my Luxe books. And I'm going with The Luxe by by Anna Godberson.
OK, so admittedly, this is not my normal reading genre. But I'm reading it for two reasons:
i. I love the dresses on the covers of these books.
ii. It was Jen Robinson's book review of The Luxe which really pushed me over the edge and made this a must-read.

Turns out BLISS has a sequel, except it was written two years earlier! Has anyone read Rhymes with Witches by Lauren Myracle?

5) Head over to The Spectacle for some great discussions on post-apocalyptic kid's books and gratuitous extras in sci-fi and fantasy.
Up today - An exclusive look at Magic Realism with agent Jennifer Mattson of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. What are you waiting for?

Have a great weekend! Do something fun! Do something spontaneous! Read a book. Mop the floor. And by all means, if the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby is next weekend, get that derby car painted!


Christine M said...

Your children are definitely geniuses. No question.

I feel the same way you do about dollars per minute spent reading. If I'm paying that much for a book I want the experience to last awhile.

Have fun with the pinewood derby!

Kelly H-Y said...

Agreed ... she's a genius! :-) I've said it before ... I think both of your kids are awesome artists! I mean ... that mouse ... created by a 4-year old ... quite impressive!

Completely agree about the cost of books. With picture books, I generally don't buy the $16 ones, because it just seems too outrageous to me. Once in a while I'll splurge, with the justification that - with PBs - we'll read them over and over and over again! (It's kind of like buying an expensive piece of clothing ... I can only justify it if the per-wearing price is brought down by the fact that I'll be able to wear it a whole bunch of times! :-))

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Chris! Yeah, the experience just seemed very expensive!

Thanks, Kelly! I thought the mouse was really cute! And for some reason, picture books are big and in color and seem like they can justify the cost more, especially when I love them.
And I love the clothing comparison!

beth said...

Ah! I literally just ordered Luxe yesterday!!!

D.A. Riser said...

I love the mouse. And, alas, I have to agree with you on the cost of hardbacks.

I've noticed many of my favorite things (movie tickets, candy bars, etc.) seem to be getting rather pricey for what I get. Ah, inflation. If only our pay would increase at the same rate!

Miriam S.Forster said...

If I ever read the Luxe series, it will be for the dresses. After all, that was why I originally picked up A Great and Terrible Beauty. :-)

(Well, that and the title was awesome.)

I read Rhymes with Witches. Very interesting premise, and if you liked Bliss, you should like this one too. A little creepy for me, but then so was Bliss...

PJ Hoover said...

Funny, Beth! We are of one mind! I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Thanks, D.A.! And I question not so much the cost of hardcovers, but why it seems that so many books are coming out as hardcovers. On the cost note I will say at least kid's hardcovers are less expensive than adult ones!
And why do I love that you use candy bars as an example? That's priceless :)

Thanks for the recommendation for Rhymes with Witches, Miriam. I will have to read it, then!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Barrie said...

Of course, your kids are geniuses. Look at their mom!

Sheryl said...

That was a seriously genius mouse! No doubt. I love the tail.

Beth Kephart said...

I like that daughter of yours. I absolutely do.

Working Mom said...

I don't know much about the publishing industry, so I present a question: wouldn't a first printing as a paperback be equivalent to a movie being first released as a DVD, i.e., admitting the material is not worthy of a hardback/cinema release? Does this decision differ for children's/YA books?

adrienne said...

I love the mouse! What a clever cutie you have. I agree with you on the hardcovers, too. I prefer those to be books that last, and that might be read again.

PJ Hoover said...

Aw, thanks, Barrie! You're making me blush!

The tail was the icing to me, Sheryl. It's what astounded me above all else!

Thanks, Beth! She is a doll. An independent, obstinate doll. But still a doll.

I think it's changing quite a bit, Working Mom, with the publishing industry not doing quite as well. My personal thought is it's not the same. Lots of bookstores won't carry the hardbacks these days because they're so hard to sell.
This might make a good topic for discussion one day in the near future :)

Thanks, Adrienne! And the funniest thing about the hardback is my son doesn't even like to read hardbacks.

Happy Friday everyone!

lynn said...

I never buy hardcover - it's too expensive, and I grew up reading paperback so that's what I'm used to. Also, paperbacks fit more easily in a purse!

Amy said...

Have a great weekend! Do something fun! Do something spontaneous!

That would be the taxes. Woohoo!

Carrie Harris said...

I read Rhymes with Witches too, but I read it right after Devilish by Maureen Johnson, and they have very similar premises. So I probably didn't appreciate it as much just because of the clash between the two. If you like Rhymes, I definitely recommend Devilish... lots of tongue-in-cheek humor in both of them.

PJ Hoover said...

True about the purses, Lynn! I do buy hardbacks and prefer them depending on what book it is, but they do add up. But yeah, as a kid, it was all paperbacks!

Taxes, Amy! Now that is crazy and spontaneous. And proactive. Soon.

I haven't read Devilish either, Carrie, but maybe I'll check it out at the same time also! I do love tongue-in-cheek humor!

Thanks for visiting!

Lapillus said...

I love the dresses on the The Luxe books, too. I want to read them. I'll be waiting for your opinion on the first!

Did you hear that they replicated the dress and had a teen competition winner wear it around London to promote the first book? I thought that was SO cool. The dress is gorgeous!

Here's a link if you never saw it.


And yes! I think your children are creative geniuses!

www.beckylevine said...

Hardbacks--I'm with you.We tend to do them as b-day and xmas presents around here, but even so. It's so hard when the kids are into a series and the next one's out and you realize you really could get three books (= to many hours) for that price. My son had more hardbacks than I ever remember having.

Thankfully, he's just found (okay, been intro'd to by Mom) Terry Pratchett who has DOZENS of books out in paperback. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I hadn't heard about the replica dress, Casey, but thanks for the link. I checked it out!

Whoo hoo for Terry Pratchett, Becky! Good mom! And I think the series are the ones that get me the most in hardback. Because in kid's series, there are tons and tons of books.

Have a great weekend!

Marcia said...

Dollars per minute -- aha. I never really thought of it that way, but I'll bet that explains people's reluctance to pay "a lot," whatever that means to them, for short books.

Oh, do I love those dresses! I never pass up a cover like that without at least looking at the book.

So Bliss is a prequel? I guess I'm glad, given what I've heard about the inconclusive ending. Now I feel like I should get both books.

Lady Glamis said...

I LOVED your comment about "cost per minute."

Hard backs... yah. I won't buy one unless it's a long book and I'll be reading it for awhile, and I want it on my shelf to look pretty. So I don't buy many. :)

Except for children's books. Those have to be "hardback". "Goodnight Moon" wouldn't last two seconds as a paperback around here.

PJ Hoover said...

Yeah, Marcia, the more I think about Bliss, the more I need to read the sequel. So funny about that! And the dresses are great, aren't they!

I know, Glamis! I totally buy hardbacks, but I am selective in what I buy in hardback. Not to mention my bookshelf is running out of space!

have a great weekend!

Emily said...

1. How cool is your kid! She sounds fabulous!

2. I totally know what you mean about hardbacks. I love that kids/ya books are generally cheaper than adult titles, but I think sometimes they need to be even cheaper - esp. for books like the one you mentioned.

3. I love love love Bliss. I didn't realize Rhymes with Witches was a true sequel - now I have to put it closer to the top of my pile!

Christina Farley said...

Lots of great stuff here. I love your kid's artwork! Need to rememeber to add those details to my own work. :)

I am planning on reading the Luxe too just because I love the dress on the cover. Silly. I know.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks Emily! And I loved Bliss, too. I'm kind of mixed on reading the sequel. What if I don't love it as much. But I'm sure I will!

Silly, Christina, but I think that dress has sold thousands upon thousands of books. Which is a great lesson to us all!

Thanks for visiting!

C.R. Evers said...

wow! amazing detail on the mouse!

Vivian said...

Love the details on the mouse. I was so-so about the movie. The book is so much better.

I have to say, I really enjoyed The Luxe. And the Kiki Strike books are great--talk about fantastic female characters.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Brian said...

Regarding hardcover releases -- Aladdin released the Franny K. Stein chapter books in hardcover ($15.99) as well as paperback ($3.99), but released the Zack Proton books only in paperback. The benefits of a hardback release are 1) reviewers will review them. Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and all the rest will generally ignore anything that comes out only in paperback, making a paperback release by a new author effectively invisible in the marketplace. 2) Many school librarians won't buy paperback books because they get torn up in kids' backpacks within two or three checkouts. It takes so much effort to get a new book logged into the system that they want it to last. My number one question at TLA was "Is it available in hardcover?" I had to refer school librarians to Follett and PermaBound, which at under $10 a copy, are still cheaper than a $15.99 publisher cover price would be.

The bottom line is that even though these hardcovers end up in stores, parents aren't really the target audience. But a $15.99 hardcover is still a very attractive option for school librarians, and it makes a world of difference to the author, who otherwise ends up having to market his or her book out of a black hole. If the first three Zack Proton books had been released in hardcover, the series might not have died there. But a hardcover release is an expensive route for the publisher to take (especially for a chapter book series by a new author), and in my case TPTB at Aladdin chose not to.

And yes, your kids are wonderful! :-)

Keri Mikulski said...

I did not know Rhymes with Witches is the sequel.. I must re-read.. :) Thanks for the info.

Hope you had a great weekend. It was beautiful in South Jersey. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Christy!

Thanks, Vivian! I did like the Luxe also, but instead of reading book 2 right away, I'm going with the Kiki Strike. If I remember right didn't you review one of these on your blog?

Brian, thank you for the comment!!!!! (Is this the first time you've commented on my blog). This has an amazing amount of great information! So were the Frannie K. Stein books released in HB and PB at the same time? Or slightly delayed? And I totally see the review benefits and the library benefits. You know it never dawned on me that parents weren't the target audience, but it makes great sense.
Anyway, thank you so much for commenting! This is great info!

The weekend, was great, Keri! I'm glad you had nice weather!

Thanks for visiting!

GutsyWriter said...

Love the mouse detail myself. Why red? I wanted to ask if you have any advice or experience with taking online writing classes?

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, GutsyWriter! Red is the color chosen for Despereaux when he descended to the dungeon.
And I've never taken an online writing course, though I am tempted. Have you?

GutsyWriter said...

I'm in my second week of Gotham Writers' Workshop, with apparently 6,000 writers/year. Just wondered what you thought of these online classes.

Vivian said...

I never read the second book of The Luxe series. And yes, I interviewed Kirsten Miller who wrote the Kiki Strike books. Great memory!

Check out the Kiki Strike website...you're going to love it!

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Vivian! i'll check it and your interview out!