Tuesday, May 26, 2009


JEMMA HARTMAN: CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE by Brenda Ferber (Farrar Straus and Giroux)

Tammy said we'd be best friends forever, and I believed her.

Jemma has weathered a long year without her BFF who has moved to another town, but looks forward to a summer with her at beautiful Star Lake camp, where she fantasizes that together they will skim across the lake in a beautiful sailboat, the picture of harmony and happiness. Who knows, she may even embody the spirit of Camp Star Lake and win the Firelighter award (excuse me, "you don't win Firelighter, you earn it...Either you're Firelighter material or you're not"). This dream is immediately clouded by the appearance of Tammy's cousin Brooke, a mean girl who monopolizes Tammy's attentions and spoils the reunion. Right off the bat, Jemma is displaced to the seat at the back of the bus next to the toilet, and receives a damaged afterthought of a t-shirt. Sure, Brooke's parents are going through a sticky divorce, but how good of a sport is Jemma expected to be? Despite the overtures of a kind, yoga-enthusiast campmate and hints dropped by Tammy with the force of an anvil that things just aren't the way they used to be, it's hard for Jemma to let go of her dream and branch out to find new friendships.

Pitch perfect in terms of a pre-teen girl's desire to be "good" and "nice" but tripping over her own mischief and ambitions all the same ("No fair. No fair. No fair. 'That's great,' I squeaked"), this book also plays on the delicate but insidious dynamics of chiquitas in competition. We are rooting for Jemma at one turn, and see the hurt feelings she inadvertently causes at another. The bunkmates are active, optimistic, and occasionally aggressive. Though the traits are recognizable in girls we know, Ferber does not resort to any tiresome typecasting. Like real people, there are things readers can like and not like about each of them, they make decisions worthy of empathy or concern, and as such, she has created a community of characters readers care about, and a narrative arc that flies along as quickly as the summer days. This is a perfect camp story, but more than that, it's a perfect friendship story and a page-turner to boot. I've been looking at many highly acclaimed, heavily publicized and slightly slick works of fiction for children, but this is the one that gets it right for its intended readers, not high-handed but still rising head and shoulders above the rest in terms of counting the minutes until it's time to get back to see how things turn out. It deserves to be in bunk of any youngster who savors realistic fiction, and who has ever been through the meat grinder that is a middle-school friendship...maybe, like Jemma, they'll even live to tell the tale. (9 and up)

Also of interest:
More for the camp care-package.
STICKY BURR: ADVENTURES IN BURRWOOD FOREST by John Lechner (Candlewick) Nature-lovers will cling to this funny, exciting and unusual graphic novel, fit for the youngest independent reader. Check out the lively on-line community. (7 and up)

SKINNY DIPPING AT MONSTER LAKE by Bill Wallace (Simon and Schuster) A camping trip, some late night fishing, a dip in the lake…what's missing? A monster, of course! Luckily, Wallace has the formula for kid appeal and adds the proper touch of good-natured by-the-campfire terror. While this straight-forward story doesn't strain to be literary, this is just the kind of play-by-play adventure that Tom Sawyer wouldn't have minded joining in on, and reluctant boy readers will get through swimmingly. (9 and up)

CAMP GRANADA: SING-ALONG CAMP SONGS by Frane Lessac (Henry Holt) Break out the s'mores and the bug spray, it is officially summer every time this binding is broken! From "Kum Ba Yah" to "John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt," from "Found a Peanut" to "Do Your Ears Hang Low," this is exactly the book every kid needs to tune up for camp. The lyrics to over thirty rousing sounds is included here, and bunk beside naive and nifty artwork that brims with figures of multicultural children experiencing every aspect of the great outdoors: climbing trees, swimming, hiking, as well as the occasional rainy day and trip to the infirmary. (7 and up)

ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO CAMPING, HIKING, AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Schwartz & Wade) Our favorite young neurotic continues to give Woody Allen a run for his money in an outdoor setting. Meteorites! Flash floods! Pit toilets...shudder! Oh, the horror! Luckily, Alvin is armed with everything from mosquito repellent to night-vision goggles to sunscreen (SPF 70), and more lists than you can shake a stick at...even a stick with a marshmallow on the end. Hilarious banter and spectacular spot-illustrations help this series to continue strong into the summer. (8 and up)

School librarians can wind up the year with a campy picture book storytime featuring any of these: Diane DeGroat's GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, DON'T LET THE BEDBUGS BITE (HarperCollins), Kathryn Lasky's LUCILLE CAMPS IN (why this book is out of print, who knows, but it's available used), or BAILEY GOES CAMPING by Kevin Henkes (both nice picks for kids who camp out in their own living room or backyard), STELLA AND ROY GO CAMPING (again, out of print...why? Features beautiful lino-cut illustrations), CAMPING DAY by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Scott Nash (Dial), CURIOUS GEORGE GOES CAMPING (which, all right, purists, I know it's only "based on" Marget and H.A. Rey's work, but it's darling all the same and kids laugh out loud when the skunk sprays George in the woods), and TOASTING MARSHMALLOWS: CAMPING POEMS by the great Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Kate Kiesler (Clarion). Create a safe library campfire by putting a flashlight at the bottom of a pail filled with red cellophane!

Older children headed for such summer adventures will also enjoy a look-see at the interesting S IS FOR S'MORES: A CAMPING ALPHABET by Helen Foster James and Lita Judge (Sleeping Bear), which includes helpful hints for new campers (8 and up), and other camping non-fiction like CAMP OUT! THE ULTIMATE KID'S GUIDE by Lynne Brunelle (Workman) and THE KIDS CAMPIRE BOOK: THE OFFICIAL BOOK OF CAMPFIRE FUN and they do mean fun, by Jane Drake and Ann Love, illustrated by Heather Collins (Kids Can Press)(9 and up).

On a personal note:
There is still time to bid at the Bridget Zinn On-Line Auction, featuring many wonderful kid-lit treasures such as a signed Maurice Sendak first edition, readings of manuscripts by a major literary agency (wow!) and podcast consultation by the incredible Mark Blevis of Just One More Book (double-wow!), signed card sets by the legendary Jan Brett, a signed copy of The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan (the last installment of the wildly popular Percy Jackson series), amazing autographed copies and original illustrations from a host of talent, and whaddaya know, an autographed copy of JEMMA HARTMAN, CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE, being auctioned off in combination with Brenda Ferber's award-winning novel JULIA'S KITCHEN. There are so, so many wonderful items and opportunities, be sure to have a look...and more than that, be sure to bid if you are at all able and spread the word, because this auction helps to alleviate the unwieldly medical expenses of dear Bridget Zinn, a wonderful blogger, librarian, new bride and young adult book author who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in February and who is fighting it like a trooper. Rooting for you, Bridget!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


THE UGLY DUCKLING by Rachel Isadora (Putnam)
Original nursery tales are so charming, so eloquent, and often so freaking hard to read to the five-year-olds who would most like to hear them. Enter long-time picture book talent Rachel Isadora, who has done such a stunningly fine job on introducing a new generation of children to classic folkloric plot lines such as THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA, THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES, RAPUNZEL, HANSEL AND GRETEL and THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE, and even manages to give them a multicultural and more inclusive flavor by penning them against the African backdrop where she lived for ten years. The direct, unfettered writing style is more in keeping with an oral tradition that is perfect for story time, and is highlighted by gorgeous painted paper collage art. Silhouettes of a flock of wild geese against a smoldering sunset over a savanna! The drama of the little duck fading amidst the heavy blue icicles of winter! And the fresh depiction the ugly duckling's emergence into a swan is a picture that speaks a thousand words, or at least three: black is beautiful.

Though my favorite retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "Ugly Duckling" is still Frank Loesser's version (very nice to make into a puppet show and play the recording if you are not a confident singer, by the way), Isadora's interpretation is a welcome one, a lovely addition to any fairy tale collection, and a necessary one in urban schools. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
Some more fair fowl, new from picture-book land.

THE MISSING CHICK by Valeri Gorbachev (Candlewick) The barnyard goes ballistic after a mother hen sends out an Amber Alert. Everyone in the book is so responsive, how can young listeners help but join in the search? Gorbachev's books are always dependable picks for story time, and his fabulously emotional, anthropomorphic characters are a throwback to the style of Richard Scarry. (4 and up)

HERE COMES GOSLING by Sandy Asher, illustrated by Keith Graves (Philomel)

"Love new babies!" Froggie cried. "When will they be here?"
"Soon," said Rabbit.
"How soon?" asked Froggie.
"One o'clock," said Rabbit.
"That's not soon!" cried Froggie. "That's LATER. MUCH LATER. Can't wait that long."

Yes, Froggie love babies. Froggie love lunch. Froggie love company. But Froggie no love waiting. And it turns out Froggie also no love the loud and terrible honking sound that the visiting gosling makes. As for the artwork, just look at that cover...yes, it's that hilarious all through. Buoyant, stylized illustrations with lines that stretch and then spring back into roundness verge on the rubbery, but the show is stolen by strong characterization, supported by an impeccable melding of picture and prose. A silly sing-along song that invites group participation recurs throughout. Capturing the sometimes manic swings as well as the sincerity of the preschool set, this is one little picture book that goes beyond the starchy "new baby" storyline and deserves a big noise. (4 and up)

TOUGH CHICKS by Cece Meng, illustrated by Melissa Suber (Clarion)

From the moment Mama Hen's eggs burst open, she knew she was dealing with some pretty tough chicks...
"Make them be good!" clucked the hens in the henhouse.
Mama Hen ruffled her feathers. "They are good!" she replied.

Yes they are. So what if they wanted to look under the hood of the tractor? They wanted to see how it worked, after all. So what it they swing off the cow's tail and go flying through the air? ("Good form," Mama Hen can't help but notice.) So what if they enjoy a good roll in the pigpen; who doesn't? Peep, peep, zoom, zip, cheep, these are some energetic little eggheads, but when the slop hits the fan, the farm is rescued from disaster thanks to the insights gained by the very behavior everyone in the barnyard has been complaining about. Feminist backlash, take that! This book celebrates learning by doing and being true to yourself, whether or not it seems different or overly assertive to others. Don't be chicken, read it! (4 and up)

DUCK! RABBIT! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle) Told in two debating voices, this book is a ticklish play on a classic optical illusion. What you see depends on how you look at it, but one thing all readers can agree upon: there's more than one way to look at the world, and for that we're all lucky ducks (or is it rabbit's feet?). (5 and up)

And may I take this opportunity to remind you of the classic PETUNIA by Roger Duvoisin (Knopf), the silly goose with a smarty-pants streak who thinks carrying a book makes you wise, only to learn the hard way that you have to crack it open once in a while to really reap the rewards? This title is as necessary to the children's picture book canon as War and Peace to the adult booklist, though, as Petunia would be the first to notice, it's a little lighter to carry around. (5 and up)

Some of my finest feathered friends are the bloggers at Three Silly Chicks, cocks-of-the-walk when it comes to reviewing funny books (an interview with Erica Perl, author of CHICKEN BUTT, currently featured), and just for fun, check out this video about a real life Make Way for Ducklings. I'll try to embed it, but in case it goofs, watch the charming story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prRmQ-OldyE.

WATCH: Parade Leads Ducklings to Safety newsClicker.com, live headlines from around the world. News for your website. TV Shows to watch, the good shows too.

Mon, 18 May 2009 21:05:09 -0400

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I don't usually stray from reviews and recommendations of books for kids, but in the interest of children's literacy I need to shout out about a title that might do for independent reading what Jim Trelease's READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK did for read-aloud.


Why should I subject students to negative experiences now in order to prepare them for negative experiences later? I just don't think mindless work is what I should be grooming them for. I grow weary of hearing teachers say, 'We have to get them ready for seventh grade, or high school, or college.' They are in sixth grade! What about having an enriching powerful, glorious year in sixth grade? The purpose of school should not be to prepare students for more school. We should be seeking to have fully engaged students now.

Sporting possibly the best book title since Smith and Wilhelm's READING DON'T FIX NO CHEVYS, the moniker unfortunately does not clue us in to the real topic that this book addresses. This book is less about awakening the child than awakening the educator to the true dangers of "The Matthew effect" (referring to Matthew 13:12, "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer") in which "students who do not read regularly become weaker readers with each subsequent year," while "their peers who read become stronger readers...creating an ever-widening achievement gap." The upshot of all this indicates that "no matter the intervention, developing readers must spend substantial instructional time actually reading if they are to attain reading competence." This is a book about making time to read.

Miller invites educators to consider what reading means to them, asking where they fall in "Rosenblatt's transactional theory," defining two types of booklovers: efferent readers, who see reading as a way to acquire knowledge, and aesthetic readers, who see reading as an emotional and intellectual journey. She then challenges educators to consider how the kinds of readers we are impacts the way we deliver instruction. Miller also does the important work of redefining children as readers. She offers us a new and positive vernacular: "developing" readers instead of "struggling" readers, "dormant" readers instead of "reluctant" readers ( she quotes Mark Twain: "The man who does not read great books is no better than the man who can't"), and a new category, the "underground" reader:

Underground readers are gifted readers, but they see the reading that they are asked to do at school as completely disconnected than the reading they prefer to do on their own. Underground readers just want to read and for the teacher to get out of the way and let them.

Make sure to have a pile of post-it notes handy when approaching this book, because you will want to mark and remember all the fresh ideas, succinct research, the helpful sidelines (including Daniel Pennac's "Rights of the Reader" and Jen Robinson's "Why You Should Read Children's Books as an Adult"), booklists, websites, and student forms and samples. She outlines conditions for learning, and brings the responsibility of the child into the equation. For all of these selling points, the great, great strength of this volume is that it does not only identify problems in the way we approach instruction, it offers viable remedies. Miller does an extraordinary, comprehensive, and long-overdue-in-the-profession job of naming practices that are habitual but don't work, and then offers alternatives. Traditional practices like teaching whole-class novels, round-robin reading (shudder), comprehension tests, reading logs, book reports and extrinsic incentives all get modern makeovers via genre studies, book commercials, book reviews, audiotapes, reading buddies and role models. This book is so smart in that it reminds us that pedagogy is a science, a series of experiments, some of which fail but some which succeed, and like a scientist she offers both her own anecdotal evidence and observations for other scientists to compare.

Admittedly, there are some points that I myself have experienced differently in my own lab. I am loath to completely give up the whole-class novel, which I have found increases exposure to print and builds community when paired with read-aloud in a whole-group setting. In practice, I probably would push children to read further through books they may not initially like (out of respect and gratitude for my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Schultz, who insisted I go deep into Farley Mowat's OWLS IN THE FAMILY even though I was hardly in the mood for a story of boys in Saskatchewan, and my eighth grade teacher Mrs. Smith's plodding through Nathaniel Hawthorne's initially inscrutable HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES, only to break through around page 48 with what was akin to a sunrise of beautiful writing). Miller is somewhat laissez-faire for my taste when it comes to the care and keeping of books, bemoaning "Those plastic bags [protecting books] are a symbol that reading is an act students cannot take responsibility for without monitoring from a teacher. Why do we work so hard to build fences between our students and books?" As a teacher who has spent so much out-of-pocket to build a collection and who covers paperbacks with contact paper, book care seems like an etiquette issue as much as a responsibility issue, and I would never dream of borrowing a friend's book without securing it safely in a waterproof bag.

Opinions and nitpicking aside, the fact remains: Miller is a real teacher with real rapport, not a robot delivering prescribed curriculum. She writes quite honestly about her own trials and errors, and what works for her, giving a convincing argument as to why they will work for us, too. She has been a renowned and helpful blogger, and a seasoned sixth grade teacher in Texas. In the course of my own travels and exchanges, I have come to the conclusion that Texas boasts a uniquely impressive breed of teachers and school librarians. The state is home to a truly extraordinary Association of Future Educators, offering support (and unbridled enthusiasm) at an early age for those who receive "the calling," and a teaching corps who often receive the brunt of some particularly brutal standardized testing stress. As a result, many have become notably ingenious about delivering exciting and progressive education in the face of adversity. This credibility inspires a willingness to at least try what Miller is advocating or consider old practices with new eyes, and whether or not you agree with every point, you can trust each one is derived from a place of thought, experience and professionalism, worthy of both reflection and conversation.

We are very much on the same page when it comes to validating reading choices by children, and in fact, there have been many people on that page...the page itself is not new. In an article I wrote for Educational Leadership magazine (May 2000) "The Best Twenty-Five Cents I Ever Spent," I allude to Jeanette Veatch's slim but genius 1968 title, HOW TO TEACH READING WITH CHILDREN'S BOOKS.

Veatch is very simple and direct. "First, get LOTS of BOOKS! BIG books, little books, FAT books, thin books, fairy stories, cowboy stories, mysteries, silly stories..." About thirty years later, this is all reiterated and advocated in another way in my own book, HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD TO LOVE READING, in the context of what I refer to as a "motivation-based approach to reading." Best practice still boils down BIG books, little books, FAT books, thin books. But what Miller does here that's new is to fit the argument for more time spent reading these books with some brass knuckles, just the arsenal needed by teachers to battle the bullying aftershocks of No Child Left Behind. Miller offers a very specific plan, a "forty book requirement" (broken down by genre) that gets kids reading more whether or not they read all forty. However teachers tweak it to reflect style, at the heart of this book is a way that works and a way that resonates with real children. If you read between the lines, this book says "you want results? I'll give you results. Just give me the freedom to teach the best way I know how." Let's hope that's one book whisper that grows louder and louder and louder.

At the close of the last page, anyone who cares about children and reading will have a new appreciation of the importance of giving children the chance to read, the choice of what to read, and resources and strategies to make it all happen in the real world and in real time.

We can spend hours determining what students should know and be able to do, crafting instruction to accomplish the desired results, but without considering students' rights to an engaging, trustworthy, risk-free place in which to learn, what we teach will always fall short. Students must believe that they can read and that reading is worth learning how to do well. We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where students are on the reading curve.

Oh, Donalyn Miller. You go, girl.

Also of interest:
More resources from more experts!

So, okay, its mid-May and the kids are starting to smell summer and getting antsy, but there's still a month to go, so how to keep reading fun and at the forefront? OOoooooOOOO, I just got these amazing reader's theater script sets sent to me by Toni Buzzeo, children's book author, librarian and proponent of this snazzy approach (and fresh alternative to "round-robin" reading). Each child is given a part as if in a play, and receives a snazzy laminated card with the lines to be read highlighted. Easy and fun, and a great subliminal way to get kids interested in reading the whole megillah! The series includes scenes from novels like Al Capone Does My Shirts by Jennifer Choldenko, Andrew Clement's Frindle, and Sahara Special by yours truly, as well as beloved picture books like Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge series. For those who prefer the good ol' copy machine and highlighter pen, you can get ten, count-'em-ten reader's theater scripts in each book in the Read! Perform! Learn! series, which also includes "meet the author" interviews, interdisciplinary activity suggestions, worksheets, and standards, basically everything you'd need for a lesson plan. A boon to teachers and homeschoolers, this is also big fun for book clubs, playdates and family gatherings.

Once the Reader's Theater bug bites, you'll also want to check out Judy Freeman's outstanding resource ONCE UPON A TIME: USING STORYTELLING, CREATIVE DRAMA AND READER'S THEATER WITH CHILDREN IN GRADES PRE-K-6 which includes performance hints, songs, scripts, and the kind of fantastic annotated thematic booklists and bibliographies that made the author famous.

And as you compose summer reading lists, you will want to check out RAISING BOOKWORMS by Emma Walton Hamilton (Beech Tree), containing excellent techniques, activities and reading recommendations arranged in age groupings (babies and toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school and middle school), with a special section addressing FAQ's such as "Is It Too Late to Help High Schoolers?", "How Do I Know If My Child Has a Reading Problem?" "How Can I Best Use [The Internet and TV] To My Advantage?" and a super amazing appendix of tables outlining strategies for each age group. This is like having all the great little brochures and booklists you've been saving from the public library in one handy-dandy compendium, but written with all the warmth of a mom sitting across a kitchen table from you while your children are busy on a playdate.

Hope these guides give everyone a head start on circumventing the nefarious summer slide. Happy reading!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


In honor of Mother's Day, how about an afternoon of shopping (or at least reading about it)?
NATALIE AND NAUGHTILY by Vincent X. Kirsch (Bloomsbury) Perhaps the only scenario that could top Eloise's dolce vita in the Plaza Hotel would be to have a house on top of the greatest department store in the world.
At bedtime, Natalie knew just what kind of story she wanted to hear: "There must be at least one happy ending at two cash registers." But it was never what Naughtily wanted to hear: "There must be two happy endings and one escalator!" When asked what they wanted for their birthdays, Natalie said: "To play on every floor of the store from top to bottom!" and Naughtily? "From bottom to top!"
The twin sisters have very distinctive styles, underscored by Natalie's Montessori-like order and offset by Naughtily's dragon and clown-suit haute couture. One rainy day, the girls insist upon being "helpful," issuing home-made maps and lists to insure that guests enjoy the full Nopps Department Store experience while giving a readers a floor-by-floor tour of the amazing place, from a fitting by the world famous designer Dandileoni to a demonstration of the new-and-improved automatic-flying-rainbow-making-umbrella on the gizmo and gadgets floor, to the toy department of our dreams,featuring a loopy rocket-ship rollercoaster, and even mile-long lines for returns, lost and found, complaints and directions, as any good department store should have. Thin-lined, extraordinarily detailed and wildly creative spreads invite children to indulge their visuals ids (and join in riding the unicorn on the antiques floor where a sign reads "do not ever touch anything"). A palette of fuschia, chartreuse, turquoise and gold screams wham, glam, thank-you-ma'am. This book is like getting to go in an elevator and press all the buttons, and then each time to have the double-doors open to miracles of imagination to boot (snow boots, fourth floor, by the way). I haven't seen the like of this book since the imaginative abandon of MAX AND SALLY AND THE PHENOMENAL PHONE by Milos Macourek and Adolf Born in the late eighties, or eye-popping childhood visits with my late grandmother to Marshall Field's Department Store in its full, glittering grandeur (sorry, Macy's, this is Chicago and it will always be Marshall Field's to me). Dozens of readings will still reveal new treasures tucked away to be found in these pages, though on the last endpaper Natalie Nopps has neatly provided a list of her own favorites to go back and seek. Like any great saleswoman, she knows just how to get us to be a return customer. Wow, I guess it's true: Nopps is topps, and so is this utterly fantastic title. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
More big business!
THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson (HarperCollins) A father is falsely accused of embezzling money from the Gollywhopper Toy Company, but his son can save face for his family name by winning the manufacturer's incredible contest full of trivia and puzzles. A knockoff hybrid of Roald Dahl’s CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and the challenging noggin scratching puzzle-solving style of Blue Balliet’s CHASING VERMEER (but slightly easier for middle-grade readers), this book is more than a gimmick, underscoring teamwork and with characters that are not plain just good or bad. Recommended to me first by kids (always a good sign). (10 and up)

On a personal note:
It may be of interest to check out the excellent History of Mother's Day, started in the incarnation as we know it by Julia Ward Howe, who made an impassioned "appeal to womanhood" to rise against war in rememberance of the pain suffered by bereaved mothers after the Civil War. It was further developed down the timeline by Appalachian Anna Jarvis, who sought to honor mothers past and present and came to dislike the commercial aspects of the holiday.

My Mother's Day gift to you is this link to Mom's version of The William Tell Overture (which I will try to upload, but in case it doesn't work, the link is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z4ZsA6X9fA.

Special thanks to my son for making me a mom, and to my goddaughter and family for helping me get my girlie-girl on at her tea party at the PlanetEsme Bookroom last Sunday. Strawberries and cucumber sandwiches for all! Thanks also to all teachers who act as moms-away-from home, loving aunties, grandmas, friends, and good ol' Mother Nature. Lots of great women out there to celebrate!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at www.planetesme.com.


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