A Rep Reading

Books, Authors, Publishers, Booksellers, Reps and the Industry

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Animalium Book Trailer


Welcome to the Museum is a series of books set on the “walls” of the printed page, showcasing the world’s finest collections of objects — from natural history to art. Open 365 days a year and unrestricted by the constraints of physical space, each title in this series is organized into galleries that display more than 200 full-color specimens accompanied by lively, informative text. Offering hours of learning, this first title within the series — Animalium — presents the animal kingdom in glorious detail with illustrations from Katie Scott, an unparalleled new talent.
Designed to mimic the experience of visiting a natural history museum, this elegant, eye-catching volume explores the animal kingdom through gorgeously detailed pen-and-ink illustrations that resemble vintage taxonomical plates. … It’s easy to imagine these exquisite images hanging in the gilded hallways of a museum, but unlike a museum, readers can take this experience along with them. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Part oversized album and part encyclopedia, this “museum” of the animal kingdom showcases its variety and diversity with numerous examples from around the world. What distinguishes this collection from similar overviews is its presentation. The illustrations look like nature prints from long ago, but unlike those old engravings and lithographs, these fine-lined drawings began with pen and ink and were colored digitally. … Overall, this impressive survey will surprise and please its visitors. — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Jenny Broom, Katie Scott
Candlewick Press/Big Picture Books
112 pages
10 11/16” x 14 9/16”
September 2014
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Frank Eintsein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka

Kirkus TV interviews Jon about his new six book series from Abrams/Amulet Books: “Jon Scieszka is the funniest kid’s writer in America, hands down. He’s also one of the most respected. We talk to Scieszka about his new book Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, in which Frank Einstein, kid genius and inventor, is staying with his grandfather while his parents travel to Antarctica.”

Kirkus review:

Scieszka mixes science and silliness again to great effect.

Frank Einstein, kid genius and inventor, is staying with his grandfather while his parents travel to Antarctica. That’s just fine with Frank; he and his sidekick, Watson, have inventing to do, and Grampa Al’s fix-it shop is the perfect place to do science. Frank is hoping to win the Midville Science Prize because Grampa won when he was a kid…and because the prize money will let Frank save Grampa’s shop from the bill collectors. Frank’s attempt to build a SmartBot fails, but overnight, a spark ignites the brain he’s created for the bot, and the next morning he finds two very different robots in his workshop. Now he’s got Klink, a smart, self-assembled robot who can learn, and Klank, who’s really into hugging. Frank doesn’t feel right entering Klink and Klank in the contest since they assembled themselves, but together with Watson, the four of them can surely some up with something great. Only evil, rival child genius T. Edison stands in their way, and he’ll stop at nothing. Scieszka launches a six-book series with a likable protagonist and a good supporting cast. Science facts are slipped into the story on nearly every page, and Biggs’ two-color drawings are the C12H22O11 on the cookie.

Less wacky (and more instructive) than Scieszka’s Spaceheadz series—but just as much fun. (Science fiction/humor. 8-12)

“Dear Frank Einstein,
Please invent time machine. Send your books back in time to me in 1978.
Also a levitating skateboard.
—Tom Angleberger, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

“In the final analysis, this buoyant, tongue-in-cheek celebration of the impulse to ‘keep asking questions and finding your own answers’ fires on all cylinders.” —Booklist, starred review

“I never thought science could be funny … until I read Frank Einstein. It will have kids laughing.” —Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
From the Abrams website:
Jon Scieszka has sold more than 11 million books, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, the Time Warp Trio series, Guys Read, Spaceheadz, and most recently, Battle Bunny with Mac Barnett. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Brian Biggs has collaborated with Garth Nix, Cynthia Rylant, and Katherine Applegate, in addition to working on his own picture books in his Everything Goes series. He lives in Philadelphia.

For more information and resources, check out the Frank Eintsein website.

Click here for the Teaching Guide.

Click here for the Activity Guide.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor
Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs
ABRAMS/Amulet Books

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Angie’s Reviews: Fall 2014

Angie Smits is my colleague with Southern Territory Associates and my roommate when we travel together for trade shows and sales meetings. She and Geoff Rizzo are the fearless leaders of our rep group after Jan Fairchild and Judy Stevenson semi-retired recently.Here are Geoff and Angie at a past trade show in Naples, FL:

Here are a few of Angie’s picks from our various publishers for fall 2014 titles. Click on the jacket image for more information on the publisher’s website.

"Did I love this book or was I merely hypnotized? Does it deal with suffragettes in turn-of-the-century Portland, or human rights everywhere in the world today? Is it a cautionary tale, or a love story? Does it make you stand up and shout, or lull you into a beautiful dream? The answer to all of these question is yes, yes indeed."

""I’m my own dog. Nobody owns me; I own myself."

Sassy and self-affirming, funny and sweet, the best picture book told in first person since Richard Scarry’s I am a Bunny.

Go read I am a Bunny again right now then get a copy of I’m my Own Dog to keep and read again and again, even if you just read it to yourself.”

"Totally charming graphic autobiography gives much-needed insight into a girl’s childhood growing up with hearing aids. Sweet, funny, awkward and heroic, the graphic format is perfect (you certainly couldn’t read it out loud!). There’s nothing like this out there, an instant classic."

"A wonderful mashup of fairy tale elements, Russian history, archetypes, magical creatures, and global warming. I dare you to apply that description to any other book ever, from past, present or future!"

"A terrific combination of historical fiction and flight of imagination. Plenty for book lovers to love, and maybe even a touch of American Girl."

"For library geeks, theater geeks, fans of the occult, demons, barbers, demon barbers, high school students, school librarians, library students, Sondheim fans, Italian speakers, actors, singers, prop mistresses, yeah pretty much everybody."

You can find more of Angie’s reviews on Goodreads.

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Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

From the Chronicle Children’s Books description:

Having mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other’s graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results. Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.

Flora and the Penguin
Molly Idle
Chronicle Children’s Books
September 2014

Also by Molly Idle, the Caldecott Honor Winning Flora and the Flamingo.

9781452110066, $16.99

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Downtown Books Gibbs Smith Tote

I’m so excited to own a custom Gibbs Smith tote from Downtown Books. On the front is art by Gibbs Smith of the store front of Downtown Books in Apalachicola, Florida. The art was previously featured on the back of a Gibbs Smith catalog.

On the back of the tote is the store’s logo. Beautiful!

The Art of the Bookstore by Gibbs Smith, Gibbs Smith Publisher, 9781423612841

Downtown Books, the Best Little Bookstore in the Panhandle

More Gibbs Smith book totes:

Click here to see the entire tote collection.

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Hachette Found! At #Indie Bookstores, of course.

From Shelf Awareness:
Shiny, New Green Apple Welcomes Hachette

The staff at San Francisco’s Green Apple Books are hard at work building, painting, assembling and preparing for the grand opening of their new store, Green Apple Books on the Park, on August 1. The first pallet of books (of the 17,000 they’ve ordered) has arrived. Fittingly, it’s from Hachette.


Take a photo of a stack of Hachette boxes and post to social media with the hashtag above. Let’s flood the media with Indies and their Hachette boxes, which of course contain, books by Hachette authors.

Here is a stack of Hachette boxes from my garage.

Let’s see your pictures, Indies!

Previous post:

Green Apple Books Named PW Bookstore of the Year

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Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Publisher’s Weekly:

Gregory Maguire Delivers Another Wicked Fairy Tale

It’s been seven years since Gregory Maguire has been to BEA, he thinks, but he’s looking forward to it, comparing the show to the most festive New Year’s Eve celebration. “If you ever want to see a room in which you get a model of shaken-up champagne, it’s the Javits Center during BEA. Everyone is bubbly and bumping and fizzing about everything they see,” he says. “I really like it.” Maguire is at this year’s BEA to promote his latest fractured fairy tale, Egg & Spoon (Candlewick, September 2014.)

Egg & Spoon, Maguire says, is a take on Mark Twain’s Prince and the Pauper, set in the waning days of czarist Russia, about a decade before the 1917 Russian Revolution. When a train carrying a noble family on its way to visit Czar Nicholas II in St. Petersburg makes a stop in an impoverished village, two girls—one a peasant, the other a child of privilege—accidentally switch places. The case of mistaken identity sets in motion a series of improbable events, with characters that include a monk trapped in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and Baba Yaga, the legendary witch of Russian folklore, who previously played a role in Maguire’s 1983 middle-grade novel, The Dream Stealer.

Baba Yaga is “so attractive—she’s a witch from central casting,” says Maguire. “She has iron teeth and lives in a house perched on chicken legs” Pointing out that anyone who lives in a house with chicken legs would probably intend their home to be mobile, the author discloses that in Egg & Spoon, Baba Yaga’s house “goes on its own walkabout and has its own story line,” because, he adds, “the house has its own ambitions.”

Best known for his bestselling 1995 novel for adults, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (which was made into a popular Broadway musical that has packed theaters for more than a decade), Maguire laughs as he admits that he’s obsessed with witches. He suspects that his fascination with “powerful women who live a little off the beaten track and don’t care about conforming to anybody else’s sense of style, or beauty” extends back to his childhood in Albany, N.Y., when he attended a Catholic elementary school. He greatly admired the nuns who were his teachers there, he says. “They were omnipresent, swathed in black, and possessed a sense of justice that was hard to understand, but impossible to argue with.” — Publishers Weekly, BEA issue, Claire Kirch, May 29, 2014

Ivan Bilibin’s illustration to a
Russian fairy tale about the Firebird, 1899.

KIRKUS ★ review:
Two girls switch identities while colliding with Baba Yaga and the Firebird in Czarist Russia.

Elena, a child of rural Russian poverty in the town of Miersk, is desperate to help her ailing mother and to recover her older brothers, Alexei, at work for another family, and Luka, conscripted into the czar’s army. Her determined journey finds her life suddenly swapped with that of Ekaterina, also 13, a daughter of privilege. Plot details include a pilgrimage to Saint Petersburg to meet the czar and his godson, Prince Anton, a Fabergé egg, a Firebird’s egg, a legacy of matryoshka dolls, and the powerful presence and proclamations of Baba Yaga. Maguire, a veteran writer of reimagined traditional tales for a new world, jauntily explores themes no less profound than hunger and satiety, class and influence, and the sharing of resources in a world wracked by climate change. While not without flaws—a bit protracted, cluttered, overly grand and infused with some metafictive moments that occasionally take the reader out of the story—this is an epic rich with references, aphorisms and advice.

An ambitious, Scheherazade-ian novel, rather like a nesting-doll set of stories, that succeeds in capturing some of the complexities of both Russia and life itself. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)

Baba Yaga as depicted by Ivan Bilibin, 1902.

My review:
A richly woven fable that was thoroughly enjoyable on many levels. The language was exquisite, the storytelling expert, with echoes of history, faraway lands, magical creatures, and folk legends balanced against the realities of human experience. Gregory Maguire makes an exotic Russian setting immediately accessible, funny and poignant. A fabulous read, Egg & Spoon is delightful for readers of all ages. Highly recommended.

Favorite sentence: “Then a steam whistle, which can sound like a piccolo being tortured unto death.”

Next favorite: “Don’t dare me. I majored in disgusting at Gulag Community College.” ~ Baba Yaya

Map of Saint Petersburg, 1903

Egg & Spoon on the cover of the Candlewick Fall 2014 catalog:

School Library Journal ★ review:
With one brother conscripted into the Tsar’s army and another bound to serve a local landowner, Elena is left alone to care for her widowed and ailing mother in early 20th-century Russia. When an elegant train bearing a noble her age rolls through their barren village, Elena and her counterpart, Cat, accidentally swap places. Twin journeys to restore their former stations in life lead to encounters with murderous kittens, royal families, and even the famed witch Baba Yaga, and the challenges that lie ahead go far beyond a simple mix-up. Maguire marries the traditional “Prince and the Pauper” narrative to the Russian folktale of Baba Yaga with his trademark wit and aplomb. His lyrical descriptions of the drab countryside are equally detailed and moving as the charmed, floating courts of the Romanov dynasty. Each character is well-drawn and fascinating, whether its the prim, terrified governess to young Ekaterina or Baba Yaga herself, a cannibal with a heart of gold constantly cracking wise in her enchanted, walking house. The author weaves a lyrical tale full of magic and promise, yet checkered with the desperation of poverty and the treacherous prospect of a world gone completely awry. Egg and Spoon is a beautiful reminder that fairy tales are at their best when they illuminate the precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the darkness and danger of adulthood.–Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, NJ

The original matryoshka matryoshka set by
Zvyozdochkin and Malyutin, 1892.

Publishers Weekly ★ review:
An imprisoned monk narrates this fabulist tale from Maguire, which draws inspiration from Russian folklore, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, while incorporating a modern thread about the threat of climate change. On her way to be presented to the Tsar’s godson, wealthy Ekaterina is marooned in a rural village when a broken bridge stops her train. Peasant Elena approaches the luxurious train to beg, and the two girls take tentative steps toward friendship; when the train starts moving again, the wrong one is aboard. The journey to their eventual reunion brings Ekaterina in contact with legendary witch Baba Yaga. Though the setting is circa 1900, Maguire’s riffs are mostly contemporary: Baba Yaga complains about regifting, owns the original cast recording from Damn Yankees, and bemoans that she’s out of “Granny Yaga’s Frozen Tater Tots, made from real tots.” Like the matryoshka doll Elena carries, there are a lot of layers to Maguire’s story. Rich, descriptive language will reward readers who like to sink their teeth into a meaty story. Ages 12–up.

Set of Matryoshka dolls nested inside each other.

Author Monica Edinger’s Educating Alice blog review, Coming Soon: Gregory McGuire’s Egg & Spoon, “A unique and wonderful read.”

About Gregory Maguire:
New York native Gregory Maguire rose to fame with his best-selling novel WICKED, which has sold millions of copies around the globe and remains a sensation as a Broadway musical. Now the author of an impressive collection of nineteen children’s books, five adult novels, and numerous short stories presents a mesmerizing new novel: WHAT-THE-DICKENS: THE STORY OF A ROGUE TOOTH-FAIRY, a fantasy that is sure to engage children of every age and background.

It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the author says, that he turned what had been a thirty-page BOSTON GLOBE serial project called “Gangster Teeth” into a longer novel with a much larger bite. “I found a way to expand a light-winged story that would not, I hoped, make light of children’s suffering or the need to believe in the next good thing that might happen,” he says of his latest novel.

Gregory Maguire worked for eight years as a professor and associate director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature before receiving his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. “Nothing serves a writer better than getting to teach children’s books as literature—as an art form that relies on traditions of narrative shapeliness and verbal pizzazz as well as saucy innovation,” the author says. He also co-founded and currently co-directs Children’s Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit educational charity that promotes awareness of the significance of literature in the lives of children. With those aims in mind, Gregory Maguire has served on the juries for the Caldecott Medal, the National Book Award for Children’s Books, and the NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Books of the Year.

And what advice would he pass along to aspiring young writers? When he himself was growing up, Gregory Maguire mimicked Harriet the Spy’s investigative route. “Get a spy notebook and spy on everyone,” he suggests. “Try not to get in trouble. Try not to break the law. But pay attention and write it down. That’s the best training a would-be writer can have.”

Gregory Maguire lives with his family outside of Boston, Massachusetts. (from the Candlewick website)

Egg & Spoon
Gregory Maguire
Candlewick Press
Cloth, September 2014

9780763650766, $18.99
Stravinsky’s The Firebird,
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with Robert Shaw
Recommended by Monica Edinger:
"rivting…narrative nonfiction"
--The Horn Book
9780375867828, $18.99

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This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen wins Kate Greenaway Medal!

Huge congratulations to Jon Klassen, Walker Books and Candlewick Press for this unprecedented publishing recognition!

From the Candlewick Press release:

Historic Kate Greenaway Medal win for
Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat

This Is Not My Hat becomes the only book to win both the Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott Medals

June 23, 2014 (Somerville, MA): Candlewick Press is delighted to announce that Jon Klassen has won the 2014 Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration for his picture book This is Not My Hat.

Published by the Walker Books Group – including Candlewick Press in the US and Walker Books in the UK – Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat will go into the history books as the first ever title to win both the UK’s highest illustration honor with the Kate Greenaway Medal, and also win the most prestigious award for children’s book illustration in the US, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, which was awarded in 2013.

In addition, the Greenaway Medal for This Is Not My Hat marks the tenth Greenaway Medal for Walker Books, a feat unmatched by any other publisher, positioning Walker as the home of the very best in illustrative publishing.

Karen Lotz, Group Managing Director of the Walker Books Group said of the win, “Jon Klassen’s cunning hat thief stole our hearts at Walker long ago, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that he has now stolen the hearts of the 2014 Greenaway committee in this historic win. We are particularly proud to be the global publisher of the first creator to win both the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal for the same book. What on earth will the extraordinarily talented Mr. Klassen do next? Watch this space!”

On winning the CILIP Kate Greenaway, Jon Klassen said, “Winning this award is hugely encouraging. Making a book, you’re kind of going out on a limb in the belief that what you think of as a satisfying story is the same as what other people think of as a satisfying story. This doesn’t mean everything in the story turns out alright for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, take reassurance from that. Storytelling is an act of community, of looking at one another afterward and agreeing that we enjoyed it, or not, whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom. The hope is found when we agree we liked it, and I’m so glad you liked this one.”

“Making picture books with Jon is like sky diving,” says Liz Bicknell, editorial director. “Jon says, ‘Okay, guys, I think this parachute’s gonna open.’ His art director Ann Stott and I look at each other, laugh, and JUMP OUT OF THE PLANE. So far, we’ve been landing very nicely. Thanks, Jon!”

Jon Klassen is the creator of the Greenaway and Caldecott Medal-winning picture book This Is Not My Hat, a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year. He is also the creator of the #1 New York Times bestseller I Want My Hat Back, which was named a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Jon Klassen is the illustrator of Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole (coming from Candlewick Press in October 2014), both written by Mac Barnett; and House Held Up By Trees by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser (also published by Candlewick Press), which was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year, as well as Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson, which won the Governor General’s Award, and The Dark by Lemony Snicket. Jon Klassen has also worked as an illustrator for feature animated films, music videos, and editorial pieces. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon now lives in Los Angeles.

Candlewick Press is an independent, employee-owned publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts. For over twenty years, Candlewick has published outstanding children’s books for readers of all ages, including books by award-winning authors and illustrators such as the National Ambassador for Children’s Literature, Kate DiCamillo, M. T. Anderson, Jon Klassen, and Laura Amy Schlitz; the widely acclaimed Judy Moody, Mercy Watson, and ’Ology series; and favorites such as Guess How Much I Love You, Where’s Waldo?, and Maisy. Candlewick is part of the Walker Books Group, together with Walker Books UK in London and Walker Books Australia, based in Sydney and Auckland. Visit Candlewick online at www.candlewick.com.

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular nineteenth century artist known for her beautiful children’s illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

CILIP is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. CILIP’s vision is a fair and economically prosperous society underpinned by literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge. CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. The Youth Libraries Group (YLG) of CILIP works in a ‘pressure group’ role to preserve and influence the provision of quality literature and library services for children and young people, both in public libraries and school library services. Visit www.cilip.org.uk

Media contact: Laura Rivas,
Associate Director of Marketing, Publicity, and Events
Laura.Rivas@candlewick.com / 617-588-4445

Coming in October 2014:

Previous posts on A Rep Reading:
This is Not My Hat Wins Caldecott Medal

Candlewick Bear and This Is Not My Hat photo

Jon Klassen discusses the magic of picture books [video]

Hold on to your hat: This is Not My Hat [book trailer]
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