October is a Scary Month

I always breath a sigh of relief when October is over. We have had some of our biggest fires in Southern California this month when everything is soooo dry and rain this early is an aberration. So far so good—here (although it’s supposed to be back up in the 90’s part of next week). But instead of wondering how far out into the ocean all the residents of San Diego County would have to go to escape flames, we have watched the pictures of a fire on the other coast raging amidst the storm and floods.

From friends who lost homes in fires, I know that rebuilding can take longer than someone who didn’t suffer the loss can imagine. But, rebuilding and regrowth, whether slow or fast, do proceed. Tragedies can help us order priorities, find inner depths of strength we didn’t know we had, and discover community with other people.

To my countrypeople who faced Sandy, I am so sorry for the danger and fear you had to experience, for any losses you have to bear, and I’m also grateful for the hug you gave a child who was scared and the hand you lent a neighbor. May your ultimate gains outweigh your losses. And may the rest of us be as generous.

And one thing I’ve learned from disasters here and afar, when the power grid goes out, people eat their ice cream first—proving my point about priorities.

What’s left the day after Halloween

Last week, I reviewed Halloween books, but mentioned that some of my favorites on the Halloween display were not actually about Halloween. Today some of those gems:

I Need My Monster, written by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam, and published by Flashlight Press in 2009. What lived under your bed when you were little? My bed sheltered alligators, snakes, and unidentified scaries. Those night time creatures must have some purpose besides just making you think twice before you risk getting another drink of water. Find out in this wonderful picture book.

Nightsong, written by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long, and published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2012. First, I have to give my disclaimer. I am a bit besotted with bats (as any gardener should be, but you don’t want me to get started). Chiro is a young bat cautious of the darkness. His mother tells him to use his “good sense.” She explains, “Sense is the song you sing out into the world and the world sings back to you . . .” It’s a lovely story of his adventure and discovery of the

This is not a bat hanging from a branch–just a squirrel imitating a bat. Can you find it?

meaning of his mother’s words. The illustrations will delight your visual sense, and the story will sing in your heart.

The Spider and the Fly, Tony Diterlizzi did “spine-tingling” illustrations for the 1829 poem by May Howitts. You can find his black and white drawings in this picture book published also in 2012 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. I have loved this piece since I had to memorize and recite a poem in sixth grade, and chose this poem. “Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly. “Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.” This is a cautionary tale is a delight.
Bunnicula, written by James Howe in the voice of his alter-ego, Harold X., a dog, and published by Avon Camelot Books in 1979. Harold belongs to a family that includes regular members—a mom and dad, two brothers, Chester, a cat with an overly active imagination, and a new bunny. When vegetables start turning white, Chester is sure the bunny is a vampire. I love the books in this series of chapter books. If you haven’t read them, you’re in for a treat.

Zombie in Love, written by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Scott Campbell, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers in 2011. Although this book was on the Halloween table obviously because of the zombie connection, I would head out and get this book in preparation for Valentine’s Day. The jokes in the illustrations make this a book for older kids. And the story reminds us that sometime it takes a while to find one’s soul mate. Which brings me to my husband . . .

I was going to tell you about what was haunting him last night, but this is getting too long. So, instead, if you are in the San Diego area tomorrow night (11/2/12), come by The Yellow Book Road, a children’s book store, in Liberty Station and I’ll tell you about the haunting in person. The first Friday night of each month is Friday Night Liberty at the Pt. Loma Liberty Station. The museums are open for free. You can find info at http://livepage.apple.comlibertystation.com/events
(It might or might not work as a link.)

We’ll be there from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. and I’ll be signing my book. It would be great to see you there.

Finally, don’t forget the contest/drawing. You have one week to enter. Just tell me what blog post was your favorite and/or the most helpful to you. I will throw your name in a hat. If you also tell me why you picked what you did, I’ll throw your name in a second time. This helps me find out what most appeals to my readers. The prize is . . .  a book! See details in the last blog.

One last attempt this week to add a link. My sister sent the link this morning. It makes me proud to be a humanoid.


I couldn’t get the second one to work as a link. So copy and paste to see the video.