Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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Interview with NY Times Bestselling ‘Babymouse’ & ‘Squish’ author Jenni Holm

Jennifer L. Holm is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and the recipient of three Newbery Honors for her novels ‘Our Only May Amelia’, ‘Penny from Heaven’, and ‘Turtle in Paradise’. Jennifer collaborates with her brother, Matthew Holm, on two graphic novel series — the popular Babymouse series and the bestselling Squish series. ‘Babymouse for President’ is an Eisner nominee.

Thanks for interviewing me. I have a personal San Diego connection. I was born here! (At the Naval Hospital). And my family and I attend Comic-Con every July, so we love San Diego.

Henry: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to speak with us. And for our readers, the Newbery Medal is given to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The Newbery (along with the Caldecott) is considered one of the most prestigious children’s literature awards in the United States.


For what audience do you write?

I write middle grade fiction (‘Penny from Heaven’, ‘Our Only May Amelia’, ‘Turtle in Paradise’) and graphic novels with my brother, Matt Holm (The Babymouse series and the Squish series).

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is ‘Squish: Game On’. It actually features a comic convention.

Henry: Amazon helpfully adds “a hilarious, action packed graphic novel series from the award-winning creators of Babymouse! Filled with superheroes, comics within comics, and gross-out science, Squish is perfect for fans of Dav Pilkey’s ‘Captain Underpants’, Dan Gutman’s ‘Weird School’, and Jarrett Krosoczka’s ‘Lunch Lady’.

Beep! Beep! Squish can’t get enough of his awesome new video game Mitosis! (Mitosis is what happens when cells divide. Who says video games can’t be educational?) In fact, he may even be obsessed! He plays at home . . . at school. . . even in his sleep! Are video games taking over Squish’s life?! And can Squish’s favorite comic book hero, Super Amoeba, stop the Creeping Black Mold that’s taking over Small Pond?”

What do you hope readers will get from reading that book?

Kids today have to deal with the challenges of different media (video games, etc.) This book tackles what is a common situation a lot of kids face.

Henry: The heartbreak of unwanted mitosis?

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

It’s hard to live in your own head all day.

Henry: Some heads more than others. The voices. The voices!

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

The impact you can have on a child. A book can really change someone’s life.

Henry: I admit it was delightful to hear that after reading ‘Nimpentoad’ one of my little readers will now eat mushrooms. A small victory, perhaps, but we take them.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

I probably wouldn’t be able to wear pajamas to work.

Henry: And fuzzy slippers?

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Read! Read! Read!

Henry: Yes. I heard this great saying at a SCBWI conference, “Just as the lion is the product of all the zebras she’s eaten, the author is the product of all the books she’s read.”

Do you have any favorite quotes?

Keep calm and revise on.

Henry: Good one. I don’t think all aspiring authors realize how much revising is required.

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?

I generally don’t like to discuss whatever I’m working on. I worry I will jinx myself. (I’m pretty superstitious).

Henry: How do you feel about black cats walking under ladders on Friday the 13th?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to make the house be instantly clean (I have two kids).

Henry: So, you’d be exercising that power frequently. Very original superpower. Well played, Jenni. Well played.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?

Lloyd Alexander (my childhood hero), Bill Watterson (my whole life hero) and Hal Foster (my Prince Valiant hero).

Henry: Wikipedia helpfully adds, “Lloyd Chudley Alexander was a widely influential American author of more than forty books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of five high fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.”

Hal Foster was a Canadian-American illustrator best known for his comic strip Prince Valiant. And of course, we all know and love Bill Watterson from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

The dragons from Anne McCaffrey’s “Harper Hall” series.

Henry: Dragons. It’s always dragons. There has to be some deep psychological root for our affinity.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I have recently taken up fencing and I love it!

Henry: Touche!

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

She Liked to Revise

Henry: Or “She Liked to Revise”, then “She Liked to Edit” underneath, then “stet”.

Where can readers find your work?

www.jenniferholm.com and www.babymouse.com. And I hope to see everyone at San Diego Comic-Con!

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.

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Game of Thrones meets The Muppets

Many kids love The Muppets. Many adults like Game of Thrones. But would a normal person conflate these two franchises? No, a normal person would not.  But, in a “Hey, you got peanut butter in my chocolate!” moment, animator Yehudi Mercado did just that with his ‘Game of Thrones of Muppets‘.

As the ultimate proof of his creativity, Mr. Mercardo has a poster in his office signed “Yehudi, you are a genius.” — JJ Abrams. He has other interesting projects in the works. Coming this fall, Archaia Publishing (those wonderful madmen who brought us Mouse Guard) will launch Yehudi’s next graphic novel, Pantalones, TX. It’s about troublemaking kids in tiny Texas town. Mr. Mercado also has two graphic novels in development: Throne of Secrets and Rocket Salvage.

This mashup raises some interesting questions. Would Cookie Monster ever utter the immortal words “Cookie is coming”? Is Oscar the Grouch’s garbage can made from the finest Valyrian steel? Perhaps @Dedalvs has some more language creation opportunities here…

Thanks to @charliejane of @io9 for bringing this to our attention. 🙂


Tyrion Fozzister (Prince Tyrion Lannister) – “A Lannister always pays his wogga wogga wogga.”


Jaenerice Targaryen (Daenerys Targaryen) – Mother of Dragons


Animahl Drogo (Khal Drogo) – Greatest of the Horse Lords


Prince Joffrizzo (Prince Joffrey) – There’s a reason incest is forbidden


Petyr Beakish & Dr. Varys Honeydew (Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish and Lord Varys “Master of Whisperers”)got2

Kermit the Stark (Lord Eddard Stark) – Both Kermit and Ned have trouble keeping their heads.


King Rolf Baratheon (King Robert Baratheon) – First (and, sadly, last) of his name


Queen Cersei Piggister (Queen Cersei Lannister) – Is it a coincidence her name sounds the same as Circe? I think not. That is one evil bitch.


Linky Lannister (Prince Jaime Lannister) – Kingsguard, King Slayer, and inventor of the phrase “incest is best”

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Evil cat photos

Courtesy of http://mashable.com/2013/04/15/cats-plotting-to-kill/

Haunting a cemetery

Shadow is displeased with her human slaves. The last time that happened, the undertaker had a very busy week.

Mr. Tickles just cut the phone line.


“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to ration my Friskies…”


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15 reasons/photos why big dogs are awesome

I love dogs, especially big dogs. Here are 15 reasons why.

They are good at the tango.

When they sit around the house, they sit AROUND the house!


They are good at the foxtrot


They help keep you warm at the pool


They keep you warm on the couch


They can get a drink for themselves at the kitchen sink


They are gentle with small creatures


They fold for easy storage


They can get cookies on top of the refrigerator


They make excellent chairs for babies


They are kind to the elderly


They make good mops


They make good footstools for toddlers


They keep you from blowing away in a stiff breeze


They can give smaller dogs a ride



Show Some Respect for Giant African Land Snails!

from http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/us/florida-giant-snails/index.html

Let’s hope these dudes don’t team up with those mutant rats that are infesting Teheran!


Florida, already threatened with sinkholes, now has a new terror: rat-sized, tire-puncturing snails.

Sounding like something out of a 1950s B-movie, these giant African land snails eat their way through some surprising stuff, including stucco, plastic recycling bins, signs and more than 500 species of plants, says the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Their calcium shells bear pointy edges that are sharp enough to blow out tires of vehicles that run over them.

Agriculture Department spokeswoman Denise Feiber says the menacing creatures also carry a human parasite called rat lungworm, which is a form of meningitis and potentially deadly.

So far, no human cases have been reported in Florida, Feiber says. But some giant African land snails that have been captured in the state have carried the parasite.

The snails are isolated to the Miami-Dade County area, says Feiber. Experts don’t know exactly how they were first introduced to the United States. It’s thought they may have hitched rides aboard incoming travelers’ luggage. Or some of them may have been intentionally carried into the country as pets — and then released.

The snails have another trait in common with rats: They can multiply very rapidly — and grow to adulthood in a year, Feiber says. The snails can produce up to 1,200 eggs per year, and they can live up to nine years.

Since agriculture officials first discovered the snail invasion in 2011, trappers have collected more than 117,000. Officials are hoping to prevent a worst-case scenario, where the snails would threaten Florida crops.

Some countries, such as Ecuador and Barbados, have run out of resources to fight these critters, Feiber said.

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15 Funky Hybrid Animals That Deserve a Chance at Life

from http://mashable.com/2013/04/15/hybrid-animals/

1. The Shug

2. The Slortoise

3. The Rhinohopperous

4. The Igllama

5. The Chino

6. The Turtlegator

7. The Barn Cowl

8. The Liosp

9. The Canda

10. The Alicon

11. The Tyranapillar

12. The Elephuck

13. The Crenguin

14. The Texas Longhorn French Bulldog

15. And the Homo Snakian