Wednesday, August 31, 2011

clarice bean spells trouble

Our Book of the Month is...
Clarice Bean Spells Trouble
by Lauren Child

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Clarice Bean seems to be in nonstop trouble these days, almost as much as Karl Wrenbury, who is the naughtiest boy at school. If only she could be more like her favorite book character, Ruby Redfort, girl detective, who is very good at getting out of trouble. The problem is, Mrs. Wilberton is planning a spelling bee, and just thinking about it gives Clarice a stomachache. The good news is that there is also going to be a class performance of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, and Clarice is exceptionordinarily keen on landing a starring role, so she can get discovered by someone who spots child talents and escape spelling-bee humiliation. But when Karl Wrenbury has a family problem and gets into really big trouble, Clarice does something utterly unexpected, altruistically proving Ruby Redfort's maxim "Never let a good pal down."
The superbly talented Lauren Child returns with another fast-paced, full-length adventure full of wacky wit, visual appeal, and a surprisingly heartwarming twist sure to reel in the most reluctant reader — and the most inventive speller.

What I think:  All three Clarice Bean books are terrific.  However, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble is my favorite because I love words and spelling bees make me happy.  When I shared this book with second graders, they were delighted with the story.  Clarice Bean Spells Trouble makes a great read aloud because Clarice has a very strong (and funny) point of view.  Plus, I love Lauren Child's illustrations and the way she plays with the way the words look on the page.  Very creative!

Monday, August 29, 2011

my writing studio

I keep books on my desk for inspiration.
Some of these books are over a hundred years old.

Here's a nook where I have a jar of markers and a few favorite quotes.  

The middle quote says, "The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world." -Natalie Goldberg

I also wanted to hang this Save The Date postcard in my studio.  
(Painted by my sister, Miranda Maxwell.)

Calvin seems very pleased with our newest addition: 
a nautical print bench cushion.

It's our new favorite spot to curl up with a good book.

Speaking of books, here's my bookshelf!

I painted the chair a color called "down pour blue" 
because I think it's the most wonderful name for a color.  

And, I created these pictures using a cookie cutter in the shape of an A.

Click here to see where the cookie cutter inspiration came from.
Bonus Question: Both of my cats love spending time in this writing studio.  Can you find them?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fishbowl on my desk


1. the building or room where an artist works  2. a place where people go to learn, practice, or study an art (such as singing, dancing, acting)  3. a place where movies are made  4. a place where music is recorded

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Do you know which two female singers share the same bright blue-dark green-brown Colorscope?  "I Fall to Pieces" and "Rehab" are two of their most popular songs.  Both were born in September.  And sadly, neither one of them are still with us.

Click here to see the answer.  Click here to learn more about Colorscope.  Click here to see all of my posts about Colorscope.

Friday, August 19, 2011

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


1. a change or a set of changes that corrects or improves something  2. a new version of something

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

book poem

extremely loud and incredibly close
summer people
learning to sail
the hungry ocean

Monday, August 15, 2011

grace kelly and audrey hepburn

I just discovered a really neat blog called "Awesome People Hanging Out Together".   The title pretty much speaks for itself.  Click here to explore.

Above photo is Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn at the 28th Annual Academy Awards on March 26, 1956.

Friday, August 12, 2011

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


1. dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories.

Which of the following characters do you consider most pragmatic? (A) Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz (B) Hermione from "Harry Potter" (C) Charlotte from "Charlotte's Web" (D) Hansel and Gretel from the fairytale "Hansel and Gretel"

Saturday, August 6, 2011


When I write, I always use a blue ball point pen.  Call me superstitious, but I like the way the words look on the paper.  I record all of my work in lined composition notebooks (see below).  Once I get my thoughts down, I let them sit for a while and then I'll retype what I have into my computer.  

Are you a writer, artist, actor, musician, designer? What tools do you need to create?

Friday, August 5, 2011

word of the week

Our Word of the Week

that I added to the fish bowl on my desk


1.a mixture of different things  2. jumble

Thursday, August 4, 2011

society of children's book writers and illustrators

SCBWI has a wonderful conference in Los Angeles this weekend. If you are someone who is interested in writing/illustrating/reading/thinking about children's books, this is a wonderful way to connect with likeminded people. The conference runs from August 5th-8th.  To learn more, go here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

my new favorite notecards

Aren't these the sweetest little notecards? Audrey Hepburn rides her bike with Mr. Famous!  The cards are made by artist Julia Denos (illustrator of the delightful book, Just Being Audrey.) Here's a link to her blog. And if you're like me and you want to purchase her wonderful notecards, go here.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

harriet the spy

Harriet the Spy
by Louise Fitzhugh

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Harriet M. Welsch is determined to grow up and be a famous author. In the meantime, she practices by following a regular spy route each day and writing down everything she sees in her secret notebook--including her most private and honest thoughts about her friends and classmates. Then one morning, Harriet leaves her spy notebook lying around and her classmates find it. They're not at all happy about the nasty things Harriet has said about them. Now the other sixth-graders are stealing her tomato sandwiches, forming a spy-catcher club, and writing notes of their own--all about Harriet!

What I think:  Harriet is my favorite kind of character: clever, funny, and incredibly self-aware.  This is a winning story about a girl who is born to be a writer.

(Image via Goodreads.)