Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Review-Purplicious by Victoria Kann

Product Details
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (October 16, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061244058
5 stars

Product Description
It's purple Pinkalicious!

Pinkalicious loves the color pink, but all the girls at school like black. They tease her, saying that pink stinks and pink is for babies. But Pinkalicious doesn't think so…that is, until her friends stop playing with her. Now Pinkalicious has a case of the blues. But could she ever turn her back on her favorite color?

In the follow-up to the bestselling Pinkalicious, a young girl remains true to herself and discovers that pink isn't only a pretty color, but also a powerful one.

About the Author
Victoria Kann's award-winning artwork has graced the covers and pages of many magazines, newspapers, and books. She is the illustrator and coauthor with Elizabeth Kann of Pinkalicious and Purplicious, which were both New York Times bestsellers. They also wrote Pinkalicious: The Musical, which premiered in New York City to sold-out audiences. Victoria teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Recently she built a tree house for her Princess Pinkerbelles. She often hears galloping in the house and wonders if it's Goldilicious or just her Pinkerbelles.

The first book we read by Victoria Kann was the prequel, "Pinkaliacious." When we saw a new Purple sister edition in the series, we scooped it right up at our school book fair. The cover has raised glitter lettering and the inside treats readers to a tale about true friendship and fitting in. It's okay not to love black! Popularity and confroming to the crowd does not = happiness. Be who you are and explore new things. My girls LOVE this book and we gave it 5 stars!

Blog Tour: N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboard Series + 100 Cupboard Series Give Away!

We are very excited to be kicking off N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboard Series Blog Tour, sponsored by Random House Kids. We have really enjoyed this amazing series and highly recommend it.

There are three books in the 100 Cupboard series, 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire and The Chest King. Here's what awaits you in each book:
Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.
100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson’s inimitable style.

Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor. (taken from good reads).

When Henry York found 99 cupboards hidden behind his bedroom wall, he never dreamed they were doors to entirely new worlds! Unfortunately, Henry’s discovery freed an ancient, undying witch, whose hunger for power would destroy every world connected to the cupboards—and every person whom Henry loves. Henry must seek out the legendary Chestnut King for help. Everything has a price, however, and the Chestnut King’s desire may be as dangerous as the witch herself.

N. D. Wilson concludes a remarkable, worlds-spanning journey that began with one boy and one hundred avenues to adventure. (take from goodreads)

Just for our blog, N.D. Wilson has revealed what lies behind one of the 100 Cupboards. In the series Henry finds his Grandfather's journal, which reveals some of the cupboard secrets. Here's a secret about one of the cupboards that you won't find in the books-

Notes on the Recent Explorings of Richard Hutchins

This notebook belongs to Richard Hutchins. If you find it, please return to Richard Hutchins (currently living in the seaport of Hylfing). Even though it is old and belonged to someone else first, I discovered it beneath some floorboards, and it is mine now. Do not read it. If you took it out of my pocket because you found a dead boy and you were wondering who he was; now you know that my name was Richard Hutchins. I am the dead boy. Please notify Anastasia Willis, daughter of Francis and Dorothy Willis, (currently living in the seaport of Hylfing) that I have died. And give her this notebook. Especially please do not read this next part, just a little ways down, which begins with the word ANASTASIA and ends with the word DEAD.

(Extra Note: If you have never heard of the seaport of Hylfing, that is probably because I have died in the wrong world. To me, worlds are mere chalk squares in a scotch-hop. I now venture to hop them. Possibly to my demise. I’m sorry that my body should be a burden to you. A shallow grave and short prayer is all I ask.)

Anastasia: You were wrong about me. I can be brave. I have been brave many times. I have faced terrors and enemies and demeaning comments. I have been stabbed (and if my memory serves, you haven’t). Perhaps I seemed weak when we first met. I was weak then, especially compared to the likes of Henry York and Ezekiel Johnson. But I was also young. Now, I am thirteen. Nearly. Definitely (if I die) by the time you read this. And I am unafraid. I have returned to the lonely Kansas house. I have returned to the attic. I have faced the doors. I have faced death. I might even be dead. If I am, and you’re reading this, then you can have everything. Even my three best wool socks (I haven’t had time to finish knitting the fourth). They’re yours Anastasia. Just like I am. Or was. I did all this to show you my courage. Please don’t feel badly just because I’m dead.

Exploration #1

The first cupboard I have chosen to test is on the right side of the wall, four up from the floor. In this notebook (which I did not steal—I tried to give it to Henry, but he didn’t want it) there is a short description of the door. (Anastasia, I think your great-grandfather wrote it.)

#31. Collected 1902, Fourth Britannic Tour. Single-pull drawer, oak and sterling, lateral grain. First report: Drunkard in The Swallowed Hog (London Bridge) complaining of a drawer that held weeping, laughter, voices, and even torchlight. Confirmed and purchased. Further observation: drawer cycles in activity. Progression repeats nightly, but appears dormant in between. Activity begins with voices, the low rumblings of a crowd. Ends with distant shouting and applause.

Anastasia, I think your grandfather wrote this next part later. The handwriting is different. (And he put a combination in the margin, too.)

[Partition/Globe, H-let/True pas? Alt?]

I don't know what he meant by that, but no matter. The time has come for adventuring. I will now attempt to enter the cupboard. (Goodbye. Perhaps forever.)

Recently we were able to have a Q&A with N.D. Wilson about his series-

1) We have some followers who are new to the series, could you please tell us what inspired the 100 Cupboards series?

There are a couple different answers to this question, and all of them are true. There’s a little book called The Secret Commonwealth by Robert Kirk, and an appendix to Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott. Both of those contributed their inspiration (especially influencing how I handled magic and faeries and seventh sons). On the other hand, I could honestly tell you that 100 Cupboards was inspired by a lifetime of daydreaming in the wheat fields of Idaho (add some barn frolic, baseball, and barbecues and you have the full package). But the daydreaming itself was inspired by the stories of my childhood—my mother spun me tales at night, my father read us stories (Narnia, Tolkien, etc.) at the dinner table, my grandparents (especially my grandfathers) were full of war stories, adventure stories, and stories of childhood in the Depression. All of these things left their fingerprints on my imagination. At the age of (I believe) twelve, we had a large house fire and had to move in with my grandparents (I was in the attic with my little sister). And so there’s that element of displacement and attic-dwelling as well. But the most immediate answer to your question came in adulthood. Late one night, while my wife and I were chatting with an old college friend, the phrase “one hundred little cupboards” was used. It made me smile with its potential, and I announced that it would be a great title for a book. My wife laughed. She was skeptical (bless her), and she called me out. “Sounds like a stupid book,” she said (sneer-smiling). That was the challenge. She touched her match to the fuse. I had to come up with something. And so I did. I pitched her a tale of 100 Cupboards, collected long ago and hidden behind the plaster of an old attic wall in a farmhouse in Kansas. I told her about their rediscovery, and she finally conceded. It sounded like a fun book, and I went to bed as the victor in the argument—quit pleased with myself, too.

The next morning, she asked me when I was going to start writing. She wanted to hear the rest, and she wasn’t going to stand quietly by while I let the idea die. That very morning, the writing began.

2) Where do you get your creative inspiration from? What inspired you to start writing?

I don’t have a single source of inspiration. It’s a messy process. Most often, it comes from history and the natural world. Dandelions, for example. Ant wars. Big clouds. The Pacific Ocean and the cliffs that guard it. And then there are people. I can’t go to a restaurant without eavesdropping. I love catching one half of cell phone chats, and watching people as they drive and walk and mutter to themselves. People are terrific subjects—even the most boring of us would be terrific characters in the hands of a gifted novelist. Add the stories of Herodotus, a distinctly American personality and childhood, and you get my bulletin boards dotted with scraps and push pins (recently cleaned, I’ll should add), my notebook full of scrawlings, and my hard-drive full of opening chapters, lines, character sketches, poems, and short stories.

I began writing in junior high, and it was because of my profound love for stories, and my finicky taste in selecting them. I didn’t like reading just anything. In fact, more often than not, books irritated me. Not because I thought they were bad (though many were), but because they did not give me the particular experience that I was looking for. Narnia did (as I grew, The Space Trilogy took its place). Tolkien did. And everything else was measured in some sort of comparison to those authors and a few other favorites. (When I first began writing, it was rather disappointing to learn that I couldn’t just decide to write like Lewis and expect it to happen.) P.G. Wodehouse taught me to love playing with prose (and character comedy), and he became a different sort of gold standard for me. I was picky. And whenever I fussed about a book at the table (from an early age), my father questioned me—pushing me to modify and edit whatever I’d been reading. That slid me into the creative driver’s seat. The rest just sort of happened.

3) Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Being a father of little ones, how do you find the time to sit and write?

Thank you! It’s odd how easy it is to fall in love with a little pink person who gurgles. As for finding time to write, often I don’t. Or at least it doesn’t feel like I do. Only recently, I finished a remodel which includes (blast the trumpets, bang the drums!) an office of my own. Up till now, I’ve always had my computer somewhere with a high likelihood (or certainty) of interruption. For a long while (through Leepike Ridge, 100 Cupboards, and Dandelion Fire), I even kept my computer in the playroom. It’s not been a bad thing. I like being accessible. (Who wants to be a distant or absent father?) But it did mean that I had to get really good at going Zen, getting lost in my story, ignoring the world around me, and cocking only the merest of subconscious ears for the sound of crying. I remember one moment (while writing Dandelion Fire) when I suddenly realized that I had a three year-old on my lap, watching Cinderella (on full volume) over my shoulder. As a result of all this (and also as a result of how I behave when a story grips me), I have done a lot late-night writing over the last couple years. We’ll see how (if) having an office changes that.

4) What has been your biggest reward in writing?

Hmm. It’s hard to finger just one thing. I’ve loved the photos (and stories and drawings) I’ve been sent by fans from around the country (and the world). Parental snapshots of kids found passed out at one in the morning with 100 Cupboards open on top of them, etc. But that’s all just a product of what I think is the central reward—seeing imaginations well fed. I love watching kids itch with excitement, not only from one of my books, but with an excitement for the world, an excitement to discover, to hunt, to explore. I got an initial taste of that reaction with Leepike Ridge, and it’s only increased since. There are kids all over the country who have wide eyes and bouncing knees and an intense desire to know . . . everything. That kind of curiosity is a joy to feed.

And, of course, I really enjoy having kids talk to me about my characters like they’re our mutual friends and not creations of mine. To them, I am just someone who knows Henry and Henrietta and Anastasia and Richard really, really well. I love those conversations.

5) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The process of becoming a writer is a trial by ordeal. Throw yourself into the nearest pond and see if you float. (If you sink, you’re not one.) Keep working on your craft and repeat the process until you’re extremely buoyant. Which is also just another way of saying that cream rises. If you want to get published (and you want to succeed once you have been), become cream. Work on your characters. Work on your dialog. Work on your powers of description. Work and don’t stop working. Be brutal on your own material. Always look to improve, and know that publishers want good stuff (at least in theory). If you get to the point where you are writing really good stuff, you’ll make your way to the top of the slush piles, interns will pass your manuscripts up the food chain, agents will actually answer your phone calls. You’ll make it. But there will be years (usually) of sweat involved, and you shouldn’t get discouraged by all the blisters along the way. Every difficulty, every setback, every moron who doesn’t ‘understand’ your writing is an opportunity for you to work harder and to become more buoyant.

6) Some of us are mothers and we have enjoyed reading these books with our children. What message do you want your young readers take away from reading the series?

This ties in to the earlier question. I want to write anti-escapism. I don’t want kids to read my stuff and get bummed out at the boredom of their own existences. I want to help open their eyes to the wild things that exist (and can happen) in their own backyards. The central thing that I want my young readers to take away from all of my books is extreme curiosity and a thirst to explore—and I don’t just mean physical geographical exploration. I want to make them hungry to know, to learn, and to reawaken an appreciation for many of the familiar things that we often overlook—to reveal opportunities for magic in the mundane. It might not always happen, but hey, it’s a goal.

For more information on N.D. Wilson's books, please visit his site here:

You can also visit Random House Kids here:

N.D. Wilson will be continuing his blog tour tomorrow, here:

Thank you N.D. Wilson for taking the time to come on and visit with us. Congratulations to all the success of The 100 Cupboards and to your newest release, The Chestnut King. Thank you to Random House Kids for allowing us to be apart of this.

*Don't forget about our 100 Cupboard Series give away!! You can get more information here:

You can read our read our reviews of each book on our Mundie Moms Blog, our forum and on our blog here.

* The series will also be spotlighted next month on The Today Show with Al's Book Club For Kids-

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~