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A miracle


“It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season—like all the other seasons—is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.”
Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal

April 19, 2001 – December 24, 2012
our miracle dog, every day of his life


Elf Envy: Random Round Up

A few bits and bobs from around and about:

I’m currently reading Blue Balliett’s latest book, The Calder Game. So I enjoyed the recent interview in Newsweek in which Blue discusses lots of things, from mobiles to movie rights.

I just finished The Adoration of Jenna Fox this morning. Talk about a page-turner. (Review to come soon!) I’ve been thinking about it all day long. So many discussion-inspiring topics in this book. If you’ve read it, or if you haven’t, you should check out the great interview with Mary E. Pearson over at Cynsations. It makes me love the book even more.

As if I needed another reason to get myself a copy of Maureen Johnson’s latest book. In her review, bookshelves of doom calls Suite Scarlett, “fun times a bazillion.” And it’s going to be a series! Woot!

Then there is this treasure:

I’ve got a few DVDs of the British version of Creature Comforts, but I hadn’t seen this one. Ha ha ha. Thanks Shelf Talker for sharing. (Can you get over the dog who is a “print-maker.” I guess art really is in the eye of the beholder!). This short seems to belong with Jon Scieszka’s Seen Art?.

Ta ta!

Elf Envy: Random Round Up

Some delights for you on this glorious April Tuesday.

The lovely Mark and Andrea of Just One More Book fame were interviewed here for the Ottawa Citizen. Yay!

Miss Erin has a great recap of readergirlz’ Operation Teen Book Drop event.

Sarah Miller just bought herself the cutest ever writer’s hidey-hole and is asking for your opinion on it’s new name.

Alison Morris over at Shelf Talker shares photos from her recent visit to Linda Urban’s house.

Now get outside and roll around on the grass! (If you’re lucky enough to have some. A sadistic gang of raccoons in my neighborhood has completely massacred my lawn. COMPLETELY. Nasty / adorable little buggers).

I am a semi-colon (of course)

It would seem that this evening, rather than write a clever review of a lovely book I just finished called A Curse Dark As Gold, it was my destiny to discover:

You are a Semi-Colon

You are elegant, understated, and subtle in your communication.

You’re very smart (and you know it), but you don’t often showcase your brilliance.Instead, you carefully construct your arguments, ideas, and theories until they are bulletproof.

You see your words as an expression of yourself, and you are careful not to waste them.

You friends see you as enlightened, logical, and shrewd.

(But what you’re saying often goes right over their heads.)

You excel in: The Arts

You get along best with: The Colon

Elegant? Check. Understated? Not so much. Very smart? If you say so. Hmmmm… nowhere on there does it say anything like, “You are exhausted and you are now officially a sloth-paced reader and it would be nice if you wrote a review sometime soon.”
Tomorrow I promise you all Scaredy Squirrel treats with a nutty interview. Stop by.
(This quiz is floating about the kidlitosphere, but I found it over at Big A little a. Thanks Kelly!)

Otters in poems, Otters in pools…

Lately, I can gauge the kind of week I’ve had by the number of times I’ve searched youtube for: “cute animal videos.” Happy week = few searches, bummy week = lots o’ searches. This week… well… let’s just say I’ve seen my fair share of dancing seals and skateboarding hounds and cats falling into garbage cans. Not to mention otters. Oh the otters.

And so, today for your poetry / viewing pleasure, I present an otter poem, and an otter video (you lucky ducks).

Otter – by Brian Carter

in his coat of many bubbles
he melts into water,
seldom troubles to rise for air,
an oil-slickery streak
of brilliantine, there
below the surface:
a shimmer below the glimmer
and spangle of summer,
a swirl with a tail,
a stain, a shadow
oil-slickery in his trickery
of dodges and feints
and dives and bubbly delvings…
(for the rest, seek out the beautiful collection, The Beauty of the Beast, selections by Jack Prelutsky).

Video time:

Cute little devil.

Hey, do you remember when you were in high school and you had to pay a visit to the guidance counsellor close to graduation to do one of those job interest & aptitude surveys and you found out you would be an amazing nurse or teacher or lawyer or artist etc.? Well, what I’d like to know is, what would I have had to say in order for the guidance teacher to tell me, “Gee, you’d be amazing at tickling baby otters all day long and being their swimming coach and then blow-drying them afterwards!” How on earth did I miss out on that job? I guess I’ll have to stick to hanging out with the cute human pups. Dang it.

Thank heavens other people are reading!

I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the mo’. I just can’t seem to get through anything. It could be that I’m trying to read too many things at once (a sure way to grind my reading momentum to a halt). The crazy thing is, I have so many gorgeous books I could be reading right now, lying all over my house, unappreciated and misunderstood. And I don’t blame them for feeling miffed. Not one bit.

Then, as I travel about the kidlitosphere, I notice that others seem to be getting along just fine, reading away and even writing a review or two (gasp!). Am I hitting the 9 month blog blahs? Perhaps. Stay with me people. I’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, here are 3 reviews I read today that made me want to scatter a few more books around my home with all the rest:

Reading Rants: Madapple

Teen Book Review: Alive and Well in Prague, New York

Miss Erin: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

(Doesn’t Madapple sound kooky/fantastic?)


Over at Chasing Ray you’ll find a bunch of lists of upcoming book that will make for some happy browsing and much rejoicing, compiled by the best of the best kidslit bloggers out there. I could spend way too long bouncing about from one blog to another, writing down all of the beautiful books that will be popping up very soon.

So here are a few that I’m itching to get my hands on:

These two would be in the “I’m crazy about this author and will read whatever they write next” category:

51tmxtzhsal.jpgJessie’s Mountain – Kerry Madden

housedance-hc-c.jpg House of Dance – Beth Kephart

These two would be in the “I’m insanely jealous of people who’ve already got these ARCs” category:

cursedarkasgold.jpg A Curse as Dark as Gold – Elizabeth Bunce

dec_willoughbys.jpg The Willoughbys – Lois Lowry

These two would be in the “Desperate for the Sequel” category:

c_1416532412.jpg Curse of the Spellmans – Lisa Lutz

Janes in Love – Cecil Castellucci

And finally, in the “Guaranteed to be Brilliant” Category:

trouble-1.jpg Trouble – Gary D. Schmidt

So much for the “read more books with male protagonists and/or books written by men” reading goal for 2008. How’s 1 out of 7? I’ll have to keep working on that one.


Miss Erin has given me a prize:


I am blushing. And first, I must say that this honour is all the better because it comes from Miss Erin, who is a dedicated, creative and powerful blogger herself. Thanks Erin!

Now the masterminds behind this award from The Shameless Lions Writing Circle tell me that I need to pass the prize on, which I am more than happy to do. Here goes:

Big A little a – Kelly Herold’s blog was the first kids lit blog I ever found, and it was a bit like falling down the world’s best rabbit hole into a place I never even knew existed. Her thoughtful reviews, her tremendous efforts as the mind behind The Edge of the Forest, and her wonderful weekend review round-ups all got me wondering whether or not I could try out this blogging thing myself. She does everything well. Thank you to Kelly.

Jen Robsinson’s Book Page – Jen was the first person to leave a comment here at Shelf Elf, and therefore I love her. But of course there is much more to it than that. Jen has to have one of the most people-friendly, inviting blogs out there. She posts like there’s no tomorrow, she finds the coolest little tidbits that bring a smile to my face, and she is completely passionate about children’s literacy. I love her Sunday Afternoon Visits.

Fuse #8 – Ah… the Fuse. Where to begin? She cracks me up. She wears wigs. She talks to her Fuse-y mascot. She writes the LONGEST reviews ever that still manage to be completely brilliant and on the money. She is ever-so-witty and she knows all. Oh, and she does podcasts too. When I grow up into a big blogger, I dream of one day, being like her.

Interactive Reader – Jackie Parker is a fine writer. She’s sharp and insightful, and she doesn’t always review what everyone else is reviewing. I always find new things when I visit her blog, and she asks all the right questions in her author interviews.

A Wrung Sponge – Cloudscome’s blog is like a gorgeous crazy quilt, with all sorts of interesting pieces coming together to make an inspired pattern. She reads diverse texts. I admire her focus on multicultural books, and if ever I need to remember how the world is a beautiful and mysterious place, I head on over for a fresh haiku.

The powerful words of these bloggers – and so many others – make the kidslitosphere tick. If a blog leaves me inspired, curious, excited and a little bit happier to be human, then I know I’ve found something good.


Check it Out: New Blog Alert

The other day I came across a new blog that I am pretty excited about.

Readia is brought to us by one of my favourite writers, Sue Stauffacher of Donuthead and Harry Sue fame. The blog has been up and running since August (around the time I started out here, in fact…), and it is well worth a visit if you haven’t done so already.

Sue explains who the blog is meant to serve:

“The goal of Readia is to alert parents, teachers and others who work with children and low-level readers to high quality literature that fosters a love of reading. Readia is specifically aimed at children who are reluctant to read because they prefer other forms of media. They may also have low skill levels. The books that Sue features will be appropriate for all readers, but are targeted at readers from a variety of cultures and/or low socioeconomic backgrounds…” (for more, check out About Readia).

Here are some of the books that Sue has featured at Readia so far:

0152025227_150.jpg 51k80gcnrjl.jpg51mv3otjl8l.jpg

In my opinion, great writer + interesting book choices + great reviews = great blog.  

So check it out.