Wandering the convention floor and gladhanding the entire kidlit industry at Book Expo is fun and all that, but the best part for me is when my kids arrive, and I get to collect their reactions to the exciting books (and swag!) that I have rounded up for potential review.
Mao: What's this? A Heroes of Olympus medallion? Cool! Did you meet Rick Riordan?
Your Neighborhood Librarian: He wasn't there today... but we could get up at like 6 tomorrow and go down to the convention center and get a ticket so that we can come back to the convention center at 1:30 and stand in line for an hour and get him to sign a book. Wanna?
YNL: How was your drive up with Daddy?
Zhou: It was fine. I made you this art:
Zhou: That's the commander guy, and a ninja, and a cyclops with a chain saw. And three little soldier guys on the end. [NOTE: If anyone ever questions my credentials for evaluating boy books, I am going to point to the cyclops with a chain saw that Zhou made out of crap he found on the floor of the minivan.] Oh and we listened to books on CD. We finished Closed for the Season.
YNL: Surprise ending?
Mao: Moderate surprise.
YNL: Ok what else is in the sack?
Zhou: Why We Broke Up? That doesn't sound like it's for me.
YNL: Daniel Handler is the real name of Lemony Snicket.
YNL: No, yeah, you're absolutely right. Not for you. I was just mentioning.
Mao: I liked The Beatrice Letters.
YNL: I'm sure he'll be happy to hear that.
Mao: Variant? "Trust no one?" Excellent!
Zhou: Mustache!? What's this?
Mao: [reading inscription] "For John Waters." John Waters? Our friend John Waters?
YNL: Well, one of our friends John Waters. The one with the mustache.
Zhou: Mao, go find your own book, I'm reading Mustache.
Mao: YES! VAMPIRE WEENIES!
YNL: Mr. Lubar said that some of those stories are a little scary.
Mao: [already reading] ... mmm-hmm... ok...
[dead silence for a while]
Mao: Cool! He's a mime, and then somebody got bitten by him, and he realized he was a vampire. That's awesome!
YNL: Seriously? A mime vampire? That's like a Jar Jar Binks vampire.
Bob: A Robert Mugabe vampire.
YNL: A house caterpillar vampire.
Mao: You guys...
YNL: Zhou, you finished with that picture book? There's more in this sack you'll like.
Zhou: Wait, I just want to look at the pictures again. Mao, look at this, "Slides should not explode." I love how long his beard is. It has stripes too.
Mao: Very nice. Can I read it now?
Zhou: Sure! [back to the bag] Aww, nice! Mao look, a Hellboy mask! [Dark Horse swag]
Bob: Put it on, I want to see that.
Mao: Oh man! That's Hellboy done in The Amazing Screw-on Head style.
YNL: Mao did I tell you that the same artist did Hellboy and Screw-on Head?
YNL: I didn't?
Mao: Hellboy was a comic book?
[Yikes. He's what, nine? and he knows Mike Mignola's style by sight? Why haven't I been taking him to museums all this time - he could know the difference between Velasquez and Delacroix by now! If he's going to be precocious, why haven't I groomed him to be precocious in a way that might win him scholarship money?! One more example of poor planning on our part. We are bad, bad parents. Who really, really enjoy sharing comics with our kids.]
Zhou: Super Diaper Baby and the Invasion of the Potty Snatchers?! Thanks Mom!
[Bad, bad parents.]
Bob: Is this like xmas morning, having all these books here?
Mao: Pretty much!
Mao: The Orphan of Awkward Falls. Pretty good sounding. I'm going to read the back.
Mao: I read the back and I think it might not be my style. There's a boy genius, but he sounds kind of snotty.
Bob: Wouldn't you be?
Mao: Well, I'll give it more of a look later, but for now I'm going to move on.
Zhou: Hey! The evil lair of the big bad guy in Super Diaper Baby is in Cleveland!
Bob: That's atrocious! Didn't they get the memo? Cleveland is a paradise on earth, full of flowers, and people singing!
YNL: And sports teams that aren't worth a damn.
Bob: Well honey the place did go a bit downhill after I left.
YNL: In 1983.
YNL: Oh! Guys, look what I got you!
Mao: Cute! Sweet! "You have failed me for the last..." Wait a minute...!
Mao: WHAAT? Is there going to be The Strange Case of Origami Darth Vader??? Did you bring it?
Zhou: I love that book! I have it in the car!
YNL: I told him that, baby.
Mao: I've invented a new holiday. It's Bookmas. Happy Bookmas today!
Happy Bookmas, everyone.
Happy Bookmas, everyone.