New Review: MOONDAY by Adam Rex

September 18, 2013

Anyone who knows me knows what huge Adam Rex fans we are here. We read everything he has any part in (just the other day we were reading his discarded to-do lists for a bedtime story) (not really) (but we would if we could).

So I was so glad that Adam somehow managed to schedule the release of Moonday to coincide with the first day of school.  The kids had Moonday waiting for them when they got off the bus.

You won’t be surprised to hear me gush about it on this week’s episode of Brain Burps About Books. It’s a gorgeous, lovely, amazing book, a wondrous book. Moonday proves (not that we doubted it) that Adam Rex is not a one-note writer/illustrator. This book is dreamy in a way his other books are not, but in a way that we all get (note: I mean dreamy as in “like a dream” not like “Davy Jones is dreamy”).

And just look how that book glows! It illuminates Henry’s face like the book is actually the moon! [Insert requisite pun/joke here about Henry therefore being the sun/son.]

You can hear my review and read more about this week’s podcast here, or listen directly in iTunes here.

Oh, p.s. I forgot to post before: I was asked to make a Celebridot. This is a site celebrating the Peter Reynolds book The Dot, about making your mark, and the Celebridot site has dots made by…this feels weird to say…celebrities? Like I’m one of those? Whatever: I was honored to be asked and I had so much fun making my dot I can’t even tell you. My dot is all about the magical power of doodling. Go check it out!



New Review: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

September 11, 2013

You know what I love doing? Audio reviews for the Brain Burps podcast. I have so much fun writing and reading them. I didn’t do any allllll summer long, because it turned out it was hard to write with everyone home this summer, and also I couldn’t ever figure out how to record a review with the noisey noisemakers in the house.

So Katie used up all my recorded-before-June reviews during the summer, except …we forgot one! So today you can hear a review I recorded back in the spring (you can tell I recorded it a long time ago because of the part where I say it’s not watermelon season yet) (and I need to maybe remember not to make my reviews so seasonally-dependent).

Today’s review is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli, a book that can be enjoyed all year round, not only during watermelon season. We love love love this book. And you’ll hear my extreme love of the design of the book, too, if you listen to the review. (And look at how cool it is that Greg uses watermelon-colored pens to sign the book!).

You can see all the information about this week’s Brain Burps About Books episode here (Katie interviews Terry Shay about Dot Day), or you can listen directly in iTunes here.

Also be sure to check out the trailer for The Watermelon Seed. So great!



New Review on Brain Burps: How to Be a Cat

July 2, 2013

This week on Brain Burps About Books I review How to Be a Cat by Nikki McClure. I am so in love with the cut paper illustrations in this book, the simple text, the use of white space, and the cats’ expressions most of all. This book is gorgeous.

You can hear my review on this week’s episode of Brain Burps, or listen right in iTunes here.



New reviews: Monster’s Monster and Pirateria

January 23, 2013

Last week, I reviewed The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell on Brain Burps About Books. I really love the use of color in this book: In the beginning of the book, when the three little monsters are trying to be bad, the colors are all grey and dark and gloomy. And then, when they build their own monster (who’s supposed to be big and bad but turns out a bit different), the colors lighten and get sunnier.

You should also listen to this review to hear a cameo from Dave as the voice of the monster.

You can go here to listen to the episode (or you can subscribe in iTunes).

Then, this week, I review Pirateria: The Wonderful, Plunderful Pirate Emporium by Calef Brown. I love Calef Brown. His art makes me so happy. His nutty, loopy world is populated by lovable oddballs. People might have green or purple skin: what of it? Sometimes I just poke around on his Etsy shop, pretending I live in CalefBrownlandia.

Oh, and guess what? He can write, too. Not only write, but write in rhyme. Seriously, I’d read a Calef Brown book if it was just his illustrations and, like “GUY. OTHER GUY.” written underneath.  But he writes, in rhyme, and the poems are funny and interesting and perfectly complement the wacky illustrations.

Yeah, Julie, could you get to this book, please? Ok: So Pirateria is a book about a store for pirates, who need to load up on pirate gear. Why has no one written a book about a pirate store before? I don’t know. I’m glad Calef Brown is the one that did it. This book rocks.

You can listen to the episode here.


New review: hello! hello!

November 14, 2012

Oh, boy, is this book amazing. You may remember my intense love for Matthew Cordell’s Another Brother. I was so excited to read Cordell’s new book, hello! hello!

This book…oh, this book. I’m kind of speechless about how awesome it is (well, not THAT speechless, since my review today on Brain Burps is one of my longest ones ever). It’s a beautiful book, visually, but it’s also timely and, frankly, very very important. It’s a book about lifting your head up from all those electronic devices and really seeing the world again. Remember trees? Remember people? Real people, in front of you? Remember your kids? Hello!

I will also say that I recorded this review at 8:00 pm on election night, as an effort to get myself to stop maniacally refreshing twelve different web pages of election results. So if there’s a slightly crazed, hysterical edge to my voice in this review, that’s why. Another little funny thing for you to listen for is that I inexplicably didn’t start gesturing until halfway through, and you can hear me start talking a lot more animatedly. Yes, I even talk with my hands when I’m all alone recording reviews for you to hear.

Check out the review on the latest Brain Burps podcast, which is an interview with the amazing Tony DiTerlizzi, who is an incredible illustrator, and co-author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, which are my favorite kidlit chapter books set in Maine.

One last (important!) thing. If you buy hello! hello! by November 30, 2012, Matthew Cordell will send you ALL KINDS OF STUFF. He’s so cool. Check out his blog post here about all the cool art and things he’ll personally send you if you have a receipt that proves you bought the book!


Jonah Lehrer, and me!

May 15, 2012

Jonah Lehrer and I are on Brain Burps About Books today! Ok, ok, so we’re not on at the same time: Katie is interviewing Jonah Lehrer (author of Imagine: How Creativity Works), and (separately) I do a review of Nursery Rhyme Comics. I do think it’s perfect that Katie picked this review out of the ones of mine she has (did you know this about me? I love doing picture book reviews so much I send her bunches of them at a time, instead of just my required one-a-month), because Nursery Rhyme Comics is the most creative bit of creative creativeness that I’ve seen in forever. It’s brilliant.

You can see more information about this podcast episode here, or listen directly by clicking here.



HUGE NEWS! I’m a reviewer on Katie Davis’s Podcast!

September 5, 2011

HUGE HUGE HUGE news, World of Julie fans! I am now a children’s book reviewer on the awesome Katie Davis’s amazing podcast, Brain Burps About Books! I am so humbled and excited to be part of this!

I highly recommend listening to Brain Burps About Books if you have any interest at all in children’s books (reading them or writing them). She has fantastic interviews, and the book reviews are great, even before yours truly became a contributor (although of course now they’re exemplary). Plus, I can now tell you the inside scoop on famous author/illustrators like Katie Davis: while you might expect the author of such classics as Who Hops? and Kindergarten Rocks! to be all snobby and full of herself, it turns out she’s super nice and hilarious and if she lived closer I already would have run over to her house with coffee and apple pie so we could talk in person.

This week is my debut (I review A Pet for Petunia), you can check out what’s on the podcast by going to Katie’s blog, or you can click here to listen. And please do!