Have you met Itsy Mitsy?

So begins this totally adorable children's book I randomly grabbed off the library shelf. Itsy Mitsy is part Cindy Lou Who, part Precious Moments doll---totally adorable, in other words, but with tons of little-girl spitfire.

Itsy Mitsy hates bedtime. So she decides that she'll be running away to a place where there are no bedtimes ever, not even one. Her dad tearfully "helps" her pack. She must bring a friend. No bedtimes is one thing, but no friends? That would be terrible. So along comes her friendliest dinosaur, Mr. Roar. But Mr. Roar needs a snack. And his snack needs to be guarded from the bedtime beasties. And Puptart needs a light to bark at the beasties. And the light needs an outlet. And the outlet needs a house! And ... you get the idea.

I love that the story includes Itsy Mitsy's dad. I love the childish voice and imagination of it---how it's not quite real, and yet very real to Itsy Mitsy. I love the playful illustrations. And I love the poetic rhythm of the writing. This is just one seriously cute little book! Check it out. Itsy Mitsy is one little storybook gal you've got to meet.

Palace of Stone winner! Plus some questions answered

Ok guys, I couldn't choose my favorite question, so it was a random drawing. Congratulations, Shelly! And I can answer the questions Shelly asked:
Did she recognize you? Yep! We're pretty much best friends by now. (Either that or you tend to get a handle on your stalkers' faces.)
Did you call the phone to find it? No! I don't think we would have even noticed it was missing until after we had left -- it was a seriously lucky save.

Shelly wins!
Other questions I can answer:
Kayla asked about the Austenland movie. So did I, in the signing line. She said it is DONE. Done! She has seen it! (And that it is quirky. She loved it, but it's not super mainstream, being directed by Jerusha Hess and all. To which I say, of course! I was expecting that.) She has no idea, zero, nada, zilch about distribution. She said it's much more expensive to distribute a movie than it is to make it (to which I said, "same as a book, then") and it may go to festivals or something but she really has no idea. So, Kayla, I think you and me need to find out the hidden location of the footage, and then go there, with popcorn and muddy buddies and such and just refuse to leave until they let us see it. Unless you have ninja skillz, in which case we could steal it, watch it, and return it without anyone being worse off! I mean c'mon, I'd still totally pay to see it in a theater.
Jennifer Coolidge, R, plays Miss Charming. She tweeted this picture.
I found it on Connie Onnie's blog
Alex asked: I own Princess Academy but haven't read it yet. So my question is this: How eager should I be to read the first one in order to read the second? To which I said: If I were you I would NOT read the second until I had read the first. Unlike her Bayern series, with this one the story is a direct sequel and there would be major spoilers that, if you were me, you would regret being spoiled about.
The newest cover of the newest edition of Princess Academy.
Notice that it is not "The" Princess Academy. 

Stacey asked if she could win, and thus read her first Shannon Hale book. The answer to that is that she could have won, but sadly didn't. I'm so sad I didn't have a dozen copies -- one for each of you! Alas. If  I were going to read a Shannon Hale book for the first ever time, I would read The Goose Girl. That is the one I read first, and I was pretty much hooked for life. If you can't find that one at your library, I'm sure they'll have Princess Academy, because it got a Newbery Honor.
Her first book is the first Shannon Hale book you should read!

Anna would ask Shannon "who her favorite author is and/or who she is inspired by" -- just so happens that I've heard her answer this question lots of times, and noticed that without fail she always mentions Robin McKinley. This time around, she also mentioned Lloyd Alexander.

This is a book by Robin McKinley.
More books that Shannon Hale recommends, here!
Ok that's it for me tonight. Longest winner announcement ever! I have more KidLitCon recap stuff for you though. Coming soon.


My KidLitCon adventure began a day before the actual conference, so I'm calling this installment of the report "Day 0."

On this lovely Thursday, I met up with my friends Rachel and Marie just after 1 p.m. We drove the three hours to Chicago in style - with Rachel at the wheel and lots of yummy snacks. Ladies' road trips are the best, and the talk always makes the time fly.

Our first stop in Chicago was IKEA. (I know, this has nothing to do with KidLitCon or even books but just wait! I am about to impress you with my amazingness!) At IKEA I helped Rachel and Marie get their furnitures all picked out and such, and I finally got a new set of measuring cups for myself. I've been missing the 1/4 cup for a long time, since I melted it that one day. (Wait for it ...)

Rachel, on a spinny cow stool.
Marie, on a pink plastic chair.

We were about to check out when -- oh no! -- Rachel had lost the claim slip for the bed she was buying. The checkout lady called up to the furniture lady and while they tried to get it sorted, I slipped back into the warehouse part to look for the missing paper. Three aisles and two false alarms later, I found it! (Permission to be amazed: granted.) And where did I find it? Underneath Rachel's cell phone. That's right, her phone was almost lost forever in IKEA Chicago. (And now I am taking a bow, to all your applause.)

Quickly, we loaded our purchases into Rachel's Expedition and zoomed off to Anderson's Bookshop (and here's where the books come in). We snuck in just a minute or two late for Shannon Hale's appearance.

Shannon gave as charming and vivacious a presentation as I have ever seen her give. She was, in fact, jumping up and down at one point. Very lively. She took questions from the audience and talked about how going back to writing Miri's voice (for Palace of Stone) was easy for her -- typically, she said, she starts with a story and then finds the character in the drafts. This time, of course, she knew Miri well and had to find the story.

Shannon told us that she is working on a series of Easy Readers, to be called The Princess in Black. The series was inspired by her then-four-year-old daughter who was wearing a skirt and naming the colors. "Pink is a girl color, purple is a girl color, but black isn't a girl color," she said. Shannon protested. Her daughter countered, "Princesses don't wear black." So the books will be about a pretty pink-clad princess who, by night, dresses in black and rides out to do battle with monsters. She is also working on a science fiction book set in the present day -- as yet untitled.

After questions, Shannon Hale signed books. And this is where things start to get lucky for you, Evereaders. I couldn't wait until the end of September to read a Shannon Hale book that came out in August. And I couldn't get a spot in the signing line without ordering a book from Anderson's. So . . . I have an extra, signed copy for one of you!

A signed copy of this excellent book, delivered to your mailbox?
Learn how to win, below!
Just leave a comment on this post (perhaps you will tell me a question you would have asked Shannon Hale?) to be entered in the contest. Whoever asks my most favorite question will win. Or, if I can't decide, it will be a random drawing. Either way, I will announce the winner next Wednesday, October 10.

{This contest is now closed, but you're still welcome to comment!}

Good luck! I hope you win!

The three of us at Wendy's after the signing.
Why did I take no photos of Shannon Hale?
It is a mystery even to myself.
p.s. Oh yeah! After the bookstore we went to dinner and then to our hotel. I was very relieved that it wasn't shady -- since I booked it online two nights before. For some odd reason I got the biggest thrill walking into the hotel room. I yelled, "We're here!" Somehow being in the hotel made New York and KidLitCon the next day seem so much more real. Day 1 report, coming soon!
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