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2011 May 20
by ratchatreviews

Hey There, CHATTERS!

Glad to have you back for another CHAT!

Morris and I are especially delighted to be chatting about the new charming and clever picture book written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by the talented David Roberts entitled — DEAR TABBY.

This is one smart advice-giving columnist cat! (Even if we rat-types have to say so ourselves.)


Tabby D. Cat helps everyone in Critterville from hamsters and hounddogs to finicky cats and over-chatty parrots, find a little bit of their own happiness.  And this kitty does it with humor and a good dose of feline common sense.

Ms. Crimi’s hip wit and Mr. Roberts’ sophisticated art and design are, as Tabby would say, a “purr-fect” combination, making DEAR TABBY a winner with us.

So kick off your shoes, sit back with a cup of tea or your favorite cafe latte, and spend the next ten minutes with us and DEAR TABBY.


(You CHATTERS know the drill — enjoy the vid — and we’ll see you on the other side.)




Author Carolyn Crimi is a self-proclaimed “Princess” and transplanted “Lawn GEYE-lander”, now living near Chicago in Evanston, Illinois — where she has been writing some very entertaining children’s books — as she confirms “for centuries.” Her fans have recognized her humor and love of language in books like WHERE’S MY MUMMY? and HENRY AND THE CRAZED PIRATES, both illustrated by John Manders; and the Halloween ‘Romance’ BORIS AND BELLA, illustrated by Gris Grimley. For ‘serious insight’ into this gifted writer, (as well as some good chuckles), Morris and I highly recommend reading the author’s, “My Very Own Scholarly Column”. (The lady’s got one wicked good sense of humor.) Curious about the ‘story behind Dear Tabby?’ Ms. Crimi shares the inspiration with her fans and interested readers on her website.

We especially like knowing that one of Ms. Crimi’s favorite books is DON’T NEED FRIENDS illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, which, coincidentally, stars a rat.  (Who knew?)


David Roberts was born in Liverpool, England and has illustrated over 70 books, several of which he did with his sister Lynn. According to Mr. Roberts, Victoria sponge cake is his favorite food; he does not have a mobile phone (good for him!); and this British sartorial gent always wears striped socks — “never plain.” Morris and I both adore his illustrations in IGGY PECK ARCHITECT, written by Andrea Beaty, which Mr. Roberts reveals was influenced by his own favorite artist, David Hockney. Good stuff!


Want to win a FREE COPY of DEAR TABBY by these two unique talents? — Just leave a comment and you’re in the hopper. The winner will be contacted in a few weeks — so don’t miss out! It’s a book that not only brings a smile but also a heartwarming message that will be enjoyed and appreciated by all ages! (Feline and otherwise.)

It’s also a great book for classroom use on the subject of how to write a good letter! Check out the author’s fun activities for this book!



Well, that’s it from here — for now. Please join Morris and me next time when we will be CHATTING about the new Kate Feiffer book — MY SIDE OF THE CAR, illustrated by her dad, Jules Feiffer. (We recommend it as a great gift for Father’s Day — or any day!)

See you then — Stanley







Stanley & Morris Florida Bound!

2011 May 6

Hi Chatters!

Poor Morris.  He’s been suffering and struggling with spring allergies so his fabulous dulcet tones are a bit more nasal than usual. With so many achoos and the challenge to keep him in tissues, we’ve been unable to get into the studio and record a new episode of RAT CHAT.  But, undaunted by swollen sinuses and a touch of laryngitis, we’re heading down to Orlando for some warm sun, less pollen and the IRA Conference. We give thumbs up for “The Power of Literacy”. (Of course, we don’t exactly have thumbs … but you know what I’m saying here.)

As we read our way down to Florida we’d like to share what’s in our book bags with our RAT CHAT audience: Morris is reading and enjoying — on his ipad — the Kirkus starred review brand new mid-grade novel, Cinderella Smith. Written by debut author Stephanie Barden and illustrated by one of our personal favorites, Diane Goode, this particular ‘Cinderella’ already has a sequel signed up at HarperCollins. Girls in grades 2-4 will have fun reading what PW calls a “clever slice-of-life” novel — and we agree. A little bit of mystery, a lot of laughs, a bright character full of spunk, and delightfully engaging illustrations make this book a winner.

The spot illustrations throughout the book are wonderful companions to the bright and breezy text. Read an excerpt!

One of you lucky CHATTERS can win a copy of this book — signed by both the author and illustrator, Stephanie and Diane —  by just leaving a comment! (No magical salacadoo or fairy godmother intervention necessary.)

Morris and I hope we can convince this modern-day ‘Cinderella’ to stop by for a future CHAT and maybe give us an ‘exclusive scoop’ about the next book, Cinderella Smith and the More the Merrier coming out in 2012.

I’m doing some ipad reading myself, enjoying the very funny and entertaining graphic novel, Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies. Anytime you have text by Andrea Beaty and illustrations by Dan Santat, you just know that means you’re going to be up to your cotton-tails in hilarity. And you were thinking summer camp was just bunk beds and s’mores?  Oh really? Try seven-foot fiendish fluffy alien rabbits invading Camp Whatsitooya and the world! Lucky that twins Joules and Kevin, who btw are insomniac devotees of scary late night movies, know how to deal with these out-of-this-world sugar-addicted hares. (Whew. It’s a nail-biter, all right — but with loads of chuckles.)

Morris has been having fun with the ‘Official Bunny Mask’, although, I notice a couple of folks down the aisle are … shall we say … not amused. (Of course, Morris has also been telling a lot of ‘butt’ jokes to anyone and everyone who will – or won’t listen … so that may have something to do with a couple of the grouchy receptions to his attempt at stand-up.  What can you do? Some people have no sense of humor.)

Morris loudly chuckled through the Perl and Cole sequel, Chicken Butt’s Back, and naturally, hasn’t missed an opportunity  to yuk it up with all the flight attendants as well. I finally had to take the book away from him for his own — uh … safety. However, I just didn’t have the heart to pry that chicken butt doll out of his arms. (Morris looks so cute when he’s asleep.)

Hey! We’re giving away a Henry Cole signed copy of this book! Just leave a comment, and you could be the lucky winner!  (To keep it all fair and square, Morris will wear his bunny mask and close his eyes when he makes the selection.) Cole’s other new book this season, Three Hens and a Peacock , by Lester L. Laminack, looks like another good book choice with its humor, lively dialogue, and engaging illustrations. We noticed that Mr. Cole will be at the conference, so Morris and I decided we must stop by one of his many scheduled signings to say hello. We’re big fans of his A Nest for Celeste. (We have that one on our ipad too.)

Besides the new Erica Perl and Henry Cole ‘butt’ book, Morris and I have both been enjoying a stack of other new picture books by some of our favorite authors and illustrators: An additional offering this season by Andrea Beaty, this time a counting book called Hide and Sheep, with illustrations by the very talented Bill Mayer. (Morris says Mayer’s illustrations remind him of the art and design from the Push Pin Studios. I agree.  Good stuff.) Check it out!

Kelly DiPucchio’s Clink is the story of a once-top shelf robot now finding he’s passed up in favor of newer snazzier models. There’s plenty of Dipucchio’s trademark humor throughout and charming illustrations by Matthew Myers.  Don’t miss the book trailer!

We always love anything and everything by the uniquely talented Mini Grey.  Her newest, Three by the Sea, is about a dog, cat, and mouse whose friendship is challenged by an outsider and ‘The Winds of Change’.  This sophisticated, but totally relatable tale, will intrigue readers of all ages, and lead to some thought-provoking discussions.  Don’t miss this one.

Katie Davis and her husband Jerry have created a darling new picture book for the very young reader entitled Little Chicken’s Big Day. With colorful, bold, graphic, ‘signature Katie’ illustrations, the book is funny and sweet. Ms. Davis also has a very cute ‘Little Chicken’ onesie available for your own little chick. (Personally, it’s so cute, I’d wear it myself!) We hear you cluckin’ you adorable little chicken! And CHATTERS, you must watch the super cute book trailer!

We love Kate Feiffer’s delightful new book, My Side of the Car, illustrated by her dad, Jules. We will be CHATTING about this book on a future RAT CHAT episode in June to celebrate Father’s Day  –  so stay tuned!  

And don’t miss our very next CHAT coming up later in May on the Carolyn Crimi/David Roberts new book — Dear Tabby. We’ll keep all of you CHATTERS posted about its air date.

I hear Morris snoring. (That nose of his is still all stuffed up.) Hmmm. Maybe I’ll put in the ol’ ear plugs and try to get in a short snooze myself before we land.

Keep reading — and we’ll see all of you CHATTERS next time on … RAT CHAT!


Rat Chat reviews: FERRET FUN

2011 April 16
by ratchatreviews

Hi Chatters!

Here’s an entertaining new book for young emerging readers presented in a fresh graphic-panel format.  FERRET FUN, by Karen Rostoker-Gruber , illustrated by Paul Ratz de Tagyos, and published by Marshall Cavendish, focuses on two ferrets and one very hungry cat who has eyes — and a grumbling tummy — for her “double rat snack-pack” until the ferrets stand up to the feline bully. This is one kitty who learns that ferrets may be more fun to play with than to eat!

Grab a pack of raisins, put your feet up, and enjoy the Chat!  We’ll see you on the other side.


Check out the real ‘Marvel’, ‘Fudge and Einstein’ at Karen’s website!

The author  has downloadable teacher study guides and student worksheets for FERRET FUN focussing on the important and timely subject of bullying. WIN an Author Autographed Copy of this book by just leaving a comment!  We’ll select the lucky winner in a few weeks!

Ms. Rostoker-Gruber is also the author of Rooster Can’t Cock-a-doodle-doo, illustrated by Mr. Ratz de Tagyos, and Bandit, and Bandit’s Surprise, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen. Mr. Nguyen was a contributor to the task of creating a children’s book on one of this season’s episodes of Celebrity Apprentice — check out the video!


Make new friends —  keep reading — enjoy your raisins — and we’ll see all of you regular ‘chatters’ again on our next RAT CHAT!



2011 March 19
by ratchatreviews


Hi Kid Lit Book Lovers! Welcome back to another CHAT!

Up for CHAT is a special ‘wicked’ little treat of a picture book:  SPINSTER GOOSE by author Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

The premise to these twisted rhymed classics is, that there are some children too naughty for Old Mother Goose to handle.  Luckily, her sister, the stern,  no-nonsense Spinster Goose, knows exactly what to do with these incorrigible pinchers, pokers, biters, fibbers, snitches, cheats and other troublemakers who land in her school.


Ms. Wheeler knows how to turn a clever phrase with a sly wink in her parodies of everything from Jack Spratt, Bobby Shaftoe, and the Contrary Mary, to Georgie Porgie and Wee Willie Winkie.  The talented Ms. Blackall’s subtle and wry illustrations are a perfect compliment to the devilish rhymes. As Kirkus notes in a STARRED review, “Badness was never so enjoyable than Wheeler’s wicked rewrites…” and “Blackall’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations are fascinatingly delicate in line and color even as they convey all the funny, delicious ghastliness …”

So, sit back, (but, mind your manners — no shoes on the sofa please), and enjoy our CHAT on SPINSTER GOOSE, “Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children”.  You know the drill … Morris and I will see you on ‘the other side’ of the vid.

To win of a free copy of this fabulous book, just leave a comment! My pal, that naughty urchin Morris, will select a winner later this month. A note to educators: the author has a wonderful activity guide for SPINSTER GOOSE, available to download right on her website. Check it out!  Good stuff!

Michigan gal, Lisa Wheeler, is the prolific author of over two dozen award-winning children’s books, including  Old Cricket, and Sailor Moo, Cow at Sea illustrated by Ponder Goembel; and Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta, and Boogie Nights, illustrated by Mark Siegel. An avid reader since she was a child growing up in Pittsburgh, (Ms. Wheeler says she “read the cover off” her favorite: Best Loved Stories and Poems for Little Children), and “loved books — even the smell!” (Morris and I wonder if she thought about a ‘scratch and sniff’ in SPINSTER GOOSE for the “atrocious and ferocious” odor of her own ‘Dirty Polly Flinders’?)

Australian native, Sophie Blackall confesses that before she was an illustrator … she was a … “child“. Morris and I love that kind of playful humor which she displays so skillfully throughout her illustrations, not only in this book, but so many of her others including: Meet The Wild Boars (for which she received the Founder’s Award given by The Society of Illustrators), and Jumpy Jack and Googily, both written by Meg Rosoff. Ms. Blackall is also the illustrator of the popular Ivy and Bean series, by Annie Barrows, and the author/lllustrator of a new picture book coming out later this year, Are You Awake? From her home in Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Blackall reveals she has “impeccably behaved children … but a poorly behaved … cat.” (Of course, the latter does not surprise Morris or me one bit.)


Well, that’s it from Morris and me for now.  Thanks for joining us!

See you on our next CHAT! (And don’t be an uncouth urchin!)


2011 March 3

Hey there, RAT CHATTERS!

It was great to get away, do some beach reading and grab some rays, (Stan did get a little pink), but it’s nice to be back in our RAT CHAT studios. Particularly nice to be chatting about the new – and already multi-starred book – by Thomas F. Yezerski called, MEADOWLANDS, ‘A Wetlands Survival Story’, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mr. Yezerski shared a tasty tidbit of info on how and why he was inspired to write this wonderful book on urban environmental recovery: Says Mr. Yezerski, that when he first moved to New Jersey from Pennsylvania, he was a bit unprepared for all the busy and confusing highways. (Hey, just try scooting the turnpike and dodging Hondas.) He confessed to both Stanley and me that he got lost in the Meadowlands on more than one occasion. One time, he took a wrong turn and suddenly found himself surrounded by abandoned factories, warehouses and waste. (We know the feeling.) He says it took him over an hour to find his way out and back to a highway.

However, the curious writer and illustrator, returned to explore the empty factories, abandoned railways, and other forgotten places under the turnpike. “I even canoed creeks where I couldn’t see over the tall reeds.” He says that after all his research, he probably now knows the Meadowlands as well as Stanley and I do!  I bet he does too!  Sometimes, said Mr. Yezerski with a laugh, “You write about what you don’t know.”

Well, this is an author and illustrator that indeed knows his subject well now!  And so will everyone who reads this very fine book, thanks to him! Stan and I noticed that the book jacket recommends the audience as 5-8, but frankly, we think this is a book for all ages, and one that should not be missed!  As noted in School Library Journal, you don’t have to be from Jersey or familiar with the area to embrace the idea of protecting plant and animal life in an urban environment.

So now, kick off your shoes, put up your feet, get a cup of your favorite Caffe Latte or Espresso Macchiato, and take a few minutes to enjoy our CHAT about the comeback story of the urban wetlands known as the MEADOWLANDS. Get comfy and we’ll see you on the other side.

We are delighted to be giving away an autographed copy of MEADOWLANDS ‘A WETLAND SURVIVAL STORY’! All you have to do to be in the running, is leave a comment! The always ‘above board’ and blindfolded Stanley, will be picking the lucky winner at the end of the month.

The talented Tom Yezerski, a graduate of Syracuse University, is the illustrator of many wonderful books for young readers including: MRS. MUDDLE’S HOLIDAYS by Laura F. Nielsen; THE WINNER’S WALK by Nancy Ruth Patterson; and the ROSE AND RILEY series written by Jane Cutler;

He tells us that he is presently working on a new project called PINCH AND DASH MAKE SOUP, written by Michael J. Daley, who also knows a thing or two about rats. Have to say, as major soup lovers, (how much do we like cream of broccoli with cheddar cheese?), Stan and I will be looking out for this one!  Looks like the makings of a good series (and a tasty recipe), with two delightful characters.  Here is a sketch of Pinch and Dash, that Tom was delighted to share with all of our ‘chatters‘:

For a companion read to Mr. Yezerski’s New Jersey’s, MEADOWLANDS, check out Lynn Cherry‘s, A RIVER RAN WILD, about the ecological evolution of New England’s Nashua River and FIELDS OF SUN AND GRASS: An Artist’s Journal of the New Jersey Meadowlands, by John R. Quinn. For more information on the New Jersey Meadowlands, check out: Hackensack Riverkeeper, Meadowlands Environment Center, and New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

Well, that’s it from us for now, CHATTERS! But don’t forget to join Stanley and me next time when we chat about another tasty book – on RAT CHAT!


2011 February 17
by ratchatreviews

Hey there, Chatters!

No Video Review this week.  Stanley and I are on a short “hiatus”.  After all those hours in the studio, and getting inspired by our last CHAT (Sauer’sMr. Duck” had us stopping to smell our own roses), we shut down the set and decided we needed a little ‘get-away’.  So here we are enjoying some R&R, away from the east coast cold and soaking up some sun. Grabbing those rays while catching up on our beach reading.

We are both enjoying Dan Gutman‘s newest — THE GENIUS FILES.  We love this guy, (and not just because he’s a Jersey Boy).  Gutman never fails to entertain, whether it’s with his string of ‘MILLION DOLLAR‘ sports novels, his iconic BASEBALL CARD ADVENTURES, or those funny WEIRD SCHOOL shenanigans. (That ‘A.J.’ cracks us up. As do Jim Paillot‘s illustrations. Young readers agree. They can’t get enough of them.)

This new novel does not disappoint. As PW said, “Gutman continues to do what he does best.” We love the set-up with twins Coke and Pepsi setting off on one of those ho-hum family ‘road trips’, (you know those kind), only to find themselves deep into deciphering codes and chased cross-country by a group of nefarious (Stanley’s word choice) unknown bowler-hat villains.  It’s non-stop action — and laughs — as only Gutman can do — and does.  We concur with Booklist: THE GENIUS FILES is “fun and suspenseful.” Stanley and I cannot wait for the next installment in this potential series.  We are particularly thumbs up on the quirky educational ‘side-trips’ to places like the Yo-Yo Museum and getting a look at that Largest Ball of Twine. (We hope some cheese is in these kids’ future too.)  And as the geography-history-loving rats that we are, we were highly entertained by Gutman’s invitations to his readers to search out info using Google Maps.  The man is clever, that’s all there is to it.

Also on our ‘under the beach umbrella list’ is David Lubar‘s funny ENTER THE ZOMBIE, now released in paperback.  And to get into a baseball spring-training state of mind (it is after all the start of pitchers and catchers week), we recommend giving Tim Green’s RIVALS, and Mike Lupica’s, THE BATBOY a read. (We had the pleasure of personally meeting Tim, and he is one good guy.)

So even if you’re not on the beach right now like us, get a copy of THE GENIUS FILES (Stanley read it on his NOOK), or win a FREE book from us. That’s right, just leave a comment (we especially favor the ones where you mention us or one of our previous shows – heh heh), and you’re in the hopper. And check out the GENIUS book trailer — You’re going to love it!

Uh-oh. Looks like Stanley is getting a little too much sun there.  Time to turn him over and get that rat some SPF 45.  (Or maybe some aloe vera.  I hope he doesn’t blister.)

This is Morris saying “so long” and asking you to join us on our upcoming episodes when we CHAT about new books by authors and illustrators: Thomas Yezerski, Carolyn Crimi & David Roberts, Elizabeth Schoonmaker, Lisa Wheeler & Sophie Blackall, Erica S. Perl & Henry Cole, Karen Rostoker-Gruber & Paul Ratz de Tagyos, and more.  Stay tuned-in.  (And yes, you did read ‘Ratz’ correctly.  No relation.)

See you next time — on RAT CHAT!


2011 February 10

Hi Rat Chatters!

Welcome Back to RAT CHAT! Not only a blog — but a show.

Stanley here — along with Morris, offering up for CHAT a newly released picture book, MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS, by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Jeff Mack. Morris and I think you will not only enjoy the humor in this story geared for ages 4-8, but also appreciate its valued lessons on friendship of which, as Morris says, “we can all partake.”

According to Ms. Sauer, in one of her revealing interviews, the original concept  for this story had neither a duck or a pond! She confided that after several rejections of that manuscript, she ‘tweaked’ the main character as well as changed the setting. The lady tweaked herself a hit!

Says Kirkus: “Sauer’s…disciplined duck and his rhyming hissy fits will most definitely entertain. Mack’s furry and feathered wide-eyed animals rendered in ebullient acrylic are a great match for this fine farmyard fable.”

You ‘chatters’ know the drill — watch our book chat, (hear me croon a tune on this one!), find out what Morris gives the old Cheese-O-Meter, and we’ll catch you on the other side.

Win a free copy of this charmer by leaving a comment. (Hey, how simple is that? And, F  R  E  E Free!) The winning ‘entry’ will be selected by a non-partial and blindfolded Morris at the end of the month.

An ‘egg-gatherer’ in her Kansas youth, Tammi Sauer, former teacher and media specialist, is the award-winning author of a growing number of popular picture books, including MOSTLY MONSTERLY, illustrated by Scott Magoon, named A Scholastic Parent & Child “Best Book” for 2010; COWBOY CAMP, illustrated by Mike Reed; and the funny Elvis riff, CHICKEN DANCE, illustrated by Dan Santat.  Looks like we will be treated to more laughs from those chicks Marge and Lola in the new ‘Dance’ road tour, BAWK AND ROLL coming this fall 2011.  Morris and I are looking forward to chatting about that one, thank you … thank you very much. And word on the street is that a new book titled, ME WANT A PET, with illustrator Bob Shea is in the works.

The talented Jeff Mack, a self-proclaimed “pinball, robot, and haunted house lover”, is the illustrator of more than a dozen books including BOO BUNNY, written by Kathryn O. Galbraith;  the BUNNICULA series by James Howe; his own HUSH LITTLE POLAR BEAR, and the newly published early-reader, HIPPO AND RABBIT.

For another story on ‘mannerly behavior’, Morris and I recommend for your amusement, and good reading, that you check out Laurie Keller’s DO UNTO OTTERS. Good stuff.  She’s one of our personal faves.

That’s it for now — from here!  Grab a copy of MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS and enjoy.

For Morris, this is Stanley signing off saying, “So long — and see you next CHAT!


2011 February 3

As the saying goes … All Good Things Come to an End.

So too, in Kid Lit.

Sadly, each year, countless books – and their characters – go out of print – and out-of-mind.

As we stated in our last post, and as one emotionally broken-down author confided to us, it is the “dark side” of kid lit.  It is, “the sorrow, shame, and sometimes career-ending misfortune” nobody wants to talk about.

Until today!

That’s right. Stanley and I are fearlessly going where no one has gone before:

The underbelly of the business. (Well, actually, as the rats we are, we have seen many an underbelly all too frequently.  Take it from us, it is not pretty.)

Today, we have two such down-and-out, out-of-print characters with us for an in-depth, and I will add, poignant interview and personal chat in our newest feature, ‘Whatever Happened to? …’

What they are about to reveal — is true and heartbreaking.

Bring your hankies.

We’ll see you on the other side …

Well, both Stanley and I are emotionally spent after the interview with those boys.

What an eye-opener.

The business is, as writer Olga Litowinsky so aptly put it in her own hard-hitting book:

A Bunny-Eat-Bunny World.

Stanley and I contacted the boys’ creator, Elise Primavera, who had “no comment” other than to say she was: “rethinking the concept … and may rework the idea of Fred & Anthony.”  We relayed that message to both Fred and Anthony, and Fred spoke on behalf of the two of them … and I quote, “Yeah.  She’s moved on.  Doing girlie books now … she … she …”

Unfortunately, he broke down in sobs and was unable to continue.

If you would like to support these boys in their time of emotional need, scrounge up a few of those titles anywhere you can find them – and get a good chuckle. They are witty, funny, and Stanley and I promise, they do not disappoint.

Kirkus wrote: “Expertly blending short blocks of text with pages from a Netherworld travel guide and quick-sketch cartoon panels, Primavera … never lets up on either the laughs or the helter-skelter action.”

We concur.

If you authors, readers, and fans out there are wondering about a character who is now out of print, write us at: — and we will see if we can locate the forgotten soul, and bring you another hard-hitting interview.

For an informative interview with Ms. Primavera herself, that has loads of insight into her creative process as well as a peek into her studio, check out Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It is fun, revealing, and excellent all around.

Ms. Primavera’s next upcoming title in July:

Louise The Big Cheese and the Back-To-School Smarty-Pants

A ‘sneak peek’ at the next ‘Louise’ book coming out later in 2011:

Louise The Big Cheese and the Ooh-La-La Charm School

Both illustrated by Diane Goode.

That’s it from here – dry your tears, and we’ll see you next week!


2011 January 30

Personally, both Morris and I don’t understand what all this commotion and celebrity brouhaha is about concerning that myopic ground hog seeing his shadow.

Big deal.

If you really want to know about weather, ask us rats.

(My Great Aunt Hildgarde used to talk about a winter back in 1936 out in Minnesota that was so cold it turned tails brittle. Her second cousin Adah had her tail break right in half.)  True story.

However, if you are so inclined to acknowledge this particular rodent of the family Sciuridae, we recommend you read:

Groundhog Gets A Say

by Pamela Curtis Swallow, illustrated by Denise Brunkus

Groundhog Stays Up Late

by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Jean Cassels

For those who partake … Happy Groundhog Day!

Well, Phil didn’t see his shadow.

Can we toss the shovels yet?


It’s the show that answers the hard-hitting questions:

What happens to characters who go out of print?

Where are they now … and what are they doing?

As one author anonymously confided, it is the “dark side” of children’s lit: “The sorrow, the shame, the gut-wrenching disappointment – nobody wants to talk about.”

But, Morris and I are stripping away the glossy veneer and interviewing two such discarded and forgotten characters.

Don’t miss their sad, but true, story.

Stay tuned, my friends!

Rat Chat Reviews COLONIAL VOICES, Hear Them Speak

2011 January 26

Hey, there.  Morris here.  As history mavens, Stanley and I are delighted to be chatting about the book written by Kay Winters and illustrated by Larry Day, entitled COLONIAL VOICES, Hear Them Speak.

It is rich in dramatic and historical content as well as language.

(And if your ‘Colonial’ vocabulary needs some ‘assistance’, Ms. Winters has provided a helpful glossary at the end of the book.)

Says the author: “When I was a kid, history seemed like a boring collection of dates and events that had to be memorized.

Once I discovered that stories make up history, and began to examine the lives of people who helped shape the past, a new way of looking at the world emerged.”

I like the way this woman thinks.

Sit back and enjoy the Chat – and I’ll see you at the other end.

Kay Winters is the author of numerous picture books, including Abe Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, which was a Bank Street Best Book, and her most recent release, This School Year Will Be The Best, illustrated by Renee Andrian.

Larry Day is the award-winning illustrator of several picture books about American history, including George Did It, by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain.

As companion books to COLONIAL VOICES, and for a completely different take on the subject matter giving both grins and giggles, Stan and I are recommending:

The fun parody by Lane Smith, John, Paul, George and Ben

And the entertaining We The Kids: A Preamble to The Constitution of The United States, by David Catrow.

Book with a Bullet on the Stanley and Morris shelf:

Don’t miss the new one by Patricia Polacco, Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln, additional read along with Winters’ award-winning, and previously mentioned, Abe Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books.

Join us again for our next Chat!