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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Review of the Day: Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird

GiantDanceParty 246x300 Review of the Day: Giant Dance Party by Betsy BirdGiant Dance Party
By Betsy Bird
Illustrated By Brandon Dorman
Greenwillow (an imprint of Harper Collins)
$17.99
ISBN: 978-0061960833
Ages 3-7
On shelves now.

Gotcha!

I’m just messing with you.  No, I’m not going to actually review my book here.  I’m not going to wax rhapsodic over the hidden meanings lurking behind the mysterious cupcake on the cover.  I’ll refrain from delving deep into how Lexy’s emotional journey with the giants is just a thinly disguised metaphor for U.S. / Russia relations between the years of 1995-2004 (it isn’t, for the record).  I won’t even talk about the twist ending since spoilers make for interesting, if sometimes heartbreaking, reviews.

No, I’ll just talk instead about how happy I am that publication day is here at all.  And how pleasant it is to share that day with my buddy / pal / illustrious illustrator Brandon Dorman.  I’ve had a couple chances to present the book so far (including one disaster that I’ll get to in a moment) and here is what I have learned.

1.  It is possible to read this book to 3-year-olds thanks in large part to the pictures.

This is true.  The text is bouncy, which doesn’t hurt matters any, but when one is dealing with very small fry it is also mighty helpful when you have eye-popping visuals on your side.  And let me tell you, kids like the art of Brandon Dorman.  More than that, they love it.

2.  It is possible to read this book to 4-year-olds thanks in large part to the mentions of dances.

I have discovered by reading this at a couple daycares that if you teach kids jazz hands, interpretive dance, the twist, and the chicken dance in the course of reading this book, they don’t get bored.  As a children’s librarian I was always the storytime reader whose peripheral visual would zero in on the single kid out of thirty that looked bored.  This flaw in the programming has carried over to reading my own book.  If one kid is bored I suddenly get this manic tinge to my voice and everything becomes a little more frantic.  Be warned, easily bored children.  I’m gunning for you.

3.  Etsy is the creator of and solution to all of life’s woes.

I learned this truth when I constructed a necklace out of Caldecott cover Shrinky Dinks.  To make the necklace I wanted something that featured fuses (as a nod to the name of this blog).  So what do you do when you get such an urge?  You go to Etsy and search for such a thing.  In the case of my book presentations I decided I wanted blue furry boots.  So I type “blue furry boots” into Etsy and what do I get?  Something even better.  Blue furry rave legwarmers.  Oh, they’re the pip.  Here’s what I look like talking to the kids in ‘em.

Giant Dance Party Reading 1 500x375 Review of the Day: Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird

Dance for me, little children.  Dance, I say!

Giant Dance Party Reading 2 500x375 Review of the Day: Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird

They are also very easy to snuggle, if snuggling is what you want to do.

Giant Dance Party Reading 3 440x500 Review of the Day: Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird

Special thanks to Melanie Hope Greenberg for the pics.

4. When you decide to go to a bookstore you’ve never visited before, give ‘em your phone number.  Beforehand.

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are TWO bookstores in Brooklyn called Powerhouse?  As of Saturday, I did not.  And thus begins my tale of woe.

I think there’s a general understanding out there that authors have at least one bad author experience tale they can tell.  But that experience, as important as it may be, is not usually their VERY FIRST BOOKSTORE APPEARANCE.  Because, you see, on Sunday I knew I was speaking at Powerhouse.  So I Googled it, got the address in Dumbo, and merrily traipsed over there.  The poor staff was cleaning up from an event the previous night and had no clue what I was talking about.  Still, they were very nice and helpful and though they didn’t have any copies of my book I just figured folks might order it.  Mind you, “folks” was a pretty optimistic term to be using in my head since nobody was there.  I mean nobody.  Little tumbleweeds would have been my audience had I spoke.

After giving it some time I packed up, the clerks apologized, and I went home.  Mildly mortifying that no one in Brooklyn came to see me, but it was 11:30 on a Sunday morning.  Not ideal.

And I would have proceeded in my merry little bubble for whole weeks at a time had I not gotten an email the next afternoon that made it very clear that I had gone to the wrong Powerhouse.  That there are, in fact, TWO stores out there with the same name.  Two.  Not one.  Two.  And my lovely publicist at Harper Collins had even gone so far as to send me a link to the event with the address front and center.  An address that was not in DUMBO at all but Park Slope.

So apparently (and this is where I sink into a puddle of 100% sheer uncut mortification) folks DID come to my event.  Folks I like.  Folks I would want to see.  Folks who would want to see me and who failed to do so because this doofus author merrily went to the wrong friggin’ store.

What have we learned here today, children?  Even if a publicist sets everything up for you, give the store your cell phone.  All this would have been solved if the store had had my info and had given me a ring.  There are other lessons of course (actually READ what your publicist sends you might be right up there) but you can bet I’ll be contacting all my future store appearances with my cell # right now.  Yup yup yup.

Onward and upward my patient fellows.

On shelves April 23rd (happy birthday to me!)

Source: Wrote the darn book.

Like This?  Then Try:

Blog Reviews:

Professional Reviews:

Misc:

  • For the Harper Collins site I came up with a little explanation of How to Throw a Giant Dance Party.  Electric blue Kool-Aid may or may not play a hand in it all.

Videos:

I would be amiss in not including them.

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Elizabeth Bird About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of NYPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. Ed Spicer says:

    Happy birthday, Betsy! My class is all about learning from mistakes. I may even share yours, which I am sure will win you a temporary visa, right beside all of us, on Planet Knucklehead. Your story is everyone’s worst nightmare (so why did I laugh–must have a few evil bones in my body). But, back to that birthday message: Cheers!

    • Elizabeth Bird Elizabeth Bird says:

      If it wasn’t funny Ed I wouldn’t tell it. Planet Knucklehead is a lovely place. I DECLARE MYSELF ITS QUEEN!!

  2. Oh, no! Here’s hoping your next bookstore appearance runs smoothly. HarperCollins sent me an ARC late last year–December, I think? It is a fun and charming story–I think our patrons will really enjoy it (it’s in my May order cart).

  3. I thought the book was a fun read-a-loud and the kids really were into it. Betsy’s read was dramatic and energetic. Cannot wait to hear it again! Thanks for posting the photos.

  4. What exciting, fabulous news! The book looks adorable, and I can’t wait to read it with my kids!

    Also? Your leg warmers and videos are hilarious! I love your sense of humor.

  5. Oh gads – I can relate to your mortification on the bookstore miss. But CONGRATULATIONS on the release date!!! I hope to have the pleasure of hosting you on my blog! SO happy for you!!! :) e

  6. Our system has ordered your book (28 copies!) and I’ve reserved one. Can’t wait to use it in a story time. Many congratulations!

  7. BTW, there’s a little girl off to your right (in the second photo) who is apparently dancing with or talking to a large furry creature. Wow–your story times must REALLY be magical!

  8. Dan Santat says:

    Congrats on your first book, Betsy!

  9. Our entire office went bat**** crazy over your book, which arrived yesterday. Congratulations!!

  10. Lee Wind says:

    Hurray! I’m so happy for you that the book is out in the world! Oh, and by having that be your disaster story, you now have successfully made lemon meringue pie out of lemons. (And taught the rest of us some good lessons!)
    Doing a happy monster dance for you,
    Lee

Trackbacks

  1. [...] music, and all sorts of things for presentations. I knew that it would just be me reading the book. I do involve furry blue dance warmers and have kids do a dance party, but I needed the words to work. It had to be a story I could read aloud over and over, so that a [...]

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