Sunday, April 30, 2017

William Joyce unveils three new picture books

Atheneum Young Readers is publishing several of William Joyce’s children’s books this year, under the label of “The World of William Joyce.”

First up for the Shreveport author is “Bently & Egg,” a delightful picture book featuring Bently Hopperton, a musical frog who would love to be doing anything than watching an egg. But he promises his best friend Kack Kack he will protect the duck’s egg while she visits her sister. A creative frog will easily bore sitting on a nest so he pulls out his paints and decorates the egg. Soon a child discovers the decorative egg, thinking the Easter Bunny left it, and poor Bently must use all of his creativity to return the egg back to its nest and the loving beak of Kack Kack.

Released this week are “A Day With Wilbur Robinson” (Joyce produced the film adaption known as “Meet the Robinsons”) and “Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo.” The first follows a visit to the Robinson household where all the family members have fascinating occupations and hobbies, such as Uncle Nimbus with his snowball shooting device or the grandfather who leads a dancing frog band with Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Wilbur Robinson thinks it’s all in a dull day, but readers will have a ball.

Another interesting family — what else would Joyce create? — are the Lazardos, who on a travel expedition discover a dinosaur they name Bob and bring home to Pimlico Hills. Bob naturally becomes famous but gets into trouble for chasing cars. In the end, he triumphs, especially after playing a mean baseball and helping the struggling home team win.

Joyce is a best-selling author of several children’s books, in addition to creating several films and TV shows.

New releases
Nick Douglas, author of “Finding Octave: The Untold History of Two Creole Families and Slavery in Louisiana,” has just released “Reclaiming Black History, Finding Admirable Ancestors, a Wealth of Heroism and Traits that Shatter Defeatist Cliches.” The book aims to place underserved groups and women into a new narrative that ends the separation of minorities from standard American history. Douglas is a regular contributor to AFROPUNK where he writes a feature called “Know Your Black History.”

I’ve been enjoying the sweet sounds of baby birds in my backyard; so far I’ve spotted young cardinals, wrens and house finches. I hear those unusual tweaks among the branches but it’s difficult to identify them just by sounds. But now there’s the “Peterson Field Guild to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America” by Nathan Pieplow to assist us. 
           
Book Festival
The lineup for the Mississippi Book Festival has been announced. Some of the authors attending the Aug. 19 festival in Jackson are: Greg Iles (“Mississippi Blood”), Angie Thomas (“The Hate You Give”), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford, Linda Williams Jackson (debut novel, “Midnight Without a Moon”), Ron Rash, Ellen Gilchrist, Candice Millard, Michael Farris Smith, William Ferris and many more. For information, visit http://msbookfestival.com/.

Book events for April 30-May 6
Karissa Haugeberg will discuss and sign “Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Octavia Books of New Orleans. Haugeberg is an assistant professor of history at Tulane University. She edits the Newcomb College Institute’s “Journal for Research on Women and Gender.”

Pamela D. Arceneaux, author of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s recently released publication “Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville, New Orleans,” will give a presentation on the book at the Friends of the Jefferson Parish Library General Meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. “Guidebooks to Sin” is the contemporary study of blue books, the guides to Storyville, the legal red-light district that thrived on the edge of the French Quarter from 1897 to 1917. The event is free and open to the public, and books will also be available for purchase on site. A signing will immediately follow the presentation.

French Fun Day, a morning of stories, activities and special guests presenting en français, will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Main Lafayette Library.

Cheré Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country.” She writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire. Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.