September 14th, 2010

This year award-winning author and illustrator Debra Frasier developed a marvelous literacy outreach concept, a Fabulous Fair Alphabet Game, to be played by children at fairs. If they complete the game card, they win a blue ribbon. The game idea sprang from her new book The Fabulous Fair Alphabet. She tried the game last month at The Minnesota State Fair, that's Debra at the fair on the left of the picture to the right. Over 1.7 million people visited the fair and the game was an incredible success. You can read a story and see more pictures from the fair here . The exciting thing is that Debra was looking to try the game out at a smaller fair, and partnered with DDG to help bring it to Farmington. Working with the wonderful folks at The Mallett School we have arranged for all the kids at the school to have a chance to play the game at The Farmington Fair, and to be among the first in the country to play it. I caught up with Debra to see if we could get some more information...

KB: Well Debra, thanks to your generosity every Early Elementary School age child in Farmington will have the chance to play The Fabulous Fair Alphabet Game at The Farmington State Fair. The community is wildly excited and appreciative of course, however that doesn't mean we can avoid asking for your take on the controversial "X Issue." Now in playing the Fair Game children and familes will be looking for words in what they see, hear, read, feel, and eat, that start with the letters in the Alphabet. The letter X presents a problem as nothing in the Fair starts with X. In the Fair Game you have a nice work around, asking children to collect a word that contains an X, such as exit. Many people, however, feel that a stronger solution is needed, such as officially changing the name of Sheep to Xeep, or developing a thrilling and dangerous new ride evolving running across multicolored metal slats and dodging giant round mallets, called The Xylophone. What is your position on the "X Issue?
Debra: I think it is time to make an entire Fair devoted to X! How about X-donuts: the more you eat the more weight you LOSE. Or how about the X-Slide, you go down, you go up. Or the X-Coaster, the only rollercoaster that only goes BACKWARDS. What would the X-Bungee Jumper look like? Here’s my challenge to your schools: Let’s design the X Fair, where everything is exactly “X” ish!
KB: Xactly! Now if you only had time to do three things at the fair, what would they be?
Debra: Play Flip-A-Frog, ride the open “Sky Glider,” look for the “Longest Bean” winner. Then repeat.
KB: Speaking of the longest bean, you are the writer in residence of The Minnesota State Fair, and it seems that each fair has its own food specialty. The Farmington Fair prides itself on its Bloomin Onions, gigantic onions cut to be shaped like a flower, rolled in flour and then deep fried. Is there a specialty from The Minnesota State Fair that we should know about?
Debra: Cheese Curds! They fry a zillion of them: little bits of cheese dipped in batter and then deep-fried. My daughter LOVES them. For me: a hot baked potato with a big dollop of butter, nothing else, in a little dish I can carry around while I look for the longest bean. Minnesota is known for putting EVERYTHING on a stick. You can even get key lime pie on a stick. Or pot roast…Oh—Roasted corn! Don’t forget that!
KB: At the Minnesota State Fair you had the chance to play the fair game with over 1.75 million people. Amazing! I understand that some kind of Fair Dictionary is coming out of your experience. Can you tell us a little about that?
Debra: We played the Find YOUR Fabulous Fair Alphabet for all twelve days of the Minnesota State Fair. As each player brought in their word game cards (two words for each letter of the alphabet), we recorded the new words in a giant dictionary. Everyday the dictionary grew larger and larger. It got harder to find a new word as time went by but EVERY SINGLE DAY, even on the twelfth day, in the last hour, we STILL had new words to add. Everyone sees the world differently and so we could grow the Fair Dictionary with each person’s experience of the fair. Remember: bring words you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel at the Fair. I cannot wait to read Farmington’s dictionary of your fair. Stuck on finding a word for a particular letter? The Fair Dictionary is also a place to scan the words and see if can find just the word you need!
KB: I don't suppose that The Fabulous Fair Alphabet Game has a motto?
Debra: It does! The motto is..."Leave the fair with more words than you brought!"
KB: We will! Thanks Debra!

Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

 

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean



The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean
By Casey, Susan
2010-09 - Doubleday Books
9780767928847 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.95 - Your Price: $22.36


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This non fiction account of a 'tribe of extreme surfers and their quest for the 100 foot wave comes praised as a terrific portrait of nature both human and oceanic. ...More

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite
By Evanovich, Janet
2010-09 - St. Martin's Press
9780312652913 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $27.99 - Your Price: $22.39


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This is a new series for Evanovich starring Plum spin-off character Diesel. The plot is hilarious. It deals with "The Seven Stones of Power" each representing one of the seven deadly sins. Hmmmn! ...More

The Bells



The Bells
By Harvell, Richard
2010-09 - Shaye Areheart Books
9780307590527 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $24.00 - Your Price: $19.20


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There is nothing quite like being in the hands of a dangerously unreliable first person narrator, and this highly praised first novel, the account of an acclaimed opera singer with an impossible past, promises an experience along the enjoyable lines of Debt to To Pleasure and Perfume. ...More

Snook Alone



Snook Alone
By Nelson, Marilyn
2010-09 - Candlewick Press (MA)
9780763626679 - Hardcover
List Price $16.99 - Your Price: $13.59


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Snook Alone is the tale of a beloved rat terrier, the companion of a gentle Monk living in a faraway sea, who has been asked to catalog the plant and animal species of their small part of the Indian ocean. Snook, marooned by rough weather, must wait out the storm alone. The more a child identifies with a character the deeper into the book they go. Between the engaging and evocative text of Marilyn Nelson and the sublimely beautiful and emotive drawings of Timothy Basil Ering, Snook Alone is one of these rare books in which a child not only wades deep, but comes out deeply laden. The warmth of affection, the beauty of the Indian Ocean, the wonder of exploration, the tension of waiting, are all captured superbly in this marvel of a picture book. ...More

Bookworm Journal: A Reading Log for Kids (and Their Parents)



Bookworm Journal: A Reading Log for Kids (and Their Parents)
By Potter Style
2010-09 - Potter Style
9780307408266 - Other
List Price $12.99 - Your Price: $10.39


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This book log for children is a really nice item. As the publisher copy says...

"Children will crave reading time once they get a taste of this clever book log. Every time you and your child finish a story, fill out a journal entry with the title, author and rating of the book. Then, tear off the perforated corner of each page to see the bookworm "eat" his way through t he journal. Not only does the "Bookworm Journal" promote lifelong reading habits, but it helps parents and children maintain a reading routine whether it's before bed, playtime, naptime--or whenever the bookworm works up an appetite."
...More

Bink and Gollie



Bink and Gollie
By DiCamillo, Kate
2010-09 - Candlewick Press (MA)
9780763632663 - Hardcover
List Price $15.99 - Your Price: $12.79


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It would be totally Reckless not to mention the new Cornelia Funke book released today, which has gotten so many raves, however Bink and Golly, this wonderful collaboration by real life author friends McGee and DiCamillo, is so charming, and such a treat for young readers, that Reckless will have to take a back seat in terms of our final slot for the week. Bink and Golly is a friendship book that kids will want to share many times. ...More

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