Tag Archives: books

The Devil Wears Scrubs

Freida McFadden, aka Dr. Fizzy McFizz over at A Cartoon Guide to Becoming a Doctor, wrote a wonderfully funny novel about the nightmare that is intern year, and as I mentioned before, I helped edit it. I know my status as editor makes me a bit biased, but I truly and honestly enjoyed reading “The Devil Wears Scrubs”.

Jane McGill, the suffering intern, stumbles through a series of comical mishaps as she tries to survive the wrath of her evil senior resident Alyssa. Jane meets her problem-plagued situation with a brand of sarcasm and wit that left me laughing out loud at several points of this book. The book is currently listed as the #1 bestseller in the Doctors and Medicine Humor category for a reason. It’s truly well-written and funny. Though the novel is definitely about doctors and medicine, it has a broad appeal that most readers would enjoy. It reminded me of its namesake, “The Devil Wears Prada,” and had a chick lit edge to it.

If you are looking for a light funny read, “The Devil Wears Scrubs” will not disappoint you. It’s currently listed at $2.99 for the kindle version on Amazon.

And now back to your regularly scheduled parenting foibles and toy humor.

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Devil Wears Scrubs

Hey guys, I edited a book. It launched today and it’s really funny. It’s called “The Devil Wears Scrubs,” and the play on “The Devil Wears Prada” suits it well. Torturous evil bosses clearly are not limited to the magazine world.
41lN0WFcOSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-71,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_
The author has categorized it as medical humor, but I consider it humorous chick lit in a medical setting. It’s a fast, hilarious, light read and you should all check it out. You can buy it for your kindle very cheaply right here. There’s also a paperback edition available.

I really enjoyed reading this book and felt privileged to edit it. It’s one of the most amusing things I’ve read lately. Go buy it!

Also, if you are looking for a freelance editor, I’m your girl. Contact me to discuss your project at jenica.schultz@gmail.com.

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ramona and Her Complexities

We recently started reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series to Lily. I thought it would be a nice, easy introduction to chapter books. Little did I know how many deep, complicated subjects I would have to explain in one book. While reading “Ramona and Her Father”, I felt like I had to stop every 5 minutes to explain a complex issue. Here are just a few of the examples of what I had to explain to Lily while reading this book:

*Ramona’s father loses his job in the first chapter. I had to explain why it was important for Ramona’s dad to have a job and what it meant for the family that he no longer had one. She was horrified by the prospect that any daddy anywhere can lose a job for no reason (or even for a reason) and that would mean that a family wouldn’t have money. We’ve talked about how some people don’t have much money in the past, but it was a revelation to her that it could happen to anyone, including her friends and family. She got kind of upset about it, but I explained (perhaps naively) that if daddy ever lost his job we would work together as a family to make sure she still had everything she needed.

*Ramona’s father is a smoker. Ramona convinces her dad to stop smoking because she is (rightly) worried that cigarettes could kill him. No one in our family has ever smoked during the time she’s been alive. My dad smoked in the 1970s, but that’s such a thing of the past that Lily has no way of knowing about it. It’s not exactly being reenacted 30 years later. I had to explain what cigarettes were and why Mr. Quimby wanted to smoke them, which meant…

*I had to explain addiction in full. At some point Mr. Quimby has a small relapse and smokes a cigarette. I had to explain why this happened and how sometimes people get addicted to different substances, including the beer we currently have in our fridge. I had to explain why it was so hard for someone to kick an addiction. The very notion that some substances were bad was a new thing for her. I suppose it’s good for her to learn now. I remember learning to “Say no to drugs!” in first grade (Thanks, Nancy Reagan!). However, I didn’t know that reading Ramona would be when this subject came up! I guess I’m glad to have opened the door to it, but wow! Ramona opens the door to an addiction lecture? Who knew?!

*We are secular Jews. I haven’t discussed religion with Lily as much as I should have by this point because I’ve never been a very religious person. I am trying harder lately to get more in depth about what it all means and what we believe. Ramona is Christian and participates in a nativity scene at church which means…

I had to tell the entire Christmas story, what a nativity scene was, what Christ means to Christians and why Jewish people like us believe something different. WHEW! I wasn’t expecting to have to discuss all that at that moment. I suppose I could have glossed over the chapter, but she asked me what a nativity scene was and I felt like a failure that she didn’t know yet so… freaking Ramona opened a deep religious discussion at our house.

Seriously. Ramona made me talk about Jesus and Judaism. Ramona! I had no idea.

I suppose this is why reading to your children is so important– so that you are forced to tackle all those issues you may have not gotten around to bringing up just yet. But still… Ramona? All this came out of Ramona? Who knew. I had to explain death in depth when Charlotte died at the end of “Charlotte’s Web”, but I saw that one coming. All I saw coming with Ramona was a little girl who was creative and sometimes rambunctious– not multiple lectures about complex subjects even adults have trouble understanding.

I wonder what sort of trouble I’ll get myself into if we start reading Judy Blume’s “Superfudge” series? And what other giant concepts I’ll have to explain when we read the rest of the Ramona books? Perhaps I need to go study up on how to explain adult issues to children?

Ramona. SERIOUSLY. Who knew?

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Trouble With Early Readers

Ever since Lily was a baby, we have been reading “That’s Not My Puppy” with a slight reader’s edit on the last page. In case you aren’t familiar with the book, it goes a little something like this.

That's not my puppy... Its coat is too hairy.

That's not my puppy. Its tail is too fluffy.

That's not my puppy. Its paws are too bumpy.

That's not my puppy. Its collar is too shiny

That's not my puppy. Its ears are too shaggy.

That's my puppy! His nose is so squashy.

Even though this page technically says “That’s my puppy”, we have always edited it when we read to say “That’s NOT my puppy. Its nose is too squashy.” We do this so that we can make the last “page” interactive.

At our house, the last “page” of “That’s Not My Puppy” has always been: “That’s my puppy! That’s my Lumpy puppy!” and involves Lumpy, our dog, running into the room from across the house and getting petted.

That's my puppy! That's my Lumpy puppy!

Well, the other day I was reading the book with Lily sitting right next to me. She can read now and is getting pretty good at it. When she saw the last page of the book, she yelled at me. “No, Mommy! That says ‘That’s my puppy!’ It doesn’t say ‘not’! That’s the puppy!”

Of course, she was right and discovered that we’ve been reading the book wrong to her for the last four years. While it’s neat that she’s learning to read, I don’t like my secrets revealed like that! I told her I read it that way so we can pet Lumpy at the end because that’s more fun all of us, but she keeps telling me I should read the right words. The “right” words at our house are that our puppy is Lumpy puppy. I don’t know what she’s talking about!

Man, reading just gives kids too much power sometimes. Who knew? Add this to an incident the other day where we had to eat at Subway because it had an “open” sign while the Thai restaurant we were there for was closed and it makes a mom somewhat regret teaching her kid to read early.

Me: Aw, Bangkok Kitchen is closed. We’ll have to go somewhere else.

Lily: But Mommy, Subway is open. See? The open sign is all lit up. We need to eat at Subway.

Me: Let’s go over to that other commercial strip to see what they have.

Lily: But it says open! We need to go there.

And we did because you have to reward early reading. And while the two small children were ecstatic, it was no Thai food.

Reading… sometimes it backfires.

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book WTF: A Pocket for Corduroy

I remember LOVING “A Pocket for Corduroy” when I was a kid and it turns out that my kids love it too. I bought the book about a week ago and we’ve read it and its prequel at least a dozen times since then. Reading it as an adult, I keep saying “WTF” about a couple different things in the book.

Corduroy is Lisa’s favorite stuffed animal, or as she refers to him, her best friend. Despite the fact that losing Corduroy would clearly devastate Lisa, Lisa’s mother does nothing to help her find him when he’s lost. She shrugs it off like it’s not that important.

When the time came for Lisa to fetch her bear, he was gone.

“Oh, Mommy!” she exclaimed. “Corduroy isn’t here where I left him!”

“I’m sorry, honey,” said her mother, “but the laundromat will be closing soon and we must be getting home.”

Her mother doesn’t help her look around or even give Lisa a chance to look for Corduroy some more. He is her most favorite toy on earth and he may have been stolen, but her mother is totally ok with leaving him there. This bothers me. If Woof Woof were to disappear in a public place, we would search everywhere for him before we gave up. I don’t care how much of a hurry I was in, I would make sure that Woof Woof came home with us because my child would be devastated without her favorite “bear”. They didn’t even go up to the front desk to see if someone had turned in a bear! WTF, Lisa’s mother? That’s cold.

Then it turns out Lisa’s mom is a total liar. The laundromat wasn’t about to close AT ALL. Corduroy is hiding in a cave (an artist’s laundry sack) and gets dumped into a dryer. This means the artist had at least 30 minutes (or probably more like an hour since this was 1978.) to dry his clothes before the laundromat closed for the night.

Apparently the artist recognizes Corduroy as a living being, which has all sorts of implications I don’t like. Lisa’s mother is ok with leaving what is the equivalent of either a son or a pet behind at the laundromat? WTF is wrong with her? All sorts of bad things could happen to Corduroy. This is the big city! He’s just a little boy. He can’t defend himself. In fact, he ends up getting sexually assaulted by the artist. Sort of. Check this out.

The artist takes off Cordoroy’s pants!!!!! WHAT?!!!! I mean, he does it under the guise of giving the overalls a good drying, but if Corduroy is a living boy, as he appears to be in this picture/series, it’s totally inappropriate for a stranger to take off his pants in a public place. Now Corduroy is standing naked in the middle of a laundromat. And everyone is just ok with this?

SO WRONG. I mean, the artist is described as thoughtful and I guess if Corduroy complained of being cold, he could help him out by wrapping him in a towel or something. But Corduroy did not ask this man to remove his clothes. He was totally violated. This is exactly why you should never leave your small children alone in a public place, Lisa’s mother.

Corduroy has an adventuresome night in the laundromat Toy-Story-style, then Lisa comes searching for him (without her uncaring mother) the next morning. The owner of the laundromat finds Corduroy in a basket. See, Lisa’s mother, if your child loses a toy you can ask the owner to help you find it. You don’t just LEAVE and pretend like it doesn’t matter.

I hate Lisa’s mother so much right now. I mean, really? The excuse for not looking is that the laundromat is closing soon? SO LAME. If she’d asked the attendant, I’m sure the attendant would have let them stay past closing to look for the bear. And, like I said, it was a lie. The laundromat wasn’t closing.

Perhaps she was trying to teach Lisa a lesson about keeping track of her toys, but we’re given the message that Corduroy is alive. Lisa’s mother should know he could wander off. And even if she thinks he’s inanimate, how is she not worried that he wasn’t stolen or something? It’s not like he was lost in Lisa’s room. He was lost in a public place! And later undressed by a strange man!

WTF?!

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book WTF: Something’s missing

My husband, the son of Korean immigrants, was very excited to find this Korean language children’s picture dictionary on display at the library. We immediately decided we should check it out so the girls could learn some more Korean words– us too. None of us speak Korean, not even my husband who grew up hearing the language non-stop.

My husband was a little surprised when he opened the book to discover this as the first picture.

What a multi-cultural family… without a single person who looks remotely Asian… in a Korean picture dictionary. Huh.

He showed it to me, and I just sort of shrugged saying it was probably a multicultural book and there would be pictures of Asians in there somewhere. Surely the majority of the people pictured in this book would have to be Korean, or at least some sort of Asian.

We turned the page.

We are pretty sure this girl isn’t Korean.

Oh good, an education page. Koreans are big into education. Surely there should be an Asian in the classroom somewhere…

Nope, she’s not Korean either.

Oh look, an American-looking farm. Is the farmer Korean?

No, he’s white.

Well, maybe there’s just a bunch of multi-ethnic people living in Korea. I mean, not all the pictures have to have Asians in them. We don’t want Korea to get a reputation of being all Asian. However, surely a Korean language book would have a picture of some Korean things or at least a Korean city. EDIT: I’m told this is Detroit.

Nope! This is clearly America. See the American flags and English signs? This isn’t even Koreatown!

There is absolutely nothing Korean in this entire book, aside from the words.

My husband and I couldn’t stop giggling over this book. We couldn’t figure out why the hell anyone would completely avoid Asians in an Korean language book. Finally, we figured out that they must have used the same pictures in a series of language dictionary books.

I went to investigate, but couldn’t find another book in the series. I spoke to the librarian (who was younger than me, which is just plain wrong! Librarians should be old! Or at least older than me!) and she said they were already aware of the issue. Apparently the head librarian had seen a sample book in something like Spanish and ordered the whole series. Little did she know that the same pictures appeared in every single book! These pictures might have worked well in the French and Spanish books, but to not have a single Asian in an Korean language book? Weird.

So, I guess this should be a lesson for publishers out there: maybe you can save money by reusing pictures for most language picture dictionaries, but if you are making a picture dictionary for language that is almost exclusively spoken by a certain race, you should probably include at least one member of that race in the pictures.

I mean really, not a single Asian person in the entire Korean picture dictionary? WTF?

Share

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Kids Play: Alphabooks

My daughter has been obsessed with her Baby Einstein Alphabooks lately.

Every night before she goes to bed she insists on spelling our names with these books. There is a separate book with 3 words and pictures representing each letter of the alphabet. She has to read every word in each of the books that spells our names.

Of course, most of our names have repeating letters– Mommy, Daddy, Lily, Rose and Lumpy. When she spells Mommy with the books, she reads the “M” book three times. She reads it twice in a row when she gets to the middle. She does the same thing Daddy and we get to hear the “D” book read three times.

It’s great that she wants to spell, but it’s extremely time consuming to hear all of the books multiple times. Here’s how you spell Mommy, in case you were wondering: Milk, Monkey, Moon, Octopus, Owl, Orange, Milk, Monkey, Moon, Milk, Monkey, Moon, Yellow, Yo-Yo, Yogurt. I always thought it was just M-O-M-M-Y, but I was apparently wrong.

Share your toy stories on this blog by emailing them to creativekidsplay@gmail.com.

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Misleading Book Cover

Based on this cover, what happens in this book?

a) The child on the left is a ghost or a witch leading the child on the right to a Blair Witch type-cottage.
b) The children are about to be murdered in the “Little Clearing in the Woods”.
c) Both children are ghosts haunting people who live in the “Little Clearing in the Woods”.
d) These Amish children are about to get themselves into modern world trouble.
e) One of the girls on the cover is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother, Caroline Quiner, who once moved to a “Little Clearing in the Woods”.

The correct answer is e), it is a book about Caroline Quiner Ingalls’s childhood. I think the cover looks much more ominous than just your regular old “Little House on the Prairie” spin-off book. The way the one girl is pointing somehow makes me think that something very spooky is about to happen.

The truth is, the book is pretty doom-free, even for a “Little House” book. I think a crop is destroyed by frost, but what else is new?

Did you all even know that there are a whole series of “Little House on the Prairie” spin-off books chronicling the lives of various Laura Ingalls Wilder ancestors? I didn’t until just couple months ago. Most of the books came out after I got out of my “Little House” phase. At one time, I would read any “Little House” I could get my hands on. I’m reliving those days right now and enjoying it very much.

If you liked “Little House” and haven’t read the new series yet, they (and there are multiple added series) are fantastic! I have been reading “The Caroline Years” series by Maria D. Wilkes and I think I might like them even better than the original series. Blasphemous! But seriously, The Caroline Years rock. The lost Laura book and the one about Mary at the school for the blind weren’t nearly as great, but still very entertaining.

If you are concerned about the books not being based in fact, consider this: The Little House books WERE fictional even though they were based on Laura’s life. Fact that will rock your world: Nellie Oleson is a fictional character. Might as well enjoy more Little House based books if you liked them the first time around!

Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under book illustrations, books

Giving or Taking?

After reading about Shel Silverstein’s picture on this blog, my friend Dayna directed me to this fabulous video by Second City about “The Giving Tree”.

Merry Christmas! You can thank me for sharing this video with you later.

The video pretty much depicts how I felt about “The Giving Tree” when I read it as an adult. I remember the tree being so selfless when I read this book as a kid. Reading it as an adult, I thought the boy was a jackass and the tree was being abused and raped of its essence. It’s really kind of sick to think about someone allowing the person she loves to literally cut her in half to get what he wants– and being HAPPY he did that to her.

It’s pretty gross. Yet I suppose it’s still about giving and loving and wonderfulness somehow.

I’m having trouble seeing it though.

FYI: I have big blogging plans the week of January 3 for a series of posts about “Sesame Street”. Be sure to check it out!

Share

1 Comment

Filed under books

Shel Silverstein Follow-Up

Remember when I said Shel Silverstein would be upset if he saw this horrible, creepy picture of himself was on the back of “The Giving Tree”?

I was wrong.

I had no idea when I wrote my first post that my cousin Rachel had a Shel Silverstein connection back when he was still alive. She worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books and handled some of Shel’s stuff. What are the odds? 

Now, here’s the craziest thing I could think of in relation to a creepy author portrait like that: Rachel says that Shel picked out that picture himself!

Rachel says:

I worked at HarperCollins Children’s Books while Shel was still alive, and believe it or not, that photo was on The Giving Tree even then. It actually pretty much sums up his personality. Amazing books, but very elusive, not warm or fuzzy , and if I recall, refused to allow us to send him the cartons of fan mail he received. Is the photo even more scary since he chose it?

According to Rachel, “Shel controlled everything about the publication and reprints of his books– right down to how heavy he required the paper to be.”

It sort of changes the way you think about Shel Silverstein, no? I mean, what kind of person picks a creepy picture like that to represent themselves on the back of their beloved children’s classic?

When you combine this knowledge with the fact that he did a lot of cartooning for “Playboy” in the 1950s and ’60s, suddenly you see Shel Silverstein in a whole new light. Before now, I always envisioned Silverstein as the cuddly, grandfather type with a wicked sense of humor, but apparently this wasn’t so much the case. Mind-boggling, no?

Anyway, food for thought. If nothing else, it’s hilarious to me that anyone would pick that awful picture to represent themselves on the back of a book. Maybe he thought it was funny how scary-looking the picture is? It certainly made ME laugh.

Share

21 Comments

Filed under books