Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This past Tuesday, I stood in a long line with a lot of other shivering people outside A WHALE OF A TALE BOOKSHOPPE - a great children's bookstore in Irvine - waiting to have "Weird AL" sign a copy of his new picture book,  WHEN I GROW UP, which I had just purchased to surprise my 26-year-old son, David.  (Not surprisingly, of the people in line, kids were the minority.  The average age was probably 35.)

I'm not usually interested in children's books written by celebrities, but I had a feeling this one would be worth reading.  I mean, someone who starts playing the accordion at age six, attends Cal Poly SLO to pursue a degree in architecture, and then goes on to write a parody of "MacArthur Park" with lyrics like this is bound to do better than most in penning text for a children's picture book, right?

Jurassic Park is fright'ning in the dark
All the dinosaurs are running wild...
Someone let T. Rex out of his pen!
I'm afraid those things'll harm me
'Cause they sure don't act like Barney
And they think that I'm their dinner - not their friend!
Oh nooooo!

Right!  I wasn't disappointed.  When it came my turn to step up to the table and have Mr. AL sign my copy of his book, I told him how his creative sense of humor had always inspired my son. 

I also mentioned my blog and said I'd like to share with my readers what his favorite book as a child had been.  He said, "Well, I loved all the Dr. Suess books." (I told him his book reminded me of a Dr. Suess book.)  
"Really? And I read Shel Silverstein...." (yes... I was waiting, and could tell he was trying to remember something...)  
He reflected another second and then said, "THE CIRCUS McGURCUS!"  (I agreed and said yes. YES! and we both started laughing because we knew that wasn't the title, but could remember in that moment what the title was.)  

The story of the Circus McGurcus is such a "WEIRD AL" kind of story - and if you've followed my blog very long, you might remember it was my son David's favorite too!  Here's the Dr. Suess book:

IF I RAN THE CIRCUS, by Dr. Suess, has "Mr. Sneelock";
WHEN I GROW UP, by Al Yankovic, has "Mrs. Krupp". 
Below is the book trailer (with Al reading excerpts). I think any child ages 5-8 will like this book, written with "Weird Al's" typical nerdy sense of humor.  And adults will like the cute twist at the end. (it's not revealed in the trailer, you'll have to go find the book!)  Your child will love the imaginative illustrations are by Wes Hargis.


  1. I'm so glad you went!!! His book was great, thanks for sharing about it on your blog!

  2. I was one of the photographers from the event, I think your photo is here:


  3. Yes - I found it. Thanks - do I have your permission to embed it here?

  4. A sweet lady behind me in line took my picture with him. She just e-mailed it to me, so I used that one. :)

  5. I think that Al's guess at the age group that this book is intended for ( 5-8) is a little ambitious . . . since there are words like "vocation, colleagues, and tantalize" in this book.

    However, if a teacher read this book during story-time, it would work well with K-3 grades.

  6. Yes - this book is great fun for older kids to read themselves, as well as an engaging read aloud option for parents and teachers to share with younger children!