10 Cool Things on a Tuesday

1. Virginia author Madelyn Rosenberg has two new books out! Remember when we featured How to Behave at a Tea Party (Katherine Tegen Books, 2014), a picture book about bossy Julia wanting everything just-so, while her younger brother Charles and his friends have different ideas? Well, Julia and Charles are back in How to Behave at a Dog Show!

Is Rexie cut out to be Best in Show? Probably not. Does Julia enter him in the Happy Tails Best of Breed Dog Show anyway? She sure does. This companion to How to Behave at a Tea Party offers readers more laugh-out-loud silly fun with sister-brother duo Julia and Charles and their lovably mischievous dog, Rexie.

With subtle themes of losing gracefully and celebrating the things that make each of us winners in our own ways, this book is perfect for preschool and early elementary children, for readers who enjoyed the How to Babysit a Grandpa series, and for anyone who has ever loved a less-than-perfect pet.

Julia and Charles end up hosting a pet show of their own—don’t be surprised if young readers are inspired to do the same!

Ruff ruff! Sit up and beg for this funny tail, which is again illustrated by Heather Ross. 🙂 Check out this cute trailer:

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AND, Nanny X fans will be happy to know she’s back in Nanny X Returns (Holiday House, 2015):

Something fishy is up and Nanny X, an agent for Nanny Action Patrol, and her young charges plan to investigate in this sequel to NANNY X, which was called “a fun and funny blend of Spy Kids and Mary Poppins” by Kirkus Reviews.

In their second adventure, eleven-year-old Ali, eight-year-old Jake and baby Eliza go fishing with Nanny X, only there is something odd about their catch, it’s robotic! While the gang wonders about this strange occurrence, a robotic squirrel shows up and tries to steal Nanny X’s computer, which is disguised as a box of baby wipes. Meanwhile, a mysterious person known as The Angler is threatening the nation’s treasures if the President doesn’t install a statue of a fish on the White House lawn. Nanny X wonders if these weird incidents are connected, and a series of investigations surrounding a jealous artist yields non-stop action and humor.

Be sure to check out both Nanny X chapter books, written especially for ages 7-10!

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olivia walton’s applesauce cake

“Two applesauce cakes were on display in the middle of the kitchen table when Clay-Boy walked in. He breathed in the spicy aroma appreciatively. Something had happened during his absence. There was some quickening of excitement, a sense of Christmas rushing inexorably down upon them, but in spite of the two proud cakes, he knew that his mother was not really prepared for the day.” ~ Earl Hamner (The Homecoming)

Miss Michael Learned earned 3 Emmy Awards for her role as Olivia Walton.

When I heard June 6th was National Applesauce Cake Day, the first person I thought of was Olivia Walton.

Though she and Grandma spend a lot of time in the kitchen serving up good old-fashioned country dishes like fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, beef stew, fresh corn on the cob, scrambled eggs, bacon and heavenly peach pie, it is her applesauce cake that holds special favor. Whenever there is something to celebrate, Olivia makes an applesauce cake, and it seems to work wonders with anyone needing a good serving of down home comfort.

 “The Homecoming: A Christmas Story” aired in 1971.

In Earl Hamner’s novel, The Homecoming (1970), upon which the series pilot is based, Olivia Spencer makes two applesauce cakes for Christmas. She is apprehensive because her husband Clay, who’s been working in the city far from home, is late returning home on Christmas Eve. She tries to hide her worry from the children by asking them to help her crack black walnuts for the cakes.

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a visit to walton’s mountain

“Without courage, honor, compassion, pity, love and sacrifice, as William Faulkner pointed out, we know not of love, but lust. We debase our audience. But we can enable and enrich our viewers and ourselves in our journey through this good time, this precious time, this great and wonderful experience we call life.” ~ Earl Hamner, Jr.

Earl Hamner’s boyhood home in Schuyler, Virginia.

Saturday, when the air was cool and crisp, and autumn leaves were raining down like shimmering gold coins, Len and I drove out to Schuyler, Virginia, birthplace of Earl Hamner, the real “John Boy” of the popular Emmy-award winning TV series, “The Waltons.”

Richard Thomas as John Boy Walton

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville, Schuyler (sky-ler) is more a community than a traditional town (there’s no main street to speak of). Call it a hamlet, whose main feature is a meandering country road going up, over and around hills, with houses nestled here and there.

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