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Monday, May 07, 2007

Whither Thou Goes, Al Roker

When Neal Pollack (Mr. Alternadad himself) asked me to write a blog about children’s books (ones that I didn’t write) for the EXCITING NEW PARENTING WEBSITE offsprung.com, I was a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous.

I mean, yeah, I guess I know a thing or two about children’s books. They’re my lifelong passion AND my bread and butter AND the main way I coax my increasingly wriggly kids back into my lap. But still, there are sooo many other folks already putting out excellent blogs about kids’ books (shelftalker, fuse # 8, seven impossible things before breakfast, book buds, planetesme, big a little a, librarianne… to name but a few)…. It’s a big book-blogging world after all. Who needs me?

But that was before Al Roker entered the kids’ literature scene.

Now, okay, I know this is shooting fish in a barrel (or, let’s see, what’s a good analogy… like getting a weatherman, um, wet?) but where does Al Roker get off proclaiming himself King of Kid Lit? I mean, Oprah, maybe. But Al Roker? I’m not even going to go off on the whole marketing-boondoggle-for-Scholastic aspect of the whole thing. I’m just wondering if someone over there couldn’t get LeVar Burton and just figured, well, maybe Al Roker is close enough? I mean, he’s an author, right? What child hasn’t read Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbeque (spoiler alert: it ends badly for the three little pigs!).

But let’s back up for a second. Maybe I’m not being fair to Al. Apparently, two of his kids are five and eight, so he’s probably familiar with giving a certain pig a certain pancake and how much Little Nut-Brown Hare’s old man can one-up him before bedtime. I suppose there’s even a chance he’s read my books (and if he wants to feature them on his book club, well, then that’s too darned… gosh, do you think he might?!!) I recently read that he even toiled in obscurity as an illustrator before making it in his fall-back field of weathermanning. That’s (To-Think-That-I Saw-It-On-Mulberry-)street cred if I ever heard it. Plus, “Al” is a really classic children’s book name. Think A Girl Called Al, Al Capone Does My Shirts, and, of course, Andrew Clements’ Big Al.

So, I’m not going to predict (get it? like a weatherman!) whether Al Roker will shine or get soggy in his new role.

I’m just going to take a deep breath and say, if Al can do it, so can I.

And just to get all nutsy-boltsy about it, you can watch me do it here OR on offsprung.com (click on my blog, titled PAJAMAZON, and bookmark it too, while you're at it!). I'll also post some stand alone stuff here about stuff that is fascinating but perhaps is a bit too off topic. So check both places, okay?

Aw shucks. Thanks for naming us. Loved Ninety-Three in My Family, which I believe I reviewed at our site last year. What are you working on now?
I loved it too, Erica. Thanks for the mention. I'll be sure to link you up in my next blog roundup.

Not sure about the Al thing too. Actually, I hate the "Today" show. Whenever I catch it I always think "Matt Lauer should be embarrassed."
Thanks, guys! I'm honored to hear from both of you! I probably shouldn't bash Al too hard, since I've been carping for a couple of years now that Oprah should take this kind of project on. Anything that promotes reading, right?

In answer to your question, Jules, I have a picture book coming out next year, plus another picture book and - deep breath - a YA novel (!) on the way. I'm working on finding time to write books and blog without developing carpal tunnel syndrome or worse myopia than I already have. Any suggestions welcomed!
Thanks for the shout-out! I can't wait to see your forthcoming books. :)
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