Reviews: Buzz about the Toddlers of Terror

In this bedtime tour of a spooky alternate universe, Quinn (the Not for Children Children’s Books series) and Spires (the Binky the Space Cat series) show that monster and fiend parents face the same challenges getting their offspring to sleep as their human counterparts. As dawn threatens to break across the sky, a tired-eyed ghost parent tries to coax its baby, cuddled against a tombstone, to get some shut-eye (“I’ll always love you, to the grave./ But frankly, dear, it’s sleep I crave.”), while a lagoon-dweller holds a swaddled, beatific baby and sings a bubbly lullaby (“blupblupblooop”). Despite their shared need for sleep, the grown-up mummy, zombies, and vampire, among others, understand that baby ghouls have bedtime fears (in their case, the “horrid things” are bunnies, unicorns, and fluffy kittens), just as they believe that having a “tiny terror” to love is beyond compare. “So good night, moon. Farewell, night./ Guard me and mine throughout the light.” Ages 2–5. Author’s agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders & Assoc. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words.

  • Best of Publishers Weekly

 

With the sun rising, these little ones will do anything to stay up just one more minute. Daddy Vampire is forced to fetch them one more snack, Mommy Mummy is cajoled to give one more cuddle, and so on. But these parents are tired, frustrated, and ready for bed. Quinn’s clever rhymes (“I’ll always love you, to the grave. / But frankly, dear, it’s sleep I crave”) are paired with dark-toned illustrations of cute little monsters looking mostly sleepy. It all ends up comfortably well, with all the little creatures snoozing. Good for reading to a classroom or one-on-one, this delightfully ghoulish tale shows that even monster parents have it tough when putting little creatures to bed. Grades K-2.

  • – Booklist Reviews

 

A bedtime book for all the nocturnal ghouls, ghosts, and goblins.

Structured identically to the many twee books about bedtime for human children, this is designed to do the same job: get little ones to sleep. Just as human children want one more cuddle, snack, and book, so too do these monsters’ offspring. Godzilla’s diapered child wants to keep stomping block cities, and it’s a struggle to get the bigfoot child’s toes scrubbed, face brushed, and pajamas on. Then there are those pesky fears that parents need to banish (imagined terrors include a unicorn and a cute kitten). The beauty of Quinn’s text, though (the vampire dad’s request for one more bite and a couple of bobbled rhymes excepted), is that this will work on human children as well. Indeed, some of the typical twee has made it to these pages, demonstrating that monster caregivers are just as sentimental as human ones: “A little wonder, yes, that’s true. / A miracle, uniquely you.” Spires’ illustrations mix the tender with the slightly macabre (the zombie child’s stuffed animal is missing its lower half), and the palette is dark and subdued to match the time before the dawn.

Two messages come through loud and clear: caregivers’ love for their children and, in the words of the ghost parent: “I’ll always love you, to the grave. / But frankly, dear, it’s sleep I crave.” Truer words were never spoken.

  • – Kirkus Review

 

It’s no secret that kids will try anything to put off going to bed each night — and the struggle is just as real for monster parents. At least, that’s the premise behind the charming and spookily perfect bedtime book, Go to Sleep, Little Creep by David Quinn & illustrated by Ashley Spires. The book follows an assortment of ghouls and monsters as they get ready for bed — vampires and werewolves, ghosts and sea creatures — all of them find excuses to put off going to sleep.

They are struggles any parent will relate to: one more cuddle, a drink of water, another story, etc. Anyone paying close attention will see the universal feelings of so many exhausted parents reflected in the illustrations. (Honestly, the zombie parents look eerily similar to just regular parents!)

This line, in particular, I think will strike a nerve:

I’ll always love you, to the grave.
But frankly, dear, it’s sleep I crave.

But as much as parents will get a kick out of this book — so, too, will their kids. The illustrations, though depicting Halloween-worthy creatures, are charming and sweet. And the sentiments are relatable enough for kids to get a giggle out of comparing the situations to their own little lives.

This adorably spooky picture book is a delight to read out loud, and definitely sets the perfect tone for bedtime reading.  

  • Novel Novice Junior

 

Go to Sleep, Little Creep is a wonderful bedtime story for kids and parents that like the supernatural. Parents who love the classic horror films will definitely find it interesting with all the Easter eggs within its pages.

Go to Sleep, Little Creep narrates through its illustrations the struggles even monster parents go through to put their little ones to bed. We see parents hurrying to their children with toys or chasing after them, giving them one last snack before bed or trying to put on pajamas. But the little ones are too full of energy to go to bed.

I loved this picture book, especially the details found within the different monster parent/child scenarios. I am sure parents will have more fun than the kids. For example, when Godzilla chases baby Godzilla you can see in the background some drawings and toys related to its movies. The Frankenstein family has the best detail of them all! And the lagoon’s monster has a hidden surprise within the sea’s depth.

The rhymes by David Quinn and illustrations by Ashley Spires are great and go hand-in-hand with what they are trying to portray. The little kid monsters are adorable and you can see their resemblance to their parents. A wonderful read indeed, so if you like monsters and their little creeps this is the book for you. You will learn that human parents aren’t the only ones that struggle to put their kids to bed.

  • Open Book Society

#brooklyntakeover with the Creeps!

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Lil G (Illustration: Ashley Spires)

Sunday morning Diane, Olivia and I drove to Brooklyn to Powerhouseon8th, a gem of a bookstore, community hang, makers’ gallery and book club. It’s the creative spawn of DUMBO’s famed Powerhouse Arena. Think of it this way: if Powerhouse Arena is Godzilla, Powerhouseon8th is Baby Godzilla. It’s small but mighty. It’s chill and creative. It stomps!

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South Slope hot chocolate for Olivia to start the morning!

Which is fitting, since we were in the neighborhood in the service of monsters.

We came over the bridge to read Go to Sleep, Little Creep, my lullaby — in collaboration with ace illustrator Ashley Spires — to loving monster caregivers doomed to the coaxing and cuddling of their tiny terrors waaaay past bedtime.

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Our Haven on 8th Ave between 11th and 12th

As a small crowd of little humans gathered in the store’s bright, book-filled reading loft, adults in tow, my family and I caught their attention with a simple activity: creating stick puppets from cutouts copied from the book.

Kids enjoy the divine gift of turning anything just about anything into a toy. (Ever brave a gunfight with white bread chewed into pistols? We have. Ever stage opera using just a few spice jars as divas? We have.) So this simple craft proved to be just the right level. Play now, and something to remember us by later, whether Dad, Mom or Grandma bought a book or not.

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What does Wolfgirl say?

Armed with puppets, we moved swiftly to my reading, and the kids enjoyed looking at monsters and bedtime — two potential negatives for the imagination — through a comic, rhyming lens that makes them fun.

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Children also love it when you make them feel comfortable to participate:  i.e. invite them to shout out the baby monster voices in the word balloons! We had a ruckus with that, getting louder with each callout, from the baby mummy who cries “Mummmmmeeeee” to the Wolfgirl who howls the Moon down behind the mountain at night’s end.

As for the adults, they seemed to appreciate the inside jokes of classic horror in the text and scenes. More than this, some knowing laughter told me how deeply they felt the dramatic tension between parents’ undying love and the struggle to achieve the peace of that last good night:

“I’ll always love you to the grave/But frankly dear, it’s sleep I crave.”

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Bed time stories should be short. And this one is. So we finished just seconds before the most energetic child erupted into an explosive need to be anywhere but here. (Kids are honest that way.)

People ask me why I wrote this book. I have a different answer every day.

Sunday, it felt like I wrote it to help kids and their grownups discover how alive we feel reading stories aloud, together — especially stories that can only be told through a unique play between voices and images.

So thanks again to our host, Kate, who really knows books and has just the right touch with humans, too, both large and small. She and her team run the kind of store Diane described as “The book store you want in your neighborhood.” And thanks to Susanne, the director / curator of both stores, who invited us — and of course, thanks to Random House publicist Emily Bamford.

It takes a lot of people to make a little good noise for good books.

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If you missed us, I signed dozens of copies for future Halloween displays in both stores — thanks, Kate!

Always great to go back to Brooklyn. See you again soon!

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Bonus! Leave behind art from other visiting creatives in stores — David Soman and Jacky Davis’ Ladybug Girl

 

 

 

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Halloween Art and Book Parties for Kids!

IMG_4371.jpegBriarcliff Manor’s A Maze in Pottery studio artists have rendered the creepy cute illustrations of Ashley Spires as a dinner plate fit to haunt your Halloween Feast

Kids, do you enjoy Crazy Stories? Want to try your hand making your own spooky, fun art? Do you sometimes howl at the moon when it just needs howling?

Well, my friends at A Maze in Pottery and I have some parties for you. Here are two parties for young kids accompanied by an adult…

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 1.25.51 PM.jpgTwo parties are for young kids accompanied by adults – these projects are simpler than the one designed for older kids and incorporate the child’s handprint

And for you older artists – and I bet some of you might want to make books of your own one day – meet me here…

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 1.25.04 PM.jpgThis party is for older kids who can work independently on a more complex project

And for those of you who may live too far from the New York / Connecticut area to play along with us, sorry. Feel free to have your own Store, School, Library or Graveyard get in touch with me about an appearance!

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Creeps Make Amazon Kid List

A quick one.

Our Toddlers of Terror got the nod in Amazon Book Review’s blog OMNIVORACIOUS, where Seira Wilson wrote:

“Monster parents and children, including mummys, ghosts, and the Frankensteins—all pictured with smiling or sleepy faces—go through the rituals of bedtime in a sweet, rhyming story that’s a delight all year round, and perfect for Halloween.”

It’s always sweet when the lists get shorter and stories I have worked on are still on them, so thanks, Seira! And may all your nightmares…  be little ones.

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What’s this? I’ll tell you next time.

Live Events: Go To Sleep, Little Creep (Updated 10/3)

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Where and when can you meet the Little Creeps in person?

Here’s a work in process list of upcoming author events. Most of them are free, though some are ticketed.

Leave me a comment below if you’d like me to save time for an event at your store, school, library, coffee shop or graveyard.

September 30, 11:30am-12:30pm

Powerhouse on 8th, 1111 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY (718) 666-3049 Please RSVP to attend. Facebook event here.

Story Time Reading/Signing

October 6, 11am-12pm

Northern Westchester Chinese School, Briarcliff Manor Middle School, 444 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY (Email for more information)

Story Time Reading/Author Conversation/Signing

October 13, 11am-3pm

The Harvey School Fair, Jay St, Katonah NY

Pumpkin Painting/Signing

October 21, 9-10am

A Maze in Pottery, 76 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY (914) 502-0088

Reading/Signing/Art Project Party for Young Children and Parents Together (Ticket Price Includes Signed Book)

October 21, 12-2pm

Scattered Books, 29 King St, Chappaqua, NY (914) 529-8013

Signing/Reading/Ragamuffin Parade

October 24 5-6pm

A Maze in Pottery, 76 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY (914) 502-0088

Reading/Signing/Art Project Party for Young Children and Parents Together (Ticket Includes Signed Book)

October 25 5-6:30pm

A Maze in Pottery, 76 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY (914) 502-0088

Signing/Author Discussion “Making Monsters”/Art Project Party for Older Children (Ticket Includes Signed Book)

October 27 11:30am-3pm

The Spider’s Web, 887 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers, NY (914) 709-8787

Signing, Story Time Reading (2:30pm), Halloween Comic Fest

October 28 10:15-12noon

Split Rock Books, 97 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY (845) 265-2080

Story Time Reading, Kids, wear your Halloween Costumes!

November 24 12-3pm

Vault of Midnight, 219 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI (734) 998-1413

Reading/Signing

 December 1, 5-7pm

“Harvey Presents,” The Harvey School, Jay St, Katonah NY (Contact Information Coming Soon)

All Ages Author Presentation/Signing (Ticket Includes Signed Book)

 

Once again, I’m in conversations with several other prospective event planners – leave me a comment below if you’d like me to save time for an event at your store, school, library, coffee shop or graveyard.

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The Creeps in Fine Company at Little Joe’s Books, Katonah, NY (914) 232-7278