Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Kids Meet Shannon Hale

About a month ago, Shannon Hale came to Annapolis for a book signing. In case you missed it, I have a major author crush on her.

True story (briefly mentioned in my blog post about Kiersten White): A couple years back, when she came to the Baltimore Book Festival, I of course dragged my bestie to go see her. Then, at the festival, I almost walked straight into her because I was talking on the phone and apparently I can’t talk and walk at the same time. So, after I nearly knocked into her with my very graceful personage, I jerked to a stop and said something brilliant like, “You’re Shannon Hale!”

“Yes. I am,” she replied.

I am so very clever.

Anyway, moving on, she came to the Annapolis Barnes and Noble on her The Princess in Black book tour, and I was dying to get that book. Especially since it was just before my own little princess in black’s fourth birthday (okay, technically, my child would prefer to be a queen, but we can’t have everything). Also, my six-year-old absolutely loves the Ever After High books, so I thought she would enjoy getting to meet the author.

Hale was gracious and funny and friendly. She dressed up to do a reading from her book, and when I mentioned my daughter’s upcoming birthday, Hale gave her a free t-shirt that says, “This princess wears black.” Then we bought books of course: The Princess in Black and a boxed set of the Ever After High books. When I tried to take away The Princess in Black so that I could buy it, the three/four-year-old wouldn’t let it go; I practically had to pry off her fingers. And after we got them signed, the six-year-old simply sat and hugged her Ever After High books—all the way home.

And me? I once again made a brilliant impression by telling Hale all about the time I was pregnant with my kid while she was pregnant with her twins and I dreamed one night that we had her over for dinner. It was only in retrospect that I realized I probably sounded like a total stalker.*

So good times were had by all.

Brief book reviews:
The Princess in Black
The next day, when we officially gave the three/four-year-old her birthday book, The Princess in Black, we read it together and were all delighted. The illustrations are charming, and you just kind of want to hug everyone (especially the big blue monster). The story is fun, and I love the princess with a secret identity. I hope there will be lots more of these books.

The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High, #1)The Ever After High books, I must admit, are not my favorite. The storyline and idea are fun, the book design is super froofy-girly-cute, but for me there are too many efforts to mishmash the regular and the fairy tale worlds—things like MirrorPhones, hybrid carriages, muse-ic class, home evil-nomics, and the slang “hexcellent.” It’s just a teensy bit overboard for me. However, like I said, the six-year-old loves them,** so I think they’re great for a younger set. I just don’t think they’re nearly as good adult crossover books as most of Hale’s other works.

And now, a side note: If you haven’t heard, I have a pathological fear of driving. It has gotten better, but a drive to Annapolis would have been unthinkable even a year ago. So I was pretty darn proud of myself for getting up the courage to drive to Annapolis and back—especially in the dark and the rain. Also, hooray for GPS! And also also, this should show just how much I love Shannon Hale.***

* The fact is that I dream about all sorts of weird stuff all the time, so dreaming about you doesn’t mean I’m a stalker. It just means my brain is weird.
** Reading my review over my shoulder, she said, “But those are my favorite parts!”
*** But, as we have already established, in a totally non-stalkery way.