I went to see author, Barney Saltzberg, at a booksigning today hosted at a local independent bookseller. It was a good sized crowd packed into a small space, and not wanting to push past eager toddlers who'd come to see him, I hung around the back of the room. He sang a few songs and played the guitar. Everyone enjoyed the very silly song, Shopping With My Dog. He also sang Soccer Mom from Outer Space. He read several of his picturebooks including the newest of his Cornelius P. Mud series, Are You Ready for Baby? He's got a wonderful, relaxed presence and really seems like a natural children's entertainer. The families there were having a great time.
His newest book, Good Egg, out in March, is a simple but delightful story. It's not quite a pop-up, but I'd put it firmly in the toy and moveable book category, with lift the flaps, and other surprises. The gentle pastel tones of the book make it a natural for Easter, but there's nothing in it specific to that holiday, so it could be enjoyed year-round. It's got just a touch of humor, as the egg is commanded to "Sit!" and very obediently complies. On the final page, the egg is commanded to "Speak!" and so it does, with a new baby chick peeping out. I wouldn't ordinarily recommend a pop-up book for toddlers, but this one seems especially sturdy, and the sentences are so short and direct, it feels just right for that audience.
When the story hour had concluded and Saltzberg was signing books, Jamie Lee Curtis (the actress, and an accomplished children's picture book author in her own right) happened to be in the audience and came up to him and gushed (and gushed and gushed) that she was a huge, huge fan of his. He looked a little surprised, but took it in good stead!