Wow Mom!

So, the other morning I mentioned to one of my mentors in the library world that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with trying to have Free Comic Book Day at our library for the first time this year. Her response (bless her) was “Don’t you just give out some free comics? How easy is that?!”

What happened in my mind (and shown in gif form in honor of Bryce Don’t Play):

But, yeah. That’s me this week.


While I’ve been scurrying around this week going OMG IT’S ALMOST MAY, I had the sudden realization that I had no display planned for the area above our reading bench.

This is a reenactment of the moment I realized this:

Me: Brittany!

Brittany: Yes?

Me: I have no idea what we should put on display over here for May!

Brittany: . . . [approx. 0.2 second pause]

Me: Wait. Mother’s Day. Is Mother’s Day in May? Did we miss Mother’s Day?

Brittany: Mother’s Day is coming up. May 11th.

Me: YAY!!! [exit stage right and quickly types and prints a sign]

So, I put together one of the fastest displays I have ever made. It’s not to the large scale that I like for this area, but dang was it FAST. And that was the goal.

Of all things, this was inspired by a P90X workout. Yes, I do those. Yes, I am insane. But I digress. At one point the trainer Tony Horton says “WOW! Everybody say ‘WOW!'” And his workout buddies do. He then queries “And what is ‘WOW’ upside-down?” His workout buddies all chorus “MOM!” It’s a bizarre moment that apparently has stuck with me.

I think that I’ve blathered on enough about the why and how of this display. Here she is in her minimal glory:

A very minimal and fast Mother's Day display | A very minimal and very fast Mother's Day display |

This display will come down in about 12 days and need to be something else – so I’m trying to not critique it. Also, it’s already been successful – I had only put five books up and a little girl came up and grabbed one to check out – huzzah!

If, for any reason you find yourself in need of a quick Mother’s Day sign, then click on the image below, download the pdf, and print away!

A free printable sign for Mother's Day - it gets the job done |

M’kay. I think that’s about it. Time to resume prepping for everything leading into SRP – first up: Free Comic Book Day!

The Tale of Loki Rabbit

Behold my silly creation!

My fake cover illustration of The Tale of Loki Rabbit at the Library - riffing on Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

If you’re not interested in how I came up with this and the process of its creation, then go ahead and stop reading now.  I’m going to blather on for awhile in case anyone’s interested.

How do I even begin to describe the thought processes that led to my creation of a comic/bunny/library mashup?  Well, it began with a not-super-serious challenge from an online friend who loves bunnies.  We were joking about how I should jump on the seemingly sudden popularity of bunnies on Tumblr.  Ultimately I said “maybe I should combine bunnies, libraries, and super heroes next ::begins plotting::.”

And plot I did.

It actually came together quickly in my head.  I thought “who’s a famous literary bunny? Peter Rabbit.”  I looked at a cover of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and realized that his ears could sort of hook forward.  So I messed around in Photoshop and did a very subtle version of this cover with his ears flipped forward with a more yellowish hue.  I then lengthened his coat and made it green.

Well, it definitely was too subtle (which both my friend, and Bruce agreed upon when I shared it with them):

My first attempt at a silly mash-up of Peter Rabbit, Loki, and with a nod to libraries.

The next day I decided to instead draw the thing with colored pencils.  I’d be able to enlarge it and get more detail.  I went sort of nuts with the costume.  I also realized that his little ears could be mushed down and flipped to mimic Tom Hiddleston’s hair. Heh.

In my original creation (in a size too small) I made the book he was carrying The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin that Loki Rabbit had defaced and made it into The Tale of Thor Nutkin.  He also had drawn flowing hair on the squirrel’s picture and wrote “Dur. Look at my pretty hair and I’m dumb.”  Again, that silly detail was lost in its small size.  Plus it was almost a blatant ripoff of the brilliant book Battle Bunny.

So in this larger version I went simple and made the library book (notice the tiny spine label) a book on adoption.  I mean, could you imagine the story of a young Loki Rabbit going to the library to gain information about adoption?  He would, of course, be crazy-mischievous while there – but the proper information he might be able to handle the shock of learning he was adopted.  Spoiler alert? And then maybe he wouldn’t go off the deep end and be such a bad guy.

Or not.

Readers Assemble!

The six super heroes mashed-up with the ALA's public library symbol: Batman, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Batgirl, and Spider-Man.

A while back I made a mash-up logo with Batgirl and the ALA public library logo.  It was a blast to do, and ever since then I’ve wanted to do more super heroes (even though they don’t have the awesome library tie-in that Batgirl has).

It took one awesome stranger tweeting about how much she liked my Batgirl to rekindle the creative fire in me.  As a result, it took me one evening to throw together five more images with Bruce’s help.  I can’t thank him enough for teaching me Photoshop, and then being such a good critic. Here’s the larger/individual images:

Batman with cape, reading a good book. Yellow image on black background. Two-tone green Incredible Hulk on a purple background. A blue, red, and yellow Wonder Woman on a lighter blue background A yellow, blue, black and grey Wolverine on a red background. A yellow Batgirl on a purple background. A red, blue, black, and white Spider-Man on a black background.

Likely these won’t be the last, and hey, let me know if you’d like me to try my hand at anyone else.  I have a few ideas for villains, and even going outside of the super hero genre.  Previously I’d also created a few football ones:

A black and gold Saints football player on a gold background. A white and red Nebraska Cornhusker football player on a red background.

As always, I hope that you feel free to use or modify any of these – I’m share-alike when it comes to copyrighty type stuff.

All Hallows Read Story

Free printable short comic for All Hallows Read (or just for fun)

If you work with or love books, then I highly recommend that you take part in All Hallows Read this year. Giving out scary books seems like a sweet alternative to candy (bad pun intended). I wasn’t in the position to have our library celebrate this new tradition last year, but by golly this year I am.

Our library (like practically every library out there) has very limited funds, and so giving out books to all the children who stop by on Halloween is out of our financial reach.  We have a handful of books – mainly for junior-level readers, but only a couple of books for the younger crowd.  Therefore I decided to do something about that.

I took the famous campfire story The Golden Arm (also a favorite of Mark Twain’s), and put my own librarian-spin on it.  I think it’s still spooky enough for preschoolers, but silly enough for slightly older kids.  I also swapped out the usually very dark ending with a rather blunt lesson at the end.

This also marks the biggest collaboration that Bruce and I have had a chance to do together.  It was pure joy.  I put together the story and sized it, and Bruce had a blast illustrating it.  It was a great deal of fun watching him bring my simple story to life.  I only had one critique when he had a very scary ghost librarian.  He easily made an adjustment and kept her spooky (but no longer nightmare fuel for our youngest patrons). Oh! And when he asked what the librarian’s name was, I decided to use the name that we used in this display.

We decided to keep it black and white both for cost in printing as well as making it a mini coloring book as well. So it’s two-books-in-one in which kids get a fun story, but then also get to add their own artistic flourishes to it! Yay!

Now, without further ado – here’s the story:

Mini picture book/coloring book for Halloween. Only slightly spooky and overall silly. Basically, it comes down to "don't mess with librarians."

If you’d like to make your own booklets, then here’s the simple how-to and the jpegs that you can use to insert into Word (I found that converting to a pdf smooshed the images just enough to make the book pages uneven). Be sure to insert it into your Word document as large as it can go without cutting off anything. Here’s set one, and here’s set two. You’ll also want the cover page.  Yes, the images look all out-of-place, but they work when you print on both (short) sides and assemble them.


Supplies? 9″X12″ construction paper (in fun Halloween colors), a paper cutter, a long stapler (shorten the construction paper if you only have a regular stapler available), and quick-drying glue. That’s all!

Print out the story as well as a set of the cover pages.  Cut both the story and construction paper into fourths, and then cut out one of the cover images.

A visual example of how to slice the paper to prep the book's assembling.

Then fold all of the story pages and the construction paper. At this point I go ahead and glue on the cover page.

Making mini-books is a great way to afford to participate in All Hallows Read.

Then put all of the pages in order.  You basically nest the open pages (so you’d tuck the upper-right page that you see in the photo into the first upper-left hand page, and then tuck the third page into that, and the final page last). Once you’ve put a couple of books together then you’ll get the hang of how to fold them.  Then put two staples through the back.

A long stapler makes it easier to assemble the small book.

And boom!  It’s your very own affordable book to give out for All Hallows Read.  I’ll be sure to add an update after the 31st to let you all know how it went.  And please, let me know if you have any questions. Or if you make and hand out our book, then I’d love to know how it was received!

A Rather Graphic Display

For a long time we had a very bold and to-the-point purple sign (which tied-in to our purple-tinted labels that indicate our graphic novels).  It did its job, especially when we ended up moving this particular section three times in as many months.

Well, naturally, I grew bored with it and decided that it was time to upgrade the sign.  I saw the last image in this post posted on Pinterest, and thought that I could improve on it a bit.  I knew that I didn’t want to use anything as serious as Maus, and thought that this fun “bursting-out” imagery would do better with the superhero genre.  I also wanted to have the inside of the burst be the actual inside of the graphic novel.  And since this sign would be visible on the next aisle over, I decided to take the back cover of the book and add one of the characters popping out to the sign to help direct people.  So that’s what I did!

I love Tiny Titans (awwww yeah!), and thought that this cover would be super-dynamic and fun for the children – as well as being very eye-catching.  I rocked (technical term) my mad Photoshop skillz, was helped by one of Bruce’s genuine comic fonts, then cut, glued, and taped my way to a fun dimensional sign.  The paper bursts are actually on the outside of the plastic sign holder.  I adore Wonder Girl, therefore she ended up being the helpful guide.  I printed Wonder Girl and her word balloon out on a thicker cardstock paper so that she’d stay upright and not be see-through.

There you have it, folks!  If you have any questions about what I did here, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.  My first attempt at the bursting effect was an utter failure and had to be recycled – so I’d be more than happy to let you know what not to do.