8 May
2012

In Memory of Maurice Sendak

We are sad to hear of the passing of one of our favorite humans. We look back on an ode we wrote for him in 2011:

Ok before I get started, we need to get something adorable out of the way. Something that will bias you into loving this man like I do.

This is Sendak's dog Herman. NAMED AFTER HERMAN MELVILLE. SITTING ON A WILD THINGS RUG. I KNOW. IT'S AMAZING. It's true. It's all true. The dog. The Melville. The rug. It's all true.
He was once quoted in an interview on PBS about Melville, "My gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickenson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart." IKNOWRITE. Swoon. For being a children's book author, he's not really...child-like...so to speak. He attributes this difference between himself and other typical children's book authors--especially when he started out--to his Jewish European background. In an interview with Npr's Jennifer Ludden, he remembers the many bedtime stories about Jewish friends and relatives dying horrible deaths and how it gave him insomnia, as well as a sense that he could never really be joyful in the presence of his parents without feeling guilty. WOMPWOMP. When Wild Things came out, parents and librarians freaked out because they thought it was too scary, little did they know Sendak's favorite thing to do is scare children. True story. Same interview.
Ok so are you ready to hear the most beautiful thing ever? I can't wait. I'm doing it now. I'm playing my trump card.

"I picked a modest form...I didn't have a lot of confidence, I hid inside this modest form called the children's book and expressed myself entirely. I wasn't going to paint, I wasn't going to do ostentatious drawings, I wasn't going to have gallery pictures, I was going to hide somewhere where nobody could find me."

CCCCCCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG.

This is from an interview with Bill Moyers, YOU NEED to watch it. It's only 17 mins. Here, DO IT. And if you want to hear him call Mickey Mouse a whore, listen to this interview. He used to be obsessed with Mickey, in fact was inspired to draw because of Fantasia, and has an incredible collection of Mickey shiz.

He even wrote Walt Disney a letter asking him to adopt him, but never heard back. He has since become disillusioned with Disney, hence the whore comment.

Ok here's the next super awesome hilarious thing. After years and years of apprenticing and illustrating other people's books (there's like a billion) he finally gets his chance. So he goes to his editor, Ursula, whom he describes as "torrential" (another reason i love this man) and pitches her the title for his yet unwritten book,

 WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE

I'm sorry. I'm not sure you heard me. Let's try that again. The original title of Where the Wild Things Are was

WHERE THE WILD HORSES ARE

But here's the best part. He then realized he COULDN'T DRAW HORSES. I'm sorry. I'm not sure you heard me.

 HE REALIZED HE COULDN'T DRAW HORSES

That's pretty much adorable.

Oh and get this. This is messed up. His book, 'Outside, Over There' published in 1981, is a story about a girl who resents her baby sister and then the baby gets stolen by goblins and she has to go into the goblin world to rescue her. Now let me tell you about a movie called Labyrinth from 1988. It's a story about a girl who resents her baby brother and the the baby gets stolen by goblins and she has to go into the goblin world to rescue him. I don't think you heard me. A story about a girl....ok i won't.

Oh and also get this. He illustrated an unpublished edition of the Hobbit. It's part of the Rosenbach Museaum and Library in Philly along with thousands of pieces of Sendak memorabilia. Oh and get this. Spike Jonze made a documentary about him called 'Tell Them Anything You Want' which follows Sendak during the making of Where the Wild Things Are--a movie that I want tattooed all over my body, all the images in it, on my body, for always.

 

 

Thanks Maurice, for hiding in these books, for expressing yourself entirely, and for bringing out the beasts.
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7 May
2012

For the Moms with the Green Thumbs

So your mom (or any lady you'll be celebrating this Sunday) likes to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. Maybe has her own garden or maybe she just likes to throw a little water on a plant in the windowsill from time to time. No matter what her pleasure we've got something for her! Check out the slideshow!

 

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7 May
2012

We LIVE for Children’s Book Week!

Limited Edition KU Bookmarks!

Ok, so children's books usually make me do one of two things: cry or laugh, much like my two reactions to wasabi. So I'm going to tell you about my new favorite cry and laugh tales in honor of Children's Book Week, which is weird, because we really like to talk about the classics. A lot. But the new kids on the block are pretty cool too and we thought we'd introduce you in case you hadn't met, so that at the next party you go to you can impress people. You should make sure to have one of these AMAZINGLY AWESOME FREE BOOKMARKS YOU SEE ABOVE because we are also amazing and awesome. It's how we roll. Start your child off on the right path by teaching them NOT TO DOG EAR PAGES! Now there are staff who vehemently disagree with me and think it's ok to deface the written word with a painful and cruel crease, BUT THIS IS MY BLOG AND I DO WHAT I WANT. Ok now that you know where I stand on bookmarks, (I know it was keeping you up at night) let's get down to gold safety pins. I mean brass tacks. WORD PLAY! GOTCHA! That's the kind of fun you can have reading kids books, because children's book authors are the wisest, clever-est, best-est thinkers in the whole wide world and although you think their grammar is simple and sometimes nonsensical, their words are some of the truest ever written. Despite my ability to run-on, I think brevity is beautiful. I like to pack in in. (Ew.) Children's book author's are the best at this; they manage to take all the big heavy meaningful stuff and put it through the sieve that is the heart of a child. As we grow up, we just complicate things with language. So without further ado...

The Heart and Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

The AWESEOME SECRET COVER of The Heart and Bottle

The cover of this book is enough reason to crack it open.  BUT HERE'S THE THING. THIS IS A SECRET SO COME CLOSER....so this isn't the ACTUAL cover. The actual covers we had were torn so we undressed them and THIS was underneath! Why you would cover up this cover with a cover is just crazy talk. So, we've decided to display it as such. It’s like you’re on drugs. fun for you AND the kids! But seriously the cover rules. It’s got space, whales, squirrels, elephants, Buckingham Palace Guards, bees on fire, yes i said bees on fire, and yellow duckies. Ya that’s just the cover. It begins with illustrations of the many curiosities in a little girl’s head; in one of my favorite images she is under the water passing by a whale and the little speech bubble says, “oh, hello” and another favorite is a ship falling off the edge of the world. BUT I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE BEES ON FIRE. BUT WAIT I HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT THE BEST PART...THE WWUUURRDDDSSS! And the point they make in sentence form. Some like to call it the lesson, the moral of the story, the point, if you will. You might cry. I may have cried. If we’re being honest here. And I think we are. I’ll just say this; any story that reminds adults to be child-like is.....wait hold on...crying again...ok ...any story that reminds us what our hearts were like when we were small is my kind of story. This is one of those books ; that transcends age; it’s for all of us. YAY!

 

Leon and the Place Between by Grahame Baker-Smith

Cover of Leon & The Place Between. I KNOWRITE!

“With a ripple of gold braid, the curtains slowly parted... Leon could smell the magic”
“Where am i? asked Leon.
“This is the place between,” said the boy.
“Between what?”
“Between there and back again. This is the place where magic sends you.”

Hold on i’m crying, I just finished this.
Ok. I’m ok. Let’s talk.  This is a book that has that Peter Pan-esque “if you believe” vibe AND it has absurdly gorge illustrations so it’s a win win. The cover is what first drew me in, (because you know, that's how that works) but the story kept me there. My favorite part about this story is that instead of a special girl or boy experiencing an adventure (whoch does happen) Leon assures his friends that anyone can go where he went, as long as they believe. SOBBBBB.

 

 

 

Then there is the stunning "Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit" by Il Sung Na:

This makes me want bunnies and sheep badly!

A page from Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a simple yet lovely tale about the changing of the seasons. A cute bunny peeks in on various animals as they hibernate or migrate and its terribly sweet and beautifully illustrated.

Don't like crying or being swept off your feet by the wonder of a beautifully written children's book but do enjoy laughing at sometimes cold and harsh reality of karma? Then check out the adorable, no gimmicks tale "I Want My Hat Back" by Jon Klasson.

I Want My Hat Back

 

This was a wonderful surprise for us when we read it; word spread through the unbreakable KU grape-vine to check it out and check it out we did. Now we are spreading the word to you! Voted one of the 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2011 by the NyTimes, its illustrations are clean and simple. If you want something different, check this AHT.  See also: "Walter the Farting Dog", and "Poop".

Tell us your favorites!

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4 May
2012

Can Anybody Find Me Somebody to Love?
C-3P0’s Adventures in Dating

Did I stutter?

Hello! My name is C-3P0, human-cyborg relations. Has anyone ever really thought about what I mean when I say that? I know not everybody can be fluent in over six million forms of communication, so allow me to translate: My name is C-3P0 and I am trying to get down with some human-cyborg relations!!! The girls (Yes, girls. Despite what your human stereotypes have taught you) in this galaxy have been a pain in my shiny, rock-hard, metal ass since it was a dull, beat-up piece of tin. It seems I was made to suffer. It's my lot in life. But this is not one of those extreme circumstances where surrender is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Allow me to share the woeful tale of my romantic adventures.

Friend-zoned.

It all started on Tatooine, where I was built, with the first girl I ever met. I wasn't as good-looking then as I am now, but what I lacked in shiny, gold exterior I made up for with manners and a charming British accent. Her name was Padme Amidala, and she was the first girl I ever loved. We traveled the galaxy together, but it was not meant to be. Turns out her boyfriend was a BIT of a psycho. Those who know me are aware that courage is not exactly my strong suit. I enjoy scholarly pursuits.

Chill, bro.

Schwing!

The next girl I met was probably the hottest girl in the whole galaxy, and she knew it. She had it all: Looks, class, wealth, and just a little bit of moxy...well maybe more than a little bit of moxy. Plus she could sing! 

Yes, Princess Leia was the catch of a life time, and everybody was trying to get a bite.

Nobody could tie this little mamasita down. Well, actually one guy managed to tie her down, but it didn't turn out so well for him. He died. Luckily I'm not really that into B&D, so I still thought my chances we looking pretty good with Leia. She wasn't really going for the two mooks we were with, and I saw her checking me out. In hindsight, she may have just been using my reflective body to make sure her cinnabons were tied properly.

And then this happened:

Chewy likes to watch.

 

 

 

Right in front of me too! I was shocked! Shocked, I tells ya! I saw my new hopes pulverized before my very eyes. I thought she was gone forever; That my odds of getting the girl of my dreams had increased to approximately 423,000 to one. I couldn't take much more of that.

But there was one thing that nobody there knew.

They are brother and sister.

NASTY!

And just like that, I was back in the running. Of course, so was everyone else. And when I say everyone...I mean everyone. Her worshipfulness got around, my friend...if you know what I mean. Check these scandalous shots I found on her facebook page.

Hell, even I finally got a slice of that, but by the time she got to me she had already shagged the wookiee and a gamorrean guard. Suddenly human-cyborg relations weren't so appealing anymore.

More like Princess Lay-a, amirite?!

But I won't give up. I am getting back on this crazy ride. So all the single ladies, check out my eHarmony profile and gimme a call! Here are some photos of what I have in mind:

I see what you did there...

HAPPY INTERGALACTIC STAR WARS DAY, EVERYONE!

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3 May
2012

Star Wars Gift List

Star Wars Day comes but once a year! Don't miss out on this chance to wow the Star Wars fan in your life. We have everything you need to make this Star Wars day really count. Just remember, we do not accept Republic Credits, and mind tricks don't-a work on us.

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2 May
2012

Hey Ma! It’s Almost Mothers Day!

There's one thing that everyone in the world has in common. We all popped out of a lady!  Whether this lady is still in your life, or you had a different lady take you  into her loving arms and show you how to do things like read or wipe your bum, these people are all celebrated on Mother's Day!  Pretty much if you're a woman and you are appreciated in any way shape or form, Mother's Day is now for you too!  And even if you aren't a woman and you raised a human being we celebrate you as well! Just ask our 'to dad on mother's day' cards. Or our, 'to wolves on mother's day' section.

 

 

So how do you say thank you to the person who gave you an existence? Breakfast in bed?  Flowers? Chocolates??     

 Well, you could do that. And your gift could be declared D.O.A. ! May 13 will be here before you know it and you want to have an awesome gift! We understand there are a lot of other important things in your life and maybe you can't take the time to pick out the perfect gift, so we did all the thinking for you. We'll hold your hand just like mom did! See how this is all coming together? Throughout the month we will be putting out much longer, detailed gift lists for each of the categories we're giving you a peek of today. So keep an eye out! We know that each mom has her own quirks and interests much like us. Here is a breakdown of some of those interests we think might make good MDAY presents!

Sometimes the most relaxing thing can be getting down on your hands and knees and getting your hands dirty! If you show us a mom who loves to garden we'll show you more gardening products than you'll know what do with. We have everything from books to seeds, tools to butterfly gardens. All of which are beautifully packaged to give it that added something special!

 

I'm one of those people who loves to cook. It's where I get to go to my happy place and focus on things that make sense. Just because  mom cooks every night for you does not mean she loves to cook , so make sure you know the difference between the two!  For those who do, we have a bazillion incredible cook books and some of the cutest most unique aprons out there!

Maybe these cooking, gardening moms sound nothing like yours. We understand that those things aren't for everybody. Some moms ideal gift would be a nice, stiff drink and time to enjoy it. We've got books about wine, recipes for making delicious margaritas, hilarious tea towels bedazzled with Swarovski crystals and of course - wine glasses that let her know you care!

 

If the sauce isn't your mom's bag, why not set her up for the spa treatment? Candles, bubble bath, tea and a good book might be all she needs. Let her lock herself away and have some one on one time!

What  girl wouldn't want a good looking piece of jewelry? Some people think that jewelry has to be a serious or romatic gift. It can be but definitely doesn't have to be! Here we have some stunning pearls. Each pearl can represent a different son or daughter or anyone else important in the life of your mom/wife/aunt/sister/you catch my drift. This doesn't even begin to cover our jewelry section so make sure you come in to check out all of our special pieces.

Tea and cookies? Yes please! We've got tea coming out of our ears and we're pretty sure your mom would like to try some. Plus you end up looking good for buying her a unique treat she's never tried before!

You know who started out as a mom way back in the day? YOUR GRANDMA! So don't forget about her. Cute grandma books and if she's a new boomin' granny we've got some pretty adorable brag books. Almost as adorable as the pictures she's going to put in them when she needs to show a complete stranger at the grocery store pics of her bundles of joy!

 We wouldn't be your favorite  friendly, neighborhood card shop if we didn't have every type of mother's day card you could imagine. Whether the dog wants to say thanks or you just want to tell a lady in your life that you appreciate her if she's a mom or not we've got it all. Make sure you beat the rush because when these start selling  we change our name to Hot Cakes Unlimited.

Someone's first mother's day could be one of the most special occasions of the year! She just went through all the work and now she's changing diapers, feeding it at odd hours and getting barfed on. Let her know you're happy that she's happy she's covered in barf with one of these awesome gifts ! Mmmm smells like new moms.
Last but certainly not least we know that dad or other mom might want to show mom that they care in a private, after hours, sexy kind of way. Let your lady know that you appreciate her with an aphrodisiac packed meal, massage oils, or some best selling erotica. Spice things up, sweep her off her feet and let her know she's not an old maid. But maybe she could pretend be a French one for the night.
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1 May
2012

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: May!

It's that time of the month again. You guessed it! Time to learn all about

THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY!

May is one of my favorite months, because it is just jam-packed with some of the best holidays of the year, so let's jump right in.

 

May is Get Caught Reading Month. I'm not sure why you "get caught" reading…Maybe because you are embarrassed by what you are reading. Seeing as how "Fifty Shades of Grey" is so "hot" right now, I think this is a timely holiday. For more reasons than one, because May is also National Masturbation Month! So when you do get caught, you know…reading…you can use your book to hide your shame.

 

Heeeeey Macarena!

May 1st: May Day May Day!

This is one of the most prominent pre-Christian holidays. It just feels like the sort of holiday hobbits celebrate. Although I think I have seen "The Wicker Man" far too many times for this holiday not to creep me out. I see people dressed up like druids, dancing around the Maypole, and I feel certain that the next thing I know I will get stuffed into a large wooden statue filled with farm animals and burned alive…to death.

 

May 1st: Batman Day.

We are always all over Batman Day. We sell a ton of awesome Batman comics, as well as fun Batman products. Since Pittsburgh is the new Gotham City, we are extra excited this year!

 

May 4th: Intergalactic Star Wars Day!!!

May the Fourth be with you. This is both an awesome play on words and a celebration of my favorite movie of all time. I will probably spend the day swinging my sweet lightsaber around and practicing my Twi'lek dialects. Then probably hit the Mos Eisley Cantina to have a frothy, smoking, blue milk-like beverage and get my arm chopped off. I hear it's taco night!

 

Did I mention frosty?

May 5th: Derby Day.

In case you have been living under a rock, Derby Day is when they run the Kentucky Derby. Which means you get all gussied up in spring clothing with either a large fancy hat, or a jaunty hat (for the gentlemen!), and drink delicious frosty mint juleps out of frosty silver cups while you watch some of the most expensive and well-trained animals in the world compete in the first leg of the Triple Crown. It's sort of like the Royal Wedding, but you get to do it every year.

 

May 5th: Cinco de Mayo.

This holiday is on the cinco of Mayo every year. This is not Mexican Independence Day (which is September 16th) but it still commemorates a major step on the way to independence. A good way to think about this holiday is as the Mexican St. Patrick's Day. This means that here in the Estados Unidos, we celebrate the same way we celebrate almost every holiday: By drinking.

May 7-13th: Children's Book Week.

Time to celebrate the magical books from your childhood. There are so many good ones that we need a week to celebrate this. Children's books are our introduction to reading, as well as the fact that there is a world that exists beyond what we can see. We certainly have the best selection of children's book in town, and we are always eager to talk about them. You are never too old for children's books, so stop in and pick up an old classic, or try something new!

 

May 12th: Limerick Day.

On this day we celebrate the birthday of Edward Lear, who popularized the limerick in his Book of Nonsense. This is a five-line poem in AABBA structure, supposedly invented in the Irish town of Limerick, which was also once known as "STAB CITY." Sounds like a charming little town! Being from Stab City, limericks are best when they are crude and vulgar:

Joy, I said. Jump for it.

  • The limerick packs laughs anatomical
  •  In space that is quite economical,
  •  But the good ones I've seen
  •  So seldom are clean,
  •  And the clean ones so seldom are comical.


You're doing it wrong.

May 13th: Mother's Day!!!

This is the big one. The one day a year where you show your mom some respect for giving up her entire life for you. So I think the very least you can do it get her a card, or which we have approximately one jillion. If you want my advice, you may want to get a step above and buy her a ton of actual gifts, of which we have approximately one jillion, and then take her out for a nice brunch (with champagne!).

 

 

May 14th-20th: American Craft Beer Week.

I celebrate this all the time. Its sort of like having National Breathing Oxygen Week, but that doesn't mean we should take it for granted. You should use this week to support your local brewery. Honestly people, its not that hard. Just drink beer! I'm getting a head start on this right now!

 

May 16th: National Sea Monkey Day.

Sea Monkeys are the easiest pet of all time. They are just tiny little brine shrimp in a packet. You just add water and BOOM! Instant pets. Sea Monkeys are one of the few animals that have been to outer space.

 

May 18th: National Pizza Party Day.

This should be a mandatory national holiday. Buildings and offices should be closed. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is more important than a pizza party. Plus, this falls right in the middle of Craft Beer Week, so: Party. Bonus.

Check.

May 25th: Towel Day.

  • "Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

In Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you should know where your towel is at all times. It is the most useful thing a hitchhiker can have. This is good advice. Carry a towel around all day to show your appreciation for Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

 

May Birthdays:

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1 May
2012

New Beginnings!

We are unleashing a new website onto the world. Don't worry...Our hilarious and insightful commentary on everything under the sun won't be changing. We are just going for a new look. We have many exciting things on the horizon here, so stay tuned here on the blog, and in the store as well, for updates.

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