Thursday, January 22, 2009

Request your free bookmark

If you've ordered Kinderbücher lately, you already are acquainted with our very own Booky.

If you haven't placed an order lately, then now's your chance to get your own free Booky, the Bücherwurm. Created just for us by the very talented Anne Jaeger of Seattle, Booky is a cute little bookworm who just loves to wiggle up and read books with you. Let Booky make your German reading times just a little more special.

We'd love send you your very own Booky bookmark! Just send an email with your name, address, and whether you've ordered before to Since he fits into an envelope, Booky can go anywhere in the world so it doesn't matter where you are - just send us a note and we'll mail him off to you. Plus the first 5 people to request their own Booky will get a free Pixi book.

Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wunderschöne Tiergeschichten (Beautiful Animal Stories)

Kids love stories with real photographs in them and this sweet book, Wunderschöne Tiergeschichten (Beautiful Animal Stories), totally delivers. Follow Rika, the fawn as she goes on an outing in the woods. Fips, the little squirrel, has a birthday. Lasse, the little fox, likes to play. And Flocke, the little foal, has a human friend.

Four short stories make this sturdy hardcover a great value.
Recommended for beginning German speakers ages 4 and up.

Wunderschöne Tiergeschichten by Kerstin Hug

Alle seine Entlein - the unusual story of a fox and his ducks

What a funny story this is! Konrad, a very hungry fox, plans to "get to know" a duck sitting on an egg in her nest. The duck manages to escape in a flutter of feathers and quacking and Konrad is left with the egg. He decides to take it home to make scrambled eggs. Just as he's getting ready to eat, a little duckling hatches out of the egg. So begins a long and unusual friendship.

"Ich hab's!"
Vor Freude hob Konrad das Entchen hoch, das sich nitfreute.
"Dich fress ich später, wenn du dick und rund wie ein Luftballon bist."
Und weil er gerade an luftballons dachte, warf er das Küken hoch und fing es wieder auf, was dem noch mehr gefiel.
At first, Konrad decides to wait until Lorenz, the duckling, is a bit bigger - if he eats it right away, he'll feel terrible and he'll still be hungry. But of course he grows to love the duckling and finds he can't bear to eat it. When the duck gets a bit older and falls in love with a duck named Emma, Konrad decides he will wait until Emma is a bit bigger (and juicier). Lorenz and Emma are sure to have a fight and then Konrad can eat Emma without breaking Lorenz' heart. So Emma moves in with them and they all grow to love one another as it should be in a family. A sweet story, sometimes funny, sometimes bittersweet, and with a peaceful ending.

Colorful illustrations with tons of personality bring Konrad and the ducks to life. While some pages do have quite a bit of text, beginners in German should be able to get by with a bit of extra explanation. You may find it helpful to read the book in 2 sittings if it proves too long.

Recommended for German speakers, beginner level and up, ages 4 and up.

This book has been nominated for and won several prizes:
Nominiert für den Deutschen Jugendliteraturpreis 2008 (German Youth Literatur Prize)
Empfehlungsliste des Katholischen Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreises 2008 (Recommended List of Catholic Children and Youth Book Prizes)
Die besten 7 Bücher für junge Leser.

Alle seine Entlein by Christian Duda and Julia Friese

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Watch out for the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

I have recently learned that a new law is taking effect on February 10, 2009. The Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA) requires lead testing and certification for all children's products. In a nutshell, this means that anything that any company sells for use by children under 13 must be tested for lead with a few exceptions for products made of wood and electronics. Including books, CDs and DVDs. Lead testing for books and CDs? Huh? Hefty fines are imposed for being found in violation of the law. I'm still waiting for further clarification as to the exact implications of this law for Alphabet Garten.

I asked my supplier in Germany if he had any information on whether German publishers test for lead in their products. He was flabbergasted at the question! His response? "Seit wann wird denn Blei für die Papierproduktion genommen?" (Since when is lead used in making paper products?) I'm sure it's not - that's just the point.

Lead testing is expensive. I've seen estimates from $100 to several thousand dollars per product. And the law requires each product to be tested! This is just not feasible for most small businesses to afford and consumers surely don't want to pay the price increases required to support this testing.

You will surely see a large impact across all kinds of small businesses who make products for children. Think of small businesses, sellers of handmade items (Etsy would cease to exist), and anyone who produces children's products in small quantities. They are all impacted and could potentially all be wiped out if the law takes effect as written.

As the mother of 3 children, I take lead and phalate poisoning very seriously. However, I think that this law is places such an unreasonable burden on small businesses and will be impossible to implement and police.

An excerpt from a Publisher's Weekly article:
Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books, goes further. “This is a potential calamity like nothing I’ve ever seen. The implications are quite literally unimaginable,” he said, noting that children’s books could be removed from schools, libraries and stores; nonprofit groups like First Book would lose donations; and retailers, printers, and publishers could ultimately go out of business. “Books are safe. This is like testing milk for lead. It has to be stopped.
See this post at Boutique Cafe for more information about this law and what you can do to help change it. I'll post more information as I come across it.