Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kids' Corner Reporters...Just Who is Bob Boyle?

Many people have heard of the recent story by Bob Boyle entitled Hugo and the Really, Really, Long String.  You may also know that his idea for that story came from a walk where he saw power lines and wondered where they might a really, really, long string.  However, our "Kids' Corner" reporters had a chance to find out some information that you may not know about the amazing Bob Boyle.

Reporters:   Evan Dauksys, Jacob Ivey, and Evelyn Ivey

  • Bob's earliest reading memories are of his mom buying him books like Hairy the Dirty Dog, Lyle Lyle Crocodile, and Dr. Seuss stories.
  • When talking about his family, we learned he has a younger sister.  From his parents,  he's like his dad because he's creative.  His dad wanted to be an artist and would give Bob hand-drawn birthday cards every year.   He's like his mom with his determination and discipline.   
  • One of Bob's favorite authors is Maurice Sendak.
  • Walt Disney and Lance Armstrong are his heros!
  • Bob loves the Beatles! 
  •  He gets to write the lyrics for the shows and then music is put to it.
  • Bob thinks the best part of writing books is creating new characters that are real and people can connect with.  He likes making a "story out of nothing."  Just like he did with the 5th graders at South Anna.
  • It takes close to 9 months to make ONE eleven minute episode of a cartoon...from idea to finished cartoon.
  • In the cartoon Wow!Wow!Wubbzy!, Bob is not Widget because he's not good with tools and most likely Wubbzy since he's fun.  But without the tail of course.
  • If Bob could go one place in the world it would be...into a Dr. Seuss book!  
  • One day Bob would like to visit Ireland (for his dad's family) and Finland (for his mom's family).
  • In his spare time he likes to run and actually LOVES to work!

  • It took Bob YEARS to make Hugo's story.
  • There may possibly be another Hugo adventure!
  • In Hugo, the customers look like Walden's face with Widget's ears (from Wubbzy), but it wasn't done on purpose.  Do you see any other characters from his cartoons?
  • Mr. Usagi (the rabbit noodle maker) got his name because "usagi" is the Japanese word for "rabbit!"
  • Bob chose a red string for Hugo since it is a color that stands out.  He chose underwear at the end of the story because it's so funny.  We's VERY funny!


  • Bob's suggestion for people who want to write or illustrate is to WRITE and DRAW!  A lot.
  • A life lesson that Bob would share is...It's great to have dreams....take action.  Nike has it right, "Just do it!"
Evan with Bob

Evelyn and Jacob with Bob

For the "Kids' Corner" reporters, spending time with Bob Boyle was life-changing.  They look at books, illustrations, cartoons, and life in an entirely new way.  Is there a book or experience like ours that has been life-changing for you?  Share it with us!  We'll write back.

Keep reading!
Evan, Jacob, and Evelyn

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GUWB meets Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String!

How do you sum up an event that was beyond your wildest dreams?  An event that started with Twitter?  An event that changed the lives of many young boys and girls? I think that the best way is to just say...WOW!  Wow, wow, Bob Boyle!

Bob Boyle, the creator of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and the new book Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String, spent the day with GUWB at South Anna Elementary earlier this  month.  GUWB sponsored this day with a morning spot on CBS channel 6 and then over to South Anna Elementary in Montpelier, Virginia.

With the help of GUWB, the teachers prepared the children for Bob's visit.  A welcome sign brought  the front of the school building to life.  All of the students were asked to think about what might be at the end of Hugo's really, really, really long string (from Bob's new book). They put their ideas down on paper (written and illustrated)--which of course included a piece of red string.  These pictures lined the walls of the school and left Bob Boyle in awe. Truthfully, as we walked down the halls a whisper of "That's Bob Boyle!  That's Bob Boyle!" could be heard again and again.  The kids were in the palm of his hands as soon as he walked in the door!

A small group of 5th graders was quite fortunate to spend about an hour with Bob.  He shared some of his art background and they shared their artistic interests.  With this knowledge, Bob talked them through creating the story of Elvis the Guinea Squirrel.   Elvis had to forge through the perfume forest in search of a new polyester disco suit and it was all caught on ceiling tiles.  Yes, ceiling tiles!!!  The story is literally on the ceiling at South Anna...a once in a lifetime experience.
Bob drew on one of the ceiling tiles to help tell Elvis the Guinea Squirrel's story!
The story evolved across the white board and proceeded to the ceiling tiles.

During lunch, the kids from GUWB had the opportunity to ask some burning questions to kick of "Kids Corner!"  Jacob Ivey, Evelyn Ivey, and Evan Dauksys found out some answers to questions you may never have thought to ask.  Stay tuned for their interview and the responses.
Jacob and Evelyn with Bob Boyle

Evan and Bob

After lunch, Bob gave two assemblies at South Anna and engaged the students from the moment they walked into the room.  Using humor and honesty, Bob shared about his life and how his dream of becoming an artist came true.  One of GUWB's favorite things he shared was showing actual photos of drawings he did as a child.  A drawing that someone in the audience could have drawn.  Showing that dreams can come true if you believe.    The children enjoyed hearing  his new book entitled Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String and left that day with a hard-to-define energy.

Grow Up With Books was proud to be a part of such an exciting event!  Sharing the day with Bob Boyle is one we won't easily forget.  We are thrilled to share that Hugo is available at GUWB and is ready to be sent to your house.  Head on over to the website, add Hugo to your cue, and look for the "red-stringed" book in your mailbox!
Julie Dauksys, Bob Boyle, and Lara Ivey

Happy reading!
The GUWB Team

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making the Most of Your Grow Up with Books Subscription!

At Grow Up with Books we want to help families foster the love of reading!  Families that sign up for a subscription with Grow Up with Books receive a lot more than just great books at the click of a mouse.  No matter what reading plan you choose, be sure to get the most out of your subscription by remembering  the following tips:

  • Be sure to keep your book queue full!  That way we always have a list of what your family wants to read next.
  • When you return books, be sure to go on to the Grow Up with Books website and click "order returned."  This allows us to go ahead and process your next order.  Your new books will go directly to the post office.  You will not have to wait as long for new titles!
  • Read, Learn, and Return full orders, not partial ones.  We are unable to process your next order if all books are not returned in the handy postage-paid return mailer.
  • Don’t forget…if your family loves a book and you want to keep it, you can! Visit the website and buy the book at a reduced cost.

Grow Up with Books also offers specialized services that you won't find anywhere else!
  • When books are returned they are sanitized with a green cleaning product to help keep germs out.  The books you receive have been through this same process to help keep your family healthy!
  • The Read TWO Experience helps your family know how to read the book-To your child, With your child, or on their Own. Each book is marked with this information to help guide you as a parent of a Seed, Sprout, Sapling, or Young Tree reader.
  • Grow Up with Books has a Reading Consulting Team with nearly 40 years of classroom reading experience. If you have questions about ways to help your child's reading development or literacy in general, feel free to write us at  We will provide timely personal feedback and reading tips to all our subscribers.
  • All of our books are reviewed by the Reading Consulting Team and Connection Cards are created for each book.  These suggested activities help guide parents to foster a love of reading by helping children make connections between books and themselves, other books and the world.
  • Don't forget...Grow Up with Books gift cards or gift subscriptions make great gifts for baby showers, birthdays, holidays-anytime is a great time to give Grow Up with Books!
We are pleased that we can offer these services to our subscribers.  We hope that all subscribers will participate in our Summer Reading Program "Score! Read with GUWB" and receive a $10 gift card to Dairy Queen.  We ask all subscribers to Reach-a-Reader and save $5 on next month's subscription by getting a friend to sign up for a Grow Up with Books monthly book plan. 

If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for?  Look at all the benefits you will receive when you share the love of reading and experience Grow Up with Books!  Sign up today and join in the fun of
reading with your child!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Cat"ch the World Cup Fever

What an exceptional World Cup this has been!  The GUWB Team has watched the US team through its ties, victories, and it's final loss.  However, the semi-final and final matches have yet to be played.  With that in mind, why not introduce your child to a simple chapter book entitled Soccer Cats: Switch Play! (by Matt Christopher)?  As a subscriber to GUWB, you can have it sent directly to your doorstep and add it to your GUWB Summer Reading Log.  Remember, when your family reads a total of 10 books, you're eligible for the $10 gift card to Dairy Queen. It's the perfect book to be read during these final days of World Cup excitement.  Continue to enjoy reading while you enjoy your summer!

Get reading!
The GUWB Team

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tips for Summer Reading

Make even more summer memories with your family by trying out some of our

1.  Family Storytime:  Choose a crowd-pleaser like Charlotte's Web or Clementine from the GUWB collection.  Each day read the story together as a family.  Either read the story to your children, or have the family take turns as "Guest Reader" for the evening.  After reading, have a conversation with your crew about connections you can make with what you've read. 

2.  Take a Trip:  Many of the books in the GUWB collection lend themselves to daytrip excursions for your family.  If you live in Virginia, you might read My Chincoteague Pony and visit Chincoteague Island for the annual pony penning event.  If you live in Illinois, you might read Abe's Honest Words and visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace and museum.  If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, your might read the non-fiction book Washington, D.C. and spend a day touring our nation's capital city.  No matter where you live, try to make connections between books you read and summer events!

3.  Write All About It!  To encourage summer writing and keep those writing skills sharp, try one or all of these writing suggestions: 
     a.  Keep a journal:  In the book Ellie McDoodle:  Have Pen, Will TravelEllie goes camping with her aunt and uncle and writes all her adventures in her signature "doodle-style" notebook.  Capture your family's adventures in your own journal.
    b.  Help your child create a blog with his or her friends so they can "chat" through writing about books they are reading.
    c.  After reading Diary of a Worm, use a blank calendar to have your child record "out of the ordinary"  events (a surprise trip to Dairy Queen, a visit from grandma, a playdate, a summer party, etc.).

4.  Capturing Memories:  Summer is filled with lots of memory-making moments.  After reading When Lightning Comes in a Jartake your family outside at dusk with a jar to capture your own fireflies and make your own experience.  What other connections can your family make with this story? (reunions, family ties, foods, stories of the past, etc.)  Take pictures of events that make your summer special and encourage your child to write captions for each one in a scrapbook.

We hope these Summer Reading Tips will help your family enjoy reading even more books this summer!  Be sure to check out the GUWB book collection and tips from the Reading Consulting Team
Happy Summer Reading!