The Bests of BEA (So Far)

Alison Morris - May 30, 2009

The show so far has felt like a whirlwind, with me having entirely too little time to spend on the trade show floor! With that in mind, I’m focusing this mid-BEA post around a superlative theme — giving you little soundbites that open larger windows into the wealth of things going on at the show.

The most entertaining thing I’ve heard so far: I moderated a delightful conversation with Trenton Lee Stewart as part of ABC’s "Tea with Children’s Authors." My favorite part of the conversation was hearing a few snippets about what Trent was like as a kid — snippets that shed some light on what things might have influenced his creation of the characters in his Mysterious Benedict Society books. When he was in… second grade, I think it was (?) he entered a class competition to come up with a list of homonyms. He had no idea homonyms other kids would be submitting but, already a lover of wordplay, threw himself into the task and was thrilled when his list of  400 homonyms won. The kid who got second place had come up with a list of…? 8. Yes, 8. A bit of overkill on Trent’s part, maybe? He also said there was a time when he thought maybe he’d like to grow up to be an inventor. The flaw in this plan was that he wasn’t actually any good at inventing things, or, say, putting things back together once he’d taken them apart, like his Batman and Robin alarm clock, which he disassembled and then couldn’t return to its former state. (Thank goodness he had his wonderful writing talents to "fall back on.")

The most impressive thing I’ve seen so far: Neil Gaiman’s signing line at the HarperCollins booth in the middle of the trade show floor. WOW. I walked by at 1:20 p.m., the signing wasn’t starting until 2 p.m., and already the line wrapped around a considerable chunk of the show floor. I can’t imagine how long it must have been by the time the signing actually began! Alas I’ve got no photo for you, as I just didn’t have a lens big enough to capture this crowd.

The most exciting non-book item I’ve seen so far: MerryMakers has created a FABULOUS Scaredy Squirrel puppet that will be available in August. I can just see him being sold in stores alongside a display of hand sanitizer. Perfect! 

I also love MerryMakers’ soon-to-be-available bat puppet for Brian Lies’ Bats at the Beach and Bats at the Library.

The most charming booth design I’ve seen so far: The picket fence and eye-catching awning of Applewood Books make their booth awfully hard to pass by.

The most bizarre promotion I’ve seen so far: The real flaw here is that I don’t even know what book/product this clan is promoting…

And the most "What will they think of next?" and "Where WON’T they try to sell to you?" thing I’ve seen at the show: The photo below shows the escalator handrails Starbucks has paid to wrap with advertisements. Seriously, what WILL they think of next??

2 thoughts on “The Bests of BEA (So Far)

  1. Monica Edinger

    Just catching up on my BEA tweets and came across this one: RT neilhimself Signed for 170 people in 60 minutes. Drew many gravestones. Radio interview in 25 mins. Hope I get brain back by then.


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