Noodles & Albie Debut Reading and Penguin Party

To say our Noodles & Albie launch party / event / reading / slideshow at the White Square Bookshop was a success last week is like saying penguins are cute.  It was and they are, but it was so much more.  This being our first book and our first book public event made it unforgettable.  On the way to the White Square to set up that Sunday morning my daughter Sophie tried to keep me even keeled by saying, “Ya know dad, don’t get all bent out of shape if only five people show up”.  She had noticed that I had packed our little car with 30 of everything.  30 penguin goodie bags, enough penguin cheese crackers and peachy penguin gummies for a school outing,  a nice size box penguin prizes for the various contests we were to run, 30 plush penguins to give out with the books, and a case of 30 Noodles & Albie books.  

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I pondered what to wear and at first I wore a dress shirt with a penguin tie, jeans and sneakers trying to channel that unique hipster-doofus children’s author persona, but both my kids immediately vetoed it, and unanimously encouraged me to don a new Chilly Willy t-shirt and baseball hat.  I wisely followed their sage advice.  So with my little VW Beetle packed to the gills with boxes of penguins and two kids we set off and of course we arrived absurdly early.  I put Sophie and Rose to work making 30 snack cups of penguin crackers and gummies.  We then set out baskets of the penguin goodie bags, the fun multiple choice penguin quiz  sheets I made up,  Eileen, the owner of White Square, made a cooler of blue colored Penguin Polar Punch with marshmallows floating on the top to simulate mini icebergs (very clever Eileen).  Sophie wrote up some signage, “Penguin Goodie Bags, One Per Kid”, and  “Take Our Penguin Quiz: Win Prizes”.  We were done in 20 minutes, and so to keep my kids from destroying the bookstore with an hour to go before the reading we waddled down the road to Mt. Tom’s Ice Cream Parlor.  Every once in while I’d walk over to White Square to see if anyone had shown up, and soon a couple of friends, then a fan showed up, then Liz and her family entourage.  This was the first time I got to meet her extended clan so that was a treat.  While we were all chatting I turned around to find that the room was filling up and there was a line at the counter. Eileen was even selling books!  People who we did not know were asking Liz and I to sign the books they had just purchased!  By the time the reading was set to begin the place was packed.  I made an announcement that kids should sit upfront on the floor and adults in the back.  I climbed onto a stool with copy of Noodles & Albie in hand with Liz sitting to my left in charge of the slideshow manning the projector.  As Eileen introduced us I looked up and I could not believe how many people were there, kids and adults, friends, family and fans who had come from near and far.  I made a little speech about how the book came to be, introduced Liz, and began to read.  “After six long months of daylight, the sun was finally beginning to set on the Antarctic summer, and Noodles had not gone on his first swim…”

lizdraws

When the reading was over, there was applause and congratulations. Kind of embarrassed I immediately launched into my penguin quiz, while Liz held a “how to draw a penguin class with the kids” that was a hit.  Sophie the quiz master checked answers and gave out penguin prizes according to how many correct answers each kid got.  Then more schmoozing and signing of books.  Finally, we held our kids best waddle competition, in which Liz’s mom Nancy must get honorable mention although it was more like a prancing pup than a penguin waddle.  All told there were probably 50  people in attendance.  Liz and I sold and signed 26 books.  The event was suppose to be from 2 pm to 3 pm.  I got home a 4:30 bringing a lot less penguins up the stairs than I took down the stairs earlier that day.

lizdrawsnoodles

On the way home Sophie said, “Dad, I knew it was going to be o.k., but I said not to get your hopes up just in case, ya know? Because I didn’t want you to get your expectations too high and have your feelings hurt.”  “And now?”  I asked.  “You and Liz kicked butt!” she said.

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