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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Because when your kids are reading, they're not setting fire to things 

This post is sponsored by Chronicle Books. Who doesn't like books? Nobody I'd like to know, is who.

I made this video today, and the thing you need to know is that my film-editor husband was working so I put this together in iMovie by MYSELF and I am quite proud of me. Also, that is a terrible freeze-frame. Although really, is there ever a good one?


Did you enjoy my use of the iMovie music? Scott is rolling his eyes, probably, or he will be, when he sees this. This is not what this post was supposed to be about. Reading! It's about reading.

The Worst-Case Scenario Ultimate Adventure Novels are Chronicle’s new series for kids. They are similar in format to your classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, but, I think, more appropriate for kids of Henry's age and sophistication.  (He wears a tux to bed.) Henry tore through all three of them within a week. There's one about the Amazon, one about Everest, and one that's Mars-themed. Here's the trailer for the Mars one. It's pretty great. (Almost as great as the video I recently created. Maybe you've heard of it? It's right up there.)

Want these books for a child in your life, or maybe for you? (I'm not going to judge you if you want them for yourself.) Leave a comment. What's the first book you remember falling in love (or at least deep like) with as a kid?  Tell me! I'll pick a winner at random.

I remember my first book-love all too clearly. It was a picture book. Each page featured photos: heaps of pastel cookies, climbed on by curious, fuzzy kittens. I don't remember the story. I just remember the cookies and kittens. The kittens and cookies. It was a magical, soft-focus and probably unhygienic world, and I wanted to be in it. Eating the cookies, owning the kittens. I hope I was a toddler when I had this book, but who knows? I might have been twelve. I was probably not twelve. But I can guarantee you that if I had found that book when I was twelve, I would have kept it, and maybe looked at it every night.


Reader Comments (119)

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock. A girl who turns out to be a fairy (back in the days before everyone was secretly a glittery vampire or werewolf) was manna to me elementary school self.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

It was Hop on Pop because it was the first book I ever read by myself. It was magical.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterheidi

Thanks for the rec -- just ordered all 3!

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

As a very young child, I remember falling in love with a series of books very much like the Brambly Hedge books by Jill Barklem - though they probably weren't brambly hedge because those publication dates don't correspond well to my early childhood dates. I can remember poring over these unknown books at the library each week.

As an independent reader, the first book I remember loving the cover off was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

The Cat in the Hat, for the words, the pictures, the mischievousness, the lesson. Although I think I would not tell, so I don't know if that was a good lesson or it actually taught me how to lie to my parents.

My son is also into fantasy type reading, but right now he is still on Harry Potter, and I'm a huge HP fan too, so it's all good.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

from the mixed up files of mrs basil e frankweiler! i loved it so much that i attempted to transcribe the entire book into a much smaller hand-printed book, so i could carry it with me in my pocket at all times. i was also a big hit at parties.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersarah

The first book I remember being obsessed with is Don and Audrey Wood's Heckedy Peg. It is amazingly creepy and the artwork is beautiful. It's set in some sort of feudal type village. A single mother is off to market and offers to buy each of her seven children (all named for the days of the week) a special item.

While she is gone, an old woman with a peg leg--or it could be an old man, but a hag nonetheless--walks up to the window of the cottage where the children are cleaning and soap bubbles are flying through the air. The hag, Heckedy Peg, tempts the children away with the promise of gold.

In her cave, deep in the foggy, dark forest, she transforms the children into food items that she will eat.

The mother finds the cave and begs to be let in to save her children. She is told by Heckedy Peg that her shoes are dirty, then her socks, then her feet, which of course she can't take off so she tricks Heckedy Peg by saying she has cut off her legs.

The mother eventually saves the children using her wit and knowledge of what each of her children love.

I would sit for hours reading the picture book over and over and over, well into my preteen years.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdanielle

I *loved* The Phantom Tollbooth.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMIB/Mawrter1999

Oh man, Scuppers the Sailor Dog had to be the first. I loved the book, I loved the song, and I may or may not have gone as Scuppers the Sailor Dog on Halloween--which was also my very first super obscure Halloween costume that no one got, come to think of it.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

The first book I remember loving was actually a series, The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. I just loved those books, and re-read them every summer for several years.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

oooh! I've loved so many books... I don't remember the earliest. Some of the earlier ones were No Flying in the House and the Encyclopedia Brown books and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Amelia Bedelia and the Little House books and oh good heavens I don't know!

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I was a voracious reader as a kid - I particularly loved the Boxcar Children, Little House on the Prairie, and anything scientific involving dinosaurs.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Is it weird that what I remember being most closely attached to, at least after age 7 or so, are Five Seasons and Late Innings by Roger Angell, two compilations of his baseball articles from The New Yorker?

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark E

The first book I remember falling in love with was Dominic by William Steig. My mother read it to us, and we loved it so much we named our new dog Dominic. When I started reading to myself, I fell in love with the Wizard of Oz series, and read all 8? 9? of them.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBodi

Richard Scarry. I would read his books for hours when I was little. It's crazy to me now to read them with my almost-6-year-old and have certain images from the pages and the memories of scrutinizing them hit me like a ton of bricks.

And there was this other one that I can't remember the title or author and I wish I could find it again because I LOVED it. It was one of those little Golden books, and it had these characters eating hamburgers on some distant planet or something. The illustrations were very cross-hatch-y. I'd love to get my hands on it again and see if it's as awesome as I remember it. (I'm guessing not, but it would still be fun)

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I fell in love with the Hank the Cowdog series in 4th grade.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVenita Michelle

i read (and read!) like crazy... it's hard to pick out a favorite. i know i read all the boxcar children, nancy drew, and hardy boys books. the first books i remember re-reading were the black stallion series. i also remember re-reading "the ghost squad". :)

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenteramandaC

Bunny Loses A Tooth. There was something so oddly appealing about the drawings of that tooth.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

My first very favorite book was "Island of the Blue Dolphins." I probably read that thing a hundred times when I was 10.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteramber

Mine was a picture book: The Teeny Tiny Tale, I can still recite it. There are many versions of the story. What made this one fantastic was the illustrations: very late 60's, all greens, blues, purples, lots of patterns and texture. That book still inspires my aesthetic today. I'd give quite a bit to have a copy... although a copy of what you have to give sounds great for my boy.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTatiana

Oh Charlotte's Web, that was my first book love. I read it over and over and over and cried. Still do!

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

love loved love "Mistress Masham's Repose". it might be the perfect book. also, it has maps for endpapers.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermagpie

My first book love was Lamont the Lonely Monster (for some reason, I remember it being titled Uriah the Heap. When I checked years ago for the book on Amazon I found out that's a band's name. I wish I could remember why that book title stuck with me but I fear it's one of those fleeting memories that although warms me, infuriates me with its lack of clarity). I remember it having flaps to open that showed the monster hiding. I can literally still feel how proud I was when I could read it to myself. I slept with that book inside my pillow case.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArnebya

Wow, I can't remember my first favorite... I also loved the Chronicles of Narnia... Beverly Cleary books... Harriet the Spy... The Secret Garden... My father's cousin was a teacher, and used to always send books. Once I 'discovered' reading, I just ate them all up! I would love to have this set to put away for my son (he's three!) who already loves reading, and amazes me with his love of vocabulary.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMamaToBabyK

There is this book that i loved as a kid that i wish i could get my hands on today, it was called "The Gruesome Green Witch" and what fascinated me the most was that it was printed in GREEN ink. It was from my local library and I checked that thing out multiple times year after year. i seem to recall googling it a year or so ago, and it was out of publication and really expensive. Oh Boooh.

May 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth B.

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