Kindness and Wonder: Mr Rogers biography is a study in empathy and a deep, genuine love for children

History has been kind to Fred Rogers' legacy; the beloved children's entertainer does not have the intergenerational staying power of Sesame Street (thanks in large part to Rogers' relentless focus on making programming aimed exclusively at small children, without any pretense to entertaining their grownups), but touchstones like his Congressional testimony on public TV funding, his remarks after 9/11 and his look for the helpers speech continue to bring a smile and a tear to all who see them, whether for the first time or the five hundredth; Mr Rogers was exactly what he appeared to be, incredibly, and the riddle of how someone could be so sincere and loving has sent rumormongers off to the land of conspiracy looking for an answer. But the real Mr Rogers story -- as chronicled in Gavin Edwards' new book, Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever -- is both more mundane and more amazing than any outlandish story.

Out today: a two-volume, slipcased edition of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, introduced by Gloria Steinem and Toshi Reagon

As part of the renaissance in interest in the glorious science fiction novels of afrofuturist pioneer Octavia Butler (previously), Seven Stories press has just released a two-volume, slipcased set of Butler's fantastic post-apocalyptic adventure novels The Parable of the Sower (with an introduction by Gloria Steinem) and The Parable of the Talents (with an introduction by Toshi Reagon). Read the rest

Wooden birthday card is also a robot puzzle

This wooden birthday card spells "HAPPY BIRTHDAY." You can remove the letters from the card and make a little robot that holds a tiny wooden greeting card that says "HAPPY BIRTHDAY." It's only , just a few bucks more than a boring paper card you'd find at one of those fancy greeting card shops at a mall. The same company makes robot greeting cards for other occasions, too. Read the rest

A visual history of Soviet anti-religious artwork

Inspired by Marx's aphorism that "Religion is the opium of the people," the USSR commissioned a wealth of anti-religious artwork, much of it very clever and striking. A new book called Godless Utopia: Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda, edited by Roland Elliott Brown, Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell collects the most striking examples of the form. The Guardian has a tremendous gallery of excerpts from the book. Read the rest

Margaret Atwood's "The Testaments": a long-awaited Handmaid's Tale sequel fulfills its promise

When Margaret Atwood published "The Handmaid's Tale" back in 1985, it was at the dawn of the Reagan era, when the gains made by feminism and other liberation movements trembled before an all-out assault mounted by a bizarre coalition of the super-rich and the (historically apolitical) evangelical movement; 35 years later, even more ground has been lost and in many ways it's hard to imagine a more apt moment for Atwood to have published a sequel: The Testaments.

Haunted Mansion/Ikea mashup tee

Nothing conjures up the eldritch geometries that are the secret fuel of Disney's Haunted Mansion like the hair-pulling geometrical puzzles posed by Ikea assembly instructions: hence, Spöke Håus, $20 and up on Teefury, proving once again that trademark violation is your best entertainment dollar. Read the rest

The first book collecting the new Nancy comic is incredibly, fantastically, impossibly great

One of the great moments of my adulthood was my discovery -- courtesy of Mark's posts here on Boing Boing -- of the incredible work that Ernie Bushmiller did on Nancy from 1933 until his death in 1982. He was succeeded by a series of station-keeping cartoonists, some of whom were very adept at aping his unique comic timing, sense of the absurd, and confident draftmanship, but none of whom every made me have that aha moment -- until 2018, when the mysterious, pseudonymous Olivia Jaimes took over, kicking off a run of astoundingly great new Nancys that have been collected into one of the greatest new comic-strip collections I've read in a decade.

Translating Homer's Odyssey into limericks

Emily Wilson is the author of a new "lean, fleet-footed translation" of Homer's Odyssey that "recaptures Homer's 'nimble gallop.'" Read the rest

Medallion Status: comparison is the thief of joy, and John Hodgman is the thief-taker

John Hodgman's last book, Vacationland, was a kind of absurdist memoir of a weird kid who'd grown up to the kind of self-aware grownup who really wanted to dig into how he got to where he was, with bone-dry wit and real heart (I compared it to Steve Martin's Cruel Shoes, but for adults who'd outgrown it); in his new book, Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms, Hodgman offers something much more uncomfortable (if no less funny), a series of vignettes that explore the hollowness of privilege, the toxicity of comparison, and the melancholy of accomplishment. Read the rest

Kickstarting a deluxe "Dracula" edition in a suitcase full of "primary source materials" from the novel

Josh O'Neill writes, "We're doing a box set edition of Dracula in which we reconstitute the novel into the primary source documents from which it's drawn: Mina's diary, Lucy's letters, Dailygraph newspaper clippings, even an actual phonograph record from Dr. Seward. It comes in a suitcase. Or a wooden casket or stone crypt, depending on the edition." Read the rest

A good day for kid RPGs!

I woke up this morning to two exciting announcements about crowdfunders for kid-oriented RPGs, which is outstanding news indeed: the first is a set of adventures for Martin Lloyd's superb Amazing Tales, a (four and up) kid-and-adult RPG that's endlessly fun and incredibly easy to get started with; the second is Destiny Dez, from Scott Wayne Indiana, last seen around here with his pacifist RPG Lotus Dimension, now back with an RPG for 3-8 year olds, in which "kids come up with their own plans to navigate situations before rolling a 20 sided die to decide their fate and move on in the story." Read the rest

Kickstarting a new feminist bicycle science fiction: this one's about dragons!

Elly Blue has kickstarted a series of successful feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies; her latest is Dragon Bike: Fantastical feminist bicycle stories, for which she is seeking $6,000 ($10 gets you an ebook, $13 gets you a printed book, $15 gets you a book and a poster). Read the rest

Posters that mash up Talking Heads songs with pulp covers and vintage ads

Todd Alcott -- purveyor of "Cultural Mashups" and "Ephemera Set to Music" -- created this incredible set of six posters that mash up vintage ads, pulp covers, and posters with Talking Heads songs, which leaves me both excited at the thought that these will soon grace my walls (they're available as giclee prints ranging in size from 11" wide to 48" wide, at prices from $33 to $300), and enraged that apparently the artist has been eavesdropping on my most deeply held obsessions. Get out of my head, you magnificent, mindreading bastard! Read the rest

Kickstarting a two-book collection of Anthony "Tonky" Clune's street photos

For many years, we've brought you the delightful arts and crafts of Anthony "Tonky" Clune: beautiful felt housewares, giant wall-stickers, a short film about thrifting, cool reflective cycling safety badges and more. Read the rest

Spooky Halloween ornaments painted on outsized lightbulbs

Last year, I posted about the spooky painted lightbulb Halloween ornaments of David "gnarledbranch" Irvine; since then, Irvine has created a new, more ambitious batch. He writes: "Some bulbs I salvage are oversized/too heavy to hang, so I had custom designed wooden stands made and they turn into an 'art object'...some even with a wraparound scene!" Read the rest

Le Creuset announces a line of high-end Star Wars cookwear

French company Le Creuset has announced a line of its signature enameled cast-iron cookwear themed after the Star Wars franchise; it's expensive even by Le Creuset standards, and a few of the pieces are uninspired messes, but the Han Solo in Carbonite roaster ($450), the R2-D2 Mini Cocotte ($30) and the Porg Pie Bird ($25) are positively brilliant. I'm also fond of the Tattoine Dutch oven, but that one isn't even priced and the company is offering an "opportunity to purchase." (via Geekologie) Read the rest

Revealing the cover of "Poesy the Monster Slayer," my first-ever picture book!

Firstsecond (publishers of In Real Life, the bestselling middle-grades graphic novel Jen Wang and I made) have just revealed the cover for Poesy the Monster Slayer, my first-ever picture book, illustrated by Matt Rockefeller and scheduled for publication in July 2020. Read the rest

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