Meet The Beatles

One of my favorite Christmas memories is from the fourth grade. I walk downstairs to our olive-green, shag-carpeted living room to see what Santa has left. I hear music from The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.

This was the 70s and having a stereo was a big deal. Imagine my amazement when my dad pointed out that behind the blue suede (yes, blue suede!) chair was a record player/stereo, complete with an 8-track. Playing my favorite band, The Beatles.

That stereo brought years of enjoyment – I even lugged the enormous thing to college. My family grew our music collection through a mail order business that sold 8-tracks or for those of you from Cincinnati, trips to Swallen’s.

Max and Calvin started the fourth grade this year and while their listening methods are different – they have Alexas – they have been digging The Beatles after seeing the film Yesterday this summer. (I cried through half the movie.)


Max has been digging my newest Beatles book.

Max, in particular, has become obsessed. He asks me lots of questions, “What was the Beatles’ first song?” “Why did they break up?” “How did John die?” “How did George die?” “Did they stay friends after they broke up?”

On vacation in Canada this summer, he adopted a British accent, calling us “mate.” He tried to tell me that Abbey Road is in Liverpool…not London.

But his mama schooled him – I did take a 300 level class at Indiana University (much to my dad’s dismay) – The History of the Beatles. Best class ever, besides The History of Rock n’ Roll. I also lived in London and traveled with my brother to visit Liverpool for the day and missed all the tours because we slept so late. (But that’s another story.)

Where do books factor into all of this? Well, once I had a captive audience, you can bet I brought out all of my many Beatles’ books that I’ve collected and been gifted throughout the years, including a new one my husband bought me for my recent birthday, The Complete Beatles Songs, The stories behind every track written by the Fab Four by Steve Turner.


Some of my collection. I think a couple of these were bought in my teens.

This book is Max’s favorite because he can look up the origin of each song and chatter to me about it. At night, I hear him singing “Eleanor Rigby “in his bed.

It’s pretty sweet. I plan to enjoy it until he turns into a teenager and scoffs at my choices.

Check out this book for kids about The Beatles: Who Were the Beatles? by Geoff Edgers and illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau. Max loved it.

Just for fun, I’m including a photo of another birthday present – a painting by Tobin Sprout. I wrote about him when I first started this blog.

Beatles by Tobin

My brother Paul gave me this awesome birthday gift – a painting by Tobin Sprout of GBV. It’s a double header!

Rock out, then put your little moon to bed

The Mace kids can still rock out.

The Mace kids can still rock out.

Think of that feeling when you see a band you love. You know all the words and everyone around you sings along, hot, sweaty and happy! Nothing like it.

My brother Paul and I have been following the band Guided By Voices, GBV to fans, since our early 20s. This past summer, we got to see them in Cincinnati. Now, GBV fans are a beyond-dedicated bunch. I love GBV but Paul is hardcore. He has made friends through the shows, jumped on stage, and his basement man cave is bit of a shrine. For me, one of the best Facebook posts of 2014 was from Paul’s friend Lee. They were in New York City at a GBV show. “I swear Paul Mace just got a tear in his eye,” Lee wrote as the band came on.

Tinky is awfully cute.

Tinky is awfully cute.

We went to the show in Cincinnati with several of Paul’s friends. We were all married with little kids, thrilled to be going to a rock show on a Friday night. There was singing, sweat, and dancing. Early the next morning, Max and Calvin didn’t care that their mama had been up late but it was worth it!

What does this have to do with children’s books? Paul’s birthday and Christmas gift requests usually revolve around his rabid fandom. This includes posters, shirts, and vinyl records. Last year, he asked for a children’s book written by band member and artist Tobin Sprout. (Paul has two kids.) I ordered a copy for my boys as well. Sprout illustrated and wrote, Tinky Put His Little Moon to Bed.

This rock star’s book is sweet. I love the story’s premise and illustrations. Tinky, complete with Sippy cup and teddy, tries to put the uncooperative moon to bed. The moon and bedtime are such essential parts of childhood; I think that’s why kids relate to it.

Calvin says Tinky's hands look like race cars. The boys has transportation on the brain.

Calvin says Tinky’s hands look like race cars. The boy has transportation on the brain.

Tinky was an immediate hit with my boys. Here’s how they weighed in when I asked why they like it. Max said, “I like it when Tinky tries to give the moon some water.” Calvin’s assessment, “I like how his little hands look like race cars in the moonlight.”

The ending is funny. Tinky finally puts his little moon to bed as a slice of moonlight shines on his diaper peeking through his pajamas.

Where to find the book and other information
You can buy Tinky Puts His Little Moon To Bed from Sprout’s website. Hey kids – he signs it! If you want to find out more about GBV, check out their website or your local record store. Ours is Shake It Records.