A Good Mood Is Hard to Find

Flannery O'Connor once said, "Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them." The same might be said for publishers and Hollywood types.

Enter one gloriously gammed horror-movie queen. Another wanna-be author riding the coattails of her famous name? Not so quick. Try the author of a smartly written, sensitive and witty exploration of a child's emotional world and its cranky and excited highs and lows. Jamie Lee Curtis, an accomplished actor most associated with Halloween films, John Cleese or helicopter getaways, will be at Borders Books & Music in Phoenix on Thursday, November 19, signing her third--and New York Times best-selling--kids' book, Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day. The signing also functions as a book exchange--autograph seekers are encouraged to bring in a "gently used elementary-level" children's book to exchange for a copy of Today I Feel Silly. All used books will be donated to the Wilson Elementary School library in Tempe.

Curtis, whose first two children's books are the wildly funny toddler tell-all When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth and the tear-jerkingly honest adoption expose Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, proves, to anyone who may have doubted it, she's a talented writer with a savvy ear for kidspeak.

Artist Laura Cornell, who collaborated with Curtis on each of her books, paints sassy watercolor illustrations in hilariously detailed observations: a hairy tattooed guy in a relay-race crowd; a jar of "23 Again" night cream on grandma's bedside table; a kid stowing away on the bottom tier of the grocery cart usually reserved for a 40-pound bag of dog food. Together, Cornell's illustrations and Curtis' knack for narration command a child's undivided attention and elicit the greatest review of all: an emphatic "Read it again!"

--Tricia Wasbotten Parker

Jamie Lee Curtis is scheduled to sign her book Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, November 19, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. 957-6660.