Steve Ross

Steve Ross, aka Mr. Steve, is a Vroman's institution.  In addition to working in the Vroman's Children's Department, he is also our DVD and bargain book buyer.  He will find you a bargain, if there's one to be found.  He is also the host of Vroman's popular Storytime with Mr. Steve, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10am. 

"I was hired at Vroman's Bookstore in 1989. Since then, I have become something of an expert in Kid's Books and remainder buying.

My blog: http://mrstevesstorytime.blogspot.com/

To see the Kimmidoll "commercial" I created for Vroman's (plus a lot of other tomfoolery): http://www.youtube.com/user/maskrado"

Mr. Steve’s High Fidelity-like Top Five Lists

Top Five Picture Books for Storytime (in print as of 2010):
1. Fish Out of Water – Helen Palmer
2. That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown – Cressida Cowell
3. Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig - Eugene Trivizas
4. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Mo Willems
5. Beware of the Frog – William Bee

Top Five Favorite Novelists (Kid’s Dept.):
1. Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant
2. Dean Lorey – Nightmare Academy
3. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider
4. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games
5. Michael Carroll – Quantum Prophecy

Top Five Favorite Graphic Novel Authors
1. Alan Moore – Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Ballad of Halo Jones
2. John Wagner – Strontium Dog, Judge Dredd, Button Man, A History of Violence
3. Pat Mills – Slaine, Nemesis the Warlock, Marshal Law
4. Ben Dunn – Ninja High School, Warrior Nun Areala, Marvel Mangaverse
5. Evan Dorkin – Milk and Cheese, Dork!

Top Five Favorite Authors (Who Got Mr. Steve Interested in Books Without Pictures):
1. Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, John Carter of Mars)
2. Kenneth Robeson/Lester Dent (Doc Savage)
3. Grant Stockbridge/Norvell Page (The Spider)
4. L. Ron Hubbard (Final Blackout, Golden Age Stories)
5. Robert E. Howard (Conan, Solomon Kane)

Top Five Favorite Writers (Adult):
1. Maria Amparo Escandon – Esperanza’s Box of Saints, Gonzalez and Daughter Trucking Co.
2. don Miguel Ruiz – Five Agreements, Voice of Knowledge
3. Susan Gregg - The Toltec Way
4. Walter Moers – 13 ½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, Rumo
5. Vern – Seagalogy: A Study of the @$$-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal

Top Five Favorite Book Subjects:
1. Action and Exploitation Movies
2. Guinea Pigs
3. ‘80s New Wave Bands
4. Pro Wrestling (especially lucha libre)
5. Comics and graphic novels, especially Britian's 2000 A.D.

Favorite Kid’s Novel That Should Never Should Have Gone Out of Print, and Should Be Made Into a Major Motion Picture ™:

1. Sir MacHinery by Tom McGowen

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780062004000
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Balzer + Bray, 5/2011
A picture book divided into very short chapters, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! is another home run from Mo Willems, the man who brought us the ongoing Pigeon saga, and the Elephant and Piggie series. Overflowing with cleverness, heart, and humor (plus a few tips on how--and how not to--tell jokes, and surprise your friends), Amanda and her Alligator is a wonderful friendship story, and the perfect antidote for "girly girl" pink-a-princess books; in fact, I think most boys at our Storytimes find the Alligator pretty darn cool.

Recommended by Mr. Steve


$19.99
ISBN-13: 9781907519772
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: 2000 AD, 4/2011
What is WRONG with you people?! For years, I've been trying to get you graphic novels readers to try collections of Judge Dredd strips (and others taken from Judge Dredd's parent anthology comic: 2000 A.D.), but it's been like convincing a Paul McCartney fan who's never heard the Beatles to give the Fab Four a listen, and always coming up against a brick wall. Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Dave Gibbons, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Mark Millar, and a host of now-famous artists and writers honed their various crafts working on Judge Dredd and other 2000 A.D. characters. Its time to forgive and forget the Stallone movie, folks! Besides, Judge Dredd graphic novels are closer in spirit and tone to RoboCop and Futurama than the film that actually bears the character's name. So now you have no excuse: The current batch of collections are affordable and beautiful. The classic strips have never looked better, and they're printed in chronological order from Day One (but I'd start with Volume 3). As Mega City One's toughest lawman would say, "Ignorance of the law is NO excuse, creep!"

Recommended by Mr. Steve


When I Grow Up (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9780061926914
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: HarperCollins, 2/2011
The artist formerly known as "Weird Al" is not one to "write down" to kids: he adapted his talent for writing clever, funny song lyrics, and has written a clever, funny picture book that's reminiscent of Dr. Seuss' style, but with many words and concepts that are aimed at older, more sophisticated readers. Wes Hargis' super-detailed illustrations enhance the text with additional sight gags. Like Al's music and videos, his picture book is for smart kids with a sense of humor. When I Grow Up is a book that can be grown into, and it's also a perfect gift for grown ups who are "growing into" one of life's next levels (graduation, new baby, retirement). Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go is still a great gift-of-passage, but When I Grow Up is for the generations who have loved and laughed at "Weird Al" Yankovic. DISCLAIMER: As a huge "Weird Al" fan, I must admit that this was not exactly an unbiased review.

Recommended by Mr. Steve


$16.99
ISBN-13: 9780763653606
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Candlewick, 7/2011
When their hidey-hole suddenly seems too small, a brotherhood of hamsters blindly brave the dangers of crossing a junkyard to find a new "place to call home." As hilarious as it is adorable, A Place to Call Home's comic strip-style artwork and dialogue pack a lot of action and laughs into 32 pages. (And the last page is breathtaking!) For maximum effect: While reading this book, in the background, play "Theme of Exodus," or "Somewhere" from West Side Story.

Recommended by Mr. Steve


$12.99
ISBN-13: 9781442420625
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Beach Lane Books, 5/2011
On one hand, The Great Hamster Massacre is a funny, quirky, and unique children's mystery, about a girl's naïve attempts to figure out what "really" happened to her pets; at the same time, the adult subtext and humor, which should (hopefully) pass way over most kids' heads, will keep grown up bedtime story readers awake--and laughing--well after the kids are asleep. CAUTION: The title is not a euphemism, nor is it figurative; it does not refer to a dream, an exaggeration, or any other "imaginary" point-of-view that American children's books use to step around dealing with death. With gut-busting British humor, Katie Davies bluntly confronts some of the grimmer realities of having pets, and certain gruesome aspects of animal behavior that may be difficult for young humans to understand. Not for coddled or overly sensitive children!

Recommended by Mr. Steve


$24.95
ISBN-13: 9780810989580
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Harry N. Abrams, 5/2011
So what's with the top hats, goggles, corsets, and waistcoats? Good, God, man! Get with the times (i.e. the faux Victorian Era), and up to snuff with one of the fastest-growing subcultures of geek chic. More than mere dress-up fandom, Steampunk encompasses literature, music, retro science, history and politics, as well as design, fashion, art, and crafts. The Steampunk Bible is a ripping good overview, filled with most excellent picto-graphics, for the novice as well as the veteran mad inventor/explorer/airship-traveler.

Recommended by Steve Ross


All the World (Hardcover)

$17.99
ISBN-13: 9781416985808
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Beach Lane Books, 9/2009

All the World is one of the finest picture books I've ever read; it elevates the standards of storytelling for children to a new level.

A charming poem in the spirit of The Power of Now is lifted into the stratosphere by Marla Frazee's cinematic illustrations.

Frazee's wordless story about a family's get-together near the seashore runs parallel to the poem, and ingeniously illustrates the text. The layout and the pictures are packed with details that can be discovered, studied, and treasured by children and adults time and time again.

All the World is an excellent children's book, and many well be one of the best gift books of the 2009 Holiday Season.

Recommended by Mr. Steve


$6.99
ISBN-13: 9780152066086
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Sandpiper, 4/2009

It doesn't matter if a story is written "for children": some of our most popular books for young readers have universal themes that can be enjoyed both by kids and their parents. A fine example is A Crooked Kind of Perfect, a hilarious debut novel by Linda Urban. The climax and the resolution will draw a laugh and a smile. A Crooked Kind of Perfect reads as if a friend is telling a very funny story. Urban uses a pleasant, first person narrative, and a non-traditional format, to relate the classic struggle between "how it should be" and "how it is." It's a great read-aloud, although it might be distracting if grown-up readers keep laughing at the pop culture references that are aimed at adults. Linda Urban's name may be familiar to Vroman's customers: during her time here at Vroman's, Linda was a bookseller on the sales floor, then Events Coordinator and Newsletter Editor. Of course, that did not affect my opinion of my fellow Vromie's book--not in the least. Really.

Recommended by Steve Ross


$13.00
ISBN-13: 9781592403448
Availability: Probably In Stock -- Call to confirm
Published: Gotham, 12/2007
Did you know that Chuck Norris's blood type is D.O.A.? Or that his genes aren't a double helix; they're barbed wire? I've seen most of Chuck Norris's early films (Silent Rage was his best), but I never thought that he was as cool as Van Damme or Steven Seagal. But now that I know Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked Bruce Lee, breaking him in half, and the result was Jet Li and Jackie Chan, I have new respect for the man. (True, Not-Intentionally-Humorous Fact: Chuck Norris sued the publishers of this book. Apparently, Chuck Norris grew a beard in lieu of a sense of humor, and he wants to deliver a roundhouse kick to freedom of speech.)

Recommended by Steve Ross