Monday, September 03, 2007


A blog can get you into trouble.

BookMoot's wise and kind maternal parental unit has expressed surprise accompanied with a whiff of admonishment (really, just a trace, a soup├žon, a smidgen) that I referred to BookMoot's estimable brother as Principal Blandsworth. BookMoot's parental units were unfamiliar with the Miss Nelson Is Missing! books so they looked up the reference and were surprised by the description.

At the time, and even now, Principal Blandsworth was the only pleasant character that I could think of who was a school principal in children's books. Also, illustrator James Marshall placed the stories in Texas so it seemed like a good connection.

The very nature of the job of a school principal casts them in a certain unavoidable role in children's and YA books. In many ways the role is an archetype.

I would NOT want to refer to BookMoot's brother as Brother Leon from The Chocolate War. Yikes.

Mr. Tanen of Mr. Tanen's Ties is not well known enough.

I guess there is Thayer's, The Principal from the Black Lagoon but she is a girl.

Mr. Klutz Is Nuts! from Dan Gutman's Weird School series is almost too realistic nowadays, given the number of pigs that are kissed, hair that is painted or shaved in exchange for good test scores. Somehow I just could not imagine my brother being duct taped to a wall for reading scores.

I am sure there is a principal in the Arthur books but I don't remember him.

There is the hapless Mr. Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off but that didn't seem fair either.

In the interest of familial harmony, I would just like to state for the record, that no one holds our family's Principal Blandsworth in higher esteem than me. In addition to all his fine personal qualities, he actually reads children's and YA novels. He is the antithesis of the short befuddled character in Allard's and Marshall's books.

Our brother can leap tall buildings in a single bound or at least step over them. He IS faster than a speeding locomotive.

With a hearty "Hi Ho Silver!" each morning, he maintains unfailing good humor and high hopes for his students and faculty.

He remains a a symbol of liberty and justice as he strides the hallways and byways of his appointed campus.

If most parents really knew the trouble that is averted on a daily basis by courageous administrators and educators, we would be sending them flowers on a weekly basis or at least, cupcakes.

That is the truth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's Mr. Jenkins from A Wind in the Door (and A Wrinkle in Time). But again, I don't think that's necessarily flattering, even if he was noble in the end.