Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Hail Freedonia'

Thanks to Joe Craig @ Turkey On The Hill - The Joe Craig Blog

Today is "Duck Soup Day"

in honor of the Marx Brother's classic Duck Soup which was originally released 17 November 1933.

Celebrate as you see fit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle

A beautiful story for Veterans Day

Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, Mary Nethery, Little, Brown, 2009

What a terrific story! So happy Major Brian Dennis and Nubs appeared on the Tonight Show this week. Conan gave him a nice block of time.

I really loved this part of the story. (Not an exact transcript)

An Iraqi came up and he asked me why we were so interested in the dog...
[when Major Dennis speculated about what had happened to the dog's ears the man said--]
"Yeah, I cut his ears off."
"You're the one who cut his ears off?"
"Yeah, I cut his ears off

"I had my battle gear on me and my big KABAR knife and I asked him, through my translator, how would he feel if I cut his ears off?"

...and the tonight Show audience applauded.

Me too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Debut Picture Book Cover


100 Scope Notes Covers Week Challenge, Nov. 9-13


1 – Go to “The Name Generator” or click http://www.thenamegenerator.com/

Click GENERATE NEW NAME. The name that appears is your author name.

2 – Go to “Picture Book Title Generator” or click http://www.generatorland.com/usergenerator.aspx?id=243

Click CREATE TITLE! This is the title of your picture book.

3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or click http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php

Type the last word from your title into the search box followed by the word “drawing”. Click FIND. The first suitable image is your cover.

4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Gettin’ creative is encouraged.

5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

If you create a cover, let 100 Scope Notes know by leaving the link in the comments.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NonFiction Monday: Winter's Tail

Dewey: 639.97

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned To Swim AgainWinter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff. Scholastic, 2009 (publisher supplied review copy)

The Hatkoffs' Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship was a popular choice for school libraries with its theme of survival and friendship between two unlikely companions, a baby hippo and a giant tortoise.

Like Owen the hippo, Winter the baby dolphin, was also in distress when she was found, entangled in the ropes of a crab trap. Although she was rescued and well cared for, Winter eventually lost her tail because of her injuries. Kevin Carroll and the experts from Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics worked to design a prosthesis for Winter so she could swim properly and avoid damage to her backbone. The need for the prosthesis was medical, for Winter's health--not for appearance. I appreciated that this point was emphasized

Winter has generated a great deal of interest among children and veterans who have prostheses or other medical devices. Whether the need for these devices is the result of accident, illness or a grievous war injury, coping with the aftermath can be challenging and emotionally difficult.

There is reassurance in a story of adults who will go to extraordinary lengths to care for these animals. A child can see themselves in both roles, the child needing help and the kind and caring expert who provides it.

I was interested in reviewing this title because of my library "dolphin girls." Every year there are one or two girls who want ot read and reread every nonfiction book in the school library on dolphins. This book is an excellent choice for them. It includes facts and information about these mammals, their physiology, their care, socialization and training.

The story is well reported and there is no anthropomorphizing of the dolphin. In fact, Hatkoff emphasizes that humans cannot know what Winter is thinking. Winter's story is well documented with full color photos including some very interesting photographs of the prosthetic tail.

Additional background on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Kevin Carroll and Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics is included. Interestingly, Hanger was founded in 1861, during the American Civil War.

The Hatkoffs have found a nice publishing niche here with true stories of animal rescue. The focus on the use of prostheses in this one could be timely for children whose relatives are injured veterans. Doing whatever is necessary to help these heros is the very least we can do.

This week’s Non-Fiction Monday Round-Up is at Abby (the) Librarian.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear

The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear by David Bruins; illustrated by Hilary Leung, Kids Can Press, 2009 (review copy supplied by publisher)

As I approached the school where I was to do a storytelling gig last week, I noted that the school's marquee was featuring the character program trait for October, Individuality. This book came to mind and it occurred to me that this is a perfect book to share that message.

The Ninja, the Cowboy and the Bear are good friends but they argue and face off against each other in a series of contests. Each one has a strength or ability, unique to them. Bear can build the tallest pile of rocks. Cowboy is sharp eyed and can gather the most berries, Ninja's quickness allows him to herd the most rabbits. They come to appreciate each other's abilities which are unique to them. A game of Ninja, Cowboy, Bear, which is played like Rock, Paper, Scissors, is described at the back of the book. This game is a whole body workout.

The illustrations distinguish this story. Hilary Leung's simple but winsome characters bring Japanese chibi designs to mind. The books is also sized to rest comfortably in a child's lap.

Lots of nice subject headings can be tagged to this book, Friendship--Fiction, Individuality--Fiction, Competition--Fiction.

Ninja Cowboy Bear Website

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Keys, keys, keys

100ScopeNotes tweeted me over to BookEnds at BookList -- Keyed into Cover Controversy

Look at all the keyed up covers!

All I can say is that when Tiffany & Co. starts selling them, it is officially a trend. Thanks to entling no. 1 for the heads up to these little gems.

Tiffany Key Pendants

Monday, November 02, 2009

NonFiction Monday: Texas Bluebonnet List Picture Book Biographies

The Texas Bluebonnet List for 2010-2011 was announced by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett at the Texas Book Festival this past weekend.

Not one, but, TWO picture book biographies are on the list which is unusual and acknowledges the excellence of the books and the import and novelty of their subjects. Interestingly both books are about two men who made mark on the world via the oceans!

Surfer of the Century by Ellie Crowe, illustrations by Richard Waldrep, Lee & Low Books, 2007

Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic gold medalist, the father of modern surfing, and an icon of Hawaiian culture. popularized surfing and promoted Hawaii all his life.

Richard Waldrep perfectly illustrates the book with wondrous, glowing illustrations that evoke vintage art deco travel posters.

My full BookMoot review is here.

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino, Knopf, 2009

With every line and every stroke of color, Dan Yaccarino tells the story of the life of Jacques Cousteau. The text rounds out the story but, truly, the illustrations do all the heavy lifting here.

To my baby boomer eyes, his style is retro or modern in the sense that it evokes graphics and cartoon style of the 1960s but it is also wholly fresh.

His sinuous and linear drawings are simple yet detailed. Yaccarino captures the distinctive Cousteau aquiline nose in every drawing, even the ones of him as a child. The two page spread of his ship Calypso is drawn with simple shapes and flat colors yet the almost indistinct shapes of the sailors on deck are altogether French with their characteristic berets and striped shirts.
The fluid lines invoke the ocean Cousteau is discovering. His color palette with incised designs imparts the look of batik prints.

Eloquent quotations from Jacques Cousteau himself appear in a round bubble on each page.

"The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish"

Elegant storytelling this!