Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

And then Night Fell...

...and the winner for the evening is...Twilight, followed by Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, New Moon, Star Wars -- with individual votes for Pendragon, Running Out of Time, Junie B. Cat in the Hat, Goosebumps, Sponge Bob, the Immortals, Warriors, Lightening Thief, Animal Farm, Lord of the Rings, Inkheart, Savvy,and two nonfiction titiles Insects and Trains.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Missing you

Author Anthony Horowitz tweets "In Bungay. The first copy of Crocodile Tears has just rolled off the presses and into my hot and sweaty hands..."

This bit of news made me so happy.

It occurred to me that I have missed Alex Rider.
Odd to miss literary characters, but there it is. I miss Harry, and Hermione and Ron. Every once and a while, I find myself wondering how they are, what they are doing. Did they get a flu shot?

I have many series that I follow with interest but there are some characters that I feel very personally about, like I've spent time with them which, in a way, I have.

Hokey smokes Bullwinkle, as I was writing this a review copy of Crocodile Tears arrived at my front door. Oh happy weekend!!!!

Nice little video from Anthony Horowitz talking about the book. He has a secret door to his office. I've always wanted one of those.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Curse of the Campfire Weenies

The Curse of the Campfire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales by David Lubar, Audiobook read by Paul Michael Garcia, Blackstone Audio, 2009 (review copy source: public library audiobook download)

Dear David Lubar,
I confess that I've seen references to books that you have written and I have had the general impression that you were an author whose work I would enjoy. Alas, I never got around to picking up one of your books.

As I listened to story after story in this collection, I realized that I had no idea, not one, zip, zero to the negative 39th power that this splendid, enthralling, original, perfectly paced and balanced assemblage of creepy, odd, and perfectly, wonderfully, strange stories existed.

All these years, all those OPAC searches watching kids type in the keyword "scary" and I could have been handing kids THESE books.

This book includes stories that will make the reader laugh, snort, shiver, gasp, gulp and start with surprise. There are several I've already marked for read-alouds. "The Unforgiving Tree" about a tree with a grudge, has to be one of my favorites so far. Reluctant readers would fight over this book. I can only imagine what the other books in the Weenie series are like.

I stand abashed and humbled. I will, however, now strive to make amends. I cannot think of a better book to celebrate Halloween or to share at the next camp out or sleepover.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

"Hmm...let's see who this wallet belonged to," said the bad guy.

"Uhhh, What is an entling?" his/her stinky, smelly, drooling cohort asked.

"Dunno," said The Brains of the Outfit. "Let's use this stolen credit card and other stuff in the wallet as much as possible and commit as much financial crime as we can get away with for the next few hours."

"Ha, ha, ha. I bet the owner of this wallet we stole is crying now. I am so glad that we have just made life a misery for the entling, what ever that is" he/she said, spitting as he/she talked through his/her un-brushed teeth.

"Yeah, I bet she is tearing her car apart looking for this wallet we just stole. How fun!!!!" He/she brushed the dandruff off his/her shoulders and picked his/her nose.

"Hey, I know, let's go get a DVD from the Redbox store and buy a bunch of stuff from a gas station," the stinky, smelly, drooling cohort said.

"Wow, that was a blast. Now let's go to a grocery store and buy some more stuff," the Brains of the Outfit said, cackling with excitement.

The stinky, smelly, drooling cohort scratched his/her head. "Brains, do you think we should really be doing this? Maybe we should abandon our life of crime and read a good book. That might be more fun than doing all this stuff that is against the law."

They looked at each other for a moment and then burst out laughing.

"Wow, this is so cool. Who cares that we have just ruined the weekend of an entire family. Mwahhhhahahahahah." He/she laughed so hard that tears came out of his/her eyes and ran down his/her cheeks causing streaks on his/her greasy, grimy face. The Brains never took baths. He/she had a bath tub and soap but he/she never used them. Brains just loved to smell rotten.

"Aren't you worried that they might report this finanacial tool as "stolen?" wondered the smelly, drooling cohort.

"Yeah, we better hurry up and get as much stuff as we can here at WalMart," said the Brain.

"I'm hungry, let's use this card to grab some fast food," said the Brain.

Later after eating several Wendy's hamburgers and two Frostys, he/she wiped his/her mouth with his/her shirt and burped. "Isn't this great? The best thing is no one will ever figure out who we are. "

The bad guys drove on for several minutes, speeding down the freeway, at 120 miles an hour. They laughed as terrified drivers swerved to avoid them. No doubt, several accidents occurred and many people were hurt.

A little time passed.

"Hey, has the road gotten very quiet all of a sudden? What is happening?" yawned the nasty criminal who was falling asleep behind the wheel of the car.

The stinky, smelly, drooling cohort looked out of the car window and gasped.

"Uh, Brains of the Outfit?"

"Yes, what is it?"

"Well, we don't seem to be on the ground any more. Some lady riding a gigantic flying green dragon has apparently picked us up from that freeway overpass and is hold our car over her head and we are up in the clouds."

At this point in the story, these despicable criminals used some language that is not repeatable on this blog.

"Hey, lady, what is the deal? Do you have some kind of amazing super powers? How are you holding up this car with just your bare arms? What is the deal with that dragon?" they screamed into the wind

"Well, you vile, dastardly, pieces of financial ruin and woe. I am ...
The Entling Mother
and I am a MOTHER BEAR when one of my kids is threatened. I have tracked you down here at the ends of the Earth," the lady said with a glare of retribution in her eyes.

"Put us down," they yelled, you have no right to abduct us like this. "We are getting airsick from all those hamburgers we illegally purchased with this stolen credit card."

"Ok, I will," she said, "my dragon has just informed me that we have reached cruising altitude of 30,000 feet. Please secure your seat belts as I see you are breaking another Texas law by not wearing them."

"Hey, what the (more inexcusable language) are you doing?" they whined.

"I'm putting you down," she said sweetly. "If you don't mind, I will just drop you off here."

And so, the car returned to the ground.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Boots on the Ground

A day in the life of a substitute school librarian:

Thank goodness all school libraries have a box (or in this case a shelf) where they keep all the random, lost, mislaid, unattached, displaced and abandoned mystery cords and connectors "just in case."

TWO minutes before my first class poured into the library where I was subbing today I found an acceptable power cord for the projector in that clutter. Hard to project your highly entertaining writing lesson without power!!! (Why the projector was missing the power cord to begin with is another mystery.)

Good thing that I am a bona fide, certified, sanctified, dignified, sanitized, applied and surprised if not somewhat fried, true-blue librarian -- able and ready to deal with any reading or library media emergency.

Splendid day.

Another benefit of the short story book, Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren't As Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents who disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Could Not Finish So Maybe You Can Help Us Out, Stories by Nick Hornby, Neil Gaiman, Jon Scieszka, Jonathan Safran Foer and more. (Delacourt, 2005) is ... the "Other Story We Could Not Finish So Maybe You can Help Us Out" entry at the back of the book. Perfect for National Day on Writing.

Each period, a class of seventh graders set to work finishing Mr. Snicket's story with, mostly, quiet engrossment.

Best question of the day from a young gentleman who inquired, "Can I add zombies?"
Answer: It is YOUR story.

"Have you tried Fibbing?" I asked when the the head of the English department at that campus lamented the lack of fun, inspiring, writing projects for the math and science teachers who were participating in the day of writing. She had not heard of Fibs so I was able to spread the word and send her towards GottaBook's Greg Pincus.

Puppets and other fantastical creatures
The thing that continues to dazzle me about junior high kids is how they can be cool, aloof teens one moment and in the next are asking about and then talking to a 'dragon' with an utterly goofy smile on their faces. Honestly, the annoying creature (Dragon, not the student) is going to need his own Facebook Fan page if this keeps up. His ego knows no bounds at this point.

If I could I would leave him at home when I have a job, but you can't argue with a dragon at 6:30 in the morning so I just let him come along.
I don't like it. His behavior is not reliable. Still, I am amazed that so many kids remember him though. I mean he doesn't even talk. He just smirks and muggs and--

I swear, they screamed and cheered when he came out today. It took us both quite aback. It was ridiculous. I 'heart' seventh graders.

Monday, October 19, 2009

National Day on Writing

I am teaching in a junior high library tomorrow, the National Day on Writing. This is going to be FUN!!

The Resolution:
Expressing support for the designation of October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing. (Agreed to by Senate)



1st Session

S. RES. 310

Expressing support for the designation of October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing.


October 8, 2009

Mr. CASEY (for himself, Mr. ROBERTS, Mr. SANDERS, Mr. BROWN, Mr. FEINGOLD, and Mr. AKAKA) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Expressing support for the designation of October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing.

Whereas people in the 21 st century are writing more than ever before for personal, professional, and civic purposes;

Whereas the social nature of writing invites people of every age, profession, and walk of life to create meaning through composing;

Whereas more and more people in every occupation deem writing as essential and influential in their work;

Whereas writers continue to learn how to write for different purposes, audiences, and occasions throughout their lifetimes;

Whereas developing digital technologies expand the possibilities for composing in multiple media at a faster pace than ever before;

Whereas young people are leading the way in developing new forms of composing by using different forms of digital media;

Whereas effective communication contributes to building a global economy and a global community;

Whereas the National Council of Teachers of English, in conjunction with its many national and local partners, honors and celebrates the importance of writing through the National Day on Writing;

Whereas the National Day on Writing celebrates the foundational place of writing in the personal, professional, and civic lives of Americans;

Whereas the National Day on Writing provides an opportunity for individuals across the United States to share and exhibit their written works through the National Gallery of Writing;

Whereas the National Day on Writing highlights the importance of writing instruction and practice at every educational level and in every subject area;

Whereas the National Day on Writing emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and compose for different audiences, purposes, and occasions;

Whereas the National Day on Writing honors the use of the full range of media for composing, from traditional tools like print, audio, and video, to Web 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, and podcasts; and

Whereas the National Day on Writing encourages all Americans to write, as well as to enjoy and learn from the writing of others: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) supports the designation of October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing;

(2) strongly affirms the purposes of the National Day on Writing and encourages participation in the National Gallery of Writing, which serves as an exemplary living archive of the centrality of writing in the lives of Americans; and

(3) encourages educational institutions, businesses, community and civic associations, and other organizations to promote awareness of the National Day on Writing and celebrate the writing of their members through individual submissions to the National Gallery of Writing.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Miles Between

The Miles BetweenI'm riveted to The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson. Can't blog, must get back to reading this book!!