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March 2006

One Week Away: 2nd Carnival of Children's Literature

Hear ye, hear ye. Send Chicken Spaghetti your blog links about children's books and reading. The 2nd Carnival of Children's Literature takes place one week from yesterday, and the deadline is Friday, March 3rd. Details here.

I don't want to list any plot spoilers, but can reveal that  1. Your post will be in excellent company, and 2. This carnival may involve whirling teacups. Be there. Aloha.

Guest Poet: David Moody

I am thrilled to announce Chicken Spaghetti's first guest contributor. David Moody is a very funny guy living in Michigan, where he is a Cataloging Librarian at the University of Detroit Mercy. Here is his poem, which is very apt for a blog about children's books.

Lunch with Laura
by David Moody

If like Shakespeare you'd be makin'
Just pretend you're Francis Bacon
Frying up some Romeo and Juliet.
If on Updike you've been spying
Rabbits still are multiplying
And I do not think that they have stopped it yet.
If your name is Charles Dickens
All your characters will sicken
As consumption hits them with a hacking cough.
If you give a mouse a cookie
You're no literary rookie
And your name is Laura Joffe Numeroff.

If you think that John's the Irving
Who is truly most deserving
Say a prayer for Owen Meany and for Garp,
If with Hemingway you're writing
There'll be lots of bull and fighting
But be sure to take some time to catch a carp.
If you fish with Joseph Heller
Who's a funny kind of feller
Then a catch of 22 is not far off.
If you give a mouse a cookie
Then you're something of a bookie
And your name is Laura Joffe Numeroff.

If Fitzgerald had a Zelda
Still he didn't have Imelda
Just a bunch of stuff that hit him with the blues.
If Bill Faulkner's work is gnarly
His relationships are snarly
And it's difficult to tell just who is whose.
If you're munching on a pita
While devouring Lolita
Then I think that you are reading Nabokov.
If you give a mouse a cookie
There's no need to take a lookie
For your name is Laura Joffe Numeroff.

If you're Huckleberry Finnish
And your hair resembles spinach
Then some one has put a Mark upon your Twain.
If Tolstoy's your inspiration
You'll depict the Russian nation
And will probably wind up beneath a train.
If you feel that you must grovel
It's a Dostoyevsky novel—
Crime and Punishment of young Raskolnikov,
If you give a mouse a cookie
And you don't look like a Wookie
Then your name is Laura Joffe Numeroff.

If your brains begin to boil
Reading Arthur Conan Doyle
Then we can deduce a case of Sherlock Holmes.
If O'Henry makes a living
Then the Magi will be giving
And you'll sell your watch to buy those fancy combs.
If there's books of all description
Starting off with science fiction
Then you might be reading Isaac Asimov.
If you give a mouse a cookie—
Well I gotta tell you, Pookie,
That your name is Laura Joffe Numeroff.

Weekend Reading

Some links to keep you busy over the weekend. Have a good one!

Slow Bloggin' and Miss Rumphius

Blogging is a little slow this week, only because it is winter-break week and Chicken Spaghetti has added another  staff member, who is usually in first grade.  So instead of  talking about  literary news, we visited a submarine, hiked around the neighborhood, continued an infatuation with DK Eyewitness videos, chased/rescued the cat, and looked for broken pottery in the yard. (Ye olde thrifty New Englanders used to bury their trash.) Nothing has functioned as it should;  the ancient Sony Trinitron, the printer, and every toy that uses batteries have required parental attention. I'm not using the term "high-maintenance" as applied to the week so far, but should anyone else care to, go ahead.

Our most recent picture-book discovery is the very well-known Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. Miss Rumphius is an independent lady who sees the world and later beautifies her Maine town by planting lupine everywhere. Kids will likely come up with lots of community-improvement ideas after reading Cooney's book.

Winging "Pond Scum" Your Way

Congratulations to Jen Robinson, who sent in the first submission for the upcoming Carnival of Children's Literature. Jen wins a copy of Alan Silberberg's middle-grade novel,  Pond Scum, which was given a thumbs-up by School Library JournalBooklist, and the Washington Post. You can read an excerpt from the book at the author's fun web site. Alan used to write for all kinds of kids' TV shows, and the site bounces along with a good sense of humor.

Reminder: The 2nd Carnival of Children's Literature takes place here on Monday, March 6th. Entry deadline is Friday, March 3rd. More details here. If you missed the launch of kid-lit carnival season, do visit Here in the Bonny Glen.

Meanwhile, the blog A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy gives y'all  the Top Ten Reasons to submit. Catch a wave and head over.


Today's quote is unrelated to children's literature. On second thought, maybe it isn't. At any rate, the words come from the poet James Wright, in a letter to a friend (1950), and appear in A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of James Wright, edited by Anne Wright and Saundra Rose Maley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005).

You asked about my work...Perhaps the most acute of artistic problems is the emergence from one's self. T.S. Eliot observed that, for the artist, art seeks to escape from personality. He meant that an audience is more interested in your insight into the nature of truth among men and objects, and your most objective creations, than in your allergy to headcolds, your taste for green neckties, or your liking for beer...My problem has always been how to get out of myself—perhaps how to most effectively project myself beyond the limits of my many pettinesses.

Don't miss Wright's poem "A Blessing" online at the Academy of American Poets:

Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and the Book Buds blog honors it well with this roundup. The Brooklyn Public Library offers another good one.

A terrific starting place for searching out titles by and about African Americans is the Black Books Galore! series. Four guides, chock full of suggestions, can be found at your library, bookstore, or online at the Black Books Galore! web site. The first one alone mentions more than 500 of "the most positive, best written, and most acclaimed titles available,"  according to the site.

If you saw the recent 4-part PBS special "African American Lives," you know how good it was. If you missed it, the shows are now available on DVD. Insist that your library order these. The affable Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates talks to prominent African Americans like Oprah, Quincy Jones, and Chris Tucker, and helps them trace their family roots.  The horrid institution of  slavery, and its devaluing of human life, make such searches difficult, but Gates and his researchers persevere and come up with astounding personal histories.  Using information gleaned from new DNA technology, Chris Tucker even travels to Africa to the area where his ancestors lived. Above all, the series emphasizes the heroism and triumph of ordinary people. Highly recommended for older children, especially teens, and adults.

Picture for "Ladybug"

Because of a never-ending stack of  books to be read, my family doesn't subscribe to any of the children's magazines, but perhaps we need to re-think that. Here is a great reason to seek out Ladybug Magazine : this illustration by Roz Fulcher,  at Rozzieland.   So cute. The picture will run in the June 2006 issue. And Rozzyland's banner! Also adorable.  I believe that the animal is a hedgehog, but it might take a subscription to Ranger Rick to make sure.