Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Then, I ran across Candace Ryan's blog Book, Booker, Bookest. She's highlighted a goodly number of Los Angeles Public branches (she visits other Southland libraries too.)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
by Carrie Ryan
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Wow. Just, wow. This is zombie fiction, the way it should be written. The story starts out with a striking similarity to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, but quickly morphs into something else entirely. Mary hasn’t known any other world than her small village. The secretive religious order of the Sisterhood tightly circumscribes every detail of the villager’s lives in this last outpost of humanity. The villagers are told that only their obedience to the Sisterhood and their constant vigilance will keep them from being overrun by the Unconsecrated zombie hordes, just beyond the chain link fence.
As is the case in any good horror movie, tension mounts as the action telescopes down to a smaller and smaller cast of characters. When the village finally falls, only Mary and a small rag-tag crew manage to escape. One by one, they succumb to undead, forcing the friends to lay arms against each other before all are turned.
I’m not sure what the takeaway on all of this is, except that a world lousy with zombies doesn’t have room in it for a boy with a bum knee (not even a really cute boy.) And aside from being hunky (and bravely sacrificing himself towards the end) Travis isn’t really good for much. He’s pretty wishy-washy! He’s attracted to her friend, Cass, yet seems content to snuggle up with Mary when they end up isolated together. She could do a lot better. Mary is the one with the determination and the initiative to keep on struggling, no matter what.
There are a lot of unanswered questions by the end of the story… not quite in the same vein as Lois Lowry's The Giver, but enough for Ryan to mine for several more sequels at least. The sequel, The Dead-Tossed Waves is being released in Spring of 2010. I can hardly wait.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
For some reason, we had a pretty low turn-out at the henna workshop yesterday, and so the presenter had extra time to give me a temporary henna tattoo. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm loving it! I can't believe we didn't have more young adults show up for this awesome (free!) opportunity. What's the matter with these kids today, anyway? Gosh, I feel old, saying that.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I drew and cut out all the pieces myself. I used a googly-eye for the alligator. And a bit of white felt for his teeth. I think he turned out great! The fish, I'm not quite as pleased with. I drew their features on using permanent marker, and I'm thinking I could have cut out fins and the like in a contrasting felt color, instead.
The song I sing for this one goes like so:
Five little fishies, swimming in the sea, teasing Mr. Alligator, "Can't catch me! Can't catch me!"
And along comes Mr. Alligator... jaws open wide! And SNAP! There's another fishie, deep inside...
(and so on, and so forth, until all the fish have been eaten)
I guess the more popular version of the song has "five little monkeys, sitting in a tree," but, I learned this with fish, so fish it is!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Davis' background as a journalist really shines through in this exhaustively researched look into the team behind Sesame Street. Spanning five years of interviews with cast and crew, Davis paints a painstaking picture of all the ins-and-outs, all the personalities, all the behind-the-scenes office politics that shaped this television institution. Pioneering the "edu-tainment" niche, Sesame Street was really the first children's show to take educational research seriously, incorporating PhDs on their staff and applying for educational grants to meet budgetary needs.
There's a lot of background info here... quite a lot on the earlier show, Captain Kangaroo. Warm and genial on screen, Bob Keeshan was a sometimes moody prankster on the set. A number of the writers and crew made the jump to Sesame Street when it started, and they brought lessons they learned from the Captain with them, mainly, that an ensemble cast would provide less headaches than a single, temperamental actor.
Jim Henson was probably the most widely celebrated Sesame Street contributor, with his furry, funny, wonderful Muppets. Davis also spotlights Children's Television Workshop founding member and Sesame producer, Joan Ganz Cooney and her struggles to be taken seriously in the "man's world" of television production in the late 60's and onward. I didn't know that Bob McGrath, one of the longest-running original cast members got his start as a Japanese pop-singing sensation! I was also unaware that Northern James Calloway, who played David on the show, had such a troubled history. Towards the end of his run on the show, his behavior became increasingly erratic as he struggled with manic-depression.
As I suspected, Sesame Street, especially in it's first decade on television, was a very collaborative effort. In the 1990's post-Barney era, the show floundered for a bit under new management, as the suits tried to micromanage the creative process, until finally hitting on a huge hit with Elmo. Considering the meticulous detail afforded to the early years of Sesame Street, I was a little surprised that even more energy wasn't expended in explaining the Elmo phenomenon but one can't blame Davis for running out of steam towards the end of this epic history. It feels odd to say it, but as long as the book was (and it is long) I did wish for a bit more info about most of the performers. Also, no mention of the Snuffleupagus controversy!
The final 100 pages are perhaps the saddest, beginning with the death of Will Lee, the actor who played the venerable corner-store owner, Mr. Hooper. From there, many of the other founding members passing, especially that of Henson, is covered in detail.
The book is being released in paperback this October.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
If you're a ninja and you know it, stay alert!
more pirate verses: