I have read quite a bit of children’s books this year and 3 authors stood out. The poet Shel Silverstein, with his rhymes, snark and incredibly scary cover photos. The amazing Roald Dahl with his great adult monsters like Willy Wonka (yep both hero and monster), the Witches, Giants (besides the BFG), the Twits… And then of course the recently departed from us Maurice Sendak who we will all miss.
This week I am reading “The Witches,” and last week I finished Dahl’s “The Twits”, and am also reading his fun adult book “My Uncle Oswald.” I have read a ton of Dahl in the last year and he surprises me more all the time. Especially the sexuality of “My Uncle Oswald,” I completely didn’t expect the story of a playboy and Sudanese fly from a children’s author.
When thinking about all of these authors, they all recognize how surreal and scary childhood is. They are small in this world of big people. It’s one of the reasons that 5-6 year olds LOVE dinosaurs, they completely identify with these weird, big tall things. I wish more authors, parents, teachers, etc. recognized fundamentally what a strange, strange place childhood is. And that there is a wonder to that. To go explore the forest, the backyard, the town …
And I think it’s one of the reasons all 3 authors speak so well to adults too.
Finished this week:
“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak: In honor of Mr. Sendak’s recent death, this has been one of my favorite stories for over 30 years. Beautiful, simple and wonderful. This great slideshow of artists paying tribute to Sendak is gorgeous. ***** (Walker PL/really need to own)
“Hooray for Diffendorfer Day” is really more of a Jack Perlutsky book, illustrated by Lane Smith inspired by an unfinished Dr. Seuss rough draft. I think if it was Dr. Seuss it would be tighter.
Story was fun, but not great.
The “How This Book Came to Be” section was quite interesting, and included Dr. Seuss’s sketches for the book. Definitely worth the rental from the library.
I think if you are a Dr. Seuss fan, get this only to have the complete works. *** (3 GR/Walker PL)
“Every Thing On It”: A new Shel Silverstein book of the poems that didn’t make his other collections from 1991. Not as good as “Where the Sidewalk Ends” but to me nearly as good as “A Light in the Attic”, I love his wit and humor. And of course the nutty pictures.
I enjoyed these poems, but I can see why a lot of them didn’t make the other books.
Good, but I would read the rest of Shel Silverstein first, my favorite is “Runny Babbit.” *** (3 GR) (Walker PL)
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative by Austin Kleon. A book I heard about from Jeff Goins, skimmed through it twice. Fun book about the artistic process. I leant it to my fabulous poet friend Tina Smith. ***1/2 (4 GR)
Books checked out:
“Where the Wild Things Are”
“In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak: Just started this, wasn’t in the mood to finish it now. Will try again. So not the classic of “Wild Things” to me. Spiegelman’s tribute to the style though in the “Thanks, Maurice” slideshow is awesome though. (Walker PL)
“Kenny’s Window” by Maurice Sendak: Seems more text heavy
“The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery: A re-read of a classic. Just started again.
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss: Inspired to read again when looking for Sendak
“The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield: Recommended by someone. (Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library) all of others Walker PL
“The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media” ill by Josh Neufeld: Fascinating graphic novel about the history of press and dissent, and how the press has always been an outsider and a thorn. A lot about things like sedition acts, and that the press works for the public often and what they look for. Good stuff ***1/2 (4 GR) (pg. 52 of 163) Camden PL
The Simple Truth: Poems by Philip Levine: I am not loving this so far like I loved his “What Work Is” book. But can admire the poetry even if it doesn’t hit my heart. *** (3 GR) (pg 36 of 66) Scarborough PL
The Witches by Roald Dahl: on pg 26 of 202. This hits the topic perfectly. I like the idea that witches try to disappear one child a week. Fun stuff. (Warren PL)
Also bits of pieces of many things.
You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner: The book I read the most today. Fun book from 1916 by one of Ernest Hemingway’s heroes. Tells you how far baseball players have come in the age of free agency. Considering one of the characters is the legendarily tight Charles Comiskey, you can see why the Black Sox scandal of 1919 may have happened. Fascinating stuff, great that a sports journalist wrote it. Told from a player from the sticks writing to his friend. Enjoying this one a lot. 58% This one is also before Mickey Mouse so out of copyright, here is a link to the book. And up to 65% with a reading break. ***1/2 (4 GR)
Push: 50 Secrets on How to Land a Job by Creating Social Media Buzz by Nelson Wang: A free short book on the Kindle. Seems repetitive to me even with it’s short 513 characters (like 40 pages). 37% in. I hope to find a couple of ideas I like. So far it’s just LinkedIn suggesting making a full profile. **1/2 (2 GR)
Talk to God with Affirmations of Faith by Christine Brooks Martin: Ironic book to read the week before I go to a pagan festival, interesting but not connecting with me so far. I am definitely a theist, more than more fundamentalist Christian. ** (2 GR)
In the Heat of the Night by John Ball: Fun stuff so far. Despite my post saying to watch the movie first, I am glad I am reading this cold. Even then I can still hear Sydney Poitier’s voice saying from clips: “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” ***1/2 (4 GR) 35%
I think that is enough so far at 1,000+ words. Curious what I will read in the woods. My #FridayReads post next week I wrote already on Wednesday since I will be far, far, far away from the Internet. Looking forward to “Reading in the Woods”.