Friday, May 29, 2015

Mollie Whuppie, Unexpected Hero!

When I was a youngster, I remember reading Mollie Whuppie in one of the many fairytale collections at the public library.  I am a fairytale kind of person.  Mollie Whuppie is a little short on sparkles and ball gowns and a little long on violence and greed.

I don't know why I like the story so much.  It may be the archaic dialog between Mollie and the giant she torments.  It might be that Mollie is an unexpected hero - the runt of the family, and a girl to boot.
When I figure it out, I'll let you know.  I have to admit, I did not tell the original ending.  That ending is a bit too gruesome for my tastes.

Today, I decided to share Mollie Whuppie with the sixth graders at Nazareth Intermediate School.  My version has some (ahem) blood in it and there's lots of action.  I guessed, correctly, that the guys would like it.  What I didn't expect was all the questions the kids had during and after the story.  One question that cropped up in three of the four classes was this.  "How did the King know what the Giant had and where he kept it?"

Yeah!  How did he know that?  And why did he keep sending this tiny girl out to steal from the Giant?  And why did the parents abandon the three youngest children and not the three oldest children - who might have a better chance of surviving?

And why did Mollie carry the treasures back to the King?  Why not keep them for herself?

And why didn't those old time storytellers ask these questions themselves and answer them in the story? (My question.)

Perhaps Kings were such powerful people that listeners at the time thought Kings knew what everyone had and where they kept it.  I bet that they felt that way at tax time.

And powerless people always like stories about small powerless people who prevail.

Now, about keeping the loot for herself, Mollie had to protect her sisters who might suffer at the hands of the King if Mollie "cheated" him.

As to abandoning the youngest rather than the oldest, I invite you to offer reasons for that.

In the meantime, these questions make great writing prompts and I imagine a comic book series about The Adventures of Mollie Whuppie.  Although there are picture books out there starring Ms. Whuppie, she could be a superhero.

Mollie Whuppie, Unexpected Hero!!!


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Text haiku

Tough times when a person's favorite people move away. Sending texts to simply say "We miss you," gets old...to say nothing of annoying. So today, I took another tactic.

"This screen is empty/ no when, no where, no questions/ an expanse of gone."

The reply came line by line. "Memorial day.". " going to the pool soon". "Hope all is well, Mom.". " That's a haiku."

And so it continued.  At one point I got this message. "I could do this all day.".

So could I.

Some more haiku texts: " I don't want to walk.". "But D-c- wants to walk there." " So walking it is."

"Not really walking." "Your dad is carrying you." "And he is tired."

My text haiku deteriorated after my first attempt.

I am finished now. My screen is dressed in letters. My heart is at rest.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stick and Stone

I love Picture Book trailers.  Here's a cute one for you.


I Read YA!!

I read YA week is HERE!!



Check out all the great book recommendations, prizes, photos and stuff on Scholastic's This Is Teen page.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Winnah!

Becky Ginther!  You have won the copy of Fog Diver!!  Send me your snail mail address please at bookkm@gmail.com.

Thanks.!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

FLAVIA!!! and Giveaway deadline







Tomorrow is the last day for the Fog Diver giveaway.  Comment here or on the original post and your name goes in the Oracular Yogurt Cup from which a winner will emerge.   It's a fun Sci-Fi novel for middle grades with a steampunk edge.  I will announce the winner here by noon Eastern time tomorrow and it's up to you to email me at bookkm@gmail.com with your snail mail address.

And what have I been doing this past week?  Visiting with relatives and reading the latest adventures of pre-teen sleuth and chemist, Flavia De Luce.  When last seen, Flavia found out that she was to be sent off to boarding school in Toronto, CA of all places - far, far from the field of the ancestral De Luce home in merry old England.  Since then, she has starred in a short story - The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse - in which Flavia is called to the local boarding school to figure out what happened to the teacher found dead in a dorm bathtub and plated with copper.  

After that, she is banished to Toronto.  The very first night there, she is assaulted by a classmate and a dessicated corpse rolls out of the dorm room chimney. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is Flavia's most recent foray into detection.  Far from home, dealing with unfamiliar routines and unwritten rules, given contradictory directions at every turn, it is no wonder that Flavia is often close to tears.  WHAT!!!!???  Not redoubtable Flavia De Luce!  Scourge of older sisters!  Dissembler extraordinaire!  Yes, Flavia ends up sobbing in this novel and, personally, I would have been wailing before the 3rd page, if I was she.  (If there are tears can hormones be far behind?  Perish the thought!)


Luckily, for readers everywhere, I am NOT Flavia.  Flavia fans may have trouble following this book because no one is entirely trustworthy at Bodycote Academy - especially the staff.  There is a lot of cloak and dagger-y spyish stuff.  Flavia gets a little bit closer to what her mother might have been involved in before her disappearance and death.  Don't expect anything but hints and rumors though.

The mystery at Bodycote involves disappearing students, suspicious Board members, a chemistry teacher suspected of murdering her husband - with poison to Flavia's delight.  That Academy is a hot mess, all the way around. 

The ending made me happy and that is all I will say here. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

  Twig is an only child as far as the townspeople know.  They don't realize that her older brother James lives in the attic, out at Fowler Farm.  Twig's mother returned to the family farm late at night when Twig was small.  The rules were set right then and there.  The Fowlers kept to themselves; made no friends; excepted no visitors.  200 years before, Agnes Early, who lived in abandoned Mourning Dove Cottage, put a curse on all the men in the Fowler family.

The town of Sidwell accepts their own, no matter how strange they behave.  Besides, with a series of small thefts, reports of strange things flying at night and weird graffiti, the townsfolk can't worry about the Fowler women.

Then, one day, Mourning Dove Cottage is no longer abandoned.  Twig finds a friend.  James finds a reason to come out of hiding.  And the Fowler family finds themselves in the spotlight.

The story is compelling.  The characters well-drawn and sympathetic.  The dilemma faced by all the young people in this book is troublesome.  How do they protect James from people who might misunderstand his differences?  How can they break the curse?

I never felt that the book was written for young people.  There was a measured pace - not that things didn't happen quickly enough.  They did.  But the pace seemed better suited to more seasoned readers.  As things became complicated, though, I felt the author explained feelings too much.  I wasn't sure she trusted her audience.  These two things made a stellar book a little less starry.

The story is the kind we fall asleep dreaming of - possibilities, hopes and moonlight.  Enjoy.