Monday, October 16, 2017

Sherlock - AGAIN??!!!

He's back.  He's 14.  He's at a boarding school in New England.  And he is cheerfully annoying. Set in modern times, The Initiation, (Lock & Key #1), isn't about Sherlock Holmes at all.  Sherlock (or Lock, as Moria Moriarty calls him) is the main character's room mate.  Who is this illustrious co-habitant? James Moriarty....(Or Jamie, as his younger sister calls him). 

Sherlock, who dislikes nicknames as much as James does, calls James "Key" after his middle name, Keynes.  Get it?  Lock and Key?  Don't worry, the book transcends.

All that nicknaming comes toward the middle of the book.  The beginning shows James as a highly competitive but loving older brother.  Hey, you'll even like the guy.  The LAST thing James wants to do is go to Baskerville Academy (I know.  I know.  I didn't name the school!)  BUT it is a family tradition, the seriousness of which James and Moria can't even begin to comprehend.

Their father sends Moria to Baskerville as well, to keep an eye on James.  After a rather scary "hazing" incident, Moriarty senior gives Moria secret instructions.  Then the pair are off to Baskerville for what is usually a perfectly normal high-income boarding school experience.  Not for these two.  Not for intensely clever, arrogant Sherlock Holmes.

Light a candle in thanks to Arthur Conan Doyle.  His characters continue to inspire great writers (like the prolific Ridley Pearson) to keep us entertained.  Mesmerizing, this book is just the beginning!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Under One Sun - for Puerto Rico

The news wears me out.

So I decided to do something.  My youngest brother (I have five) Dan and I write children's songs.  Just like an old "Our Gang" episode I said, "Let's put on a show for Puerto Rico!"  Note: Las Vegas and California wild fires had not started at that time.

I put out a request on Facebook and I emailed a bunch of storytellers.  Then I looked for a place to hold the concert and it's happening!  With a lot of help from a lot of people, it's happening.

I made a Facebook event.  In it, you will find a way to purchase tickets online.  Then I made a GoFundMe campaign, to help with any costs we might incur.  And if we have no costs, then the money goes to the charity we chose, UNIDOS, the Hispanic Federation's Relief Fund for Puerto Rico.

It will all happen on November 12th from 2 to 4 pm.  Four musical acts will perform, Chiles Play - music for kids of all ages, the Druckenmillers - old time music to clap to, Today We Fight With Peace - thoughtful music written by a father and his pre-teen daughter, and Closer - a classic rock band.
BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE!  Three storytellers will spin their magic - Charles Kiernan, Judy England-McCarthy and Ingrid Bohn.  They are all splendid.

Where?  Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 East Market Street, Bethlehem, PA, 18018.

This concert is a month away.  The news from Puerto Rico gets worse.  One third of the people have no clean drinking water.  Deaths from water borne illnesses have happened.  The death toll climbs every day.  The people of Puerto Rico will still need our help in November. 

Do you want to help?  If you live in the Lehigh Valley, spread the word.  If you belong to a group or organization, kaffee klatsch or book club, church, Bunco group, tell all of your friends.

When the poster and postcards are done, I will post them here and you can print them out and cover the area with them.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Let's Not Forget - Seymour Simon!!!

At the Kutztown Univeristy Children's Literature Conference (KUCLC) presentations, I usually sit in the back.  That's because I come in late after setting up my book review presentation.  NOT WHEN THIS GUY PRESENTED.  Oh no!  I sat in the third row so I could hear ev-er-y word he said.

Seymour Simon is placed high in the pantheon of SuperHero children's non-fiction authors. The others will get their due.

For decades now, librarians and teachers have counted on Seymour Simon (his name sounds like a song, right?) for colorful, well-researched, accessible non-fiction.

It started with The Paper Airplane Book in 1971.  During Simon's presentation at KUCLC he showed us a video made soon after The Paper Airplane Book was launched (sorry!).  The grainy video showed one of the designs from his book as it flew out of an office window and down into the city.  Wow!  If I find the video, I will post it.  The Paper AirplanB book not only gave instructions for building several planes, but the aerodynamic principles that kept the planes in the air.

I took a screen shot of Simon's web page.  You need to visit this page to fully understand the scope of Simon's writing, past and present.  I won't forget this man any time soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Website Wednesday

Growing Book by Book is a wonderful place for book lists on all kinds of subjects; kindness, friends, even cooking!  For kids!

This website is all about increasing literacy skills in babies, toddler, preschoolers and beginning readers.  Booklists are only the beginning.

Growing Book by Book offers pre-reading and pre-writing activities, along with skill builders as children grow.

Designed to be used by teachers and caretakers, the ideas translate to one-on-one activities for moms as well.  So check this site out.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Breaking News! Today in Wizard World...

Princess Apple Blossom of Wizard World and Prince Johnny Handsomeman of Parts Unknown were married today in a small ceremony overseen by Fiddle-i-Fee.  Fiddle-i-Fee also provided all the music for the wedding, even though he was often overwhelmed with tears at the sight of his secret love, Princess Apple Blossom, in the arms of another, albeit invisible, man.
Play on, Fiddle-i-fee.

Meanwhile, Little Blue Wizard tried to be as disruptive as possible since he needs to be the center of attention.

Little Blue Wizard ended up in time-out in the big tin pumpkin.
Time out!

A highlight of the wedding was the energetic dance competition that Princess Apple Blossom  judged.  The winner was Ralph, the camel.  Whoever said that camels can't dance has never seen this hoofer!!

The wedding was the end of an eventful afternoon for Princess Apple Blossom, who also goes by the names of Wizardy Wizard, Queen Apple Tree, Trixie and D----, her real name.  Here was the full afternoon.

1.  Squirrel family camp out, complete with scary stories around the camp fire.  Of course, Little Blue Bunny thought it would be hilarious to scare his new baby sister by pretending to be a ghost.  Guess what?  He got in trouble - again.

2.  Fishing.  A garage sale Barbie fishing pole - a gen-u-wine Shakespeare(tm) pole - a magnet, paper fish, paper clips and a big box kept D happy for half an hour.  Then she had to cook the fish for the Squirrel family. 

3.  Fashioning.  D was reminded that Little Blue Bunny had, at one time, ripped up his mother's clothes for costumes so the fashion box came out.  Mrs. Nutsa Squirrel needed a new dress.  So did Nutty, a squirrel cousin who lives at D.'s house, (crocheted by none other than - NANA!)

4.  Jumping and gymnastics.  Jumping on sofa cushions, sliding down sofa cushions and making her toy friends do the same took up nice chunk of time.  Thanks, Rainy Day.

5. Snack.

6.  Wedding and dance competition.

Princess Apple Blossom was exhausted by all this excitement when her mother came to turn her back into D.

I wonder what we'll do tomorrow.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bunco debrief

15 women between the ages of 21 and 94 gathered at our house last night.  Hub escaped to his man cave while we ate way too much food and threw way too many dice.

Bunco, for those who may not know, is merely an excuse for people to;
1.  Clean their houses a little bit better than normal.
2.  Invite as many of their same sex friends (or maybe even mixed sexes, although that might destroy some of the appeal) to a party.
3.  Eat way too much yummy food.  (Always offer fruit and veggies.  Just putting it on your plate reduces the calories in the HUGE CHOCOLATE CAKE!!)
4.  Drink a little bit.
5.  Play a mindless game which requires no strategy and little concentration.
6.  Gossip.
7.  Chatter. - not the same as gossip.  Chatter covers all kinds of subjects.  Gossip is about people.
8.  Have fun.
9.  Laugh a lot.

And after all that, some of the players go home a little bit richer.

There were many topics last night.  Politics was NOT one of them.  Allelujah!  Husbands got brief mentions.  Our kids probably had ringing ears.  Our grandkids - one of the 21 year olds had a grandma in the house - were praised to the sky.  Work - yeah.  Food - yeah.  Gardens, chickens, hobbies - yeah.  Books and TV and movies - yeah but not so much.

But I was most surprised when someone (she knows who she is) rated the four tables we played on.  It appears - why had I not considered this? - that the noise that dice make when tossed on different surfaces adds to the excitement of the game.

Someone should write a dissertation on that subject.

I had a tablecloth on a wooden table.  I will never do that again.  The cloth muffled the clatter of the dice making each roll less exciting.  And my card table has a padded top.  Great for cards, I guess, but that top made getting a bunco just a little dull.

Then there was the height issue.  The oak coffee table had just the right tone but it was lower than dining table height.  So, though it won in the sound department, its comfort rating suffered.

The small, dining height, hard plastic table ended up being the Table Winner of the night.  Exciting sound, comfortable level- it is a winner.

The next time we play, I know I can do better.  Thanks to Suzanne for her enlightening assessment.

Feel free to use this post as the jumping off point into your doctoral study of how sound heightens game dynamics in non-digital play.

Well, anyway.  Bunco is my excuse for forgetting to Let's Not Forget this weekend.  I'll catch up.