Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The dogs have been given a reprieve....

Transparent LanguageI do believe a new "The dog ate my homework" has emerged, replacing paper eating dachshunds with a more sinister (and harder to prove culprit).  Enter:

I didn't really say it.  My account was hacked.

Yes, welcome 21st century excuse.  Only the naive will believe this more than a couple times, so use the excuse well.  After the second or third usage blaming demonic possession may be the most logical progression.

Friday, September 3, 2010

52 in 52: Kiddie Lit

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Transparent LanguageSome of my favorite thoughts come courtesy of books with children as their target market.  Children..or perhaps pre-teens, sometimes teens...certainly not adults.  Some of these thoughts are perhaps lost on the target marke, and so I think adults would do well to read some of this literature from time-to-time.  Consider these gems the next time you are tempted to read about some gal with a reptile-shaped tattoo or you stumble into yet another book wherein you have figured out the ending by the conclusion of chapter two.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium  Seldom does a recently published book, tied to a relatively recent movie do such wonderful things to a reader's brain.  The commentary on life is lilting, the encouragement called for, and though not shared with any religious direction, telling a child that "Your life is an occasion...rise to it!" is not a bad thing.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes - it's long - comes from the movie.  Here it comes....

"When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He's written "He dies." That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is "He dies." It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with "He dies." And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it's only natural to be sad, but not because of the words "He dies." but because of the life we saw prior to the words."

I am thoroughly enamoured with this movie and the book is an equally fun (quick) read. 

Roald Dahl is a bit of an acquired taste.  I remember sitting through James & The Giant Peach while still in grade school, finding the word pictures about as juicy and alive as I envisioned a giant peach could be.  I still recall being instructed to draw pictures as the teacher read and feeling as though this was a foretaste of heaven.  That's just how much I enjoyed the book and the imagination and the illustrative potential.  I think readers envision this author surely as some sort of artistic hippie type.  Yet to read what he says and how he says it (and to take a cursory glance at any bio of his life) is to see a former WWII fighter pilot...of a man who wrote his auto-biography for children and titled it simply, Boy,  of a father whose BFG was dedicated to a daughter who died of measles at the age of seven.  These are books for children with, again, something more to say.

This week, I ventured into Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, which picks up with Charlie of chocolate factory fame as he takes off in the elevator.  The fun poetry is worth the read, the idea of cramming so much history into a child's book oddly entertaining, the premise as fanciful as its predecessor. 

52 in 52 marches on with two children's books thrown into the mix.  Come September 13th I may even celebrate Roald Dahl Day with a big ol' Wonka chocolate bar.  For life is an occasion and I continue to do my best to rise to it.