Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lester woke up this morning in a good mood

That means he slept in and, when he did get up, he went right to singing. This is not how I wake up, obviously.


I made ginger cookies. They are possibly the best looking and tasting cookies I have ever made. I put cocoa powder in them because I use it in my gingerbread and decided it would be good in the cookies, too. Of course, I don't know what the cookies would have tasted like without the cocoa.

Mark and I have been grading. I have been writing articles about snow sports. I have also edited some things.

I think the hardest thing to get students to do is be specific. 8 out of every 10 comments I make in class and on student papers have to do with the need to be specific--whether that means supporting arguments and ideas with evidence from texts, making characters less generic by giving readers information relevant to both character and the context of the story, or asking them to consider mood, tone, & connotation in their poems.


Christmas shopping for my sisters (or "the Herd," as Dad calls them) was stressful, even though I did it online. My gifts to them are fairly boring in terms of initial wow value. I've ordered three books:
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster (for Michelle)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg (for Allison)
  • Wonderful O, by James Thurber (for Sarah
And then they're each going to get something small. Michelle is getting a pair of fold-up binoculars, Allison is getting a pink shirt that says "I love dogs" (except "love" is a heart and "dog" is a picture of a dog), & Sarah is getting a bunch of Hello Kitty stuff.


Jessica Smith said...

i haven't read Wonderful O but those other two books are fab.

in a similar vein i'd recommend Mr. Popper's Penguins and The 21 Balloons. It will be fun when they're a little older and you can introduce them to the Little House on the Prairie books. (Assuming kids still read those?)

i also bought a bunch of books-as-gifts yesterday, at the local used bookstore, as well as a bunch of cliffs notes to study for Orals.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

My favorite James Thurber is The Thirteen Clocks, but it appears to be out of print. The Wonderful O is about a guy who hates the letter O, so he deletes it from all of his language. Then he starts to pressure his village to not use the letter O...and much silliness and despair and adventure ensues.

I don't know Mr. Popper's Penguins...but I need birthday ideas, so I'll keep it in mind!

Jessica Smith said...

Penguins is maybe a Michelle book.

mike said...

Has Lester ever been introduced to Bill Newman's grey parrot, Spy?

Spy makes juice.

Ray-Ray said...

Mr. Popper is awesome. I taught it when I was a boarding school teacher (to the lowest level ESOL 7th graders).

My auntie Maggie took me to an awards ceremony for children's books last month where Norton Juster talked and got an award, cuz he has a new picture book out and the illustrator got the Caldecot. He was won-der-ful, so smart and interesting and funny....

Ray-Ray said...

I've recently gotten addicted to Nancy Farmer's books. She's a "children's books" author. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm was SO lovely and unique.

Jessica Smith said...

we were just discussing in my RenPro class how childrens' literature is where all the really interesting stuff happens, genre-wise and design-wise. children's lit pushes the envelope-- color printing was invented for kiddie lit, popup books, intergenre work-- i mean we still look at blake as if he were doing something really amazing (and he is) but for some (sexist) reason we don't look at nursery lit.

this is just a small soapbox, i won't get into my conspiracy theory of patriarchal academia's dismissal of children's lit just now.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Lester knows almost no other parrots, except the parrotlete flock of his baby memories. It was interesting to watch him at the vet. He didn't respond to the sight of other birds the way a dog, for example, does when it sees other dogs. If we lived with more birds, this might be different. But he does respond to the sounds of other birds--both at the vet and outside--with his own chirps and whistles.

I'll have to look up Nancy Farmer. I've already given in and ordered Mr. Popper--I found a used copy in great condition!

Yeah, children's lit has been pretty much dismissed. However, I have noticed that increasingly, MFA programs are offering children's lit courses and even concentrations in children's literature. There is a woman at Georgetown who studies children's literature, and I think she even taught a grad class on it while I was there. I didn't take it but it sounded really interesting. So maybe there's hope--Georgetown isn't exactly on the cutting edge.

Andrew Langton said...

Speaking of Thurber's fairy tales, for anyone in the New York area, The Republic Theater Company is presenting The 13 Clocks, another of his magical tales, at The Cherry Lane Theater in the West Village. For more info, check out The 13 Clocks.