Monday, March 26, 2012

Three Minutes Biting Your Nails

Normanday #21: Write with the lights on


Write for three minutes about…


…a time you were afraid…


Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day April 1 (put “Norman is Fearless” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.


Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…


…an entomologist who is secretly afraid of ants…



Cranberly

ANTI


Ant No Way


Don't mind me, I’m just buggin’!



Morzant

An In Depth Examination of Ironic Phobias


A Practical Guide to Choosing a Career


Immersion Therapy, Or: How to Lure a Million Colonies of Ants into a Phobic Entomologist’s Pantry


Eat Your Fear: Thirty Ways to Prepare Delectable Hymenoptera Dishes



Bigfoot

Entomology: It’s No Picnic


Under Fire…Ants


Mountain Out of an Ant Hill




Friday, March 23, 2012

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (Middle Grade)

by Katherine Applegate, with illustrations by Patricia Castelao

Harper-HarperCollins, 2012


A Book Review by Bigfoot


Imagine you’re forced to live in the same small room for twenty-seven years. There’s pretty much nothing to do. People walk by once in awhile to gawk at you. There’s not much to inspire the paintings you like to make. When you do paint, your paintings are sold in a gift shop—not because anybody thinks they’re great works of art, but because they were painted by a gorilla.


Did I mention you’re a gorilla in this scenario? No? Well, you are. You’re a silverback gorilla.


(F.Y.I.: I’m not a gorilla. I’m often mistaken for one. I don’t take offense, though. I like gorillas.)


The gorilla in this story, Ivan, doesn’t act much like a gorilla. It’s not his fault. He was taken from the jungle when he was young and then raised by humans. He doesn’t like to remember his jungle times. It’s sad thinking about what the humans who took him did to his family all those years ago. Ivan lives in the now. His “now” is a familiar kind of dreary that he accepts as the way his life will always be.


If that’s all there was to Ivan’s story, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN would be a dreary and uneventful book, so you can probably guess that something happens to shake up his world. Judging by the cover, you can probably even guess that a baby elephant is involved somehow. (You’re right, but in the future try to avoid judging a book by its cover. It’s bad form.)


There’s a new baby elephant in the cage next to him who asks Ivan to tell her stories. He starts to tell her about his past and to remember all he lost when he was taken from the jungle. His memories get him wanting more out of life for himself. Mostly he worries about the baby elephant. He doesn’t want her to live a dreary life being forced to perform tricks for humans. Trying to get her into a better environment brings purpose to his life, and his art. His mission helps him rediscover what it means to be a gorilla.


Ivan’s gorilla way of looking at the world gives readers a lot to think about. Ivan has a special way of telling his story, too. He thinks humans use too many words, so he’s a get-to-the-point narrator. Most of the chapters are only a page or two long. Many are barely half a page. Just because the chapters are short doesn’t mean Ivan doesn’t have a powerful story to tell.


Come to think of it, Ivan would probably think I’m too wordy. Let me try to write a more gorilla-friendly review:


THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is a triumphant story about a likable guy who uses his rediscovered gorilla wiles to save himself and a baby elephant.


That’s still too wordy. How about this:


THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN is a good book. You should read it.


There. Short and to the point. Very gorilla. Just remember, I’m not actually a gorilla.


Here are some ways you can tell I’m not a gorilla:


• I can’t be photographed clearly. A gorilla can.


• I’m taller.


• I have bigger feet. Obviously.


• I never use my knuckles for walking. What do you think these big feet are for?


• If I were stranded on a deserted island with nothing else to eat, I’d eat a banana. But only then.


• If I’m being honest, I’m probably not as good-looking as the average gorilla.


• I can read. I’m not saying I’m smarter than a gorilla. I’m just saying.


One last thing. The author of this book was inspired by a real-life gorilla named Ivan. Maybe I’ll visit him someday. I’m curious if I could beat him in an arm wrestling match.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Minutes with an Antsy Entomologist

Normanday #20: For the title


Spend three minutes coming up with title ideas for a novel about…


…an entomologist who is secretly afraid of ants…


Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day March 25 (put “Norman has a Winning Smile” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.


Here is an entry from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about what’s happening in these photographs.




Cranberly

“Dad said something is easier than shooting fish in a bucket,” Harry said.


“So?” Tom replied.


“Well, let’s try it,” Harry suggested. “I’ll grab my gun and you grab Sharkie.”


“Sharkie? My gold fish? I don’t want to shoot Sharkie!” Tom protested.


“You won’t. I will be doing the shooting,” Harry corrected.


“I don’t want you shooting Sharkie either. Let’s use something else.”


Tom and Harry thought for awhile.


“I have an idea,” said Tom. “You grab your gun and the bucket and meet me outside!”


Harry did what he said. He ran to the cellar and found a bucket, grabbed his gun, hat and coat from his room and ran outside. Tom was waiting for him with a bag of crackers shaped like tiny orange fish.


“Okay, now put some water in the bucket,” Tom ordered.


“Why do we need to do that? We are only pretending to have fish,” Harry whined. Even as he said it, he carried the bucket to the spigot on the side of the house and filled the bucket halfway with water. He was beginning to regret bringing up what Dad said in the first place. His brother Tom was only one year older but always took the roll of boss even when something was Harry’s idea. Harry brought the bucket back to where Tom was standing in the warmth of the afternoon sun. They were happy for this last bit of sun before fall turned to winter. Tom took a handful of fish crackers and dropped them in the bucket. They floated.


“Okay, now go!” Tom said. Harry took his cap gun out of his pocket and shot 3 times. Snap! Snap! Snap! The smell of sulfur wafted up from the gun.


“Did you get any?” Tom asked. They both crouched down and looked in the bucket. Some of the fish were still floating. A few had sunk. However, they didn't see any holes.


“I don’t think Dad knows what he is talking about,” Tom concluded.


Harry agreed. “That’s what Mom always says.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Briar’s Journal (March 14 to April 3, 2012)

Dream Entry*

October 7, 2003


My friends, three puppies, and a duck are reading quietly in the library. For some reason they’re all wearing top hats.




The books BIGFOOT is reading:


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME

by Madeleine George

[YOUNG ADULT]

Viking-Penguin

March 15, 2012


THE FIVE LIVES OF OUR CAT ZOOK by Joanne Rocklin

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Amulet-Abrams

April 1, 2012



The books MORZANT is reading:


WATER SINGS BLUE by Kate Coombs,

illustrated by Meilo So

[PICTURE BOOK—POETRY]

Chronicle

March 14, 2012


NASTY BUGS by Lee Bennett Hopkins,

illustrated by Will Terry

[PICTURE BOOK—POETRY]

Dial-Penguin

March 15, 2012


A MEAL OF THE STARS: POEMS UP AND DOWN

by Dana Jensen, illustrated by Tricia Tusa

[PICTURE BOOK—POETRY]

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

March 20, 2012


THE ARROW FINDS ITS MARK: A BOOK OF

FOUND POEMS by Georgia Heard,

illustrated by Antoine GuilloppƩ

[MIDDLE GRADE—POETRY]

Roaring Brook

March 27, 2012


THE BEETLE BOOK by Steve Jenkins

[PICTURE BOOK—NON-FICTION]

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

April 3, 2012


FORGET-ME-NOTS: POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART

by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Michael Emberley

[POETRY]

Little, Brown-Hachette

April 3, 2012


POEM RUNS: BASEBALL POEMS by Douglas Florian

[PICTURE BOOK—POETRY]

Harcourt-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

April 3, 2012



The books PENNY is reading:


DARK EYES by William Richter

[YOUNG ADULT]

Razorbill-Penguin

March 15, 2012


CROAK by Gina Damico

[YOUNG ADULT]

Graphia-Houghton Mifflin

March 20, 2012


AFTER THE SNOW by S.D. Crockett

[YOUNG ADULT]

Feiwel & Friends-Macmillan

March 27, 2012


THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE:

THE UNSEEN GUEST by Maryrose Wood,

with illustrations by Jon Klassen

[MIDDLE GRADE—THIRD IN THE SERIES]

Balzer & Bray-HarperCollins

March 27, 2012


SLIDE by Jill Hathaway

[YOUNG ADULT]

Balzer & Bray-HarperCollins

March 27, 2012



The books THE DUCK is reading:


CASTLE OF SHADOWS by Ellen Renner,

with illustrations by Wilson Swain

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

March 20, 2012


STORYBOUND by Marissa Burt

[MIDDLE GRADE]

HarperCollins

April 3, 2012



The books NORMAN is reading:


ELLRAY JAKES WALKS THE PLANK by Sally Warner,

with illustrations by Jamie Harper

[CHAPTER BOOK—THIRD IN SERIES]

Viking-Penguin

March 15, 2012


TIME SNATCHERS by Richard Ungar

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Putnam-Penguin

March 15, 2012


CHRONAL ENGINE by Greg Leitich Smith,

with illustrations by Blake Henry

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Clarion-Houghton Mifflin

March 20, 2012


THE HOP by Sharelle Byars Moranville,

illustrated by Niki Daly

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Hyperion-Disney

March 20, 2012


WONDER SHOW by Hannah Barnaby

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

March 20, 2012


PROJECT JACKALOPE by Emily Ecton

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Chronicle

March 21, 2012


CHOMP by Carl Hiaasen

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Knopf-Random House

March 27, 2012


LUNCH LADY AND THE MUTANT MATHLETES

by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

[MIDDLE GRADE COMIC—SEVENTH IN SERIES]

Knopf-Random House

March 27, 2012


RUBY REDFORT LOOK INTO MY EYES by Lauren Child

[MIDDLE GRADE—FIRST IN SERIES]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


13 HANGMEN by Art Corriveau

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Amulet-Abrams

April 1, 2012


FAKE MUSTACHE: OR, HOW JODIE O’RODEO AND

HER WONDER HORSE (AND SOME NERDY KID)

SAVE THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FROM

A MAD GENIUS CRIMINAL MASTERMIND

by Tom Angleberger

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Amulet-Abrams

April 1, 2012


POISON MOST VIAL: A MYSTERY by Benedict Carey

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Amulet-Abrams

April 1, 2012


HORTEN’S MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS:

MAGIC, MYSTERY, & A VERY STRANGE ADVENTURE

by Lissa Evans

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Sterling

April 3, 2012



The books BEVERLY is reading:


THE WILD BOOK by Margarita Engle

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Harcourt-Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

March 20, 2012


HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES by Ted Kooser,

illustrated by Jon Klassen

[PICTURE BOOK]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


LETTERS TO LEO by Amy Hest,

with illustrations by Julia Denos

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


DREAMSLEEVES by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Scholastic Press-Scholastic

April 1, 2012


TAKA-CHAN AND I: A DOG’S JOURNEY TO JAPAN

by Runcible as told to Betty Jean Lifton,

photographs by Eikoh Hosoe

[STORYBOOK]

NYR Children’s-New York Review Books

April 3, 2012


TRACKS by Diane Lee Wilson

[MIDDLE GRADE]

Margaret K. McElderry-Simon & Schuster

April 3, 2012



The books OLIVER is reading:


YOU ARE A LION! AND OTHER FUN YOGA POSES

by Taeeun Yoo

[PICTURE BOOK]

Nancy Paulsen-Peguin

March 15, 2012


LITTLE BIRD by Germano Zullo,

illustrated by Albertine

[PICTURE BOOK]

Enchanted Lion

March 20, 2012


ONE SPECIAL DAY (A STORY FOR BIG BROTHERS AND SISTERS)

by Lola Schaefer, illustrated by Jessica Meserve

[PICTURE BOOK]

Hyperion-Disney

March 20, 2012


THE FAMILY TREE by David McPhail

[PICTURE BOOK]

Henry Holt

March 27, 2012


GREEN by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

[PICTURE BOOK]

Roaring Brook

March 27, 2012


THE HERO OF LITTLE STREET by Gregory Rogers

[PICTURE BOOK—THIRD IN TRILOGY]

Roaring Brook

March 27, 2012


JUST DUCKS! by Nicola Davies,

illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino

[PICTURE BOOK]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


MEET ME AT THE MOON by Gianna Marino

[PICTURE BOOK]

Viking-Penguin

March 29, 2012


I’LL SAVE YOU BOBO! by Eileen Rosenthal,

illustrated by Marc Rosenthal

[PICTURE BOOK]

Atheneum-Simon & Schuster

April 3, 2012



The books LENNY is reading:


FROG AND FLY by Jeff Mack

[PICTURE BOOK]

Philomel-Penguin

March 15, 2012


THE BOY WHO CRIED ALIEN by Marilyn Singer,

illustrated by Brian Biggs

[PICTURE BOOK]

Hyperion-Disney

March 20, 2012


MAC AND CHEESE AND THE PERFECT PLAN

by Sarah Weeks, with illustrations by Jane Manning

[EARLY READER]

HarperCollins

March 20, 2012


WOLF WON’T BITE! by Emily Gravett

[PICTURE BOOK]

Simon & Schuster

March 20, 2012


FALCON by Tim Jessell

[PICTURE BOOK]

Random House

March 27, 2012


NO BEARS by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge

[PICTURE BOOK]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


SADIE AND RATZ by Sonya Harnett,

with illustrations by Ann James

[CHAPTER BOOK]

Candlewick

March 27, 2012


WHAT LITTLE BOYS ARE MADE OF by Robert Neubecker

[PICTURE BOOK]

Balzer & Bray-HarperCollins

March 27, 2012


LARF by Ashley Spires

[PICTURE BOOK]

Kids Can Press

April 1, 2012


VOTE FOR ME! by Ben Clanton

[PICTURE BOOK]

Kids Can Press

April 1, 2012


BAWK & ROLL by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Santat

[PICTURE BOOK—SEQUEL TO CHICKEN DANCE]

Sterling

April 3, 2012


THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE!? by Mo Willems

[PICTURE BOOK—A PIGEON BOOK]

Hyperion-Disney

April 3, 2012



The books VIOLET is reading:


ALL ABOUT GRANDMAS by Roni Schotter,

illustrated by Janice Nadeau

[PICTURE BOOK]

Dial-Penguin

March 15, 2012


PUGS IN A BUG by Carolyn Crimi,

illustrated by Stephanie Buscema

[PICTURE BOOK]

Dial-Penguin

March 15, 2012


SOPHIE’S FISH by A.E. Cannon, illustrated by Lee White

[PICTURE BOOK]

Viking-Penguin

March 15, 2012


LUCY RESCUED by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Barroux

[PICTURE BOOK]

Blue Apple Books

March 27, 2012


SILLY DOGGY! by Adam Stower

[PICTURE BOOK]

Orchard Books

April 1, 2012


CHLOE AND THE LION by Mac Barnett,

illustrated by Adam Rex

[PICTURE BOOK]

Hyperion-Disney

April 3, 2012







* The dream entries from Briar’s journal contain premonitions of books that will be published in the future. Briar’s dream self foresees the books’ summaries and knows which will likely appeal to each of her friends. Briar always wakes up before she can see whether her friends will enjoy the books.