Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Talk by William, 6th grade: THE END, by Lemony Snicket, 13th book, Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events" written by Lemony Snicket is a fantastic series for people of all ages. I like it because it is always unpredictable and really funny sometimes. It's about 3 children who become orphans after a terrible fire, and an evil man pursuing them whereever they go in an attempt to steal their fortune.

To prove how funny he is, I have written down the description on the back of the last book "The End" as a sort of sneak peak

Dear Reader,

You are presumably looking at the back of this book,or the end of THE END. The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end of your rope.

This book is the last in A Series of Unfortunate Events, and even if you have braved the previous twelve volumes, you probabley cant stand such unpleasantries as a fearsome storm, a suspicious beverage, a herd of wild sheep, an enormous bird cage, and a truly haunting secret about the baudelaire parents.

It has been my solemn occupation to complete the history of the baudelaire orphans, and at last I am finished. You likely have some other occupation, so if i were you I would drop this book at once, so THE END does not finish you.

With all due Respect,

Lemony Snicket

I hope you enjoy the series as much as I did.

With all due respect,

William, 6th grade

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Every Good Book Needs a Dog

After reading a writing prompt: IS THERE A CHARACTER WHO ACTS AS YOUR MUSE?on http://www.literarymama.com
It didn't take me long to realize who it was.


My first child. My furry, best friend. My muse.

It all started in spring of 1991 when I rescued a border collie puppy. I was a grown-up now, and Jessie was my first dog. We had two weeks at the beach, park, and nights curled up together. But Jessie was sick and I didn't know it. Early one morning, I found her twirling in circles, her mind unreachable with Parvo. Jessie never made it home. My world crashed, and I couldn't stop the tears.

Fast-forward a few months. A pregnant golden retriever had been rescued from the pound. And now, a litter of puppies needed homes. Nine black fur balls scurried around, quickly disappearing into a hole they'd dug. Mo was the first one to crawl out. She flopped into my lap, chewed on my fanny-pack, and won my heart. She chose me.

As a lanky teenage, she licked, jumped on people, and emptied and ate the trash. Worst of all, she ate expensive things that belonged to my roommates (remote controls, Birkenstocks bought in Sweden.) But I knew that I had something special. She became my first child. My best friend.

Whether hiking in the Sierras (where at 4 months, she retrieved my chapstick from the middle of a lake) or riding shotgun in my Toyota Tercel, Mo never left my side. She loved other animals even after getting chased by a ferret or kicked by a burro. She cruised down the hallway wearing a backpack where I taught 2nd grade. She bopped balloons on her nose until they popped, often gathering a crowd. Mo never missed the chance to climb an old oak tree.

Mo made it through three moves, a husband (she wore a white ribbon to my wedding!) and two kids. She hid her ball in car seats, cribs, and diaper bags. No matter what or who took my attention away, she waited, famous red ball in mouth, ready to play.

Mo has appeared in my children's stories, and inspired me to write my first picture book, DON'T LICK THE BABY. I longed to sell the book before she passed, but Mo became ill at age 14. The day before she died, DON’T LICK THE BABY won a picture book award at a conference in Los Angeles. My heart thumped as I received my certificate. The universe had spoken.

Mo helped me find the "write" path again.

Now, it’s an adventure with three neurotic, (yet loving,) rescued dogs. Leo “the wall walker” was unusual enough to make it on The Dog Whisperer TV show. But even the sum of the three don't quite add up to one of Mo. When I write, Mo is on my shoulder, barking to be let in. In some way or another, I open the door.

Mo taught me how to love and how to be loved. She's with me. When I walk a trail. As I splash in ocean waves. When I write.

Every good book needs a dog.

And for Mo, I am forever grateful.