Monday, March 27, 2006

Operation BookHoard

The mission to collect all DCF winners is going well. My first stop was of course, which worked out well, and Goodwill, good ol' goodwill, has also been helpful.

As I get them, I'm also reading them. I read them while I blowdry my hair in the morning. Even so, they are pretty quick reads, not nearly as substantial as I remember them. Which makes sense, since I last read many of these twenty years ago or more.

There are only a few genres represented so far. I like to think this is because there are certain things that really, really appeal to the kids who are voting on this award, but maybe authors are just damn copycats. Here's what we're looking at:

Alone in the Woods
Magic Stuff Happens to Regular Kids
Confrontation With a Bully

Classic themes, all.

I can't keep my grownup brain from analyzing them as I read, though. I pick out stereotypes and gender role enforcement and ecologically unsound camping practices (some of these are from the fifties, okay?), and none of the books is free of all that stuff. In fact, there's one book--well, I'll post a photo later. Still, I like them all okay and I still think they are young reader gold.


Naughty words

Children alone in woods

Child confronts bully

Magical happenings

My complaints


Two in the Wilderness





Sister sweeps; brother hunts


Bones on Black Spruce Mountain

Piss AND shit!




Kids in the woods cut down trees, build fires, very naughty

Adoption figures in this story

A Bundle of Sticks







The 18th Emergency







Time for Andrew







Jennifer Murdley's Toad



Toad confronts bully




Castle in the Attic







Summer of Fear





Girls is bitches


The Boggart





Gang of "friends" really just a collection of stereotypes


Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio






One of these things is not like the others...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

naughty kitten

I think we'll have six more weeks of winter, because I have lost my mittens--an annual occurence. Stupid mittens.

In my brain I keep coming up with little projects to fill my blog. Not so hot on the followthrough though. Like, every time I walk through the neighborhood, I think of taking photos of all the churches. There are SO MANY. They're all different, too. Some are two churches in one (two congregations share the building). I'm so unschooled in churchery that these places might as well be secret underwater cities. I have a vague idea from TV and movies that a church contains benches, a talky fellow at the front, and maybe some hats. I generally picture the Simpsons' church and Reverend Lovejoy. Beyond that I probably couldn't distinguish a Catholic church from Satan's Holy Roller Church of the Sacred Beagle. What? You don't believe me but this is a seriously church-dense neighborhood.

They're all very mysterious to me. I hardly ever (never) see people going in or out of them. This is related to my weekend laziness, most likely.

Monday, March 13, 2006


How to make a weekend trip to the mountains into a study in dumbassery:

Be very careful to pack necessities:
1. milky way miniatures
2. travel scrabble
3. sled

Who cares about these luxuries:
1. toothbrush/toothpaste/soap/shampoo/contact lens case/deodorant/sunblock...all that kind of stuff.
2. boots
3. socks

For that extra something, when sledding with the all-important sled, be sure to go right over a pile of dog shit! (Bravo, irresponsible dog owner!)

I am exhausted today from waking at 5 to drive sister in law to the airport. Not an early riser. I feel like barfing! yeah!

anyway, lessons learned, I guess.

Friday, March 03, 2006

I'm Bored. Let's Buy things!

I adore good quality kids' books. In my old job, the Job That Broke My Brain, I scored a ton of good ones, and discovered a bunch of quality authors I'd never heard of when I was a kid myself. I have a little stash now--I am pretty greedy about them and never seem to give them away as I intend.

I have already begun collecting books that are a little "special" for our imaginary kid. I got my mother's favorite (I searched hard for the same edition she has, didn't find it, but got close.), my grandmother's favorite, and a few picture books in Tamil.

I hate bad kid books as much as I love good ones. My unfavorite* are "books" that are really printed advertisements: Licensed Character's Trip to McDonald's! Barbie Goes Shopping For Branded Items!** I also hate are preachy, "lesson" books (Little Engine that Could, I'm looking at you). I dislike cheap thrown-together looking stuff with no author, too. Yes, you heard me, Dorling Kindersley, all those shiny photos can't hide your EMPTY SOUL.

Now I'm trying to collect a whole set of really good books in the laziest way---using a list of award winners. It's the Dorothy Canfield Fisher award, which no one has ever heard of, but it was really a big deal to me growing up. The annual winner is chosen by actual kids, so you know the books will appeal to real life readers. I voted every year I was eligible and man, those were some awesome books! There are 48 winners to date and I've given myself the mission to track them all down. Yes! A project! My favorite!

If you're interested, here's the list:

Winners of the DCF Award from 1957 to Current Award Winner

1957 Pace, Mildred Mastin. OLD BONES, THE WONDER HORSE

1958 Cleary, Beverly. FIFTEEN

1959 Leighton, Margaret. COMMANCHE OF THE SEVENTH

1960 Erickson, Phoebe. DOUBLE OR NOTHING

1961 Bell, Thelma Harrington. CAPTAIN GHOST

1962 Lampman, Evelyn Sibley. CITY UNDER THE BACK STEPS

1963 Burnford, Sheila. INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

1964 Ball, Zachary. BRISTLE FACE

1965 North, Sterling. RASCAL

1966 Cleary, Beverly. RIBSY

1967 Viereck, Phillip. THE SUMMER I WAS LOST

1968 Jackson, Jacqueline. THE TASTE OF SPRUCE GUM

1969 Thompson, Mary Wolfe. TWO IN THE WILDERNESS

1970 Morey, Walt. KAVIK THE WOLF DOG

1971 Erwin, Betty K. GO TO THE ROOM OF THE EYES

1972 Ellis, Melvin. FLIGHT OF THE WHITE WOLF

1973 Caufield, Don and Joan. NEVER STEAL A MAGIC CAT

1974 Woods, George A. CATCH A KILLER



1977 Pevsner, Stella. A SMART KID LIKE YOU

1978 Duncan, Lois. SUMMER OF FEAR

1979 Pfeffer, Susan Beth. KID POWER


1981 Howe, Deborah & James. BUNNICULA

1982 Pascal, Francine. THE HAND-ME-DOWN KID***

1983 Blume, Judy. TIGER EYES

1984 Mauser, Pat Rhoads. A BUNDLE OF STICKS

1985 Cleary, Beverly. DEAR MR. HENSHAW

1986 Smith, Robert Kimmel. THE WAR WITH GRANDPA

1987 Winthrop, Elizabeth. THE CASTLE IN THE ATTIC****

1988 Hahn, Mary Downing. WAIT TILL HELEN COMES

1989 Paulsen, Gary. HATCHET*****


1991 Lowry, Lois. NUMBER THE STARS

1992 Spinelli, Jerry. MANIAC MAGEE

1993 Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. SHILOH

1994 Coville, Bruce. JENNIFER MURDLEY'S TOAD

1995 Cooper, Susan. THE BOGGART

1996 Hahn, Mary Downing. TIME FOR ANDREW

1997 Park, Barbara. MICK HARTE WAS HERE

1998 Kehret, Peg. SMALL STEPS: The Year I Got Polio

1999 Levine, Gail Carson . ELLA ENCHANTED

2000 Sachar, Louis. HOLES

2001 Curtis, Christopher Paul. BUD, NOT BUDDY

2002 Di Camillo, Kate. BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE

2003 Creech, Sharon. LOVE THAT DOG

2004 Jerry Spinelli. LOSER


*like that? slipped in a word to fill the lexical gap

**And don't get me started on branded toys. I tried to find toy food one time and everyone was selling sets of "food" that were just plastic replicas of happy meals! fuck that! And they sell miniature dirt devil brand vacuum cleaners! what the hell! If my kid likes vacuuming that much, he can learn to use the real one while mommy chills out on the couch, ok?
Now that I've said this, my kid will probably refuse to wear/eat anything that does not feature a mutant ninja something or a talking british locomotive.

***I remember this was a big hit because it had the word BOOBS! in it! Yes!

****This was AWESOME.

*****Ditto above, but here's what should have won that year.