Serendipity Saturday

So many good things popping up in reading and education, I thought it was time for a good old serendipity post.

  • It's been 50 years since Where The Wild Things was published, 50 years of children who have been influenced by Max and the Wild Things. Each new baby born to my family and friends gets a copy from me. If a child is going to have a library, and all of the children I have even the slightest influence over WILL have a library, it is going to include Where The Wild Things Are. So it was bittersweet to see the posthumous publication of Maurice Sendak's last finished work, My Brother's Book. It is sad to contemplate, once again a year later, what a great loss Maurice Sendak's death brings to children's literature. There is a good reflection on the brilliance of the man and a comparison of his work to Shakespeare from Harvard humanities professor and forward writer for My Brother's Book, Stephen Greenblatt, in the NY Times, HERE. But perhaps a closer insight on Sendak's final opus might come from his close friend, Tony Kushner, on NPR:

Author Spotlight: Stuart Gibbs - For readers of mystery, action, adventure

I should have written about Belly Up when I read it two years ago as a CYBILS finalist and now, with author Stuart Gibbs' Spy School and Spy Camp additions, I have decided that an author feature is probably just the motivation that I needed! I will start by saying that I am not all that cracked up with "funny"stories, especially gratuitous humor. The great thing about Mr. Gibbs' writing? Authentic, quirky humor, not forced or center-staged humor, his is a 'smart' humor. All of his stories are mystery/adventure, great for both boys and girls, and solidly middle grade.

Belly Up: Still my favorite, Belly Up begins with a dead hippopotamus, floating 'belly up' in his zoo pond. Teddy Roosevelt Fitzroy & Summer McCracken, aged twelve, don't believe it was an accident like the zoo management contends and they very quickly realize lots of people wanted Henry the hippo dead. This book has TONS going for it and even the most reluctant reader will be enticed. The action is fast-paced, with all sorts of who-done-it possibilities. The humor is so smart, almost farcical. Add in the random animal facts that flow naturally within the story and this is perfect for just about ANY reader!