Monday, November 30, 2009

When Life Imitates Art: a Thanksgiving Tale of Woe

This is Forrest.

For those of you who are still in the process of making saccharine aaawwwing noises, stop right there and let me set you straight.

This is the adorable bug-eyed face of mayhem.

In a moment of weakness I agreed to dog-sit for my son, while he went off for a carefree holiday weekend.

After all how much trouble could one 15-pound canine get up to in a home with nearly 3 grown adults and 2 cats? How much trouble indeed?

Forrest has never met a garbage can he didn’t view as a personal bowling pin/smorgasbord.

His favorite snack is recycled cat food. (And that is as descriptive as I’m willing to get on that subject.)

As far as I can tell, his bathroom etiquette is pretty much theoretical.

A closed door is merely an invitation to reinforce the indentation of his nose and increase his brain damage.

His cologne is eau de flatulence.

Although he seems to recognize his name, thus far he shows no signs that he needs to respond when it is called, particularly if he has encountered something more interesting like a dead bird or a tantalizing odor.

One morning after sharing a thoroughly enjoyable walk, Forrest and I stopped the little white van at a nearby convenience store to pick-up the recommended daily dose of Diet Pepsi. I explained in firm tones that he was to remain in the van and not roll down the windows. He seemed to nod in understanding. I opened my door, and faster than you can say, “Where the Houdini did that little dog disappear to?” He had vanished from the passenger’s seat, leaving me swiveling my head in panic afraid of discovering a pug pancake in the parking lot. A kind bystander assured me that he was safely out of harm’s way as he had entered the store. During the next few minutes I was introduced to the very undignified game of fat-lady vs. pug tag played among the diminutive isles filled with beef jerky and processed pastries.

All of this could be seen as good fun, or merely the wild oats that any young pug would be expected to sow, but let me now relate a tale that will make your spleen spurt in despair.

I don’t know about your home at the holidays, but here at our house we like the turkey and stuffing just fine, however, the real stars of the meal are the pies. And if I do say so myself I bake slamming great pies. My husband in particular has a fondness for pecan pie that only rivals his fondness for Peanuts holiday specials. A day after the big meal, while the household was still enjoying the pleasures of abundant leftovers, this very husband walked into the kitchen to discover a harrowing sight: a squat four-legged beast on top of the counter with his snout eagerly snuffling up the last of his cherished pecan pie. Not being a particularly graceful or nimble dog, it is unclear how a dog of Forrest’s size was able to reach those heights. He was promptly scolded and returned to solid ground. Alas, a few hours later the last of the pumpkin pie fell to the same fate. The unrepentant culprit snorted incredulously as he was once again removed unceremoniously from his flakey prize.

This very situation brought to mind one of my favorite read-aloud books of all time. A book I read several years ago, to the detriment of my vocal cords, to every class in my school. A book that brought gales of laughter and many yapping, yipping attempts at imitation. Patricia MacLauchlan’s masterpiece of canine personalities, Once I Ate a Pie. Somehow it was more amusing when I read it from a book.

Oh yes he did.

Twice, in point of fact.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Claudette Colvin is MVP of the NBA

That's "National Book Awards" for those of you more inclined to sports than literature.

By all accounts this is one of the top books of the year. And I'm not sure what it means that I got my copy in the mail the same day the award was given. Does that make me as special as I would like to think?

In an upcoming recap of Kid Lit Pie Night I will be announcing the picks for our Mock Newbery. Sneak peek - Claudette is on the list.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Attempting to Make Utah a Little Slice of Manhattan

Many of you reading this post may also be devotees of A Fuse #8 Production blog, AKA the world best blog. Possibly I should have qualified it as the world’s best Children’s Lit blog, but in my world there are no other blogs. This blog is brought to us supposedly by one Mrs. Elizabeth Bird, a lovely, witty, and prolific New York Public Librarian/soon-to-be published picture book author. I say supposedly because I am not entirely convinced, based on the sheer quantity and quality of her output, that she is merely one person. In moments of well-deserved inadequacy regarding my own blogging ability, I have fanaticized that in reality she is a conglomeration united to enlighten the world to current trends, long-forgotten gems, and the finer points regarding literature for our young. And Betsy Bird is merely the Carolyn Keene veneer they use as a front man.

The talented Elizabeth, be she one or twenty, frequently hosts Kid Lit Drink Nights, where interested parties can mingle and talk Scieszka, DePaola, Yolen, Willems et al. Being that these suarays takes place in Manhattan; I’m guessing the subjects of discussion could also show up in person. After enviously reading about these splendid gatherings the thought occurred that I could try something similar close to home. After musing this thought aloud I met Brooke Shirts in the comments of Fuse #8. Brooke is an MLS on hiatus to raise her children, recently moved to the Salt Lake area. She was willing to help me bring social mingling over Kid Lit to our state. Being that our state is Utah the “drink” part of the event needed to be changed to something less alcoholic if not less decadent.

I am here today to introduce you to – Kid Lit Pie Night, hosted by Brooke and myself. The first of which will be held this coming Tuesday evening, Nov. 10, at The Salt Lake Roasting Company at 8:00. We fully realize at this late date that attendance may just be the two of us, and we are ok with that. With any luck it will not be the last.