Twelve is number 1!

Robert Krulwich has many ideas on how to celebrate 12/12 (today), including paying a visit to the Dozenal Society of America’s website.  Here are two more contributions to the “12” party.  First, it’s “Rocks Number 12,” a 2-minute animated film that aired on Sesame Street in the early 1970s.  This is my first memory of…

Blue Christmas

As noted in my last Christmas music post, I’ve made a lot of these mixes, each one different. Last year, I decided to make a mix of downbeat — even somewhat depressing — holiday music. This is it. 1. Blue Christmas Bright Eyes (2002)            2:22 Elvis’s version has been so overplayed that it’s no longer…

Crockett Johnson vs. Hitler

69 years ago this week, the United States entered the Second World War.  Classified 4-F (not fit for military service), 35-year-old Crockett Johnson was not called to serve.  Instead, in January of 1942, he enlisted in the Allied propaganda effort, helping found (with Greg d’Allessio, J. A. Blackmer, and Mel Casson) the American Society of Magazine…

The Book of Everything

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Happy,” said Thomas. “When I grow up, I am going to be happy.” Nine-year-old Thomas sees things that others don’t, like “tropical fish swimming in the canals,” thousands of frogs massing outside his house, and the loveliness of sixteen-year-old Eliza, who has “an artificial leg made…

Obamafiction for Children & the Limits of Scholarly Publishing

My article, “Obamafiction for Children: Imagining the Forty-Fourth U.S. President,” is now available on-line in the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly‘s current issue (35.4, Winter 2010).  To give you a sense of its thesis, here’s a brief excerpt from early in the piece: To examine how these Obama biographies attempt to fit him into dominant national…

Essential Holiday Tunes

Happy St. Nicholas Day!  For today’s treat, it’s the holiday tunes that no December should be without.  Well, in my humble opinion, anyway.  Over the past decade, I’ve assembled 9 or 10 different holiday mixes (all with completely different songs).  The idea for this mix is to include favorites from all of those mixes.  In…

Mock Caldecott 2010: Manhattan, Kansas Edition

With thanks to the Children’s and Adolescent Literature Community (ChALC) for organizing the event, we held a Mock Caldecott at the Manhattan Public Library this afternoon.  And, yes, of course, we weren’t able to get all of the books we wanted to look at — so, there are quite likely candidates we didn’t get to…

The Complete Barnaby: Coming Soon!

Cushlamochree! 70 years after Crockett Johnson‘s Barnaby made its debut, the entire ten-year run (1942-1952) will be published in full … for the first time!  Daniel Clowes will design the books — five in all, the first of which will appear in 2012. I’ll be providing biographical & historical notes.  The publisher is Fantagraphics, whose lovingly…