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1. Sesame Street Gang Parodies Jurassic Park

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2. संकल्प नए वर्ष का

smiley photo

संकल्प नए वर्ष का ( व्यंग्य )

उफ्फ …!!! आखिरकार नए साल मे मैने क्या संकल्प लेना है सोच ही लिया .अब आपसे क्या छिपाना …हर साल जब भी नवम्बर समाप्त होने लगता और दिसम्बर जी का आगमन होता. मन मे अजीब सी बैचेनी करवट लेने लगती कि नए साल मे नया क्या क्या करना है और क्या क्या नही करना है.बस इसी उधेड बुन मे पूरा समय निकल जाता पर भगवान का लाख लाख शुक्र है कि इस साल यह नौबत ही नही आई और समय से पहले ही डिसाईड हो गया.

पता है, पिछ्ले साल मैने यह सोचा था कि सच बोलना शुरु कर दूगी. अरे नही.. नही … आप गलत समझ गए.असल मै, वैसे मै, झूठ नही बोलती पर ना जाने क्यू टीवी पर सच का सामना देख कर डर सी गई थी इसलिए बोल्ड होकर यह निर्णय लिया कि यह आईडिया ड्राप.फिर सोचा था कि कुछ भी हो जाए पतली हो कर दिखाऊगी पर पर पर .. सर्दियो के महीने मे ऐसा विचार मन मे लाना जरा मुश्किल हो जाता है.सरदी की गुनगुनी धूप हो,रजाई हो और गर्मा गर्म पराठे हो और उस तैरता और पिधलता मखन्न.मन भी पिधलना शुरु हो जाता अब ऐसे मे भला खाने पर कैसे ब्रेक लग सकती है.चलो इसे भी सिरे से नकार कर यह सोचा कि सुबह शाम की सैर ही शुरु कर दी जाए. इस पर तुरत अमल करना भी शुरु कर दिया था पर दो ही दिन मे यह मिशन फेल होता सा प्रतीत हुआ. असल मे , ऊबड खाबड सडके, सडको पर मस्ती मे धूमते आवारा बैल,और गंदगी के ढेर के साथ साथ सीवर के ढक्कन गायब.अब बताईए ऐसे मे हाथ पैर तुडवाने से अच्छा है कि कुछ और सोचा जाए.

वैसे सोचा तो मैने यह भी था कि नए साल मे किसी पर गुस्सा नही करुगी.चेहरे पर स्माईल रखूगीं. पिछ्ले साल 31 की रात सबसे यही कह कर सोई कि सभी 1 जनवरी को सुबह सुबह मंदिर चलेगे .मै तो सुबह सुबह तैयार हो गई पर कोई सुबह उठने को तैयार ही नही था. मुस्कुराते मुस्कुराते उठाती रही पर रात को देर से सोने के चक्कर मे सभी गहरी नींद मे थे. इतने मे काम वाली बाई आ गई. उसे पता नही क्या हुआ. बर्तनो को जोर जोर से शोर करते हुए धोने लगी .एक तो देर से आई ऊपर से मुहं बना रखा था इसने. मैने खुद को संयत किया कि मोनिका स्माईल … कंट्रोल कर… कहती हुई ताजा हवा लेने के लिए खिडकी पर जा खडी हुई कि अचानक मेरी नजर पडोसियो की नई चमचमाती कार पर पडी शायद कल ही के लर आए थे.बस आगे आपको बताने की जरुर नही कि ….. !!!!

इस साल भी यही विचार चल रहा था कि नए साल मे क्या संकल्प लिया जाए कि पूरा भी किया जा सके. घर के एक बडे बुजुर्ग ने सुझाया कि हम लोगो को तीर्थ यात्रा करवा दिया करो हर चार महीने मे एक बार. पुण्य मिलेगा.बात जमी नही और मै बच्चो के कमरे मे गई तो बच्चे कहते कि छोडो मम्मी… हर महीने हमे पिक्चर और पिकनिक पर ले जाया करो.काम वाली बाई भी कहा पीछे रहने वाली थी बोली कि मेरी पगार बढा दो और छुट्टी भी बढा दो. बाहर निकली तो ये बोले कि तुम फुलके पतले नही बनाती जरा श्रीमति ऋतु से सीख लो इतने पतले,मुलायम और गोल गोल चपाती बनाती है और कृष्णामूति से डोसा बनाना भी सीख लो … खश्बू से ही मुहं मे पानी आ जाता है.वो बात कर ही रहे थे कि इतने मे मेरी सहेली मणि का फोन आ गया उसने राय दी कि दो चार किट्टी पार्टी ज्वायन कर ले. थोडी सी चालाक बन बहुत भोली है तू.!!! अगले साल ही तुझे सोसाईटी की सैकट्ररी ना बनवा दिया तो मेरा नाम मणि नही!! मैने कोई बहाना कर के तुरंत फोन रख दिया.उफ्फ !!!किस की सुनू किस की ना सुनूं… देखा कितना टेंशन था.

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अब आपको भी टेंशन हो रही होगी कि आखिर इस साल मैने क्या सकंल्प लिया है. तो सुनिए … पिछ्ले दो तीन सालो के अनुभव को देखते हुए… बहुत सोच विचार के मै इस नतीजे पर पहुंची हूँ कि चाहे कुछ भी जाए बस बहुत हुआ. अब और नही इसलिए इस साल … इस साल … इस साल … नए साल के लिए कोई सकंल्प ही नही लूगी.इसलिए मै खुश हू और बहुत ही खुश हूं ..

कैसा लगा आपको ये व्यंग्य जरुर बताईगा :)

The post संकल्प नए वर्ष का appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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3. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE. At the coffee shop

POST PLAY DISCUSSION
 
SCENE: Coffee shop
AT RISE: Two friends discuss a theatre performance they have just seen
 
 FRIEND 1
(perusing menu)
Decisions…decisions… I just started seeing a dietician but I absolutely adore their chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake… One more time couldn’t hurt.
 
 FRIEND 2
Given that it’s past eight o’clock and the worst time for weight gain, I, on the other hand, will stick to my usual expresso
 
FRIEND 1
You’re so holy-holy, perfect, human being
 
FRIEND 2
Jealousy is futile. It’s my genes. Everyone in my family is thin, going back generations
You do realize I could eat whatever I wanted without guilt but I don’t, because I respect my body
 
 FRIEND 1
Hey! Me too! My body tells me regularly, “feed me chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake’ and I’ll make you feel real good!”
 
FRIEND 2
Anywaaay…So what did you think of the show?
 
FRIEND 1
Well…it had its moments
 
FRIEND 2
You didn’t like it, I take it?
 
 FRIEND 1
I never said that
 
 FRIEND 2
What are you saying?
 
 
FRIEND 1
It had its moments

 
FRIEND 2
Which means?
 
 
FRIEND 1
 
Kind of dragged in parts
 
 
FRIEND 2
I dunno. Made me laugh – a lot
 
 
FRIEND 1
That’s ‘cause you’re easily amused
 
FRIEND 2
Is it necessary to insult me, just because you consider yourself (makes quotation marks with her fingers) “a playwright”?
 
FRIEND 1
It’s the words and how they’re put together that interest me
 
FRIEND 2
Seemed like one great show, overall, in my eyes
 
 
FRIEND 1
You didn’t find that the first act seemed to never end?
 
FRIEND 2
I go to the theatre to be entertained. Period. I don’t agonize over whether the first act is better than the second because really, I don’t care! If the actors can provide a couple of hours of escapism, then they’ve done their job
 
 
FRIEND 1
We obviously view the entertainment through different eyes. I’m interested in the flow of the dialogue…the inter-action of the performers…things of interest to a person who writes plays -
 
 
FRIEND 2
- remind me how many of your plays have been produced –
 
 
FRIEND 1
So? What does that have to do with anything? It’s not for lack of trying. Have you any idea how many playwrights are out there all over the planet, hoping that someone will share them with the world? Gazillions I can tell you – including me! I mean, well known one’s, too! One day – one sweet day – someone, somewhere will read one of my plays and say, “this is the winner we’ve been waiting for!” One day, you and I, will sit here as we do after a night at the theatre, and discuss the merits of one of my plays. You’ll tell me how witty the dialogue was and how it made you laugh and how lucky that our friendship has maintained over the years…
 
 
FRIEND 2
So, are we ordering or what?
 
 
FRIEND 1
I’m thinking here perhaps it is too late for something heavy like the chocolate-chocolate-and-more-chocolate molten lava cake
 
 
FRIEND 2
Good idea - think healthy
 
(waitress approaches to take order)
 (cont’d.)We’ll have two expresso coffees, please…
 
 FRIEND 1
…hang on…
 FRIEND 2
I thought you decided against the cake
 
 
FRIEND 1
The cake is on the heavy side but a small butter pecan muffin wouldn’t even register on the scale.  Now about the play…the acting was adequate but then they didn't have much to work with...


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4. Night Animals - a review

I think I am predisposed to like anything done by Gianna Marino, so I requested an Advance Reader Copy of Night Animals, which is on shelves now.  I was not disappointed.

Marino, Gianna. 2015. Night Animals. New York: Viking.

Full bleed illustrations let the night sky offer an expansive and inky stage for highlighting a comical group of nocturnal animals that are afraid of noises in the night.  The large illustrations clearly detail the animals' antics, wide-eyed fear, and varying reactions to things that go "aaaarrrrooo!" in the night.  The skunk is often depicted with a noxious greenish cloud behind him (much to the dismay of Possum), while the possum (appropriately) plays dead,

"I'm not here."

Minimal text is presented in cartoon-style word bubbles,

 "What are we hiding from?"  "Night animals!  Now keep QUIET!"

Bear, Wolf, Skunk and Possum run from the "night animals."  It takes a bat to tell them the real danger in the nighttime forest.

Night Animals will tickle the funny bone of any young child.  This is a perfect book for sharing with a group.  Possum is hilarious!

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5. Critic Creates a Rhyming Review for New Dr. Seuss Book

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6. Picture Book Roundup - First Day of School Books

School will be starting before you know it! 
 Here are some new books that feature the first day of school.

(if you cannot access the slide show, reviews are below)
 



  • First Grade, Here I Come! by Tony Johnston 

A playfully rambunctious boy plans his first day of first grade, "For show-and-tell, no teddy bears. I'll bring my snake - oh joy! My friends will hold my boa up. (I call him Huggy Boy.)" For this scene, the playful illustrations show the teacher standing atop her desk while the kids hoist Huggy Boy. Cheerful, silly fun!

  • Bob and Flo by Rebecca Ashdown

It's Flo's first day at preschool. Not only does she find her missing bucket, she finds a friend. Cute.

  • ABC School's for Me! by Susan B. Katz

"Eating snack around the rug, Friends who share a hello hug." A cute, rhyming, and encouraging ABC book. Dad's First Day Mike Wohnoutka Here's a twist on "first day of school" books - it's Oliver's dad who has the first day of school jitters! (Picture Oliver's teacher carrying Oliver's crying dad outside.) "The teacher walked Oliver's dad outside." "Bye, Daddy!" But don't worry ... it all turns out OK.

  • Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown

In crayon-inspired illustrations, Marc Brown tells the story of a monkey worried about his first day at school. "What if his teacher doesn't like him? What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if he can't find the bathroom? ..." With time and patient help from his parents and friends, Monkey slowly gets ready for Kindergarten.


  • Rosie Goes to Preschool by Karen Katz 

Rosie's not worried about her first day of preschool. In fact, she'll tell you all about it! Happy, simple, and multicultural - this is a classic Karen Katz book.

  • Not This Bear: A First Day of School Story by Alyssa Satin Capucilli 

In this story of a bear's first day at school, author Alyssa Satin Capucilli shows that going to school does not mean giving up one's individuality. Bear clings to some familiar things and habits from home, but still fits in and enjoys himself at school. An interesting and reassuring take on "first day at school" books.

  • Ally-saurus & the First Day of School by Richard Torrey 

Is there room for a dinosaur girl in a school filled with princess girls? Of course there is! "Taking off her favorite dinosaur pajamas, Ally-saurus dressed in her brand-new first-day-of-school outfit. "Your pants are on backward," said Father. "That's so my dinosaur tail can stick out," explained Ally-saurus. Let's wear our pants the right way," said Father. "ROAR!" said Ally-saurus."

  • Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom EVER! by Jeff Cohen 

Big sister Sadie tries to help Eva get ready for Kindergarten - but teaching her math and reading may not be the best way to help!

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7. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the theatre

INTERMISSION
 
 
SCENE: WOMEN'S WASHROOM IN THEATRE
 
AT RISE:  FEMALES LINE UP TO USE BATHROOM
 
 
FEMALE 1
Line is really long...hope we have enough time
 
FEMALE 2
(turning around)
Sorry?
 
FEMALE 1
I was just commenting that there's a lot of women waiting to get in and only a 15 minute intermission
 
FEMALE 2
When 'ya gotta go - 'ya gotta go, right?
 
FEMALE 1
(moving anxiously from foot to foot)
Don't I know it - and I really have to! Go, I mean
 
FEMALE 2
It usually picks up and moves faster when they near the end of the intermission
 
FEMALE 1
Hope so... Do you notice how the guys seem to be able to do what they have to do in three minutes?
 
FEMALE 2
That's cause they don't have as much clothing to remove and don't stare at the mirror or fix their makeup
 
FEMALE 1
Once in dire desperation, I used the men's washroom. I had to. I pushed the door open, screamed 'is anybody there 'cause I'm coming in!'
 
FEMALE 2
What happened?
 
FEMALE 1
I held my head down and didn't dare glance at the urinals. Went in a cubicle, slammed the door and never urinated so fast in my life! Thank goodness there was nobody in there, as far as I knowThe line is moving but barely. C'mon people - move quicker!
 
FEMALE 3
(behind both of them)
Don't mean to interrupt but there's another bathroom located downstairs. Everyone seems to gravitate to this one for one reason or another
 
FEMALE 1
Thanks for the suggestion but if I'll lose my place if I check it out and I don't know if it's an improvement on this.
 
(ASIDE TO FEMALE 2) Perhaps if you would hold my place...?
 
FEMALE 2
Don't think that's a good idea. If you end up returning, they'll attack me figuring you're trying to cut in the line. You have to decide which is the better option
 
FEMALE 1
All I know is that I really gotta pee!
 
FEMALE 2
Even if I let you in front of me, it's not much of an improvement
 
FEMALE 1
It's better than nothing and I would be most appreciative. Things are really getting desperate!
 
FEMALE 2
I suppose I could...I mean, I've been where you have....
 
FEMALE 1
Oh thank you, thank you!
 
(FEMALE 1 moves in front of FEMALE 2)
 
(CONT'D. FEMALE 1) Almost there...just a few more to go...
 
(moving back and forth from foot-to-foot)
 
FEMALE 1
(to female in front of her)
'...such a long line up...oh dear and intermission is almost over... Really, really, have to go...you would do that for me? You're too kind...thank you...'
 
(FEMALE 1 moves up the line)
 
FEMALE 1
(to herself)
A person has'ta do what a person has'ta do...the flush of victory is at hand...
 
 


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8. Coldplay Puts On a Game of Thrones Musical

Have you ever envisioned Game of Thrones as a musical? Coldplay, a seven-time Grammy Award winning band, put on this hilarious show in honor of the Red Nose Day USA.

The video embedded above features appearances from several of the HBO series’ cast members such as Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Peter Dinklage. Thus far, it has drawn more than 7.7 million views on YouTube.

Some of the numbers featured in this project include “Rastafarian Targaryen” (sung by The Khaleesi herself), “Wildling” (a Jon Snow performance for Ygritte), and “Still Goin’ Strong” (a tune belted out by Tyrion Lannister). What’s your favorite song from this project? (via BuzzFeed)

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9. WHEREAS THE SHARK TANK MEMBERS CONSIDER A NEW INVENTION

Even though I have a plastic watering container, for whatever reason, punching holes in the lid of a large, empty juice container seemed like a good idea. This got me thinking - one of those "what if" moments: what if everyone reading this decided to do the same and pursue our creation on the "Shark Tank" TV program for financial backing! Would it fly?

 
 
SCENE: SET OF “SHARK TANK” TV SERIES. A FEMALE, FOLLOWED BY A LARGE GROUP OF MALES AND FEMALES HOLDING JUICE CONTAINERS, ENTERS. THE FOUR “SHARKS” STUDY HER WHILE MAKING NOTES.

VOICE OVER: “NEXT ON SHARK TANK, A GARDENING AFIENCIENADO WHO HAS COME UP WITH AN INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE TO A STORE-BOUGHT WATERING DEVICE. SHE’S ASKING FOR $50,000 FOR 30% EQUITY

 

FEMALE INVENTOR

Hello moneyed sharks! My name is blah-blah and I’ve come up with an inventive and cheap alternative to the watering can. When it comes to buying gardening tools, most gardeners head to their local gardening outlet to buy their equipment. Chances are that you or your maid or whoever takes care of buying grocery supplies buy the larger sized juice containers being more economical (sharks all shake their heads in agreement and take more notes). Once the container is empty, it’s tossed in the recycling pile. But wait a minute! Don’t do that! It can be recycled again.

 
MARK CUBAN

Who are all those people you brought with you?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

They’re the CYBER FRIENDS OF FACEBOOK group who are my strongest supporters. They’re also big fans of Shark Tank

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Yuck! Juice spilled on my very expensive tie. If you can’t wash out your invention before bringing it here… I’m…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Wait! Let me elucidate this great concept that’s akin to reinventing the wheel!

 
MARK CUBAN

What is this? Says here in my notes that this is about juice containers. Now you’re talking about a new wheel?

 
LORI GRENIER

Give her a chance, Mark. So why exactly have you come to us for big bucks? Are you asking us to fund a juice container with wheels? I don’t get it…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

If I may explain?


KEVIN O’LEARY

So? We’re waiting

 
FEMALE INVENTOR
(visibly nervous)

Okay… let me think here…


DAYMOND JOHN

Honestly? All I see there is a used juice container. Maybe this isn’t for me…

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Okay. I got it together now.


ROBERT HERJAVEC

Time is marching on, lady. Get on with your pitch!

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

As I was saying…I was about to throw an orange juice container in the recycling pile and suddenly – you know – one of those eureka moments – I get the urge to punch holes in the lid, which I did…


KEVIN O’LEARY

…this is painful. So big deal! Anybody can do that! Next!


FEMALE INVENTOR

…filled it up with water and then used it to water my flower boxes. No splashing and the perfect system for a gentle watering of plants


BARBARA CORCORON

So let’s see this container of yours

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I’ve only brought one sample. If you can pass it along…


KEVIN O’LEARY

We have to share one lousy juice container and it’s sticky with juice residue

 
MARK CUBAN

You should’a brought enough for all of us and Kevin is right. The least you could have done is wash the juice container

 
DAYMOND JOHN

All I see is five holes in a lid of a juice container. Anybody… No everybody who buys juice can do that. I’m out

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

Maybe this has potential and maybe it doesn’t. Tell you what I’m gonna do because they don’t call me Mr. Wonderful for nothing. I’ll give you $500 for a 75% equity. That’s more than fair

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

I don’t know…what do you think, people?

 
(she turns and asks the large group of people with her holding juice containers. They shake their heads indicating approval)


KEVIN O’LEARY

Better hurry up and decide whether to take my offer. Your only offer

 
FEMALE INVENTOR

Um…I don’t know what to do…


(large group of people chant, “take it, take it…”

 
(cont’d. FEMALE INVENTOR) As much as I thank you for your support, I have to decline your offer

 
MARK CUBAN
(laughing)

You made a big mistake, lady. Next!

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

You are nothing to me! A cockroach looking for leftovers in the juice of life…or something. Leave and take your container with you

 
BARBARA CORCORON

Kevin – must you always philosophize when someone tells you and your offer to take a hike? You could be more charitable

 
KEVIN O’LEARY

And lose my reputation as Mr. Wonderful?

 
FEMALE INVENTOR FOLLOWED BY HER GROUP LEAVE, DROPPING THE CONTAINERS IN THE TRASH AS THEY WALK OUT

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10. Peter Dinklage Sings About Game of Thrones

Have you ever pictured Tyrion Lannister as a singer? Entertainment Weekly reports that actor Peter Dinklage crooned a tune recounting the demise of several Game of Thrones characters.

The video embedded above features Dinklage singing about Eddard “Ned” Stark, Robb Stark, and Joffrey Baratheon. The Golden Globe winner gave this performance in honor of the Red Nose Day fundraising campaign. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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11. SCENES FROM LIFE: A SHORT PLAYETTE At the supermarket

THE WAIT
 
 
SCENE: A BUSY SUPERMARKET.
 AT RISE: A LONG LINE UP OF PEOPLE WAIT TO PAY FOR THEIR GROCERIES.
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
(to herself)
 
Would you believe how slow this cashier is? I probably could check out myself faster
 
 
MALE CUSTOMER BEHIND HER
 
They should open more cashes
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Sorry?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
They need more cashiers. Can’t open more cashes without cashiers. Only three on a holiday weekend doesn’t do it
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
So true. I mean, you would think that they would have thought of that. I hate waiting
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Who likes it
 
 (female customer searches the line ups)

FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
I just moved over here from the other line. This one looks like it was moving faster but now the other one is better. Always happens. Wherever I move, the other lines are faster
MALE CUSTOMER
 
From what I can see, there are hardly any people in the first cash
 
 (they both look over to check it out)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
That’s only for eight items or less. I’ve got a lot more than that
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Maybe they would take you being that they’re so busy everywhere
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Don’t like to take advantage, not to mention that the customers with just a few items get really upset when you try to push in with a full shopping cart. Can't say I blame them. Tried that a while back and everyone turned on me. “Are you blind?” they all yelled, pointing to the 8 items or less sign accompanied by insults. Wasn’t worth it – very embarrassing. Anyway, I’d lose my place here in line. Hey…you wouldn’t be trying to move up faster in the line here…
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
Just trying to be helpful
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why don’t you try your luck at the first cash? Maybe you'll be luckier
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
I’ll wait my turn. You were complaining
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Actually, I was talking to myself and you overheard me
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Sorry to butt in your private conversation with yourself
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Merely pointing out to myself that they need more cashiers
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
And I agreed. No ulterior motive intended
 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Sorry - I tend to get impatient in line ups. Here we want to give them our hard-earned cash and we have to wait to hand it over. Not that I would ever want to be a cashier...
 
  (Throws her head back and looks at ceiling)
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Would you believe? Now they’re counting cash! This means another five minute delay at least
 
MALE CUSTOMER
 
 
Nothing we can do about it

 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
Why, why does this always happen to me? Why couldn’t they have waited until they finished checking out my food items first?
MALE CUSTOMER
 
A conspiracy for sure. Relax – getting all worked up won’t make things work faster
 
 (answers his cell phone) 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
 
On top of it all, they’ve put new cashiers on a day like today. I mean, really. Okay, they have to learn but today? Good - finished their cash count. Only one person in front of us, now. Should be out of here in five…maybe ten minutes at the most, for sure. I’ll just get ready to place my items here on the counter…they have some good specials today… I don’t believe it!   
 
MALE CUSTOMER
Something wrong?

 
 
FEMALE CUSTOMER
Would you believe? There’s no price on some of her items and now they have to do a price check! That’s gonna put us back an extra ten minutes for sure. Is there no end to keep us customers waiting forever? (addresses customer in front of her) ‘Excuse me, but why didn’t you check your items before throwing them into your shopping cart? We've been waiting here for over fifteen minutes, y’know! Some of us have things to do, places to go.’ 
 
                        (male customer moves over to new cash that opens up) 
 
(cont’d.) Hey! I was in front of you
 
MALE CUSTOMER
You were and now I’m in front of you, first in line. You snooze – you lose. Patience is a virtue
 

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12. Goat Farmers Host Essay Contest

goatLeslie and Paul Spell, the owners of the Humble Heart Farms, are hosting an essay contest. This Alabama-based couple will award their 20-acre property and 85 goats to the winner.

Here’s more from Mashable.com: “The Spells are asking each entrant to pay a $150 submission fee, and said they hope to get 2,500 entries in all, which would total $375,000. This amount will be used to pay off the rest of their mortgage, while $20,000 will be given to the contest winners, according to the Spells. What’s more, the couple said they’ll train anyone who isn’t experienced in making goat cheese.”

Writers should to submit a 200-word (or less) piece. A deadline has been set for October 1st at 11:59:59 p.m. Central Time. Follow this link to read all the rules.

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13. First scene of A WEDDING

Sharing the first scene of my first play, "A WEDDING" a.k.a. "MAKE ME A WEDDING." A comedy, the story focuses on the trials and tribulations of a young couple who want a small, intimate wedding, versus the bride and groom's mothers, who want an all-out, no holds barred (expensive) affair.

In this opening scene, the bride announces her engagement to her parents.


A WEDDING
 
ACT 1

Scene I

 
SETTING: Greenberg family living room. Plastic slip-covers cover,
         kitschy French-provincial furniture, circa 1970’s. On
         either side of the couch are two end tables with drop
         “crystal” lamps on each table

 

AT RISE:  A tense MORTY GREENBERG paces, stopping                 
          periodically to glance out of a window.SADIE     
          his wife, sits in an armchair, absorbed in her knitting.  
          She glances up from time-to-time to watch MORTY

 

TIME:     Late evening

                                  SFX: television blaring

 MORTY

What time is it now?

 

SADIE


Five minutes later than the last time you asked me. Stop
pacing already or you'll wear a hole in the carpet. It's thin enough as it is

 

MORTY


(staring out of window)

What could they be doing in the middle of the night?

SADIE


Counting toothpicks in a restaurant. What's it your business? She needs your permission to stay out late?

MORTY


What'll the neighbors think?

SADIE


Oh pul-l-eeze! Get a life. They'll talk no matter what she does or doesn't do and what they don't know, they make up. Sit down and watch TV 

MORTY


I can't focus knowing that my daughter is out there – somewhere - doing who-knows-what. Maybe we should go search for her or better yet, call the police

SADIE


Not! If we brought her up right, she's okay. You stay up and wait for her if you want but I'm going to bed

MORTY


Don't you wanna be here when she comes in?
                                                                                                        

SADIE

(standing)

Why? She doesn't know the way to her room? Come to bed, Morty!

MORTY

Some mother you are. What happens if… if they were in an accident or something? Maybe they're injured and can't call us

SADIE

Rachel has a cell phone

MORTY

Maybe the cell phone got crushed along with the car…

SADIE

…and maybe you should get a life?

MORTY

I'm staying up and waiting for her like a good father, unlike other people who are more interested in their beauty rest. Like it'll help anyway… I can’t take it anymore! I’m calling the police

SADIE

Enough already! Really Morty, she’s 22 years old. Sit here if you want to but I gotta get some sleep

MORTY

Sure, go to bed and leave me all alone to wait for your daughter

SADIE


How come she’s “your daughter” when she does things that you don't like? Besides, I'm sure David is taking good care of her

MORTY


That's what worries me!

SADIE


Move away from that window or the neighbors will think you're a voyeur! Did I mention Becky's daughter got engaged last night? Don't think she didn't rub it in about the big diamond that her Joanie got. Two carats she tells me! Like the size of a diamond would interest me!

MORTY

(flipping TV clicker)

Of course not! Things like that aren't important to a person with your class. You materialistic? Never!
 
SADIE

It's what's inside a person’s heart that counts, not the size of a bank account. That's what I told Becky. Honestly, that woman is so money-oriented! I don't know how we stayed best friends all these years

MORTY

Are you telling me that you’d hold it against a potential husband for your daughter, if he was cash-friendly?

SADIE

Let me put it this way: if and I say if, the boy happens to come from a wealthy family, I wouldn’t hold it against him. I'm not prejudiced that way. Listen, I get dark circles under my eyes if I don’t get enough sleep

           SADIE exits

MORTY
(calling after her)

“And you need all the help you can get!” Dark circles aren't her only problem. The woman needs a complete head transplant. Where's that daughter of mine? 

                                           SFX: key in lock

           MORTY rushes to chair and feigns sleep

RACHEL
(V/O)

'Don't forget to call me the minute you get home! Mom will be thrilled when I tell her our news. Wave to Mrs. Belinsky across the road, the nosy busybody. I love you, David!'

           RACHEL enters

Hi popsy. Wha'cha doin' up so late? Are you waiting up for me again?

MORTY

Wha…hmmm..? Must'a fallen asleep in front of the TV. What time is it?

RACHEL

What am I going to do with you, pops?  Where's mom?

MORTY

Your mother was tired so she went upstairs. She was knitting me another one of her scarves to join the other sixteen stored away in the closet. When will she realize that I only have one neck? Where were you so late?

RACHEL

I was under the impression I can come home whenever I feel like it – at least that’s what you tell me

MORTY

What'll the neighbors think, a nice girl like you coming in at the crack of dawn?

RACHEL

Would you prefer that I move out altogether and you won’t have to worry about what everyone will say? Let them mind their own business for a change

MORTY

It's a lot to ask to call home and say you're alive?

RACHEL

Can we move on? I have something important to tell you both. Better still, go wake up mom. She'll wanna hear this

MORTY

Something is wrong! I knew it! I told your mother that she should wait up but did she listen? Noooo! Her beauty rest is more important

RACHEL

Why do you always think the worst? It just so happens that this is fantastic news and mom will be thrilled when she hears what I have to say

           Dances around room, waving her left hand

D'ya notice anything new – like - on my left hand?

MORTY

You changed the color of your nail polish?

RACHEL

Look close…realLY close

MORTY

Whoa! That’s new since breakfast?

RACHEL

You do know what this means…

MORTY

A miracle! At last there's gonna be another male in the family and I'll have a chance at winning an argument, for a change!

RACHEL

I didn't expect that kind of reaction but I'll take it as a sign you approve?

MORTY

What's not to approve? The groom to be is David?

RACHEL

Who else? You know we've been seeing each other seriously and there's never been anyone else in my life, nor will there ever be. He's the most wonderful, sensitive, romantic…

MORTY

And those are just his so-so qualities. Only joking, honey. He's a good guy and normal, unlike some of those other weirdos you brought home to us. I still break out in a sweat thinking about - what was his name now - Clifford? What kind’a person tattoos the name of his girlfriend on his forehead and God knows where else?

RACHEL

That was just a high school crush, pop and besides, I
kind’a thought it was romantic at the time

MORTY

Sure you would 'cause you're not a parent - yet. Let’s see now - who came next? What did he call himself - Pukey? Porky? And then there was…
RACHEL

I get your point, popsy

MORTY

Remember your first rock concert? I couldn't hear for three days and never told your mother. Let me tell you - it was bliss!

RACHEL

So? I'm still waiting for congratulations and a kiss

MORTY

(hugging RACHEL)

My little girl -  a bride! That means I’m old. I’ve never been old before

RACHEL

How 'bout go get mom so I can share the good news with her, too?

MORTY

You want me to go wake up sleeping beauty? If I disturb her beauty rest, she'll open up a mouth to me but if I don't… Be right back

MORTY EXIT
 
SADIE
(V/O)

‘Whad'ya doing? Lemme alone Morty. I'm tired! It's not Saturday night…go watch another program or something. What about Rachel? Are you talking about our daughter,…. Get me my duster in the cupboard! The other one! That's for the rummage sale. Do you ever look at what I wear?’

           SADIE rushes on stage followed by MORTY

Rachel, is this another of your father's senior moments?

RACHEL
(extends hand)

So? Look for yourself!

SADIE

It's about time! Looks like a decent sized diamond. Must be -  what - a carat at least? Bigger maybe?

RACHEL

David surprised me with it tonight. We don't want a long engagement so you won't have to plan a big party

MORTY

You're both so young. What's the big rush?

SADIE

They've been going out for five years! D'ya want she should be an old maid like your sister Miranda? I'm so excited! Becky's Joanie got engaged yesterday so she only beat you by one day!

RACHEL

This isn't a contest as far as I'm concerned. We want to get married in three months

SADIE
(ignoring RACHEL)

A summer wedding would be perfect, don'cha think? Maybe we could have it under a tent, in the back garden, just like those fancy society weddings. Mind you, indoors might be better in case of rain, but we have plenty of time to talk about the details

RACHEL

Did you hear what I said? We wanna get married in –like -three months
SADIE

Come again? I gotta get my ears checked 'cause I thought I heard you say three months

RACHEL

Your ears are fine, ma, and even if - and I say if - we wanted a garden wedding, pops has his old cars stored on the lawn, along with a thousand spare parts covering every square inch

MORTY

Listen, you want a reception in the back yard, I'll move everything into the garage…

RACHEL

It has to be at that time because David's been invited to be a keynote speaker at a big lawyer's convention in Europe, so we'll make it a working honeymoon. It's the only time we're both free

MORTY

…maybe call a few scrap dealers today to see what they'll give me. At least we'll have a couple of extra dollars towards the wedding expenses…

SADIE

Typical! Your father is worrying about the gelt, already! You expect we should get everything together in such a short time? It takes a year at least to reserve a place and even then, we have to talk to a caterer, get a band…

MORTY

…then again maybe I should keep them all. 'Ya never know when my car is gonna die on me. It's going on nine years already

RACHEL

There’s something else I haven't told you. We want a small wedding with just close friends and family, so there shouldn't be any problems with the arrangements

SADIE

           Grabs chest, feigns shock and grabs MORTY for
          support

 Do I hear right? You would deprive your parents of making you a big tra-la-la-wedding? I think I'm gonna faint. Catch me Morty!

RACHEL

We'd rather put everything towards important things like buying a house. You should be happy with all the money you’re gonna save

SADIE

Happy? You're gonna kill me! What'll I tell my friends? They'll think we're too cheap or can't afford to marry off our only daughter right! You can't do this to me Rachel!

RACHEL

Sorry? It's our wedding and we want to keep it small. The idea of inviting a lot of people we don't know is not for us! I'm really tired and not prepared to hash this out with you now. We'll continue tomorrow when I'm fresh and can think clearly. At least I'll have a fighting chance

RACHEL starts to leave

SADIE

Stay right where you are! I wanna hear all about how David proposed. This is what a mother waits for!

RACHEL

I promise to tell you everything only let me get a couple of hours of sleep. Please?

MORTY

Let her go to bed, Sadie. The kind of wedding you want will put us back a few dollars. I like the idea that the kids are thinking small. Small is good

 SADIE

You would, Mr. Cheap-skate! I'm sure David's family would want a decent-sized affair, too. Open up your pockets father-of-the-bride and let the moths fly out! Small wedding - over my dead body

MORTY

That can be arranged

SADIE
(taunting)

"Cheap-cheap-cheap…"

RACHEL

I've heard enough for one night. Enjoy yourselves, you two!

RACHEL exits

SADIE

You don't get it, do you? A big wedding means nice gifts. Have a small wedding and you end up with a bunch of fruit bowls and vases

MORTY

As far as I know, the only green growing on our trees are leaves. I have to worry about the cost if you don't

SADIE

What's money when you're marrying off your only child? Dear, dear, husband of mine, you should keep your nose out of things that aren't your business. Planning a wedding is a woman's affair. The husband only writes the checks

MORTY

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14. Jimmy Kimmel’s Book Club Reads a Simms Taback Picture Book

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently held another book club gathering. Kimmel and the young members came together to discuss Simms Taback’s There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. This picture book won the Caldecott Honor back in 1998. The video embedded above has drawn more than 88,000 views—what do you think? (via ABC7news.com)

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15. Maine Innkeeper Hosts Essay Contest

innJanice Sage, the owner of Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, is hosting an essay contest. This Maine-based innkeeper won this 12-acre property after participating in a similar competition back in 1993.

According to BuzzFeed, writers should send in a 200-word piece and a $125 entry fee. The submission should be postmarked by May 7th and must arrive  at the Center Lovell Post Office by May 17th; Sage intends to announce the winner on May 21st. Follow this link to read all the rules.

Here’s more from The Portland Press Herald: “She hopes to receive 7,500 responses, or about $900,000, about what local real estate agents suggested as a listing price for the 210-year-old inn and two outbuildings overlooking Kezar Lake in Lovell. It is also an amount that would allow Sage to transition smoothly into retirement, her ultimate goal. She also hopes the novel approach will ensure that the inn will land in worthy hands.”

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16. Picture Book Roundup - new or coming soon!

This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features "jampires" (!), two Stanleys (one dog, one hamster), and a new Kadir Nelson book for which I can't find enough superlatives.  Enjoy!

If you can't see the slideshow, I've included my reviews below.

 

If You Plant a Seed is a brilliantly written and exquisitely illustrated book about kindness. Sparse but meaningful text, combined with joyfully detailed illustrations of plants, birds, and animals. I love it!


  • MacIntyre, Sarah and David O'Connell. 2015. Jampires. New York: David Fickling (Scholastic)

Who could be sucking all the jamminess out of the doughnuts?  Jampires!  Will Sam find jam?  Will the Jampires find their nest?  If you like funny, this is the best!


  • Bee, William. 2015. Stanley the Farmer. New York: Peachtree.

Stanley is a hardworking hamster. Illustrations and text  are bright and simple, making Stanley a perfect choice for very young listeners. Along the lines of Maisy, but with a crisper, cleaner interface.  Nice size, sturdy construction.



The Wimbledons can't sleep.  What IS all that noise?  It's only Stanley, the dog.  He's howling at the moon, fixing the oil tank, making catfish stew, ...?  Hey, something's fishy here! Classic Jon Agee - droll humor at its best.


Review copies of Jampires, Stanley the Farmer, and It's Only Stanley were provided by the publisher.

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17. What if Dr. Seuss Wrote a Story Set in a Chipotle?

buzzfeedCould you ever picture The Cat in The Hat eating tacos? How about The Lorax chowing down on a burrito?

Two members of the BuzzFeed staff, writer Jean-Luc Bouchard and artist Andrea Hickey, collaborated on a story called “Dr. Seuss Goes To Chipotle.” This Theodor Seuss Geisel-inspired piece was created “with heaps of love and respect for Dr. Seuss, as well as full-bellied appreciation for Chipotle.”

Here’s an excerpt: “I asked for one meat. And then?  Why, for two! Ignoring the digestive impact I would rue. And that’s how I made-up a bowl of half-sneetch and a just-as-big ladle serving of beast.”

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18. Picture book roundup - more funny ones!

Here are two new funny additions to add to my earlier post, Picture Book Roundup - new or coming soon!

We were reading these at work the other night.  All you could hear were laughs, chuckles, and "awww"s.


  • Dyckman, Ame. 2015. Wolfie the Bunny. New York: Little Brown.  Illustrated by Zacharia OHora.


This one had all the library staff laughing! Wolfie is the cutest little wolf in a bunny suit, but the star of this story is his sister, Dot. Doesn't anyone else realize that a wolf does not make a good brother for a bunny? Every time I read it, I find something else amusing in the illustrations.  See you at the Carrot Patch Co-op! (Bring your own shopping bag.)



  • Slater, David Michael. 2015. The Boy & the Book. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. Illustrated by Bob Kolar.

This wordless book about a book and a "rough-and-tumble" little boy will crack you up and then make you say "Awww!" It's sure to become a librarian favorite. You'll love the blue book (but "read" them all!)




Musing for the day: How does one become a wordless picture book author? ;)

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19. Brad Garrett Announces His Book of Autobiographical Essays

Everybody Loves Raymond actor Brad Garrett announced the release of his first book.

Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish When the Balls Drop on May 5th. In the video embedded above, Garrett reveals some of the topics he explores in his essays: “middle age,” “mid-life crisis,” and “erectile dysfunction.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC may develop the content from this book into a sitcom. At the moment, “the pilot script for the single-camera comedy is being penned by Garrett and How I Met Your Mother writer Chuck Tatham. Like the book, it will examine the life of a divorced, middle-aged man trying to balance home life and work.”

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20. Sesame Street Gang Parodies Game of Thrones

Have you ever played a high stakes game of musical chairs? The Sesame Street gang stars in a Game of Thrones-themed parody called “Game of Chairs.”

The video embedded above has drawn more than 177,000 views. It features a quartet of competitors who are all vying to be the supreme monarch of Jesteros.

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21. Etsy Shop Owner Creates a Kanye West-Themed Bible

Book of YeezusPeople throughout human history have invented a great number of deities from Zeus to Odin to Allah. One creative has decided to put a new spin on the book of Genesis by replacing every reference to the name God with that of controversial hip hop star Kanye West.

The Etsy shop owner behind “the Book of Yeezus” calls his “novelty coffee-table book” a “Bible for the New Age.” Each unit sells for $20.00.

Here’s more about the item: “In a sense, Kanye’s awesome and orchestrated spectacle is truly a religious experience. In a foreword, we explore our consumerist, quick-fix, and information-culture, and celebrate Kanye and the outsized significance he plays in our lives. All of this, bound in a black, hard-cover gold-leaf imprinted book.” (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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22. SCENES FROM LIFE - A SHORT PLAYETTE: MR. AND MRS. EVERYBODY TALK PLANTS

SCENE:  DEN IN THE EVERYBODY HOUSEHOLD.

AT RISE:  MRS. EVERYBODY IS HAVING AN IMPORTANT CHAT WHILE MR. EVERYBODY IS READING A NEWSPAPER

MRS. EVERYBODY
Why? Why must you torture me like this? What did I ever do to deserve this treatment other than heap undying love and devotion to your upkeep?

(MR. EVERYBODY glances up and returns to reading his book)

MRS. EVERYBODY
You seem to be dying slowly right in front of my eyes and I'm at a loss how to save you

MR. EVERYBODY
(looking around)
You talking to me?

MRS. EVERYBODY
Fed you top of the line nutritional supplements and this is the thanks I get

MR. EVERYBODY
I appreciate your cooking, honey. You make fantastic meals and really, I'm in great shape

MRS. EVERYBODY
You are not aging well, sweetheart

MR. EVERYBODY

(gets up to examine himself in the mirror on the wall behind him)

For the record, I'm in better condition now than I was when we married. Sure there's a few extra inches on my stomach but that's due to your good cooking. Work out on the tread mill...

MRS. EVERYBODY
I fear it's time for us to part, sweetheart. You are halfway between this world and the next

MR. EVERYBODY
Say what? Is it something I said?

MRS. EVERYBODY
You've given me a lot of pleasure over the years. Your nightly performance kept me riveted and it's something I will cherish all my life

MR. EVERYBODY
Hey! There's still a lot of life left in this body! Is there somebody else? I can change, y'know!

(MRS. EVERYBODY turns around and stares at her husband)

MRS. EVERYBODY
It's just so hard to say goodbye! Did you say something?

MR. EVERYBODY
You never said a word. I deserve to know who's the new love of your life!

MRS. EVERYBODY
Say what? What are you babbling about?

MR. EVERYBODY
You're leaving me!

MRS. EVERYBODY
Are you insane? You thought that... That is really funny

MRS. EVERYBODY
There is nothing funny about being informed that your wife is leaving your for someone else. It's always the husband that is the last to know

MRS. EVERYBODY
Husband of mine - I was talking to my prayer plant here that is slowly croaking after 40 years and I'm about to replace her with a new one

MR. EVERYBODY
How was I supposed to know? There was only you and me in the room and I never guessed you were talking to a...a... house plant

MRS. EVERYBODY
I've raised this houseplant from a small little stalk. Fed her...coddled her...and she gave me years of pleasure but lately she seems to have taken a turn for the worst. The writing is on the wall...or in this case, in all those brown leaves.

MR. EVERYBODY
A plant is a plant is a plant. Don't know what the big thing is. Just empty the pot and replace it with a new one. Simple

MRS. EVERYBODY
How could you be so cruel and callous! You just can't...discard it like it that!

MR. EVERYBODY
I dunno. Never bothers you to do that with your clothes

MRS. EVERYBODY
Besides, I read an article that said plants can sense pain and they react to it. How could I betray my friend after all the years we've been together? I feel like a killer! I feel like I'd be ripping out her guts and tearing her apart

MR. EVERYBODY
Not that I pretend to feel what you feel but check this out

(MR. EVERYBODY shows her a page of the newspaper)

MRS. EVERYBODY
What's this? The Plant-a-atrium is having a sale on houseplants?

(turns to look at plant and at newspaper ad)

(MRS. EVERYBODY cont'd.)  'Parting is such sweet sorrow my formerly green friend. Go meet your other friends in the composter! Do not think badly of me for I shall remember you with great fondness.' I'm ready.

MR. EVERYBODY
Ready for...?

MRS. EVERYBODY
To make new friends at the Plant-a-atrium, silly! We all gotta go some time. I mean, it's just a silly plant for heaven's sake...


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23. Archie Comics & Syfy Team Up For Archie vs. Sharknado

Archie Meets SharknadoArchie Comics and Syfy are partnering together for a crossover project called Archie vs. Sharknado. This special comic book and the third Sharknado movie (Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!) will both be released on July 22nd.

Sharknado trilogy director Anthony C. Ferrante wrote the story. Famed artist Dan Parent created the artwork.

Here’s more from the press release: “Just when Archie and the gang think they can kick back and enjoy a few months of beaches, naps and sun, they’re faced with a storm of sharknados – heading straight for their hometown of Riverdale. 

Archie and his friends have to battle the incoming pop culture storm as it creeps up the “Feast” coast to Riverdale – and then try to save what’s left of their hometown. Who lives? Who dies? Read the book!”

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24. Saturday Night Live Unveils a Black Widow Spoof

Have you ever envisioned a Black Widow movie? Scarlett Johansson, the actress who has played this character in several Marvel movies, teamed up with the Saturday Night Live cast to explore this project idea.

The video embedded above features the hilarious spoof trailer for a fake film called Black Widow: Age of Me. Marvel Entertainment has many projects in the pipeline, but unfortunately none of them focus solely on the deadly female assassin Natasha Romanova.

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25. Terrific - an audiobook review

Below is my review of Jon Agee's Terrific as it appeared in the April 1, 2015 issue of School Library Journal.  The review was slightly edited from my original.  I didn't refer to Eugene as "the boy."  Eugene is definitely not a boy, as you can see by the cover illustration.  ;)

AGEE, JON. Terrific. 1 CD. 7 min. Dreamscape. 2014. $14.99. ISBN

9781633795112.

PreK-Gr 2--Eugene's life follows Murphy's Law--if something can go wrong, it will. And when inevitable misfortune falls, Eugene's favorite expression is a sarcastic, "Terrific." So, it's no surprise that when the boy's Eugene's cruise ship sinks, all the passengers (except Eugene) are rescued, and he finds himself on a deserted island with a talking parrot. "Terrific," says Eugene. Narrator Kirby Heyborne plays the resigned, older, and long-suffering Eugene perfectly with a mix of sarcasm and fatigue, and creates a suitably squawking voice for the take-charge parrot who will change his attitude. Sound effects including boat horns, construction din, and ocean waves complement the story. Though listeners will miss Agee's humorous illustrations, the CD includes a fun musical version of "Terrific," sung by Heyborne with music by the Promise Makers. The lyrics are slightly modified from the text to fit the upbeat rhythm and rhyme scheme of the song, but stay true to the original story. VERDICT Purchase this one for sharing with school or storytime groups, one with a copy of the print book.--


Copyright © 2015 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.


Listen to an excerpt from Terrific here.

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