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Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue-steel beauty.
The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received… or would ever receive.
Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing…
and getting off spectacular hip shots.
Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!
*What* did you say?
That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!
It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me.
Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.
Life Buoy, on the other hand…
The weeks of drinking gallons of Ovaltine, in order to get…
the Ovaltine inner seal to send off for my Little Orphan Annie…
secret decoder pen, was about to pay off.
Remember, kids, only members of…
Annie’s secret circle can decode Annie’s secret message.
Remember, Annie is depending on you.
Set your pins to B-2.
Here is the message.
12. 11. 2…
I am in my first secret meeting.
…25. 14. 11. 18.
Pierre was in great voice tonight.
I could tell that tonight’s message was really important.
That’s a message from Annie herself. Remember, don’t tell anyone.
Ninety seconds later I’m in the only room in the house…
where a boy of nine can sit in privacy and decode.
Ah! “B.” I went to the next.
“E.” The first word is “be”!
“S.” It was coming easier now. “U.”
“Be sure to.” Be sure to what?
What was Little Orphan Annie trying to say? Be sure to what?
I was getting closer now.
The tension was terrible. What was it?
The fate of the planet may hang in the balance.
Almost there! My fingers flew.
My mind was a steel trap.
Every pore vibrated.
It was almost clear.
A crummy commercial?
Deep in the recesses of my brain…
a tiny red-hot little flame began to grow.
Something had happened.
A fuse blew and I had gone out of my skull.
I’m telling my dad!
Beat him up! Beat him up!
Did you hear what he said?
I have since heard of people under…
extreme duress speaking in strange tongues.
I became conscious that a steady torrent of obscenities…
and swearing of all kinds was pouring out of me as I screamed.
Ralphie!Add a Comment
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The light was getting purple and soft outside.
Almost time for my father to come home from work.
What’s the matter? What you crying for?
Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie.
No, he’s not.
Yes, he is, too.
No, he’s not.
I promise you Daddy is not going to kill Ralphie.
Why don’t you come on out of there?
Would you like some milk?
Here you go.
I’ll see you later? Okay. Bye.
I heard the car roar up the driveway, and a wave of terror broke over me.
He’ll know what I said, the awful things that I said.
Attention shoppers! It is now 9:00 and our store is closing.
9:00! Great Scott! The store is gonna close!
Santa can’t wait all night.
Come on up on Santa’s lap.
Get moving, kid. Quit dragging your feet.
And what’s your name, little boy?
Hey, kid, hurry up, the store’s closing!
Listen, little boy, we got a lot of people waiting here, so get going!
What do you want for Christmas, little boy?
My mind had gone blank.
Frantically I tried to remember what it was I wanted.
I was blowing it, blowing it.
How about a nice football?
Football. What’s a football?
Without conscious will, my voice squeaked out:
Okay, get him out of here.
A football! Oh, no. What was I doing?
Wake up, stupid, wake up!
I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot… range model air rifle.
You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.Add a Comment
Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that…
I was not only perpetually four years old, but also a girl.
She just always gives you the nicest things, Ralphie.
Oh, isn’t that sweet?
Ralph, go upstairs and try it on you–
I don’t want to!
Go upstairs right now and try on that present!
Immediately my feet began to sweat as those two fluffy little bunnies… with the blue button eyes stared sappily up at me.
Come down here so I can see you better.
I just hoped Flick would never spot them…
as the word of this humiliation could easily make life… at Warren G. Harding School a veritable hell.
Isn’t that cute?
That is the most precious thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Shut up, Randy.
He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.
Oh, it was beautiful. I could hardly wait to try it out.
Can I try it out, Ma? Can I?
Okay, Black Bart, now you get yours.
Oh, my God! I shot my eye out!
You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
You’ll shoot your eye out, you’ll shoot your eye out!
Ralphie, you be careful out there. Don’t shoot your eye out!
She hadn’t seen! She didn’t know!
My eye’s all right. The BB must’ve hit my glasses.
My glasses! Oh, no!
We are going out to eat.
No! Not, “ra ra ra ra ra.” “La la la la la.”
Sing like this:
Try again. Stop!
Sing something else.
Kitchen. Bring food. For customers.
Oh, I’m sorry.
It’s a beautiful duck.
It really is.
But you see…
It’s smiling at me.
That Christmas would live in our memories…
as the Christmas when we were introduced to Chinese turkey.
|guess which one belongs with me ...|
At first glance, the answer to this book’s title is pretty clear. Because, everybody.But do you know this book? When I mention it to someone, I either hear about their favorite jelly donut (the one with strawberry), or they lose their sprinkles over the magnificence of this screwy tale.
The simplicity of the setup:
Sam lived with his family in a nice house.
He had a big yard and lots of friends.
But he wanted donuts, not just a few but hundreds and thousands and millions — more donuts than his mother and father could ever buy him.
Finally one day he hopped on his tricycle and rode away to a big city to look for donuts.
The scattered spectacle of the scene, a commotion in black and white. On those initial pages alone:
A bird in swim trunks
A roof-mowing man
A chimney blowing ribbons
A man in the window reading a newspaper with the headline, Person Opens Picture Book Tries to Read the Fineprint
And a cinematic, get-ready-for-your-close-up page turn. (Be sure to look closely in the blades of grass.)There’s almost a calm in the chaos. It’s regular and rhythmic and pandemonium and patterned all at once. Perfect for a story that’s a little bit bonkers and a whole lot of comfort.
And a Sad Old Woman. And Pretzel Annie.
(A fried orange vendor. A bathing zebra. Rollerskates. A Sad Old Woman.)
The starts of stories are carved in concrete.
P.S. – These pictures remind me a little of what I’m seeing for Steve Light’s new book, Have You Seen My Dragon? Check out this review where Betsy Bird notices the same, and this post at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, because it’s always a treat. I also think of the hours I’d spend as a kid studying each square centimeter of The Ultimate Alphabet. Like Waldo, but weirder.
I like anniversaries, especially when they concern my illustrations! So here's another fond memory - this year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Elsie Locke's A Canoe in the Mist.
|Cover of the 1st edition|
|The Waka Wairua. Title Page vignette|
|McCrae's Rotomahana Hotel in Te Wairoa.|
|Lillian meets Mattie|
|The Terraces (unused version). This 1/2 page drawing was re-drawn as a full page illustration for the final book (artwork now lost)|
|The first eruption|
|Character studies for Lillian, Mattie and Sophia (unused)|
|Visit to Hinemihi, the Maori meeting hall|
|Tuhoto, the village sage|
|Elsie Locke in 1991, courtesy of the Elsie Locke Trust|
|Before the eruption guests discuss the unusual signs|
|The hotel ablaze|
|Rescuing a surviving horse from the mud|
|Sophia addresses the survivors. This was the finished version intended for the book, but a mix-up led the designer to use an inferior preparatory version instead!|
|The families struggle through a deluge of mud|
|The final illustration - escape through a devastated landscape|
This is my entry for the Tomie de paola Award contest. This year we were to develop a character through a series of panels to show character development. Mine is more of a storyline, I guess. It was fun creating it though.
Good luck to the ten finalists who are moving on to the next round. Especially our Houston illustrator, Cheryl Pilgrim. Loved her entry… so clever!Add a Comment
|Nora curled up with the advance copy|
|pigeons and doves|
Well I double-DOG-dare ya!
NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.
I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!
Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!Add a Comment