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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: kimberly willis holt, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 163
1. The Water Seeker's Biggest Fans


In May, Leslie Kilbourn’s 8th grade Language Arts class received a big surprise in the mail — two dozen copies of the paperback version of The Water Seeker (pictured above).

These Deer Park Junior High School students had a direct impact on the design of the paperback’s cover! Author Kimberly Willis Holt had visited the classroom several months earlier, where the students confessed their love for The Water Seeker and discussed the upcoming publication of the paperback version — pointing out that something important to the story was missing from the cover mockup Holt shared. Can you guess what it was? 

Kilbourn and class were so excited to receive the books that she wrote a thank you note to the author, with the picture above.

THANK YOU, Ms. Kilbourn! Teachers getting students excited about reading AND talking about what they read makes our day.

Learn more about The Water Seeker! 


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2. Video Sunday: She once created a pathfinder . . . to a woman’s heart

The mark of a good parody is when you don’t need to have seen the original.  A billion thanks to 100 Scope Notes for this one.  Never would have found it myself.

Well, it’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in New York City.  Daylight savings just granted me an extra hour to sleep and the New York Marathon appears to be ending, virtually, just outside my front door.  You should hear the happy music.  It’s kind of enchanting.

On that cheery note, let us watch a different kind of parody, only this time with cute kids.

Thanks to @khazelrigg for the link.

Before I show this next one, I should explain that the Robin Hood Foundation here in New York City has created what they call the Library Initiative where public schools can get beautifully designed library spaces.  Maira Kalman created a mural for one such school.

Thanks to Children’s Illustration for the link.

I heard about this video at a recent Simon & Schuster librarian preview, and then saw it on Bookmoot not long thereafter.  It’s Scott Westerfeld interviewing Alan Cumming about doing the audio versions of his books.  Pretty much any excuse to show Alan Cumming, I will take advantage of.

Thanks to Bookmoot for the link.

Author Kathi Appelt is very good about letting me know when she’s interviewed her fellow author friends.  Ms. Appelt noticed that I recently reviewed Ms. Kimberly Willis Holt’s book The Water Seeker on the Katie Davis podcast Brain Burps About Books.  With that in mind, she let me know that she’d spoken to Ms. Holt with her Flipcam.  If you’ve ever been curious to see what Ms. Holt looks like, here ya go!

Thanks to 1 Comments on Video Sunday: She once created a pathfinder . . . to a woman’s heart, last added: 11/9/2010

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3. I *Heart* Books With Maps

Hello there, blog, it's been a while! Remember that Cool New Map Project I started working on back in June? As I was catching up on blog reading this weekend, I happened across Macmillan's Spring 2010 Librarian Preview over at Fuse #8, where I scrolled down to see this stunning cover:

Yay! It's the new Kimberly Willis Holt novel, due out in May of 2010.

And here's the map I did for the endpapers:

(Click to see a larger version.)

I can't wait to see the actual book.

7 Comments on I *Heart* Books With Maps, last added: 12/18/2009
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4. Piper Reed

Piper Reed Gets a Job Kimberly Willis Holt

Piper and the Gypsy Club need a club house where they can meet away from prying little sisters. The found the perfect one, but it costs $1999 so obviously Piper needs a job. She starts a birthday party planning business, agrees to illustrate Sam's new book, and gets a job babysitting triplets. Of course, this means she's too busy to do her big report for school...

While the hijinks are almost over the top, they are still very believable and entertaining. I love the adults in this book. They're funny without being characatures, and aren't absent parents. Unlike the other books, this has very little to do with military life, except that it takes place on base. I most loved how Michael takes to baking, which is a surprise for all involved.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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5. I Like Vermont in January...How About You?

My second residency at Vermont College has come and gone. I was so pysched to get there and, by the end of the ten-day residency of twelve hour days, kinda, pretty much ready for it to be over as well.

It's such a bittersweet mix. So much writer stimulation. So many ideas. So many wonderful people to hang out with and talk shop (so much wine)...and so many long hours.

I came back last Wednesday mentally functioning on about three synaptic connections that had somehow managed to weather the constant firing all that learning had put them through. On Thursday, I was a zombie. All synapses fried. Weekend meant some downtime (minus taking oldest daughter to a gymnastics meet at 8 a.m. Sunday morning). Monday, I managed to pull myself together and write my first critical paper for the new semester. Today, I'm writing my second. Secretly, there is a part of me that would like to abscond to a deserted island and lay in the sun for a few weeks, doing nothing but processing the vast amounts of information I took in while at Vermont College, but writing is the name of the game, and this program keeps you swimming in it, no matter what. That's a good thing, even if it feels like having to eat your broccoli some days.

If you are thinking about entering the Vermont MFA in Writing for Children, my advice is, do it! Do it now, rather than later. It is such a magical opportunity for a writer to live in and work with an incredible group of ever-changing writers. You get a little spoiled even. All of the greats seem to come to Vermont at some point. This time around, Katherine Patterson was there, as was (she stops to look up names because, no, those synapses are not yet firing like they should) Kimberly Willis Holt and Lynne Rae Perkins. Inspiration is in the air. The place really does become a little like Brigadoon for writers. Time stands still. The reality of the outside world is held at the base of the hill leading up to the college (if you ignore the 7 a.m. fire trucks our program accidentally called out twice--the classic blow dryers burning out fuses and setting off fire alarms in the dorm scenario. The New England Culinary Institute students have got to hate us by now.)

Despite the long hours, I like Vermont College in January. You would too.

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6. Fusenews: I speak for the trees . . . and oatmeal

Lest we forget that book banning and free speech issues are conversational topics appropriate beyond the brackets of Banned Books Week, a recent news item has me lost for words.  A federal appeals court has ruled, and this is true, that an Ohio high school teacher “has no First Amendment right to make assignments about book-banning or to select particular books for her students.”  Come again?  Well apparently a teacher decided to do an assignment on banned books with her class (of high school students, recall).  So they each picked a book that had been banned. . . and then their parents found out.  So because she was distributing racy literature like, oh say, Heather Has Two Mommies, the teacher’s contract was not renewed and she lost her appeal.  You may read more about the case here.  Thanks to Leslea Newman for the links.

  • Now that’s interesting.  I had not heard that Jacqueline Woodson’s novel Locomotion had been turned into a stage play.  Once in a while a book to theater adaptation just makes perfect sense.  This is one of those cases.  I suppose verse novels make excellent adaptations.  Huh!  Food for thought.
  • Funniest dang thing I’ve seen all day.  Bar none.
  • Feeling the absence of my Top 100 Novels poll results?  Well, much of my information came from Anita Silvey.  Now Anita turns it all around by starting a blog of her own.  Called Book-A-Day Almanac, the premise is that she will recommend a children’s book every day for a year.  At the end of the year, she’ll then turn those posts into a book.  Shoot.  That’s a good idea.  Clearly I’ve got to get around to turning my own polls into books.  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
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7. superstition

when you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer
Stevland Hardaway Judkins (his name was later changed to Stevland Hardaway Morris) born prematurely in Saginaw, Michigan to Lula Mae Hardaway on May 13, 1950. It is thought that he received excessive oxygen in his incubator which led to retinopathy of prematurity, a destructive ocular disorder affecting the retina, characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels, scarring, and sometimes retinal detachment. Mrs. Hardaway instructed her other children to treat Stevland the same as any other child, and not to tease or over-assist him because of his blindness. The family moved to Detroit and Stevland began singing and playing instruments in church at an early age. He took to the piano, congas, and harmonica in particular. He was educated at the Michigan School for the Blind in Lansing, where he was trained in classical piano.
In 1962, at the age of 12, Stevie was introduced to Ronnie White of the popular Motown act The Miracles. White brought Stevie and his mother to Motown Records. Impressed by the young musician, Motown CEO Berry Gordy signed Stevie to Motown's Tamla label with the name Little Stevie Wonder.
At the age of 13, Little Stevie Wonder had his first major hit, "Fingertips (Pt. 2)", a 1963 single taken from a live recording of a Motor Town Revue performance. The song, featuring Wonder on vocals, bongos, and harmonica, and a young Marvin Gaye on drums, was a #1 hit on the US pop charts and launched him into the public consciousness. Dropping the "Little" from his moniker, Stevie went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s. He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his labelmates, including "Tears of a Clown", the number one hit performed by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles.
In 1972, Stevie wrote "Superstition". It reached number one in the USA, and number eleven in the UK, in February 1973. Stevie had actually written this song for Jeff Beck, but at the insistence of his own manager, Stevie recorded it first. Beck was instead offered "Cause We've Ended As Lovers", which he recorded for 1975's Blow by Blow. Jeff Beck played guitar on Stevie's version of the song and later recorded his own version of "Superstition" with Beck, Bogert & Appice.

1 Comments on superstition, last added: 11/20/2007
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8. One.

The loneliest number can be blissfully ignorant.

6 Comments on One., last added: 11/29/2007
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9. most embarrassing moment

The challenge this week on another illustration blog is "most embarrassing moment".
When I was a kid, a short time after my mom bumped off my dad by feeding him meatloaf stuffed with thumbtacks, I came home early from school and quietly walked into the kitchen. I caught my mom pouring Drano into the pot of tomato sauce she was cooking on the stove.
It was quite embarrassing.

1 Comments on most embarrassing moment, last added: 1/9/2008
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10. Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy by Kimberly Willis Holt

Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy by Kimberly Willis Holt

Reviewed by: Erica Moore

Piper Reed is in the middle at age 9. Her 5 year old sister reads better than she does, and her 12 year old sister is well, annoying by doing everything first. However, Piper has the Gypsy Club which she starts wherever her Navy family moves. This time it’s Pensacola, Florida. Piper gets the members of her newly founded Gypsy Club to have a pet show and talent contest, but what if Piper doesn’t win with her dog Bruna?

There are more misadventures for the Reed sisters in Pensacola with new friends and neighbors, plus a trip to New Orleans to visit their mother’s art teacher. If you haven’t met Piper Reed think Ramona, Judy Moody, Gooney Bird Greene and Clementine. They would be perfect for Piper’s Gypsy Club although they would all want to run it.

This is a wonderful series for younger readers, well written and lively. The real issues of moving and missing family members in the military are addressed but the stories are balanced and fun. The illustrations capture key moments in the story and make you laugh. This series would also be good as a read aloud.

Piper Reed: Navy Brat has enjoyed starred reviews from School Library Journal, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly and others. Piper Reed will be around for a long time. She’ll give Ramona a run for her money so to speak.

What Other Bloggers Are Saying:

Jen Robinson's Book Page: "Highly recommended for kids just reaching into middle grade fiction who want day-to-day stories that they can relate to." (read more...)

BooksForKidsBlog: "First-time chapter book readers have the chance to begin their solo reading experience with well-drawn characters who seem to come alive right off the pages of print. " (read more...)

JellyMom: "Very well done. I look forward to reading more about Piper Reed! " (read more...)

Biblio File: "Piper's adventures continue, and I think I liked this one even more than the first. " (read more...)

More Info:

  • Reading level: Ages 7-10
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (August 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805081984
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805081985
  • Source: Uncorrected proof from publisher

Pair with Piper Reed: Navy Brat for a great reading adventure!

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11. Author: Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt is blogging at A Pen and a Nest. The blog looks beautiful.
All of our blogs change over time but for now she is reflecting on:

A Writer's Relationship with Home--How a sixty's ranch-style house provides comfort and inspiration for one writer's work.

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12. Monday Map: Cool New Project!

No map art to show this morning, other than material for a cool new project-- a map of the Oregon Trail for Kimberly Willis Holt's upcoming novel! (Here's a list of her fabulous books, and she also blogs, here.) I'm trying to restrain myself from using too many exclamation points in this post, but oh, what the heck!! I'm excited!!!

I'll post more as I get farther along with sketches.

9 Comments on Monday Map: Cool New Project!, last added: 6/10/2009
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13. Book Map-in-Progress

Even though it's not necessary to read the manuscript before working on a book map, I love it when the editor sends the text along. I read it if I have the time, but always at least skim it, to get a "feel" for the map, and to look for ideas for spot illustrations that might add a special touch.

This map will have a lot of lettering and not much room for spots, so I'm thinking I'll play around with a decorative border...

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14. Readers Theater Part 2

More pics from readers theater group, Voices from Down Yonder, in Arkansas.

Kimberly Willis Holt (left) and Alexandria LaFaye, rehearsing:

Kerry Madden punching holes in her script. (See what hard work this is?)

(l to r) Kathi, Kimberly, Kerry and Alexandria. (Some of us aren't paying attention to Cynthia!)

PowerPoint slide of all of the books performed:

The night of the performance: (l to r) Kathi, me, Kimberly, Alexandria, Kerry (we chose a lovely backdrop for our photo, didn't we?)

(l to r) Kathi, Kimberly, Cynthia, Alexandria, Kerry:

Phew! We did it! After the performance with Cynthia:

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15. farm

we got to earn a living

What's your name? (we Peter and Paul)
What's your age? (we 23)
Where do you live? (we live on the farm)
What do you do? (we plant weed)

One of my favorite 80s bands was Fun Boy Three. Born out of the Specials, Fun Boy Three was Terry Hall, Neville Staples and Lynval Golding. Hall had a torrid affair with guitarist Jane Wiedlin and the song "Our Lips are Sealed" became a hit for the Go-Gos and Fun Boy Three. They also had a hit with another collaborative effort, "It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It)" with Bananarama. But, after three albums, Fun Boy Three was no more.

The song "The Farm Yard Connection" appeared on their second album "Waiting". It tells the story of two Jamaicans who support their families by growing marijuana. Treating their crop like true farmers, they sleep in the fields so no one upsets their hard work.
They sing "If the lawman come and took away our seed/Bam! goes another week's wages/Bam! goes our family's feed."

1 Comments on farm, last added: 9/18/2007
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16. wedding

hey, little sister, what have you done?
At a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the bride and groom stand under a chupah, two cups of wine are poured and kiddush is recited over the first cup, the rings are exchanged, the ketubah is read, the seven blessings (Sheva Brachot) are recited over the second cup of wine and then a glass is placed on the floor, and the groom shatters it with his foot. This act serves as an expression of sadness at the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and identifies the couple with the spiritual and national destiny of the Jewish people.

Everyone knows the simcas and nacchus that a wedding brings! Two people that were made for each other are bound together, forever, until death do they part. They may come from different backgrounds, but in the end, they are made up of (more or less) the same thing (or things, in this case.....).

When Mary Shelley said "How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?", she was NOT talking about marriage. She was talking about Frankenstein.

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17. The Tortoise and the Hare

Tell Saint Peter at the golden gate/That you hate to make him wait/But you got to have another cigarette
Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who is faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd stop to have a cigarette and relax before continuing the race.

He stood next to a big, impressionistically-drawn rock and fired one up. The tortoise plodding on overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare finished his cigarette, was diagnosed with emphysema, lived out his remaining days in an iron lung and died. Oh, and he lost the race.

The moral is stated at the end of the fable as: "Smoking will kill you".
Or something like that.

NOTE: I did this drawing last night. This morning I saw a commercial for Chantix, a new drug to help people stop smoking. They use the tortoise and the hare in their commercial. I had not seen this commercial prior to my illustration. Hmmmm...

0 Comments on The Tortoise and the Hare as of 9/25/2007 7:25:00 AM
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18. PYBOT: Mothman

Here's my last minute contribution to PYBOT...

I've been reading The Mothman Prophecies this last week and I figured it would be fun to do my own take on this particular boogeyman.

My website...

1 Comments on PYBOT: Mothman, last added: 9/27/2007
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19. PYBOT: Illustration Friday: The Blues

This is my entry for this week's Illustration Friday topic... a slime monster with the blues. Actually, this sketch has been sitting on my desk for the last few weeks and I was looking for an excuse to finish it out.

Also, I just updated my website for Halloween, if you'd like to check it out: www.geraldkelley.com

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20. the blues

Boy, I woke up this mornin', my biscuit roller gone.
Robert Johnson is one of the most famous Delta Blues musicians. He displayed a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that have influenced generations of musicians including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, Warren Zevon and Eric Clapton, who called Johnson "the most important blues musician who ever lived."

The most famous legend surrounding Robert Johnson is that he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his unmatched guitar playing ability. Johnson sometimes played with his back to the audience in order to hide his technique.

His death occurred on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27 at a little country crossroads near Greenwood, Mississippi. He had been playing for a few weeks at a country dance in a town about 15 miles from Greenwood. There are a number of accounts and theories regarding the events preceding Johnson's death. One of these is that one evening Johnson began flirting with a woman at a dance. One version of this rumor says she was the wife of the juke joint owner, while another suggests she was a married woman he had been secretly seeing. When Johnson was offered an open bottle of whiskey, his friend and fellow blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson knocked the bottle out of his hand, informing him that he should never drink from an offered bottle that has already been opened. Johnson allegedly said, "don't ever knock a bottle out of my hand". Soon after, he was offered another open bottle and accepted it. That bottle was laced with strychnine. Johnson survived the initial poisoning only to succumb to pneumonia three days later, in his weakened state. The fate of his soul is undetermined.

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21. bird

Tall, lanky Mark Fidrych was a certified flake. "The Bird", as he was affectionately known because of his resemblance to Sesame Street's Big Bird, pitched for the Detroit Tigers from 1976 until 1980. That tumultuous five year run began with Fidrych being named Rookie of the Year and ended with an undiagnosed and untreated torn rotator cuff that never healed. But in between, Fidrych was a character. He made the Tigers as a non-roster invitee out of the 1976 spring training. He made his first start because the scheduled starting pitcher had the flu. Fidrych responded by throwing seven no-hit innings, ending the game with a 2-1 victory in which he only gave up two hits. That season, he went on to win a total of 19 games, led the league in ERA and complete games, was the starting pitcher in that year's All-Star Game, won the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and finished second in voting for the Cy Young Award.
But it was his on-field antics that endeared Fidrych to his fans. He would crouch down on the pitcher's mound, talk to himself, talk to the ball, aim the ball like a dart, strut around the mound after every out, and throw back balls that "had hits in them," insisting they be removed from the game. He would make sincere statements like "Sometimes I get lazy and let the dishes stack up, but they don't stack too high. I've only got four dishes." and "That ball has a hit in it, so I want it to get back in the ball bag and goof around with the other balls in there. Maybe it'll learn some sense and come out as a pop-up next time." Every time he pitched, Tiger Stadium was jam-packed with adoring fans. In his 18 starting appearances in 1976, attendance equalled almost half of the entire season's 81 home games. He appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, such as Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, and became the first athlete to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone. At the end of his rookie season, the Tigers gave him a $25,000 bonus and signed him to a 3-year contract worth $255,000. It was estimated that the extra attendance Fidrych generated around the league in 1976 was worth more than $1 million.
Injury ended Fidrych's career. At the end of the 1981 season, Detroit gave Fidrych his outright release and he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox, playing for one of their minor league teams. However, his unhealed torn rotator cuff forced him to retire at age 29.
Fidrych lives with his wife and daughter in Northborough, Massachusetts. Aside from fixing up his farmhouse, he works as a contractor hauling gravel and asphalt in a ten-wheeler and his family owns and runs a diner.

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22. open

Have a banana, Hannah/Try the salami, Tommy/Give with the gravy, Davy
According to government statistics, 80% percent of new restaurants fail within the first three years of opening. There is no real reason for this, but it may have to do with menu item choice, overall atmosphere of the restaurant or even choice of name for the establishment.
Or maybe the hundreds of rats.

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23. trick or treat

In honor of Halloween....
smell my feet/give me something good to eat
Ahh, the ancient tradition of "trick or treat", with its origins steeped in European custom. Ancient? European?
The earliest appearance, in a national publication, of the phrase "trick or treat" was in 1939. In her 1919 history of the holiday, "The Book of Hallowe'en," author Ruth Edna Kelley makes no mention of such a custom.
Trick or treating is a purely American custom, with no religious history or connotations. The earliest reference to ritual begging on Halloween in America occurs in 1915, with another isolated reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating.
Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines, such as Jack and Jill, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.
Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, nothing in the historical record supports this theory. To the contrary, adults, as reported in newspapers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, typically saw it as a form of extortion. Likewise, as portrayed on radio shows, children would have to explain what trick-or-treating was to puzzled adults, and not the other way around. Sometimes even the children protested: for Halloween 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read "American Boys Don't Beg."
In Sweden, children dress up as witches and go door-to-door for sweet treats on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter) while Danish children dress up in various attires and go door-to-door on Fastelavn (or the next day, Shrove Monday).
In addition, there has never been an incident of random Halloween candy poisoning reported to any law-enforcement agency in any municipality in this country. Ever. The few that have been reported were later revealed to be targeted attacks that were covered up to look like a random act.
Happy Halloween. You are carrying on a tradition that is just a bit younger than my parents.

2 Comments on trick or treat, last added: 10/30/2007
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24. PYBOT: scale

The Sound of Music portrayed the life of Maria Kutschera, a young woman studying in a Roman Catholic sisterhood, and her relationship with widower Georg Ritter von Trapp and as governess to his children. Details of the history of the von Trapp family were altered for the musical. Georg Ritter von Trapp lived with his family in a villa in Aigen, a suburb of Salzburg. The real Maria was sent to be a tutor to one of the children, not a governess to all of them. The Captain's oldest child was a boy, not a girl, and the names of the children were changed (at least partly to avoid confusion: the Captain's eldest daughter was also named Maria). The von Trapps spent some years in Austria after Maria and the Captain married -- they did not have to flee right away -- and they fled to Italy, not Switzerland. Maria von Trapp is said to have enjoyed the stage show but to have hated the movie: her standard response to praise was, "it's a nice story, but it's not my story."

I took a slightly different approach for this illustration. This was created entirely in Photoshop.

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3 Comments on PYBOT: ANGRY THE MOUSE, last added: 11/14/2007
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