Thursday, October 20, 2005

Surprise endings

We've been reading old favorites and new finds lately. My staff and I were invited to read stories at ZooAmerica during their "Creatures of the Night" celebrations throughout October. We took the perennial favorite Owl Babies by the illustrious Martin Waddell and our new favorite, which I mentioned last time, Porcupining , by the very punny Lisa Wheeler. Both were big hits. I don't always do lots of voices when I read aloud because I find it difficult to sustain throughout a story, however, that book just cried out for voices. Cushion the banjo-picking porcupine has a sweet, southern, blue-grassy voice that could have stepped out of O, Brother Where Art Thou? (Apparently that deep Randy Travis voice just isn't in me.) The quaint quilled creature he finally meets and falls in love with had no particular voice until I read the book to my son. Suddenly, her voice rang clear and very British in my head. What a delight to read aloud.

I've also been sharing old favorites at bedtime. Witch stories are not always politically correct at the public library, but in the privacy of my son's bedroom, Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian and Old Black Witch by the Devlins continue to delight and entertain. I have such a clear memory of the school librarian reading Humbug Witch to us in first grade and I have loved it ever since. "There was this witch and all of her was little. Except for her nose..." Surprisingly, there is a connection from Lisa Wheeler to that little witch. Perhaps there are no coincindences, only surprise endings.

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