Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman has done it again. I was first captivated by his Coraline (soon to be a Major Motion Picture), then drawn in by the campy Neverwhere miniseries, then entranced by his collection of short stories, Smoke and Mirrors. This time it is another book for younger readers — a sort of re-telling of Kipling’s The Jungle Book. This book is absolutely charming.

The Graveyard Book begins with a gruesome murder by a man only identified as “the man Jack”. The only survivor is a toddler who escapes to a nearby cemetery and, after some discussion, is taken in by the occupants. The rest of the story contains elements of romance, mystery, horror and adventure.

If you’d like to hear the first chapter (read by Gaiman himself), click the play button on the widget below.

Readers, as far as the eye could see

On Saturday, Clare and I went to the National Book Festival on the National Mall. I began attending the festival in 2003 when I volunteered to hang out at the Teens and Children pavilion and to help with crowd control in the signing lines. I saw a few of my favorite authors that year — the authors I especially came to see that year were Avi, Nancy Farmer, Jane Yolen and Sharon Creech — all young adult authors whose books I’d been using in my classroom and been reading to my own children.

In 2004 I volunteered again, but this time was assigned to go between the children’s and children’s and teens pavillions. This was less fun because I didn’t really feel needed, so I pretty much just hung out and listened to authors that I wanted to hear. That was also the year I first heard about Neil Gaiman.

Continue reading Readers, as far as the eye could see

Hollyhock Dolls part 2

Hollyhock dolls with a friend To make a hollyhock doll, pick a fully blossomed hollyhock flower from the stalk, keeping about 3/4 of an inch of stem (this will become the neck).

Now, pick a bud that has some of the color of the flower showing through the green sepal. Gently peel the green sepal from the bud, exposing the tightly closed bud and the white bit near where the stem was. Notice it has holes. Gently push one of the holes onto the stem of the fully opened flower. The other holes will create the effect of eyes and the part where the stem was attached is the mouth.

Your doll is now made and will last a few hours before closing up.