Authors were kids once (and some authors are kids!!) – read about kid authors in one of today’s picks; raccoons and daydreaming Mitty make up the rest of the post.
For the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me In 2018, here is my pick for last week and my list of selected reading for this year’s challenges can be found here.
Week 11 Deal Me In The Card: A of Clubs (and I really need to get cool cards to use for this – starting with either the Alice deck or the Jane Austen deck – you can check them out here)
The Selection: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
Description: A henpecked husband copes with the frustrations of his dull life by imagining he is a fearless airplane pilot, a brilliant doctor, and other dashing figures.
My Thoughts: I did not realize that the movie based on this story was released a few years ago until I read this story and was trying to find out more about the author and the story. It was then that I noticed the search results were mostly about the movie (and I wondered, really, there was a movie?). Anyways, this is about the story and not the movie, so here are my thoughts on the same.
It is not just one secret life for Walter Mitty – he has as many secret lives as his imagination allows him! One minute he is a fearless leader, a potential war-hero, and another he is a top-notch surgeon, while yet another….. well, you get the idea, right? James Thurber takes the reader into the heroic fantasies of Walter Mitty that he is constantly escaping into.
Brings up all those secret lives one wants to live and yes, I admit, my secret lives include that of a writer among others!
To Sum It Up: Delightful in its telling in such a short story; cool in the sense that most people can and will possibly relate to it – hasn’t everyone dreamed at one time of being something else – a super hero, a this-or-that-or-the-other; could have been just a little longer?
Question to the Reader: What about you? Where do you escape to in your daydreams? Who/what are you in them?
by David Stabler (Author), Doogie Horner (Illustrator)
Description: Funny and totally true childhood biographies and full-color illustrations tell the tales from the challenging yet defining growing-up years of J. K. Rowling, Beverly Cleary, J. R. R. Tolkien, and 12 other great writers.
Every great author started out as a kid. Before the best sellers, fan clubs, and beloved stories we know today, the world’s most celebrated writers had regular-kid problems just like you. Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain) loved to skip school and make mischief, with his best friend Tom, of course! A young J. R. R. Tolkien was bitten by a huge tarantula—or as he called it, “a spider as big as a dragon.” Toddler Zora Neale Hurston took her first steps when a wild hog entered her house and started chasing her! Kid Authors tells their stories and more—the diverse and inclusive cast that includes Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, J. K. Rowling, Sherman Alexie, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Stan Lee—through kid-friendly texts and full-color cartoon illustrations on nearly every page.
My Thoughts: Truly wonderful! Authors, even the ones you think are god-like or superhuman or totally out-of-this-world, are people, just like you. They had(ve) fears – of spiders, of the dark, of real and imaginary things; they were bullied, were shy, and so on and so forth. This book conveys that message so well with humorous and realistic stories of their childhoods, and makes all those authors approachable. The stories are enjoyable, full of interesting information about the authors included in the book, and the illustrations take the stories to totally another cool level! And, yes, though these are brief, fun biographies, they don’t read like biographies, they read like stories, which is why I used that word.
It was truly interesting to read about so many different authors – the ones you (and most readers, children included) would know, and the ones you ought to read (about). And the stories show how childhood influences shaped each of them – from simple everyday life to specific incidents.
From those brief biographies I mentioned earlier that are a couple of pages or so long to a few sentences on authors not included in the main book added to an index, this book is, to say it simply, a treasure chest!Rating: A+
Reread factor: 5/5
Reading level: All ages, according to me! Though the guidelines state elementary readers 🙂
by Audrey Penn (Author), Barbara Leonard Gibson (Illustrator)
Description: Chester Raccoon’s good friend Skiddel Squirrel has had an accident and will not be returning – ever. Chester is upset that he won’t get to play with his friend anymore. Mrs. Raccoon suggests that Chester and his friends create some memories of Skiddel, so that they will have good memories when they miss him. Chester, his brother Ronny, and their friends decide to gather at the pond, where they combine their memories and create a touching celebration of their friend’s life.
Many young children must face the loss of loved ones or the need to attend a funeral. This sweet story will help children to understand the positive purpose behind memorial services and how “making memories” can provide cheer and comfort when missing an absent loved one.
My Thoughts: The Kissing Hand series books are all adorable (and I have read a few of them now, though this is the first one I am reviewing on my blog)- in the stories they tell, the illustrations, the characters, and the way the stories are told that make it easy for the youngest readers to understand and appreciate. This book also does the same while helping kids deal with the loss of someone they love and to understand how they can deal with it. Death or loss in any form is a very difficult concept for children (and even adults sometimes) to understand and cope with. This book helps explain death in a easy to understand way, and shows a very sweet way to deal with it – memories. The concept of creating, recalling, and holding on to those loved memories to cherish forever is so sweetly explained here.
Reread factor: 4/5
Reading level: This is a book I think that will be for all ages also (though it provides a wonderful way to help younger kids deal with separation or loss, it is also a delightful way to show anyone at any age that creating memories to treasure forever is wonderful).
Note: ‘The Kissing Hand’ did make a brief mention in my blog earlier here! And here is another book that teaches kids how to deal with loss (that I reviewed earlier) – Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs
Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley for sending me a digital review copy of Chester Raccoon and the Acorn Full of Memories. Thank you to Edelweiss for the digital review copy of Kid Authors. I was not compensated for my reviews. My thoughts on these books were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. They are my personal opinions formed when I read them.
Linking both these books below to What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA at Teach Mentor Texts
8 thoughts on “From Kid Authors to DayDreamers”
Kid Authors looks awesome – will have to find that one for our upcoming reading theme on memoirs/biographies.
thank you Myra 🙂 this was truly a fun and informative read.. and i am planning to read the others in this series soon ..
I’m only familiar with the Walter Mitty short story. (And, am a grand fan of Thurber.)
And, the only movie worth viewing was the absolutely stellar Danny Kaye version from the 1940s. (I saw it right after I read the great piece around 1956.)
Thank you Roy.. the movie from a few years ago seems to have mixed reviews. will check out the movie you mention 🙂
I am definitely looking for Kid Authors! My daughter attended her first summer writing camp at 12 and finished her first novel that year during NaNoWriMo. Now her younger brother just started writing his first book. We’ve not pushed either of them, but my being a teacher librarian and their father being an English professor might naturally encourage their love of reading and writing. Hearing about other famous authors’ lives might be a great thing for both of them (and for their 3 younger siblings). I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know that Kissing Hand series was still going on! I still have probably 5 copies of the original book, so I’ll have to see if they have this one at our local libraries. Thanks so much for sharing and for participating in IMWAYR. Have a great week!
Shaye – thank you! That is so cool – about your kids and their writing (and yes, am sure both of you have inspired and instilled their love of reading and writing)!! My book review of the Chester Raccoon book should have come with an additional note that said it is a delayed one 🙂 but yes, there are many books in ‘The Kissing Hand’ series..
Hearing about Walter Mitty brings back memories of my 2011 version of this challenge, where I read that story (I’d read it before long ago in high school). My thoughts on it are at https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-by-james-thurber/ if you’d like to compare notes.
I never did get out to see the film version a few years back. I think the story was ‘perfect’ in itself and didn’t want to ruin it.
My day job is kind of soul-sucking so I do sometimes escape into reveries, mostly about where I’ve traveled or want to travel, occasionally about the books I’m reading or the blog posts I’d rather be writing. 🙂
Thank you Jay! Agree with you about your reveries – they are the best kind 🙂 And did go and read your post on the story as well… (and I did hope that his daydreams had not stopped at the moment they did.. oh why did his wife chose those moments to snap him out of them?)