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The Order of Oddfish

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Daughter Update, plus 90-Second Newbery: The Whipping Boy and Lukancic Middle School

September 27, 2011

DAUGHTER UPDATE. This is my daughter Lucy. She’s two and a half. “I drew a sad ghost,” she said one day. That’s a pretty expressive sad ghost! Heck, I can’t even draw that well, and I’m thirty-eight!

Here’s Lucy with her little sister Ingrid. Lucy looks a little skeptical of the new arrival.

I’ve been very busy lately, so I haven’t seen Lucy and Ingrid as much as I’d like. I need to catch up! I went off to Michigan alone to my twenty-year high school reunion, and also spent a couple days in Washington, D.C. to speak at the School Library Journal Leadership Summit. Met up with lots of great librarians (Joyce Valenza! Shannon Miller! Paula Wiley! John Schumacher! Melissa Jacobs Israel! Laura Warren Gross! Too many to name them all) and other authors (I finally got to meet Laurel Snyder and Erica Perl) and . . .

Wait! Why was I speaking at this conference? Why, the 90-Second Newbery film festival, of course (New York on November 5, Chicago on November 16; complete details here). And in that spirit, let’s check out a couple recent entries I’ve received.

This one is The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman! It’s from the Ossining Public Library 90 Second Newbery video club in Ossining, New York.

They asked if I’d like to do a cameo in it. I said sure! They told me what to say, so I shot my part, emailed them the video file, and they edited it in. See if you can find me in this one. They told me wear a “medieval costume”; I couldn’t find one, so I cobbled together stuff from a costume chest. I look like a lifestyle-confused art teacher from 1982:

Superbo! The team at Ossining really did a great job of compressing the plot, and the costumes and staging were quite deft. (I like the use of swimming noodles as whips!) The kids who made this will actually be attending the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival in New York City on November 5. We’ll give them a stars’ welcome! (Need details on the screening? They’re all here.)

A couple months ago, I also received from Lukancic Middle School of Romeoville, IL a bunch of great 90-Second Newbery videos. There are too many to put in one post, so I made a whole page of Lukancic Middle School 90-Second Newbery films here. Just to give you a taste, though, here is My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, as interpreted by Elizabeth:

These films are getting more and more surreal! This one suddenly transforms into Twilight for some reason at around 1:47, quite entertainingly. I also liked when Pa was starting his story: “Once, when I was a boy, I ran away and I got on a ship for Singapore and . . . ” and the kid just blurts “OK, Pa,” gets up and leaves. The hopeless last line (“We’re going to force you to stop living in your tree and build a house where you’re going to live and there’s nothing you can do about it until you’re 18!” “Aw, man!”) is bleakly funny as well. Well done!

You can see the rest of the videos from Lukancic Middle School here. Thank you so much for all your hard work and talent!