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The Order of Oddfish


Chibi Me, plus 90-Second Newbery: The Black Cauldron and Princess Academy

October 7, 2011

I taught a sci-fi and fantasy writing class for gifted junior high schoolers at Northwestern University of the summer. I just received the above from one of my students, Caitlin―known as Courtine on DeviantArt―a very funny chibi-style illustration of, um, myself! (Explanation: if the students were ever too rambunctious in class, I would quiet them down by fluttering my hands and cooing, “Quiet, my babies. Sleep, my babies.” Strangely, this always worked. I humbly submit this as advice to struggling teachers everywhere.) Great work, Caitlin!

As it happens, I am now teaching a writing seminar on Tuesdays at the Burley School in Chicago. The students all seem totally motivated and talented. I’m looking forward to working with them too.

Remember, the deadline for entries to the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is October 17―only 10 days away! Here’s a few more films I’ve received to tide you over.

First, we have another entry from Aaron Zenz and his children at the Bookie Woogie blog. You of course remember them from the spectacular 90-second shadow-puppet version of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. This movie is so good, it has been nominated for a Trailee Award by the School Library Journal! I hope they win!

Now one of the Bookie Woogie kids, the nine-year-old Lily, has gone solo―to do a 90-second version of The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander. One of my favorite Newbery award winning books! I was WAITING to get a Black Cauldron! And Lily does it justice. All of the narration and drawings by Lily. Take it away:

Delicious! I love Lily’s beyond-cute narration, the animated zombies staggering out of the cauldron, the joke about how “Orddu” is the common name, and how everyone is jumping into the cauldron at the end. Lily has such an expressive, funny way of telling a story. Another triumph for team Bookie Woogie!

Next up: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, sent to me by Tonya and Madison Marshall, and performed by the Happy Valley Homeschoolers:

A winner! I especially liked BOTH insane battle scenes, the way the prince whipped off his coat before dancing, the stern proclamation at the beginning — well-acted, well-shot, and fun! Thank you, Happy Valley Homeschoolers.

Remember, the 90-Second Newbery deadline is fast approaching! And the film festival itself will be November 5 at the New York Public Library, and November 16 at the Chicago Public Library. All details here.