When she isn’t reading books, our Lucy likes to look out the big windows that overlook the yard. She’s always on guard for squirrels and other intruders, and lets them know they are only welcome in the trees, not the grass.
That’s how I got my idea for the May 2013 episode of The Timbertoes, where a pack of squirrels play a daring game with Spot. Ron Zalme always does a great job with the artwork.
Lucy turned 12 on April Fools Day, but she still has puppy energy and curiosity. She’s my pal and we love her.
It won’t be out until August, but here’s the cover of my next book—a trilogy of scary stories set in a New Hampshire college town. I call the city Cheshire Notch, but I based all of the settings on Keene. So I got to draw on the world’s most successful Pumpkin Festival, the very cool 1760s tavern that’s a hundred yards from our house, and all the quirkiness and spookiness of the downtown/college atmosphere. All through the lens of some 12-year-old boys. We’ll have a video out soon.
So we’re watching The Simpsons a couple of nights ago and Homer asks for a subscription to Highlights. Glad to see two icons linked like that. Maybe Highlights can return the favor and Goofus can watch the show. Listen to it here: simpsons_highlights
I wouldn’t tell you this if it wasn’t absolutely true. A couple of nights ago I wrote an article about Abraham Lincoln’s great-grandchildren, who basically lived as idle, depraved rich off the family trust, let the properties be overrun with animals and fall into disrepair, and let the lineage end with their childless generation. Last line is “You wonder what Honest Abe would have thought of all this.” So – here’s the irony – I’m proofreading that last line when our dog Lucy starts barking like crazy. Sandra says there’s a dog on the porch. I go down and open the front door and this very sweet schnauzer is wagging his tail, waiting to be let in. Never seen him before. I start checking his tags. My neighbor comes out and says, “I know him; he lives over there,” pointing to the roof of a house a block away. “His name’s Lincoln.”
JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS HAS BASKETBALL ACTION
As the final buzzer sounds, Tara takes a hard foul while shooting a three-pointer. Her team is down by two, and Tara heads to the free-throw line. She’s never made three free throws in a row. Can she do it under all that pressure?
You can find Highlights in most schools and public libraries.
The series is getting a great response from readers. Here’s a letter from a girl named Monica, who should be pleased with “Up and Over”:
I absolutely LOVE your new sports series, Game On! Rich Wallace knows how to write about sports very well (and I would know because I play sports)! Could you please ask Rich Wallace to write one about basketball?
Lengthy Travel; Great Payoff
Last weekend Sandra and I spent 24 hours traveling and 22 hours staying put in a giant hotel in Las Vegas. We left home at 5:45 a.m. Saturday for a two-hour ride to Boston, flew to Dallas, had a long layover, and finally flew to LV for the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English. Got home Monday at 3 a.m. In between we had a great time, and it had nothing to do with the slot machines (we didn’t bother) or the outrageously priced food (we opted for the $15 breakfast–a bowl of oatmeal). The fun was hanging out with some old friends–Shanetia Clark and Shimana Harris–catching up with other great people in the field of children’s literature, and participating in a panel on sports and society. After the panel, Shanetia and Shimana led a roundtable discussion about using my books in the classroom.
One of my very favorite days every year is the Keene Pumpkin Fest, which takes place tomorrow in downtown Keene, NH. This will be our fourth year at the festival, and it gets better every year. This time, the Guinness Book of World Records people are on hand to certify a record — the town is aiming for more than 30,000 uniquely carved and lit jack-o-lanterns on Saturday night! Sandra and I went to one of the carving stations yesterday and did our best.