Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poetry Redux: Adam Rex's The Flight Before Christmas

It seems mighty appropriate today to re-link to The Flight Before Christmas, Adam Rex's contribution to 30 Poets/30 Days. Adam writes and illustrates brilliant books, I must say, and I hope this poem ends up being part of one. Here's a tease and a link for you....

The Flight Before Christmas
by Adam Rex

'Tis the flight before Christmas. Our aircraft today
is a Boeing C-25 JingleBus sleigh.
At this time I would like to say "welcome aboard"
and please ask for all luggage and toys to be stored
in the space by your feet or the overhead sack.
Use caution untying the sack when you pack
as the toys may have shifted about during flight.
Santa gets a bit…

Please click here to see the whole poem. And enjoy!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quiet Time

I get the sense that things will be quiet here at GottaBook for the next two weeks (ish). So, while there might be sporadic posts, there may also be silence, and I figured I should mention that rather than simply disappearing.

I'm looking forward to 2010 here at the blog, as I have a few celebrations coming up, new poetry, and general merriment mixed in with a steady diet of "other."

Even if I post again, I want to take this opportunity to wish a big Happy New Year to you and all of yours, and may the rest of 2009 be full of peace, love, and the dessert of your choosing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Search Poetry - I Enjoy Popping Bubble Wrap with My Pinky Toe

The following poem was created not just by using any search terms that led people to GottaBook this week. Nooo. Instead, each of these search terms, including the title, was followed or preceded by "poem" or "poem about" (or those in plural form). So it's a "poem searching search poem" - a found poem for the Internet age. Or something like that!

I Enjoy Popping Bubble Wrap with My Pinky Toe
compiled by
Gregory K.

Wishing for a baby
If I were a star
Apology to my family
You got a new car

My first day at school
Donuts. Doughnuts. Breakfast
Hockey goalies cool

Monkey's party. Hat. S'mores
Bad week. Stuffy node.
Homework. Naughty Christmas
Coffee. Meatloaf ode.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Susan Taylor Brown's Susan Writes. Head on over and see all sorts of poetry and related posts... and probably nothing else nabbed from search terms!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Searching... people are searching

Today I noted 17 completely different search terms including "christmas poem" that led to my blog. My favorite was "hockey christmas poem for goalie brothers." Right on!

What I always find fascinating is the sheer number of people searching for, well, for everything online. I love getting in the flow of traffic so that folks looking for what I'm dishing out find me, but I also love the unexpected.

Admit it... you fellow bloggers look at your search terms from time to time, too. Right? Good. I thought so :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Pen Names, Perceptions... and Respect

On the surface, this has precious little to do with children's literature, I realize, but I still wanted to send you all over to Copyblogger to read the post Why James Chartrand Wears Women's Underpants.

Yes, it's a great title (hey, it's a blog about great writing so what do you expect) and I might send you that way for that alone, but the meat of the article is both fascinating and frustrating and a range of emotions in between.

You see, James Chartrand is a female using a pen name because she found better pay and more respect as a male. And as she says...

Truth be told, if just a name and perception of gender creates such different levels of respect and income for a person, it says a lot more about the world than it does about me.

It's a great post, and an interesting read in the comments, too. And it made me wonder about children's literature and whether any of these same issues exist in our field... and, if so, to what extent.

As often happens, I have no answers... only questions. And y'all?

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Poetry Re-Issue: Why I Love the Holidays In My Family

How often will Poetry Friday fall on the start of Hanukkah, on Christmas Day and on New Year's Day? That's what's happening today, then in two and three weeks. Cool. So, to keep up with "the season"...

Gregory K.

My dad lights the menorah.
My mom hangs Christmas lights.
And so the way I do the math,
It’s presents 20 nights!

The Poetry Friday roundup is over at Random Noodling today. Why not go check it out?

And if you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So screamed I many times today as I read Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, a Christmas story aloud enough times that my vocal chords needed a rest.

And I started to think, what does it say about me that among the read-aloud highlights for me over the years, many are marked by the ability for me to scream loudly or say words like "underpants" loudly to the great glee of the listeners? How much is my enjoyment of the unexpected... and how much is the reaction? Can you separate the two?

I have no answers, but maybe while I'm resting the chords overnight, one of y'all will know :-)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chicken Ten Thousand (and other "Deep Tracks")

I finally had some time this week to dive into the stacks, such as they are, at the second "branch" of the school library I've been supervising the last four plus (!!!!) years. When you stock a library from donations, you always end up with some fascinating contributions - sure, we might not have much from the last two years, but we have Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Sexton's children's book Joey and the Birthday Present (co-written with Maxine Kumin).

I ran into some other mighty fine books, too... ones I'd call "deep tracks," using the old music biz term. Like an original copy of David McKee's Elmer as well as his Tusk Tusk. That man loved his elephants! There were "celebrity" books of all ilk, from Fred Gwynne's amusing ones to Maria Shriver telling us what heaven is.

But in this go round, my absolute favorite book was 1968's Chicken Ten Thousand by Jacqueline Jackson, illustrated by Barbara Morrow. Main character Chicken Ten Thousand ends up escaping from a chicken processing facility and discovers what life can be for a free hen (including an informative conversation with a "wild" rooster).

Are there earlier books about the conditions in a massive chicken plant? Later ones? I'm guessing "no." Are there picture books about cows escaping from slaughterhouses or dairies? The most interesting thing is that I suspect the story still is just as viable now as it was then... but it still isn't like other picture books I've run into.

Do any of you all know it or know more of its history? I've not been able to find much....

I'm looking forward to getting to spend more time in that collection, as I only looked through about 1/4 of the picture books. Who knows what gems still lurk? Good times. Good times, indeed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Poetic Superstition

I'm mighty excited here, as my new computer is arriving today. Though I'm a geek of longstanding and have been a Mac user since 1985, I don't do enough hardcore computing or gaming tasks to merit new computers often. But... it was time.

So this afternoon or this evening, after I've set up the Mac (which will take about one minute longer than it takes to remove it from the box), I will carve out an hour or so to make sure that the first document I write on it will be a poem.

Call it a superstition or breaking in/seasoning the computer like one might do with a new baseball glove or wok... but to me it just feels right. Plus, it's an excuse to write poetry!

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is over at Wild Rose Reader. Go on over and check it out. There are a LOT of villanelles going around this week, by the way. Good stuff!

And hey... the next time you hear from me here, I hope I sound faster and newer and geekily happy, too.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tis the season... for lists!

We're getting near the end of another year, and "best of" lists are floating around everywhere. If you're interested in children's books, you can find lists galore... and now you don't even have to search to find 'em.

Instead, head on over to Chicken Spaghetti where Susan has a master list of "best children's books" lists! She keeps updating it, too, so keep on checking.

But it's not just "best of" list time. Nope. Over at MotherReader, Pam has a fabulous post called 105 Ways to Give a Book. Even if you're not thinking of giving gifts, the post is worth a read.

Need more book ideas? Check out Abby the Librarian's Twelve Days of Giving - a "list in process" still, but chock full of good stuff.

And totally off the topic of books, why not check out Susan Taylor Brown's list of over 200 movies about the literary life. Have you seen 'em all (cuz I sure haven't!).

If I add more, this'll be a clear list post, too, so I'll stop here. Now go on off and check those lists out!