Saturday, March 04, 2006

A dreary Saturday morning here on St. Thomas. I have both computers going at the moment. Finally figured out how to set up the software and load books to my laptop and then burn them to CDs. I could just load them to my Ipod, but I like having the CDs. I can move them between the car and my CD player, etc. I am downloading Wicked by Gregory Maguire at the moment. I bought a copy of the book when it came out, but I have no idea where it went, but I am sure I lent it to someone and didn't get it back, which is fine. I loved Maguire's Lost, about a writer who ends up in a house supposedly haunted by the spirit of the man who inspired Dickens' to write about Scrooge. There is also the question if the remains still in the house are those of a Jack the Ripper victim. One of those can't put it down books.

Just read an article in the paper about the beloved huge ficus tree in the front yard of a home on the way to Charlotte Amalie. The tree was at least 5 feet around and gave such a tropical feel to the home and I am sure, much shade. The front yard now has a huge stump in it and looks barren. Steve has had to listen to me fuss about it every time we drive by so he brought home the newspaper article about the tree. I am not the only person upset by its demise. The neighbors are upset and people on the island are wondering why it could have been cut down without a permit for tree removal. Under Virgin Islands law the VI Agriculture Dept. is supposed to issue tree removal permits but no one has ever been designated to issue the permits! Nor are there any established procedures for how to go about getting the permit. This is so typical for the VI and so very sad in relation to what people are able to do to deface this once very beautiful island. Steve has now added another nickname to the many I already have with him: tree-hugger. This one I am quite proud of! :-)

Sophie and I read another one of Scholastic's Graphix novels this a.m. Queen Bee by Chynna Clugston (creator the comic series Blue Monday, Scooter Girl, and Strangetown) This B/W graphic novel is perfect for those middle school age girls who are worried about how to fit in. Haley Madison, former geek, is determined to be the most popular girl in her new NYC school. She learns how to be cool from her Mom's magazine, Teenz. But what Haley can't control is her power of psychokinesis - she throws things without trying and breaks more mirrors that even a cat has lives to deal with. Haley is on the top of her game until the new girl shows up, who just happens to have the same powers as Haley. Let the queen wars begin and they are not pretty! Clugston has the Nasty Girls down pat, and I can't help but love the guy who befriends Haley and helps her focus on the value of being "normal". The MS girls at Montessori are going to eat this one up.

Now I need to address a book that I find quite frustrating - Peter Rabbit's Happy Easter by Grace Maccarone, with illustrations by David McPhail. Granted McPhail did attempt to make his illustrations look a bit like the classic muted pastel illustration in the original Peter Rabbit books by Beatrix Potter, but they just aren't the same. And, Maccarone uses the names of the characters from Potter's books, but no where on the verso page or anywhere else do I see any indication that this is "based on," or "an adaptation of" the works of Beatrix Potter. On the other hand, the Frederick Warne book, Peter Rabbit's Easter clearly states "based on works by Beatrix Potter." I know I am being "anal," but I really think credit should be given where it is due and Potter deserve the credit for creating such a wonderful set of characters, especially Peter Rabbit. The plot bothers me a bit also, as Peter Rabbit proceeds to steal an armful of eggs from the neighbors and stacks them against the wall where several pots of open paint just happen to fall on them. Tah-dah! Colored eggs! But Mother Rabbit insists her naughty son return the eggs. So, Peter Rabbit becomes the Easter Bunny when the neighbors find their returned colorful eggs in their gardens and yards. The logical part of me says - these were not boiled eggs so why didn't any of them break during all of this activity, especially in the illustration of Peter Rabbit throwing the eggs behind him as he walks along. Okay - like I tell my students: "Chill, it is a story!" Yes, it is, just not a good one in my humble opinion.

All for now - this is our trip to Shipwreck for a burger Saturday! And, we haven't picked up the mail all week so I am anxious to see what new catalogs and magazines (several months late) have come in. I am getting the evil eye from the hungry husband so off we go!