Friday, September 22, 2006

An absolutely gorgeous autumn day in NC. These 70s temps are my kind of weather. Not too hot and not too cold. I am enjoying wearing a sweater. I have one of my son's soft and snuggly old flannel shirts on as I type this. Living in shorts, tank tops, and flip flips for 2 1/2 years on St. Thomas got old. It is fun to put on a nice pant suit for work. My days of short skirts and high heels are over, but I still like to dress up now and then. Wish I were out in old Washington walking along the waterfront checking out the boats. I like Greenville, but I miss the ocean.

With autumn in the air I thought reading a Halloween title would be appropriate to get me in the jack-o-lantern mood. I am still pondering my reaction to JT Petty's The Squampkin Patch: A Nasselrogt Adventure. I read the reviews for it and they love it, including his quirky sense of humor. Okay, I have to agree with the reviewers that Petty's sense of humor is more than a bit quirky. I think it is just plain weird and many of his one-liners will go over kids' heads. Such as - "Main Street was like Alan Ladd, short but handsome." How many 9-12 year olds, the intended audience, will know who Alan Ladd is? Heck, I love old movies and I had to look Ladd up online to see what the short and handsome reference is all about. Aside from the one-liners, it is a funny and sometimes creepy story of two kids, assuming their parents are dead, escape from a nasty orphanage/child labor zipper factory, and settle into the home of a pumpkin cookie fanatic candy make who hated kids. The disarray in the home attests to his unexpected and not so welcomed departure. Unknowingly they nourish the squampkin (pumpkin shaped nasty little creatures that live underground and are connected by their stems) patch in the yard. Chloe has watered the patch with her tears and the squampkins are intent on taking her to their underground home and "protecting" her, whether she likes it or not. One has to just go with the story and enjoy it for what it is - a weird romp in the pumpkin, oh - excuse me - squampkin patch as two quite unique children try to solve the mystery of the candy maker's disappearance. Offer this one to the readers who like Lemony Snicket. The humor may go over many younger reader's heads, but they will have fun with the story anyway. The 5th - 7th graders will get his one-liners, or at least most of them. Some may even try the pumpkin chocolate-chip cookie recipe that concludes the novel. I'm shaking my head, with a bemused smile on my face, as I write about this one. One weird book!

That's it for today. The weekend is almost upon us!