24. Maurice Sendak And Rock And Roll


New Visitor’s…Please read the two paragraphs at the end of this column before beginning your explorations in theater, movies, television, books, and the Arts. It will say New Visitor’s Greeting and be in boldface.

World Cancer Day…Yesterday was ‘World Cancer Day’ and it flew by like a cow in a hurricane. The only article I could find was on page four. The Super Bowl gets four weeks of coverage. World Cancer Awareness Day gets page four. The news was scary and that it was buried or not covered worries me more. One out of two men worldwide will experience some form of cancer in their lifetime and one out of three women will experience the same. Thirteen million deaths are predicted worldwide in the next decade. We are at the eight million deaths a year mark now. Tobacco companies seem to be targeting third world countries where laws are less stringent and cigarette use is running wild. The anti-message does not seem to be getting out in these areas. Pollution from new industries is on the rise in these countries. It, too, is adding to the rise cancer deaths.


Books…The Afro-American Literary Book Club (www.aalbc.org) is a great stop for help with your next book selection. The site features creative authoring, book information, book discussions, and interviews with everyone in written, audio, or video formats. Their Film and Celebrity section found in the upper index is my favorite. It is a treat to hear other opinions on films and DVD’s, especially if you love to disagree. The interviews with film celebrities are just as revealing as their discussions with poets, authors, and illustrators. You can sign up for their newsletter under Fun Stuff. It is found in the upper index. The eight-dollar fee is worth it if you enjoy books in electronic, audio, or written format.

Sleep My Pretty (Said In A Witch-like Voice)…You write things in your column that take quite a good deal of time forming in your mind because it is a topic you hope everyone will enjoy or respond to in one way or another. You put it out for comment and Viola, no response. Silent majority, I guess. Then you throw in an off the cuff remark about “helping you to sleep” and your email suddenly becomes loaded and your phone won’t stop ringing. I am not an expert on sleep. However, reading everything on sleep comes second only to my fascination with pizza. New studies in every journal say that the quality of your sleep does not matter. It is the quantity of sleep that will enhance brain function and the quality of your life. Seventy million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder or are not happy with their sleep. Those that snore are doomed. Okay! A bit too harsh! The John Hopkins Medical Health study has more and more Americans going in for sleep testing. It is all night, so bring your fuzzy pajamas and Teddy Bear (capitalized here for its importance). The test might be better than night meds to really find out what is wrong with you. I am trying to find the cost.

If you are on your iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Ipad, or television before you go to sleep, don’t count on getting any sleep. I believe that the spoon of peanut butter I take before bedtime helps me to wake up more lively in the morning. I am still waiting for the studies on that one. Please don’t ask me to do any peanut butter stories in my next column.


Movies…Just when you thought you could walk down the street without running into a vampire or a zombie, Warm Bodies opens at your local theater with a 20 million dollar box office take for the weekend. This is great box office take for a Super Bowl weekend offering at your local theater. Thank goodness! This is a comedy with kissing. Like Pleasantville’s theme of love putting color back on your face, love can de-zombie-fy you in this movie and in real life. I made that word up, but that is what happens in the movie. The Body’s Movie stars Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, and John Malkovich. Hoult, you will remember him from the film About A Boy (2002) with Hugh Grant. Toni Collette as his crazed, over the top, and likable mother stole that show. Grant, in the About A Boy movie, tries to fix both of them.

 Dance…Three readers want to know where in Philadelphia you can dance. To rock and roll not rap is their request. Let me know, please, of your favorite dance spot and I will post it for everyone. We will meet at the yet to be announced dance place next week for a dance off or to “get our dance on” as the kids would say.

Poetry…Modeling poetry is a great writing style that will add some additional voltage to your brain. Take a poem that you like and change it to a more modern format or have it run in the opposite direction of the poet’s intended message. Here is the ageless and anonymous Friday’s Child rewritten with a more contemporary theme:

Old Fashioned Form

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
And a child that’s born on the Sabbath day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

New Fashioned Form

Monday’s child is a baseball thrower,
Tuesday’s child is flower grower.
Wednesday’s child will visit the stars,
Thursday’s child’s recipes will fill jars.
Friday’s child helps the poor,
Saturday’s child sings songs galore.
And Sunday’s child will be full of cheer,
Is kind and helpful to those far and near.


Children’s Literature…Who Hops by Katie Davis is proof that you do not need a lot of words to present a creative idea that children can run with and develop into unique short term projects. The author presents a group of animals that can jump, hop, or fly. The last animal just doesn’t fit the group.  In every instance, it fails in funny sorts of ways. Bats fly, birds fly, elephants fly…no they don’t…as a large, adventurous elephant crash lands on its nose on the next page. Composing humorous situations is not easy. This book is a good model for starting that process in even very young children.


Children’s Literature II…Caldecott and Company by Maurice Sendak is a group of essays, speeches, and thoughts on illustrating and writing children’s books. Maurice Sendak talks about the music he sees and hears in his drawings and the books he writes. Sendak in his Laura Ingalls Wilder Award acceptance speech chronicles how her books made a difference in his life and the way he writes children’s books. Experiencing writing and illustrating from the author’s eyes is a great help to librarians, teachers, and the student of creative writing and creative illustrating. Art teachers will love another book called The Art of Maurice Sendak for their classroom library and resource materials section. It is an outstanding follow-up book for Caldecott And Company. In a future column, I will be talking about The Rosenbach Museum (22nd and Delancy, Philadelphia, PA) that houses many of his works. It is a great visit.

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.

New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends, social media connections, and other lovers of discussion.


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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