Monday, July 11, 2011
Watch Out For Waddleskiffers
If you have seen one up close and personal, then you know that a waddleskiffer is no kitty's swimming winged dinner. Those dudes are huge--as large as you or I, if you're a typical, so-called "domesticated," feline--so I wouldn't suggest trying to capture one for a snack. Those beaks are sharp and dangerous! Word to the wise, my friends.
I thought you were bringing the fish!
Actually, these guys are quite friendly, and they are lightning-fast swimmers, although they are awkward waddlers on land, ice, or snow. They are well-behaved and always impeccably dressed in those cute tuxedoes, so they are fun at parties, particularly when any type of swimming dinner is served. They also make great fictional characters.
Mr. Popper's Penguins, written by Richard Atwater & Florence Atwater, and illustrated by Robert Lawson, has delighted human children and adults alike since it was first published in 1938. A Newbery Honor Book recipient, the story continues to stoke the imaginations of its readers. There have been many different editions over the years, utilizing several illustrators, but the original seems most charming. Our book trailer (above) summarizes the plot.
The intended audience is ages 9-12, but the book makes a great read-aloud for younger early readers, and younger young adults (ages 13-14) should find a wealth of humor and imagination in the Popper family's adventures with their waddleskiffer friends. Sometimes the best reads may be found in the classics, and a book first published 73 years ago certainly sounds like one to moi.
How Do Waddleskiffers Wash & Press Those Tuxedoes? Just Asking,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Readers Advisory News Beat
P.S. Okay, I know Bob Dylan's "Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)" (1967) involves an Arctic Eskimo (unless you prefer a more symbolic interpretation), and waddleskiffers are exclusively Antarctic, but it's a cute bit of folk-rock, and I'm not too particular which of the earth's poles we musically visit in these closers. My favorite cover is by Manfred Mann (1968), whose version (entitled "Mighty Quinn") topped the U.K. pop singles charts and was a top ten hit on the U.S. pop singles charts.