Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

This movie was the scariest of my childhood. I was terrified of it for years and unfortunately so was my brother. For some reason we were home alone and decided to watch a movie, so I turned on the Disney Channel. This was one of the approved channels, and after reading the description of the movie and seeing the period costumes, I was sold. I think my brother thought this was going to be a "girl" movie but I was older and had control of the remote so he was stuck watching it. By the end of the movie, the two of us had every light in the house on and were huddled together on the couch jumping at every noise. For years after that, whenever either of us are driving through woods and come to a clearing, we expected to see wolves galloping across the open field to attack our car.

I have in the past couple years been looking for a version of the movie to buy and give to my brother as a gag gift. This film was made in the UK in 1986 and the only copy I could ever find was about $70, which seemed a bit expensive for a VHS tape. Then, a few days ago, I was searching for a cover image to the book (which I will review soon) and found the whole movie up in eight installments on Youtube. My joy abounded. I found it very difficult to concentrate on anything until I finally gave up and watched it. Even with the poor video and sound quality I was taken back to that night in the TV Room and had a lot of fun remembering how much my brother and I loved to fear this movie. It does deviate from the book from time to time but overall I think it is a good interpretation of the book. I hope you enjoy.

Sick, one of the best poems

Sick by Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite children's poems. I love the rhythm of this poem, how it moves from line to line getting more ridiculous as it moves on. I can hear a child thinking about this in the morning before her parents come wake her up and rehearsing parts of it before they come in. Then the big moment, her parents come in her room and the performance begins:

Sick by Shel Silverstein
"I cannot go to school today," Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that?
What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"