Monkeys: A Sonnet

Monkeys: A Sonnet
By:  Jonathan Atkinson, Homeschool, Grade 2
I love monkeys because they are so fun!
Monkeys are so happy and friendly.
I really, really wish that I had one.
They’re wild but they could never offend me.
Of all the mammals, monkeys are so cool,
I love to see them swing from tree to tree.
It’s good that they don’t have to go to school,
They get to play all day with their Mommy.
My Mom says I can’t have one as a pet,
I’ll keep on begging until she lets me.
I haven’t managed to convince her yet,
But I’ve just really got to have a monkey.
When I am 23, I’ll move away,
And with 100 monkeys I will play.
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by David Atkinson, Homeschool, Grade 6
The white stuff,
Flutters down,
A whole new way
To look at the day.
It might seem to cover
All of nature,
But it adds
An aspect
Another dimension
To God’s beautiful world
Like nothing else.
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Snow inspired poem

White rooftop landscape.
Hares sprinkle tracks silently,
throughout the pine trees.

Stubbles of thin grass,
poke through the snow stubbornly,
against the child’s wish.

But soon to be gone,
those stubbles of grass, covered,
by glistening flakes.

- Ashley Robinson
Dallastown Area Intermediate School
Grade 6

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Cartoon executive remembered for He-Man, Superman work

Lou Scheimer, who founded the Filmation animation studio that produced cartoons including “Ghostbusters,” “Fat Albert” and “He-Man,” has died. He was 84. See an episode of He-Man here:

The Pittsburgh native behind the cartoon powerhouse died on Thursday, two days before his 85th birthday, Scheimer’s wife Mary Ann said on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Scheimer’s company was the largest animation operation in the country in the early 1980s by number of employees.

Scheimer, who graduated with an art degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, founded the company in 1962 with a $5,000 loan from his mother-in-law and opened a one-room office in Southern California. His first big hit was “The New Adventures of Superman” and the studio went on to work on series including “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “The Archie Show.”

He won a Daytime Emmy Award as a producer of the 1974-75 season of the “Star Trek” animated series.

Scheimer retired several years ago. He is survived by his wife, his daughter, Erika and his son, Lane.

Check out a profile of his company on Wikipedia, including an extensive list of the cartoons produced by it here: Filmation

Watch an episode of Tarzan: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Reported by the Associated Press from LOS ANGELES

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Theater classes for ages 3-16

DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre is offering theater classes for students ages 3-16 at the theater, 100 Carlisle Ave.  Deadline: Oct. 30.

Storybook Trunk Adventure for ages 3-4, 9-11 a.m. Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Cost: $18-$67.

Goldie and the Bears Mini-Musical for ages 5-7, 9-11 a.m. Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Cost: $72.

Jack and the Magic Beans for ages 8-16, 9 a.m.-noon Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23; and 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 7, 14 and 21. Cost: $185.


Information: 848-8623 or

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Poetry from students at Fishing Creek Elementary School


By Ben Barone

Cats are soft

Cute, cute, cute

Cats are small

Cute, cute, cute

Cats are friendly

Cute, cute, cute



By Ella Beam


Funny, funny, funny


Learning, learning, learning


Great, great, great



By Zachary Benson


Food, food, food

Ice cream

Food, food, food


Food, food, food



By Autumn Broker


Presents, presents, presents


Presents, presents, presents

Christmas Eve

Presents, presents, presents



By Nicky Buchanan

Batting and fielding

Fun, fun, fun

Catching and pitching

Fun, fun, fun

Coaches are nice

Fun, fun, fun



By Abby Burkholder


Yum, yum, yum


Yum, yum, yum


Yum, yum, yum

Swiss cakes

Yum, yum, yum



By Amber Cleland

Play a lot

Eating, eating, eating

Dripping water

On the floor, on the floor, on the floor

Running with friends

Happy, happy, happy



By Amysia Dodson


Bark, bark, bark


Bark, bark, bark


Bark, bark, bark



By Miranda Glover


Swimming, swimming, swimming


Swimming, swimming, swimming


Swimming, swimming, swimming



By Cassidy Hackenberger


One D, One D, One D


One D, One D, One D


One D, One D, One D



By Andrew Hawkins


Sports, sports, sports


Sports, sports, sports


Sports, sports, sports



By Tanner Herman


Hit, hit, hit


Hit, hit, hit


Hit, hit, hit



By Nic Kauffman


Nic, Nic, Nic


Nic, Nic, Nic


Nic, Nic, Nic



By Skyler Latchford 


Football, football, football


Football, football, football

Six Inches

Football, football, football



By Madison Marks


Animals, animals, animals


Animals, animals, animals


Animals, animals, animals



By Kajal Mehta


T-Devels, T-Devels, T-Devels


T-Devels, T-Devels, T-Devels


T-Devels, T-Devels, T-Devels



By Anna Nguyen


Good, good, good


Smells, smells, smells


Yummy, yummy, yummy



By Taylor Reed

Cotton, cotton, cotton

I want to sleep on cotton

Cotton, cotton, cotton

Make cotton people

Cotton, cotton, cotton

Get some cotton



By Sydney Renzo


Playing all day


Sleeping all day


Playing all day



By Max Saltzer


Math, math, math


Math, math, math


Math, math, math



By Brenna Silvio

Softball, softball, softball

Super fun

Softball, softball, softball

Fast pitch is cool

Softball, softball, softball

I love softball



By Nathan Smith


Football, football, football


Football, football, football


Football, football, football



By Alexis Stakem


Summer, summer, summer


Summer, summer, summer

Hot Days

Summer, summer, summer

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Five great books on Alaska



The Junior Dispatch is once again planning to offer complete coverage of the Iditarod dog sled race and our coverage will officially start on Friday, March 1, but be sure to catch some early coverage all through out February.

Junior Dispatch invites you to participate by commenting or e-mailing with your thoughts on this story or the race by submitting artwork you’ve created.

Along with the Iditarod coverage, we will also be presenting a serialized novel, as we do every year during the Iditarod. This year, we will present “Rescue Dog of the High Pass” by Jim Kjelgaard a story about a young man and his dog working in the famed St. Bernard Pass in Europe.

The reading project will include videos, vocabulary words, coloring pages and other things for kids to do.

Get the FREE version of “Rescue Dog of the High Pass” here.

Alaska librarian Elizabeth Moreau, who also served on this year’s Newberry Award panel, has assembled a list of her favorite Alaska-inspired children’s books.
Here’s what she came up with:

POLAR BEAR NIGHT   alaska-polarbear
By Lauren Thompson and Stephen Savage
This is not specifically Alaska, but it is about a little polar bear who wakes up in the arctic night and he wanders around. He sees the walrus, and the sea otters and sort of all of the Alaskan animals.
It has just come out on board book, and it’s a very sweet bedtime story that is really going to work for very, very small toddlers up to preschoolers and Kindergartners. While not necessarily Alaskana, it’s has all of our Alaska animal friends.
I’ve read this to kids in three different states, and they’ve connected to it in every state because there’s something universal about when you can’t sleep and wandering around your home.

alaska-berrymagicBERRY MAGIC
By Betty Huffmon and Teri Sloat
Teri Sloat, while she lives in Washington now, spent several years teaching in the Bush with her husband in rural villages. And this is a wonderful, wonderful story that she heard and retold from a Yup’ik Eskimo storyteller, Betty Huffmon, as a traditional Yup’ik tale of a little girl who goes berry hunting.
It’s a lot of fun and it’s a very joyous story.
I love (Sloat’s) artwork. It’s very full of life and color. … It’s a traditional Yupik tale, but there is still that (universal) element of a little girl and her grandmother and doing things together.

alaska-mamadoyouMAMA, DO YOU LOVE ME?
By Barbara M. Joosse and Barbara Lavellee
Two great Barbaras … This is one I have personally given as baby shower gifts.
Barbara Lavellee lives in Alaska and Barbara Joosse lives in Wisconsin, but this is sort of the very traditional, once again the universal (question), “do you love me?” But then the answers are very Alaskan: “I love you more than the raven loves his treasure. More than the dog loves his tail. More than the whale loves his spout.”
Before I came to Alaska, this is one I was familiar with … Barbara Lavallee is one of our most prolific Alaska children’s artists.

alaska-mynameMY NAME IS NOT EASY
By Debbie Dahl Edwardson
Speaking of national recognition, this was a National Book Award finalist last year.
This is Debbie Dahl Edwardson, who is an Alaskan, and this is based off what actually happened to her father-in-law, which is that he was removed from his home and taken to a boarding school where he was not allowed to speak Inupiaq.
He is having his culture systematically stripped away from him. And then there sort of becomes this other element where the government is doing some TB vaccination testing on the students. And this is very much what actually happened to Alaska Natives in the 50s, that they were removed from their homes and sent to boarding schools.
My future father-in-law tells stories of basically the same thing. Being hit with a ruler if he spoke in Yup’ik.

By Martin W. Sandler
This is brand new this year. I actually got a copy of it for my Newbery adventure.
(It’s) a true story that happened in 1897 where eight whaling vessels were stuck in the ice off of Point Barrow. President McKinley ordered these three men to drive a herd of reindeer across Alaska to feed the men who would otherwise have starved to death on the whaling vessels.
One of the people who was on the (trip) had just discovered this new thing that was called photography. … There’s tons of photos from the period.
It’s another probably fifth- to seventh-grade book. I had to bring in one non-fiction book.
There are so many Alaska adventure stories that are completely true, and I think we tend to only focus on Balto and the Iditarod. Kids have heard that story. If you grew up in Alaska, you know that story, but this is another very cool, true adventure that happened in Alaska.


What are your favorite Alaska-themed kids’ books? Tell us about them in the comments.

Reported by KYLE HOPKINS of the Anchorage Daily News. Contact Hopkins at Twitter updates: (MCT)

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Your guide to chalk art & games

Junior Dispatch, as part of a crossover with its sister site, York Weekend, is happy to present some tips and inspirational videos for kids and adults ready to make their own chalk art.

First up, we witness the master chalk artist, Julian Beever.

Take a look at what optical illusion chalk art looks like from another angle.

Another dramatic transformation.

More from the “Pavement Picasso,” Julian Beever.

This is a quick and simple game for young kids.

Make a sidewalk obstacle course with all sorts of spins and instructions for players to complete.

How about some extreme hopscotch?

Or an even longer hopscotch sequence?

Want to make your own sidewalk chalk? Find out here.

Now learn how to make sidewalk paint.

Some sidewalk art tips from Lakeview Art Supply.

Did you know there was a music group called Sidewalk Chalk? Check them out in their video called “Water.”

We can’t forget this one since we grew up in the 1980s — a song by Madonna called “Sidewalk Talk.” Just change the word “Talk” for “Chalk” and you’ve got a great kids song!

Finally, check out the videos from ChalkCityFamily, for a variety of neat ideas on chalk art products.

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Creating comics with Dawn Griffin

Meet the cast of Dawn Griffin's "Zorphbert & Fred" comic.

Junior Dispatch had an opportunity to chat with Dawn Griffin, artist for the “Zorphbert & Fred” comic about her work. You can actually win some of her comics and books by attending a “Your First Comic” session. Find out more about that here.

Griffin, 33, majored in Graphic Design/Illustration at Tyler School of Art (of Temple University) in Elkins Park, Pa. She lives in Havertown, Pa., with her husband and has a Lab/Rottweiler mix. Some favorite things: ice cream, Cleveland sports, “Thundercats” (new and old TV series), Pixar movies, video games, “Big Bang Theory,” and she says “my favorite season is autumn!”

Read some of her comics at (The comic is currently on a break, but you can enjoy the old ones.)

How did your interest in art and comics begin?
I’ve always been drawing, making up stories and telling jokes, since as far back as I can remember. It took me a while to find the perfect outlet for all these creative endeavors— the combination of the 3 is called “sequential art”, also known as comics! Around 12 or so I was drawing and writing comics with consistent characters and at 14, I submitted to syndicates for the first time.

How did you get your first piece of art published?
Technically speaking, my first piece of art that was published was in my middle school student-made newsletter. I followed suit in high school and college, sending in comics to the school newspaper. All I really had to do was ask! However, my first professionally (meaning, I was paid for it) published piece was an illustration for a magazine. I was just about to graduate from college, and working a graphic design internship. My supervisor knew of my illustration talent, and put me in contact with a friend of hers who worked for a magazine called Philadelphia Style. Next thing I knew, I was drawing a caricature of four top chefs in Philadelphia, and got paid for it!

You told Junior Dispatch that you tried for a long time to get a comic syndicated. What does that mean and what happened to your comic?
The comics that are published in the newspaper on the “funnies” page are syndicated comics, for the most part. Much like an actor may get an agent to help him or her find acting jobs, a syndicate will help get a cartoonist’s comic into different newspapers, across the country, or even across the world — for a share of the profit, usually 50/50! The tricky part is that not just anyone can be syndicated. The big syndicates will receive 10,000 or more submissions a year and only select 1 cartoonist to be offered a contract. Also, sometimes pure talent won’t earn you that spot; a lot of the reasoning behind whom they chose has to do with a right-time-right-place luck of the draw. It’s a really hard field to get into, and be successful. That said, I submitted my first comic, called “Leftovers,” to syndicates for almost 10 years. After getting 10 years worth of rejection letters, I decided maybe “Leftovers” just wasn’t the right comic for the “funny pages”… And decided to retire it around 2004.

But you didn’t give up drawing comics! Now you’ve got Zorphbert and Fred. What can you tell us about these two aliens?
Nope, I will never give up drawing comics, I love it too much! Zorphbert and Fred were “born” maybe a year after retiring “Leftovers”, and it truly was like meeting new friends. In the beginning, I had an idea of their personalities, but it took 100s of comics to fully grown to know them- they seems to take on qualities all on their own. Zorphbert is the Lead Research Cadet, and is in charge of collecting the research data and reporting back to the manager. Fred is his partner Research Cadet, helping Zorphbert understand this crazy planet we call Earth. They are very much polar opposites in terms of personality- Zorphbert is smart, grumpy, and high-strung. Fred is a roll-with-the-punches type guy, who wishes he could have been disguised as a cat instead of a dog — he really likes kitty cats! It’s a classic combination, you have probably seen the same dynamic before, in characters like Garfield & Odie, or Bucky & Satchel, or Ren & Stimpy, or Laurel and Hardy!

How many Z&F comics have you created so far? Will you be doing them for a long time?
“Zorphbert & Fred” are approaching 600 comics, enough for 3 whole books of 200 comics each! The comic itself is about 5 years old now, and since I am my own boss, my rule of thumb is to keep drawing Z&F until I don’t feel passion for the story or the characters anymore. I would love to say I’ll be drawing Z&F comics forever, but part of the glory of being an independent creator is that if I am inspired to work on a new comic, I am don’t contractually obligated to keep drawing a comic I feel I have grown beyond. However, I don’t see myself giving up this comic easily at all!

Is it hard to make so many comics? Do you ever get tired of drawing them?
The issue isn’t so much that I tire of drawing comics, it’s that my regular day job and other projects may tire me out and some days I really just need a break. In fact, recently, I have decided to run Z&F on a “Seasonal Schedule”, meaning I’ll post consistently for 4 months straight, and then take a 2 month “hiatus”, or break. This helps me recharge, rest up and be ready for the next season… And helps me create BETTER comics! Hey, if TV shows can do it, so can I!

What tools do you use to make your comics?
Long ago I would use a pencil for sketching, and then a fountain pen & black India ink to draw the lines. Then, I would scan the comic, and make some more adjustments on the computer. However, now I own a “Tablet PC Laptop”, which looks like a regular laptop, but you can flip the screen around and fold it down, like a tablet.  I sketch, ink, color, and add the words all on the computer now! The screen is pressure-sensitive, meaning the harder you press down, the thicker the line.. So it’s a lot like drawing with a fountain pen! It’s nice not to have to scan in the original, and there’s no more ink spills!

Wow, that laptop sounds expensive… and hard to use! What kind of materials do you think a kid needs to make comics?
As much as kids are into technology today, I would suggest starting with the classic tools and really trying new and different things to see what you like! It doesn’t matter WHAT you use when you’re first starting out, just that you DRAW all the time! Practice, practice, practice! Try new tools; markers, pencils, pens, erasers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolor… See what you like! It’s just like when I went to Art School for college— we tried every medium, and learned how to do it RIGHT, at first. Then, slowly, we discovered what we really excelled at, and perfected that medium, that style. If you want to make comics, use that time to be away from the computer and just draw and try new things. It’s a lot of fun, and relaxing. Worry about buying expensive equipment later!

Do you have any advice for young artists and writers?
Just keep at it. Don’t let a few negative words bring you down. Even the best artists will hear negative feedback from critics — it’s all apart of the business. All creative mediums are “subjective” — meaning some will like it and some will not — and THAT is the beauty of it! If it was simply “right” or “wrong”, it would be MATH, not ART! Draw because you WANT to draw, not because you want to impress anyone, or earn money, or be the best. The most wonderful artwork, stories, music, poems, or comics comes from people who REALLY love what they do! Just keep at it, and you’ll see yourself improving over the years. You’ll look back at old artwork and be amazed at how far you have come!

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When I landed on the moon …

This is an entry into Junior Dispatch’s alien short story contest. The effort earns the writer a free book from the York Emporium and she’s now in the running to win a $50 movie gift card and a $50 gift certificate from The York Emporium. Read the rules to the contest here, and get your story in by August 1.

By Iyanna Porter
Age 8, York

Once upon a time I flew in a space shuttle. I landed on the moon. I ran out and saw little green
people. I walked to them and asked “who are you?”

They said in a very strange voice “aliens.”

They showed me all around and I asked lots of questions. Then they showed me an empty house and said this is where you’ll be staying. I saw all their planets too.

The aliens were funny and playful, they like to sing and dance just like me. They also showed me all sorts of jobs there that had to be done. They have all kinds of computers and technology. They have aliens who dig for electricity like we dig for oil.

Then I showed them some of our stuff. I was a baker. I made cakes, pudding and cookies. They never had any of this before. They asked me to make it every day. Then I made cupcakes and brownies. They really loved them so I baked and I baked and baked. I loved baking for the aliens.

Also, I was a doctor and I worked in a furniture department. Also, I was a dentist for aliens who had loose teeth. I loved all of my jobs.

I also really enjoyed playing and studying with the aliens. They taught me lots of things. I enjoyed them so much I stayed and lived there forever. — THE END

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Books bring baseball to life

The Major League Baseball season is now underway and coming soon to a ballpark near you. To get you in the mood for the season, here are some baseball books that bring out all the excitement and beauty of the game: the thwack of the bat, the smell of a freshly mowed infield and a ball that is going, going . . . gone!

“The Super Sluggers: Rainmaker”
By Kevin Markey. Age 8 and up. $16.

The Super Sluggers books are always filled with humor, adventure and excitement. In the newest novel, it’s the Rambletown Rounders’ last season playing together and they’re the defending champs, which should mean that they’re riding high. But the Rounders’ ace pitcher is trying to learn to throw the forkball, a pitch no kid should be using. Plus, the spring and summer is unusually wet, so many of their games have been rained out. The team’s rafting trip seems like just what everybody needs to take their minds off pitching and weather woes. That is, until a flash flood and a ghost story come into the picture.

To get you in the mood for baseball season, here are four books that bring out all the excitement and beauty of the game. From left, "The Super Sluggers: Rainmaker," by Kevin Markey; "King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige," by Wes Tooke; "There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived," by Matt Tavares; and "Pinch Hit," by Tim Green. (Photo for The Washington Post by Deb LIndsey)

“King of the Mound: My Summer with Satchel Paige”

By Wes Tooke. Age 8 and up. $16.

Twelve-year-old Nick is on his way to becoming a real baseball star. It’s the 1930s, and he is the boy with the golden arm. But then he gets sick with a disease called polio, which affects his muscles. Many of the adults around Nick, including his dad, think that Nick’s dreams of baseball are over. Then Nick gets the chance to work out with Satchel Paige, who is probably the best pitcher in baseball. But Paige, like Nick, knows about the need to overcome obstacles. You see, Paige is black, and because of that he’s not allowed to play in the major leagues.

“There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”
By Matt Tavares. Age 6 and up. $17.

Kids will especially like that this wonderful picture book (Tavares wrote the words and drew the pictures) spends a lot of time talking about the childhood of the famous Boston Red Sox slugger. As a boy, more than anything in the world Ted Williams wanted to play baseball. But he did more than dream. He was teased on the playground because he was skinny. So Williams worked out to build his muscles (doing push-ups on his fingertips) and he ate a lot (including lots of soda, probably not a good idea) to gain weight. And he practiced his swing using a rolled-up newspaper! How Williams grew up to be “the greatest hitter who ever lived” is an exciting and inspiring story.

“Pinch Hit”
By Tim Green. Age 8 and up. $17

Have you ever thought about trading places with somebody and living his life? That’s just what happens in this story of two boys, Trevor and Sam. Trevor is a movie star who dreams of playing baseball. Sam is a really talented baseball player who dreams of helping his dad become a successful writer for movies. When the boys meet accidentally, it seems as if it could be fun and harmless for them to swap identities. But if it all went according to plan, that wouldn’t make a very good book, would it?

Reported by Tracy Grant of The Washington Post.

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How to become a conservationist

Cristian Samper has spent the past nine years directing the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. He’ll be leaving Washington in August to head the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs several zoos and the New York Aquarium. He took some time to talk to KidsPost and to share with readers the secret to his success: He never grew up. Samper, who is 47, explained how he’s been able to turn a love of nature and animals into a lifelong career in science and conservation.

Cristian Samper in the Andes mountains in Colombia, where he grew up. The scientist says, "I love going to the field." In August, he leaves a post at the Smithsonian to head the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs several zoos and the New York Aquarium. (Adriana Casas)

Q: How did growing up in Bogota, Colombia, shape your view of the environment?

A: While I grew up in Bogota, my family had a farm in Sopo, half an hour north of Bogota. I used to spend all my weekends on the farm. . . . I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was 13 or 14. My father said, sure, but why not do an internship with our family’s vet? I was shampooing little toy poodles and vaccinating dogs. I was thinking about working with elephants! Before long I decided being a vet in Bogota was not what I wanted to do.

Q: So how did you come to pursue a career in conservation?

A: When I was 15, I spent a month out in the middle of the jungle. I loved it. . . . I was on an expedition led by the scientist Jorge Orejuela, identifying areas for the conservation of birds.

Q: How would you say we’re doing in terms of protecting diversity?

A: Not great, not great at all. The good news is we can really do things about it (by creating protected areas on land and in the water). One of the things that attracted me to the Wildlife Conservation Society is the opportunity to actually take that knowledge on the ground to see results with conservation, through conservation science. I love going to the field.

Q: What do you think institutions such as as the National Museum of Natural History and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo contribute to conservation?

A: These kinds of places do offer a window into nature. . . . We’re going to open next year a brand-new education center (at the Smithsonian). Fifteen thousand square feet that used to be behind the scenes, 20,000 objects in the collection will be available for kids to play with. It’s a completely different way of doing education. Kids will be able to come in and investigate, and ask and answer questions.

Reported by Juliet Eilperin for The Washington Post.

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Three books: An ape, Miss Malone and snickerdoodles

“The One and Only Ivan”

By Katherine Applegate
$17. Ages 8-12.

If a big, majestic silverback gorilla who lived in a cage at a circus could speak, what would he say?

How about:

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows the peels are the best part.”


“My family tree spreads wide as well. I am a great ape, and you are a great ape and so are chimpanzees and orangutans and bonobos, all of us distant and distrustful cousins.”

Ivan is the gorilla in this fictional book, which is written completely from his perspective. Reading the book is a bit like reading a journal. The story isn’t told in great long paragraphs of action but instead by stringing together Ivan’s thoughts about his life in the circus, his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the dog, and his art. Yes, Ivan the gorilla is a wonderful artist, but there is something sad about Ivan. Something is missing from his life:

“I know what most humans think. They think gorillas don’t have imaginations. They think we don’t remember our pasts or ponder our futures. Come to think of it, I suppose they have a point. Mostly I think about what is, not what could be. I’ve learned not to get my hopes up.”

That is, until Ruby, a baby elephant, shows up at the circus and changes everything for Ivan.

- – -

“The Mighty Miss Malone”

By Christopher Paul Curtis.
Ages 9-12. $16.

The mighty Miss Malone of the title is 12-year-old Deza Malone, who was a character in Christopher Paul Curtis’ very popular novel “Bud, Not Buddy.” Deza is the smartest girl in her class, and she dreams of going to college and becoming a teacher. But she is living during the Great Depression, a time when economic troubles meant that many people didn’t have jobs. Deza’s father moves from Indiana to Michigan in search of work, and her brother Jimmy goes to Chicago to find work as a singer. But what Deza and her mother want more than anything else is to have their family back together.

This is the first book by award-winning author Curtis to have a girl as the main character; her spunky attitude and great sense of humor make Deza appealing to girls and boys. The family motto is “We are on a journey to a place called Wonderful.” At times, it seems to Deza that their trip is anything but wonderful, but readers are very likely to enjoy this history-filled and wonderful journey.

- – -


By Kathryn Littlewood
Ages 8-12. $17.

Do you like to cook or bake? If you answered “no,” how about this question: Do you like to eat?

OK, now that we’ve gotten everyone to say “yes,” let’s talk about this delicious and exciting book.

Rosemary Bliss’ family has a very special cookbook. It’s bound in leather, has a key in the shape of a spatula and contains recipes for such magical treats as Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. And the treats really are magical, Rosemary’s mother can cure sick children with cakes, and Rosemary wonders if she too can be a magical chef.

When Rosemary’s parents go out of town, Rosemary, her brother and sister have to promise not to use the magical cookbook. But then a long-lost aunt shows up – on a motorcycle and wearing purple sequins – and insists that they whip up some favorite dishes. Really, how much trouble could the kids get in?

About 374 pages worth!

Reported by Tracy Grant of The Washington Post.

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Little White Fox Goes Fishing


Little White Fox was hungry again. It would seem that a little white fox is hungry most of the time. He went wandering all over the tundra, looking for something to eat. At last he came to the bank of the river.

He was sniffing about there when he spied a door right in the ground near the ice roof of the river. “Hello!” said he, stopping short, “I wonder who made that door in there.” He looked into the door but could see no one. It was too dark. He shouted into the door, but no one answered. He crept part way down the stairway. Then he stopped and listened. He heard nothing, so he ventured on, and almost before he knew it, he found himself in one of the biggest caves he had ever seen. It was as wide as half the river and as long as he could see in each direction. It had an ice roof and a good solid floor. Only the floor stopped pretty soon, and then there was water.



Welcome to the Junior Dispatch’s serialization of the 1916 book “Little White Fox and his Arctic Friends” by Roy J. Snell. This version includes all of the original illustrations as well as additional images from around the Internet.

At the end of this chapter is a vocabulary list, an essay question and a related video.

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Learn more about the “Little White Fox” reading project here.

“I don’t believe anybody in the world could build a house like this! said Little White Fox. “I guess it just happened to be here, and some one has discovered it. I wonder who it could be?”

He walked down close to where the water was, and there he found tracks. Oh! hundreds and hundreds of them! But he could not tell whose tracks they were. He had never seen such tracks before.

“Anyway, I believe there is something good to eat in that water,” he said to himself. “If there wasn’t, that fellow wouldn’t come down here and stand around so much. It is nice and warm down here out of the wind, and I guess I’ll stand around a little myself and see what will happen.”

Meanwhile, down below in the river, two of the little river people were having a talk all by themselves. They were Unfortunate Flounder and Mr. Salmon Trout. Salmon Trout is a very graceful fellow who always holds himself erect in the water. When he swims, he goes so swiftly that you can hardly see him. But Unfortunate Flounder goes floating around on one side all the time, and looks more like a dead leaf than any member of the fish family.

“Why do you not stand straight up in the water as I do?” said Salmon Trout.

“Well,” said Unfortunate Flounder, “it’s only a little my fault. Can’t you see that my eyes are on one of my flat sides and my stomach on the other? It wouldn’t be very pleasant to go about looking one way and going another, would it? When I was going south, I’d be looking west; don’t you see?”

“How does it happen that you are that way?”

“I was born that way. All my children are the same, and so were my parents before me. You see, it’s really a matter of ancestry. Way back somewhere, one of my great grandparents found out it was easier to lop around sidewise in the water than to stand straight up as you do, so he lopped around all his life long. His son followed his example and lopped around a little worse. So it went on, until to-day we could not straighten up if we were to try. At least, it would take whole generations before we could balance ourselves as well as you do. As for me, I don’t see as it matters much, for, after all, I quite agree with my great grandfather that it is best to be comfortable, even if it does make you ugly, ungraceful, and slow.”

But just then Unfortunate Flounder learned what an unhappy thing it was to be slow. Little White Fox from his station on the bank had been watching, watching very sharply two dark spots that had appeared in the water. He had watched them come closer and closer. At last he thought he could reach out and grab one of them without getting in the water.

“Look out!” cried Salmon Trout, as he glided swiftly away. But poor Unfortunate Flounder was too slow, and he felt Little White Fox’s sharp teeth close down on him.

Just then something happened. “Here! what are you doing in my fishing house?” demanded an angry voice. It frightened Little White Fox so badly that he dropped Unfortunate Flounder back into the river and looked around.

It was Mr. Golden Marten, and this was his fishing house. At least, he called it his, for he had made the stairway down to it. It took Little White Fox only a moment to discover that while Golden Marten was not quite as large as he was, his teeth were very sharp. The door to the stairway was quite close to him, and before Golden Marten could stop him Little White Fox was out of the door and racing for home as fast as his little legs could carry him.

“All the same,” he said to his mother that night, after he had told her of the cave, “when I am as old as you are, I am going to have a fish house all my own!”


Look up and define these words:

  • Discover —
  • Flounder –
  • Trout -–
  • Marten -–


In this chapter, Little White Fox goes exploring down into a mysterious ice cave. Write a story or draw a picture about what it’s like inside of cave. It doesn’t have to be an ice cave either. It can be a cave with strange creatures and monsters inside. Or it can be a cave with a hidden treasure. Or it can be something else entirely. When you’re done e-mail it to us at or mail it to us.

Our address is: Junior Dispatch, 205 North George St., York, Pa. 17401


Here’s a flounder fish changing colors:

Check out this pine marten:

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