If you are between 8 and 108 years old and like to read middle grade books, then you are especially welcome here!

A new war on Christmas

Posted: December 20th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

George from Portland, OR writes:

Dear T,

I have a new holiday story to tell. It’s Rude-olph, the Rudest Reindeer. Forget about Rudolph. Rude-olph could chew him up for breakfast and spit him out at lunch. He’ll tell you you’re really smart…on Opposites Day. P.S. It’s only ten dollars. How many can I put you down for?

T replies:

Hey, George! The holidays are not a time for disrespect and bad manners. And charging ten dollars for this story is nine dollars too many. All I can say is that I hope Rude-olph learns to overcome his rudeness and is able to join in the festivities in a considerate and neighborly manner.

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Yadiloh greetings!

Posted: December 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Dan’s Mom writes:

Dear T,

I would like to tell you about a fabulous new holiday celebration. It’s called Yadiloh, the Festival of Brooms and Mice, and it happens on the second Sunday of December, right before the traditional holidays begin. I had an artist friend of mine make up a card for it.

Yadiloh begins early in the morning as each and every kid in the family sweeps (or vacuums) their room and then cleans the whole house. Then, in the spirit of Yadiloh fun, they hide the broom (or vacuum).

After that, for even more fun, they sit quietly together and draw a picture of an adorable mouse. The fun doesn’t stop there! At this point, Mom or Dad takes on the role of Atnas, the Yadiloh Broom Finder. Atnas asks the kids (the Mice) where the broom (or vacuum) is. They tell him (or her), and then go outside to quietly play while Atnas takes a much-deserved Yadiloh nap.

Let’s get cracking and help make Yadiloh a part of every family’s holiday tradition! Here are a couple of rousing Yadiloh carols to get everyone in the mood.

Oh, Yadiloh!

(Sung to the tune of Oh, Tannenbaum)

Oh, Yadiloh! Oh, Yadiloh!

My favorite time of year.

Oh, Yadiloh! Oh, Yadiloh!

I’m glad you’re finally here.

I cleaned my room

and swept the house,

then hid the broom

and drew a mouse.

Oh, Yadiloh! Oh, Yadiloh!

You fill us all with cheer.

And:

Here Comes Atnas

(Sung to the tune of Here Comes Santa)

Here comes Atnas, here comes Atnas,

looking for the broom.

Here comes Atnas, here comes Atnas,

checking every room.

Searching twice and asking mice for any little clue,

Atnas knows a broom hunt is the funnest thing to do!

T replies:

Hey, Dan’s Mom. Yadiloh sounds like a real hoot, but if I didn’t know better, I’d think you made it up to get Dan to clean the house before the regular holidays begin. If so, you get credit for a very crafty plan. Let’s see if Dan (or anyone else) falls for it!

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Compliments are delicious

Posted: June 10th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Compliment story found at Letters of Note.

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For the birds

Posted: May 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

No one was a bigger fan of feathered friends than American ornithologist, painter, and naturalist John James Audubon, who traveled deep into the woods, glens, and marshes to capture bird life in illustrated glory. Now, Audubon.org is making available prints from Audubon’s major work, The Birds of America, to download for free. Here are some of my favorites.

The Raven. Obviously croaking a warning.

American Robin. A harbinger of Spring.

Barn Owl. Silent night stalker.

Barn Swallow. The picture of grace in flight, just as beautiful in repose.

 

Red-Throated Diver. Awkward on land, unbeatable in water.

Common American Gull. The reliable guardian of the ocean shores.

Many more of Audubon’s amazing illustrations can be found at Audubon.org. Pay a visit and find your own faves!

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Buggy beauty

Posted: May 4th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Fueled by a concern for nature and a scientific curiosity, Japanese artist Hiroshi Shinno creates ikimono (life/living) sculptures of imaginary insects out of metal and resin. Shinno intends for these fantastical forms to remind us of the wondrous variety that is found in the natural world. Even insectophobes have got to be onboard with that!

Shinno keeps an Insect Diary, in which he sketches ideas for future works. Take a look!

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Plane crazy

Posted: January 11th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

American artist Harry Everett Smith is mostly known for his experimental film making in the 1940s. But he also composed music and painted. From 1961 to 1983, he picked up every paper airplane he found on the streets of Manhattan. The survivors of his dedicated collection have been photographed by Jason Fulford and published in Paper Airplanes: The Collections of Harry Smith, Catalogue Raisonné, Volume I.

Harry found this colorful plane on October 29, 1980 at Broadway and East 23rd Street.

He found this slim flyer March 17, 1979 at West 28th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Broadway.

This newspaper plane was picked up on January 20, 1968 at Fifth Avenue between West 34th Street and West 35th Street.

And where did Harry find this polka-dotted beauty? You’ll have to buy the book to find out!

I think I’ll make an eye-catching paper plane and leave it on the street for some present-day soulmate of Harry to find and pick up. Maybe you should, too!

For more on Harry Everett Smith and his paper planes, visit hyperallergic.com and junk-culture.com.

(All photos © Jason Fulford)

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted: November 24th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

 

How lucky we are to have such a wonderful family.
Let our roots grow deep in our love for each other.
Let our hearts, friendships, and homes be blessed with truth and forgiveness.
Let us honor each person for their unique qualities and special characters.
Watch over each and every one and keep them safe,
Fill their lives with  goodness,
And weave us all closer together.

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Outsider art

Posted: November 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy heads into nature to create works of art by arranging leaves, sticks, rocks, and ice into dazzling patterns.

Andy Goldsworthy

His art is transient. Wind can blow it away. Movement can scatter it. Heat can melt it. But for a short, precious time it brings beauty, order, and innovation to the wilderness.

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

Andy Goldsworthy

“When I make something, it may vanish, but it’s part of the history of those places,” he says.

See more of Andy Goldsworthy’s amazing art here. And check out his books. They would make wonderful holiday presents!

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Creatures featured

Posted: October 4th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , | No Comments »

Celebrated for his magical illustrations, including a comic strip he drew that brought an L. Frank Baum Oz book to life, American writer and artist Walt McDougall published his own weekly fantasy stories for children in Sunday newspapers from 1902 to 1905.

Walt McDougall

Not to be outdone by the beasties of Oz, McDougall invented his own magical creatures. Behold, the thirsty Panjandrum!

Walt McDougall

And the gas-guzzling Gastritus.

Walt McDougall

And the aptly named Three Strange Things!

Walt McDougall

Not to mention the Jagmetty.

Walt McDougall

And the Pollygus, as Jimmy saw him.

Walt McDougall

Many more of Walt McDougall’s fanciful creatures and much of his art can be found online, though his books are no longer in print. Thank you, Internet!

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Taking it to the next level

Posted: September 14th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Artist Telmo Pieper takes flat, tw0-dimensional drawings by kids and renders them into visual marvels you would swear were three-dimensional.

Telmo Pieper

Telmo Pieper

Telmo Pieper

Artist Wendy Tsao takes two-dimensional drawings by kids and turns them into actual three-dimensional toys. In fact, you can commission her to make a soft, huggable version of any drawing you send her!

Wendy Tsao

Wendy Tsao

Wendy Tsao

Obviously Telmo and Wendy have discovered the secret of what it takes to turn imagination into reality. It’s just a little extra imagination!

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