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

Fruit fright

Posted: October 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

George from Portland, OR writes:

Dear T,

You might remember my Halloween story last year, The Evil Lightbulb, because it probably scared you to pieces. Well, this year I have written a story about a homicidal organic blood orange. It sits innocently in the bin at the Farmer’s Market until someone foolishly buys it. When they take it home and cut it into slices, it gushes blood and doesn’t stop until everyone drowns in it. Here’s the cover I made for it.

P.S. I’m charging ten dollars for my story this year, as you can see by the cover.

T replies:

Hey, George. Happy Halloween, a week early. You really got me with this scary orange. I always thought fruits were nice and vegetables weren’t. Where did I get that idea?

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Thanks, Alot!

Posted: April 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A blogger named Allie has recently posted about her pet peeves concerning spelling and grammar. One thing that really puts a bee in her bonnet is when people spell “a lot” as one word: “alot.”

She’s thought a lot about “alot,” and drew a picture of the image that came into her mind.

She’s incorporated her feelings for Alot in another drawing.

When it comes to Alots, Allie reaches out with love and understanding.

But there’s one thing Allie would like to get straight. When Alots (or anyone else) are spelling “a lot,” they had better make it TWO words, not ONE.

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Griffin’s Gold

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Sam and Andy from Chicago, IL write:

Dear T,

We finished Griffin’s Gold, our story about the legendary Griffin, and we printed copies. Here’s one for you. You can share this excerpt. It’s from the part where Griffin and Dragon fight to the death for Griffin’s gold, only Griffin lets Dragon live to see another day. That’s good because later on they have to join forces to battle an evil Giant. What do you think?

Drawing of a Griffin by Sam and Andy

Drawing of a Griffin by Sam and Andy

From Griffin’s Gold by Sam and Andy:

Griffin and Dragon were face to face with each other. Warily they circled each other. Griffin twitched his wings in eager anticipation of the battle to come, while Dragon snorted plumes of smoke into the chilly air.

Despite the cozy fire he had built, Griffin’s lair was almost as cold as the frozen mountaintop. Dragon lifted his mighty tail and slammed it down hard, pounding the rocky ground. The metallic scales of his impenetrable body armor glistened in the fire’s glow.

“Give me your treasure,” he told Griffin, “and you can avoid a good beating.”

Griffin’s razor-sharp claws drew sparks from where they scraped the rock. “It’s you who are going to get beaten, Dragon,” he replied. “I’ll give you ten seconds to skedaddle on out of here. Otherwise, you’re in for it big time.”

“I ain’t leaving here without that gold,” said Dragon.

“Suit yourself,” said Griffin and lunged at Dragon’s vulnerable throat with his fearsome eagle’s beak. The battle for Griffin’s gold had begun.

T replies:

Wow, Sam and Andy! I am thoroughly impressed. The adventure was gripping, the suspense was unbearable, and I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I can say that Griffin and Dragon are a force to be reckoned with. Great job!

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A holiday letter

Posted: December 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: T Writes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This is my second cousin once removed, composer Cornelius Power.

Composer Cornelius Power (April 1, 1821 – July 4, 1915)

Cornelius loved writing letters, and every year at holiday time, the Power family turns to one of them in particular, which has been handed down through the generations. It is dated December 17, 1856, and I’d like to share it with you.

Greetings, Holiday People!

You’ll never guess what I’m doing right now. I am actually dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. Contrary to expectations, I am not laughing all the way. It is far too cold here in this winter wonderland for that. As it is, I am bundled up from head to toe in warm clothing, but I think I’ll burrow down deep into the cozy quilts and blankets that my sleigh driver has so thoughtfully provided.

Sleigh driver? Ha! It is my BFF, James Lord Pierpont, the famous organist and composer and my comradely rival in all musical endeavors. James has got a thing about one-horse open sleighs. The only thing he cares more about than composing catchy songs is dashing through the snow. He is working on a new song about it now, but I can’t see it going anywhere. He calls it “Jingle Bells,” and it’s fairly simpleminded, not at all up to the high standard he set with “Ring the Bell, Fanny.”

How I long for a cup of hot cocoa! We brought a whole lake of it in a thermos, but it spilled all over the floor of the sleigh thanks to James’s erratic driving. He’s up there now on the absolute edge of his seat, cracking the whip and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m burrowing further into the blankets and quilts. It’s a well-known fact in these parts that survivors of sleigh crashes are nearly always found closest to the floor of the vehicle.

I can only imagine how wondrous one-horse sleighs will be one hundred and fifty or so years from now, but I daresay holiday wishes will have remained exactly the same. By then, no doubt poor James’s simpleminded ditty “Jingle Bells” will have been long relegated to the dustbin and some other songwriter will have come along to better describe how fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh. I am far too humble to be referring to myself, of course, although some say my sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” is the catchiest number they’ve ever heard.

Darn it, James! That turn was much too sharp. Ohhhhhhhh!!!!

(At this point the letter ends in a series of jagged marks.)

Of course, as history shows, Cousin Cornelius was wrong about “Jingle Bells.” James Lord Pierpont’s sleigh-ride song went on to become one of the best known and most commonly sung winter songs in the world, whereas, sadly, Cornelius’s own sleigh song “Horsey Snow Ride” has been completely ignored. But he was right about holiday wishes. They’ve remained exactly the same.

Give thanks for blessings.

Say a prayer for peace.

Give a donation where it’s needed.

Resolve to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving, and a lot more helpful.

Amen to that!

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Bad lighting

Posted: October 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments »

George from Portland, OR writes:

Dear T,

I am writing a scary Halloween story called “The Evil Lightbulb.” It’s about a 60-watt lightbulb that shines with pure evil. Everyone who sees its light turns into a homicidal maniac. It likes people who are scared of the dark, because they are sure to turn it on, and then it sits back and watches the bloodbath.

T replies:

Hey, George. That sounds like a scary lightbulb indeed. But to foil its evil intentions I would attach it to a dimmer switch on every other night but Halloween!

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Knock, knock …

Posted: September 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »

Eric from Columbus, OH writes:

Dear T,

I’m writing a book about the adventures of a street lamp and a telephone pole, and I’m drawing the pictures for it, too. The only problem is, Lampy and Poley are stuck in the ground and can’t go anywhere. All they can do is tell Knock Knock jokes. What should I do about that?

Drawing by Eric

Drawing by Eric

T replies:

I say keep ’em telling Knock Knock jokes, Eric. The world could use a few more of those. With all the problems we have to face every day, we can all use a good laugh!

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Tut uncommon

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Sarah from Seattle, WA writes:

Dear T,

I am writing a story about an Ancient Egyptian girl named Tibby. She is the secret daughter of the famous Boy King, Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The Boy King Tut wasn’t really a boy when he died under mysterious circumstances in 1323 BC. He was nineteen years old, which was plenty old for a father in those days.

When her father, King Tut, dies, Tibby goes to live among friends of the former Pharaoh. She grows up as happy and content as a girl can be. However, the day soon comes when she must sacrifice a bull to the God Osiris to ensure the fertile crops, and she cannot bring herself to perform such a bloody deed. She is given a chicken to sacrifice in place of the bull, but she can’t bring herself to do that, either. So the High Priests decide to sacrifice HER to Osiris instead.

Needless to say, Tibby must flee for her life. Luckily, she befriends the handsome son of an Egyptian slave and together they sail down the River Nile to live out the rest of their days in peace and happiness.

I have drawn the cover for my book, which I have entitled Daughter of Tut. Here it is in all its glory.

Book cover for Daughter of Tut, drawn by Sarah

Book cover for Daughter of Tut, drawn by Sarah

P.S. King Tut didn’t really have a daughter named Tibby. I made her up!

T replies:

Your story about Tibby, the secret daughter of King Tut, sounds like a real page-turner, Sarah! And I really like your book cover. I have always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt. It’s thrilling to imagine the excitement archaeologist Howard Carter must have felt in 1922 when he discovered King Tut’s glamorous tomb, with all its golden treasures. Of course, poor Mr. Carter was later struck dead by the Pharaoh’s Curse. Oh, well! I’m sure it was worth it.

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A rad arachnid

Posted: August 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Letters to T | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Dan from Tallahassee, FL writes:

Salutations, T!

Today my mom went into the bathroom to take a shower like she does every morning, and two minutes later my dad and I heard her scream bloody murder. He and I went running to see what was the matter, and she showed us the cause of all the fuss. Here’s a hint: It had six more legs than I do! Trapped in the tub was the biggest, hairiest spider we had ever seen. At first, Mom wanted Dad to smash it, but then she cooled down and let me capture it in a jar and release it in the garden. Before I set it free, I did a drawing of it. Dad and I got online and looked at pictures of the different kinds of spiders that live in Florida, and we’re pretty sure it was a Giant Lichen Orbweaver. Here’s a jpeg of my drawing. I’m going to write a report about the Giant Lichen Orbweaver on my own and turn it in for extra credit in Biology class next year.

Giant Lichen Orbweaver drawing by Dan

Giant Lichen Orbweaver drawing by Dan

T replies:

Wow, Dan, the spider in your drawing is so scary I nearly jumped out of my skin! I can see why your mom screamed bloody murder when she encountered the real thing in the bathtub. You captured the hairiness of this arachnid specimen especially well. And I appreciate your use of “salutations” in your greeting. I don’t see or hear that very often!

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