I recently had the opportunity to interview Jefferson Knapp during the AAIM Conference in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
“A few weird memories that stayed with me ever since I was a kid eventually found themselves shaping the story that became The Kingdom at the End of the Driveway series. The people, animals and locations are all very real to me and will no doubt be shocking to some who weren’t aware that they or their pet had a part to play in this story” (Source).
The following is the video from the interview. In it, Jefferson introduces us to his book series, shares the inspiration for his first book, shares insights into his writing process, and discusses ways that he would enjoy connecting with you and your students.
I recently mentioned that while building My Google Library I decided to identify my very favorite Dr. Seuss story. It didn’t take me long to narrow the list down to Too Many Daves (from The Sneetches and Other Stories) and Wacky Wednesday. Both of these stories grabbed my imagination as a child and hold fun memories. While agonizing over which of these tales I treasured the most (I’m exaggerating a bit.) I was thrilled to realize that Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) had actually authored Wacky Wednesday under the pseudonym Theo. LeSieg. This realization spared me the dilemma of choosing which of these two beloved stories was my favorite Dr. Seuss tale. I admit it’s a technicality but it works in my favor, so I’ll take it (hahaha).
I’ve included Wacky Wednesday in my library because… well, because it’s wacky. It’s all about a boy’s zany adventures on a far-from-normal Wednesday. My friends and I would sit in the library trying to find all the wacky details in the illustrations. We were exposed to figurative language, creativity, word play, imagination, and so much more without even realizing it. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Wacky Wednesday is that I’ve read it over and over – and isn’t that the greatest testament of a good book?
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When it came time to add my favorite Dr. Seuss books to my library I realized that I would have to add most of them, so I decided to try and narrow it down to my very favorite book. It took some reflection and deep soul searching (I’m exaggerating.) but I was able to identify my very favorite (Thanks to a technicality that I’ll share in another post.) Seuss story.
I remember the first time I read Too Many Daves (from The Sneetches and Other Stories). I was sitting at a table in my elementary school library with two of my friends. I read the book silently and the ridiculousness of one naming all 23 of her children the same thing just sent my imagination spinning. It remains one of my favorite poems all these years later. I’ve included the poem below in case you’re unfamiliar with it. Unfortunately, I can’t also include the artwork because it really sales the story – as is typical of all of Seuss’ work.
What is YOUR favorite Dr. Seuss story? Why?
Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?
Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one, and calls out “Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!” she doesn’t get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!
This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves’
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate…
As I mentioned last week our youngest and I had a great time reading The Pout-Pout Fish. It was an evening filled with lots of silliness and laughter. We had such a great time and I liked the book so much I wrote a blog post about our fun and included a few ideas regarding educational connections that could be made with the story, rhymes, etc. Less than 3 hours after my blog entry posted I received the following message on Twitter from the book’s author, Deborah Diesen.
It would be an understatement to say that our youngest was excited to have received a message from the book’s author. The reaction was so strong that I felt compelled to tweet the following reply to Deborah.
Needless to say, we since have read The Pout-Pout Fish many more times, we have enjoyed Pout-Pout Fish-inspired videos, a full-scale search is underway to get access to Deborah’s other children’s books, and our youngest has a renewed interest in reading and writing.