Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Cut-Ups by James Marshall

Hot dog! James Marshall has won the 2007 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a "substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children." I hope the Internet in the Afterlife is abuzz with the news!

I am thrilled. I have been a fan since I read George and Martha in my children's literature class in library school long ago. I then sought out all the James Marshall books I could find. Miss Nelson is Missing, The Three Little Pigs, The Stupids Die, and all the other original and retold stories. Sometimes Marshall was the author/illustrator and sometimes just the illustrator. Whatever, the books were always funny and full of surprises.

The Cut-Ups is especially loved in our household, as it was one of the first books our daughter was given, long before she could read. We used to have it memorized. "Spud Jenkins and Joe Turner were a couple of real cut-ups." Turn page. " They made their mothers old before their time." Next page. "To say nothing of Spud's little brother Jerome." There is Jerome, upside down, attached to a kite, flying over the boys.

"My zinnias!" cried Spurgle" is my favorite line.

The Cut-Ups has silly pranks, a charming but mischievous girl, rocket science, a mean old man with a wart on his nose, a chase scene, and the suggestion of further action in sequels. What more could you want?

You want more James Marshall books. Go to your library and get them.

Marshall, James. The Cut-Ups. New York: Viking Kestrel, 1984. ISBN 067025195X

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