Thursday, July 15, 2010

Julie, Again!

The Great American Mousical (Julie Andrews Collection)The next book we enjoyed in the Julie Andrews Collection was The Great American Mousical co-written by Julie and her daughter! There is something for everyone in this book. A little romance, a little slapstick, and a whole lot of spoofing going on. There is a glossary in back with stage terminology if you want to learn a little something and plenty of quotes and references sprinkled throughout the text to keep you thinking. See if you can pick them all out! One character spouts off so many Shakespearean quotes you could turn identifying them into a game! Maybe the ending is a bit "cheesy", if you will pardon the pun, but this isn't supposed to be classic literature here. The ending was sweet and though the theater is saved from demolition by the deus ex machina baseball, you knew that was going to happen from the start. The fun is found in the parody.

It might just be the theater geek in me, but I absolutely loved the story's final bow in the direction of Joseph Papp who was most famous for his free productions of Shakespeare's works in Central Park, an achievement which is carried on today in the form of the Delacorte Theater. Papp's idea has unknowingly inspired so many! Who doesn't love Shakespeare in the park?

The Last of the Really Great WhangdoodlesWe also picked up The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. This book read a little dated to me, but was still a really cute adventure. It was originally published in 1974 and while it had the tendency to be a bit thick or preachy at times, a few sections provided an opportunity to discuss with the children what life was like in the early seventies and how science has progressed (good and bad) since then. I read a review which likened it to the Wizard of Oz to which I would add a dash of Dr. Seuss and maybe a pinch of C.S. Lewis.

From Amazon:
What on earth is a Whangdoodle? A "fanciful creature of undefined nature," it was also once the wisest, kindest, most fun-loving living thing in the world--until people stopped believing in it. When that lack of faith became widespread, the last of the really great Whangdoodles created a special land full of extraordinary creatures: furry Flukes, the sly High-Behind Splintercat, and the wonderful Whiffle Bird. But when an open-minded professor--the one adult who still believes in the Whangdoodle--joins forces with three children with active imaginations, they become an unstoppable team on a fantastic and sometimes terrifying journey to Whangdoodleland.  
The Professor, my 12 year old, has read it and says: It was good, had vivid descriptions and was kind of funny. It was an interesting adventure. It seemed like it was geared more towards younger children and reminded me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

The talk about genetics confused him a bit but provided an opportunity for us to discuss some weightier subjects such as cloning and the ramifications thereof.