Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Ghost of Anne Carroll Moore

Halt! Who goes there?

Um, Winchester. Who are you?

I am Anne Carroll Moore, the originator and head of Work with Children in the New York Public Library. This is the Central Children's Room in the Donnell Branch where I worked for 35 years.

O-kay. I'm looking for a book on birds so I can catch and eat them.

In our collection we have--had--many fine volumes on our feathered friends. However, none on the catching and eating of birds.

Maybe I'll read this book instead. It's got owls in it.

That happens to be an anthology of my column, "The Three Owls."

Whatever. This place is kind of quiet, even for a library.

The library is closed permanently. This building will be torn down and a hotel will be slapped together on this hallowed location.

How come you're here?

I will never leave. When the bulldozers come to raze the building, I will throw myself in front of their wicked blades.

You've got a lot of nerve for an old lady. How come you're wearing that Christmas dress? And what's that weird-looking doll?

Don't be impertinent, young man. I am dressed for Christmas Eve. That was when I was given Nicholas Knickerbocker. He has been my closest friend ever since.

You sound like The Writer. She has a stuffed elephant named Ellsworth that she used to carry everywhere.

I doubt an ordinary stuffed animal has much in common with my Nicholas. Will you look at these books? I fought for years to keep that dreadful Nancy Drew and those hideous mass market books off my sacred shelves.

Where are you going now?

To Room 105. That was my office, you know. I will wait for the bulldozers.

Me too! This place is too cool to tear down. We'll protest together. Maybe those awful hotel people will change their mind.

One can only hope.

This post is dedicated to the Donnell Branch of the New York Public Library, which will close its doors on September 1, 2008.

Winchester Takes A Bawth

Heeheehee! Look at you! You're all wet!

Very funny. Not. I don't know what happened. One minute I was taking a nap in The Writer's husband's chair and the next minute somebody slapped a wet towel on me.

You needed a bath. The Writer had a serious allergy attack the other night. She almost had to go to the emergency room. She says she's allergic to you.

I'm allergic to her! And who ever heard of using wet towels to give a bath anyway?

That's because she tried to give you an ordinary bath once before and you clawed the shower curtain. You'll dry soon and then you'll be nice and fluffy and dander-free.

I'm never going to forget this. When The Writer least expects it, I'll pay her back. If I have to lie, cheat, steal, as Bast as my witness, I'll never take another bath again!

That was Winchester O'Hara, being overly dramatic as always.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Winchester's Memorial Day Cook-out

Well, here I am. Do you need me to help turn the hotdogs? Where's the grill?

There are no hotdogs. There is no grill.

You invited me to a Memorial Day cook-out! My mouth is all set for a hotdog with all the fixings!

I invited you to a Memorial Day picnic. Now sit down and act civilized. Eat your Circus Peanut.

My what?

Circus Peanut. It's The Writer's traditional Memorial Day food.

No wonder her husband is so skinny. I want hotdogs and hamburgers. I was robbed!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Writing Mond--Winchester Nearly Starves to Death!

I hope The Writer had a good time! She left me for three whole days without food! I'm so weak I can't even move.

Winchester! This is Writing Monday! You aren't supposed to be here.

I'm hijacking this blog. I have to let the world know how I'm being mistreated. This blog is my lifeline to the world. Let everyone see how much weight I've lost.

Oh, for heaven's sake. That's an old picture, before you gained a ton. And before the The Writer left for graduation she gave you enough food and water for a week. Any normal cat would still have had food when The Writer got home last night. But you scarfed every crumb before The Writer had pulled out of the driveway last Friday.

Any and all donations greatly appreciated. I'm particularly fond of Meow Mix but any food will do. Please . . . .

Friday, May 16, 2008


The Writer is off to graduation! She will participate in the 166th commencement exercises at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, on Sunday, May 18.

With all that exercising she should come back home really skinny.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ellsworth's and Winchester's Guide to Life

I've typed the title page to our handbook. What do you think?

I think you've made a slight mistake.

What mistake? I spelled your name right.

But you put your name first. And it's in great big type. My name is in little puny type.

"Ellsworth's and Winchester's Guide to Life" sounds better than "Winchester's and Ellsworth's Guide to Life."

That depends on who's listening. You're a big title hog!

This book was my idea! Go write your own handbook!

I will! And it'll be way better than your stale old book. Mine will be a best seller. I'll be on Letterman and Cat-prah.

Cat-prah? What's that?

A talk show for cats. Cat-prah is very influential in the media world. My book will leave yours in the dust!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Time Spies Mission Handbook

Look what The Writer has! It's a way cool book club kit for the Time Spies series called the Time Spies Mission Handbook! There's a poster for teachers to display. And a whole book with activities and games and stuff about the series and how to run a book club. There are invitations and maps and a certificate signed by The Writer. Best of all, there are stickers! The Writer has truly arrived! She has her own stickers!

Are we in it?

[thumbs through the book] We must be. We're the stars of the series. But I don't see us.

Not even a tiny little mention?

Winchester, they left us out of the Time Spies book club kit! You know what this means, don't you?

We quit the series?

No. We write our own handbook. Starting tomorrow. We'll show them!

I'm on board.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Writing Monday: Getting Over Yourself

The Writer has just come back from the International Reading Association convention in Atlanta. While she was there, she walked around the convention floor. She talked to people in the booths and attended several sessions. Everyone talked about getting children to read, teaching children to read, writing books for children to read. It was all very, very serious.

The Writer came home thinking she needed to be very, very serious, too. She's always been serious about her work--

But not about anything else. Like feeding certain cats, for example.

--and about the impact of her work on young readers. But she realized that if she thinks about the end result of writing--her books being put into the hands of children, her books in context with children learning to read--she will freeze and never write another word. The best way to get over herself, she decided, was to go back to basics. Being the child she was.

That's not much of a stretch, you know.

It's not enough to observe children. Writers of children's books must find the child they once were and write for that child. So The Writer is going to play games with the child she once was. First they are going to color. Is there anything more childlike and non-serious than coloring? The Writer thinks all children's book writers should break out the crayons and get down on the floor and color. It's time to put the "child" back in writing for children.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Writer's Mother's Day

Mother's Day is Sunday. We're fixing The Writer a special breakfast tray so she can eat in bed.

I love it when The Writer is sick and her husband brings her food to eat in bed! Something always drops on the covers and guess who's there to snick it up? Of course, I don't like her to be too sick. A lot of coughing and hacking jostles the bed and keeps me awake--

Will you pay attention! This is about The Writer, not about you! Now, the perfect Mother's Day breakfast tray has these essential items. A flower in a vase.


A picture of her mother to make her feel cherished. One of her favorite books.

Check. Check.

The tea set. A fancy cloth. And a homemade Mother's Day card.

Check. Check. Check. I noticed you drew yourself better than you drew me. Next year I get to make the card.

Now for the food. I bought Butterscotch Krimpets because The Writer loves them.

And I bought havarti cheese because The Writer probably likes it.

Havarti cheese! Whoever heard of havarti cheese on a Mother's Day breakfast tray?

It's better than the sweet rolls you got--The Writer will go into a sugar coma. At least the cheese will give her much-needed protein.

I think you bought the cheese because you like it.

Maybe I should sample a little corner. Just to make sure the cheese has reached room temperature and its full-bodied flavor.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

This post is dedicated to Matt Murray

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back from Atlanta

Get up! Guess who's home?

[yawn] Oh. It's what's-her-name.

The Writer has only been gone four days, Winchester. I know you remember her. She worked hard at the International Reading Association convention. Be a little appreciative.

Yeah, it's hard work going out to fancy dinners every night . . . I heard her talking to her husband. She had crab and barbequed chicken and fried chicken and pecan pie and apple tart . . . a real tough job waddling away from the table.

She did more than eat. Anyway, she had to keep her strength up. Do you know she had three signings and they kept running out of books? Her publisher had to ship books overnight so there'd be some for the next day's signing. Everyone seemed excited over the Time Spies Mission Handbook. And did you see somebody drew my picture on the sign announcing the autographing?

I noticed nobody drew my picture. Next time I'm going to the convention. It's time people met the real star.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


The Writer has a busy week ahead. First, she is going to an all-day (and half the night) crop to celebrate National Scrapbook Day. Then she leaves for Atlanta for the International Reading Association annual convention. She'll be gone several days.

Yippee! Do you know what this means?

It doesn't mean you can sleep on her side of the bad, if that's what you're thinking.

The Writer's husband will feed me and you know what that means.

Yes. The Writer's husband puts too much food in your bowl and he always falls for your pathetic I'm-tottering-with-starvation act every time he puts a toenail in the kitchen. Go ahead and eat your old kibble. The Writer will be dining on fried catfish and banana pudding.

Hmm. Do you think she'll ask for a kitty bag?

What The Writer Is Reading

Where is breakfast? I've been waiting in front of the kibble cupboard for thirty minutes!

The Writer is reading her new book. She can't put it down.

What's so good she can't tear herself away to feed me?

It's called Minders of Make-Believe by Leonard Marcus. He has the job The Writer says she wants--"American children's book world's leading historian."

Dream on!

Anyway, this book is about the first children's book editors and librarians specializing in children's services and how the Newbery medal got started. And it's about the ground-breaking books published since American children's book publishing began 300 years ago. The Writer really likes the part about the 1920s, when everyone got really excited about children's books and were pioneers in the industry. The Writer thinks all the good stuff was done back then and there aren't any new areas in children's books to explore. Winchester? Winchester!

Wha?? Oh! Guess I drifted into a coma from lack of food.

I hear The Writing coming to fill your grubby old bowl. You have no finer sensibilities, you know that?

I resemble that remark!

The Writer is going to have dinner with Leonard Marcus next month. She'll get her book signed and she'll probably try to talk him out of his job so she can become the world's leading expert in the history of American children's books.

Poor man. Somebody should warn him.