Archive for January 9th, 2017


Screen cap from excellent “20th Century Women”

by Sam Juliano

My apologies for dropping the ball on the last Monday Morning Diary that published at the site two weeks ago.  I did not address the comments yet, mainly as a result of the time consuming Caldecott Contender series and my frenzied efforts to catch up on the movie going front.  I am currently planning to release the annual Ten Best and runners-up list on February 1st.  Others wishing to post their own list need only to reach me.

Happy New Year to staff writers and our devoted readers.  As I’ve stated in the past we are hoping for a much better twelve month span than the sorry one we just endured,

Thank you so much Jim Clark for your staggering essay contributions to the site over years.  And thank you to J.D. Lafrance for his recent run of excellent film pieces.  I would like to thank Laurie Buchanan, the aforementioned Jim Clark, Frank Gallo, John Grant, Peter M., Tony d’Ambra, Celeste Fenster, Ricky C., Karen, Patricia Hamilton, Duane Porter, Tim McCoy and others for their remarkable comments under the Caldecott Medal Contender reviews.  While I will readily admit that I have invested a bit too much time in the venture, that aspect always goes a long way with me. (more…)


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by Sam Juliano

Writer’s block.  There is nothing more deadly to the seasoned purveyor of prose or poetry than that which thwarts or derails the flow of ideas.  For some who profess to the chronic nature of this affliction, they see themselves pictured on a dartboard negotiated by a mischief loving angel in a playroom a short distance beyond the pearly gates.  When this winged seraph (they loved Poe’s identification) is successful in guiding a dart to its intended destination, the victim immediately is maligned with an acute case of mindlessness, the mental equivalent of what that poor girl in David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes went through after contracting a bizarre syndrome.  The irony of those with the wilder imaginations though is that while conjuring up all these conspiracy theories they are projecting just the kind of invention that they could be employing towards their current assignments.  Of course that is precisely the deceit of Phillip C. Stead’s spectacularly beautiful and creatively wrought Ideas Are All Around, a picture book memoir that that leaves writer’s block barely able to leave the front gate as a strangely conspicuous blue horse gallops away.  Mr. Stead, an author-artist with a limitless arsenal of ideas has enriched a simple premise into a resonating day long adventure, one that embraces memories, the needy, anti-war sentiments and philotherianism all under the limitless imagination ready to be unleashed by the keys of a typewriter.  The book’s gorgeous dust jacket features the central symbol of creativity, the impressionist blue horse.  The intrepid dog Wednesday is seen scurrying across over the title, colored from everyday hues from the outside world.  The inside cover presents the places, plant life, street signs and Smith Corona that are all part of the making of the book.  Wednesday is seen in five of the eighteen vertical photos.  A stunning yellow-orange sunflower is pictured in a full page drawing across from a photo of it, and a lamentation from the author that it was the only one to sprout from a packet of seeds they were planted. (more…)

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