Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Holidays

Christmas day draws ever closer and things get way busy around our house. So I'll take just a moment of your time to wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkuh, and the Happiest of New Years. I'll be at the cabin for a few days after Christmas so I'll be in touch when I return home. Happy Holidays, Everybody.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Bee Man of Orn

Occasionally I come across a reference to a children’s or a young adult book that I must pursue. It might be a catalog or a review in the Sunday newspaper. I’ve been known to leaf through The Horn Book (magazine which reviews children's and young adult books) in the library or scan the shelves in the children’s section. “Mommy, what’s that old man doing where our books are?” Not so strange, though. In the dim recesses of time I was an elementary school librarian, then moved to junior high, skipped high school and became a community college librarian, before becoming a director of a community college library.

Anyway, I came across a review of The Bee Man of Orn by Frank R. Stockton with illustration by P.J. Lynch. (Candlewick Press, 2003.) Stockton is the fellow who wrote “The Lady or the Tiger?” which kept all of my class baffled when I was in the eighth grade. " didn’t tell which door was chosen." Anyway, I had not read the Bee Man previously and the story is quite entertaining as well as enlightening. But it’s the illustrations that make this oversized book. They are wonderful. Lynch uses a medieval setting. His illustrations of the bee man, the imp, the languid youth, the dragon are excellent. This story has also been illustrated by Maurice Sendak, whose style has been touted often enough. But not for this story, imho. Check this out. See if your local library has it or can get it. It’s worth a half-hour’s perusal. And you get a moral ending, sort of.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Back Yard Birds

When we arrived home from our recent trip, around the second week of November, we thought that the resident hummingbirds must have flown to warmer climes. Still we had hope. We hung a red bandana for the color to attract them back to the feeder, if they were still around. Nothing happened for a week. Then it snowed one night. The next morning we saw one hummingbird sitting on a stake, try to gather the warmth of the sun. It had frozen overnight so we quickly brought the feeder in, thawed it out, put in fresh sugar water and rehung it in the back yard. Before very long we had four hummingbirds fighting for space at the feeder. Anna quickly drove off to the local Wild Birds store and bought a second feeder. All is well in the Denton back garden. The other morning we were charmed by the assortment of birds: the ubiquitous house sparrow, Anna’s hummingbirds (nice that they named the bird after her), black-capped chickadee, slate-colored juncos, and bush tits at the suet feeder. We think that there is a Rufous Hummingbird around also.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Visit from Friends and a Gift

The Gold Dust Twins (why did that pop into my mind?) Mike Horvat and Dale Goble, both old friends, came to stay at the Denton adobe abode for several days a couple of weeks back. When they say they are coming there is no reason to look for them any time before 6 p.m. They have to stop at the twenty-eleven used book stores between Salem, Or and Seattle. This gives us time to make up the bed in the spare room and figure out something to feast upon, fatted calf or lark’s livers or something.

Mike found a book that he thought I would enjoy. Oh, boy do I? It’s Murder at the Races edited by that ubiquitous English editor, Peter Haining. And it’s long...with lots of stories. Some 550 pages. I’m going to enjoy this for quite a long time. I’m rotating it with a book of western short stories and a book of ghost stories. I’ve already read stories by John Masefield, Dick Francis and Nat Gould. I’ve heard about Nat Gould for a long time but he’s impossible to find. He was a prolific writer of novels and short stories about horse racing. He sold 30,000,000 copies of his books in his lifetime. I am going to have to pry copies by inter-library loan out of some magnanimous university library. Just as I am currently waiting to see if one of them will turn loose of a novel by R.D. Blackmore. Another seller of millions of books during his lifetime and now you will be lucky to find any titles except Lorna Doone.

Anyway, glad that you guys visited and thanks for the book, Mike. I’ll write further about another gift he gave me.