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.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Walter The Rat

Every once in awhile I run across a reference to a children’s or young adult book that attracts me. You see, I was once a junior high librarian before I went on to bigger (but possibly not better) things. I check to see if the library has a copy and put a hold on it. Thus the wonderful short book Walter, the Story of a Rat by Barbara Wersba with illustrations by Donna Diamond. The book is only 70 pages long and can easily be read in one or two sittings. Walter is an elderly rat who was born with the ability to read. He’s read an amazing array of books; The Way of All Flesh, Franny and Zooey, The Little Foxes, This Raging Desire. He has moved into the house of a reclusive lady, Miss Pomeroy, who writes adventure thrillers for children. The only trouble is that they feature a mouse, a secret agent mouse named Bromberg who works for the government. Walter wonders why all these writers think mice are so cute and never write a story with a rat as protagonist. He finally decides to reveal himself and leaves the woman a note. "I’m a rat and I’ve been living in your house for sometime." Her reply is short: "I know." Thus begins a correspondence between the writer and the rat. I found the story and the illustration absolutely charming and would recommend it to anyone, child or adult. The half hour or so spent in reading this book will not be time wasted.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I don’t talk about movies watched very much and I suppose I should do so more often. The other night I watched Sunset. It features James Garner, Bruce Willis, Malcolm McDowell, Mariel Hemingway and Patricia Hodges. Garner plays an aging Wyatt Earp come to Hollywood to act as consultant on a film featuring Tom Mix. Willis plays a pretty duded up Tom Mix. Having visited the Tom Mix Museum near Bartlesville, Oklahoma, I can vouch that none of Tom’s duds were nearly as pretty as those Willis wore in this film. The story concerns nothing about the film being made. Instead Tom and Wyatt stumble upon a murder, attempt to solve it, while battling corrupt police and McDowell as the owner of the film company and something of a sadist. Patricia Hodges plays McDowell’s wife. She is apparently an old friend of Wyatt’s and can show the bruises as evidence of McDowell’s abuse.

The costumes are very much period, as the cars, those wonderful cars. Mix seems to own at least three different cars, all spotless and shiny. The other cars are just as beautiful, whether pulling up in front of the theater for an opening or chasing each other through the countryside.

This film is pure fantasy from beginning to end, but it’s great fun. If you like period pieces and lots of action, I think you’ll find it in Sunset.