A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Felix Salten (1869-1945) author of Bambi was born on this day, as was Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), illustrator of The Water Babies, The Everyday Fairy Book, and The Jesse Willcox Smith Mother Goose.
- In 1628, Puritans settle Salem, Massachusetts. Read Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Lane Petry and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.
- In 1839 Cherokee leaders draft a constitution for the Cherokee Nation. This followed a yearlong forced evacuation of Native Americanâ€™s from their homes in the southern United States to Oklahoma, known as the Trail of Tears. Read Only the Names Remain by Alex W. Bealer, illustrated by Kristina Rodanas, and Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing by James Rumford.
- Itâ€™s Fight Procrastination Day, which must be the anecdote to yesterdayâ€™s Be Late for Something Day.
- Itâ€™s Read a Book Day (though every day is a day to read a book!). Read A Book by Mordicai Gerstein.
- Happy Birthday to Toni DiTerrlizi (the Spiderwick series) and Susan Kuklin (Beautiful Ballerina).
â€śOn the sixth of September, with a very calm sea, he waited till the high tide had almost reached his boat; then, using his most savage strength, he just managed to push the boat into the water, climb on board, and set sail.â€ť Who is our sailor with savage strength? A mouse named Amos; his boat, the Rodent.
In Amos and Boris, legendary storyteller William Steig provides a yarn that will please all sailors, animal enthusiasts, and children and adults alike. Steig was always the master of a fabulous premise for a book. In Amos and Boris he explores this idea: What if a mouse, lost at sea, gets saved by a whale? Hence Amos finds himself a passenger on the back of Boris, who speaks in exquisite phrases like â€śHoly clam and cuttlefish!â€ť
But long after Boris has gone back to sea and Amos returned to land, there comes a day when the small mouse must help the great whale. The ending of this picture book for ages six through ten rounds out a totally satisfying story. In this celebration of friendshipâ€”of the small and the largeâ€”Amos is finally able to bring their saga full circle. â€śThey knew they might never meet again. They knew they would never forget each other.â€ť Playful and profound, the book also deals with serious questions: â€śWould his soul go to heaven? Would there be any mice there?â€ť
Once described as â€śa sublime doodler,â€ť a phrase that pleased Steig, he created artwork from these doodles that always delights young readers. But his books have also been graced with beautiful language. He never talks down to children nor does he dumb down the language of his books. Words like luminous or phosphorescent appear in the text; there is a beauty and cadence to the prose. As is typical of Steig books, adults and children can savor each page and image and follow a unique story.
So, on September 6 take a sail with an unforgettable rodent and his friend. Because of recent movies, William Steig may best be known today for Shrek!, now celebrating more than twenty years of publication. But Amos and Boris stands along with Doctor De Soto, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble,and The Amazing Bone as one of his greatest triumphs in book form. First published in 1971, it remains one of those stories that linger in the memory long after the book itself has been closed.
Hereâ€™s a page from Amos and Boris:
Originally posted September 6, 2011. Updated for .