WIX: Doldrums and SkADaMo 21

Poor Wickfield is down in the doldrums: (UsingEnglish.com) in the dumps, down in the mouth – feeling sad and lacking the energy to do anything, filled with melancholy and despondency. Not that I know if Dickens used the term, but he describes Wickfield’s depression well with the following sentence: “When he came in, he stood still; and with his head bowed, as if he felt it.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge used it in Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. But whatever is a doldrum? To find out we must turn to the sea. According to Wikipedia:

The doldrums is a colloquial expression derived from historical maritime usage for those parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean affected by the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a low-pressure area around the equator where the prevailing winds are calm. The low pressure is caused by the heat at the equator, which makes the air rise and travel north and south high in the atmosphere, until it subsides again in the horse latitudes. Some of that air returns to the doldrums through the trade winds. This process can lead to light or variable winds and more severe weather, in the form of squalls, thunderstorms and hurricanes. The doldrums are also noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for periods of days or weeks.

The term appears to have arisen in the 18th century (when cross-Equator sailing voyages became more common). It is derived from dold (an archaic term meaning “stupid”) and -rum(s), a noun suffix found in such words as “tantrum”.

In the Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, it’s a place, inhabited by the Lethargarians who do nothing all day. Maybe not quite the same place Mr. Wickfield find himself.

Another term we don’t hear much, outside of literature, is crestfallen: “Tom’s cheeks burned. He gathered himself up and sneaked off, crushed and crestfallen.” (Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876).

Please don’t let this WIX post, or the turkeys, get you down!

PS: Bea Bellingham, a fellow SkADaMoer in Australia, is featuring my work on her blog today, for Spotlight Wednesday.

SkADaMo 20

Catherine persuaded me to try something darker today, but, I fear, I am not there yet! (Even after I got the creeps reading Tony DiTerlizzi’s beautifully illustrated version of the poem The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt, last night!). But I had fun with the dashing and dastardly Rat King. I guess having fun was where I went wrong!

I am also honored to accept the Gargie Award, ‘for services rendered to the blogosphere and beyond’, bestowed by a favorite reviewer of picture books, that yellow lab, at Reading With Rhythm.

IF: Zoom (à la Fannee Doolee) and SkADaMo 18

I like rabbits, but I don’t like hares.*

*Anyone else out there remember Fannee Doolee riddles from Zoom? This is also a nod to the creator of the fantastic sandwich I had from the food cart, next to Equinox, Friday night in downtown Fort Collins: Umami Mobile Asian Eatery.

SkADaMo 17

pencil on scrap paper, incl. bleed marks

“She was more than human to me. She was a Fairy, a Sylph, I don’t know what she was – any thing that no one ever saw, and every thing that every body ever wanted. I was swallowed up in an abyss of love in an instant. There was no pausing on the brink; no looking down, or looking back; I was gone, headlong, before I had sense to say a word to her.” -Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

David Copperfield was Sigmund Freud’s favorite novel. I imagine Freud raised his brow and nodded when David fell for for the spirit of his mother in the child-like Dora.

SkADaMo 16

I cheated! I had again not caught up in reading David Copperfield. Cliff notes. Yep. But, since we don’t meet on Thanksgiving I have two weeks to finish. And I will. November challenges, sheesh! This is what I imagine Uriah Heep looks like, somewhat like a cold fish.

PPBF: The Runaway Dinner

Author: Allan Ahlberg
Illustrator: Bruce Ingman
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2006
Age Level: 4-8
Themes: Humor, imagination, food
Opening: There once was a boy. Banjo, his name was, yes, Banjo Cannon.

Summary: (from the publisher) What happens if someone’s dinner decides that, well, it doesn’t want to be eaten? For a hungry little boy named Banjo and a savory sausage named Melvin, it’s a plight that can only result in a breathless escape — and what a chase it is! Off speeds the sturdy sausage — leading fork, knife, and plate, chair and table, a handful of fries with various French names, and three fat little peas — out the door, down the street, and around the park, with poor Banjo taking up the rear. Will the famished boy ever catch them? And what (gulp) happens to Melvin if he does?
Why I like this book: Its fast-paced hysteria! The illustrations are as light, loose and fun as the text, and I especially like the addition of line drawings throughout the painted scenes. And with Thanksgiving on the way it’s time to think about food, where it comes from, and where it might…go!
Resources/Activities: Amazon list of runaway food titles to compare and contrast; Lessons and resources: Where Does My Food Come From? From the Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment.

Visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog for more Perfect Picture Books, listed alphabetically, by title, theme, and age level, including resources and activity ideas for teachers.