Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"A rich overview...strong nonfiction" - "School Library Journal" on "Fairy Spell"

February 2018
"Nobleman's text is a rich overview of this bizarre historical controversy; he deftly navigates topics like childhood in the early 20th century, the media and the influence of celebrity culture, and the history of photography, without ever weighing down the central narrative. Wheeler's illustrations are colorful and evocative… a strong nonfiction choice"

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

"Will leave children guessing until the end" - "Publishers Weekly" on "Fairy Spell"

"An inviting layout combines Wheeler's delicately styled ink-and-watercolor illustrations with archival images of the girls' photographs ... This recounting of a fanciful, enchanting fraud will leave younger children guessing until the end, and many more readers will embrace the suspension of disbelief"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Engaging...respectful...fascinating" - "Kirkus" on "Fairy Spell"

"Nobleman introduces readers to this remarkable story in a compact, engaging narrative that's respectful to its young audience. ... delicate, detailed illustrations ... A fascinating introduction to one of the greatest hoaxes of all time, deftly pitched to elementary-age children."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 10 best gibberish pop song titles

Poppydash and baldercock! 

There could not be a ranking more unscientific (or insignificant). But why so serious?

Parameters (four of 'em!):

  • this list ranks only the absurdity of the title, not the appeal of the song itself 
  • only hit songs were considered
  • the title had to be multiple words, meaning timeless classics from "Sussudio" to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" didn't qualify (try again next time, "Mmmbop")
  • some of these songs have been covered by multiple artists; I singled out what I think is the most famous of the recordings (there's one tie)

10. "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop"—Little Anthony and the Imperials, 1960
  9. "Boogie Oogie Oogie"—A Taste of Honey, 1978
  8. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"—The Beatles, 1968
  7. "Be-Bop-A-Lula"—Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, 1956
  6. "Rama Lama Ding Dong"—The Edsels, 1958
  5. "Da Doo Ron Ron"—The Crystals, 1963; Shaun Cassidy, 1977
  4. "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"—Manfred Mann, 1964
  3. "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"—The Police, 1980 (a response to songs such 
      as the previous two on the list)
  2. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah"—James Baskett (Song of the South), 1946
  1. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"—Iron Butterfly, 1968

As you see, most were not novelty songs. Title length is a factor (eight words are better than two). The most represented decade is the 1960s.

Honorable mentions:

  • "MMMBop"—Hanson, 1997
  • "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"—Steam, 1969
  • "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day"—Stevie Wonder, 1968 (inspired "Shoo-Bee-Doo" on Madonna's Like a Virgin album)
  • "Yakety Yak"—The Coasters, 1958
  • "Sh-Boom"—The Chords, 1954
  • "Wooly Bully"—Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, 1965
  • "Da Da Da"—Trio, 1982
  • "Bawitdaba"—Kid Rock, 1999
  • "Ooby Dooby"—Roy Orbison, 1956
  • "Nee Nee Na Na Na Na Nu Nu"—Dicky Doo and the Don'ts, 1958
  • "Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang"—Silver, 1976
  • "The Oogum Boogum Song"—Brenton Wood, 1967

Not released as a single but I feel like mentioning:

  • "Impacilla Carpisung"—The Ting Tings, 2008

In case you want to make your own list, here are more to choose from.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Educational value of the documentary "Batman & Bill"

I am heartened to see more and more tweets/posts from teachers who have screened the Hulu feature documentary Batman & Bill for students in grades 3 and up.

Rather than delineate the growth benefits as I see them, I'll let educators do that in their own words:

Friday, January 5, 2018

"Batman & Bill": #1 on 10 best films of 2017 list

Thank you to Aaron Gleason who put Batman & Bill at the top of his list of the 10 best films of 2017, published on The Federalist. An excerpt:

I flipped and flopped over this because I know it wasn't actually the best film that came out this year. But it might be the most important, and it was certainly my favorite.
We live in an era where "facts" are supposedly up for debate, where news is suspect and partisan. But in the midst of all this nonsense there was a tiny flicker of truly bipartisan journalism. It was the myth-busting Hulu documentary Batman & Bill, the best Batman film ever made.
… it took the dogged guts of Marc Tyler Nobleman to finally bring the truth into the gloriously tragic light. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for his journalistic work on this deep, dark secret.