recess radio program

10/20/03
John Lithgow's I'm a Manatee
    by John Cech

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You're hearing part of the sung version of John Lithgow's bouyant new children's book, I'm a Manatee, with illustrations by Ard Hoyt. The book is about a little boy whose fantasies are both acquatic and verbal: he can't get enough of those kind, wrinkled creatures short of becoming one; and on any given page of his rhapsody to these endangered animals, he has the reader swimming in vocabulary that will tickle and challenge. On one page alone, Mr. Lithgow weaves together (and rhymes!) such delicious words as "wit, sophistication, urbanity, dignify, and domain" -- I'll let you discover just how does it. His urbane, agile imagination is one of the signature qualities of his books for children (this is his fourth), and his music for the whole family (there are now two CDs of terrific songs). And once again he's come up with a funny, sunny, punny, honey of a book -- and again he has proved himself to be the only celebrity who should be writing children's books.

It's Mr. Lithgow's birthday today, and true to his generous spirit, he's given his listeners and readers another delightful present.

Brief sound clip

Copyright 2003 John Cech

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."