Literary Recipes: Ricky Ricotta and His Mighty Robot

Over at our iAnthology network, where teachers write every week, the prompt this week is to create a “literary recipe” as creative writing. I was mulling over what to write about when I noticed my young son completely immersed in the Dav Pilkey’s Ricky Ricotta series. So, here is my recipe for the books:

Take one tiny mouse and add a dose of smarts and courage.

Introduce giant robot who loves the mouse. Add “protector” to robot personality.

Toss in some villains from distant planets.

  • Jurassic Jackrabbits
  • Stupid Stinkbugs
  • Mutant Mosquitoes
  • Voodoo Vultures
  • Mecha-Monkeys

Be sure to dose liberally with alliteration spices. Shake thoroughly. Shake ’em hard.

Add a bit of mayhem to the plot. It helps if the world is about to be taken over by villains and Ricky is the only one who can thwart the aliens.

Place mouse in danger. Maybe, have his held captive. Let robot know mouse is in danger. Watch robot act.

Sprinkle witty dialogue here and there. If you can add a pun, do so. In fact, be generous with puns.

Make sure the illustrations move the story along. For extra taste, add a few flip-o-rama pages for the battle scenes.

Flip the flip-o-rama. Flip – Flip – Flip.

Bake entire book .. eh, I mean read … for about ten minutes from start to finish. (Five minutes, if you are an adult).

Savor the goofy aftertaste of a fun Dav Pilkey yarn, and then move on to the next book.

Repeat as needed.

Peace (in the robot),

Book Review: Pulphead

I’m a sucker for collections of essays, and Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan fit the bill. I’ve come across him as a writer here and there in magazines, and I should have been paying more attention. His writing is lively, his viewpoint is slightly off-kilter, and his topics are unusual in a way that draws you in. From examining the town where Axl Rose grew up to mulling over how his house was used as the setting for a television show (One Tree Hill) to a fabricated essay about a fake professor who believes that animals on the planet are in revolt against mankind, Sullivan lays the storytelling on thick with insight and humor.

I appreciated the focus around music for a lot of the essays, too. Along with the piece of erratic Rose (the GnR singer), the book includes insightful essays about the originators of Deep South Blues who have been mostly forgotten by time, insights into the impact of Michael Jackson on pop culture, an interview with Jamaican reggae pioneer Bunny Wailer, and the opening piece in this collection in which he travels to a Christian Rock festival. Sullivan immerses himself and the reader into this these stories, using rich language, anecdotes and personal stories.

John Jeremiah Sullivan is one of those writers who sees the essay form in a creative way. You won’t be disappointed in the stories he weaves here in Pulphead.

Peace (in the pulp),