Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Heather Chooses the Best Draftee

I'm a serious bookworm. I love to read. I'll attempt to read anything that looks even slightly interesting and I'm absolutely one of those people who will ignore everything else going on around me if I'm involved in a book. The world ceases to exist until I'm done. I don't like to sit anywhere without something to read. My mom used to yell at me for reading at the table which I still do to this day. I always have something to read in the car. I'm a reader. So I'm always interested when an athlete says he likes to read but a little skeptical. There's nothing wrong with loving Mario Lemieux: Great Hockey Player or Greatest Hockey Player? but it would be nice to see some interests beyond hockey.

According to the profiles at the official NHL Entry Draft website, the Buffalo draftees have some pretty decent taste. The Tylers both list Harry Potter as their favorite book and while it's not exactly creative - or even particularly specific since there are seven Harry Potter books* - there's not a hockey player to be found in them anywhere. Corey Fienhage says his favorite book is A Million Little Pieces which is yet another real book with lots of (false) words. Justin Jokinen goes with To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most perfect books ever written in my opinion. (He probably read it a couple of months ago in HIGH SCHOOL.) Usually Jokinen's excellent taste would put him squarely at the top but this year there's one player that stands above him: Luke Adam. I don't care if Luke's a future star or a future bust, he will always be my favorite draftee in the 2008 class because of his favorite book.

Mr. Popper's Penguins is quite simply one of the very best books of all-time. For those of you who have never read it - and good grief, what is WRONG with you? - Mr. Popper's Penguins is the story of Mr. Popper. Mr. Popper lives a happy, quiet existence with his wife (Mrs. Popper), working as a house painter. Mr. Popper never quite gave up on his dream of living a life of adventure however and he spends all his free-time reading about faraway places, especially the North and South Poles. When he writes a fan letter to explorer Admiral Drake, Drake responds by sending him a penguin. The Popper family quickly expands from one penguin (he lives in the ice box) to twelve penguins and eventually the whole gang hits the road as part of a traveling show. Madcap slapstick and hilarity (with a little dose of sweetness) ensues.

I love this book. I very clearly remember Mrs. Dabney, my third grade teacher, reading this aloud to us. I made my mom buy me a copy - which I still have, by the way - so I could read along. It's sweet, funny, and charming and I have to say, I think it's pretty adorable that a future NHLer freely listed it as his favorite book. Meg was a little concerned that the selection means Luke hasn't a read a book since he was 8, but I don't even care if that's the case. Anyone who remembers Mr. Popper's Penguins well enough to still love it years later is a-okay in my book.

I'm more perplexed by his shootout move, "going cheese." I have no idea what that means.

*- My favorite Harry Potter book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. My favorite character is Snape.


Pookie said...

I switched schools between 2nd and 3rd grade when my family moved to NJ. Mr. Popper's Penguins was the first book I checked out of my new school's library. I remember being super proud of myself for that (I can't remember why; it's not like it was advanced for that level or anything), and I remember reading it when I should have been making new friends. For this reason I, too, love the book and anyone who says it's their favorite! (I also think that might have been the last fiction book I checked out of the school library; I was such a great future-librarian.)

karen said...

We love the Poppers and their penguins here! Mrs. Murphy - my teacher for 2nd/3rd - read it aloud to me and I've read it to my own kids.

I'm curious at which point in the HP series you decided on Snape as your favorite character?

Anne said...

"going cheese" might mean blocker side because blockers are sometimes called "waffles" because of the holes in them.... like swiss cheese? Or he's got some secret insane move that I can't wait to see.

My sister has found her favorite Sabre for life in Mr. Adam (Adams?) she's loved penguins for YEARS, well before March of the Penguins, and at the age of 16 we went to see a production of Mr. Popper's Penguins that was meant for children because she loves them so much.

sabresfan88 said...

I think "cheese" = "top shelf" but I'm not quite sure. I've definitely heard the expression "top cheese" before, but that could also mean top shelf on a particular side, I suppose.

Heather B. said...

I'm curious at which point in the HP series you decided on Snape as your favorite character?

Pretty much from the beginning. I don't know, I just loved the nasty bastard. I did have a feeling his story would ultimately go in the direction that it did though so maybe that helped too.

"going cheese" might mean blocker side because blockers are sometimes called "waffles" because of the holes in them.... like swiss cheese?

Oh, that makes sense! I tried to think of stuff with holes in it but all I could think of was the net. While aiming at the net seems like a good idea for a shootout attempt, it doesn't seem particularly snazzy :-D

And I'm so glad some of you are familiar with Mr. Popper's Penguins! It seems like one of those classics that a lot people missed along the way.

amy said...

You know, I cannot for the life of me remember reading Mr. Popper's Penguins. I was much more of a Fudge and Ramona Quimby girl.

I wonder if "going cheese" means going five hole?

Heather B. said...

Amy, you can get Mr. Popper's Penguins for cheap on Amazon. Heck, you can get a used copy for 44 cents :-D

I read the Ramona books but I really, really loved the Fudge books. I still have my copies of those too.

Meg said...

Prisoner of Azkaban is totally the best Harry Potter.

Pookie said...

"Prisoner of Azkaban" was better the second time I read it, but I still say "Goblet of Fire" was the best. It was the meatiest of the good ones, and except for the house elves, all the plotlines were interesting. (Of course, it's also the first one I read aloud with my family, so that might give it a leg up, too.)

Jaime said...

My favorite books as a kid was the Mary Poppins series. I even named my daughter (Annabelle) after the youngest Banks child!

Gambler said...

As someone who would, without hesitation, list The Phantom Tollbooth as her favorite book, were she to ever be drafted by the NHL, I fully endorse seemingly-childish book selections. Sadly, I seem to have missed the boat with Mr Popper's Penguins. Probably because the 2nd/3rd grade curriculum at a Waldorf school pretty much follows the "What are books? Here, knit something" philosophy.

And I'm with Heather and Meg: Prisoner of Azkaban all the way.

Mark B said...

Another vote for Azkaban here. Weird, but I was thinking about HP last night for no reason at all when I went to bed. Must have been a mind meld while you wrote this post!

Heather B. said...

It was the meatiest of the good ones, and except for the house elves, all the plotlines were interesting.

That's like saying, "The Bruins are really exciting except for the trapping." :P The house elves plotline was excruciating. I was so glad they cut it all out of the movie. That said, Goblet of Fire is probably my second favorite. I'd have to think about that one.

Jaime, I've only read the first couple of Mary Poppins books but that was as an adult. I'm not sure why I didn't read them since I adore the movie and always have. Annnabelle is a super cute name though!

Gambler, The Phantom Tollbooth is an EXCELLENT choice! My kids' reading textbook has an excerpt from that in it and I think they're going to get to it this summer. I'm pretty stoked about that.

LeeAndrew said...

I like that Mr. Adam's favorite player is Joe Thornton and Denzel isn't a bad favorite actor but yo yo? Was he born in the 60's? Any Given Sunday? Prison Break? He better stick to books because his movies and TV shows suck.

I think I'm going to go with Jokinen. His movie and tv show are questionable too but To Kill a Mockingbird, Mario Brothers and Steak are good.

I tried to look up "going cheese" on Google. The first result was Adam's bio, the second was your blog. So I don't think Google has an answer.

Lee "Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate" Andrew said...

Oh yeah
Favorite Book: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Favorite Kid's Book: The Giant Jam Sandwich or The Sneetches and Other Stories

Heather B. said...

Lee, I should have mentioned that we did try to Google "going cheese" in the hotel but the only pertinent result we got was Adam's profile. Pretty cool that I'm now number 2 though. That was WAY less work than writing that "Tallinder, Tallinder, Tallinder" post.

Good choices. I'd be tempted to go with The Count of Monte Cristo as my favorite book but I'd have to give me favorite kid's book some serious though. That's a tough one.

amanda said...

I think "going cheese" might refer to the fact that he doesn't think he's good at shootouts or that he doesn't have a specific move. He just goes for whatever looks good at the time, you know?

I vote for Goblet of Fire. Great stuff. I love Snape. Part of that is undoubtedly because I have a huge crush on Alan Rickman.

Myra said...

The Kid is absolutely squealing over the choice of Mr. Popper's Penguins. I think it is safe to say she adores that book, her First Grade teacher read it to them. She also loved the Fudge books, most of which she owns.
I need to re-read the HP series, I think. I didn't get on board until very late and when I did I inhaled the entire series in like two weeks. I did love Prisoner and Deathly Hallows probably most. Neville Longbottom, hands down, was my favorite character. My bro-in-law is on the 7th book now, so we are still having some great dinnertime discussions on the series.

sabresfan88 said...

I knew I read it somewhere. I looked into it and it's definitely the same as top shelf.

If you have a facebook account, do a group search "top cheese."

If not, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J7dF5HN8NQ&feature=related

S.A.M. said...

I have never read Mr. Popper's Penguins, maybe I should check it.

I LOOOOVE The Phantom Tollbooth though! Did anyone see the Theatre of Youth production of The Phantom Tollbooth last spring? It was great. I took my nephew and we really enjoyed it.

My favorite book from the elementary days was The Westing Game. Loved that one. I also enjoyed Matilda (little did I know I would later act as Ms. Trunchbull in the play) and other Roald Dahl stories.

As for Harry Potter, my favorite minor character was Oliver Wood and then Fred and George Weasley. I love me some Weasleys. I dont know which book I liked best.. maybe Order of the Phoenix.

Heather B. said...

sabresfan88, you're a hero for figuring that out! (That said, I think I hate the phrase "going cheese.")

Sam, I almost mentioned Roald Dahl earlier but I was having a hard time picking a favorite. I can't believe I forgot The Westing Game though. I re-read that fairly recently and still love it. I'm so jealous you saw the Theatre of Youth version of The Phantom Tollbooth. I didn't realize it was playing until it was almost over and I had a conflict with the last couple of dates.