Let's Build a Playground
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
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Could you really build a playground in your neighborhood? KaBOOM! Find out how — and how much fun it can be.
What’s your dream playground? Grab a piece of paper and let your imagination go wild! That was the first step when two hundred kids and grown-ups in an Indianapolis community got together to build the playground in this book — one of over two thousand that KaBOOM! has helped create. A slide isn’t just a slide, it could be a chute to a time machine. A swing might be Pegasus flying across the galaxy. . . . Weeks of planning precede the construction of a playground that a community feels is truly theirs, a vibrant space to foster both creativity and physical activity. Sprinkled with kid-friendly factual notes, Michael J. Rosen’s lively free verse, together with colorful photographs, capture the enthusiastic teamwork leading up to the final build of a playground in one day — a playground that will welcome kids of all ages well into the future.
For nearly twenty years, he served as literary director at the Thurber House, a cultural center in the restored home of James Thurber. Garrison Keillor, bless his heart, called it (sorry) "the capital of American humor." While there, Rosen helped to create The Thurber Prize for American Humor, a national book award for humor writing, and edited four anthologies of Thurber's previously unpublished and uncollected work, most recently "The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties" and "Talking Poodles, " happily published by HarperCollins as well.
In his capacity as editor for this biennial, Rosen reads manuscripts year round, beseeching and beleaguering the nation's most renowned and well-published authors, and fending off the rants and screeds from folks who've discovered the ease of self-publishing on the web. Last summer, Rosen edited a lovely book, "101 Damnations: The Humorists' Tour of Personal Hells;" while some critics (all right, one rather outspoken friend) considered this a book of complaints, Rosen has argued that humor, like voting and picketing and returning an appliance that "worked" all of four months before requiring a repair that costs twice the purchase price, humor is about the desire for change. It's responding to the way things are compared to the way you'd like things to be. And it's a much more convivial response than pouting or cornering unsuspecting guests at dinner parties.