Posts filed under “Young Readers”


Announcer. And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

(Music: Fanfare.)

Announcer. The Adventures of Adventure Man!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Yes, it's Adventure Man, whose thrilling life of swashbuckling danger never lets up for a second! With his plucky gal Friday Gail Friday and their equally plucky friend, cub newspaper photographer Billy “Speed” Graphic, Adventure Man faces new and amazing yet comfortably familiar perils every week!

(Music: In full, then fade.)

Announcer. As you recall, in last week's episode Adventure Man had just boarded the pirate ship Jolly Puffin to rescue Gail from a fate worse than cancellation when suddenly the pirate captain himself appeared from below decks.

Speed. Golly! It's Broadbeard the Pirate, the curse of the Caribbean!

Broadbeard. Aye, that it is, matey, and I'm full o’ right Jamaican rum and ready to fillet anyone what tries to take this bonny wench!

Gail. Look out, Adventure Man! He's got a sword!

Adventure Man. You're right, Gail. But I've got a sword, too, Broadbeard, and I was fencing champ three years running at the Winchester-Thurston School!

Broadbeard. It’ll be a pleasure to see yer blue blood, then, ye scurvy preppie!

(Sound: Swords clashing.)

Speed. It’s a thrust and a parry and a thrust and a dodge and another parry and… Gosh, these swordfights are hard on radio!

(Sound: Loud burbling.)

Gail. What’s that coming up out of the waves?

German Fregattenkapitän. Halt und desist!

Speed. A Nazi U-boat!

German Fregattenkapitän. In ze name of der Führer, I am taking possession off zis vessel!

Adventure Man. You’ll have to fight me for it, Nazi scum!

Broadbeard. Aye, ye scurvy Dutch dog, and me as well!

German Fregattenkapitän. Sturm und Drang! I have ze gun! You vill do my bidding!

Speed. Americans don’t take orders from jackboot-wearing spätzle-eaters like you, mack.

German Fregattenkapitän. You are inferior races! You vill obey!

Speed. Oh yeah? Well, unlike you Germans, who are congenital imbeciles, we Americans know there are no inferior races, except in certain Southern states where the network will cut that line out.

Adventure Man. What’s that up in the sky?

(Sound: Otherworldly hum.)

Gail. It’s a flying saucer!

Speed. And the cup is right behind it!

Adventure Man. That must be the mother ship.

(Sound: Otherworldly hum continues louder.)

Gail. Look! It’s hovering right above the deck of the ship!

Speed. And a stairway is coming down from the bottom of it!

Gail And a little green man is coming down the steps!

German Fregattenkapitän. Himmel und Sauerbraten!

Broadbeard. That’s it. I’m off the Jamaican.

Little Green Man (metallic monotone). Take me to your leader.

Broadbeard. I’m the captain o’ this ship, ye viridescent lubber!

Adventure Man. I think he means world leader. That would be President Roosevelt, of course, but he’s kind of busy…

German Fregattenkapitän. Roosevelt schmoosevelt! He iss nicht der Führer!

Speed. Oh yeah? Well, your Führer couldn’t führ his way out of a paper bag.

Little Green Man (metallic monotone). Your planet is embroiled in petty squabbles. We must exterminate you all for the greater good of the universe.

Adventure Man. Over my dead body!

(Sound: Loud splashing.)

Speed. Hey, what’s that looming up out of the water?

(Sound: Splashing continues, monstrous roar.)

Gail. It’s a kraken!

Adventure Man. I think it would be more accurate to say it’s a-splashin’.

Gail. No, I mean K-R-A-K-E-N, a cephalopod of monstrous size from Norse legend!

(Music: Stinger.)

Gail. Look out! One of its hideous monster tentacles is headed right for us!

Broadbeard. Shiver me timbers!

Little Green Man (metallic monotone). Criminy.

German Fregattenkapitän. Götterdämmerung!

Speed. Hey, watch it, schnitzelface. This is a family show.

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Is this the end for Adventure Man? Will he defeat the kraken and foil the little green men and escape the Nazi U-boat and overcome the pirate to save plucky Gail Friday? Will Speed get it all on film in time for the city edition? Don’t miss the next exciting episode of the Adventures of Adventure Man!

And now a word from our sponsors. Kids, if you’ve been following the reports from the FDA, you know that every single glass of Malt-O-Cod is an adventure. Don’t miss out on the excitement! Make your parents’ lives miserable until they come through with the Malt-O-Cod, still available at participating supermarkets!


Nĕd • boŏk • spĕll • wĕll • poŏr • nō • căn


Can Ned spell well?

Ned can spell

Ned can spell, but not well.

Has Ned a book?

Has Ned a book?


No, but he has a mangelwurzel.

Poor Ned

Poor Ned!


căt • băt • hăt • măn′•gĕl•wu̇r′•zĕl • hăʂ • ȧ•lăs′

A cat.

A bat.

The cat has the bat.

The bat has a hat.

Has the bat a mangelwurzel?

Alas! The mangelwurzel has no hat!


(Music: Western theme with banjos.)

Announcer: And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

(Music: Banjo roll, then sudden silence.)

Announcer: The Adventures of Silent Jim!

(Music resumes, under for…)

Announcer: Yes, it’s Silent Jim, the man of few words but mighty deeds, protecting the innocent from evildoers in the Wild West!

(Music: Fade.)

Announcer: As our story opens today, we find Silent Jim stepping up to the bar at Malenkov’s Saloon in Heatstroke City, Arizona.

Bartender: Wal, howdy, Silent Jim! Long time no see! What’ll it be today?

Silent Jim:

Bartender: Cain’t decide, huh? I know how that is. Look at all them bottles. How’s a man s’posed to pick one? Tell ya what. How ’bout I make you a Heatstroke City Steamer? Specialty of the house!

Silent Jim:

Bartender: Yeah, that’ll hit the spot.

(Sound: Glass and bottles clanking, continues under…)

Bartender: So rumor has it you larned them Clancy boys a real good lesson up there in Buchanan Station. That true?

Silent Jim:

Bartender: They sure as enfers deserved it, if’n you’ll pardon my French. Guess they larned the Wild West is a place where you gotta follow the rules. —Here ya go, Silent Jim. Compliments of the house. So what’s next in your life of epic adventure and constant he-man action?

Silent Jim:

Bartender: Wal, I reckon Heatstroke City could use your help right now. We been—

(Music: Stinger.)

B. B. Clancy: Thar’s that ugly cuss now, or my name ain’t Babblin’ Bob Clancy!

Bartender: Why, it’s Babblin’ Bob Clancy, the garrulousest outlaw in the Arizona Territory, and second cousin twice removed to the Clancy boys!

B. B. Clancy: Dang right it’s Babblin’ Bob Clancy, which is what my ma done called me soon as I started to talk, and all my aunts called me that too, cause I had scads of aunts, and they used to say to Ma, they said, ‘How’s Babblin’ Bob doin’ these days?’ and Ma used to say, ‘Lawd-a-mercy, sis, he’s garrulouser than ever,’ and then she’d smack me one, but I was still talkin’, and I ain’t done talkin’ yet, neither, that’s fer dang sure! Now I hear my cousins done run into trouble with this ornery devil, and I says to myself, I says, ‘Babblin’ Bob, family is family, no matter how many times they been removed, and you gotta stick up fer family, that’s what you gotta do.’ So what have you got to say fer yerself, Silent Jim?

Silent Jim:

B. B. Clancy: Oh, a wise guy! A reg’lar Aristotle! Well, let me tell you, Silent Jim, when I’ve took care of you, you ain’t gonna be so wise no more. You ain’t even gonna be Mortimer Adler. You’re gonna be like the third-dimmest kid in the freshman Introduction to Western Philosophy class, that’s what you’re gonna be. You’re gonna be like that kid where they say, ‘What’s the difference between Epictetus and Epicurus?’ and you get it all backwards, and you say it’s Epictetus what was all about ataraxia, and even if you gets it right you’ll be one of them dang fools what think it’s all about do what feels good, and you’ll totally miss the point of Epicureanism, when everybody knows it’s all about bein’ rational and suchlike. Cause the pleasures of the mind are way superior to the pleasures of the body, and you gotta be dumb as a jackass full o’ Monongahela rye not to see that catastematic pleasure is the real thing. Criminy, how often do these dang fools have to have it explained to them? It’s like their brains are made of tapioca. Say, what was we talkin’ about?

Silent Jim:

B. B. Clancy: Aw, you ain’t no help. Say, bartender, how ’bout one o’ them Heatstroke City Steamers everybody’s ravin’ about? I ain’t much for mixed drinks myself, but them things got a reputation right acrost the territory. Gimme a double. Or maybe a one-and-a-half, cause I gotta ride to Ten-Foot Pole afore sunset. Whatcha drinkin’, stranger? Can I buy you another one?

Silent Jim:

B. B. Clancy: Two Steamers, bartender, and put a head on ’em, or whipped cream or whatever. My ma always said, she said, if’n you’re gonna do it, Babblin’ Bob, she said, then do it all the way. (Fading out.) That’s what she said. So I always done it all the way, cause my ma ain’t never steered me wrong, and…

(Music: Western banjo theme, in and under for…)

Announcer: And so once again Silent Jim lives by his motto, Facta non verba, and tames the Wild West. Tune in next week for more shimmering dialogue and sparkling wit. Till then, kids, don’t be silent when it comes to what’s important. Remember that kids who drink Malt-O-Cod every day are 53% more likely to become world-renowned philosophers than the control group given only inferior fish-liver-flavored malt food drinks. Don’t risk your mind on cheap imitations. Badger your parents for more Malt-O-Cod today. It’s the malt food drink that’s brain food!

(Music: In full, then out.)


Announcer. And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

(Music: Fanfare)

Announcer. The Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. As you remember, last week we left Sir Montague and Colonel Darling at the very edge of the universe. This week, they’re still there, about to become the first human beings ever to travel outside the universe and into the void!

Col. Darling. But, Monty, how can the universe even have an edge?

Sir Montague. Everything has an edge, my dear.

Col. Darling. But I thought the universe was, you know, everything.

Sir Montague. Yes, exactly. And the edge of the universe is the boundary between everything and nothing. Just think of it, Colonel: we’ll be the first human beings to see everything from the outside.

Col. Darling. But if we take our ship into the nothing…

Sir Montague. Which of course we shall do without flinching.

Col. Darling. Of course. I mean, I don’t even know the meaning of the word “flinch.”

Sir Montague. That’s the spirit, old girl.

Col. Darling. No, I mean really. Is it some kind of bird? That’s the best I can figure. Did you bring your dictionary with you?

Sir Montague. I’m afraid it’s back in the office.

Col. Darling. But what’s outside the universe?

Sir Montague. Nothing, my dear. Everything that’s something is part of the universe. We’ll be going into a complete void.

Col. Darling. But if we go into the nothing, won’t we be something?

Sir Montague. Don’t overthink it, my dear. You’ll give the writers heartburn. Are you ready to enter the void?

Col. Darling. Ready for anything with you by my side, Monty!

Sir Montague. Jolly Good! Then here we go.

(Sound: Silence.)

Col. Darling. Well, that was anticlimactic. Now what?

Sir Montague. Now we travel some distance outside the universe and turn around to get some good pictures. Did you bring your Brownie?

Col. Darling. Of course. But if I took a picture out here, wouldn’t it just look like I left the lens cap on? —But wait a minute, Monty! What’s that up ahead?

Sir Montague. I have no idea. I thought there was nothing here, but… It looks like some sort of large building. Or perhaps a sort of interconnected complex of buildings.

Col. Darling. Look, Monty! It’s Ganymede Mall! You remember, it used to be the hottest shopping center on Ganymede, but it closed years ago when I was a teenager! I mean, not that I’m not still a teenager, but…

Sir Montague. I say, Colonel, there’s another one beyond it!

Col. Darling. It’s the Tethys Galleria! That one just closed a year ago! And there’s another one over there that says “Century III”! And another one after that! Why, there must be hundreds of them stretching into the void!

Sir Montague. But you see what this means, don’t you, Colonel? We’ve finally solved the mystery of what happens to shopping malls when they die!

Col. Darling. It’s kind of creepy. Don’t you think we should be turning around?

Sir Montague. Certainly not! We can’t miss this opportunity to explore a real live dead mall. Brace for docking, Colonel!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Will Sir Montague and Colonel Darling survive the utter emptiness that is an abandoned shopping mall? Don’t miss next week’s exciting episode: Void after Thirty Days! Till then, kids, remember that children who drink Malt-O-Cod daily are 37% less likely to succumb to existential despair before they’re sixteen. And right now, for a limited time only, in honor of Sir Montague’s trip past the edge of the universe, you’ll find nothing in specially marked packages—absolutely free! So don’t forget to make your parents’ lives miserable until they cough up a lousy three bucks for a jar of delicious Malt-O-Cod. It’s the malt food drink that’s brain food!

(Music: In full, then out.)


Announcer. And now Malt-O-Cod, the only malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

[Music: Theme, in and under for…]

Announcer. The Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

[Music: Fade.]

Announcer. Today we find Sir Montague and Colonel Darling about to embark on what may be the most extraordinary adventure of their lives.

Sir Montague. I say, my dear, are you ready to embark on what may be the most extraordinary adventure of our lives?

Col. Darling. You know I’m always ready for anything when I’m with you, Monty.

Sir Montague. And that’s jolly decent of you, I must say. If our experiment succeeds today, there’ll be a bally great load of paperwork, and I can always rely on you to push a pen. It’s just through here—we’ve repurposed our temporal displacement chamber as a dimensional threshold overlap zone.

Col. Darling. How thrilling!

Sir Montague. Now, if the boffins have got their figures figured, ourselves from the alternate universe should be along any moment now.

Sir Montague (distant). I zay! There we are!

Col. Darling. Look, Monty! It’s us from the alternate universe, just like the scientists said!

Sir Montague. And we don’t look a bit different. So perhaps the alternate universe is exactly like ours, after all.—I say, you two, are you really us from the alternate universe?

Sir Montague (approaching). Jolly amusing goinzindenze. I was aboud do azg you the zame gwezdion.

Col. Darling. Alternate-universe you talks funny, Monty!

Col. Darling. I mighd zay the zame aboud you.

Sir Montague. Id abbears thad zome gonzonands thad are voized in our univerze are voizelezz in yours.

Sir Montague. A curious difference. Otherwise we seem quite identical.

Sir Montague (distant). Ooklay, Olonelcay! Erethay eway arehay!

Colonel Darling. Look, Monty! It’s another pair of usses!

Sir Montague. I say, are you two also from an alternate universe?

Col. Darling (approaching). Istenlay, Ontymay! Eythay eakspay Igpay Atinlay!

Sir Montague (distant). Howdy, y’all!

Col. Darling. Loog, Mondy! Dwo more uzzez!

Col. Darling. Gosh, Monty! There must be a lot more alternate universes than we thought!

Announcer. How many more alternate universes are waiting for our intrepid pair to discover? Will the repurposed temporal displacement chamber be big enough to handle all the Sir Montagues and Colonel Darlings meeting there? Don’t miss the next thrilling episode in the Adventures of Sir Montague Blastoff, Interplanetary Space Dragoon!

[Music: Theme, in and under for…]

Announcer. Kids, no matter how you say it, when you crave the rich, satisfying flavor of malt, together with the rich, satisfying flavor of cod-liver oil, there’s only one drink you want. All the others have been suppressed by the FDA. So remember that name: Malt-O-Cod, now with the pocket edition of Burnham’s English Dialect Dictionary in specially marked packages. Malt-O-Cod—the malt food drink that’s brain food!

[Music: In full, then out.]


From Dr. Boli’s Fables for Children
Who Are Too Old to Believe in Fables.

Once there was a woman who lived on a farm in the country, and she was just about like all the other farmers’ wives around her, neither more beautiful nor uglier, neither richer nor poorer, neither more nor less fortunate, and neither happier nor more discontented with her lot. This woman had a friend who was a fairy, which is more common in the country than city folk imagine, and when it came time for our farmer’s wife to give birth to her first child, she naturally invited her friend the fairy to her lying-in.

All went as well as could be expected, and the woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl.

Immediately the fairy snatched the child into her arms and said to the mother, “Choose now whether your daughter shall have beauty greater than any other woman’s, with wit and understanding greater than her beauty, and be the empress and autocrat of an immense country, but unhappy; or whether she shall be the ugliest creature in seven counties, with only so much intelligence as she needs to keep her from falling down a well, and with just enough in the way of possessions to keep body and soul together, but contented.”

The farmer’s wife, still recovering from her labor, answered slowly. “It is a hard decision. You say she would be empress with unlimited authority?”

“Unlimited,” the fairy answered.

“And the most beautiful woman on earth?”

“None would surpass her,” said the fairy.

“Or ugly?”


“And poor?”

“Just barely able to feed herself.”

“And to be contented she has to be ugly and poor, but to be exalted and beautiful she has to be miserable?”

“Yes, that is the alternative.”

“Well, what if, instead of an empress, she were, say, prime minister of a prosperous medium-sized republic? Would she still have to be unhappy?”

The fairy thought for a moment. “I suppose that, in return for a diminution of her autocratic powers, she might be allowed a few moments of happiness every so often. Not too much, you know, because prime minister is still a pretty big prize.”

“And suppose, say, she were not quite so beautiful: suppose, I mean, she were only the second-most-beautiful woman in the world, or possibly the third.”

“A few rays of happiness might shine into her life,” the fairy reluctantly admitted, “in return for the sacrifice of some of her beauty.”

“Or suppose I chose ugliness and poverty, but instead of absolute contentment, she always wished she had practiced the piano more assiduously. Would she have to be quite so unfortunate then?”

“A small but gnawing regret might gain a little less ugliness and a little more prosperity, I suppose,” said the fairy.

“Or suppose I chose beauty and prosperity, but, instead of prime minister, she were, say, a county commissioner, in a large and prosperous county of course.”

“I dare say the drop from prime minister to county commissioner would purchase several days of happiness.”

And so the conversation went, while the child patiently waited (for the issue of happiness or discontent for her had not yet been decided), until at last the mother and the fairy had reached an arrangement much less extreme than the one the fairy had originally proposed.

So the girl grew up into a woman, and she was not exceptionally beautiful, but not really what you would call ugly, and in spite of a receding chin could actually be quite attractive in certain lights; and she was not by any means rich, but not really poor either, and she was able to support herself and her family when it arrived; and she was not a great wit, but not stupid, and her intellect was adequate to most of the tasks demanded of it; and she had her share of misfortunes and disappointments, but she managed to get through them somehow, and her life was enlivened by moments of sincere delight. In short she was just like the rest of us; for it turns out that most mothers have fairies for friends, and they all end up making more or less the same deal.


No. 1. The Bee.

Behold the little honeybee,
    So busy at his task!
Now, isn’t he a funny bee?
    He never stops to ask,
“Just where can all the money be
    In service to the hive?”
I guess this little sunny bee
    Must be about the biggest dope alive.