Posts filed under “Young Readers”


Announcer. And now Malt-O-Cod, the malt food drink that’s brain food, presents…

(Music: Fanfare.)

Space Chicken. Bwuck-bucbucbuc-buckabucbuck-buckAWP!

Announcer. The adventures of Space Chicken!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Yes, it’s Space Chicken, the avian ace whose skill and quick wit are matched only by her sheer stout-hearted pluck!

Space Chicken. BuckAWWWWP!

Announcer. Oh! Sorry. I won’t use that word.

(Music: In full, then fade under…)

Announcer. As you recall from last week’s episode, Space Chicken had been rocketing across the galaxy in her streamlined space racer, the Pullet Bullet, when suddenly her ship was entangled in a strange alien farce field.

Space Chicken. BuckAWWPbucbucbuck!

Announcer. Weird alien beings with green skin and long green robes materialize in the cockpit of the Pullet Bullet.

Space Chicken. Brawwwk!

Alien Being (reverberating voice). Greetings, earth traveler! We are beings from a distant star, and we demand information from you.

Space Chicken. BAWWKbucbucbuck!

Alien Being. No, not the disposition of your earth fleet. We have no interest in military matters. We have been studying your earth philosophy, and we want you to explain to us the difference between the Aristotelian and the Cartesian conception of the self.

Space Chicken. BucBAWWKbucbucbucbuck!

Alien Being. We have brought these persuasion devices to convince you if you are recalcitrant. It would be best to begin at once.

Space Chicken. Bwawwkbucbucbwawwk!

Alien Being. Well, of course, I am familiar with Descartes’ famous dictum. Everyone in the galaxy has heard that one.

Space Chicken. BucbucBAWKbuck!

Alien Being. Well, that’s ridiculous. You can’t just say that Aristotle meant the same thing when he said “I” that Descartes meant. That‘s avoiding the issue.

Space Chicken. BuckaBWAWKbucbucbuc!

Alien Being. Yes, I know, thinking animal. But there must be some substantial difference between them.

Space Chicken. BWAWK! BucbucbucBAWWWK!

Alien Being. Is that so? Well, perhaps you will not be so stubborn when we have applied our persuasion devices.

Space Chicken. BuckAWPbucbucbuc!

Alien Being. Yes, these are aqueous projection units. They emit a broad stream of water which will cause the uncomfortable and unpleasant sensation of being wet.

Space Chicken. BRAWWWWKbucbucbuck!

Alien Being. You still refuse to state the difference between the Cartesian and Aristotelian notions of the self? Then you leave us no alternative.

(Sound: Loud squirting and splashing and flapping.)


Alien Being. Look out! She’s mad as some sort of previously unknown life form that we have no proverbial expression to describe!


Announcer. Will the mysterious aliens survive their encounter with Space Chicken in her wet form? Don’t miss the surprising answer in the next thrilling episode of Space Chicken!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Kids, you can travel the length and breadth of the galaxy, but you’ll never find a better malt food drink than Malt-O-Cod. The secret is in the real cod-liver oil that goes into every satisfying glass. Nothing but the cream of the North Atlantic cod fisheries is good enough for Malt-O Cod, now with the official Space Chicken decoder mallet in every specially marked package. It’s the malt food drink that’s brain food—Malt-O-Cod!

(Music: In full, then out.)


Q. What did the cow cop say to the juvenile delinquents?

A. Mooooooooooooooooooooove along there, boys!

Q. How did the dog pirate sail the seven seas?

A. On a barque!

Q. How did the snake photographer judge his exposures?

A. With a hissssssssssssstogram!

Q. How did the alpaca calculate the square root of 137?

A. With a calculator, same as everybody else!

Q. How did Mrs. Owl do her daily cleaning?

A. With a Hoooooooooooooooooooover!

Q. How did the horse vote in borough council?

A. Neigh!

Q. What did the coral say to the sea anemone?

A. Not a whole lot!


Announcer. Malt-O-Cod, the delicious and nutritious malt food drink flavored with real cod-liver oil, presents…

(Music: Theme, up and under for…)

Announcer. The Adventures of Backstory Man and Angst Boy!

(Music: In full, then fade to engine revving behind…)

Announcer. Our new story opens with Backstory Man and Angst Boy racing down the boulevard in the Backstorymobile toward a bank robbery in progress, when we hear Angst Boy say…

Angst Boy. I just think it would be easier if you could do some of the driving some of the time, that’s all. It makes me feel like you only value me for my license.

Backstory Man. I have certain reasons for not learning to drive—reasons that I have not hitherto divulged to anyone.

Angst Boy. Gee, it’s not like you to hold back on something like that.

Backstory Man. But now I shall tell you. Back when I was only fifteen years old, my brother Herbie and I used to—

Angst Boy. Oh, look, we’re at the bank already.

(Sound: Brakes squealing.)

Angst Boy. I have an acute and depressing feeling of apprehension about this bank robbery.

Backstory Man. It will pass with time. Meanwhile, let us walk the five steps it will take us to get inside the bank, which is a considerably shorter distance than I walked when I was picking grapes in the Pays d’Oc at the winery of an Italian mobster who was a complete teetotaler.

(Sound: A few footsteps.)

Angst Boy. As I thought. There’s a guy robbing the bank by pointing his iPhone at the teller. Sometimes I think I was born into the stupid part of the multiverse by mistake.

Backstory Man. Stop, villain! Put down that phone and tell me who you are and what you are doing here.

The Thief. They call me… “The Thief.”

Angst Boy. The…Thief?

The Thief. Because I take stuff.

Backstory Man. Well, Mr. Thief, as a duly deputized officer of the law, having been made an honorary sheriff’s deputy at the age of three when my aunt Matilda took me to the City Police Law Enforcement Fun Fair for my birthday, because she couldn’t afford a real present, I am placing you under arrest.

The Thief. Oh, you are, are you?

Backstory Man. But first, in order to establish a certain amount of sympathy for the villain and create a shallow veneer of depth for our story, I will give you an opportunity to tell us your tragic backstory.

The Thief. Tragic backstory?

Angst Boy. Well, of course. Every villain has a tragic backstory. You must have some incident in your past that haunts you and made you into the villain you are today.

The Thief. Oh, yes, mine’s a doozy. I remember it clearly. There was one incident in my childhood that I distinctly recall as the thing that set me off down the path of villainy.

Backstory Man. And what was this tragic turning point in your past?

The Thief. Well, once when I was about five years old, my mother brought home some cookies, and she put them in the cookie jar, but she said I couldn’t have any till after dinner.

Angst Boy. Oh, I know where this is going.

The Thief. So when she left the room, I reached into the cookie jar and took one. And that’s my tragic backstory.

Angst Boy. Well, I guess I didn’t know where this was going.

Backstory Man. But surely there must be more tragedy than that in your story.

The Thief. Don’t you see? I learned from that incident that I could have things I wanted just by taking them! It’s the one thing that made me into the Thief, the man who takes things when he wants them.

Backstory Man. Well, Mr. Thief, I, too, have a tragic backstory, an indelible stain in my memory that accounts for my life of fighting crime, and now you shall hear it. Back when I was only fifteen years old, my brother Herbie and I used to—

The Thief. Look, do you think you could just book me now? I’m supposed to rob the Polithania Savings Bank by two. If I don’t get there in time, they’ll start to wonder what happened to me.

Announcer. Will Backstory Man get to tell the Thief his tragic backstory before the close of next week’s episode? Don’t forget to tune in to next week’s episode to find out!

(Music: Theme, in and under for…)

Announcer. Kids, the fast pace of modern life and the uncertainty of a future that has got darker with every passing year may tempt you to despair. But then there’s Malt-O-Cod. A tall glass of that delicious malt mixed with real cod-liver oil from the cream of the Atlantic cod fisheries will make you feel optimistic for about fifteen minutes. Then you’ll need another fix.

(Music: In full, then out.)


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

(Music: Trumpet fanfare.)

Announcer. The Adventures of Dictionary Guy!

(Music: Sousa’s “Library of Congress” March, in full and under for…)

Announcer. Yes, it’s Dictionary Guy, the hero who knows what words mean and isn’t afraid to tell. With his trusty unabridged dictionary and his prep-school education, Dictionary Guy comes to the rescue whenever the English language is egregiously abused.

(Music: In full, then fade under…)

Announcer. Our story begins in the offices of Dynamitech, a medium-sized corporation that sells products and services. The working day is just getting under way, and Mary Lou and Fred, two ordinary hardworking employees, are hard at work on a product or service.

Mary Lou. All I’m saying is, it would make our jobs a little easier, that’s all. I could get the work done better, that’s what I mean, if they would just tell us whether we’re working on a product or a service.

Fred. Yes, but you know how Baker is. You’re not supposed to ask questions like that if you want to be a Team Player.

Mary Lou. I just want to know what sport we’re playing. If I’m on a football team and I’m playing hockey—

Fred. Heads up. Here comes Baker now.

Baker (entering). Hey, Mary Lou, and whatever your name is, I was just wondering if we were on the same page yet vis-a-vis the project to break down silos going forward.

Mary Lou. Uh… silos? You mean, like on a farm?

Baker. I mean that, you know, as a thought leader and cultural transformation steward, I was hoping to get your buy-in on some differentiated behaviors based off the paradigm-shift model I ran up the flagpole last week.

Mary Lou. I, um, think the custodian usually takes care of putting up the flag in the morning.

Fred. He means—

Baker. I was thinking we should take a deep dive into our core agilities and see what deliverables we could all bring to the table.

Mary Lou. Well, I suppose I could make cupcakes.

Baker. At the end of the day, my key focus is to impact collective growth from the top down, so if I have to think outside the box to move the needle, then I’ll leverage our touchpoints to drill down into our value add and synergize the layers of the onion.

Mary Lou. I don’t think you know what any of those words mean.

Fred. Uh, Mary Lou, I don’t think that’s a good—

Mary Lou. No, really, I think you’re just throwing buzzwords out at random. You’re egregiously abusing the English language.

(Music: Trumpet fanfare.)

Dictionary Guy. Hark! I hear a cry of distress from a literate citizen!

Fred. Who are you, and how did you get past security in that outfit?

Dictionary Guy. I am Dictionary Guy, and I have sworn to avenge crimes against the English language whenever they inconvenience citizens who abide by the laws of grammar. Behold my mighty unabridged dictionary, with which I foil any villain who speaks unintelligible jargon!

Mary Lou. I hope you won’t do anything drastic. I mean, my 401(k) is vested in two years.

Baker. Let’s circle back on the language question. That stuff isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I think we can ideate some solutional thinking if we can just be proximal and make sure we have the bandwidth to productize a results-oriented swimlane.

Dictionary Guy. Indeed? Take that, villain!

Sound: Loud thump, body falling.

Mary Lou. Well, gee, Dictionary Guy, you just clonked him on the head with that big old book.

Dictionary Guy. He had it coming to him.

Mary Lou. I mean, I thought maybe you’d look some of those words up in the dictionary and show him why he was wrong.

Dictionary Guy. Well, I don’t see how that would help now. Maybe when he wakes up.

Fred. Should I, like, dial 9-1-1?

(Music: “Library of Congress” March, in and under for…)

Announcer. And so once again Dictionary Guy foils a villain who would debase the language of Shakespeare and Milton. Meanwhile, kids, when it comes to malt food drinks, you know all the words you need to know. Malt-O-Cod is the name you trust. Look ’em up, kids—look up “malt,” and look up “cod.” But don’t look up “O,” because that would just be silly. That’s everything there is to know about Malt-O-Cod, now with the 469th edition of Noah Webster’s Grammatical Institute in every specially marked two-pound package! It’s the malt food drink that’s brain food—Malt-O-Cod!

(Music: In full, then out.)


In olden times the Zebra lived in the forest and was dreadfully afraid of the open plain. His timidity made life inconvenient for him, because as everyone knows Zebras are supposed to eat grass, and grass is not found in great quantities in the forest. The poor Zebra came to the edge of the forest every morning and stuck his head out just far enough to nibble at the grass beyond the trees, but each morning the grass was farther away, and the Zebra had to stick his head out farther, until this nearly became the story of How the Giraffe Got His Neck, but we have already heard that one.

Eventually his friend the Albatross persuaded him to see a therapist. We are not quite sure why the Zebra had a friend who was an Albatross, but we are not going to waste time at present trying to come up with a hypothesis to account for it. So the Zebra went to see the Gorilla, who operated a therapy parlor with a sideline in tattoos, and asked for a couple of pounds of therapy.

“We are having a special today,” said the Gorilla. “If you buy three pounds of therapy, we will include a full-body tattoo of your choice absolutely free.”

“I don’t really want a tattoo,” said the Zebra.

“Well, you have to take it,” said the Gorilla. “It’s today’s special. You can’t leave without a tattoo.”

“Isn’t that kidnapping or something?”

“No. It is the rule of the house, and if you disobey the rule of the house, we must send you to prison.”

“I didn’t know we had prisons in the forest,” the Zebra said.

“Well, technically we don’t. So we just dress you up in the convict suit and rely on your sense of honor to keep you confined to one place, more or less. Within reason.”

“I think I’d look pretty silly in a convict suit.”

“Then I’d recommend getting the tattoo. It’s your only option. Besides, I’ve been itching to finish the tattoo I started on the Okapi before he up and ran away from me.”

“And what if I up and run away from you, too?” asked the Zebra.

“You can’t. I locked the door.”

“I didn’t know we had doors in the forest.”

“You should pay more attention to your surroundings. And now, Zebra, for your therapy session. You’ve got agoraphobia, and you should snap out of it. Now for the tattoo…”

Suddenly there was a voice from the doorway: “What’s all this, then?”

“Inspector African Striped Squirrel!” cried the Gorilla. “I thought I locked that door!”

“We don’t have doors in the forest,” said the Squirrel. “Has this Gorilla character been bothering you, Mr. Zebra?”

“He says I can’t leave unless he gives me a tattoo,” said the Zebra, “and I don’t want a tattoo.”

“Aha!” said Inspector Squirrel. “The old can’t-leave-without-a-tattoo scam! Why, I’ve been trying to catch him red-handed for years, but you did it in one afternoon! Good work, Zebra! How would you like to be a sergeant in the African Forest Constabulary Service?”

So the Zebra took up his new position, and that is the story of How the Zebra Got His Stripes. And incidentally his new job gave him the right to be arrogant and boss people around and act like he owned the forest, so he gained confidence and lost his old agoraphobia and went out into the plains any time he was hungry.


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.)