Posts filed under “Young Readers”


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.)


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.]