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George Bedirian

Summer 2008

Dizzy

Stacy A. Nyikos and Kary Lee ’86
Stonehorse Publishing, Tulsa, OK, 2007

Meet Dizzy, a Pacific white-sided dolphin who romps through the pages of this book at a—well, at a dizzying pace. Aimed at a readership of 3- to 8-year-olds, the story, such as it is, follows Dizzy through days spent flying among the clouds, high-diving, and “porpoising” frenetically about his watery world. But then he catches sight of a sea lion, a “fish shepherd” … » More …

Fall 2008

The Little Book of Dinosaurs

I can remember, as a boy of 10 or 12 in Massachusetts in the early ’50s, prowling the stacks at the Cambridge Public Library—a ponderous but beautiful Romanesque stone building set in a park between Cambridge High and Latin School and Rindge Tech—looking for books on paleontology. I didn’t know the word “paleontology” then, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have cared what it meant. What I wanted to know about was dinosaurs. All I could find were text-heavy tomes, not especially designed for people my age, sparsely peppered with meager little line drawings, plus, if I was lucky, a full-page black-and-white plate or … » More …

Summer 2003

Smoke Follows Beauty

There’s a scene in “The Kanasket Chicken Killings” that illuminates a great deal of what Brian Ames (’85 Political Science) is up to in his collection of short stories, Smoke Follows Beauty. As he’s replacing the camshaft of a road grader, mechanic Henri DeLaat, trying to make sense out of what’s been happening on his farm, reduces the confusing events he’s been living through to a mathematical formula: “A, there are chickens going missing. B, it is probably the work of coyotes. C, coyotes can be stopped. D, how? A plus B plus C equals D, a simple equation.” Immediately, he drops a bolt into … » More …

Fall 2007

The Best Dog in the World: Vintage Portraits of Children and Their Dog

Its square format, 8¼-inch page size, and consciously retro design mark The Best Dog in the World: Vintage Portraits of Children and their Dogs by Donna Long ’89 as a gift book—not a weighty tome by any means. Yet, unlike many other books of its kind, there’s enough substance in this little volume to keep readers coming back to it again and again. The book brings together 111 photographs—both formal studio portraits or amateur snapshots—taken from 1875 to 1925. A number of the images were originally printed as photo postcards, and Long takes pains to preserve their identity as such, reproducing the entire image side … » More …

Winter 2003

Alley the Cat

In a graphic style reminiscent of Walt Disney cartoons, Alley the Cat, by Jarrett W. Mentink ’98, ’01 tells the story of Miss Alley, who not only breaks the “old rule” that “cats don’t like mice,” but actually finds mice “quite cool.” In contrast, gangster felines Skinny, Harry, and Crazy Pete “loved to chase mice / and when they caught them—They’d eat!” Frustrated by their inability to catch Wheels, “the fastest mouse in the land,” they lay a trap for the intrepid rodent. But just as they’re about to finish off their intended victim, in rushes Alley, who has been watching all along, and rescues … » More …

Fall 2002

One hot link: Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections

Archives? Stuffy. Boring. Dusty. Right? Ah, then you haven’t logged on to Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC) Website. This site packs in a ton of fascination.

For sheer quirkiness and creativity, for example, nothing beats the Frank S. Matsura Image Collection. A Japanese immigrant who lived in Okanogan, Washington, until his death at age 32 in 1913, Matsura broke all the rules of portrait photography in pursuit of his personal vision. In the process, he revealed the souls of his subjects, whose images speak to us after nearly a century with a sometimes unsettling immediacy. I can only wonder … » More …