Blogs by editor Randi Lynn Mrvos



                                   Volume 1 Issue 7

When Amanda and I Became Pets  
by: Amy M. Miller    

Joe Mulliner and the Refugees
by: Donna Smith 

Book Review
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone 
by: Donna Smith

                               When Amanda and I Become Vets                                  

By:  Toby
                                                      My sister Amanda
                                         loves all kinds of pets
                                         and since I do, too
                                         we want to be vets!

                                         We’ll share a big office
                                         where we will inspect
                                         hundreds of creatures
                                         you’d never expect.
                                         For instance, on Monday
                                         we’ll tend to the scar,
                                         while wiping the tears of
                                         a wee MINATAUR.                            
                                         On Tuesday, we’ll pour for
                                         a sweet worried Wizard
                                         tens gallons of syrup
                                         to treat his sick LIZARD.  

                                         The next day, on Wednesday,
                                         we’ll set straight the horn
                                         of a bumbling, tumbling
                                         white UNICORN.

By:  Willow

                                                     Thursday will bring us
                                         a rash that is itchin’
                                         but powder and ice packs
                                         will fix up that GRIFFIN.
                                         And Friday we’ll promise
                                         to stock up on Kleenex
                                         for Gnomes who bring in
                                         their sneezy pet Phoenix.
                                         On Saturday we’ll promise
                                         To repair without fuss 
                                         The broad feathered wing
                                         Of a prized Pegasus.

                                         On Sunday we’ll close ‘cuz
                                         Our work will have ended
                                         With animals tended.

                                         We’ll be recommended,
                                         I’d wager two bets!
                                         When Amanda and I
                                         become vets.

By: Amy M. Miller
                                 Joe Mulliner and the Refugees

You’re riding in a stagecoach. The door is torn open. You hear the click of pistols. A deep, gruff voice demands all of your money and possessions. With trembling hands, you give the bandits what they want. You’ve just become another victim of Joe Mulliner and his gang. Today, Mulliner is called a carjacker, but in colonial times, he’s known as a highwayman.

Who’s Joe Mulliner?

Joe Mulliner lives in turbulent times. The colonists are fighting England for their independence. Mulliner’s brothers are patriots wanting to live in the colonies without England ruling them. However, Mulliner declares himself loyal to England so he calls himself a Tory.

Mulliner resides in the pinelands of the Mullica area in southern New Jersey. He’s a member of a well-educated family and he’s rumored to be a handsome, wild, fun-driven man. During the years 1780 -1781 his favorite past times are robbery and crashing parties. There are no accounts about him being politically active or fighting with the English Military. So, perhaps Mulliner along with 40 to 100 other men takes advantage of the colonist’s preoccupation with the revolution to become outlaws. They form a group and name themselves the Refugees. A small island in a swamp becomes their hideout.

The Widow Bates

As the Widow Bates approaches her farmhouse, she notices there’s something suspicious occurring. She sees a group of unknown horses and hears men’s voices. The widow and four of her young sons dismount from their wagon and are immediately met with a rough-looking group carrying her furniture and silver. Other men appear with her food, pigs, and chickens. The widow Bates is now face to face with the “Refugees,” but one famous member, Joe Mulliner, isn’t with the gang.

The Widow Bates calls the Refugees cowards, which infuriates them. They tie her and her sons to a tree, load up their bounty, and set fire to her house. Not long after the incident, the widow mysteriously finds a pouch with three hundred dollars worth of coins inside it. No one ever confesses to being her benefactor; although, many people in the area believe the money is from Mulliner. This may be the reason why Mulliner is called the “Robin Hood of The Pines.”

To the Rescue

One night, Mulliner passes by a tavern where he notices a crowd dancing to music. Riding up to the establishment, he spots a young woman crying. As Mulliner enters the tavern, it’s apparent that a wedding is about to start. He’s surprised when he sees the very same teary-eyed woman from outside walk up to the front of the room. She’s the bride and obviously not happy about getting married. Mulliner decides to save the woman from an unhappy marriage, so he fires his gun in the air and orders the groom to get out.

He’s a Nice Guy

Another tale about Mulliner involves a young man who refuses to let Mulliner dance with his partner. While this man stands up to Mulliner, the other men at the celebration scurry away from the dance floor to hide. Everyone is sure that Mulliner will shoot the defiant man, especially after he slaps Mulliner across the face. Instead of harming the man, Mulliner laughs, shakes his hand, and dances with his girl.

The Last Party

It’s easy to imagine Mulliner galloping down dark desolate roads, taking refuge in a sandy swamp, robbing the inhabitants of isolated farms, and looking for a good time. And, even though the stories about Mulliner describe him as an easygoing, gentle outlaw, he does terrorize many people and steal from them. Many members of the Refugees are ruthless, amoral men who commit murder. However, there are no accounts that Mulliner ever killed anyone.

In the end Mulliner is captured. A party guest informs Captain Baylin from the local militia that Mulliner is at the Indian Cabin Mills Inn. Mulliner is arrested and taken to Burlington, New Jersey for his trial. The court convicts him of high treason. He receives a death sentence, and he’s hanged in August of 1781 at Gallows Hill. After, Mulliner’s death the Refugees disband.

Mulliner Returns

Mulliner is now just a local legend. His tales are tucked away in books about old New Jersey towns. Most of the literature does contain one last thing about him and his afterlife. Throughout the years people have claimed to see the ghostly Mulliner walking with his head down as if he is looking for something. Most of the observers believe that Mulliner is trying to find buried money. But, wouldn’t it be more likely that he’s still searching for another good party?

By:  Donna Smith

Book Review: 
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone

Name of Book:  The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
Author:  Timothy Basil Ering 
Illustrator:  Timothy Basil Ering
Year Published: 2003
Age Range of Book: 4 – 8 years
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
ISBN:  978-0-7636-1382-2
Price: $13.42

Open the book and have a look.

A boy and his monster, one, two, three…
How they work together, you'll see. 

The boy lives in Cementland amid the castoff appliances, discarded clothing, and rotting trash. He believes something valuable must be hidden amongst the decay. Follow the boy through the dreary landscape as he searches for treasure. When he unearths a locked box and pries it open, he can’t identify the contents. But dazzled by his discovery, he decides to take the unknown bits and bury them. Then the boy needs to ensure his bounty is protected from thieves, so he constructs a monster out of the debris surrounding him. With the wave of the boy’s hand and a little magic, Frog Belly Rat Bone is born with very “moist” socks and rather “picky” underwear.

In this story, foes become friends. All the characters unite to cultivate the precious gems found by the boy. They don’t know what they’ve planted, but they believe something wonderful will happen. Together they say, “Frog Belly Rat Bone, one, two, three…we must be patient and then we will see!” And, they wait until the day they happily see the darkness illuminated by a kaleidoscope of colors.

Ering is both author and illustrator. His book isn’t the traditionally pretty picture book. Instead, Ering paints a world with muted hues and bursts of muddy colors. His fine art images are striking and perfectly convey the world he’s created, while treating the reader to a fun adventure where a monster thinks he’s too good-looking to be scary.

Rating for the book *****

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