Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MUSEBOX: The Keeper of the EYEBALLS!

Dear Creative Writers!

I understand that today is Halloween, but LOOK at what arrived in the MUSEBOX!!!

And when I opened it, LOOK at what I found! EYEBALLS!

I think they are chocolate, but this is still CREEPY! Do you also see that rolled up note??? LOOK at what it says!

"Eye am the Keeper of the Eyes!" Eeeek! Who could have sent this to me? And Why? What kind of message are they trying to make? I don't get it. Do you? In the comment section below, can you write a few paragraphs letting me know what you think this MYSTERY is all about?
Happy HALLOWEEN, I think.....
Professor Watermelon

Monday, October 29, 2012

WEEKLY MUSE: Lollipops

With Halloween right around the corner, I bet you are thinking the same thing I am thinking! TRICK or TREAT!

Dressing up as your favorite ghoul, goblin, super hero or princess is so much FUN. And knocking on your neighbors’ doors and threating a trick or treat is incredibly thrilling. From door to door your treat bag gets heavier and heavier with loot, and at the end of the night there is nothing more exciting than dumping your CANDY on the floor to see your bounty!

While you sort and sample your candy, I am certain that your will find a few different types of LOLLIPOPS. Looks like we’ve found our WEEKLY MUSE!

Did you know that the word “lollipop” actually means “tongue slap”?  And the first example of a lollipop was probably made by the caveman. Cavemen would use a stick to collect honey from a beehive. And since nobody wants to waste something as sweet as honey, the cavemen would lick the remaining honey from the stick.

Many cultures throughout the world and throughout time have had different types of candies that were made easier and less sticky to eat by poking them onto a stick. But the American “lollipop” appeared in the 1930’s.

Samuel Born
George Smith, the owner of Bradley Smith Company (a candy company), named his “stick candy” the Lollipop. George Smith said that he named the candy after his favorite racehorse, Lolly Pop. But some people wonder if this story is a fib, since the name seems pretty convenient, knowing what the word lollipop means (tongue slap).

When it comes to lollipops, we can’t forget Samuel Born, a Russian immigrant who invented the stick-inserting machine that made lollipop making MUCH easier. Samuel Born opened several candy stores and invented many more different kinds of candies. Two such candies are still in production today: Mike and Ikes and Peeps. Both of these candies are made by the Just Born candy company. And both of the candies will probably end up in your treat bags, too!

Another favorite lollipop is the Toosie Pop. This lollipop is made by the Tootsie Company. Have you ever heard this quote: “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

“One, Two, Three….Crunch! Three!” I don’t think anyone really wants to take the time to count, hee-hee-hee!

So, what are LOLLIPOPS made of? SUGAR! SUGAR! SUGAR! Well, most commercial lollipops are made of a combination of sugar and corn syrup with added flavorings. Take a look at this video if you want to make some lollipops at home. YOU MUST ASK AN ADULT FOR ASSISTANCE! Making lollipops involves boiling a water and sugar mixture. This mixture can cause serious burns if it spills on your skin. OUCH!

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character lived in a LOLLIPOP factory?

WHAT IF your main character went trick-or-treating and met a witch who was handing out LOLLIPOPS that smelled like rotten eggs?

WHAT IF there was a place called Lollipop Planet?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “commercial”. Here is the definition: of, or pertaining to commerce or sales.

Jade the Rat and the Cookie Mix-up: By Lauren B.

Photo Credit: Brian Boucheron
Jade the Rat and the Cookie Mix-up
By: Lauren B.
Chapter 1: The Scout
There once lived a rat named jade.
"I am awesome!”
Yes, Jade was one amazing girl.
"I'm a boy!"
Okay, anyway, Jade had four sisters, two brothers and one baby. All of them were annoying to her.
"I'm telling you one more time and one time only that I'm not a GIRL!  Second of all, they weren't just annoying.  They are SUPER annoying - the kind of annoying that drives you up a tree! There's a big difference here!”
Let's move on. One day while Jade was walking down Main Mouse Street, he met a girl mouse.
When jade walked up to the girl she said, “Hi, I'm a Girl Rat Scout, would you like to buy a box of chocolate chip cookies?”
Jade thought about it. In his head, he remembered that his mom had said to never trust  any Girl Rat Scouts, but he loved chocolate chip cookies.
Jade looked at her 1 more time.  She stared at him with gleaming eyes.  Jade couldn't resist it. He said, “Okay, one box of cookies, please!”
“Coming right up!” said the girl as she gave Jade the box with a wink.             
Chapter 2: Mixed Up
When jade got home, his mom asked him where he had got those cookies. Jade quickly said he had gotten them from the marker. He didn't want to risk telling his mom. He would have to do a lot of explaining, and he hated explaining stuff to his mom.
After escaping from his mom he ran to his room and opened the cookie box and took a bite from one of the cookies. He spit it out and ran down stairs.
“Mom, I bought a box of cookies from a Girl Rat Scout, “he told her. “And she said they were chocolate chip, but they were actually oat meal raisin cookies and you know I hate oatmeal raisin cookies.
“Well, I am really ashamed of you,” said Jade’s mother. “I told you almost every day not to trust Girl Rat Scouts!  You’re going to have to deal with them on your own!”
Chapter Three: Cookies
The next day, Jade marched up to the spot where he had met the Girl Rat Scout, and he tried to find her. There she was standing right in front of him.
“Give me back my money,” said Jade. “You said that you would give me chocolate chip cookies, not oatmeal raisin cookies!”
“Yes I did,” said the snotty rat. “But when you asked for it, you said ‘could I have a box of cookies?’  You didn't say what type, so I picked for you and since we were running out of chocolate chip cookies, I gave you oatmeal raisin cookies!  And no, I will not give you your money back and I promise that!”
Chapter Four: Arrested
Ding! It was almost like a light bulb had struck Jade's head! He had an excellent idea. He would call the police because the police arrest anybody even if they didn't do a serious crime. The Girl Rat Scout would be arrested before you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
When Jade went to the police station, he told the police officer about the crime. The police officer said that he wanted to meet the selfish stinking rat! When the girl saw the police she ran away screaming, and she was never seen again!
1. Dead rats are often seen in the road.
2. Crows eat dead rats
3. Their favorite food is mac and cheese
Lauren: What a fun story. I am so happy that you found the creative writers MUSE after reading the WEEKLY MUSE on Rats. I am very proud of you, Lauren. I can't wait to read more of your stories. You certainly have TALENT!
With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thank You, Emerald Park Elementary!

Dear Mr. Johnson's Class,

Thank you for inviting me to your classroom this morning. I am always so impressed with your behavior, manners, enthusiasm, and TALENT! I am honored to know each of you, and I thank you for letting me be a part of your life journey! See you again soon!

Hugs and Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bookworm Bookmark: Pumpkin Seed

Hello Creative Writers,

Look at this week's BOOKWORM BOOKMARK! I've named him Pumpkin Seed, but I'd love for you to name him/her, too. As you can see, this BOOKWORM BOOKMARK is enjoying my favorite pumpkin book, The Runaway Pumpkin, by Kevin Lewis. It looks like the bookworm might be more interested in the PIG than the book, though. Ha-ha-ha! I see a story taking place. Do you? Can you write it? If you can, post your story in the comment section and I will give you $10 Melon Dollars!

With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Professor Watermelon!

I am not dead! And here is my spoon to prove it! If you see my little friend, Jack, tell him that I smell the blood of an Englishman!

Fee Fi Fo Fum,

Dear Giant!

Heavens to Betsy, that's a huge spoon. You mind if I try it out? And I don't think you have to worry about Jack anymore. The last time I heard from him, he was chopping Brussels sprouts, not bean stalks.


Professor Watermelon

Dear Creative Writers

It looks like the GIANT is back! And I've got his SPOON! Don't worry, he sent it to me in the MUSEBOX. I did not steal it. I wonder if this spoon has some magic in it like the objects from the GIANT'S castle. Remember the Golden Harp and the Golden Egg Laying Goose. Can you write a few paragraphs and describe what magic this wooden spoon may have? This challenge is worth $20 Melon Dollars!

Watch out for GIANTS!

Professor Watermelon

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Day of the Dead

Paul Asman
Graveyards and cemeteries can be spooky and sometimes a bit creepy, but they can also be a place to remember loved ones who have passed on. And there’s nothing creepy about that. In fact, we are approaching a Mexican holiday where families actually hold picnics and parties in the graveyard to honor the return of loved one’s spirits.

Do you know what Mexican holiday I am referring to? It happens to be our WEEKLY MUSE....

Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)!

The Day of the Dead could also be called the Days of the Dead, since the people who celebrate it often spend several days in celebration. November 1st and 2nd are the noted calendar days, which coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls Day.

And since the Day of the Dead occurs around the American holiday we call Halloween, many times the festivals overlap and share some of the same customs, especially since America is home to many Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants.

Those who celebrate the Day of the Dead believe that loved ones who have died are able to return to Earth in spirit form. Families will often place photographs and favorite foods of their dead loved ones on homemade alters inside their homes. Families will also clean and decorate the graves of these people.

At night, families will spend time in the graveyards and welcome the spirits back to Earth. They eat, drink, and tell delightful stories of the returning souls.

Like Halloween, children will dress up in costumes and beg for candy. One very popular candy is sugar skulls. These are very fun to make. If you would like to make some, check out this series of videos – you will needthe help of an adult.

Superstition is found around most holidays, and the Day of the Dead is not left out. Some people participate in this holiday because they feel that they have to. They think that if they do not clean the graves and leave gifts to the dead, those souls will feel cheated and may HAUNT them. Now that is CREEPY (wink).

The Day of the Dead rituals and celebrations go all the way back to the ancient Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that marigold flowers have a special scent that the dead can smell. This is why marigolds are still placed on graves and alters today.


With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character was one of the souls that returned to Earth on The Day of the Dead? Who was he/she, and who is he/she coming back to see?

WHAT IF your main character made a batch of sugar skulls that came to life and told funny skeleton jokes?

WHAT IF your main character was a dog or cat who participated in the Day of the Dead celebrations?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “superstition”. Here is the definition: irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chestnut Hill Academy Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners

Great job, Chestnut Hill Academy! Your pumpkin carving skills are SPOOKTACULAR! The winners are......

1st Place: Allie

2nd Place: Aidan

3rd Place: Illa

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Titanic: By Jaiden

By: Jaiden

If you want to read a story with princesses and happy endings, you might want to put this down. Did you know, 100 years ago there was a boat that was unsinkable, or so they thought?

100 years ago 2,228 passengers got aboard the Titanic. They were going to go to America, all the way from England. Sadly, the Titanic only made it halfway to New York City when the Titanic hit an iceberg.  But let’s go back a few hours earlier when everyone was boarding the ship.

Eva, a little girl, boarded the ship with her family. Her mother had a gut feeling that her family was in serious danger. Eva’s mother finally said, “I don’t think we should board the Titanic.” Eva’s mother knew that the “unsinkable” ship was sinkable.

A few hours later, Eva’s mother slept at day and was awake at night, fully clothed, and was ready to save her family at any given moment.

Eva’s mother said that she felt a bump and woke up her husband and Eva. Her husband went up on deck to see what had happened. Eva’s father came rushing down and told them the dreadful news. They ran up on deck and got into a lifeboat. Eva said that they rowed the boat really far out so that the Titanic wouldn’t come after them and pull them under as well with the many people who died with the Titanic.

Eva said that she could hear the screaming people crying for help, and she could hear the commotion still when they were rowing away from the dreadful Titanic.

Eva recalled when the lights went under; she knew the Titanic was lost somewhere under the ocean.

Finally, when all the lifeboats were together, they spread the people out on the lifeboats, so that on every lifeboat there were an equal number of people.

Eva got separated from her mother until they got rescued.

Eva said that the most pathetic thing she saw were the women searching for their husbands and quickly finding out that they had gone down with the ship.

To this day, the Titanic lays over 13,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. Today, Eva Hart and the rest of the Titanic survivors are all dead.

Even though the Titanic is at the bottom of the Ocean and is home to many animals, the Titanic will still be remembered as the unsinkable boat that was sinkable. The Titanic’s story will be spread for many years but will still be at the bottom of the ocean forever.

I am so happy that you found the MUSE in my Titanic post. I can tell that you were inspired by Eva Hart's story, and while you were researching the MUSE, I bet you imagined what it would have been like to be on the Titanic that dreadful night. I really like your story, and you are becoming a remarkable writer! I am very proud of you, Jaiden. Keep writing!
With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

Monday, October 15, 2012

MUSEBOX: Who Rattled My Bones?!

Greetings Professor Watermelon,

While I was haunting the cemetery, I found this tiny skeleton sitting on my tombstone. He is obviously just a little decoration, but I found him quite charming and demanding of a story to be written about him. Professor Watermelon, could your Creative Writers take on this challenge? I was a famous writer during my day. I wonder if your students even know my name. Hmm.

Sleepy and Hollow,

The Ghost of Washington Irving

Mr. Irving,

It is an honor to share your tiny skeleton decoration with my creative writers, and I am sure they are up for a spooky challenge. And since my creative writers are very worldly and smart, I am sure they know who you are - especially this time of year!

Happy Haunting,

Professor Watermelon

Dear Creative Writers,

This is a very special skeleton. I mean, how often do you get this kind of MUSEBOX gift from a ghost, especially the ghost of a famous American writer. This is a two part challenge. Can you tell this tiny skeleton's story. Also, can you give me three facts about Washington Irving? This challenge is worth $25 Melon Dollars!

With Imagination!
Professor Watermelon


Guess who is sponsoring the Chestnut Hill Academy Pumpkin Carving Contest this week? Me! Professor Watermelon!

I love carving pumpkins, but even more, I love writing stories about them. Looks like we’ve found another MUSE!

Pumpkins originated in Central America, but now they grow all over the world. The United States alone grows over 1.5 BILLION pounds of pumpkins a year – WOW! There are about 30 different kinds of pumpkins, but the best carving kind is the Connecticut Field Pumpkin.

The world’s largest pumpkin was grown in Rhode Island this year – 2009 pounds! Take a look at this article and video to see this gigantic gourd!

Pumpkin is also a healthy food. They are very low in fat and have lots of potassium like bananas! My favorite pumpkin recipe is PUMPKIN PIE! Sadly, this dish is not as healthy, but one little slice won’t hurt you (wink). Here is a great video on how to make Pumpkin Pie. It is fun to watch, but if you want to make a pie of your own, make sure to have an adult around for help.

Another healthy way to eat pumpkin is to eat the PUMPKIN SEEDS! So when you are carving your Jack O’ lantern this Halloween, don’t throw the seeds away. Wash them off, sprinkle them with salt, and ask an adult to roast them in the oven for a few minutes. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, and there are about 500 seeds in an average pumpkin. YUM!

Now before we talk more about Jack O’ Lanterns, did you know that there is a World Champion Punkin Chunkin Competition in Delaware every year? (Say that 10 times really fast.) Competitors from all over the country meet in a gigantic field and launch pumpkins from several different kinds of contraptions. Take a look at this series of videos to experience the fun.

Jack O’ Lanterns are a Halloween favorite. Legend has it that this tradition came to the United States with Scottish and Irish immigrants. The belief is that Jack O’ Lanterns will keep the spooks away. That is why you will see Jack O’ Lanterns guarding front porches and doorsteps across America on Halloween night.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, pumpkin carving is TONS of fun. Take a look at this video to see how to carve a traditional Jack O’ Lantern. If you want to stretch your imagination, take a look at what Martha Stewart has done with her pumpkins!

I can’t finish this post without sharing some of my favorite PUMPKIN stories. My favorite is “The Runaway Pumpkin” by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler. Here is the Amazon link. And no Halloween season is complete without watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Here is the full video of this classic.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character went to the Punkin Chunkin Competition and was able to launch a pumpkin to the MOON?

WHAT IF your main character carved a Jack O’ Lantern, and it spoke to him/her?

WHAT IF your main character planted the pumpkin seeds from his/her Jack O’ Lantern and they grew into witch’s brooms instead of pumpkin plants?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own “WHAT IF” questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,
Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “CONTRAPTION”. Here is the definition: a mechanical object, gadget or device.

Photo Credits: Jeremy Seits, Chris Connelly, and Joe Shlabotnic

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vampire Bookworm Bookmark

Hello Creative Writers! Check out this week's Bookworm Bookmark. I need your help, though! Can you name this bookworm? What is this bookworm's favorite book? And where is this bookworm from? In other words, what is this bookworm's STORY??? Post your ideas in the comment section below and earn $10 Melon Dollars!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Soccer Moon: By Ryan T.

The Soccer Moon
By: Ryan T.

Once there was a moon. Now, I am not talking about the one that stands there in your sky. I'm talking about a moon that could walk and talk and all of that.

One day the moon came across a sign that said “SOCCER TEAM, NEED PLAYER, THE ROARING RHINOS.”

The moon said, "Oh what a wonderful idea. I will tryout soccer, and I will try my hardest."

He went to the place that it said on the sign. He went and the coach came up and said, "Hey, are you ready to play soccer!"

 And the moon said, "Yes, coach!"

Then the coach asked, "What's your name?"

And the moon said, "Moon."

The coach then said, "An unusual name but ok, welcome to the team."

The moon said, "Awesome!"

Then the coach said, "Ok, so Moon, that sign is pretty old and we have already started but we are having one more game and this is going to be the championship game. I want you to try your hardest, alright?"

 And the moon replied, "Yes, Coach!"

So the team had practiced passing to each other. Moon was nailing the passes, left and right. He was doing great speed and great accuracy. Then during water break, the coach was impressed and he came up to him and said, "Have you ever had experience on a team?"

And the Moon said, "Nope, it is my first time playing."

And then the coach walked away. They did shooting and other sorts of drills and then the practice was finished.

The moon was excited because the game was tomorrow, and then the moon went home, got in bed and visualized himself scoring a goal....

The next day he woke up, and he was really excited. He got his soccer gear on and went to the field. He went to his team and when he arrived he started announcing the line-up.

"Ok George, I want you as center defense. Harold, I want you as left defense. Thomas, I want you as right defense. Bob, I want you as right mid field. Steve, I want you as left mid field. Then Ryan and Moon are the forwards.”

So we started the game, and Ryan passed it to Moon and Moon passed it to Ryan and Ryan passed it to Bob and Bob shot and SCORED!!!! So that was the first goal, but when the first half ended, it was 2-2 tie. The coach said, "You guys are playing well out there, just keep it up and we might win."

So they went out on the field and they scored another goal.

But out of nowhere, a kid from the other team scores. There was only 5 minutes left in the game and the last minute was amazing.

So Moon did not give up because he wanted to win, so he got the ball and there was 5 seconds left. He beat one guy, 4! He beat another one, 3! He beat another one, 2! He beat the last guy, and he was in front of the goalie, 1! He shot and he ......... SCORED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He was going down the field celebrating and his teammates hugged him and he was so happy. He always remembered that day, and he is still playing today.

The End
Congratualations, Ryan, for the publication of your story on my blog. What a great way to use the Moon as your MUSE.


I hear that one of my favorite schools, Chestnut Hill Academy, is getting ready for their Fall Festival. And one of their Fall Festival favorites is the SCARECROW building event! Not only are scarecrows fun to make, they are also a fantastic MUSE!

People have been building scarecrows for about 3000 years – all the way back to ancient Egyptian days. The Greeks, Romans, Japanese, and Native Americans all had their version of the scarecrow, too.

In England during the 1300’s children were actually used as scarecrows. No, they weren’t tied to a stick and stuck in the ground (wink). Children were given stones or clackers (two pieces of wood to clap to together) and sent off to chase the birds from the fields of grain.

In America during the 1800’s, children of the Zuni tribe would compete to see who could build the most unusual scarecrow. The Zuni tribe is a Native American Pueblo tribe of New Mexico who is still going strong today.

The scarecrow that is most recognized in America today came from European immigrants (people who moved from their original homeland to live in America). German immigrants in Pennsylvania are noted to have made human-like scarecrows called bootzamon or bogeyman. The bogeyman wore old overalls, a long-sleeved shirt, a straw hat and a red handkerchief around his neck. On the other side of the field or garden, a bootzafrau or bogeywife was sometimes staked in the ground, too.

Before the 1930’s famers used Scarecrows a lot! But then, pesticides (chemicals that are sprayed on crops to keep birds and bugs away) were made. Now, we don’t see as many scarecrows as before. But we do see them in some personal gardens, especially during the fall for decoration.

My favorite fictional scarecrow comes from the book and movie, The Wizard of Oz. Take a look at this video to see him singing one my favorite songs, If I Only Had a Brain!
And if you would like a costume for the Wizard of Oz scarecrow, show your parents this link to Amazon’s costume shop.

And for all those kids at Chestnut Hill Academy who are getting ready to build a scarecrow of their own, check out this “how to build a scarecrow” video. This goes for all my Creative Writing friends – if you want to build a scarecrow, make sure you have an adult around for help.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character is scarecrow whose best friend is a….. CROW?

WHAT IF your main character built a scarecrow that came to life? What kind of personality would this scarecrow have, and what adventures would take place?

WHAT IF your main character was eating corn on the cob and suddenly turned into a scarecrow?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “Pueblo”. Here is the definition: this is a Spanish word of village or town. When the Spanish settled the New Mexico area, they noticed that Zuni tribe lived in villages or towns, so they called them Pueblo people.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MUSEBOX: A different kind of STALK to climb!

Dear Professor Watermelon,

I saw this growing in my mother's garden, and I thought of you and your creative writers. Do you know what it is? Could you imagine if this Brussels Sprout Stalk grew as big as my bean stalk? Whoa! I wonder if it would take us to the same GIANT'S castle?

Hope you have fun with this!

With sincere MAGIC BEANS,


Dear Jack!

Thank you so much for the Brussels Sprout Stalk. My creative writers are going to LOVE this. By the way, do you still have the four beans that didn't grow?

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

Dear Creative Writers,

Have you ever seen Brussels Sprouts on their stalk? Well, I found one in our MUSEBOX from Jack. You remember Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, right? What if this Brussels Sprout Stalk grew to the clouds? Where would it take your main character? This Creative Writing Challenge is worth $20 Melon Dollars! You can either write your paragraphs in the comment section below or bring it with you to Creative Writing Club! Have fun!

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

Monday, October 1, 2012


In the last Weekly MUSE we learned all about the magnificent American Crow. And while learning about the crow, I mentioned another creature that lives very closely to humans – RATS! Creative Writers, we’ve found another MUSE! And this MUSE is not for the faint hearted.

After humans, Rats are the most successful mammals on the planet. The common rat lives on all continents except Antarctica, where it is just too cold and there’s not enough food. This is the same reason there isn’t a large human population there, too.

The brown rat is the most common rat and sometimes goes by the name of street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, or Norway rat. These rats are omnivores, which means that they will eat both plants and other animals.  In fact, rats will eat almost ANYTHING! One study shows that their favorite foods are scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese. Their least favorite foods are raw beets and celery. Sounds like a lot of kids I know (wink).

Sadly, rats are known to carry at least 20 different diseases that harm humans. In fact, rats are responsible for killing a fourth of the world’s population in the 1300’s. This was called the “Black Death”. Rats follow humans for food, and this was no different centuries ago. While people traveled and traded goods by boat and wagon, rats went with them. This spread the Bubonic Plague. Come to find out, the disease was carried in the rats’ blood, and fleas passed the disease from the rats to humans. GROSS!

Today, people are still very cautious when dealing with rat infestations. And cities routinely keep a check on rat populations so that disease is controlled. Take a look at this video to see a home rat infestation. While a rat infestation is a serious problem, this video made me LAUGH OUTLOUD! Take a look.  

 Since rats carry so many harmful diseases, people tend to think of rats as “dirty”. But not the people of India who worship the rat goddess, Karni Mata. Take a look at this video, and tour the Temple of the Rats.

The rat is also celebrated in the Chinese Zodiac. Check here to see what animal represents your birth year. The last YEAR OF THE RAT was 2008. Do you know anyone born that year?

As you can see… rats are feared, rats are avoided, and rats are celebrated. Some people even keep these furry rodents as pets. But these rats have been specially bred for human companionship. If you want to know more about keeping a pet rat, visit Petco.

Now, I can’t end this post without mentioning my favorite rat character from a book. That would be Templeton from Charlotte’s Web. Take alook at this movie trailer to see this sassy guy.

And we can’t forget about Remy from the Disney/Pixar animated film, Ratatouille! As a matter of fact, rats show up as characters in a lot of children’s books. Who is your favorite rat character? And, of course, I would love to see what kind of rat character you can come up with (wink).

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character was a rat who wanted to perform on the show “Dancing with the Stars”?

WHAT IF a rat ran for President of the United States? What if he/she won?

WHAT IF the Curiosity Rover found rats on MARS?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “infestation”. Here is the definition: a harassing or troubling invasion.

Photo Credit: Sarah