Alan Katz—A Seriously Silly Symposium with Kindergarteners and First Graders

 Children’s author and television writer Alan Katz visited with the kindergarteners and first graders at Katonah Elementary School for a serious talk about silliness. His presentation was part of PARP, or Pick a Reading Partner.

“I am an author,” Alan Katz began. “But, I am not the only author in this room. We are all authors. We all have stories to tell.”

 "This morning, we’ll laugh, we’ll sing, we’ll rhyme, and we’ll have a good time,” he said. 

 Mr. Katz delivered on all of these promises.

He showed the children his first book, “Take Me Out to the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs.”  

“I took the song 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' and I rewrote the words. That’s what we call a parody."

 The whole room sang "Take Me out to the Bathtub," about a boy wearing roller skates who claims he has been soaking so long in the tub that he "used one, two, three bars of soap/ Take me out... I'm clean!" They also sang "Food Fight" to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean," and "Stinky, Stinky Diaper Change" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

 Then Mr. Katz turned to the serious business of being an author.

 His shared three tips with the students. 

1.  Read every day. He told children about his son, the biggest reader he knows. "The more you read the better you read, the better you read the better you write."

2. Write every day. He showed children the teacher's comment in his third grade report card: “Alan needs to work harder to become a better writer. “I’ve been doing that. Now that I’m in 47th grade, I am still writing every day and getting better," he reported. 

3.  Write about your family—your vacations, your pets, your sister or brother. "It only happened to you so you will be writing something special that only you can write," he told the class. "I always write about my four kids. I’ve written thirty-five books and there is something about my kids in each one of them."

Alan Katz told the children about his job, which is to write funny things. He’s written for The Rosie O’Donnell Show and Disney’s “Raw Toonage,” Nickelodeon, and Warner Brothers Animation’s Taz-Mania. He showed the students one of his recent projects, Barbie Fashion Play Cards. “I have one rule," he said. "The most important rule in life and in writing: never never make jokes that hurt other people’s feelings.”

"I also like writing funny rhyming poems. Here’s one of  my favorites."

The Lollipop

Lick lick lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick lick.
Lick lick lick. Lick.
Lick lick lick. Lick.

After Mr. Katz finished, there was time for questions. 

"Where can I get your books?" one student asked.

"The most wonderful place in the world," replied Mr. Katz. "The library. You can’t get clothes to use and return them, or a cheeseburger for free, can you?"