Thursday, August 28, 2008

Imperfection and Uptoten*****

Back in class XI, or was it XII, there was an Ogden Nash poem which inspired our English teacher to get another one to read in the class. One about perfect people who pay their bills on time, have everything organized and so on and so forth. You can see how unlike I am by the fact that this is all I remember of the poem. If I knew some more words I could have searched it online, and quoted it here, just as a prelude to linking to this blog post. She is not perfect, not by Nash's definition, nor by her own, but wow, she is amazing! My place is a perfect pig sty right now, and procrastinator that I am, its just been piling on and on, and never ever would I have thought of that attitude - ok, what CAN I do? So, here is to Swistle, who has inspired me to feel just a pat my back a wee bit each time I pick and replace something in its rightful position.

Today's site is another favourite - Uptoten or Boowa and Kwala. Either search will lead you to the same page, but the site is actually called 'up to ten', which makes it obvious that it is designed for children less than ten years of age. It has two sections: the one for the younger tots, up to six, is the one with Boowa (a lovable dog) and Kwala (cute koala), and the one for older kids which is not so well developed yet. Boowa and Kwala have their own tv series, only not in our part of the world.

The site is free, but there is a paid full screen version without ads, which has recent, and just more of everything - games, animations, songs. There is also a version for schools. The games are organized by activity, but you can also search them by the skill it will develop - motor activity, intellectual agility or computer literacy and their components. The songs are cute, but just recently I felt that they were not as melodious as before, although still catchy. Animations are well done. There are new additions each month, added around a theme, which is chosen by a poll the month before. It is a very well organized and well thought of site, and I would recommend paying up for the full version if you are going to leave you kid unattended on the net. The screenshot above is from the demo through one of their affiliations which offer the full version at a discounted price to their customers. The free version looks as below -

The site is the brainchild of VĂ©ronique and Jason Barnard who started this in 1997. They run it from Mauritius now, claiming that the low stress location is conducive to creativity, and I must agree. Incidentally, Veronique is French, as are the Poisson rouge developers, and they are both Wonderful sites. Some coincidence? Poisson rouge is sans language, but this one is bilingual.

Here is the url for the opening page, which allows you to choose your version and proceed -

P.S. Here is another poem by Nash, since I couldn't get the one I wanted, and since this is kid oriented -


By Ogden Nash

Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.



Swistle said...

Oh, man! My grandma used to read me that Belinda poem all the time! My favorite line is "Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears." But I was sad for Custard!

Swati said...

Yes, poor thing, he never got what he wanted...