Stand-up comic Rudner sits down to produce a collection of light little essays. Just as doctoral candidates have to present their theses, it appears that comedians must produce such works for full credentials, and, as this kind of ephemera goes, Rudner's effort goes reasonably well. She might have called her text ``If It's on Fire, Don't Lay Down on It,'' ``Guilty of Innocence,'' or any of more than a score of alternative titles she offers as runners-up, but perhaps ``I Think of These Things So You Don't Have To'' is as suitable as any. Aware of short attention spans, Rudner fires off the traditional self-deprecation and habitual bewilderment in quick bursts. Readers, she concludes, ``like short, funny essays where the subject changes every three pages. Just think of me as a literary Ed Sullivan.'' From the bits and pieces, a biography of sorts may be built: Rudner is the daughter of a mother who wore sturdy, orthopedic bathing suits and a father who ``watched football with the sound off because he lived in fear of hearing the voice of Howard Cosell.'' Teenaged Rita had a pair of tight jeans: ``When I zipped them up, my nose got bigger.'' At 15, she left for New York. Marriage provided more material (on map reading, cold feet, and so forth). Somewhere along the way, she learned comic timing so well that her writing has the tempo of George Burns's—and she's only about a third the age of the old master. An amusing entry that's as easy to digest, and about as nourishing, as a bottle of designer mineral water. (Illustrations.)
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)