I was playing around on the computer with Mimi, our special needs child, the other day. One of our favorite Web sites has these cute little kiddie books on it where, with the click of a computer mouse, a multitude of stories can be read out loud. I especially like the page turning sound effects. Nice touch. Reminds me of story time at the library … or kindergarten when the teacher reads those great picture books out loud. My favorite part is when the teacher reads in that dramatic kinda voice. Geez, I hope kindergarteners still have story time and sit on a large rug in a big circle. Mimi’s absolute favorite story is “The Grumpy Bug” by Robert Shull. It’s one we go back to and just giggle and giggle over together. It’s about a self-centered bug with a serious attitude problem. Now let’s face it … no one is going to want to play with someone who is demanding and grumpy all the time. When the bug doesn’t get his way, he stamps his feet and makes this sound in the back of his throat like a little growl. You should hear Mimi growl like the bug. She does it oh so much better than me. The bug book actually reminds me of the one I am currently reading … “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell. I gotta say, I’m 198 pages into it and I don’t like Julie very much. For one thing … she’s grumpy. I absolutely adored the movie of the same name … most especially all the parts about Julia Child’s life in Paris. Not so much “Julie and Julia.” Have you had that experience? Usually it’s the other way around for me. I’ll love the book and then the movie sadly doesn’t rise to my expectations. If you’ve seen the “Julie and Julia” movie, you probably know which chick is which. Julia is the fantastical and legendary Julia Child, played by the awesome Meryl Streep, who lived life like a heaping tablespoon of fragrant orange zest. I wanna be just like her when I grow up … only not quite that tall. Julie is a bored New York City secretary and about to turn 30. On a visit to her parent’s house back in Texas, she steals her mom’s Julia Child cookbook. After much reflection, Julie decides she is happiest while in her kitchen cooking. She decides to reclaim her life by making every single one of the 524 recipes in Child’s famous “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” And here is the kicker … she’s gonna do it in just one year. I remember thinkin’ every time I pulled the book out I hoped, for Julie’s sake, it was at least a leap year. Geez, the chick could really use that extra day as many times as she tried to quit “the Project.” Julie also writes a blog about her adventures and, over time, readers notice … big time. I have to say her Julia Child cooking and blog idea is masterful. Her book just left me like a very old carton of ice cream stuck at the back of the freezer … full of ice crystals. In the book, Julie often refers to Julia in the book as “JC” which majorly annoyed me … not the least bit endearing, if you ask me. In a peanut shell, the book is pretty much a culinary disaster memoir. Julie doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself cooking, makes her husband’s life miserable, talks trash about her friends, has a real potty mouth, and doesn’t do Julia’s recipes justice. Her mushy lady fingers instantly come to mind. I simply can’t remember laughing one time despite all the buzz words like “Hilarious” and “Delightful” on the front book cover. Perhaps if she had slowed down a tad and left out the aspic recipes, Julia would have had a more joyful experience. Oh, and did I mention the delightful essence of Julia is entirely missing, except for a few measly letter excerpts from Julia’s husband, Paul? Geez, so sorry, but now I’m sounding like a grumpy bug. Frankly, I’m really hoping “Julie and Julia,” just like “The Grumpy Bug,” ends on a happy note. It’s probably why I’m sticking with it to the bitter end like 60 percent cacao Ghirardelli chocolate. It’s the ending that I loved most about “The Grumpy Bug.” I guess I’m big on redemption, and well, the bug book had it all. So despite his being so very grumpy, the bug learns a very valuable lesson about life. When he starts having fun … and gives up on being so very grumpy … everyone wants to play with him. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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