Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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I have a son who has Aspergers Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism that is characterized by certain social deficits and some form of unusual brilliance. One of his usual forms of socialization is on-line gaming with other kids from around the world. While they play, they gas and kibitz just like any group of kids at a skate park (minus the exercise). One of his talents is cartooning. He invents superhero-type characters and creates their adventures inside of a video game universe.

He likes to read, but he unfortunately doesn't have the capability of prolonged attention.


The nature and quality of attention has changed for everyone -- kids with certain attention deficits are only the most obvious examples. There is so much coming at us that we have to be as quick as jugglers. Our minds are by nature fragmented and patchworked. Books are a medium native to times that had a very different consistency of time -- long, dark winters with little to do but sit by the fire.

That said, I should add that I think interactive videogames are a great and completely new medium. Ironically, the only one I've ever played . . . well, there was "Leisure Suit Larry," but never mind. The only one I've ever seriously played was "Myst," which was modeled on a book. But it wasn't a book. You could click on something in an illustration and go deeper in, which struck me as absolutely revolutionary, and which altered my way of seeing the world, as every genuinely new medium does.


My wife took away my Myst because I kept slinking into bed after 2am....Man, that tram ride between islands was awesome (especially in the dark).

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