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1. February- The Uses of Enchantment...books, kids, movies, and dogs

     BelarusAlexandraSoldatova    
The photograph of a Belarus bus stop is by Alexandra Soldatova


Enchantment takes many forms in wonder tales.

Metamorphosis and transformation are part of life.

In an instant, a girl, a boy, or even a powerful a prince may be transformed into a swan, a frog, a fox, a bird or a bear.  

And then, there is the beast...  

Beauty and the Beast
 
BeautyBeastAngelaBarrett3For a young woman to confront a beast is an experience of fear beyond words. In a time when dark spirits, witches and the devil himself acted on humans, both powerful kings and lowly peasants were vulnerable to transformation. Beauty and the Beast, is a rather incredible tale about a prince turned into a beast. And he will remain a beast until he marries. It will take an extraordinary woman to overcome her fear and revulsion and offer herself in marriage to the Beast...
 
Beauty and the Beast is an incredible story and a fascinating read. This story of fearful enchantment is not, however, for young children.
 
It was originally written in 1740 as a book, La Belle et La Bete, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.  
 
The version rewritten in 1757 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and published in a magazine for proper young women, is the most widely known version today. It is much shorter than the original, and was especially relevant for its readers in its exploration of love and inner beauty.The story has inspired countless books, plays, and films. 
 
 
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Love, Fidelity, and Civilité
 
The following excerpt, by Terri Windling, taken from her Journal of Mythic Arts, provides insights into the relevance of Beauty and the Beast to the real life experiences of women. In her fascinating article, Windling also provides in-depth analysis and history of this classic fairy tale as well as the many variations inspired by the original.
 
The Journal of Mythic Arts, "(JoMA) is sponsored by The Endicott Studio , a nonprofit organization dedicated to literary, visual, and performance arts inspired by myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the oral storytelling tradition." 

BeautyAnd TheBeastangelaBarrett2"De Villeneuve was part of the "second wave" of French fairy tale writers (Madame D'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, and other salon fairy tale writers comprising the "first wave" fifty years earlier). When she sat down to create Beauty and the Beast (a novella–length tale first published in La jeune ameriquaine, et les contes marins), she was influenced by the work of "first wave" writers, by the story of "Cupid and Psyche" in Apuleius' Golden Ass, and by the various Animal Bridegroom legends of folklore. The story she came up with was uniquely her own, however, and addressed issues of concern to women of her day. Chief among these was a critique of a marriage system in which women had few legal rights — no right to chose their own husband, no right to refuse the marriage bed, no right to control their own property, and no right of divorce. Often the brides were fourteen or fifteen years old, given to men who were decades older. Unsatisfactory wives risked being locked up in mental institutions or distant convents. Women fairy tale writers of the 17th & 18th centuries were often sharply critical of such practices, promoting the ideas of love, fidelity, and civilité between the sexes. Their tales reflected the realities they lived with, and their dreams of a better way of life. Their Animal Bridegroom stories, in particularly, embodied the real–life fears of women who could be promised to total strangers in marriage, and who did not know if they'd find a beast or a lover in their marriage bed."

The two illustrations, above, of Beauty and the Beast are by Angela Barrett. 
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Conversations with the Beast

Dinner in the Castle



BeautyBeastWalterCrane1"Go ahead and eat, Beauty",  said the monster,"And try not to get bored in this house, for everything here is yours, and I would be distressed if you were to become unhappy."
 
"You are very kind", said Beauty. "I swear to you that I am completely pleased with your tender heart. When I think of it, you no longer seem ugly to me."
 
"Oh, of course," Beast replied. "I have a tender heart, but I am still a monster."
 
"There are certainly many men more monstrous than you," said Beauty. " I like you better, even with your looks, than men who hide false, corrupt, and ungrateful hearts behind charming manners."
 
Metamorphosis
 
"Beast opened his eyes and said to beauty...'the thought of having lost you made me decide to starve myself to death. Now I will die happy for I have the pleasure of seeing you one last time.'  

BeautyAnd TheBeast MercerMayer'No, dear Beast, you will not die,' said Beauty. 'You will live and become my husband. From this moment on, I give you my hand in marriage, and I swear that I will belong only to you. Alas, I thought that I felt only friendship for you, but the anguish I am feeling makes me realize that I can't live without you.'
 
Scarcely had Beauty uttered these words when the castle became radiant with light...She turned back to look at her dear Beast, whose perilous condition made her tremble with fear. You can imagine her surprise when she discovered that Beast had disappeared and that a young prince, more handsome than the day was bright, was lying at her feet, thanking her for having broken the magic spell cast on him." 
 
The above excerpts by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, are taken from  Annotated Classic Fairy Tales by Maria Tatar 
 
An annotated anthology of Beauty and the Beast stories is currently being edited by Marie Tatar 
 
The illustrations are by Walter Crane (top) and Mercer Mayer (bottom).
 
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An Ancient Story
 
More validation regarding the ancient origin of wonder tales, including Beauty and the Beast...
 
IrelandNewgrangsSara Graça da Silva, New University, Lisbon; and Jamshid J. Tehrani, Durham University; have published a new study exploring the origins of folktales in the Royal Society Open Science Journal.This is a new open journal publishing high-quality original research across the entire range of science on the basis of objective peer-review."The researchers for this study utilized innovative methodology and computer applications.Here is an excerpt:
 
 
_NewgrangeSoneCircleMoonlight..."For example, two of the best known fairy tales, ATU 425C Beauty and the Beast’ and ATU 500 ‘The Name of the Supernatural Helper’ Rumplestiltskin’) were first written down in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries [43]. While some researchers claim that both storylines have antecedents in Greek and Roman mythology [44,45], our reconstructions suggest that they originated significantly earlier. Both tales can be securely traced back to the emergence of the major western Indo-European subfamilies as distinct lineages between 2500 and 6000 years ago [2,3], and may have even been present in the last common ancestor of Western Indo-European languages (figure 4).
 
The photos are from Newgrange, a neolithic monument built 5,000 years ago in Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.
 
Thanks to Heidi Anne Heiner and Sur La Lune where I first read about this study.
................................
 
Fairy Tales and the Civilizing Process
 
OrigFolkFairyTalesGrimmAndrea.3"At their best, the storytelling of fairy tales constitute the most profound articulation of the human struggle to form and maintain a civilizing process. They depict metaphorically the opportunities for human adaptation to our environment and reflect the conflicts that arise when we fail to establish civilizing codes commensurate with the self-interests of large groups within the human population. The more we give into base instincts – base in the sense of basic and depraved – the more criminal and destructive we become. The more we learn to relate to other groups of people and realize that their survival and the fulfillment of their interests is related to ours, the more we might construct social codes that guarantee humane relationships. -- Jack Zipes on The Art Of Storytelling Show
 
 
The Frog Queen illustration, by Andrea Dezso, is from Jack Zipe's book, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. 
 .................
 
 “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” 
― Maya AngelouPoems 
 ...................

WRADProjectPearlPartner
 
 
LitworldWRAD16logo-webWorld Read Aloud Day is February 24, 2016
 
 LitWorld empowers children worldwide through reading and the power of story.
 
World Read Aloud Day continues to grow and is now celebrated by over one million people world- wide.The following is from the LitWorld website...
 
 "World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!"
 
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2 Doghead 1.457 by 1.573 inchesPlanet Of The Dogs POD-Daisy&Bean-blog size
 

The Planet Of The Dogs  takes place long, ago. There were no dogs on planet earth. Invaders and outlaw tribes were an ongoing threat to farms, villages and towns where ordinary people lived.

Dogs came down to Green Valley from their own peaceful planet to help people. Using their courage, intelligence and their great love of humans, the dogs were able to help good people in myriad ways: rescuing lost children; bringing comfort and healing to the old and the lonely; guarding homes and farm; and finally, overcoming the invading warrior tribes and bringing peace to the land...

Reviewer Wayne Walker in Stories for Children Magazine:..." Author Robert J. McCarty has created a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two different levels. Children will enjoy the story about dogs that come from another planet to help people on earth. But under the surface are the important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and overcoming evil with good..."

 Read Sample Chapters of the Planet Of The Dogs series.

The illustrations from Snow Valley Heroes and Planet Of The Dogs are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
 
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Action and Compassion...An exciting video posted on Facebook by the Logical Indian...a dog, carried along turbulent waters, is rescued... for compassionate people and for all dog lovers...a dog rescue video

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Beauty and the Beast and Disney
 
BBeastEmmaWatsonPosterDisney is producing a new live action, 3-D, musical film version of Beauty and the Beast for release in March 2017.
Emma Watson
plays beauty. From the trailer, it looks like there are lots of special effects and plot additions. Music from the Disney hit Broadway musical version will be included. The Broadway version was written by Linda Woolverton, the writer also responsible for the very engaging, Maleficent . However, she is not the writer of this 2017 movie version.
 
We can only hope that Beauty's fearful journey of transition will not become a sugar coated, overwrought romance.
 
Here is the link to the trailer of the version that will open in 2017 .
 
 
Disney's 1991 animated film of Beauty and the Beast
 
I haven't seen this version. Therefore, I have posted excerpts from two recognized authorities.
 
Excerpts from two divergent opinions: One, by the respected Terri Windling, author of highly regarded children's BBeast1991Posterbooks and recognized as an expert on children's literature (Myth and Moor blog, the JOMA archives...Nonetheless, I found myself disturbed by the film — by the broad liberties the Disney Studio took in changing classic elements of the tale. This leads to the question of where precisely should one draw the line between use and abuse of fairy tales in creating art for modern audiences. It is a question that particularly concerns those of us interested in myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the ways they are used in contemporary arts.
 
Here is a divergent opinion by respected film critic, the late Roger Ebert,...  "The film is as good as any Disney animated feature ever made - as magical as “Pinocchio,” “Snow White,” “The Little Mermaid.” And it's a reminder that animation is the ideal medium for fantasy, because all of its fears and dreams can be made literal. No Gothic castle in the history of horror films, for example, has ever approached the awesome, frightening towers of the castle where the Beast lives..".
 
Disney Power, Enchantment and Myopia
 
DisneyCinderellaFor many years, Jack Zipes has written about, and documented, Disney's usurpation and corruption of fairy tales. Here is an excerpt...
 
"Our contemporary concept and image of a fairy tale have been shaped and standardized by Disney so efficiently through the mechanism of the culture industry that our notions of happiness and utopia are and continue to be filtered through a Disney lens even if it is myopic...myopic has continued to dominate both reality and utopia."
 
 
 
Jack Zipes, The Enchanted Screen, The Unknown History of Fairy Tale Films (2011); Zipes has co-edited with Pauline Cahill and Kendra Magnus-Johnston a new book, Fairy-Tale Films Beyond Disney, International Perspectives. 
 
 ......................................
 
 

RoomToReadSriLankaRoom to Read...bringing books to disadvantaged children

Over 9.7 million books were checked out from Room To Read Libraries in 2012. Here are excerpts from their website describing some of the outstanding work they accomplish worldwide:

"We envision a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.

To achieve this goal, we focus on two areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact: literacy and gender equality in education.

  We work in collaboration with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond."

Here is a link to the Room to Read Literacy Program

RomReadCambodiaGirls' Education

"Our Girls’ Education Program ensures that girls complete secondary school and have the skills to negotiate key life decisions. Our program reinforces girls’ commitment to their own education, works with girls to develop essential life skills and increases support for girls’ education among their parents, school staff, and communities."

Here is a link to the Room to Read website

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 The Dogs of Circling the Waggins Live Here

SnowCabin ArielThis is the home of author, blogger and animal advocate, CA Wulff. This is where she lives with her rescued dogs, writes her books, and helps people and dogs. She recently wrote on her blog, Up On The Woof, about her rescue work through the Community page, Lost & Found Ohio Pets on Facebook. The number of lost dogs, abandoned dogs, and rescued dogs is staggering.

Wulff has written two outstanding, practical, How-To books for dog (and animal) owners -- and for caring people who want to make a difference.


FindingFidoFinding Fido: Practical Steps for Finding Your Lost Pet 

Here is an Amazon Review:

"Would you know what to do if you found a stray pet? You might think that calling animal control would be the best thing for the animal - but you'd be wrong. Lots of food for thought in this book, including what to do if you find a stray pet, how to keep from losing a pet, and what to do if your pet is lost. The authors are donating all of the proceeds to ARME's Beagle Freedom Project, a group that rescues dogs used in laboratories."

 


CoverHTCWorld30secondsHow To Change the World in 30 Seconds: A Web Warriors Guide to Animal Advocacy 
Online

Here is an Amazon Review:

"This book not only offers a starting point for animal rescue but serves as a comprehensive resource book for animal rights advocates. C.A. Wulff has done the urgent heavy lifting here so that the heart and the hands of the rescuer doesn't have to be burdened or bound with the anxieties of not knowing where to begin...I whole heartedly recommend this book as a necessary tool to bring about change in the world."

Here is a link to Circling the Waggins...a memoir of the canine connection in real life.

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One of the reasons for JK Rowling's success was that she didn't give a fig for what people thought they wanted. They didn't know they wanted Harry Potter till she wrote about him. That's the proper way round.

Phillip Pullman

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Beauty and the Beast -- Variations in Books, Film,Theater and Song
 
BroadwayPosterBBeastThe variations on Beauty and the Beast are endless. Countless books, toys and games, Film andTV productions, CD and DVD offerings...and much of it is owned or licensed by Disney. This is, indeed, a manifestation of the culture industry.  

Disney's Broadway musical version, according to Wikipedia,
"ran on Broadway for 5,461 performances between 1994 and 2007, becoming Broadway's ninth longest production in history...The musical has grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in thirteen countries and 115 cities."
 
Here is an excerpt from David Richard's review in the New York Times: "It is hardly a triumph of art, but it'll probably be a whale of a tourist attraction. It is Las Vegas without the sex, Mardi Gras without the booze...You don't watch it, you gape at it, knowing that nothing in Dubuque comes close."
 
Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast
 
BBeastCocteauBefore there were any Disney versions, Jean Cocteau, French author, designer, artist, playwright, and film maker created a film, La Belle et La Bete (1945). It was based on the version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Filmed in black and white, it was highly stylized and elegant.
 
The film was very well received by the critics -- Roger Ebert added it to his list of the Best 25 Films. Bosley Crowther, in the New York Times , 'called the film a "priceless fabric of subtle images,...a fabric of gorgeous visual metaphors, of undulating movements and rhythmic pace, of hypnotic sounds and music, of casually congealing ideas." '(Wikipedia)

The Cocteau film also directly inspired, among several other versions, an opera by Phillip Glass, a Fairie Tale theater with Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski, and an original song by Stevie Nicks.

Here is a link to the song, Beauty and the Beast, sung by Stevie Nicks

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NEADSlogo

“[I] went from fighting on the battlefield, to laying in a bed and having people take care of [me], back to being independent and doing everything on [my] own…”

 Chris Strickland, Age 22, Corporal, U.S. Army, regarding his Service Dog, Ruthie.

 

Mission and Services

"NEADS/Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans provide independence to people who are Deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance.

NEADSChildNanDog

NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services, also known as Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1976. Our Assistance Dogs become an extension of their handlers and bring freedom, physical autonomy and relief from social isolation to their human partners.Service dogs are provided free to veterans.

The Human Canine Bond- NEADS has trained over 1,500 Assistance Dog teams since 1976. NEADS is accredited by Assistance Dogs International, the internationally recognized governing body that establishes industry standards and practices. NEADS offers a wide spectrum of Assistance Dog services"

Visit their website: NEADS

 ...................................

 “When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.”
Neil Gaiman, Smoke and Mirrors

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The World and Its Wonders

Maria Tatar, in her wonderful book, Enchanted Hunters, describes how reading ignites a child's mind and transports them to worlds of imagination and wonder. In this excerpt from the chapter entitled Theaters for
the Imagination,
she discusses how fairy tales -- wonder tales -- opened the doors to new worlds:

Readersmain_school7"The deep, almost visceral connection between childhood and wonder had what was once perceived to be a dark side. The child's innate curiosity about the world and its wonders was repeatedly demonized and linked with the evils of idle hands...The rise of the fairy tale created a tectonic shift in children's literature and revealed that something had been long off kilter. Fairy tales -- sometimes referred to as "wonder tales" because they traffic in magic -- opened the door to new theaters of action, with casts of characters very different from the scolding schoolmarm, the aggravated bailiff, or the dis approving cleric found in manuals for moral and spiritual improvement. Books were suddenly invaded by fabulous monsters -- bloodthirsty giants, red-eyed witches, savage bluebeards, and sinister child snatchers -- and they produced a giddy sense of disorientation that roused the curiosity of the child reader."

Maria Tatar, Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood.

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MaryBaloghauthor
 
A Message for the Family
This is a message from Churchhill Falls Public Library in Newfoundland, Canada...
Posted  by author Mary Balogh on her FB page.
 
 
 
 
 
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   LookingGlassPanorama

Movies 2016

Alice returns May 27 in Tim Burton's Through the Looking Glass (Disney)...Much the same wonderful cast...Here is the delightful trailer 

Inside Out 2, A Pixar film that has a humorous, Judy Blume approach to the mind of a young teenage girl...Inside Out was a multiple award winner...here is the trailer link: Inside Out 2   

The Angry Birds Movie (Sony)...Inspired by the  computer game...Opens in May...Here is the trailer for The Angry Birds Movie 

The Jungle Book (Disney)...in 3D and Imax 3D...Opens April 15...Here is the fast action trailer for The Jungle Book

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Warners)...written by JK Rowling...a return to the world of wizardry...Opens Nov 18...set in the USA in 1926...here is the announcement trailer

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GoodnightMoonElegant and Deep 

"If I am a scholar, I am also a parent. To read to a child is to experience not just the pleasures of instruction or the warmth of entertainment, but the immense importance of quite simply reading...Even the most ordinary prose becomes mag

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2. One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray

One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray | Storytime Standouts

One Two That's My Shoe by Alison Murray, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsOne Two That’s My Show written and illustrated by Alison Murray
Counting Picture Book published by Disney Hyperion Books

A delightful, cheery picture book, One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray will have tremendous appeal for toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Beautiful illustrations feature a lovely palette and direct readers to notice numbers and what is to be counted in each two-page spread. Very well-suited to a classroom or a library read aloud session, the illustrations are bold and large enough for a group to enjoy.

One Two That's My Shoe spread

Georgie Dog picks up one of Grace’s shoes and within minutes a chase ensues. Georgie jumps over three teddy bears and races past four wooden blocks. Soon after, he rushes outside and into the garden. Grace chases after him. This is a playful pup with a winning personality. He is clearly having fun until he encounters ten upset chickens.

One Two That’s My Shoe is a special delight and highly recommended.

Young readers may recognize Georgie Dog and Grace from Apple Pie ABC

Cut and Colour Georgie Dog from Ms. Murray’s website

One Two That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.com

One, Two, That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.ca



Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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3. #805 – The Good Dog by Todd Kessler & Jennifer Gray Olson

The Good Dog Series: The Good Dog, #1 Written by Todd Kessler Illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson Coralstone Press      10/26/2015 978-0-9898085-0-7 96 pages     Ages 3—10 “When little Ricky Lee finds a puppy on the side of the road, he takes him home and names him Tako. Ricky’s parents say that they …

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4. #804 – The Story of Diva and Flea from Mo Willems & Tony DiTerlizzi

The Story of Diva and Flea “As Told” by Mo Willems “As Shown” by Tony DiTerlizzi Hyperion Books for Children    10/13/ 2015 978-1-4847-2284-8 80 pages      Ages 6—8 “Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery. For as long as …

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5. January -- Mysteries Have No Limits, Books, Kids, Movies and Dogs

                   RRHVogel


Why do wonder tales endure?

Is the harsh world of the Grimms more than a reflection of the past?

Does children's literature, in books and movies, bring the mysteries of the past into the present?

Can childhood stories open the doors of the mind to the present -- and the future?

The illustration of Little Red Riding Hood is by Hermann Vogel 

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Alone in the Forest 
 
RRHTreeWolf
 
Why has Little Red Riding Hood endured? A young girl, alone in the forest, disobeys her mother, strays from the path, talks to a wolf, and proceeds to a disastrous self-created ending...or one of many other endings.
 
This simple story, hundreds of years old, has been told and written in countless variations ranging from a morality tale and warning (as with Perrault in 1697); to the Grimm's version with a positive ending; to Angela Carter's breakthrough, The Company of Wolves; to a 42 million dollar Hollywood box office failure, Red Riding Hood, that apparently tried to ride the commercial success of the Twilight phenomenon.
 
 
 
 
The illustration is by Warwick Goble
 
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The Spirit of Little Girls
 
 "The characters in familiar fairy tales have a way of sinking deep into our psyches. Charles TerriWindlingLittleRRHDickens claimed Little Red Riding Hood as his first love, and felt that if only he could have married her, he would have known perfect bliss. Yet Little Red Riding Hood was changed through the years, diminished, punished, literally gobbled up. By knowing and retelling older versions of her story, and by re-imagining her in fiction and poetry today, we reclaim the spirit of girls everywhere who can face down the wolves in their lives, and outwit them."
 
These words come from author, scholar and artist Terri Windling, who wrote a most comprehensive and informative overview of Little Red Riding Hood from early times (before Perrault), to the present. Her article offers many insights into why this simple tale has endured. Entitled The Paths of Needles and Pins, this excellent article was published in her blog, the Journal of Mythic Arts Archives
 
Here is a link to read it all:  Journal of Mythic Arts archives.
 
The illustration of Little Red Riding Hood is by Terri Wilding.
 
 
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Trials and Tribulations  

Speed_goldenhood1When Jack Zipes wrote The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood (1993), he used the continued reappearance of the tales to provide a detailed social history of Red Riding Hood and to explore questions regarding the relationship of the tales to western culture, sexism, and politics. 

Zipes included versions of the tale by 35 authors, beginning with Perrault in the 17th century and culminating with Sally Moller Gearhart's "remarkable tale", Roja and Leopold, published in 1990.

Noting the rise in versions of the tale that deal with sexuality, violence, empowerment and gender, he writes, "I believe the issue of rape and violence in our society has taken on immense proportions. It is because rape and violence are at the core of Little Red Riding Hood that it is the most widespread and notorious fairy tale in the Western world if not the entire world...It is not by chance that most new and experimental versions since 1983 have been written by women and are feminist. The confrontations and situations that women experience in our society have compelled them to reflect upon the initial encounter between wolf and girl, that they may have heard, read, or seen as children."

 

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Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked, Sex Morality, And The Evolution Of A Fairy Tale

OrensteinWhen Caren Orenstein published her well received book in 2002, it stimulated renewed interest and offered fresh insights into the wonder tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Here is an excerpt from an article, Dances With Wolves, that she wrote for Ms magazine to introduce readers to her book... 

Little Red Riding Hood's Long Walk in the Woods

"Mae West, who mined the rich symbolic terrain of fairy tales, once famously quipped, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

These days the social and sexual messages of fairy tales are no secret. Feminists in particular have long recognized that fairy tales socialize boys and especially girls, presenting them with lessons that must be absorbed to reach adulthood.

But what exactly are those lessons? We tend to think of fairy tales as timeless and universal, but in fact they express our collective truths even as those truths shift over time and place.

Take the story of Little Red Riding Hood, for example — a tale we all know well, though not as well as we think.

Once upon a time, “Little Red Riding Hood” was a seduction tale..."

 The Mother Lode of Mother Goose
 
Maerchen-rotkaeppchen-DW- "In Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale, women's issues journalist Catherine Orenstein has hit the mother lode of Mother Goose, peeling back layers of literary embroidery to reveal the raw, primal tale within. Judging by the countless pop-culture spinoffs we see in advertising, film, music and cartoons, Red's story still reverberates with sexual danger and the irresistible lure of the forbidden.

It's a feminist writer's dream because it plays around with gender roles...",

The above excerpt is from an excellent review of the book by Margaret Gunning in January Magazine .

The illustration is by Walter Crane.

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Thought Provoking Presentations On Red Riding Hood

Via You Tube                RRHWolfBedGustavDore

Here is a link to Catherine Orenstein and Maria Tatar in a spirited presentation/discussion of Orenstien's Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked at the Cambridge/WGBH Forum.

 The Big Bad Wolf Reconsidered...A Girl, A Wolf, An Encounter In The Woods...Here is link to see Maria Tatar at the Chicago Humanities Festival exploring the evolution of the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood. She begins this engaging presentation with a full screen visual: A Girl, A Wolf, An Encounter in the Woods...and then asks, What Does the Story Mean?...
 
The illustration is by Gustav Dore. 
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The Company of Wolves

"An Uncanny, Hypnotic Force" wrote the esteemed critic and author, Roger Ebert  after viewing the film written by Angela Carter, The Company of Wolves. The film was based on stories taken from her book, the Bloody Chamber. 
Here are excerpts from his insightful review...
 
InTheCompanyofWolves"'The Company of Wolves' is a dream about werewolves and little girls and deep, dark forests. It is not a children's film  and it is not an exploitation film; it is a disturbing and stylish attempt to collect some of the nightmares that lie beneath the surface of "Little Red Riding Hood."

The movie begins in the present, but quickly enters the dreams of an adolescent girl. She dreams many variations on the same theme: That men may turn out to be wolves, and that little girls should never, ever, stray from the path through the  woods... 

The movie is based on a novel and a screenplay by Angela Carter, who has taken Red Riding Hood as a starting-place for the stories, which are secretly about the fearsomeness of sexuality. She has shown us what those scary fairy tales are really telling us; she has filled in the lines and visualized the parts that the Brothers Grimm left out (and they did not leave out all that many parts). The movie has an uncanny, hypnotic force; we always know what is happening, but we rarely know why, or how it connects with anything else, or how we can escape from it, or why it seems to correspond so deeply with our guilts and fears. That is, of course, almost a definition of a nightmare."
 
Here is a link to read the entire review by Roger Ebert
 
Here is a You Tube link to the trailer for the film...You Tube also has several segments of the film on their site.

“Is not this world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody.” Angela Carter
 
 

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Logo-guidedogs-hor-blue-520x110

Southeastern Guide Dogs
offers people with good eyesight a unique opportunity to raise their awareness and PFP-COVERunderstanding. After first receiving background information from a trainer, participants have the experience of walking blindfolded and being led by one of their trained guide dogs. This is one of several programs they run to raise awareness.

Here is a description from their website of their wonderful work:

"Founded in 1982, we employ the latest in canine development and behavior research to create and nurture partnerships between visually impaired individuals and extraordinary guide dogs. We serve more than 400 graduates across the U.S. and continue to place more than 100 dogs each year into careers benefitting people with visual impairments, and veterans...We provide all of our services free of charge and receive no government funding."

Southeastern Guide Dogs Have Received a PDF Grant

A Planet Dog Foundation Grant (PDF) of $5000 was awarded for the Paws for Patriots program conducted by Southeastern Guide Dogs. This program trains dogs specifically to work with veterans with visual impairment and/or PTSD. Approximately 100 dogs are trained and placed each year

Here's a link to their website: Southeastern Guide Dogs

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LogoHope for Refugees
 
Hands on help and hope...food, shelter, clothing, medicine...help for multitudes of refugee children and their families...2.9 million Syrian children live as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq..As the conflict continues, desperation and the hope of finding a Syria-Refugee-family-in-Lebanon better future for their children finds many families on perilous journeys to Europe.
 
"The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. At work in over 40 countries and 25 U.S. cities to restore safety, dignity and hope, the IRC leads the way from harm to home... The IRC is providing relief to millions of uprooted people in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, Greece, and in the U.S..."
 
The photo of the Syrian family was taken in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
 
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WRADDhaka,Bangladesh
 
World Read Aloud Day is February 24, 2016
 
LitWorld empowers children worldwide through reading and the power of story. World Read Aloud Day continues to grow and is now celebrated by over one million people world-wide. The following is from the LitWorld website  
 
LitworldWRAD16logo-web
"World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories.

World Read Aloud Day allows members of our year-round programs to invite more people into their literacy community and brings LitWorld’s messages to the rest of the world. World Read Aloud Day is now celebrated by over one million people in more than 100 countries and reaches over 31 million people online.

The growth of our movement can be attributed in large part to our network of partner organizations and “WRADvocates” – a group of reading advocates and supporters taking action in their communities and on social media and special thanks to Scholastic, our official 2015 World Read Aloud Day sponsor."

The photo was taken in Dhaka Bangladesh on World Read Aloud Day,2015

This link will take you on a wonderful 21/2 minute journey among the LitWorld children.

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Little Red Riding Hood--
Variations, Spinoffs, Bifurcations 

Little Red Ride Hood has been a source, an inspiration, for countless variations...from children's illustrated stories, to digital games, and from humor to music..

Whatever Happened to the Big Bad Wolf?...Here are excerpts from Pamela Paul's NY Times article discussing four illustrated books for young children wherein the wolf is no longer dangerous...

RRHSweetLittleWolf "Once upon a time, the Big Bad Wolf was a mighty fearsome fellow. In the folkloric tales of Aesop and the Grimms, he terrorized small children and other helpless critters. He blew down houses in Disney’s “Three Little Pigs,” and in “The Three Little Wolves,” a somewhat sinister Silly Symphony cartoon from 1936, after the Nazi ascent to power, he is saddled with a German accent...Perhaps he was due for a makeover. Four new picture books this year brush aside his surly past and sweeten him up for warmer and fuzzier tales, while still retaining a bit of bite..."



WoolfeThe Red Hood DiariesWoolfe - The Red Hood Diaries
...
From the  world of digital games, we have Woolfe the electronic age version of Little Red Riding Hood created by Wim Wouters. Here is a fearless young woman with great physical prowness, seeking revenge from Woolfe, the cruel and powerful business tycoon. The action takes place amidst exceptional graphics rendering a complex 19th century fantasy European city. 

Here is a link to see Little Red Riding Hood as a beautiful, powerful, strong, young womanRedHoodDiaries
 
 
The Little Girl and the Wolf - James Thurber, humorist, cartoonist and author wrote a condensed version of the ThurberRRHclassic story. In Thurber's "The Little Girl and the Wolf,"  Red Riding Hood is not fooled by the wolf pretending to be her granny:

"She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)" 

Here is a link to read all of Thurber's bifurcated short story of Little Red Riding Hood -- the same link will also take you to Roald Dahl's saucy, irreverent poem of Little Red Riding Hood from his book, Revolting Rhymes...And here is a delightful reading of his poem by Roald Dahl.
 
 
 
Cathy-Davey-LittleRedLittle Red is an original contemporary song by the talented Irish folk singer Cathy Davis...The lyrics in the song, "Ooh I wouldn't let him him", say it all. Here's a link to Cathy singing Little Red
 
Cathy Davis is a far cry from Sam the Sham (link) and the Pharohs, in their golden oldie song of Little Red Riding Hood.
 
Amanda Seyfried is also a far cry from Sam the Sham 
when she sings his song is a slow ballad...lyrics on the screen: Here's the link: Amanda

The top illustration is by Liz Pichon. The cartoon is by James Thurber. The photo at the bottom is of Cathy Davis.  

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Red Riding Hood in Hollywood

RRHMoviePosterThe critics had negative reactions to Hollywoodd's last attempt to reinvent Little Red Riding Hood. Here is an excerpt from the caustic review by  Mary Pols in Time Magazine. She entitled her review, Red Riding Hood: My, What a Ridiculous Plot You Have! "...A sexed-up, dumbed-down cross between the children's fairy tale and 'The Wolfman,' 'Red Riding Hood' is mostly a snack for tweens between meals of 'Twilight'...Was Red Riding Hood masterminded by a cadre of particularly silly eleven year-olds undergoing withdrawal from Twilight? That's the only excuse for a movie this dopey."

Here is another scathing review, this one by Roger Ebert

Red Riding Hood

RRHoodMovieGrandmasHouse"Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage girls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape, although I don't recall her doing any riding. It's easy to imagine a story conference in which they said: Hey! Let's switch the vampires with a werewolf and recycle the theme of a virgin attracted to a handsome but dangerous hunk, only let's get two hunks!..."Red Riding Hood" has the added inconvenience of being dreadfully serious about a plot so preposterous, it demands to be filmed by Monty Python..."

Here is a link to read the entire Ebert review: Red Riding Hood
 
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POD-Stone castle-blog sizeNo One Had Ever seen a Dog

 Long, long ago...

There was plenty of space for people to settle and grow things. Many of the places where people lived were very beautiful. There were clear lakes and cool streams with lots of fish. There were fields and woods with game to hunt. And there were rolling hills and open plains with plants growing everywhere. Many people settled in these places of abundance and prospered.
 
And then, invaders came. Where once there had been harmony and friendship, there was now fear, anger, and unhappiness. Something had to be done -- but what could anybody do? No one knew it at that time, but help would come from the Planet of the Dogs..
                                       
 Read More: Sample Chapters of the Planet Of The Dogs series.
 
The illustration from Planet Of The Dogs is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
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Born Without a Tail: the Making of an Animal Advocate 

Bwtcoversamp_sm (2)Here is a heartfelt review of C.A. Wulff's memoir, Born Without A Tail, by Cherry Ophelia, that really gives an excellent sense of the reader's experience when visiting Wullf's world. Bob Tarte wrote a foreward in this revised and updated 2015 version of the book. 

"Normally, if a cat or dog dies in a book or movie, I avoid it. I have enough heartbreak with my real-life pets, I say.

Not so with C.A. Wulff's Born Without A Tail. Wulff tells the story of her real pets and their real lives Zoeyfenceand deaths for a real reason—to remember her special dog, Dillon (who is still alive in the afterword!), and to introduce readers to the realities of life as a pet rescuer. I was more than happy

to laugh and cry
with Wulff and her partner, Dalene, as they learn of dogs and cats they can’t turn away, visit an animal communicator for eerily accurate readings on each animal, and hunker down to keep their multi-species family together through life’s many bumps and turns. I finished Born Without A Tail in two evenings, and I’m sure it will be a rereading favorite for years to come.


... Born Without A Tail is a sincerely funny and heartfelt tale of Wulff’s pack. Wait until you read about how Gypsy helped herd the family cats, how Dillon made his objections clear when his small stature was discussed with a stranger, or how Troll preferred his takeout hamburgers—you’d be barking mad to pass up this book!"
 
Zoey, the dog in the photo, is one of Wulff's pack 
 
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Dog 1.26 by 2.173 inches

 

Winter Fun With Dogs...Many smiles for dog lovers in this compilation montage of dogs in the snow: SnowFrolic

The illustration is from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella McCarty

 

 

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Extending the Limits 

Alexandra Alter, in the NY Times, wrote a recent article entitled :Bedtime Reading, Written by a Robot Just for You. Here are excerpts from her article regarding an innovative use of technology that provides customized books for young readers and those learning to read. The links provide examples an more information
 
"What if you could use technology to fashion a story for each young reader and create a more sophisticated children’s book? Mr. Sharabi consulted two friends, a writer and a technologist, and they decided to try it themselves.

Lost NameIllustrationThey came up with a story about a child who has forgotten his or her name and goes on a journey to find it, encountering creatures and characters that provide clues. A boy named Sam, for example, will meet a squid, an aardvark and a mermaid, who each present him with a letter of the alphabet....

They tested the name Andrew first. It worked. Nearly four years later, their company, Lost My Name, has created illustrated books based on more than 150,000 names. More than a million copies of “The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name” have sold in 160 countries this year, including around 370,000 in the United States. “It’s an old-fashioned book, but with a lot of technology behind it,” said Mr. Sharabi, a 42-year-old former marketing consultant."

If you click on the image it will become clear. If you follow the links you will find information about a second book, based on similar technology, "The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home." It sounds intriguing.

Here is a link to a you tube video, about a little boy, that explains Lost My Name books in a clear fashion: I Lost My Name 

Here is you tube video about a little girl that also explains it all: Amber lost her name

Here is a link to read all of this article: NY Times

Here is a link to the Lost My Name website: Name 

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HandsRose.6pg

The Mysterious Human Canine Bond

A former teacher, Susan Purser, and her Australian Cattle Dog, Rose, have been very active as a therapy dog team for thirteen years in Sarasota, Florida. Here is an excerpt from a letter she sent me.


RoseBig4“I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs.  I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch.  The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate.  The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose.  Lying with a dying patient who will smile, close their eyes and stroke her with a peacefulness that is so precious…I know I could not enter that person’s space without Rose…it really is all about occupying part of someone else’s space for just a short time be it in a school, home or hospital...”

 “No matter who you are or why you do pet therapy, it is the dog that opens the door…doors that would otherwise be closed to a well meaning human…doors that are sometimes closed to family, friends, care givers and staff of facilities.  There is something very special about these canine creatures and they have been saving and comforting humans for thousands of years.  It is their touch or look that gives people that inner peace when their world is shrinking or spinning so fast they have lost control.  When doors begin the final closing, there is that one last smile, nod, a hand that reaches for a dog that allows some of them to say good bye and close their eyes in peace.”  

 
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  SunbearSqBigLogo

Sunbear Squad is a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about Sunbear --  the original inspiration for all the good work they do...


Who was Sunbear?...He was a young dog who died tragically of neglect in an empty townhouse in 2002 even though there were neighbors on both sides. Sunbear's highly-publicized case had a huge effect on humane laws in West Virginia, and his story inspires thousands worldwide to help save animals in distress today.Read his true story here.

 

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We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.

Planet Of Th

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6. NOT My Year in Photos!

Well!


I've been struggling to post a plethora of photos using my phone because that's where all my photos are! Blogger even has, as one of the photo sources, From Your Phone. It displays almost twenty photos, but my phone contains more than fifteen hundred photos! Clearly, I must research updating my blog from my phone.

Until then, Merry Christmas!
Avalon!
Danette Haworth

Alfie & Casey

Vicerys (How I've missed you!)




K

0 Comments on NOT My Year in Photos! as of 12/23/2015 2:21:00 PM
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7. Woof: A Bowser and Birdie Novel, by Spencer Quinn | Book Review

Woof: A Bowser and Birdie Novel is an awesome book and everyone should read it!

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8. #788 – Stay! by Alex Latimer

$50 Gift Certificate Holiday Giveaway Enter here:   Mudpuppy Holiday Giveaway  . Stay! A Top Dog Story Written & Illustrated by Alex Latimer Peachtree Publishers     9/01/2015 978-1-56145-884-4 32 pages     Ages 4—8 “Looking after Ben’s dog, Buster, is no walk in the park—Buster is messy, he is rowdy, he is EXHAUSTING! But Ben loves …

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9. #785 – Stick Dog Dreams of Ice Cream by Tom Watson

Look at all the falling snow. (Move your mouse right and left and watch the snow switch direction.) Virtual snow I can love. Real snow, not so much. What happened? As a kid I loved snow, played outside in the snow, was thrilled to see snow falling. Now, I groan. You might find yourself groaning …

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10. December- Hope and Celebration, kids, books, movies, and dogs

  Thomas Nast Santa

 

Hope and Celebration - Light in the darkness, time out for happiness, wonder and magic.

Enter the world of tales told by people, of stories that live on. of tales of wonder, fairy tales.

Santa Claus, the man in the red suit stepping out of the chimney, comes to us from the talented Thomas Nast; his popular 19th century illustrations helped to popularize Santa Claus as we know him today.                                                                

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              EnglandChildLaborDickens

Charles Dicken'sA Christmas Carol, and the power of story.

This book influenced the thinking of generations of readers, and transformed the spirit of the Christmas holiday. The transformation was guided by Dicken's passionate belief that the true Christmas spirit embodied caring and generosity -- especially for those less fortunate.

TinyTimchristmascarolJohnLeechA Christmas Carol was written with the passion born of his painful childhood as an impoverished 12 year old boy from a broken family.With his father in debtor's prison, Dickens was forced to leave school and work ten-hour days for six shillings a week under harsh conditions (the factory was home to multitudes of rats) in England's new industrial economy. 

Much has changed with the passing of time and the commercialism of the marketplace has brought an endless stream of marketing -- more games, toys and advertising -- to Christmas.

But the Spirit Of Christmas does live on.


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ScroogeJohnLeech“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” ...Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Scrooge Lives On...

Viking has recently published (October 2015) a well reviewed book by Charles Lovett, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge. For more information, visit his website: Charles Lovett


The above illustrations are by John Leech from the original A Christmas Carol.

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The Legend of Santa Claus

SantaThomas NastIN the USA, the legend of Santa Claus was greatly enhanced in the early nineteenth century by the poem, A Visit From St.Nicholas. 

The popularity of this story-poem, first published in 1823, continued to grow with the passing years. It was originally written for his children by Clement Clarke Moore.

Later in the century, popular illustrations by Thomas Nast, including Moore's poem, A Visit From St Nicholas, firmly established Santa Claus as a jolly, rotund figure in a red suit with a white beard. Nast's images of Santa and his red suit became accepted and remain the norm today.

 

The illustration is by Thomas Nast.

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The Fairy Tale Moves On Its Own Time 

"It all adds up to this: the fairy tale narrates a wish-fulfillment which is not bound by its
SecretoftheKellsTomm_Mooreown time and the apparel of its contents. In contrast to the folk tale, which is always tied to a particular locale, the fairy tale remains unbound. Not only does the fairy tale remain as fresh as longing and love, 
but the evil demons that abound in fairy tales are still at work here in the present, and the happiness of "once upon a time", which is even more abundant in the fairy tale, still affects our vision of the future..." 

The above insights into the role of fairy tales are from an essay written in 1930 by the German GerardDubois3scholar and philosopher, Ernst Bloch. I believe that the context in which they were written adds to their import. Germany in 1930 was in the grip of the Great Depression. Poverty and uncertainty had swept the land. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were feeding on people's fear and rising in power. Bloch later escaped to the USA where he wrote his renowned three-part treatise, The Principle of Hope (1938-1947). 

The illustration from the Secret Of The Kells is by Tomm Moore. The painting is by Gerard Dubois.

 

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The Elves and the Shoemaker

ElvesShoemakerLucy-Crane1886Here is an excerpt from a fairy tale by the Grimm's that came to be a Christmas story. It tells of the elves who helped a hard working, but impoverished shoemaker and his wife ...they, in gratitude, surprised the elves at Christmas time.

"About midnight in they came, dancing and skipping, hopped round the room, and then went to sit down to their work as usual; but when they saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and chuckled, and seemed mightily delighted.

Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about, as merry as could be; till at last they danced out at the door, and away over the green..."

Here is link to read it all: The Elves and the Shoemaker  The illustration is by Lucy Crane.

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The Saga Of Santa Claus 

SagaOfChristmasCoverWho is Santa? Where did he come from? How did the toy workshops get started? Where did all the elves come from and why did they agree to move to the wintry north and make toys for Santa? And how about the flying reindeer...where did they come from? These are among the many heretofore unanswered questions about the orgins of Christmas and Santa Claus.   

Now, at last, author Mark Couturier has written The Saga Of Santa Claus, a fascinating book telling the complete story of the ancient origins of Christmas and Santa Claus. For a comprehensive picture of this original book, check out the enthusiastic Amazon  reviews.

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 Kwanzaa 

"The year 2015 will see the 49th annual Kwanzaa, the African American holiday celebrated from December 26 to January 1. It is estimated that some 18 million African Americans take part in Kwanzaa.

KwanzaFamilyCelebrationKwanzaa is not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas. It was created by Dr. Maulana "Ron" Karenga, a professor of Black Studies, in 1966. At that time of great social change for African Americans, Karenga sought to design a celebration that would honor the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans who were working for progress. 

Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years."...Kwanzaa ends with gift giving and a celebratory feast.

This post is based on a comprehensive article by Holly Hartman.

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Every Year...

XmasLightsonSheepChristmas Lights Moving Through the Hills...
A Holiday treat, and a wonder to behold, the moving lights are on hundreds of sheep, running in the darkness, guided by sheepdogs...this is a classic video...Here is the link: Moving Lights 

 

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  Penn Vet


Pdf-logo-whitePenn Vet Working Dog Center 
Philadelphia, PA is a recent recipient of a 
Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) grant. The goals of the Penn Vet working Dog Center are "national security, fields of detection work, canine health and performance, and to enhance that unique bond between humans and man’s best friend". The Planet Dog Foundation has awarded grants exceeding one million dollars to fund "the training, placement and support of dogs helping people in need." 

 

"The Penn Vet Working Dog Center is part of the University of Pennsylvania's School of PennVetVeterinary Medicine, and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. They work to train elite detection dogs to assist in medical research, national security, and finding victims of disasters. PDF has awarded a $10,000 grant in support of Punches, a female Labrador Retriever named in honor of Jack Punches, a victim of the attacks of 9/11. Punches is training to detect explosives, explosives residue, and post-blast evidence. Trained explosives detection dogs can also detect firearms and ammunition hidden in vehicles and containers, on persons, or buried underground." 

Learn more about Penn Vet Working Dog Center here. 

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 The Ghost Dog of Christmas Past

Here is an an excerpt from the dog lovers book, Circling the Waggins,  by CA Wulff. The dogs CtWrevisedCoverKindleseen in the ebook cover are the current residents of the cabin in the woods wherein this saga of a life with rescued dogs takes place. The book is a journey into the heart and mind of a dedicated pet lover who shares her experiences, concerns, and deep emotions with the reader.The setting is a cabin-home in a national park forest. The characters are several adopted dogs, cats, and, for a while, domestic mice -- and two compassionate women.

"I feel like we are haunted by the ghost dog of Christmas past. The Troll2season brings a million reminders of our Troll, a dog who had loved Christmas more than any other time of year. He would get excited at the first signs of holiday decorations, and his eyes would shine with a child’s wonder. On Christmas morning, he would race to be the first dog under the tree, to tear at the packages full of biscuits and rawhides. Each of the dogs would tear at a package, but Troll unwrapped with such gusto and fervor, that they would all abandon their presents to stand back and watch him, and then make off with whatever treats he had revealed." 

CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.

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NemoSnowjanuary-february2010

Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale

Review... Loved it… This delightful conclusion to the Planet of the Dogs series just caps off a wonderful tradition. The story is well suited to be read aloud to younger children and as chapter book for the older ones. All of your favorite dogs help rescue two of Santa's reindeer from the Evil King of the North. The story also imparts important lessons of cooperation and responsibility."   Mary Jacobs, Editor/reviewer Bookhounds  

Daisy&Nor-397KBWe have free reader copies of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more. They are also available in digital format at Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, Powells, Tolino, 

Librians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs. -

 The illustration, above, from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.

"What a truly wonderful and unique Christmas story for the whole family..." Don Blankenship,
Teacher, Reviewer for Great Books For Kids.

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 Singing One Of The Old-Time Carols

..."'I think it must be the field-mice,' replied the Mole, with a touch of pride in his manner. 'They go round carol-singing regularly at this time of the year. They're quite an institution in these parts. And they never pass me over—they come to Mole End last of all; and I used to give them hot drinks, and supper too sometimes, when I could afford it. It will be like old times to hear them again.'

'Let's have a look at them!' cried the Rat, jumping up and running to the door.

XmasMiceWInWIngamooreIt was a pretty sight, and a seasonable one, that met their eyes when they flung the door open. In the fore-court, lit by the dim rays of a horn lantern, some eight or ten little fieldmice stood in a semicircle, red worsted comforters round their throats, their fore-paws thrust deep into their pockets, their feet jigging for warmth. With bright beady eyes they glanced shyly at each other, sniggering a little, sniffing and applying coat-sleeves a good deal. As the door opened, one of the elder ones that carried the lantern was just saying, 'Now then, one, two, three!' and forthwith their shrill little voices uprose on the air, singing one of the old-time carols that their forefathers composed in fields that were fallow and held by frost, or when snow-bound in chimney corners, and handed down to be sung in the miry street to lamp-lit windows at Yule-time..."

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Illustration by Ernst Shepard 

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Interview With Santa

This interview was conducted as part of a program to determine the truth behind the incredible story of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale....

Santa-397KB Interviewer: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and clarifying things. 

Santa: I’m happy that the story is finally coming out. 

Interviewer: Is it a true story? 

Santa:  Absolutely. 

Interviewer: Why haven’t we known about it before? 


Santa:  I think it was lost in the mists of time…It took place hundreds and hundreds of years ago. 

Interviewer: Is it true that there was to be no more Christmas? 

Santa: I’m sorry to say that it’s true. Until the dogs arrived. 

Interviewer: The dogs? 

Santa: It was a surprise to all of us in Santa Claus village. None of us, and that includes all the elves, had even heard of dogs. 

Reindeer&Dog&Night-397KBInterviewer: Is that because you were so far North and rather isolated? 

Santa: Well, that and the fact that dogs has just started arriving on planet earth. Prior to that time, there had been no dogs on Earth. 

Interviewer: Really! Where did they come from? And how did they find you? 

Santa: They had started coming down to Earth from their own planet – the Planet of the Dogs. They came down to help people. Somehow, they heard we were in trouble, and one day, there they were, just like that...

 To read all of the Interview with Santa, click this link:  Interview with Santa 

 

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 Boyhood Memories

"One Christmas was so much like the other, in those years around the sea-town corner now, ChildsChhristmasWalesCoverBookout of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down towards the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen..."
Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales

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RefugeesDafurGPE

 Light In The Darkness 

"The Global Partnership for Education (GPE)  supports developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, most vulnerable and those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

Established in 2002, the Global Partnership for Education is comprised of 60 developing countries, more than 20 donor governments, and international organizations, the private sector and foundations, teachers, and civil society/NGOs."

GPESince its inception, the Global Partnership has supported developing country partners to achieve remarkable and measurable results. For example, the number of out-of-school primary school children has been reduced from 56 million to 41 million in 2012. They have also achieved substantial improvements in gender parity and major increases in the number of girls completing primary school in countries where GPE has supplied support and resources.

Here is a link for more ot the remarkable RESULTS, from around the world (updates and photos), of  the Global Partnership for Education.

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 Movies

Hope in Dystopia in  Mockingjay: Part 2

Mockingjay2SymbolThis film is being seen by multitudes of people worldwide. Based on that fact alone, Mockingjay 2 is an important YA crossover film. It is a rather long, dark, viewing experience, executed with excellent acting and all the traditional elements of a very well done action movie. Mockingjay 2 also deals with issues of morality amidst the painful chaos of war.

Richard Lawson, in his thoughtful Vanity Fair review, considered the film's significance in these troubled times as well as the "entertainment" value of the film. Here are excerpts:

Mockingjay2"Mockingjay: Part 2 shows us, in rich and bracing fashion, the Hunger Games movies have been saying something all along—about the tragedy of youth (or anyone) in war, about post-traumatic stress disorder, about the ways we cede our autonomy to notions of comfort, to spectacle, to the easy lies of othering. The film makes these points in a far more clear-headed, more resonant manner than its source material. It’s a rare film adaptation that improves upon the original text, highlighting its crucial themes while streamlining and shaping the action into something legible and gripping...

The Hunger Games films...show us how good blockbuster movies can be. And they beseech us, in their earnest way, to be better, conscientious stewards of our own fraught and fragile world. That’s a useful message for anyone these days, young adult or not."

Here is a link to the article: Richard Lawson

Here is a link to the trailer: Mockingjay 2

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- in time for the Holidays

The Dark Side Returns Worldwide on December 18-19 in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D...just in time
Star-wars-the-force-awakensReyDaisyRidleyfor the Holidays. Disney executives expect a very happy holiday, anticipating box office records with this $200,000,000 million dollar film. Fans will find that Harrison Ford, Chewbacca, Jedi Knights and light sabers have all returned along with the Dark Side. In keeping with changing times, the good side also has an important female warrior woman, Rey. Played by newcomer Daisy Ridley, she is also a red hot pilot.

 Here is a link to Trailer #1: The Force Awakens

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Review: In ‘The Good Dinosaur,’ a Reptile Tends to His Human Pet

Manohla Dargis, the excellent NY Times reviewer, wrote a warm review for this latest Pixar production. Here is an excerpt... 

GoodDinosaur"Blink and you may miss the sly joke that sets 'The Good Dinosaur' on its enchantingly eccentric way. It begins with a near apocalypse 65 million years ago and an asteroid racing toward Earth. And while that’s around the time, more or less, that science hypothesizes the dinosaurs bit the dust, the wizards at Pixar have forged another creation story. Instead of crashing, the space rock zips past the big blue marble... "

Here is a link to read all of MS Dargis' review:  The Good Dinosaur

Here is a link to the trailer: Dinosaur

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What a wonderful worldHope and Celebration are here with music... 3 minutes and 40 seconds of joy from singing kids in many places...What A Wonderful World (Playing for Change) 

 

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WCDogsheader9All About Dog Love

Nancy Houser, on her Way Cool Dogs Blog, provides a wide variety of information on dog issues ranging from health care and nutrition to canine science and dog love. On a recent post, How To Love Your Dog, she wrote about many facets of dog love. Here's an excerpt...

PGI MontyyFourthGrade"How to love your dog by being a dog is something every dog owner should know about, as long as they do not continuously wag their tail!

And, whether your dog is a mischievous young puppy and full of bounding love, or an older dog that has been abandoned with very little  love— it won’t be too hard to play the part.

Loving your dog makes it easy to build positive and loving feelings for this furry friend,  choosing what is best to develop a better life.  Dogs who are loved not only feel safe, but secure and cherished.  But, recognizing if you love your dog does not mean a thing if your dog does not love you back."..The article continues, including a point by point section entitled"How to tell if your dog loves you back".

Nancy also includes information on fascinating MRI studies regarding a dog's love by neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns. Dr Berns wrote a book titled "How Dogs Love Us". To learn more about Dr, Berns and his MRI dog studies, here is a link to his Ted Talk.

The photo is courtesy of the wonderful Paws Giving Independence therapy dog organization, Peoria,Illonois. Please click on the photo to enlarge and to see why it was chosen.


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5Kids in CampDuhok-Domiz 161
Children, War, and Hope


Thirty million children have been driven from their homes by war. In a touching and informed article on refugee children, Jake Silverstein --  in the New York Times Magazine -- writes of this devastating situation by telling the stories of three young girls. Each is from a different part of the world: the Ukraine, South Sudan, and Lebanon. Here are excerpts from this excellent article:
 
GirlBrotherRefugeesSyriaJeffJMitchellGetty..."Young as these girls are, they have already been asked to bear a profound loss. You can see it in their faces. They appear to be only half children, the other half having been matured ahead of schedule by trauma and displacement. They know what they should not. And yet, there is still that other half. They are still kids. Unlike the adults in the frame, who must be constantly aware of their dangerous ordeal, the girls, from time to time, might forget. If the moment was right, they might play a game...
 
That children, even under the worst of circumstances, are able to remain children supplies the world around them with the sense of a future, which is the equivalent of hope..." 
 
 
The photo of the five Syrian children was taken in the Domaz refugee camp in Iraq.The photo of the  young girl and her brother was taken in a Syrian refugee camp by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty
 
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Long Line at the Library? It’s Story Time Again

by Winnie Hu NY Times

BeatricePotterSnow"Story time is drawing capacity crowds at public libraries across New York and across the country
at a time when, more than ever, educators are emphasizing the importance of early literacy in preparing children for school and for developing critical thinking skills. The demand crosses economic lines, with parents at all income levels vying to get in.

Many libraries have refashioned the traditional readings to include enrichment activities such as counting numbers and naming colors, as well as music and dance. And many parents have made story time a fixture in their family routines alongside school pickups and playground outings — and, for those who employ nannies, a nonnegotiable requirement of the job...


Moomin-christmasLibraries around the country have expanded story time and other children’s programs in recent years, attracting a new generation of patrons in an age when online offerings sometimes make trips to the book stacks unnecessary. Sari Feldman, president of the American Library Association, said such early-literacy efforts are part of a larger transformation libraries are undergoing to become active learning centers for their communities by offering services like classes in English as a second language, computer skills and career counseling."

The illustration of the rabbits is by Beatrix Potter.The illustration of the Moomins is by Tove Jansson. 

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SunbearSqBigLogo Anna Nirva is the guiding light at Sunbear Squad,
a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about fostering dogs 

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11. Studying pets’ cancers may yield health benefits for humans

Initially tested in pet dogs with bone cancer, a new drug that delays metastasis now helps children with the same disease in Europe. The immune modulator, which mops up microscopic cancer cells, has not been approved in the United States, researchers say.

The post Studying pets’ cancers may yield health benefits for humans appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Studying pets’ cancers may yield health benefits for humans as of 1/1/1900
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12. #781 – A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Mo

A Dog Wearing Shoes Written & Illustrated by Sangmi Ko Schwartz & Wade Books    9/29/2015 978-0-385-38396-7 32 pages     Ages 4—8 A Junior Library Guild Selection “When Mini finds a dog wearing bright yellow booties, she wants to keep him. And who wouldn’t?! But a dog with shoes on must belong to someone, …

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13. B is for Bicycles, by Scott & Jannine Fitzgerald | Dedicated Review

Veteran bicycle shop owners Scott and Jannine Fitzgerald have penned a new alphabet picture book, B is for Bicycles, that is dedicated to promoting a healthy cycling lifestyle.

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14. November - Myths and Dark Deeds, books, movies, kids, and dogs

      US Fall 2012 159
  

 
In Days Gone By...
 
Oral tales, songs, and poems reflected the lives of the people. They were stories and songs of wonder and dreams. 

00018They were told and discussed around the hearth, the marketplace,the spinning room, and in the taverns --wherever people gathered.
          
They helped people to cope with the wars, hunger, poverty and religious conflicts that characterized their lives.
 
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Giambattista Basile, a Neopolitan  soldier, courtier and writer (1575-1632), collected and rewrote, in the language of ordinary people, 50 tales of wonder. 
 
They were called the Tale of Tales or the Pentamerone.
 
Tale_of_Tales_Poster_Italia_midNow, for the first time, several of these tales have been adopted into a landmark film, the Tale of Tales.
 
I have seen the film and found it uncompromising in reflecting the sensibility of the original tales. However, like the original tales, they are far from the simplified, romanticized, linear simplicity of Disney films.This, in turn, may be affecting the as yet incomplete distribution of Tale of Tales.
 
I found that the two reviews excerpted below offer insightful personal reactions to the film. They both came from viewings at the Cannes Film Festival.
 
Unnerving Even For Adults

TaleOfTalesMatteoGarrone3"Drawing on the rich and until-now unexplored vein of Neapolitan fairy tales written by Giambattista Basile in the early 17th century, Tale of Tales combines the wildly imaginative world of kings, queens and ogres with the kind of lush production values for which Italian cinema was once famous. The result is a dreamy, fresh take on the kind of dark and gory yarns that have come down to us from the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, only here they're pleasingly new and unfamiliar. Starring Salma Hayek as a childless queen who is willing to do anything – absolutely anything – to conceive...

These fairy tales are certainly not aimed at children, though they will light the fire of many teens. Apart from a few moments of artistic eros — the first a shot of two court ladies consumed with passion for each other in a carriage; the second a post-orgy scene laced with naked, Felliniesque bodies — there is an underlying horror that is unnerving even for adults."  

 From the review by Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. 
 
Gloriously Mad
 
"Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales is fabulous in every sense: a freaky portmanteau film based
TheTaleOfTales.2jpgon the folk myths collected and published by the 16th-century Neapolitan poet and scholar Giambattista Basile ... It is gloriously mad, rigorously imagined, visually wonderful: erotic, hilarious and internally consistent. The sort of film, in fact, which is the whole point of Cannes. It immerses you in a complete created world..."
 
From the review by Peter Bradshaw in the 

 Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bawdier and Crueler

 


TaleOfTales "The tales were probably intended to be read aloud in the 'courtly conversations' that were an elite pastime of this period...Lo conto (the tales) contains the earliest literary versions of many celebrated fairy-tale types -- Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, and others -- that later appeared in Perrault's and the Grimm's collections. But Basile's tales are often bawdier and crueler than their more canonical counterparts." -- 
Nancy Canepa,The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. 

 Here is a link to the Trailer: Tale Of Tales 

Here is a link to the 1894 translation by John Edward Taylor of the Tale of Tales (The Pentamerone) with illustrations by John Cruickshank. 

Except for the detail from a Bruegel painting, at top, all of the above images are from the Tale of Tales. 

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The Sun, Moon and Talia...the original story of Sleeping Beauty.
 
Here is an excerpt from Basile's story of what later became a very different story, by both Perrault and the Brothers Grimm (Briar Rose). Written for adults in the early 17th century, it's a long way from Disney.
 
 
BurneJonesSleepingBeauty"So he (a young king) climbed in and wandered the palace from room to room, but he found
nothing and no one. At last he came to a large, beautiful drawing room, where he found an enchanting girl who seemed to be sleeping. He called to her, but she would not wake. As he looked at her, and tried to wake her, she seemed so incredibly lovely to him that he could not help desiring her, and he began to grow hot with lust. He gathered her in his arms and carried her to a bed, where he made love to her. Leaving her on the bed, he left the palace and returned to his own city, where pressing business for a long time made him think no more about the incident.

Briar_rose_Walter-Crane1But Talia, who was not dead, but merely unconscious, had become pregnant, and after nine months she gave birth to twins, as beautiful a boy and girl as ever were born. Kindly fairies attended the birth, and put the babies to suck at their mother’s breast. One day, one of the infants, not being able to find the nipple, began to suck at his mother’s finger. He sucked with such force that he drew out the splinter of flax, and Talia awoke, just as if from a long sleep. When she saw the babies, she did not know what had happened or how they had come to her, but she embraced them with love, and nursed them until they were satisfied. She named the infants Sun and Moon. The kindly fairies continued to attend her, providing her with food and drink, which appeared as if delivered by unseen servants..."

Here is a link to read it all: Sun, Moon and Talia

The top illustration is by Edward Burne-Jones. The lower illustration is by Walter Crane. 

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The Oral Tradition

BeautytheBeastCrane..."The tales came to the tellers from other tellers, or they read tales, digested them, and made them their own. Indeed, we always make tales our own and then send them off to other tellers with the hope that they will continue to disseminate their stories..." - Jack Zipes, The Forgotten Tales of the Brothers Grimm,  in the The Public Domain Review

 The illustration of Beauty and the Beast is by Walter Crane.

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 Inside Those Secret Forests, Caves, and Seas...
 

Pekka_HalonenPioneersInKareliaKarjalassa 
"These were the 'last echoes of pagan myths...A world of magic is opened up before us, one which still exists among us in secret forests, in underground caves, and in the deepest sea, and it is still visible to children...(Fairy tales) have existed among the people for several centuries.' And what we find inside those secret forests, caves and seas...(are) fairy tales full of families, full of parents who bequeath a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from its childhood to maturity."

-- Wilhelm Grimm quoted by Seth Lerer in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. 

Illustration from Pekka Halonen's painting, Pioneers In Karelia

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The TN Safety Spotters 

The TN Safety Spotters, dogs from Memphis, TN, are Deaf Therapy Dogs who travel the Mid-South with owner, trainer, and handler, Paricia Bell. All the Spotters are rescued dogs.


TN SZafetySpotters"TN Safety Spotter’s goal is to significantly reduce the number of dog bite injuries and fire deaths in children using deaf therapy dogs as educational tools and teaching aides in Fire Safety and Dog Bite Prevention programs...

"The Spotters visit schools, libraries, hospitals, Fire Stations, camps and special events"...they are an excellent example of a dedicated dog lover finding multiple ways to help children and adults through their therapy dogs. The fact that the latest scientific research shows 30% of Dalmatians are born deaf has not deterred Patricia Bell nor her dogs 

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Who were the Snow Valley Heroes?

Did they really save Christmas? The question has been asked by children and adults for many years. And there have been many who tried to answer these questions.

Northern lights-397KBThe confusion and uncertainty is because the Snow Valley Heroes came from the Planet Of The Dogs long, long ago.This is the true story of how the dogs saved Christmas, told for the first time in many years.

"Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, represents the age-old struggle between good and evil, and the fight to save the Spirit of Christmas–told in a format children can comprehend.  My 10-year-old son was excited to see a new Planet of the Dogs book arrive in our mailbox..I give this Christmas treasure a rating of five stars."  -- Charyl Miller Pingleton, The Uncommon Review

For sample chapters, please visit our website: Planet Of The Dogs 

 

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We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, SnowForest2Amazon, Powell's and many more.

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribdTolino   

Librians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs. -

 The illustration, above, from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.

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The Skies Have Clouded Over

Game-of-Thrones-Kayak-Easter-Eggs"Disquiet about fairytales has become rather more widespread...Dislike of shallow promises and easy solutions in times of war, eco-disaster and other horrors have grounded fairytales; the escapist stories have become lenses through which difficult truths are inspected. Children around the world continue to grow up with the magic of fairytales in books, and to relish the multiple ways they are adapted, updated and put on to stage and screen. But the “realisation of imagined wonder”, which JRR Tolkien saw as the aim of the genre, isn’t always bright and shiny any more; its skies have clouded over..."

From: How Fairy Tales Grew Up by Marina Warner in the Guardian

The picture is from the TV show Game Of Thrones

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Dark Dystopia 

DestructionFinalA Global Event HungerGames:Mockingjay2 is opening on November 18-20 worldwide after a premiere in Paris on November 9th. The first three Hunger Games films have grossed nearly two billion dollars. The films came from the Hunger Games book series by Suzanne Collins; over fifty million books have been sold.

This is another huge crossover phenomenon.

The Hunger Games films have also become an example of what Marina Warner refers to when she writes, "the escapist stories have become lenses through which difficult truths are inspected.

Mockingjay2 will see Katniss Everdeen on a quest to unite and liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and destroy the evil President Snow. Hi-tech danger, mortality and moral choices are all part of the challenge.

Here is a link to the trailer for   Mockingjay2  

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Pan Has Crashed

The disappointing reviews discouraged me from seeing Pan. Here is an except of the NY Times review by AO Scott (whom I respect), and a review/analysis from the entertainment world by Brent Lang in Variety.

PAN Poster2015"Peter Pan, who flew through the air in a costume, was in many ways a prototype of the modern superhero. He has certainly been a lucrative entertainment franchise for a very long time, with durable merchandising potential, from feathered hats to peanut butter. All of which may help to explain the otherwise baffling existence of “Pan,” a hectic and labored attempt to supply the boy who never grew up with an origin story.

 The dominant emotion in 'Pan' is the desperation of the filmmakers, who frantically try to pander to a young audience they don’t seem to respect, understand or trust."  AO ScottNYTIMES; "

 

....

Peterpanprogramme_hultonarchivePan” was supposed to provide a fresh spin on the oft-told tale of the boy who could fly, but the pricey epic remained earthbound last weekend, opening to an anemic $15.3 million.

That disastrous start guarantees it will rank alongside other costly misses like “Jupiter Ascending” and “Tomorrowland” as one of the year’s biggest box office disasters. With an $150 million price tag, Warner Bros. could lose tens of millions on a film it hoped would kick off a new fantasy franchise.

When the dust settles and studio executives comb through the wreckage for clues about what doomed the adventure film, it appears that it will suffer from two fatal and seemingly contradictory flaws. “Pan” was both overly formulaic and too wild a deviation from J.M. Barrie’s beloved children’s classic to succeed." ,  Variety 

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The Hollywood Movie Meeting - How Movies Get Made

The following transcript was taken from a meeting of executives of a major Hollywood film company. The meeting is already in progress...

Executive #1: Should we produce this film?

Executive #2: Well, here's a Synopsis: It opens when the mother dies and the bereaved father, a merchant, remarries. His lovely daughter now has a cruel stepmother with two ugly daughters and they all abuse the girl. Her only friends are birds and a magic tree. That's act one. Now in act two...

Executive #3: What happens to the father? He just stands around while they abuse the kid?

Executive #2: He has to travel for his work. He's away a lot.

Executive #2: Act two better be good after that start.

Executive #1: I wanna hear Act two. I heard Disney made a lot of money with this.

Executive #2: In Act two we meet a handsome Prince who is planning a big party.

Executive #3: Why are we even talking about this if Disney already made it?

Executive #1: Maybe, we can  make some changes.

Executive#3: Changes? What kind of changes?

Executive #1: Maybe we can we change it to Christmas? We need a new flick for Christmas and at least this is based on a winner from the past. And we'll change the name...call it Cindy's Happy Holiday!

Executive #3: That's a helluva idea. What's next?

To Be Continued... 

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How to Change the World in 30 Seconds 
A Web Warrior's Guide to Animal Advocacy Online by C A Wulff 

Arielchange world3edAlthough you may want to help animals, you may not have any idea where to begin. Or maybe you think that you don’t have enough time to make a difference. This guide will offer practical steps to get started using dog advocacy as the focus and will explain how just thirty seconds a day on the Internet can not only make a difference, but can also change the world.
 
Here is a review..."Combining case histories with practical tips on how to use the Internet to advocate for dogs, Wulff's book is an inspiring, informative and highly useful volume that anyone who thinks dogs are worth fighting for should have on their shelf."
John Woestendiek, author of 'Dog, Inc.' and the website ohmidog!

Read sample chapters of How to Change the World in Thirty Seconds: Amazon
 
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An Outstanding Program: Therapy Reading Dogs for At-Risk Students!
 
BowwowlogoADA"Austin Dog Alliance Bow Wow Reading Dogs are non-judgmental certified therapy dogs who listen to at-risk students reading aloud.  The dog's handler has been educated on how to help at-risk readers learn to read. Many of our Bow Wow Reading dog volunteers are retired teachers or principals.
 
Here are the requirements for BowWow therapy reading dog handlers:
  • BowWowADA2Must enjoy children; Love to read!; Have a willingness to get to know the children, understand their challenges and remember small things about them; Have compassion for and sensitivity to the hesitant and reticent child; Patience with over-active children; Possess patience with repetitive reading of the same book; Have the ability to discern age with reading abilities and related activities; Are flexible and have the ability to 'go with the flow'; Are a retired teacher or principal or have attended a seminar on how to help at-risk readers."

Read more about this wonderful therapy reading dog program at Bow Wow Reading Dogs:

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Texas Textbooks: McGraw-Hill changes slaves to immigration workers in High School textbook

McGrawHillEducationHOUSTON — "Coby Burren, 15, a freshman at a suburban high school south of here, was reading the textbook in his geography class last week when a map of the United States caught his attention. On Page 126, a caption in a section about immigration referred to Africans brought to American plantations between the 1500s and 1800s as 'workers' rather than slaves. 

He reached for his cellphone and sent a photograph of the caption to his mother, Roni Dean-Burren, along with a text message: 'we was real hard workers, wasn’t we'..."

Read it all in the article by  and  NY Times Motherlode

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Beasts of No Nation 

The post that follows is about a book and a film outside the usual purview of this blog.
I have included it because of the subject matter, a young boy caught in the savage chaos of the real world today, and because it relates to the world of war, fear, and painful uncertainty of the past. Oral tales, that live on today as tales of wonder, originated in a hard world where ruthless power reigned and cruelty, superstition and hard times dominated daily life for most people.
 
BeastsBoyAnd so, I have posted below about a book, Beasts of No Nationby Uzodinma Iweala, and a movie made from the book, that tells the story of A Boy Soldier's Heart Of DarknessThis is the title of Simon Baker's book review of Beasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala. Here is an excerpt: 

"In a young child's life, few games can equal hide-and-seek: the excitement of crouching in a secret place as the pleasure of remaining at large vies with the thrill of possible discovery. The problem comes when a game like this turns serious -- when, say, the people you're hiding from want not just to find you but to hack you to pieces." 

Here is a link to read all of the NY Times Book Review by Simon Baker

The Movie Wants Us To Look At That Moment Square In The Face

"The movie holds on to a fair chunk of the book’s first-person narration, which is critical, because it establishes Agu as a character with his own thoughts and ethics rather than merely a shellshocked onlooker. There comes a moment when the boy has to cross the line
BeastsofNoNationfrom theory to action — from training to murder — and 'Beasts of No Nation' wants us to look that moment square in the face. It is awful, it has happened and is happening still, and for once you aren’t able to turn the page or switch to another channel. And then the movie invites us to wonder what happens to the child who is now a murderer. 'It is the worst sin, but it is the right sin to be doing,' Agu tells himself, but that lie doesn’t last. Before long, he is begging the sun to stop shining on this world."

It took courage and great commitment by the brilliant young American director Cary Fukunaga to make this film. Netflix has released the film simultaneously in theaters and on the Internet. Over 3 million viewers in North America have seen Beasts of No Nation since its release on October 16.

Here is a link to Ty Burr's review in the Boston Globe.

Here is a link to the t
railer for the movie: Beasts of No Nation  

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NYTMotherlodeparenting_post
 
 The Amazing Sesame Street
 
KJ Dell'Antonia, in a very informative NY Times Motherlode article, wrote about a very special new Sesame Street initiative  -- Julia, an autistic little girl. Here are excerpts:

Autismstorybookcover"Sesame Street got so many things right with its new character, Julia, an orange-haired girl with autism whose eyes never quite meet the reader’s. Introduced in a digital storybook available online and in print, Julia is described as an old friend of Elmo’s. When Elmo’s muppet friend Abby meets Julia, she is confused, and she has questions. Julia doesn’t talk to her right away, does that mean Julia doesn’t like her? Why does Julia get so upset over loud noises?

And then there are the things Abby doesn’t comment on — Julia knows every word to a lot of songs. She spins the wheels of toy cars over and over and over again, and flaps her arms when she is excited. She is a recognizably different (and recognizably autistic) without being overwhelmingly so… children with autism can find themselves in her, and children learning about the condition can start here.

Sesame Workshop based Julia on years of research, says Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s vice president of outreach and educational practices. “We wanted to demonstrate some of the characteristics of autism in a positive way,” she says. The choice of gender was also deliberate. “We wanted to break down some of the myths and misconceptions around autism. It’s not only impacting boys, but girls as well...”

 Here is a link to read all of this insightful article on Motherlode 
 
Here is a Sesame Street link to their many programs devoted to autistic and/or special needs children. 
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Sunbearsquad-logoHow to be a volunteer animal rescue transport driver...

"Over-filled animal control facilities or pounds euthanize an estimated 4 million dogs and cats each year...

Each weekend in America, an army of volunteer rescue transport drivers deliver dogs and cats to safety in an organized relay of vehicles. Hard-working volunteer transport coordinators plan the logistics, organize the four-legged passengers, and provide support by phone continuously during the entire one- or two-day operation. Drivers sign up for relay "legs" via e-mail. They meet the previous leg drivers at an appointed time, transfer the lucky dogs and cats to their vehicles, and drive to the next relay meeting spot where the process is repeated until the destination is reached..."

Here is a link to read the rest of this informative Sunbear Squad article: Rescue.

And here is a link to sample pages of Deb Eades book: Every Rescued Dog Has a Tale: Stories from the Dog Rescue Railroad.
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"The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs."
Alphonse Toussenel
.....................
 
 

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15. Big Dog and Little Dog Getting In Trouble

Bog Dog and Little Dog Getting In Trouble. Dav Pilkey. 1997/2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Do you know Big Dog and Little Dog? If you don't, you should! Especially if you love dogs. (But also, even if you don't.) Big Dog and Little Dog star in a series of early readers. The stories are simple and funny. The illustrations are bold and bright. Overall, these books are just PURE PLEASURE to read.

Big Dog and Little Dog Getting In Trouble is no exception. This title is perfect for the series. (You do not have to read the books in any order. But my guess is that once you've read one, you'll want to read them all. Again and again and again.)

In this story, the trouble starts when Big Dog and Little Dog want to PLAY. Sounds innocent enough, right?! Well, then end up playing with the couch. And the title says it all, both dogs get in trouble!!!

I definitely recommend this series. The reading level for all the books, if I recall correctly, is Guided Reading Level D.

(Like previous books in this newly republished series, this book has activities at the end.) 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. A Very Scary Pumpkin: Nuggies: Book 3, by Jeff Minich | Dedicated Review

Volume three in the wonderful Nuggies series, A Very Scary Pumpkin, finds Chomper and Coco—the dogs known as the Nuggies—moving into a new home.

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17. Picture Book Roundup - October 2015 edition

This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features three funny books, a hilarious cautionary tale, and a sweet bookish story to melt your heart. Enjoy!

Review copies of Night Animals by Gianna Marino (Viking, 2015) and In! Over! and On! by Ethan Long (Penguin, 2015) were provided by the publishers at my request. The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear (Tundra, 2015), Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015), and Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook by Anne Vittur Kennedy (Candlewick, 2015)

If you can't access the slide show with reviews below, you can see it on RiffleBooks at this link. [https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/185319]

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18. The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi | Giveaway

Enter to win a BONJOUR, AMI prize pack that includes The Story of Diva and Flea, written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi (Disney Publishing, 2015). Giveaway begins September 11, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 10, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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19. To talk of many things – a second letter from Julie

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a lady by the name of Julie Drew.  It turns out Julie and I have much in common, a love of books and dogs being just one of our shared interests. Since then we've communicated several times, and I'm very happy to say Julie has now agreed to share some of her thoughts here.  Over to you Julie;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have made so many truly special like-minded friends since learning how to use the internet and more importantly how to add treasures to my ever growing trove! I envy you for the fairs and car boot sales which are so prevalent over there!! We have so few up here where I am living. This is why the internet has become somewhat of a lifeline for me!! I find so many amazing items all over the world, by looking online! It is the closest I shall ever come to personally trawling the actual fairs and car boots unless I visit one of the major cities! But I adore the relaxed lifestyle here in the tropics so very much, and the weather is just like a postcard photo! I am truly blessed to be here. It is winter here, obviously and the coldest we have got to at night/wee hours so far this year is 12!! By 10 a.m. the temp is always up to the low 20's, so you can imagine why the southerners all come here for their mid year breaks!! It almost feels like I have lived a holiday for the past 35 years I have been here!! Even when I was at work, I enjoyed it so much every day, that I never once got up and did not want to go to work!

Unfortunately I had to stop working a week before my 50th birthday which was such a culture shock for me! Then 8 months later we lost 2 of our darling dogs within 10 days of each other, and this is what really made me feel that my life HAD indeed truly changed immensely! Poor little Furble was bereft he had outlived so many 'siblings' over the years, and it was him who we had always felt would be the next to leave us. It was for this reason that the timing to get dear Georgie was so perfect! Furble had a reason to play again!!

Georgie

I knew his years were definitely numbered though so we got LouLou, the deaf Chinese Sharpei almost 5 years ago now, and this meant that Georgie, who is a real Mother Hen, would not suffer so much when Furble finally did have to leave us. It all worked out just beautifully for them all, really. And now as well as Georgie and LouLou, I also have Koo, another little sweetheart who was adopted from the Shelter. But NOT by me!! She was the little mischief maker belonging to the new neighbours who moved in next door!! Kylie worked all day and her young boys were at school and after school care, so Koo was lonely. She obviously saw the two very friendly dogs over the fence and decided to come to play! It got to the point that she was ALWAYS here, so we all had a chat about what was best for the dog's happiness, and decided that she could live here with me and her playmates!!! Little Isaac would tell people that 'Yes, he does have a dog, but she lives with Julie!!!'

TOO TOO FUNNY, but the boys come to play with the dogs often, and all is happy and fine! My trio are terribly spoilt, of course, and even sleep on my bed!!

Koo (left) and LouLou

Anyway, getting back to the end of working....I learned how to use the computer, and life opened many new and exciting doors for me! I could resume the old hobbies I had forsaken while the priorities of Aaron's schooling and the mortgage took precedence. OH! How glorious it has been for me to discover and buy such exceptional items! It has kept me sane and cheerful, that’s for sure! But the real bonus is that I have met such delightful folk who I can happily now call my friends, and I stay in touch with them via the magic of the internet! Life IS good!!

You are 10 years older than I am, as I was born in 1958. I came out from England in 1959 with my parents and older sister on one of the P & O liners. Apparently, according to Dad, who loves to relate the tale, I got so good at walking on the ship that when we hit land here in Oz, I could not walk on solid ground!! So I had to learn all over again how to walk!

My Dad did remarry after we lost Mum. He met Adele on her 30th birthday and they married 6 months later! It was obviously love at first sight because they shall celebrate their 40th anniversary in December!! I am so glad that he met such a gorgeously generous and genuinely loving person to share the rest of his life with, as Adele and her daughter who was almost 7 at the time they married, have definitely been our best friends for all those years! Dad is 15 years older than Adele who turned 70, 4 weeks ago!! I find these ages so hard to relate to as they are just Dad and Adele, the people I have known and loved for all this time. Still very young at heart and full of interest for life's joys!

I have NOT remarried after a traumatic marriage break-up. I just am so happy by myself, or maybe I am just selfish and love to enjoy my privacy! I have my dogs, my garden, my photography, and of course the internet which all keep me very content and busy. I also have very decent friends who watch out for me, while I have no family here. I have enjoyed this peaceful life for so long now, that I don't think I shall change my ways unless someone extremely special enters my life!

So,I shall happily continue to plod along, smiling at the day when I wake, and enjoying all the small things of beauty everywhere.

And THAT brings me to your comments about having sold, WITHOUT reading, Katawampus and Butterscotia!!!! How remiss of you, dear Barbara!! (Sorry Julie I am ashamed of myself) You really HAVE to read them even if it is by the hideous method of on-line!!!! I know they are available. I saw them when I goggled his works! But to me the joy of reading such tales is the weight, the feel and even the smell of the old books!!! OH! and you must, must MUST read 'Pigs is pigs'!!!
Katawampus its treatment & Cure by Edward Abbott Parry Illustrated by Archie Macgregor 

How utterly wonderful to have such ties to this country I call home! Adele is from Adelaide so I know it well! And my ex husband is also from there, but I won't hold that against the City of Churches as Adelaide is so fondly known! If you wish for me to send anything on your behalf to your granddaughters, do let me know? It is only about $20(10 pounds) for 5 kg!!! And that is anywhere in Australia!!! This is a genuine offer, Barbara! So do have a think...... Imagine the surprise the family would get at receiving something from you which has been sent in Oz!!! (Thank you so much Julie, I just might take you up on that offer) My grandparents used to send boxes of treats to us when we were very small, and we got the hugest thrill when we opened them up! That was so many long years ago, when mail was the only form of communication! I must admit that the instantaneous arrival of emails never ceases to give me enormous pleasure, especially from overseas!!!

The whole world has opened up so much in such a short time. I am ever so pleased to have learned so much about you and to know that we truly do share so many interests. I have such an amazing array of old illustrated books as well as plates which have literally fallen out of really old book gems. I do not have the access or funds which you do, thanks to the additional shipping which is a huge part of any purchase I make, but I still am extremely fortunate and I do have some delightfully rare old treasures which give me such pleasure every time I look at them or read the tales within!!

Thank you again for your email and for being so lovely with sharing your interesting anecdotes. I do hope that we can remain in touch and swap little tales of fun now and then.

Fondest wishes, love and warm smiles as always, Julie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Love and warm smiles to you too Julie and to all readers of this blog. 

Julie's first letter will be found here.

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20. Spotlight and Giveaway: Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin

 
Enter to Win a
Print Copy of SIT! STAY! SPEAK!
(US Only)

 
SIT! STAY! SPEAK!
A Novel
Annie England Noblin
Released Sept 9th, 2015
William Morrow

 

Echoing the novels of Mary Alice Monroe, Allie Larkin, and Holly Robinson, this charming debut novel tells the unforgettable story of a rescue dog that helps a struggling young outsider make peace with the past.

Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!


People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.

Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.

Excerpt:

She sighed and pushed her blond hair off her neck, piling it high on top of her head. Her thoughts went back to Chicago. To Jonah. To what life had been like before she’d inherited a house that needed more work than she had money. Jonah would have liked this house, she thought. Addie knew that if he were here, they would have stayed in town after the funeral. Jonah would have picked through each piece of furniture, each knickknack. He would have asked for stories about each one, stories Addie had long forgotten.

She rested her head against the coffee table. It had a glass top, something her aunt had brought all the way down here from Chicago. It wasn’t worth much, as far as Addie could tell, but her aunt loved it and stuck cards from relatives underneath the glass. Each time Aunt Tilda had a visitor, she’d tell them about whichever relative happened to be resting underneath that visitor’s coffee mug. Today there was no coffee, and there were no visitors. There was no Jonah. Addie let her hair fall back down onto her sticky neck and said out loud to no one, “I’ve got to get out of here for a while.”

The Mississippi River in Eunice, Arkansas, looked nothing like it had when she’d crossed the bridge in Memphis. It was smaller, tranquil almost. Addie stood with her toes touching the water. She hadn’t been down to the levee since the last time she’d visited Eunice. Even this close to the water, it was hot outside. She found herself wishing she’d just stayed inside with all the unopened boxes and dusty furniture—at least there was air-conditioning.

Gazing around, Addie realized that this was no longer the nice, clean picnic area that her aunt had taken her to during her childhood visits. The tables were overgrown with weeds, and there was an obvious odor of trash in the air. This place hadn’t been taken care of in a long time.

Addie bent down to wash out her flip-flops when she heard a noise coming from behind her. She turned around to face a small wooded area. The noise grew louder. It sounded like a whimpering, but all she saw were bushes. She shoved her feet into her shoes and walked over to the direction of the noise. She pushed her way into the first set of bushes, where a thin layer of trash covered the ground. Off to one side there was a large, black trash bag.

The trash bag was moving. Addie crept closer to the bag. She bent down and touched the plastic. It had been tied in a tight knot. Digging her fingers into the plastic, Addie ripped the bag wide open. The object in the bag stirred, whimpering slightly. It lifted its head and tried to move, but failed. It was covered in blood and blood-soaked newspaper and dozens of crumpled packages of Marlboro Reds.

Addie was looking at a dog.



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Annie England Noblin graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English for Arkansas State University. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the Red Booth Review and the Moon City Review. She lives with her son, husband, and four rescued bulldogs in the Missouri Ozarks. In addition to her writing, Noblin started working with rescue organizations across the country ten years ago, and has never looked back. The work she does serves as an inspiration in everyday life, as well as in her writing.


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21. Strays: A Novel, by Jennifer Caloyeras | Press Release

Ashland Creek Press is pleased to announce the release (May 2015) of Jennifer Caloyeras’s lovely and heartwarming young adult novel STRAYS.

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22. What's next?

Dear Friends,

Often times, as a solo-entrepreneur I run out of ideas. What I mean is, as I am trudging along going full speed ahead doing whatever is on the top of my priority list, i.e.- getting my new adult coloring books out to the public, and then I realize...what's next? As a small business owner, my job is never done. That's not a complaint, but a realization that I need to always be in the creative mode, at least a LOT of the time. That's not necessarily a problem since I LOVE what I do; create art! However, in putting my business woman cap on, I realize I need to keep the momentum going so.... I have been working behind the scenes on a BRAND NEW idea. A Brandy and Emma Coloring Book/Story Book, a 2 -in 1 book. 1, adults can enjoy the act of coloring and 2, enjoy reading with your little ones after the book is complete. It makes a wonderful keepsake for everyone to enjoy for years to come! Be watching for it's release any day.

You may ask...who is Brandy and Emma?! Have any of you noticed I have lots of art featuring golden retrievers and a small blonde headed girls? Ever wonder why? Many of you on this list are already familiar with my Brandy and Emma characters because of the stamping/crafting community. But for those of you who don't know who Brandy and Emma are, let me explain.

Here is the original Brandy, the golden retriever and Emma.(aka Em or Emily, our daughter, the photo taken many years ago, as she is now a mama herself.)





Brandy was our very first beloved golden retriever who has been gone from our lives for many years now but never gone from our hearts. She was the dearest creature and I often thought she was an angel sent by God to our family.

The character of Emma was based on our own precious daughter, Emily as a small girl. I am thinking it is finally time to create a book just for the two of them to go on their adventures! What would you all think of a coloring book of  The Adventures of Brandy and Emma?

To get a vision of what I am speaking of...Here are few of my best selling wall art prints that will be included in black and white sketch form in the coloring book.






There are still lots of my first coloring book, the heART of childhood,  going out to their new homes so be sure to get your copy soon as I only have 3 boxes left! And I would be so honored if you shared this link to my coloring book with your friends and family who might enjoy this new fun craze of adult coloring. It is so relaxing after a stressful day. Oh, and be sure to use the FREE U.S. SHIPPING coupon code USShipFree at checkout!




As always, thank you for being a part of our wonderful community. I am so grateful for each and every one of you!
 
 
Phyllis


Gifts that give back
Phyllis Harris Designs & You – Giving the gift of love and healing
Every purchase of a heart-warming Phyllis Harris Designs illustration print donates 5 percent of every illustration print sold from our website to Children's Mercy Hospital.  

Be sure and follow my social media networks to keep up with all that is going on. Here are the links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PhyllisHarrisDesigns
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhyllisHarris
Instagram: http://instagram.com/phyllisharrisdesigns
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/phyllisha/

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23. The Wacky World of Silly Willy Winston & Fire HD7 Kindle Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Wacky World of Silly Silly Winston: An Ordinary Pet with Extraordinary Adventures, written by Donna Maguire, and a Fire HD7 Kindle! Giveaway begins September 27, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends October 26, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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24. October- What Is Real? ...kids, books, movies, and dogs

 
  TheGoldenBirdGrimm2
 
Illustration for the Grimm's Golden Bird by Harry Jurgens
 
Mysteries,  unexplainable events, magic and wonder, have been woven into the fabric of life for most of the time we've been on this planet. One man's fox was also a prince; one princess' frog was also a prince; and a beast may be transformed into a handsome prince when a tear of love falls on his cheek. Fairy tales are the echoes of days gone by, when reality had many meanings.
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Fairy Tale is a Country of the Mind


SONG-OF-THE-SEA_McLir"Impossible – absurd – enchantments define fairy tale as a form of storytelling, but the magic also gives expression to thought-experiments: the wicked fairy turning out to be capable of love, the Frozen princess thawed into humanity by her heroic sister’s staunchness and love. Fairy tale is a country of the mind made by imagery, by riddles and charms, spells and nonsense; it uses language to create imaginary structures in which language itself is supremely powerful: Rumpelstiltskin is undone when the heroine discovers his name..."

An excerpt from How Fairy Tales Grew Up, by author Marina Warner,  in the Guardian.  

The illustration from Song of the Sea is by Tomm Moore. 
 
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DaughtersOfTheNorthernLightGerhard MuntheNorway6

Real and Unreal... 

White-BearKingValemonbyTheodorKittelsen(1912)Myths, legends and folktales from the past influenced writers and
artists in emerging cultures throughout most of Europe. Often inspired by the work of the brothers Grimm, Romantic Nationalism enabled cultures to define themselves through their heritage from the past. New identities were emerging from traditions and folktales from their often troubled past.  

This was certainly true in the Nordic countries -- Denmark, Finland,
Norway, and Sweden. I recently attended an exhibition in Helsinki at the Theodor Kittelsen dragon awakens
Ateneum, the national gallery, entitled The Magic North. Much of the art depicted folk tales, fairy tales, and legends. Here is an excerpt from their program: 

"The Magic North exhibition presents Norwegian and Finnish art from the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this era, artists embraced themes such as their own countries imagined past, experiences of nature, and fables and legends arising out of human weaknesses and strengths..."

 

ImagesThe Finnish Kalevala, an epic collection of folk tales, memorized and sung by rune singers, were preserved in the vast reaches of the forest lands of Finnish Karelia. They were collected by Elias Lonrott, who traveled for years, until he organized and published the Kalevala in 1835. A second edition, an extended version of 22,900 verses appeared in 1849. Dating back centuries, the Kalevala was a prime factor in igniting a cultural renaissance -- a search for national identity --  in all the arts in Finland. 

Immersing  myself in the The Magic North exhibition, experiencing the influence of the Brothers' Grimm and the power of the past expressed by passionate artists, was a wondrous experience.The artists included Edvard Munch, Hugo Simberg, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Gerhard Munthe.

The illustration of the Daughters of the Northern Lights (top) is by Gerhard Munthe

The illustrations of the White Bear King, Valemon, and The Dragon Returns, are by Theodor Kittelsen.

The illustration from the Kalevala (bottom) is by Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

The story of the White (Polar) Bear King was from a long folk tale collected and published by the Norwegian collector/writer, Peter Christen Asbjorrnsen (1882-1885). He published, with his partner Moe, over 100 Norwegian folk tales. They modeled their work on, and were inspired by, the Grimms.

Here is a trailer for an obscure film, the Polar Bear King, Valemon.

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Witches Were Real 

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_Last_Judgment_(fragment_of_Hell)For centuries, witches were real in the minds of people in Europe and the USA.
 
If someone believes in witches, it becomes their reality.  
 
Witches could be casting spells, causing illness and strange behavior.
 
They must be avoided or punished... burned at the stake or hung by the neck.
 
It follows that witches, spells, and unexplainable events are an integral part of stories told as folk tales, fairy tales, and wonder tales.
 
Gretel, when pushing the witch into the oven, was not only saving her brother's life -- and her own -- she was doing what civilized society was doing...destroying the devil's emissary. 
 
 The illustration, a fragment of the Last Judgement, is by Hieronymus Bosch.
.....................................

Puritan Reality

"In 
1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two Devil_dancesdogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed. Although we will never know the exact number of those formally charged with having “wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously” engaged in sorcery, somewhere between a hundred and forty-four and a hundred and eighty-five witches and wizards were named in twenty-five villages and towns. The youngest was five; the eldest nearly eighty..." 

This is an excerpt from an article on The Witches Of Salem by Stacey Schiffin in the New Yorker
 
....................................
 
Secret Worlds Are Real
 
CoralineCarefulWhatYouWishForEverybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” 
 Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You 
 
Here is a link to the turning point scene in Neil Gaiman's Coraline where she is confronted with making a choice between two worlds, two realities: Coraline  
 
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A World of Fairy Tale Knowledge
 
The new edition of the Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, is quite wonderful.
 
Comprehensive, easy to navigate, with information on all aspects of the world of fairy tales, from innovative creators like Jim Henson and Hayao Miyazake to authoritative entries on the classics from the Arabian Nights to Charles Perrault. 

OxfordCompanionFTalesZipesI was quite taken with extended overview articles of cutures with a strong fairy tale tradition. The list of countries is quite comprehensive, ranging from Britain and Ireland to the Slavic and Baltic Countries.
 
The articles throughout the Companion are well written and informative. The list of contributors and their credentials is inclusive and rather awesome. 
 
Jack Zipes, who edited this essential reference work, also provides an insightful and comprehensive Introduction which ranges through the centuries to modern times. In his introduction, Zipes writes that although the Companion includes contributions from many cultures, however, "The focus of this Companion is essentially on the literary formation of the Western fairy-tale genre and its expansion into opera, theater, painting, photography, and film, and other related cultural forms."
 
This is an essential book for all those with a serious interest in the world of Fairy Tales and their origins. It will be available in bookstores and on the internet on the first of November.
 
 Here's a link to read sample articles or to purchase: Oxford Companion
 
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Vetdogs-300x100
 
AmericanVetsTrainingProgramlong leash

 This is a photo of veterans participating in a 5 day in-residence training program at America's VetDogs Smithtown, NY, campus. America's VetDogs has received a Planet Dog Foundation Grant to help support a 3 year pilot program to study the differences that PTSD service dogs make in the lives of veterans.

Here is an excerpt from their website: "SERVICE DOG TRAINING PILOT PROGRAM

VeteranandhisService Dog"The Study: As part of this pilot program, America’s VetDogs has partnered with Western Kentucky  University to complete a professional three year study on the effects that PTSD service dogs will have on a veteran’s life. The study will help America’s VetDogs make changes to its curriculum and tasks to ensure that we are providing the best quality service dogs possible. America’s VetDogs also wants to be able to provide government agencies and the public with impartial evidence of the difference these dogs make for veterans, and foster understanding within their local communities of the issues faced by veterans with PTSD and how service dogs can help."
 
This is one of several wonderful programs that America's VetDogs provide at no cost to veterans and first responders by "placing specially trained assistance dogs to help them once again lead active, independent lives."
 
Here is a link to the America's VetDogs PTSD Service Dog Pilot Program

.............................................

TomThumbWarwickGoble John's Reality

“I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?” 
― John Lennon
 

The illustration from Tom Thumb is by Warwick Goble


.....................

 
  Temp 2

Book Review of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale,
by Don Blankenship, www.booksforkids-reviews.com 
 
Santa-397KBWhat would happen if someone kidnapped a couple of Santa's reindeer so that he could not deliver his presents on Christmas Eve? The dogs from The Planet of the Dogs have returned. After they had helped to save the hard working farmers of Green Valley from an invasion by the Stone City Warriors in Planet of the Dogs and then rescued two kidnapped children to prevent a war between the Stone City Warriors and the Black Hawk Tribes in Castle in the Mist, the dogs have another job. The evil King of the North, who was banished by the Tribe of the North and now lives in the forbidding Ice Castle, takes his vengeance by sending some of his Royal Guards to steal two reindeer from Santa Claus and thus stop Christmas. 

Daisy and Bean from Green Valley head north to help the dogs rescue Dasher and Dancer, and they meet a host of new friends in the process. But will they make it in time to save Christmas? All of the "Planet of the Dogs" books are well written. Not only are they fun to read but also they exhibit good attitudes and beneficial attributes on the part of the main characters so that good overcomes evil, sometimes in surprising ways. The short chapters are perfect to keep the attention of the target audience. Dog lovers will especially like these tales, but everyone else can enjoy them too. Snow Valley Heroes has the potential of becoming a favorite holiday story for both children and adults.
 
To read sample chapters, visit Planet Of The Dogs.
The illustration from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Story, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
 
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Logofull bp Logo2_flatPreferredWe have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, and Tolino.

SVH--cut-72 res-8x6cm-3 by 2.5 inchesLibrarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount. 

The illustration, from the cover of Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.

To read sample chapters of the series, visit Planet Of The Dogs.
...........................
 
Plural Realities
 
MyNeighborToToro“Maybe each human being lives in a unique world, a private world different from those inhabited and experienced by all other humans. . . If reality differs from person to person, can we speak of reality singular, or shouldn't we really be talking about plural realities? And if there are plural realities, are some more true (more real) than others?.." -- Phillip K. Dick
 
The illustration, from My Neighbor Totoro, is by Hiyamo Miyazake.
 
...........................
 
An Insightful Review from BookPleasures.com

"If you [also] love animals, I can guarantee you will adore this gem. The love Cayr and her
Bwtcoversamp_sm (2)friend, Dalene, have for these animals is clearly portrayed in this moving yet uplifting book. They are animal lovers with big hearts for not only domestic animals but for the waifs and strays too. I couldn't put this one down.

I thought it was an absolutely brilliant book, especially as I myself share the same passions as the author and her "life mate" have for animals.

This is a tale that will appeal to animal lovers and perhaps children too." --

 Here's a link to Amazon for more reviews: Born Without A Tail

.......

We are having a new lotto... we are giving away 3 paperback copies of the second edition of Born Without a Tail.
To enter, please send an email to Books4DogLovers@gmail.com and place the word "entry" on the subject line.  

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CatGreenHamCan A Classic Book Jacket Move?
 
Bending reality...Art director Javier Jensen puts movement (GIFS) into classic book jackets including Green Eggs and Ham, The Hobbit, and The Little Prince... I wonder what young readers think of this phenomenon...is it real?

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A Hard Reality about Reading

LitWorld works in 14 countries around the world, and three sates in the USA, to bring literacy to children. Here, from the LitWorld website, is the Problem in the USA. 


WRADZa'atariSyrianRefugeeCampinJordanIn the 14 countries
 served by LitWorld outside the USA, the Problem is compunded.

Visit their website and read about the wonderful work they do: Link to LitWorld:

THE PROBLEM: "The millions of readers who complete elementary school reading below grade level are unable to read about the characters and plots written for their age group. The stories they can read are meant for a less mature audience. At best, they hide this by reading only in private. At worst (and most often) they simply give up reading altogether. Given the daily importance of reading in all aspects of life, lacking this crucial skill negatively impacts everything from academic performance to everyday communication.


BY THE NUMBERS: As many as 90 million teens and adults in America lack crucial literacy skills..."

This is a very hard reality. The photo was taken on LitWorld's World Read Aloud day in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

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Canine Therapy is Real HandsRose.4jpg


Rose
, an Australian Cattle Dog, has been an active therapy dog for 13 years at Tidewell Pallitive Care and Hospice.

I recently received a message with photos from Rose's owner, Susan Purser. We have been in touch for several years. I was moved by her message and the photos she sent wanted to share the following... 

"I was asked once what it was like to see so many hands reaching out for my dog, Rose. HandsRoseI hadn't really thought much about it, as she is such a giving Australian Cattle Dog and is continually searching for hands wanting to touch her.  I thought perhaps you might enjoy seeing some of these hands...aged hands, searching for memories and then sharing them with whispers in Rose's ear or while hugging her neck.  Soft spoken or without words, it doesn't get any better than watching this type of unconditional love."

HandsRose.5jpgRose doesn't understand future nor how long or short time is.  She does devote her total attention to these lovely people in their time of need.  She gives comfort that I can only observe and opens those ever so special memory doors that only she can enter...I am a facilitator and I do believe, if she could drive, she would not need me!  Pet therapy is such a special part of the people's lives and I am truly blessed to have entered this treasured space for just a little while and then I think, where have thirteen years gone?" 

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Helsinki sep-oct-2013 027KidLitosphere has helped many readers find their way to these pages. Here is an excerpt from their home page...   

"Some of the best books being published today are children’s and young adult titles, well-written and engaging books that capture the imagination. Many of us can enjoy them as adults, but more importantly, can pass along our appreciation for books to the next generation by helping parents, teachers, librarians and others to find wonderful books, promote lifelong reading, and present literacy ideas."  
Here is a link to Kidlitosphere. 

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 Movies -- PAN 

PAN is opening on Oct 9 in the USA; Oct 16 in the UK; it has already opened in Australia.

Advance reviews are mixed, some of them angry...I've read several and it sounds like the driving force was commercial success...Here are excerpts from Andrew Barker in Variety...


PAN Poster2015"Of all the recent big-budget studio films to re-imagine beloved children’s tales as garish, CGI-choked sensory overloads stripped of all whimsy or childlike wonderJoe Wright’s “Pan is certainly the most technically sophisticated...

There is perhaps no clearer illustration of “Pan’s” guiding principles than its treatment of pixie dust. In Walt Disney’s 1953 “Peter Pan,” the story’s best-known incarnation, pixie dust is a glowing substance that allows lucky children to fly high above the clouds. In “Pan,” pixie dust is the street name for Pixum, a rare, crystalline substance mined by slave labor from deep in the earth that, when smoked on an elaborate opium den-style apparatus, restores youthfulness to the user. (The film neglects to tell us its radioactive half-life or the side effects of recreational use, but perhaps those scenes are being saved for the director’s cut.).."

The story is a prequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. It borrows characters and much of it takes place in Neverland; the Darling Family never appear. 

The trailer looks exciting. Here is a link: PAN

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The Reality of Five Senses

Miyazaki-nature

Famed animated film director Hayao Miyazaki is sponsoring a new children’s facility in a virgin forest on a small island 56 miles west of Okinawa Prefecture to encourage kids to enjoy nature through their five senses. Miyazaki's films include Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away.

About two and a half acres of forest are being provided by the town ofKumejima; Miyazake will cover the anticipated 2.5 million in construction costs.

The information for this post came from Kevin Melrose and the  Japan Times.

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NewYork Public Library Childern's Literary Salon

Christopher Lassen <christopherlassen@bookops.org> of New York Public Library sent us a notice of a fascinating Children's Literary Salon (the Salons are ongoing and free) 

WinnieDisney3Movie2011On Saturday October 17th, our program will be "The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh". Join Kathryn Aalto (The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: A Walk Through the Forest That Inspired the Hundred Acre Woods) for a journey into one of the most iconic settings in children's literature: the Hundred Acre Wood, inspired by Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, England. It is here where A. A. Milne lived and set the tender adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his merry band of friends... 

The program will take place in the Celeste Auditorium (formerly South Court Auditorium) in the Stephen A Schwartzman Building of NYPL (5th Avenue & 42nd Street) at 2:00pm.

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Sunbearsquad-logoSunbear Squad is a primary source of information for dog lovers...filled with information and guidelines, ranging from helping an abandoned dog to building a proper doghouse. Here is an excerpt from an article on Traveling By Car Or Truck With Pets by Edward Green, TruckersReport.com...

Taking the family pet along for the ride is a part of the vacation plans of families across the nation. These trips can be quite memorable and enjoyable—but only if you take the proper safety precautions for your animals. This guide will help you travel safely and comfortably with your favorite pet.

 Before You Travel

When you and your family are traveling, planning is essential to make sure you get everything packed and are fully prepared for your journey. Such planning is also a must when it comes to traveling with pets: Read the rest of this entry »

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“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. “I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.” 
― Caroline Knapp
 
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