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I’ve known the birthdate of a casual acquaintance for 30 years, yet I don’t know that of a dear friend, only that he received his first driver’s license on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. Why? The juxtaposition of a “day of infamy” and the possibilities of a new driver’s license struck a wry chord in my teenaged brain. As for the acquaintance, he was born on the same date as the fictional Bilbo Baggins, someone with whom I am much closer. The reasons that I can recite three poems from memory after more than thirty years are as divergent as the poems themselves. There are no lessons for teachers here. I learned them through osmosis, spitefulness and happenstance, in much the same way that I remember birthdays.
In fifth grade, I had a teacher that I neither liked nor disliked.In fact, I remember only one thing about her.She had a haughty, old-school manner of speaking - except for one day, when her detached manner slipped away as she recited Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Arrow and the Song,”
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
It was the second verse that caught in my mind and my own thoughts soared like the song, out of a dreary 5th grade classroom and into the limitless sky. Later, I taught myself the rest of the verses. I’ve been able to recite it ever since. I like it still.
In Junior High School, I had an Algebra teacher that I disliked a great deal. In the summers, he was a barker on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. He was a wise guy in a tough school. So was I. One day he announced that anyone who could memorize and recite Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” to the class on a pre-ordained date, would be exempt from taking an Algebra test. After securing a copy of the poem, I realized what a challenge it would be. Despite my disinclination toward public speaking and the difficulty in memorizing this poem in particular, he had thrown down the gauntlet and I would pick it up.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
I memorized and recited that poem. I became interested in the works of Lewis Carroll. I asked for a book of his collected works for Christmas. I read them all, and I’ve never forgotten the poem. There are seldom opportunities for speaking it aloud, but imagine my surprise and delight when I saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I smiled to myself, knowing that I was likely the only one in the theater who knew that the plot of the movie was not the book, Alice in Wonderland, but the poem, “Jabberwocky.” I knew the ending before the movie barely begun.
Chance brought me to the last poem in my verbal repertoire. As a librarian, I know not to judge a book by its cover - but I still do. As a teenager, I was perusing my local bookstore when I came upon a most appealing little book. It was cute, it was yellow, and from its cover, the pensive little man pondering the universe called out to me. It begged to be read. The book wasGrooks by Piet Hein, a Danish mathematician, inventor, scientist, designer, and yes, poet. Grooks, I discovered, were a style of poem invented by Hein, rhyming aphorisms, really. They were clever and succinct, and I loved them. For over 30 years, one Grook has stayed with me. I recite it aloud - to myself, to my children, to whoever is near whenever things don’t go as they’ve been carefully planned.
Our choicest plans
have fallen through,
our airiest castles
because of lines
we neatly drew
and later neatly
And so there are three; and more diverse they could not be: “The Arrow and the Song,” “Jabberwocky,” “On Problems.” Teachers and poets, take heart. The mind is a curious thing. You may not know what will unlock the mind’s door to receive your poems, but you can ensure that they keep knocking. Sooner or later, one (or three) will get in.
It's Madness indeed--the March Madness Poetry Tournament hosted by Ed DeCaria! On Monday evening I received my 10-seeded word--HYPOCRISY-- which in 36 hours I had to develop into a poem worthy of competition. The word gave me pause, certainly; I worried that I would, like many with even more challenging, abstract words, have to spend my eight allowed lines defining it. But my 10-year-old easily demonstrated his understanding of "hypocrite," so I forged ahead....
and wrote a rather serious, instructive piece that just didn't seem to be the right thing for the competition:
A Little Light Lying
Your parents teach you social graces:
“Really—you look good in braces!”
We say what we don’t really mean;
The edge of truth’s a touch too keen.
But falseness leaves an ashy trace
A lasting mask tough to erase
Face the mirror, fail to see—
That’s genuine hypocrisy.
~Heidi Mordhorst 2013
So I decided to start completely over, with something involving a hippo. Obvious, right? And naturally comical. And then--now that I review my Tuesday night train of thought, I can barely discern how I got there, but it had to do with reading a lot about hippos and watching a lot of amateur YouTube videos of hippos and crocodiles--a line of poetry came into my head: "How doth the little crocodile..." That was all I had at first.
Wikipedia similarly rarely lets me be, so there I discovered something I had forgotten--that Alice's crocodile recitation is her garbled version of a serious, instructive poem of the 18th century poet Isaac Watts. His poem is about a bee and is usually titled
Against Idleness and Mischief
How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.
In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.
Et voila! A concept. By only a couple of hours past my bedtime, I had borrowed Isaac's form and diction along with Lews's parodic twist and submitted this to the MMPT competition:
Against Falsity and Pretense
How doth the chubby hippo Improve his shining hide And bob the waters of the Nile On every muddy side!
How lazily he opens wide! How jolly seems to be! Then crushes skulls of crocodiles With sweet hippo-crisy.
Is that cheating? I decided not (and it was, after all, AT LEAST a couple of hours past my bedtime). While not wholly original, I reckoned that I had done enough creative reworking to justify calling it mine, and part of the work was a new appreciation for the historical antecedents of our modern poetry for kids.
At this writing the competition is fierce! I'm up against Alvaro Salinas Jr. (aka M.M. Socks) and his funny "LeeAnn's Farm," and after an early lead I find that the the voting is EXACTLY EQUAL! Stay tuned to find out if my hypocritical bee/crocodile/hippo can garner enough votes to get me to Round Two!
And now we must give a bit of Poetry Friday attention to the PF Anthology for Middle Schools, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. I'm wondering what would have happened if those clever editors had told us what the weekly themes in the book would be, so that all us poets could have written to assignment, as we're doing in the Tournament or may have done for the poetry tag e-books? Would our pieces have been any better? Worse? More risky and edgy as we ventured outside our own comfort zones, as we're doing with these crazy words Ed has given us? Process is soooooo interesting!
The Poetry Friday round-up is with Jone today at Check It Out! See you there!
Last time I was writing my monthly gleanings in anticipation of the New Year. January 1 came and went, but good memories of many things remain. I would like to begin this set with saying how pleased and touched I was by our correspondents’ appreciation of my work, by their words of encouragement, and by their promise to go on reading the blog in the future. Writing weekly posts is a great pleasure. Knowing that one’s voice is not lost in the wilderness doubles and trebles this pleasure.
Week and Vikings.
After this introduction it is only natural to begin the first gleanings of 2013 with the noun week. Quite some time ago, I devoted a special post to it. Later the root of week turned up in the post on the origin of the word Viking, and it was Viking that made our correspondent return to week. My ideas on the etymology of week are not original. In the older Germanic languages, this noun did not mean “a succession of seven days.” The notion of such a unit goes back to the Romans and ultimately to the Jewish calendar. The Latin look-alike of Gothic wiko, Old Engl. wicu, and so forth was a feminine noun, whose nominative, if it existed, must have had the form vix. Since the phrase for “in the order of his course” (Luke I: 8) appears in Latin as in ordine vicis suae and in Gothic as in wikon kunjis seinis, some people (the great Icelandic scholar Guðbrandur Vigfússon among them) made the wrong conclusion that the Germanic word was borrowed from Latin. In English, the root of vix can be seen in vicar (an Anglo-French word derived from Latin vicarius “substitute, deputy”), vicarious, vicissitude, vice (as in Vice President), and others, while week is native. Its distant origin is disputed and need not delay us here. Rather probably, German Wechsel (from wehsal) “exchange” belongs here. Among the old cognates of week we find Old Icelandic vika, which also had the sense “sea mile,” and this is where Viking may come in. “Change, succession, recurrent period” and “sea mile” suggest that the oldest Vikings (in the beginning, far from being sea robbers and invaders) were called after “shift, a change of oarsmen.” But many other hypotheses pretend to explain the origin of Viking, and a few of them are not entirely implausible.
The present perfect.
More recently, while discussing suppletive forms, I mentioned in passing that the difference between tenses can become blurred and that for some people did you put the butter in the refrigerator? and haveyou put the butter in therefrigerator? mean practically the same. This remark inspired two predictable comments. The vagaries of the present perfect also turned up in one of my recent posts and also caused a ripple of excitement, especially among the native speakers of Swedish. As with week and Viking, I’ll repeat here only my basic explanation. In Germanic, the perfect tenses developed in the full light of history, and in British English a good deal seems to have changed since the days of Shakespeare, that is, the time when the first Europeans settled in the New World. To put it in a nutshell, there was much less of the present perfect in the sixteenth and the seventeenth century than in the nineteenth. In the use of this tense English, wherever it is spoken, went its own way. For instance, one can say in Icelandic (I’ll provide a verbatim translation): “We spent a delightful summer together in 1918, and at that time we have seen so many interesting places together!” The perfect foregrounds the event and makes it part of the present. In English, the present perfect cannot be used so. Only a vague reference to the days gone by will tolerate the present perfect, as in: “This has happened more than once in the past and is sure to happen again.” Therefore, I was surprised to see Cuthbert Bede (alias Edward Bradley) write in The Adventures of Mr Verdant Green: “Who knows? for dons are also mortals, and have been undergraduates once” (the beginning of Chapter 4). In my opinion, have been and once do not go together. If I am wrong, please correct me.
However, in my next pronouncement I am certainly right. British English has regularized the use of the present perfect: “I have just seen him,” “I have never read Fielding,” and so on. I mentioned in my original post that, when foreigners are taught the difference between the simple past (the so-called past indefinite) and the present perfect, they are usually shown a picture of a weeping or frightened child looking at the fragments on the floor and complaining to a grownup: “I have broken a plate!” American speakers are not bound by this usage: “I just saw him. He left,” “I never read Fielding and know no one who did,” while a child would cry: “Mother, I broke a plate!” A British mother may be really cross with the miscreant, whereas an American one may be mad at the child, but their reaction has nothing to do with grammar. Our British correspondent says that he makes a clear distinction between did you and have youput thebutter in the refrigerator, while his American wife does not and prefers did you. This is exactly what could be expected. My British colleague, who has not changed his accent the tiniest bit after decades of living in Minneapolis and being married to an American, must have unconsciously modified his usage. I have been preoccupied with the perfect for years, and once, when we were discussing these things, he said, with reference to the present perfect, that during his recent stay in England, his interlocutor remarked drily: “You have lived in America too long.”
Blessedly cursed? Tamara and Demon. Ill to Lermontov’s poem by Mikhail Vrubel’, 1890. (Tretiakov gallery.) Demon and Tamara are the protagonists in the poem by Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841). The poem is famous in Russia; there is an opera on its plot; several translations into English, including one by Anatoly Liberman, exist; and Vrubel’ was obsessed by this work.
Suppletive girls and wives.
In discussing suppletive forms (go/went, be/am/is/are, and others), I wrote that, although we have pairs like actor/actress and lion/lioness, we are not surprised that boy and girl are not derived from the same root. I should have used a more cautious formulation. First, I was asked about man and woman. Yes, it is true that woman goes back to wif-man, but, in Old English, man meant “person,” while “male” was the result of later specialization, just as in Middle High German man had the senses “man, warrior, vassal,” and “lover.” Wifman meant “female person.” The situation is more complicated with boys and girls. Romance speakers will immediately remember (as did our correspondent, a native speaker of Portuguese) Italian fanciullo (masculine) ~ fanciulla (feminine) and the like. In Latin, such pairs also existed (puellus and puella). But I don’t think that fanciulla and puella were formed fromfunciullo and puellus: they are rather parallel forms. But I am grateful for being reminded of such pairs; they certainly share the same root.
Lewis Carroll’s name.
I think the information provided by Stephen Goranson is sufficient to conclude that the Dodgson family pronounced their family name as Dodson, and this confirms my limited experience with the people called Dodgson and Hodgson.
PS. At my recent talk show on Minnesota Public Radio, which was devoted to overused words, I received a long list of nouns, adjectives, and verbs that our listeners hate. I will discuss them and answer more questions next Wednesday. But one question has been sitting on my desk for two months, and I cannot find any information on it. Here is the question: “I was wondering if you knew what the Latin and Italian translations would be of the term blessedly cursed? I know this is not a common phrase, but I would think that there would be a translation for it.” Latin is tough, but our correspondents from Italy may know the equivalent. Their help will be greatly appreciated.
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This week marked the 150th anniversary of the first time Lewis Carroll told the story that became his beloved novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. On July 4, 1862, Charles Dodgson (the author who would publish as Carroll) boarded a small boat with three young girls.
Here’s more from Brain Pickings: “Entrusted with entertaining the young ladies, Dodgson fancied a story about a whimsical world full of fantastical characters, and named his protagonist Alice. So taken was Alice Liddell with the story that she asked Dodgson to write it down for her, which he did when he soon sent her a manuscript under the title of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground.”
In 1865, Carroll published his first Alice story. The Through the Looking Glass sequel followed in 1871. The two titles have spawned numerous adaptations and artistic projects. For instance, the video embedded above features To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of five ideas on how to celebrate Carroll’s novels. (via The Huffington Post)
#31 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
A full out absurdist assault at the arbitrary nature of language, Carroll challenges everything about the way we speak and write, from homonyms to idioms. When people talk about children’s movies and books being entertaining for both kids and adults, they usually mean that there are jokes that are way over the heads of the child audience that adults will find funny. The beauty of this novel is that the same exact jokes are equally entertaining to children and adults, often for the same reason, although in some cases adults may understand more clearly why they are funny. It is almost impossible to believe that this novel was written almost 150 years ago, as it remains one of the truly brilliant, and accessible pieces of children’s literature. – Mark Flowers
Because these books freakily enough do look a great deal like the inside of my head. – Amy M. Weir
One comment about your request to try to include more diversity: I considered it pretty seriously, as I am Latina and that kind of thing matters a lot to me. And after looking at my bookshelves, both at home and in my classroom, I concluded that there just isn’t enough out there in middle-grade land yet. In terms of Hispanic or Latino literature, that is. Everything I came up with, including books by Julia Alvarez, Margarita Engle and Pam Munoz Ryan felt good, but perhaps not quite good enough for my top 10. And it may be that for this kind of list, we go with books that we remember from childhood, or books we’ve reread hundreds of times over the years, and there just isn’t as much that’s been available for that long. I realized that almost all the books that I look to as inspiring examples of Latino culture and experience are by adult or YA authors, which I thought was interesting. Just an observation. – Cecilia Cackley
I include Cecilia’s comment (which really was her comment for this book) because it brings up an interesting point. It’s important to look at the representation of race on this book, and to see whether or not all cultures have at least some representation. Not so much? Can we infer something from that, good or bad?
Don’t be thinking that the recent 100+ million dollar grossing Tim Burton film played any part in this appearance on the poll, by the way. Folks were voting for this book long before the Burton ads reached their peak. People just love them some Alice. And how can I object? I love her too. She’s like Dorothy, only she never seems to care whether or not she gets home.
The description of these books’ plots from the publisher reads, “Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of wonderful creatures, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts who, with the help of her enchanted deck of playing cards, tricks Alice into playing a bizarre game of croquet. Alice continues her adventures in Through the Looking-Glass, which is loosely based on a game of chess and includes Carroll’s famous poem Jabberwocky.”
Foul play, cry the masses. Two books as one? ‘Fraid so. Considering that half the time these books are packaged together as one, I felt few qualms putting them together. Most of the votes were for the two of them anyway, so what does it matter really?
The double quicktime recap of how the books came to be comes via Anita Silvey’s Everything I Need to Kn
Snow White by The Brothers Grimm / Illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
A popular contemporary artist of fantastical, dark and twisted whimsy, Camille Rose Garcia may not have been a children's illustrator before 2009, but she sure is now! She recently illustrated two of our best-known and loved classic children's stories for HarperCollins.
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland was released about one year ago (and made the New York Times best seller list). Her Snow White by The Brothers Grimm was released just a few weeks ago. Though these are now, and have always been, children's tales on the "dark" side (no grey area there), Camille's visual interpretation on the stories is like the triple olive-garnish in a martini of creepy.
Creepy, yes! Ok, so creepy most definitely has it's place in classic and contemporary art and literature, for adults and for children alike. Creepy can be, dare I say, comforting.
We can all identify in some ways with at least one character or situation in a good creepy children's story. Take The Wizard of Oz, for example. This is one very creepy story, and yet it's also one of the most beloved family-friendly stories of all time!
From Hansel and Gretel to Coraline, creepy stories (the good ones) explore important issues and situations to their audience within parameters that are safe and have definitive boundaries— a book or a movie. They can help kids identify situations that they or som
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Nicki Richesin: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. I know our readers will be fascinated by your writing life. You have established an impressive career as a biographer of many beloved and celebrated children’s book authors including Frances Hodgson Burnett, L. Frank Baum, Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Carroll. How did you first begin writing your books?
Angelica Shirley Carpenter: I began about 1988 when my mother Jean Shirley retired and moved from St. Louis to live near me in Palm Springs, Florida. Mother had already published several biographies for children and she arrived in Florida with a good idea for a new one, about Frances Hodgson Burnett. Oh, and she wanted us to write this together. In St. Louis Mother had found and read The One I Knew the Best of All, Frances’ autobiography of her childhood, and she thought that it would make a good starting point. I was running a small public library at this time, and I knew that children still read and loved The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, so I agreed that Frances would make a good subject. We established that the only biography of Frances Hodgson Burnett for young people had been written by her daughter-in-law in 1965. It lacked illustrations and, worse, it omitted certain incidents that were embarrassing to Frances’ family, like her divorce and remarriage. So we decided to write a more accurate account of her life and to try to publish it with photographs and illustrations from her books.
Your mother Jean Shirley was your co-author on three of your books. Could you tell us about her influence on your life and how you collaborated together?
Chicken Spaghetti’s Poetry Friday this week highlights a piggy limerick. I enjoyed the quotation of a limerick interwoven with her line-by-line critique, which seems to be heading towards creating a new form of comic verse… I think Edward Lear would approve! We have been reading and reciting Lear’s limericks on and off over the school holidays, following the visit of a friend who started inventing them at the dinner table. My younger son’s love of playing with words until they are transmuted into something not-quite-completely different is fully satisfied by Lear’s Nonsense Alphabets, which he loves reading aloud with me and then chewing over on his own afterwards:
A was once an Apple-pie,
And so on…
We were also bowled over in a Devonshire pottery (on our way home from Cornwall) when we were regaled with a complete rendition of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky – truly inspiring! By chance, we had been listening to a dramatised recording of Alice’s Adventures through the Looking Glass in the car so the boys were able to join in in parts, thus gaining more kudos than they truly deserved!
Now I really must seek out Sukumar Ray’s collection of nonsense poetry, Abol Tabol, as chosen by Swapna Dutta in a Personal View for PaperTigers. Do any of you have a favorite of his that you would recommend – or any other nonsense poetry for children?
Galumph seems to be the word of the week. Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 mentioned how much she liked the galumph, galumph in the Muppet version of Jabberwocky and that was quickly followed by another galumph usage thanks to Patricia Storm over at Booklust.
Galumphing is been what we've been doing through the Montreal snow all week - galumph, galumph - and ever since my seven-year-old has developed a full-blown Jabberwocky fascination we've been talking about which words were Carrolloisms in that poem, and how we could work more of them into everyday use. We're already doing as much chortling in our joy as we can manage.
Here's some more of the invented vocabulary from the poem (with suggested definitions from the wikipedia). Consider this a challenge to make use of these words.
Brillig – Four o'clock in the afternoon: the time when you begin broiling things for dinner. Frabjous - Probably a blend of fair, fabulous, and joyous. Frumious – Combination of "fuming" and "furious." Tulgey - Thick, dense, dark. Uffish – A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish.
Around our house brillig corresponds roughly with the time Mama needs her nerve medicine (also known as vermouth) to keep her from getting uffish to the point of being downright frumious.
*The following post is dedicated to Jules and Eisha. (I've never met a pair of more impossible women.)
"'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said Alice. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the cat. 'We're all mad here.'" ~ from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
Twinkle, twinkle little bat. How I wonder what you're at! Up above the world you fly, Like a tea-tray in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle . . .
Oh, you're still here? There's no room! There's no room!
Besides, you have to be stark raving mad to attend this tea party.
Oh, you are mad? You must like poetry.
Okay then, pick a party hat:
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo.
Let me look at you. Your hair wants cutting. Want wine? We don't have any. Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland: Thus slowly, one by one, Its quaint events were hammered out -- And now the tale is done, And home we steer, a merry crew, Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! A childish story take, And, with a gentle hand, Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined In Memory's mystic band, Like pilgrim's wither'd wreath of flowers Pluck'd in a far-off land.
Okay, time to go home. You're still here? I must get rid of you.
Off with your head!
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo.
So now you're hungry and thirsty? It's very rude to ask for refreshments, you know.
(You're perfect for this party.)
Games, first. Food, later.
Here are some first lines. Identify the poet and/or the poem:
10. .blackbird the of eye the Was thing moving only The mountains snowy twenty Among
9. .rain spring with roots Dull stirring desire and Memory mixing land dead the of out Lilacs breeding month cruellest the is April
8. .fly cannot That bird winged-broken a is Life die dreams if For dreams to fast Hold
7. ,sky the and sea lonely the to again seas the to down go must I
6. .clouds white and pink are trees fruit blossoming the of crowns The
5. ;think I suppers of finest the is That drink to cocoa and crackers Animal
4. ; seen kingdoms and states goodly many And gold of realms the in travell'd I have Much
3. ,dawn silver the into gold of horse great a on riding love my went green in All
2. .night the with acquainted one been have I
1. ;wabe the in gimble and gyre Did toves slithy the and brilling 'Twas
Did you get all of them? I'm NOT giving you the answers.
Have a cup.
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo.
You have a big head.
You may get big. Or small. Or madder.
Hey, we just wanna see Eisha.
Oh, I know -- how about a song?
'Tis the voice of the lobster; I heard him declare, "You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair." As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes. When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark, And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark: But, when the tide rises and sharks are around, His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.
I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye, How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie; The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat, While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat. When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon, Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon: While the panther received knife and fork with a growl, And concluded the banquet by -- (from 'TIs the Voice of the Lobster by Lewis Carroll)
Wow that was a good song. I need a smoke!
Now, then, chat amongst yourselves.
I hear Spain is nice this time of year.
All mimsy were the borogoves . . .
Beware the jubjub bird.
In the room the women come and go, talking of Michaelangelo.
Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Anything else besides tea?
We don't fancy anything else. Here's to tea!
I love you guys! Have another cup!
I wish to meet those women who've been talking about me.
I'm late! I'm late!
In the room the women come and go, writing poetry with Michaelangelo.
10. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens 9. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot 8. Dreams by Langston Hughes 7. Sea Fever by John Masefield 6. Crocheting by Elaine Magliaro 5. Animal Crackers by Christopher Morley 4. On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer by John Keats 3. all in green went my love riding by E.E. Cummings 2. Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost 1. Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll
I love looking at different versions of the same story, each interpreted by a different author and/or illustrator and ultimately deciding which parts of each story I like best. It's fun to compare and contrast, especially when the book is something truly popular, as Alice in Wonderland certainly is.
I recently looked at two very different versions of this much-loved tale, each based on Lewis Carroll's original story, but with different illustrators, allowing the books to come across as two very different stories.
The first, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Union of Artists, now based in Toronto. This particular Alice edition is large, the size of a picture book, but 112 pages long and is illustrated very darkly. The Disney version of Alice definitely took away some of the darkness that the story does indeed posses and Lipchenko brings that back through his dark gray and brown drawings.
There is something very surreal about the illustrations in this one, which fits the story awesomely. If you have an older Alice fan, this would be a great gift book for them. Being that the color-tone is so dark and muted, younger children probably won't enjoy it quite as much, but older kids and adults will definitely appreciate the intricate drawings and beautiful faces the illustrator creates.
The cover is just beautiful, especially once the dust cover is removed. It would look so pretty on a shelf, but it's wonderful once opened too!
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll Illustrated by Oleg Lipchenko 112 pages Juvenile Fiction Tundra Books 9780887769320 November 2009 Review copy received from publisher
Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Rodney Matthews, an English illustrator that has done work on record sleeves, computer games, and lots of books, among other things. It's still Lewis Carroll's famous story, but with a hugely different artistic interpretation. It all starts with the cover/box/sleeve the book actually comes in, which is designed in a very cool and unique manner, giving light to the fun you are going to find inside.
Bright colors all around and a strangely sci-fi take on the illustrations. Alice almosts looks alien-like on some of the pages, though not scary or creepy. Just weird. Different, in a good way. The scene of falling down the rabbit hole almost appears as if she's falling through space.
I really loved the brightness and boldness of the color choices and the double-page spreads done every once in awhile are just magnificent. They'll definitely hold your attention and allow for lots of looking around, discovering new parts of the story through the illustrations. Magical!
Alice in Wonderland
0 Comments on Alice in Wonderland, two illustrator's perspectives as of 1/1/1900
You already know my policy when it comes to books adapted for the silver screen. For those who are new to The Pen Stroke, I’m against it. However, even I, the staunch naysayer, took pause when I first saw the trailer for Alice in Wonderland.
It’s a feast for the eyes. Both Disney and Tim Burton have pulled out all the stops. But is that all it is? Beyond the visual mastery is there substance? I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Ever since I can remember, time travel and "other worlds" have fascinated me. I used to sit in front of my dresser mirror and try to wish my way through it just as Alice in her looking glass. Not sure what I expected to see on the other side, but Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, probably wasn't in my thought process back then.
Sir John Tenniel was the original illustrator in Lewis Carroll's book, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. So, how do you think J. D. stands up to Carroll's image of The Mad Hatter who was supposedly drawn to resemble an eccentric British inventor and furniture dealer, Theophilus Carter? Many would agree that Depp is also a bit eccentric, so in my mind, he's a perfect fit.
But, I much as I love seeing JD in almost any movies, the jury is still out (IMO) as to whether Tim Burton's version is simply too dark. I love the story, so much, I'll have to wait and see whether my trepidations can be overcome. Chances are good, they will!
But, back to the book. My fascination with all things fantastical led to writing "Cynthia's Attic." A recurring dream I'd had for over 20 years about a mysterious attic, began the process. Once I realized that the dream took place in the home of my childhood friend, Cynthia, the writing began. I kept hoping I'd have the dream again and that magical things would happen to add to my stories, but as with most recurring dreams, once you figure them out, they're gone forever.
That didn't stop my vision, though, of creating other worlds and other times for twelve-year-old best friends, Cynthia and Gus (Her real name is Augusta Lee, but don't call her that unless you want a kick in the shins).
So the next time you're sitting at a mirror, wondering what's on the other side, do what I do. Visualize Johnny Depp!
Watch the Trailer!
Meanwhile, check out Cynthia's Attic Series!
…”a good old fashioned family story, with all the sci-fi perks and jigs to light the imagination of today’s young reader.” Real Reader Reviews
"This wonderfully imaginative tale will delight readers. I wish I had a magic attic!" - Laura Schaefer, author of The Teashop Girls.
This Week is Words Matter Week
Check out the Words Matter Week blog, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors for interesting prompts and daily blog challenge questions. There’s something about ‘Alice’
The Boston Globe features a great article on Lewis Carroll’s book and readers obsession with Alice’s story. In other “Alice” news, Tim Burton’s 3-D movie version opens today!
U.S. Plans New Measure for Poverty
This week the federal government announced it would begin producing an experimental measurement of poverty next year, a step toward the first overhaul of the formula since it was developed nearly a half-century ago.
Teaching kids to read from the back of a burro
For hundreds of children in the rural villages of Colombia, Luis Soriano is more than a man riding a stubborn donkey – he is a man with a mission to save rural children from illiteracy.
Being a big fan of Tove Jansson’s Moomin books, I had no idea she had illustrated a version of The Hobbit as well as two books by Lewis Carroll, until I recently discovered this site. There isn’t much information and the scans are a bit small, still it’s amazing to see such rarely seen work (at least to me) by one of the world’s greatest children’s book illustrators.
The Bainbridge Island library has a copy of Alice's Celestial Globe made by Greaves and Thomas. John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Thought the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There are matched with many of the known constellations. The link has photos that are much better than the ones I took last Friday plus explanations of the constellations.
The Orrery Cafe in the Isle of Wight is a planetarium that depicts Alice's celestial globe. When the House of Glee finally visits England, we must also visit the Isle of Wight for the Orrery Cafe alone.
All content (unless otherwise noted) is copyrighted by Farida Dowler and may not be reproduced in any form except for short passages with proper attribution.
You love to give books as gifts, but you want to give a book that will be cherished and kept to be shared with future generations. Right? What you’re looking for is a classic. Something well-written, tried and tested, but perhaps with updated illustrations that will tantalize any young mind. Feast your eyes on the following delights …
Snow White: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Author), Charles Santore (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 6-9
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Sterling (October 5, 2010)
Complete with a beautifully patterned ribbon marker, this is a nice retelling of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale, Snow White, illustrated by award-winning artist Charles Santore. Santore has also illustrated an Aesop’s Fables, The Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid.
"One of the secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others." ~ Lewis Carroll
Late, late, late -- don't be late for this very important date!
Today is Lewis Carroll's 179th birthday!
by Sir John Tenniel (1865)
Don't be surprised if you spot white rabbits carrying pocket watches running hither and yon, an abundance of hookah-smoking caterpillars, or spontaneous games of croquet involving flamingoes.
Just for today, you may don your favorite hat and go completely MAD! (As if you need an excuse.) Best of all, you must drink copious cups of tea!
Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll.
I wish I could remember how old I was when I first read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1872). It's possible I saw a movie version first. Nevertheless, I did have a crush on the Cheshire Cat for a long time, and longed to be able to eat or drink something that would make me bigger or smaller at will.
by Peter Newell (1890)
I've been thinking about my favorite children's classics where food plays a substantial role -- all the wonderful Yorkshire cooking in The Secret Garden, the bountiful picnic hampers in The Wind in the Willows, Almanzo Wilder's Sunday dinner in Farmer Boy (rye 'n' injun bread, chicken-pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie), all that candy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the attic feast in A Little Princess, those glorious banquets at Hogwarts and the special candies only available to wizards (jelly slugs, fizzing whizzbees, fudge flies) -- all lip-smackingly fabulous, but none of these foods came with the charming and ponderous entreaties: "Eat Me," "Drink Me."
On her way down the rabbit hole, Alice grabs a jar of Orange Marmalade from one of the shelves, disappointed to discover it's empty. But once she's in the hall of doors, she finds the "Drink Me" bottle. Assuring herself that it's not poison, she discovers it has a mixed flavor of "cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast." How I would love to taste that!
Alice In Wonderland (Two-Disc 60th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011
Run Time: 75 minutes
Source: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
There are many reasons why Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite Disney movies for children, not only does it nurture the imagination, the absurdity and the senselessness speak directly to a child’s humor. And, unlike many other movies for children, no deep emotions or feelings are over explored (besides curiosity)—a few chuckles from an adult in the right places can get a sensitive child through the brief-but-dramatic ending when the Queen of Hearts is yelling, “Off with her head.” If you’re not offended by the hookah-smoking, cranky caterpillar (r u?), Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is a great interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s famous pieces of literature Alice’sAdventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, it captures the essence of dreams and the brilliance of a child’s imagination.
One of the bonus features, “Reflections On Alice“, offers insight to Alice’s journey from Lewis Carroll’s clever mind to animated movie character. The movie and this featurette combined, offers an additional learning segment for those that are exploring Carroll’s books; opening up opportunities for character discussions, comprehension, and exploring the differences between paper and screen. Perhaps watching the movie first could lure a reluctant reader into the world of classic literature?
Alice in Wonderland is like a little bottle of nostalgia begging to be enjoyed with each new generation.
On a summer’s day in 1858, in a garden behind Christ Church, Oxford, Charles Dodgson, AKA Lewis Carroll, photographed six-year-old Alice Liddell, the daughter of the college dean, with a Thomas Ottewill Registered Double Folding Camera, recently purchased in London. In The Alice Behind Wonderland, Simon Winchester uses the resulting image as the vehicle for a brief excursion behind the lens, a focal point on the origins of a classic work of literature. In the short excerpt from the book, below, Winchester writes about the pictures of children he took in the years before he photographed Alice Liddell.
Portraiture was what most interested Dodgson, and one assumes he began making images of people from the moment his skills had developed enough to allow him to assert his independence from [his friend and fellow photographer, Reginald] Southey. His first attempts have not survived—but principally, most scholars think, because he was not satisfied with their quality, and, being a fastidious man, a perfectionist, he wanted his art to be worthy of posterity. There are just two presumed self-portraits from this time—one showing him standing by a table and looking down, which is held today in a library in Surrey, the second in the same pose but looking up, which is in the Morgan Library in New York. Both are catalogued in Dodgson’s curiously blocky hand—and in his signature violet ink. They bear the numbers 15 and 16, suggesting there were many others that were either lost or discarded.
Once the long vacation of 1856 started, Dodgson was able to travel beyond Oxford, and he made the conscious decision to take along his camera, the folding darkroom and its chemicals, and all the other paraphernalia. There is some forensic suggestion—mainly from a paper trail of halfway reasonable portraits, some of his family and others of strangers—that he went first home, to Croft. But the most important photographs from this period were taken when he arrived in the second week of June to stay at the house of his paternal uncle Hassard Hume Dodgson, in Putney.
Like Dodgson’s maternal uncle Skeffington Lutwidge, Hassard Dodgson was a barrister, and the holder of another title of Victorian folderol—the Master of the Common Pleas. He was well connected and comfortably off, and lived in a mighty Victorian redbrick pile beside the Thames, Park Lodge. So Dodgson spent his two early summer weeks that year in an atmosphere of congenial relaxation, traveling occasionally into London to exhibits at the Royal Academy and the Society of Watercolourists, as well as visiting Sir Jonathan Pollock—to whom he would in time be distantly related by marriage. Pollock, who, in addition to being a council member of the newly constituted Photographical Society of London and a mathematician (a student of Fermat’s theorem), was at the time one of England’s leading judges, famous for his role in the interminable case of Wright v. Tatham, which many believe was the eight-year-long inspiration for Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Dickens’s great novel Bleak House . Dodgson went to see this formidable personage for advice: he returned entirely convinced that portraiture was to be his métier.
During those two June weeks he worked his way with great deliberation and assiduity through the entire range of subjects who lived in or turned up at Uncle Hassard’s home. There was Hassard himself, then his wife, Caroline Hume, and an assortment of nephews and nieces and friends. Most of them were girls, whose names—Lucy, Laura, Charlotte, Amy, Katherine, and Millicent—far outnumbered those for boys.
One picture from that London interlude stands out: the one he took on the afternoon of June 19, 1856, of the four-year-old daughter of a senior civil servant who also served as the
This past weekend saw Oxford’s annual Alice’s Day take place, featuring lots of Alice in Wonderland themed events and exhibitions. With that in mind, today we bring you two videos of Simon Winchester talking about Charles Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) and both his love of photography and his relationship with Alice Liddell and her family. You can read an excerpt from his book, The Alice Behind Wonderland, here.
Simon Winchester is the author of the bestselling books The Surgeon of Crowthorne, The Meaning of Everything, The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, Atlantic, and The Man Who Loved China. In recognition of his accomplished body of work, he was awarded the OBE in 2006. He lives in Massachusettes and in the Western Isles of Scotland.
Well it's late on a Friday night, but I'm doing it. Adding my two cents into the Poetry Friday ring. It's Aiden's 2nd birthday party tomorrow and I'm in a whimsical mood as I bake his cake and cook up a storm tonight. Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll seemed just the ticket.
by Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back.
"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe!