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I want to live to be 100 years old. Yes, that is a bold statement, and I'll admit this goal may be a bit unrealistic and potentially impossible, but my curiosity pushes me to beat the laws of nature. As a 22-year-old avid reader working for a publishing company, I can’t help but wonder: what will be the future of the printed book? Since the creation of the world wide web by Tim Burners-Lee in 1989 and it's continual expansion since then, this question has haunted the publishing industry, raising profound questions about the state of the industry and the printed book.
The world’s biggest book fair is opening its doors soon and, as a native “Frankfurter” working in the publishing industry, it's the time of year that my colleagues start asking me about my hometown. Sadly, the most common thing I hear is that there is little that they know beyond Frankfurt airport and the exhibition centre.
There is one week each year when it is completely acceptable to fawn over libraries and librarians and all that they do for communities, institutions, and the world in general. Of course, you may find yourself doing that every week of the year, anyway, but we have great news for library fans -- it’s National Library Week in the US.
“‘Oh, did people write that in those days, too?’ Beezus was surprised, because she had thought this was something very new to write in an autograph album…” (Beezus and Ramona)
Sometimes a book becomes quickly dated, and sometimes it easily crosses decades or generations. Beezus finds this is also true for autograph albums, and she makes an important parallel discovery that brings her much hope for the future: her mother and beloved aunt grew up to be close, though they fought as children as intensely as she and Ramona do. (Aunt Beatrice ruined Mother’s autograph album by signing every page!) It is okay not to love one’s little sister all the time. These days, autograph albums may be out of fashion, but the theme of sibling rivalry never goes out of style.
Beverly Cleary published Beezus and Ramona sixty-one years ago. At the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts, where I manage youth services and oversee youth collection development, I checked in on Ramona in the twenty-first century.
The city of Cambridge has a diverse population that truly supports and uses its public libraries. The Children’s Room in particular is a fantastic community gathering space where kids from all backgrounds come alone or with friends or family to read and make discoveries. For the past decade, our Children’s Room book circulation has grown significantly every year, and almost fifty percent of the total number of items goes out every month. We strive to have something for each reader, with multiple copies of the books that “everyone” is reading. We want all children to find books with characters and situations they can relate to and recognize as well as books with characters and situations unlike those they know. As much as possible, we want readers to be able to find both the book they came in for (even if it is very popular) along with the one they did not know they wanted.
How does Ramona fare in such an environment?
Each of our six branches owns copies of Beverly Cleary’s books, and the Main Library owns extra copies of each — ten copies of the most popular titles — and audio editions and some versions in other languages. Beverly Cleary’s books all circulate multiple times a year, with Ramona’s titles going out more than the others. The Ramona audiobooks, engagingly performed by Stockard Channing, circulate even better than the printed books. Twenty-first-century characters who are often compared to Ramona — such as Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine, Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho, and Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody and Stink — are in high demand at our library, but over the past year the print versions of Ramona held ten to twenty percent higher circulation figures than those other series.
Cleary shelves at the Cambridge Public Library. Photo: Lolly Robinson.
Numbers can only tell so much, so I asked the parent/child book group I facilitate what they think. This group consists of about twenty people, ten kids between the ages of seven and ten and usually their ten grownups (although we can and do have kids who join solo). The group includes boys and girls from different schools and a wide range of backgrounds, and everyone — child and adult — reads and participates. Their varied takes on the books we read consistently blow my mind, and they are quite practiced at telling me how they really feel about what they are reading.
I let everyone know about the article I was writing and casually asked, “Have any of you ever read the Ramona books?”
All hands shot up and enthusiastic chatter erupted around the table.
When I asked if they remembered how they first discovered the Ramona books, I got an interesting assortment of answers. One girl’s mom read them to her. Another found out about them from a school friend.
One boy said, “My librarian at school gave me that book about Ralph. The mouse? And then I found the Ramona books next to it on the shelf. And I really liked those.”
While I was taking in this response, absorbing what insight it might offer about assumptions, shelf order, and readers’ advisory, another girl brought me back to the present in a pitying tone:
“There was the movie, you know…” [2010’s Ramona and Beezus]
“Well,” I told them, “Beverly Cleary, who wrote the Ramona books, is celebrating a big birthday this year. She’s going to be one hundred years old…”
“Is she still alive?!”
“Is she coming here!?!”
“Let’s have her come here!!!”
“She is very much alive! But she wrote the Ramona books a long time ago. I read them when I was your age. The first one was written in 1955…[dramatic pause] Do they seem old-fashioned to you?”
Silence and thinking and looking around at each other.
“Some things a little bit. But not the way she fights with her sister!” declared a boy, which inspired a lot of vocal solidarity from around the table.
“Ramona is funny,” smiled another girl.
The mom who had read the books aloud to her daughter interjected an important point: “Some of the details in the first ones are a bit dated now. But they were written over such a long period of time…The last ones weren’t written all that long ago.”
Though Ramona only ages about six years in those eight books, the series itself spans forty-four years, from 1955 to 1999.
“Are we going to read Ramona next?” another boy wanted to know.
Inspired by their enthusiasm, I re-read the series myself. I have often revisited my old friend Ramona, whom I first met when I was in second grade, thanks to my own school librarian. The Quimby family taught me, an only child like Beverly Cleary, the nuances of a sibling dynamic better than a graduate-level psychology class could. Even now, I continue to make new connections and discoveries when reading these books.
Through all these years, nothing much has changed about being little and not having much control. The issues Cleary addresses in her books are ones our children still deal with, and they can be scary and isolating. What if my family is keeping a secret from me? What if my family doesn’t have enough money? What if my dad loses his job? What if I don’t like my sibling? What if there is a new baby coming? What if my parents get divorced? What if my teacher doesn’t understand me? What if I do something cruel? What if someone does something cruel to me?
Beth McIntyre, former Cambridge Public librarian (now Madison County Poblic librarian, Wisconsin), shows off her Ramona Quimby Q tattoo. Photo: Beth McIntyre.
The plot points and details are honest and not sanitized for anyone’s benefit. Be it 1975 or 2016, sometimes a kid really does need to blow off steam by singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” in its entirety as loudly as possible for all the neighbors to hear.
When Cleary’s characters experience fear, love, jealousy, boredom, anger, or worry, we all recognize those emotions. She brings them sharply into focus. They are emotions we have felt and will keep feeling, but maybe up until that moment, we thought we were the only ones. What a relief to share the burden. What a relief to find that even if things don’t turn out as planned, there is hope and probably a really good laugh to be had as well.
Why, thought Beezus, Aunt Beatrice used to be every bit as awful as Ramona. And yet look how nice she is now. Beezus could scarcely believe it. And now Mother and Aunt Beatrice, who had quarreled when they were girls, loved each other and thought the things they had done were funny! They actually laughed about it. Well, maybe when she was grown-up she would think it was funny that Ramona had put eggshells in one birthday cake and baked her rubber doll with another. Maybe she wouldn’t think Ramona was so exasperating, after all. Maybe that was just the way things were with sisters. (Beezus and Ramona)
Maybe, Beezus. Maybe.
Happy birthday, Beverly Cleary! We love you in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You have brought us so much laughter and confidence — as we have grown both as readers and as humans. You have made our many troubles easier to bear. You have connected us, generation to generation, family to family, by showing us what we have in common as people.
We hope you have the best birthday cake — free of eggshells and baked-in rubber dolls.
It was just back on the 13th that I mentioned how deluded I am regarding, in particular, a book that I was next up for at the library and that I was sure I’d have at least a week’s wait before I had to worry about it. Nope. Two days later, I got an email from the library telling me that Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho was ready to pick up. I ignored it for a few days, until the middle of the following week, when a couple books had to be returned. Then, looking at my library holds list I thought, phew! I really will get a break for a little while now!
Yes, that is exactly how deluded I am!
Because you know, right, that three days later I got an email from the library to tell me that Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates was waiting. And then the next day I got another email from the library to let me know The Explorer’s Guild, Volume One had been added to the shelf. I ignored them until today when a book had to be returned.
This all happened last week when I was beginning to feel as though my reading was getting under control. I’ve been really zipping through Fates and Furies and have reached close to the two-thirds mark. Really liking it! I am plugging away diligently at Sorcerer to the Crown on my lunch breaks at work. Haven’t made it far yet but I’ve only had it for three lunch breaks and it reads fairly quickly. I’ve felt so good I have been eyeing my reading table, certain I will be able to begin digging into those books very soon.
After I got the email about the Ta-Nehisi Coates book, however, and looked at my library holds requests, I had a moment of fretting. I am moving way too fast up the list for the new China Mieville book, The Census-Taker. I did something I have never done before. I suspended my hold request until March 1st. That has left three books that might come rushing at me faster than I expect: The Cabaret Of Plants (currently I am 6 on the list), Strong Female Protagonist, Book One (I am also 6th on this one), and The Story of My Teeth (I’m at 10). In my formerly deluded state I would relax and figure I have plenty of time. But the veil has been rent and I know better, at least until I can stitch the tear back together.
That leaves only two other books on my holds list and both are currently on order, The Vegetarian by Han Kang for which I am first in line, and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Anders for which I am number 11. There is no telling how long it will be before the book is available. They are like jokers or wild cards. The likelihood that in two days I will get an email from the library telling me The Vegetarian is ready to pick up is high given how these things seem to go. The messed up crazy thing is, that when I think about it, if I don’t get an email in a couple days regarding The Vegetarian I will be disappointed rather than glad!
Except the other part of me is yelling really loud right now and it is so distracting! She is saying things that, well, let’s just say I didn’t know she knew some of those words! She says I can’t add any books to my hold requests until I have finished one book from the reading table.
Fine, be that way. Sometimes I can be such a party pooper.
On Monday, the American Library Association announced their choices,
the most distinguished books of 2016.
They've picked the stellar standouts,
a handful of beautiful treasures.
Finding Winnie gets the Caldecott medal this year. Oh happy day for illustrator Sophie Blackall and author Lindsay Mattick!
Caldecott Honors go to: Waiting, by Kevin Henkes, Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier & written by Troy Andrews, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes & written by Carole Boston Weatherford and one more Caldecott Honor-
glorious surprise! Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson & written by Matt de la Peña rode home not only a Caldecott Honor, but a Coretta Scott King Honor, and the Newbery Medal, the award given each year for the most distinguished contribution in American literature for children. What an exciting day!
Some of our other book favorites were honored on Monday with special awards as well. Drum, Dream Girl, illustrated by Rafael Lopez & written by Margarita Engle won the Pura Belpre' award for illustration. Mango, Abuela, and Me, illustrated by Angela Dominguez & written by Meg Medina earned Pura Belpre' Honors in both writing and illustration. Emmanuel's Dream, illustrated by Sean Qualls
& written by Pacific Northwest author Laurie Ann Thompson
was honored with the Schneider Family Book Award.
And tomorrow, our Library Mock Caldecott committee finds out their winners.
Last week, the committee had to stand up and defend their favorite book finalists, provide good, deep dirt on why their books mattered.
Nearly every kid present had a different favorite book. Each speaker, even my crowd-shy wildebeests, braved the limelight to give strong, passionate, thoughtful evidence as to why their book was a winner. And that's when it struck me - each book wins. Each book published has a chance to speak, to set a spark in a child. And that is a win.
That's the beauty and the power of these little, flat packages of words and pictures that we call books.
So if tomorrow at the Library Mock Caldecott Awards Party, there just happens to be one Mock Caldecott winner and a surprising eight Honor books, it is because
each of those books has won over some very passionate readers.
And if you just happen to be around tomorrow -
Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 3:45 p.m.
at the Jefferson County Library,
come in for the party!
All are invited!
Come see the books!
Have some party snacks and toothpicks!
If you read five books, you get to weigh in on the People's Choice vote. And next Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at the library, we'll write letters to authors and illustrators. We'll send awards to our winners.
Here's to books that dream, and to books that spark readers and dreamers!
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With Nimona and the Small heart of Things I managed to clear two books off my reading table. However, I picked up three books at the library yesterday. Two steps forward and three steps back.
The good news is that I shouldn’t be getting any more books at the library at least for a couple weeks. Though I just checked and I have moved from second position to first in line for Sorcerer to the Crown. Perhaps I am too hopeful that everyone who has it checked out now will be slow and I’ll have at least two weeks before my library sends me an email to come pick it up. Or I’m probably deluded.
Nonetheless, my poor little table remains standing despite Bookman’s dire predictions regarding its load-bearing capacities. And, I have a three-day holiday weekend approaching for which the weather is forecast to be even colder than last weekend—we probably won’t even get above 0F/-18C! Get the coffee brewing and the quilts piled up, it’s going to be the perfect holiday weekend for reading! Hopefully I can convince Bookman to bake me up something delicious to nibble on too. I can hardly wait!
Squirrel Girl is a superhero comic and our hero is part human, part squirrel. She has a squirrel sidekick named Tippy-Toe. I started reading it last night and it’s as crazy and frenetic as two squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of my maple tree. It’s cute though and there was a brief moment, and thank goodness it was brief because it worried me a little, in which I might have actually thought squirrels were cute and kind of cool. But then I remembered how they are not good garden sharers—I’ve had a hazelnut tree for ten years and have never gotten a nut off it because the squirrels eat them all first. Every. Single. One. I’m cool with sharing but the squirrels, not so much.
Anyway, Squirrel Girl, so far, wacky fun. Haven’t started the other books yet. Those will be for the frigid weekend ahead.
Because the pile of gardening books I already have from the library for my impending vacation isn’t enough, I had to add more. Really though it isn’t my fault and I am sure you will agree.
Today I realized that I’d be having chicks in a little over three months. I personally won’t be laying eggs and hatching chicks, that would be weird even for me. No, I’ll be picking up the three-day old babies from the urban farm store. To that end, I must begin to think about and prepare their indoor home. Plus, I need to read up again about how to care for them. Last February I went through a pile of care and feeding of backyard chickens books and found one I really liked that I will probably buy to have on hand for quick reference. Can I remember what the title is? Of course not!
I felt certain that my February self knew I would not remember the title and that I put it on my library wishlist. So I had to browse my library list. I didn’t find it but I did find a number of gardening books that I had put on my list and forgotten all about so I requested them. Tis the season to learn about new plant varieties and things to try in the garden so I can include everything in one seed order in January or make digging/planting/building plans. I think I requested something like five gardening books.
But then I had to find the chicken book. And since I couldn’t remember and so many of the book covers looked familiar I had to request several, possibly four or five, I’m not sure; it is all rather a blur at this point.
I do, however, want to give myself a big pat on the back for restraint. I see you going all big-eyed whaaa? at me. Yes, restraint. I have over three hundred items on my library wishlist and I looked at them all in search of the chicken book. Don’t you think that I wanted to request some of them? That I only requested the gardening books shows just how fantastic my willpower is. Don’t you agree?
Posting will probably be spotty through Solstice. I am making a selection of dishes from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. I am going to start the cooking on Sunday for a few things I can make ahead like the dessert and the naan bread and the chutney so I don’t have to spend the entire day Monday in the kitchen chopping things up. Because of course I chose recipes that require lots of different vegetables and they all have to be chopped up. Since I don’t cook except for Solstice, my chopping skills are lacking and in order to make sure none of my fingers are lacking by the end of the meal preparation, I am very slow and careful. But even before that is the grocery list making and then the actual grocery shopping and it always ends up taking more time and energy than I plan for so this year I am trying to remember that.
So, if things are quiet in my little corner, that’s what I’m up to. Or I am at the library picking up all those books I requested.
I was AWOL from blogging last night because Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie arrived for me at the library and, well, had to dive in! You understand. I’ve been waiting my turn for this since the beginning of October when it was published. But I have been anticipating reading this third and final book in the series since I read the second book back in February.
When the first two books in a trilogy are really good there is always the fear that the third book conclusion might go awry. But I am feeling confident that it will all end spectacularly. Within half a page I was into the book and didn’t want to put it down. Hooray! If only I could have called off from work today and stayed home to read. But what do you say? Sorry, can’t come work today because I am reading a really good book? I so rarely get sick that if I tried to lie and say I was ill, no one would be believe it especially when I turned up the next day looking hale and hearty (though perhaps a little tired from staying up late to finish the book). Besides, I am bad at telling lies anyway and the guilt ruins it all.
Before I go off to read more of this amazing book, I have to tell you about the little pile of other books that came along with this one.
Last week on a gardening blog with holiday gift suggestions, one of the items was a book called Gardening for Geeks. As a geek and a gardener I had to borrow it from the library! But that’s not all.
Now, I’ve had a library card in the Hennepin County library system for as long as I have lived here. I have been requesting library books online for as long as there has been the ability to do so. Why, why, have I never noticed the “related books” stream of book covers? Probably because it is lower down on the page, below the fold so to speak, and I never had occasion to scroll down. For some reason when I was requesting Gardening for Geeks I scrolled down and found this glorious thing!
And then I went crazy.
Oh, that looks like a good book. I’ll request that. That looks good too! Oh yes and that one. I wonder what that one is about? Request. Request. Request.
I now have a tidy pile of gardening books on sustainability, maximizing your food harvest, and DIY green projects that will very likely make me want to install my own solar panels and create wind turbines that also serve as trellises for pole beans. I already really want to build a solar food dehydrator, I don’t need further encouragement.
Since I will have two weeks off very soon I tell myself that I am just stocking up for vacation. And I am. But I also have to remind myself that we need to finish building the chicken coop with its green roof before undertaking any additional projects. Looks like I will be studying up and making a future project list! Bookman has been warned.
On a brisk fall morning, more than twenty authors and illustrators gathered at the White Plains Public Library for the second annual Westchester Children’s (and Teens!) Book Festival. Community members including children, parents, and educators were invited to meet the authors and illustrators, shop Barnes & Nobles pop-up shop, have their books autographed, and take in a reading of picture, middle grade, and young adult books. Literacy advocacy organization First Book gifted an age-appropriate book to each child in attendance.
The Westchester Children’s (and Teens!) Book Festival was a reunion of sorts. Rocco Staino and the crew ran into Stephen Savage, Julie Chibbaro, and J.M. Superville Sovak; past Read Out Loud and StoryMakers guests. Rocco interviewed authors and illustrators who cover a wide range of topics including fantasy (Tracey West), civil rights (Eric Velasquez), bullying and the power of creativity (Matt Davies), immigration and tradition (Tanya Simon & Mark Siegel), special education (Delores Connors), healing through yoga (Susa Verde), and being multiracial (Torrey Maldonado).
Meeting authors and illustrators is a good reason to attend a book festival, but it is not the only one. Visiting a book festival gives parents (great family activity) and educators the ability to connect with other community members and organizations interested in childhood literacy. While several festival guests were aware of KidLit TV we were able to interact with a new group of readers, viewers, and literacy advocates.
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR INTERVIEWS AND TITLES DISCUSSED
We’ve provided time stamps (in parentheses) and abridged summaries, from the author or publisher’s site, of books discussed during this episode of Story Makers On Location.
Anya Wallach (00:25) Stage Struck: Showstopper!(Co-Authored by Lisa Fielder) – Book 2 begins just days after the debut of the troupe’s first production. Relishing her success, Anya turns her attention to the troupe’s second show. But trouble rears its head almost immediately when their beloved barn venue is jeopardized. Stage Struck: Curtains Up!(Co-Authored by Lisa Fielder) – After 12-year-old Anya is cut from her middle school soccer team, she decides to pursue her true passion, which is theater. With the help of her sister and new friend Austin, Anya puts together a kids summer theater troupe (The Random Farms Kids Theater), recruiting area kids as actors and crew members. Susan Verde (01:03) I Am Yoga (Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) – New York Times bestselling illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and author and certified yoga instructor Susan Verde team up again in this book about creativity and the power of self-expression. I Am Yoga encourages children to explore the world of yoga and make room in their hearts for the world beyond it. A kid-friendly guide to 16 yoga poses is included. You and Me(Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) – You and Me is a loving tribute to how fate brought two best friends together. An adorable cat muses about the what-ifs in life: What if he had slept late that one special morning? What if he’d missed his train on that fateful day? Then he might never have met his favorite person in the world, and his entire life would be different! The Museum (Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds) – As a little girl tours and twirls through the halls of the art museum, she finds herself on an exciting adventure. Each piece of art evokes something new inside of her: silliness, curiosity, joy, and ultimately inspiration. When confronted with an empty white canvas, she is energized to create and express herself—which is the greatest feeling of all.
Eric Velasquez, Illustrator (01:51) New Shoes (Written by Susan Lynn Meyer) – When her brother’s hand-me-down shoes don’t fit, it is time for Ella Mae to get new ones. She is ecstatic, but when she and her mother arrive at Mr. Johnson’s shoe store, her happiness quickly turns to dejection. Ella Mae is unable to try on the shoes because of her skin color. Determined to fight back, Ella Mae and her friend Charlotte work tirelessly to collect and restore old shoes, wiping, washing, and polishing them to perfection. The girls then have their very own shoe sale, giving the other African American members of their community a place to buy shoes where they can be treated fairly and “try on all the shoes they want.”
Gary Golio(03:00) Bird & Diz (Illustrated by Ed Young) – A playful tribute to the creators of Bebop, starring sax player Charlie “Bird” Parker and trumpeter John “Dizzy” Gillespie! As they juggle notes and chase each other with sounds, the two friends create a new kind of music, thrilling fast jazz full of endless surprises.
Tanya Simon (Co-Author) & Mark Siegel (Illustrator) (03:35) Oskar and the Eight Blessings (Co-Authored by Richard Simon) – A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city’s many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world.
Matt Davies, Author/Illustrator (06:14) Nerdy Birdy(Written by Aaron Reynolds) – Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd. One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle. When he’s at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.
Ben Draws Trouble – Ben loved drawing more than anything else in the world (with the possible exception of riding his bicycle). He drew boats as well as bicycles, sharks and spaceships. But most of all he loved drawing people. When Ben loses his sketchbook his world is turned upside down. Who will find it? And how will they react? Find out in this worthy successor to Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies’s first picture book, Ben Rides On.
Ben Rides On – Ben loves his new bike. In fact, he loves it so much he even likes riding to school (especially if he can take the long way around)! That is, until an encounter with the local bully, Adrian Underbite, leaves Ben bike-less. When Ben discovers where his bike actually is, the reader is in for a dramatic, and literal, cliffhanger. Will Ben ever be able to get his bike back?
Neil Swaab (07:24) The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying) – It’s the first week of middle school, i.e., the Worst Place in the Entire World. How do you survive in a place where there are tough kids twice your size, sadistic teachers, and restrictions that make jail look like a five-star resort? Easy: with the help of Max Corrigan, middle school “expert” and life coach. Let Max teach you how to win over not just one, but all of the groups in school, from the Preps to the Band Geeks. Along the way, Max offers surefire advice and revealing tips on how to get through universal middle school experiences like gym class, detention, faking sick, dealing with jocks and bullies, and acing exams (without getting caught cheating).
Tracey West (07:57) Dragon Masters: Power of the Fire Dragon – It’s time for the Dragon Masters to battle the dark wizard! This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! The Dragon Masters are going to visit Queen Rose’s kingdom. But Rori and Drake must stay behind. Then a four-headed dragon attacks the castle — and Maldred is riding it! How is Maldred controlling this giant dragon? Will Rori and Drake have to battle the dark wizard on their own?
Bianca Turetsky (08:18) The Time-Traveling Fashionista and Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile – When Louise Lambert tries on a lavender Grecian gown during a visit to the mysterious Traveling Fashionista Vintage Sale, she feels a familiar tug and falls back in time, arriving at the dusty base of an enormous pyramid. She has landed in ancient Egypt…or has she? It turns out that Louise is on the legendary Old Hollywood film set of Cleopatra, but her time there is short-lived. Rummaging through the wardrobe tent, Louise gets her hands on a pearl necklace that dates back to 51 BC, and she suddenly finds herself whisked away once more, this time to the ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt. Gold and jewels shimmer in the Egyptian sunlight, but poisonous snakes and dangerous enemies also roam the palace halls. Louise quickly learns that life as a handmaiden to Queen Cleopatra is much more treacherous–and fashionable–than she ever could have imagined.
Delores Connors (09:05) I Don’t Want To Go – What is it like for a child to go from a mainstream classroom into a special education class? For Mark it’s a challenge, and he doesn’t want to go. Mark is struggling with the idea of moving from his “big classroom” into this “little classroom.” I Don’t Want To Go, through its poignant narrative, brings home the point that emotions can have a strong impact on student learning.
Torrey Maldonado (09:41) Secret Saturdays – Sean is Justin’s best friend, at least Justin thought he was. But lately Sean has been acting differently: telling lies, getting into trouble at school, and hanging out with a tougher crowd. When Justin finally discovers that Sean’s been secretly going to visit his father in prison and is dealing with the shame of that, Justin wants to do something to help before his friend spirals further out of control. But what if confronting Sean means Justin loses his very best friend?
OTHER INTERVIEWS/CLOSING REMARKS White Plains Mayor Tom Roach & White Plains Superintendent of Schools Paul Fried (02:32)
Tamia M., child festival attendee (05:32) Max Rodriguez & Brian Kenney (10:24)
ABOUT THE WESTCHESTER CHILDREN’S (AND TEENS!) BOOK FESTIVAL The Westchester Children’s Book Festival is a partnership of the Harlem Book Fair, the White Plains Public Library, The City of White Plains, the City of White Plains Youth Bureau, and the White Plains Library Foundation. Festival sponsors include TD Bank, New York-Presbyterian Westchester Division, MVP Health Care Hudson Health Plan, Westchester Knicks, and First Book.
When the Cambridge Public Library announced that Brown Girl Dreamingwould be this year’s Cambridge Reads book I was beyond thrilled. Now Jacqueline Woodson and I would be best friends! I’d say, Jacqueline, you are my hero, thank you for your perspective, your advocacy and for creating windows and mirrors for my students! Then she would say, Liz, I love your outfit and I would be like, I love your shoes! And together we would join forces to bring children representative literature and diversity to publishing practices and live happily ever after librarian and author best friends. The end.
While this particular fantasy did not come to fruition, she did in other ways fulfill my dreams for myself and my students who I brought with me. I don’t know if you have seen Jacqueline Woodson in person or heard her speak, but do yourself a favor and try to do just that. She is not only a dynamic author and speaker but also quite relatable, adding another layer to her already great capacity as a social commentator and leader in the field.
The audience was immediately endeared by her “Just Like Us” struggle to find the right outfit for that night (OMG you guys — I never know what to wear!). And just as you might think, she brought a deeper meaning to that seeming mundanity — recounting to the audience the advice passed down through the women in her family, now including Jacqueline’s thirteen-year-old daughter, about always looking smart. It’s a reminder that when you enter a room, your arms enter, your legs, your butt, your body…so wrap them up presentably. Jacqueline told us that’s why she usually wraps herself up in black.
The evening continued like this, bringing meaning and enlightenment to the audience. Adults were clearly moved. But it was the children in the audience — they added the poignancy and importance to the night. I felt immense pride as I looked over to see my students leaning forward not to miss a word, how they dutifully looked through the copies of their books to find the passages she was reading from, how when they asked questions, there were forethought, curiosity, and eagerness in their words.
The question-and-answer line went on for miles — all children! and all great questions (people were really interested in Jacqueline’s little brother, Roman). Close to the end, one girl in the audience asked earnestly, “Why are you so poet?”I am not sure, little girl, but thank god she is.
Oral tales, songs, and poems reflected the lives of the people. They were stories and songs of wonder and dreams.
They 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 theTale of Tales or the Pentamerone.
Now, for the first time, several of these tales have been adopted into alandmark 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
"Drawing on the rich and until-now unexplored vein of Neapolitan fairy tales written by Giambattista Basilein 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 Hayekas 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."
"Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales is fabulous in every sense: a freaky portmanteau film based on 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..."
"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 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.
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.
"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.
But 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..."
The top illustration is by Edward Burne-Jones. The lower illustration is by Walter Crane.
The Oral Tradition
..."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 BrothersGrimm, in the The Public Domain Review
The illustration of Beauty and the Beast is by Walter Crane.
Inside Those Secret Forests, Caves, and Seas...
"These were the 'last echoes of pagan myths...A world of magicis 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."
Illustration from Pekka Halonen's painting, Pioneers In Karelia
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 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 teachingaides 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
Who were theSnow 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.
The 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 Christmastreasure a rating of five stars." -- Charyl Miller Pingleton, The Uncommon Review
We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogsseries for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 formatat
The illustration, above, from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.
The Skies Have Clouded Over
"Disquiet about fairytaleshas 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 theGuardian
The picture is from the TV show Game Of Thrones
A Global Event HungerGames:Mockingjay2is opening on November 18-20 worldwide after a premiere in Paris on November 9th. The first three Hunger Games films have grossed nearly two billiondollars. 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.
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.
"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; "
“Pan” 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." Brent Lang, Variety
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...
How to Change the World in 30 Seconds A Web Warrior's Guide to Animal Advocacy Online by C A Wulff
Although 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 usefulvolume 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
An Outstanding Program: Therapy Reading Dogs for At-Risk Students!
"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:
Must 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."
Texas Textbooks: McGraw-Hill changes slaves to immigration workers in High School textbook
HOUSTON — "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'..."
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.
And so, I have posted below about a book, Beasts of No Nation, by Uzodinma Iweala, and a movie made from the book, that tells the story of A Boy Soldier's Heart Of Darkness. This is the title of Simon Baker's book review of Beasts of No Nationby UzodinmaIweala. 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 from theory to action — from training to murder — and 'Beasts of No Nation' wants us tolook 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.
KJ Dell'Antonia, in a very informative NY Times Motherlodearticle, wrote about a very special new Sesame Street initiative -- Julia, an autistic little girl. Here are excerpts:
"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 Streetlink to their many programs devoted to autistic and/or special needs children.
How 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.
"The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs."
I came upon two articles today about libraries both written by people who are not librarians but both still manage to have an opinion on what libraries should do and be and the work librarians should perform. It is one thing to be involved in your community public library, working with them to provide the sorts of services the community wants. It is another thing to feel as though you can make blanket statements about what libraries should and should not do when you yourself are not a librarian, do not work in a library, and have no real idea about the sorts of things librarians have been talking about for years. The assumptions non-librarians make about the knowledge, skill and future planning — or lack thereof — of librarians is astonishing. Would anyone dare tell a surgeon or a mechanic how to do their jobs? But yet there seems to be a set of careers, mostly dominated by women (teaching is probably number one) that people, many of whom are of the male persuasion, who have no or little specialization in the field, feel like they have every right to say what libraries should be doing.
Librarians today are forced to take on a variety of functions that their society is too miserly or contemptuous to fulfill, and the use of their scant resources to meet those essential social obligations diminishes their funds for buying new books and other materials. But a library is not a homeless shelter (at the St. Agnes library in New York, I witnessed a librarian explaining to a customer why she could not sleep on the floor), a nursery or a fun fair (the Seneca East Public Library in Attica, Ohio, offers pajama parties), or a prime provider of social support and medical care (which American librarians today nonetheless routinely give).
And that being forced to function in these ways detracts from the core work of libraries: “to see that the collections remain coherent, to sift through catalogues, to help readers read, to read themselves.” For Manguel, libraries are and should remain all about the books.
The other article, a book review written by James Gleick on a book called BiblioTech by John Palfrey. Both express a fear that libraries are forgetting their core values in the face to the digital onslaught. Both recognize the skill of librarians in searching for and curating information. But yet they insist, “A transition to the digital can’t mean shrugging off the worldly embodiments of knowledge, delicate manuscripts and fading photographs and old-fashioned books of paper and glue.” And they are right and librarians care just as much about the physical “embodiments of knowledge” as they do the digital. However, trade-offs must be made. When the library has a database they pay $10,000 a year for to provide access to dozens of journals and they also have to pay sometimes hundreds of dollars a year for a single print journal and no one is using the print journal but people are using the digital one, the print subscription will be canceled. Libraries are nonprofit institutions that rely on the government to fund them and the government these days is rather stingy.
Manguel, Gleick and by extension, Palfrey, do have some valid points, however none of their points are new to librarians who have been discussing them and struggling with them for years. Yet they all make it sound as though their thoughts and opinions are new, that libraries, unanimously agreed to be extremely important, are somehow failing, that if librarians pay attention to their opinions everything will get better. As a librarian I resent that.
I do appreciate feedback and ideas and suggestions. I do think it is important to talk about libraries and the role of libraries in society in widely distributed media like the New York Times. I am glad when someone acknowledges the struggles libraries have with funding and filling needs that we should not have to fill. But I get really tired of people talking so much about what libraries are doing wrong and what they should be doing instead and how we need to operate in order to fulfill out cultural duties.
For once I’d like to see an article in a big daily about what libraries are doing right. Because libraries are doing lots of things right. My neighborhood public library branch is always busy and not just with people using the computers. When I go in to pick up my hold requests there are always people there browsing books and checking out books, reading books. The hold shelves are always stuffed full. It is a vital part of my neighborhood. Why doesn’t someone write about that?
Or, more formally, “A Comprehensive List of U.S. College- and University-Sponsored or -Hosted Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conferences, Festivals, and Symposia.” (All of them that I could find, anyway). A few years ago, I was looking for such a list, wondered why I couldn’t find one, and decided to just go ahead and make […]
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.
Fairy Tale is a Country of the Mind
"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..."
The illustration from Song of the Sea is by Tomm Moore.
Real and Unreal...
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, RomanticNationalism 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 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 Finnishart 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..."
The 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 Northexhibition, 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.
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.
"In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs 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 StaceySchiffin inthe New Yorker
Secret Worlds Are Real
“Everybody 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
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.
I 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 Companionincludes 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.
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
"The Study: As part of this pilot program, America’s VetDogs has partnered with Western KentuckyUniversity 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
“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
What would happen if someone kidnapped a couple of Santa'sreindeer 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 Heroeshas the potential of becoming a favorite holiday story for both children and adults.
The illustration from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Story, is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogsseries for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at email@example.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
“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 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." --
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.
Can 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?
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 LitWorldwebsite, is the Problem in the USA.
In 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
Canine Therapy is Real
Rose, an Australian Cattle Dog, has been an active therapy dog for 13 years at TidewellPallitive 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.I 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."
Rose 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?"
KidLitospherehas 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.
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...
"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 wonder, Joe 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.
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.
Christopher Lassen <firstname.lastname@example.org> of New York Public Library sent us a notice of a fascinating Children's Literary Salon(the Salons are ongoing and free)
On 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 livedand 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.
Sunbear 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 »
“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.”
"Wonder has no opposite; it springs up already doubled on itself, compounded of dread and desire at once, attraction and recall, producing a thrill, the shudder of pleasure and of fear...It's a useful term, it frees this kind of story from the miniaturized whimsy of fairyland to free the wilder air of the marvelous"... Maria Warner in the Introduction to her book Wonder Tales: Six Stories of Enchantment.
The essential strangeness of fairy tales
by Alec Nevala-Lee
"Over the last few months, I’ve been telling my daughter a lot of fairy tales. My approach has been largely shaped, for better or worse, by Bruno Bettelheim’sbook The Uses of Enchantment: I happened to read it last year as part of an unrelated writing project, but it also contained insights that I felt compelled to put to use almost at once in my own life. Bettelheim is a controversial figurefor good reason, and he’s not a writer whose ideas we need to accept at face value, but he makes several points that feel intuitively correct. When it comes to fairy tales, it seems best to tell the oldest versions of each storywe have, as refined through countless retellings, rather than a more modern interpretation that hasn’t been as thoroughly tested; and, when possible, it’s preferable to tell them without a book or pictures, which gets closer to the way in which they were originally transmitted. And the results have been really striking. Stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Jack and the Beanstalk” have seized my daughter’s imagination, to the point where we’ll discuss them as if they happened to her personally, and she isn’t fazed by some of their darker aspects.(In “Hansel and Gretel,” when I tell her that the parents wanted to take their children into the woods and leave them there, she’ll cheerfully add: “And kill dem dere!”)...
The above is an excerpt from Alec Nevala-Lee's blog -- Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life. Nevala-Lee is also an author. His books include Icon Thief, City of Exiles and Eternal Empire.
Crossing the Avalanche of Time...Excerpts from Richard Marshall's in-depth article and review of Jack Zipes' current books
"...The Grimms have been appropriated by U.S. America because defying the inhuman is as urgent there as anywhere else and its unhinged power leaves behind the innocent and the beaten. What Zipes has done in these two books is remind us that there’s a need for the naked struggle of Kafka, where speech goes to extremes without strategy, without masks, without calculation. The tales of this first edition are as much a part of an old weird Americana as bluesman Howling Wolf singing ‘Going Down Slow’...
The Grimms have become as ancient a part of this old weird America as the other folk songs and tales that ship around, and though Zipes is right to decry their banalisation and Disneyfication they still remain underneath or behind, ready to be reeled in by alert souls..."
Here is another excerpt from this very heady article:
"From 'The Frog King' to 'The Golden Key,' wondrous worlds unfold—heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique—they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.
The original edition of Grimms’ tales read like once-familiar weirds, crossing the avalanche of time like hallucinatory figures, abrupt as thorns, troubling as a black hawthorn that won’t stop bleeding. They move in and out between long disconnected synapses, stirring up logics and memories that fill us up with dread and unease. Readers are Macbeth listening to the stories of the three weird women. Everything is laid out for us but we are dazzled by their dark intensity. What is needed to read them? Courage and an imminent doomsday."
Here is a link to all of Marshall's article, Curious Legacies of the BrothersGrimm:3:AM Magazine.
The illustration of Snow White is by Hermann Vogel. The photo is by Gregg McCarty.
Wonder has no opposite...
Cinderella has strayed from Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, but she has never left us.
In the Western World today, romantic fantasy appears to be the foundation for the popularity of this abandoned child story and sustains its huge popularity in the hearts of little girls, young girls, and many mommies.
The current worldwide box office results (as of May 31) of over $531,750,700attest to way the story continues to resonate around the world.
Cinderella Has Been Everywhere -- Forever. And Heidi Anne Heiner has written a book to prove it: Cinderella Tales From Around the World. Here is an excerpt from her introduction on the often overlooked dimensions of this timeless story:
" The quandary is that one version of Cinderella dominates all the others, so we assume we know her, this fairy tale celebrity, and many of us have grown bored with her to the point of relegating her to cliche and nothing else. But when we consider the hundreds of Cinderella variants from around the world, Cinderella becomes once again mysterious and lovely, active and vibrant, for she defies definition and understanding... "
Book Overview by Barnes and Noble: "Yeh-hsien. Cenerentola. Cendrillon. Ashenputtle. Chernuska. Cinderella.These are just a few of the names of one of the best known and most beloved fairy tale characters in the world. The tale is known in countless variations throughout Europe and Asia as well as Africa and the Americas. The tales share the familiar story of a persecuted heroine who finally triumphs over oppressed circumstances through her virtue and the assistance of a magical helper. "
Here is a sample from Heidi Anne Heiner's collection...
"WELL, my grandmother she told me that in them auld days a ewe might be your mother. It is a very lucky thing to have a black ewe. A man married again, and his daughter, Ashey Pelt, was unhappy. She cried alone, and the black ewe came to her from under the greystone in the field and said, “Don’t cry, go and find a rod behind the stone and strike it three times, and whatever you want will come.”
So she did as she was bid. She wanted to go to a party. Dress and horses and all came to her, but she was bound to be back before twelve o’clock or all the enchantment would go, all she had would vanish. The sisters they did na’ like her; she was so pretty, and the stepmother she kept her in wretchedness just.
She was most lovely. At the party the Prince fell in love with her, and she forgot to get back in time. In her speed a-running she dropped her silk slipper, and he sent and he went over all the country to find the lady it wad fit..." The story, Ashey Pelt, continues with a fine Irish ending.
"Have Courage and Be Kind"
Jack Zipes has written often of the hype that distorts the meaning of folk and fairy tales. I found a disturbing example in Kenneth Branagh's comments about the film quoted in Kate Connolly'sCinderella article in the Guardian . The comments were made at a press conference following the successful launch of the film at the Berlin Film Festival. Here is an excerpt:
"Branagh said though more used to directing Shakespeare, he had been struck by many of the similarities between those plays and the Brothers Grimm fairytale. “We have the line Cinderella is told by her mother: ‘Have courage and be kind’; some people thought it seemed trite, but I was reminding them of King Lear when Edgar says ‘Have patience and endure’ at the point he’s being put in the stocks and mocked. Patience to me equates to compassion, and endurance is a form of courage – it reminded me that these basic, human and fundamental situations get seized on by great storytellers and there are obvious resonances between all these stories.”
I find it difficult to see the "obvious resonance" that exists in Mr Branagh's sugar-coated Cinderella and the tortured story of King Lear. I do see hype. Disney is not Shakespeare. ..............................
Never mind Branagh – my mother wrote a Cinderella story you can believe in...
Here is an excerpt from a saucy article by EdVulliamy in the Guardianabout a retold version of the Cinderella story with a very different setting, and a totally different ending.
The actor-cum-fairy-storyteller – and his critics, to cheer them – would have done well to heed an acclaimed retelling of Cinderella in a book of more than a decade ago, which won the Kate Greenaway medal, the highest honour in illustrated children’s books, for 2003.
It was entitled Ella’s Big Chance: A Fairy Tale Retold, by the author and illustrator ShirleyHughes, serial award-winning doyenne of children’s books, described by Philip Pullman as “a national treasure” (I should declare an interest here: Shirley Hughesis my mother). She retells the famous and primal story of the persecuted seamstress: the ball, prince (a duke in this version) and shoe – set in the roaring 1920s on what seems to be the Mediterranean coast – with two big differences..."
Read more about this award winning book where Cinderella chooses not to marry the prince -- in the Guardian.
Reading programs with therapy dogs that support kids and open the doors to the world of reading, have been spreading throughout the US and the Western world.
READing Paws is opening the doors to reading for kids in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Tennessee. READing Paws is a recipient of a Planet Dog Foundation grant.
"The mission of READing Paws is to improve the literacy skills of children...READing Paws utilizes nationally registered animal-owner/handler Therapy Teams who volunteer to go to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children. The utilization of registered therapy teams is the foundation of READing Paws, in order to ensure that the animals have been trained and tested for health and safety, appropriate skills and temperament, and have been insured for liability."
READing Paws is proud to be an Affiliate of R.E.A.D.® (Reading Education Assistance Dogs®), a program of Intermountain Therapy Animals ® (ITA) of Salt Lake City, Utah" R.E.A.D. has affiliates throughout the USA and in fourteen foreign countries, from Spain to Finland, and Canada to Australia.
The Last Echoes of Pagan Myths
"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 whobequeath 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."
Wilheim Grimmas quoted by Seth Lerer in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter.
Entering a World of Long Ago...
Castle in the Mist
When the dogs first came down to planet Earth, great forests were found in many lands.
The Castle In The Mist was located on lake Ladok in the land of the Forest People. It is here that the Black Hawk Warriors, under Prince Ukko's command, brought the kidnapped children. And it is this act that brought the threat of war.
Forests play a major role in all of the books in the Planet of the Dogs Series. The forests frustrate invaders. What does conquest mean when people can disappear by going to places in the forest unknown to the invaders -- or beyond the forest and into the mountains.
Stories and fairy tales about the forests and the deep woods have always stimulated children's imagination. In the Castle In The Mist, the dogs love the forests and use them to frustrate the Black Hawk Warriors. The dogs follow a non-violent path until their courage, loyalty and cleverness cause Prince Ukko to free the children and bring peace to the land of the Forest People.
Castle In The Mist Is the second book in the Planet Of The Dogs Series
"...the McCarty's again succeeded in bringing archetypal themes such as good vs evil, man vs nature, love, faith and faithfulness into the story without being overly teachy or preachy. We were riveted by the story and its main characters (both human and canine); we shared in their challenges and celebrated their victories. Melinda Gates, Reading Mother
We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at email@example.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...Librarians, 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 by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale
KidLitoSphereis a very special website that connects kid lit bloggers to the world of readers. Librarian MotherReader (Pam Coughlin), who describes herself in this way -- "The heart of a mother. The soul of a reader. The mouth of a smartass" -- is president. Among her achievements as a passionate advocate of children's books is the founding of Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors. Here's a sample...
"AsBloggers Against Celebrity Authors founder and let’s say president, I see it as the kid lit equivalent of the four horsemen of the apocalypsewhen the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year is Rush Limbaugh. I'm sure that there are and will be many thoughtful articles about what happened to make the winner of a prestigious children's literature award for Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans. But all I can say is,"Dear God, what have we done?"
The power of the bestseller was a slippery slope for children's literature awards. Certainly the power of the celebrity author - with their top budget promotions and guaranteed WalMart shelf space - was enough for a snarky online cause like Bloggers Against CelebrityAuthors. But now, we've added to this mixture the nebulous and sometimes nefarious power of the Internet, which allows anyone to vote for this now-less-prestigious award. There is no way - NO WAY! - that children voted for Rush Limbaugh over Rick Riordan or Veronica Roth...
Read more from MotherReader-cast your vote at BACA
Aaron Fowler wrote a profile of C.A. Wulff forAkron Life....Here are excerpts...
..."For the last 26 years, Wulff has volunteered in animal rescue. In 2007, she released her first book, “Born Without a Tail,” which chronicles the true-life adventures of two animal rescuers living with an ever-changing house full of pets.
This past year she unveiled the sequel, “Circling the Waggins: How 5 Misfit Dogs Saved Me from Bewilderness,” which follows Wulff and her companion, Dalene, as they maneuver through one unexpected pet incident after another while living in a cabin in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Although both books are memoirs, she explains that they are very different. “Born Without a Tail” tells the stories of 20 animals who have shared her life. While it’s chronological, each chapter stands alone and is devoted to a single animal.
‘Circling the Waggins’ is more of a story with a beginning and an ending. It tells the story of some 27 animals over the course of two years, who lived in our home and took root in our hearts,” she says...'
Like her first book, “Circling the Waggins” is an incredibly personal story. Its depiction of the ups and downs of sharing your life with animals has reached out to those who have experienced the same heartache and joy... "
Nancy Segovia,Amazon reviewer and author of Dragon Tears, wrote this:
" I am not really sure what it is about these books by Wulff, but I simply love them. The story telling and commentaries are engaging, honest and sincere. And, her love of animals shouts out from every page."
In lieu of actually reviewing the newly translated (by Maria Tatar) Turnip Princess, Slatepublished one on the stories,Tricking the Witch. It has magic, transformations, twists and turns and a princess heroine -- not a prince -- who saves the day.
Here is an excerpt...
..."It looked as if the two were about to be caught, when the princess said: “I’m going to change into a rosebush, and I’ll turn you into a rose. My sister is chasing us, and she won’t be able to do a thing because she can’t stand the smell of roses.” Just when the girl was closing in on them, a fragrant rosebush sprang up right in her path with a magnificent rose in bloom. The girl had been tricked, and she had to turn back. The witch scolded her to no end. “You stupid girl,” she grumbled angrily. “If you had just plucked the rose, the bush would have followed.” And then she sent the eldest of the three to find the two fugitives.
In the meantime the couple returned to their human shapes, and they continued on their way. Reinhilda turned around at one point, and she saw that they were still being pursued. She decided to take advantage of her magic powers again, and she said to the prince: “I’m going to turn myself into a church, and you are going to climb up into the pulpit and hold a stern sermon about witches and their sinister magic...”
Nancy Houser has written an informed article, based on research and experience, about the effects of age on dogs and parallels with the aging experience of humans. Here are excerpts:
"The more we are around the old dogs on our rescue farm, the more we see similar characteristics between human dementia and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. To tell the truth, there is not a whole lot of difference. The health care field is one I have been involved with throughout most of my life – dementia and Alzheimer’s were my specialties. The very first job I had was at a care-home in Lexington, Nebraska, when I was 16-years old.''"
We rarely post book reviews. However, our respect for Kaitlin Jenkins -- She Speaks Bark -and Pet Parent-- is such that we were drawn to her review of My Apolloand wanted to share excepts here:
"Nina Huang wrote ‘My Apollo‘ after being inspired by her own experiences in rescuing companion dogs. ‘My Apollo‘ is a gorgeous book, full of beautiful hand-illustrated drawings that are absolutely lovely. The watercolor images are done by the author herself, and the book is hardbound on durable, heavyweight paper. ‘My Apollo’ features the story of a young boy who is struggling at school. His family adopts a rescue greyhound, Apollo, and the book follows along as the two of them begin a healing journey together. The great thing is, Apollo the dog actually exists- Nina and her family adopted him and have helped him overcome his shy nature and fear of new things."
The photo of Scooter, the dog, and the book, my Apollo, is by Kaitlin Jenkins.
"Grownups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."
"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exuprey, The Little Prince
The weather is bad. You're tired. You want to get home -- at that moment, you see an injured dog, a dog in distress. What can you do? What should you do? For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket Posters, Informative and practical guidance...
My love of libraries started when I was a kid when I used to go with my mother on Sundays and we would stay until it closed. I still remember the pale pink library card that I got when I was eight years old.
Since I’ve moved into my new place, I’ve been reunited with the public library that I loved when I first moved to Atlanta. Since I my commute is so much shorter now, I’ve been able to spend more time reading books. So. Many. Books.
For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you already know how I post my library finds.
So to celebrate my love, here’s a collection of my library finds since I’ve moved back into the city.
Long ago, when folk tales were told by people in homes, in fields, in the marketplace and taverns, there were many stories of the forests.
Two out of three of the original 1812 Grimm Folk Tales are set in or involve the forest.
The forests held beauty and danger, the known and the unknown, light and darkness.
The forests were places of lost and abandoned children; homes of witches, elves, and dwarfs. They were the place where wondrous events occurred.
The forests were a threshold of wonder.
The illustration is of Harry Potter seeing the Silver Stag.
The Forest - steeped in ancient myth and legend and infused with spiritual meaning...
Justine Gaunt, in Woodlands.co.uk, writes of the underlying significance and symbolism of the forest found in the minds of ancient peoples and in their folk and fairy tales.
"Anyone embarking upon the journey of exploring forest symbolism finds themselves, perhaps like Little Red Riding Hood waving goodbye to her mother at the garden gate, on a vast voyage punctuated with the joys and dangers of the psyche, steeped in ancient myth and legend and infused with spiritual meaning.
It is no accident that so many fairytale characters find themselves having to traverse danger-laden tracts of woodland. In a most practical sense, as the ancients dreamed up those stories and even when the oral traditions were finally written down in the middle ages and later, the lands of northern and western Europe were thick with woodland. The dangers were palpable: from rogues and bandits lying in wait for unsuspecting travellers to opportunistic wolves hungry for the kill...
As for Little Red Riding Hood, straying from the path and into the woods is similarly dangerous and filled with treachery. Symbolically, those who lose their way in the uncharted forestare losing their way in life, losing touch with their conscious selves and voyaging into the realms of the subconscious..."
The illustrations of fairies and for the story of Tom Thumb are by Gustav Dore.
Fairy Tales Speak to the Secret Self
Tim Lott, who writes a Family Column for the Guardian wrote about the resonance andconnection that the dark side of fairy tales have -- especially for kids - after taking his family to an interactive total immersion theater event based on Phillip Pullman's Grimm Tales...
"But why do these particular plots have such resonance for the audience? Bruno Bettelheim in his study, The Uses of Enchantment, suggested that folk and fairytales that endure from generation to generation, speak to something deep in the reader’s unconscious – for instance, that these older tales legitimized the murderous and violent instincts that all children experience, freeing them from the guilt that such feelings generate...
Whether or not you believe in Bettelheim’s Freudian take on storytelling, it is unquestionable that the best stories have a profound resonance of the Grimm tales transparently address our darkest fears, but in a sense, all mythic storytelling is about addressing uncertainties and anxieties...
Archetypal stories, then, for adults and children – even the “simplest”, not usually thought of as “art” – are more than merely entertainment. The more they involve us imaginatively, the more they speak to the secret self. Without access to those ancient portalsthat lie within us all, and certainly lie within Grimm Tales, we may applaud the style, and the elegance and the sophistication of the storyteller. And in children’s stories... "
Here is a link that will connect you to the full article, Fairy Tales Are Not Just For Fun: Guardian
Both illustrations are for the Grimm's story, the Robber Bridegroom. The top one is by John Cruikshank; the lower on is by John Gruelle.
The Planet Dog Foundation (PDF), Planet Dog's non-profit grant-making organization, is awarding $60,000 in new grants to twelve canine service organizations throughout the country.
"A PDF grant of $5,000 toAmerica's VetDogswill support the training and placement of dogs for veterans being trained through their Massachusetts Prison Puppy Program. Collectively, inmates from local facilities along with local volunteer weekend puppy raisers will train 40 future service dogs per program cycle to assist our nation's veterans with disabilities. The program not only raises the quality of life for wounded veterans and keeps them active in their communities, but also has a positive impact on the inmate population involved in the training."
America's VetDogs serves veterans from all eras, and first responders who have honorably served our country and community, by providing Guide Dogs, Service Dogs for Disabilities,, Service Dogs for PTSD, Hearing Dogs, and more...Click this link and Learn more about America's VetDogs here.
Save The Children
The devastating effect of war on children is seen in a brief video, Second A Day, produced by Save The Children. Here is an excerpt from a report by Dion Dassannayakein the Express:
"The moving clip starts with a childcelebrating her birthday and follows her moment by moment as war and conflict develops in the UK. The hard hitting clip shows London being turned into a war zone where rockets are fired at buildings in broad daylight and children wear gas masks. The powerful video ends with a moving shot of the young girl celebrating her birthday once again."
In just one minute and thirty three seconds, we are reminded of what is happening to multitudes of children today. Here is a link to YouTube- Second A Day
The Wonder of a New Fairy Tale
Pixar's Inside Out...Inside the Mind of an 11 Year Old Girl...
After a rather disappointing hiatus of wonder, the folks at Pixar-- who produced Up, Toy Storyand Finding Nemo--have produced another winner, both critically and with audiences.
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 98% of 217reviewers were enthusiastic and positive in their reviews of Inside Out. Opening weekend crowds for “Inside Out” were 56% female and 38% under the age of 12. Families comprised 71% of the audience. The film opened June 19 and has already grossed over $300 million in ticket sales.
Here's the reaction of Craig Mathiesonin the Sydney Morning Herald:
"The most pleasurably complete Pixarfilm since 2004's The Incredibles,Inside Outdelivers a witty and empathetic answer to the eternal lament of, "What is going on inside your head?"
And, here's an excerpt from an insightful review by Andrew O'hehir in Salon.com
"... there’s an enormous conceptual gulf between Disney films of the “classic” mode, from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Dumbo” right through “Pocahontas” and “The Little Mermaid,” and the consistently elegiac and nostalgic childhood’s-end fables of the Pixar era. If you’ve ever wondered why Pixar’s animators have never gotten around to adapting “The Velveteen Rabbit,” Margery Williams’ 1922 classic about the boundary between childhood imagination and adult reality, it’s because they don’t have to. Almost every Pixar film is “The Velveteen Rabbit,” transmuted into some new fictional universe but built upon the same question, perhaps the most profound and tragic ever framed in the English language: 'Of what use was it to be loved and lose one’s beauty and become Real if it all ended like this?' ..."
"Like Wulff's "How to Change the World in 30 Seconds", this book is another practical handbook for helping pets. Easy to follow steps, important data, and insider info. Displaced pets make up most of the animals that find themselves in pounds, and with 3-4 million animals euthanized inU.S. shelters every year, it's no place for your beloved pet!Many times the pet's people have no idea where, or how, to start looking for them. This guide spells it out with lots of helpful tips and advice. And all the sales go to charity - how great is that?... An Amazon 5 star review by Kristina Kane
Here's a link to read excerpts, reviews, and to purchase Finding Fido.
I was quite taken by an excellent and evocative Dog Poem on C.A. Wulff's website, Up On The Woof
Sight Unseen...the Threshold of Invisibility
Here are excerpts from "The Hows and Whys of Invisibility" by Kathryn Schulz in the New Yorker.
...."These questions are not so much answered as provoked by “Invisible: The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen”(Chicago), by the British science writer Philip Ball...
His book takes seriously a subject that, perhaps aptly, has heretofore been mostly disregarded. Invisibility looms large in the kingdom of childhood—in pretend play and imaginary friends, in fairy tales and comic books and other fictions for kids—but it seldom receives sustained adult scrutiny. And yet, once you get past the cloaks and the spells, invisibility is a consummately grownup matter. As a condition, a metaphor, a fantasy, and a technology, it helps us think about the composition of nature, the structure of society, and the deep weirdness of our human situation—about what it is like to be partly visible entities in a largely inscrutable universe. As such, the story of invisibility is not really about how to vanish at all. Curiously enough,it is a story about how we see ourselves..."
The illustrations are from the Miyazaki film Spirited Away.
Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland
The Morgan Library Museumin New York is presenting an extraordinary exhibit, both at the Museum and Online...
"This exhibition will bring to light the curious history of Wonderland, presenting an engaging account of the genesis, publication, and enduring appeal of Lewis Carroll'sclassic tale, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
For the first time in three decades, the original manuscript will travel from the British Library in London to New York, where it will be joined by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs, and fascinating objects—many never before exhibited..."
The array of artwork by Lewis Carrol and John Tenniel is dazzling. The scope of the online exhibit is quite comprehensive and includes information and links to early Alice films.
“You know very well you’re not real.”
“I am real!” said Alice, and began to cry.
“You won’t make yourself a bit realler by crying,” Tweedledee remarked: “there’s nothing to cry about.”
“If I wasn’t real,” Alice said—half laughing through her tears, it all seemed so ridiculous—“I shouldn’t be able to cry.”
“I hope you don’t suppose those are real tears?” Tweedledum interrupted in a tone of great contempt.
Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There-Lewis Carrol
Illustration by John Tenniel
Castle In The Mist is the second book in the Planet Of The Dogs Series -
"...Castle in the Mist is full of the same elements I enjoyedinPlanet of the DogsandSnow Valley Heroes:beautiful, detailed, soft, mood setting drawings; the fun and antics of the dogs, and the people who are discovering them for the first time; encroaching danger and suspense; the lovely fantasy of a planet of dogs who are so concerned with the people of earth; and the forgiveness, unconditional love and loyalty that the dogs are able to subtly impart."- Taken from a 5 star Amazon review by Lisa Harvey, Book Thoughts by Lisa...
We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book seriesfor therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the books.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more...Librarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, throughIngram with a full professional discount.
The illustration by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty is from Castle In The Mist
Rescuing Wonderful Shivery Tales
Marina Warner, in the New York Review of Books, writes an extremely informative overview encompassing the books and lives of the brothers Grimm, the work of Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (The Turnip Princess, translated by Maria Tatar), as well as related work by Philip Pullman and the translation of Selected Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Peter Wortman.The article also contains information and insights regarding the contributions through the years by Jack Zipes, including his translation of the Original Grimm Tales and his latest book, Grimm Legacies, The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales.
Here is brief excerpt regarding a turning point:
The brothers had been strongly encouraged to make their scholarship a bit more family-friendly by including Ludwig’s illustrations after they learned of the huge success in England of the first English translation by Edgar Taylor(1823 and 1826), with its quirky, joyous drawings by George Cruikshank. In Grimm Legacies, Zipes relates how the tone of the English illustrations changed the tales’ reception, inspiring Dickens to write sentimentally about their innocence, and Ruskinto claim that Cruikshank’s “original etchings…[are] unrivalled in masterfulness of touch since Rembrandt.”
The illustration of the Elves and the Shoemaker is by George Cruikshank.
"The simpler question to answer is why these tales are called "fairy tales." It is from the influence of the women writers in the French Salons who dubbed their tales "contes de fees." The term was translated into English as "fairy tales." The name became so widely used due to the popularity of the French tales, that it began to be used to describe similar tales such as those by the Grimms and Hans Christian Andersen." Heidi Anne Heiner --SurLaLune
The illustration of Beauty and the Beast is by Walter Crane.
Sunbear Squad is Anna Nirva's practical site for a wide range of information focused on the well being of dogs ( as well as cats). Here are a few excerpts from a very comprehensive article on Traveling by Car or Truck with Pets.
...On the Road...
Once you are on the road with your pet, you will need to adhere to some basic guidelines to keep your animals and your family happy and safe. Here are some recommendations for the trip itself:
Keep the Animal Inside...Anyone who owns a dog knows how much these animals like to put their heads out the window while they are riding in a car. This is dangerous for the animal, as debris can injure it. It is best to keep the animal’s head and every other part inside the car or truck, and never let your pet ride in the bed of a pickup truck, which exposes it to many dangers.
Stop Frequently...Particularly if you are traveling with a dog, you will need to stop regularly to give your animal bathroom, exercise, and water breaks. Fortunately, most rest areas have ample space for you to give your pet a chance to stretch its legs. Keep your pet leashed when you stop and have a bag ready to clean up after it.
Food and Water...You will want to limit excessive feeding while you are traveling to avoid giving your pet an upset stomach. Keep feeding to a minimum and stick to the pet food. Avoid the temptation to let the animal snack on what you are eating, as that can cause some unpleasant digestive issues.
On the other hand, you want to make sure that your pet gets as much water as possible. Give it water every time you stop. You may also want to bring along some ice cubes, which are a treat for most pets and easier for them to handle than water if they get upset stomachs while you are traveling...
There is much more to this article...here is the link: TRAVEL
"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem." - Edward Abbey
The team at Wakefield Libraries arranged an official opening day, where all the children from the two local schools who had worked on the project were invited back to see their drawings writ large.
They were all very excited. Lots of pointing and shouting 'Look, look, that's mine!' to friends. It was a bit of a Where's Wally experience, as they jostled around the space, trying to find their particular tiger, snake or screaming librarian, but I think everyone found their pieces in the end.
After the speeches from the Head of Libraries and the Friends of Castleford Library, who helped with the funding, I posed with the children for lots of photos for the press. Then we had the rest of the day for drawing.
I ran a workshop with each of the class groups in turn. When we had worked together originally, there was so much to do and so little time, there was not much opportunity for me to do more than gentle guidance, so this time I was able to spend a bit longer, showing them in detail how to use emotion and body-language in their drawings, to bring their characters alive (although, I think you'll agree, they did a pretty good job without my help!).
Everyone worked really hard, produced loads more illustrations and seemed very proud of the characters we piled up at the end of the sessions, for them to take back to school.
I ran around in the lunch hour getting these snaps. It was a very hard space to photograph, so I apologise for the dodgy quality of some of the pics, but I hope they give you a flavour of how it looks. Didn't the children do well? There are some very funny little details and nice jokes that they added, for instance, the flamingo above is holding a book called 'How to Get More Pink'.
If you want to take a look for yourself, Castleford is in Wakefield, North Yorkshire.
Tales of wonder usually have happy endings. They may have danger and darkness, forbidden places and strange creatures, witches and cruel magic...but wonder tales -- fairy tales -- do have happy endings...with very few exceptions. The journey may be fearsome, but salvation and awakenings occur in the end...and these stories endure forever.
Beauty, Horror, and Ignition Power...
Enchanted Hunters, The Power of Stories in Childhood by Maria Tatar, takes the reader on a wonderful journey through children's literature.
In the chapter entitled, Beauty , Horror and Ignition Power, she writes about the effect of wonder tales on the imagination of children, including the balance between the dark side and positive endings. Here are excerpts..."We rarely worry about the effects of beauty, but horror is another matter...with an allure all its own, horrorhas the power to frighten as well as to fascinate...how much do we want children to find in their stories and how soon?..."
Tatar then illustrates the idea of too much horror with "Hans Christian Anderson's'The Girl Who Trod On The Loaf', a tale that revels in torturing Inger, the 'girl' in the title." Tatar then writes, by contrast. of three classic tales where all ends well.
"By contrast,'Little Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel and Gretel', and 'Snow White' begin with the child as victim, but they end with the triumph of the underdog and the punishment of the villain. 'Children know something they can't tell; they like Red Riding Hood and the wolf in bed' Djuna Barnes once declared. Fairy tales and fantasy enact perils and display horrors, but they always show a way out, allowing children to explore great existential mysteries that are far more disturbing when they remain abstract and uncharted rather than take the concrete form of the story."
The illustration of Little Red Riding Hood is by Hermann Vogel.
The Defining Dynamic of the Fairytale
Amanda Craig,is an acclaimed British novelist, journalist, and children's book reviewer. The following excerpt is from her insightful review of Marina Warner's "OnceUpon A Time, A Short History of the Fairy Tale", in the Guardian
"One of the most interesting aspects of reworking fairytales is that it tends to be practised by idealists and reformers, whether devout Christians, such as CS Lewis, or socialists, such as JK Rowling. The defining dynamic of the fairy tale is optimism (as opposed to the tragic tendencies of the myth), but this has encouraged bowdlerisations from the dark and gruesome aspects of many originals – Dickens hated the way the illustrator George Cruikshank softened stories, the brothers Grimm tinkered to “excuse the men and blame the women”, and the ambiguity of the fairytale led to them being twisted into Nazi propaganda, with Little Red Riding Hood being saved from a Semitic wolf.
Happily, they have also been transmuted by modern feminism: Neil Gaiman’s striking novella, The Sleeper and the Spindle... conflates and subverts Snow White and Sleeping Beauty into a tale of female courage and choice..." Read it all in the Guardian
The illustration from Tom Thumb is by Warwick Goble.
Where the Light is Golden...
“October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or of shutting a book, did not end a tale. Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: "It is simply a matter," he explained to April, "of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists
The Humane Society of Missouri helps more than 85,000 homeless, abused and unwanted animals each year. Here is their mission statement:
"Since 1870, the Humane Society of Missouri has been dedicated to second chances. We provide a safe and caring haven to all animals in need - large and small - that have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Our mission is to end the cycle of abuse and petoverpopulation through our rescue and investigation efforts, spay/neuter programs and educational classes. We are committed to creating lasting relationships between people and animals through our adoption programs. We further support that bond by making available world-class veterinary care, and outstanding pet obedience and behavior programs..."
"Wulff`s heartwarming storiesabout a household of misfit dogs, reminds me that family can include the four-legged variety, as well as the two-legged. Her simple affirmation that "My dogs are not perfect.... but they are perfect for me," guides the telling of these gentle stories. For dog lovers everywhere."
If you have not yet read "Born Without a Tail: the Making of an Animal Advocate" or "Circling the Waggins: How 5 Misfit Dogs Saved Me from Bewilderness", this mini ebook is the perfect introduction to the world of C.A.Wulff."Parade of Misfits" is only available in digital format.
C.A. Wulffis an author, artist, and animal advocate. She has volunteered in animal rescue for more than 26 years and attributes her love of animals to having been raised by Wulffs.
Dr. Seuss’ ‘What Pet Should I Get?’
By MARIA RUSSO,in the NY Times. MS Russo writes an appreciation of the incredible Theodore Seuss Geisel, his wonderful books, and the new-found book, What PetShould I Get? Here's an excerpt...
"First, though, the book itself: It features a round-faced brother and sister — his close- cropped hair is bristly on top, she has a long, wispy ponytail — who enter a pet store excited about the prospect of taking a new animal home. 'Dad said we could get one./ Dad said he would pay,' the boy exclaims. Inside, they confront a head-spinning lineup of choices. Also, they don’t have much time — their mother has told them to be home by noon. A few pages into their predicament and again toward the end, the words MAKE UP YOUR MIND charge across the top of a two-page spread, each held aloft by a different invented Seussian creature — floppy-limbed, scruffy-coated, oddly proportioned, jubilantly weird. On one of those pages, the boy sums up the book’s central point in a deceptively innocent lament: 'Oh, boy! It is something to make a mind up!' ”
Here's a link to a delightful and informative Dr.Seuss Today Show report on the new book, Theodore Geisel, his widow, his personal assistant, and his publisher.
"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks."
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet. Even longer,' Pooh answered.”
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
The illustration is by Earnest Shepard. ...................
Rescuing Wonderful Shivery Tales
This is the title of Marina Warner's excellent and inclusive article in theNY Review of Books . Warner writes about contributions to the world of wonder tales and children's literature by Jack Zipes, Philip Pullman, Peter Wortman, and Maria Tatar. In the case of Tatar, she concentrates on her work in introducing, translating, and annotating the Turnip Princess, the tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth.
Here are excerpts from this informed and insightful article:
"Jack Zipes has long been a staunch advocate of fairy tales and their proper study since his book Breaking the Magic Spell (1979) issued a devastating blast against the wishful thinking of mass entertainment and shook the staid and soporific scene of folklore studies. To interpret the tales he has combined Marxism, feminism, cultural materialism, and even—for a short period—evolutionary biology. He has stirred readers with a similar passion for his material, while attacking the use of literary fantasy in movies and television to camouflage moral manipulation. Writers whom he admires—Jane Yolen, Terri Windling, and above all Angela Carter—and the films informed by their work have supplied countermodels to the sins of the dream factory.
In the epilogue of the new critical collection, Grimm Legacies, Zipes, drawing on the work of the philosopher Ernst Bloch, once again argues that fairy tales are best understood as utopian thought experiments. When the peasant crushes the ogre, the poor lad finds justice; persecuted by malicious relatives, the kind sister gets her due, the courageous girl saves her beloved siblings or lover...
Zipes is on a lifelong mission, as ardent as the Grimms’, to bring fairy tales into circulation for the general increase of pleasure, mutual and ethical understanding..."
The illustrations for the Grimm's Hansel and Gretel and King Thrushbeard are by Arthur Rackham.
FOR YOUNG FANTASY AND ANIMAL LOVERS EVERYWHERE
By Don Blankenship, educator and reviewer forGood Books for Kids . This is an excerpt from his review of Castle In The Mist...
"This is the second book in the Planet of the Dogs series and I must say I enjoyed it, cover to cover. This work can be read as a sequel to Planet of the Dogs, an ideal situation, but can also be read as a stand-alone with no loss to the flow of the story. This read is suitable for children of approximately eight years and up as a reader, or can well be read to children much younger. Adults will love this one also; I know I did, but then I have my fare share of kid still in me...
The art work by Stella Mustanoja McCarty is of the same high quality that we found in the first book in this series (and we find in the sequel to this book also), and is a delight to theeye. These are a series of black and white drawing, probably enhanced by the use of charcoal, which fit the text perfectly. When you bring a skilled artist and writer together that know children and know their dogs, then you know you are in for a treat."
Read sample chapters of Castle In The Mist at our website: Planet Of The Dogs. The photo, above, of the boy, Chase, and Rose, the therapy dog, are by Susan Purser. Susan and Rose bring hope and caring to many people, of all ages, from young readers to the ill and the aged.
We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at email@example.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...Librarians, teachers, bookstores...You can also order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, throughIngram with a full professional discount.
The illustration and book cover are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty.
Pan In The Garden
"In many ways , modern children's literature remains an Edwardian phenomenon.This period defined the ways in which we still think of children's books and of the child's imagination. During it's few years, this age produced a canon of authors and works that are still powerfully influential in the field...Our default mode of childhood, if you like, remains that decade or so before the first World War; the time between the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and the assassination at Sarajevo in 1914, the time when writers looked back over loss and could only barely anticipate the end of the old order"
In the chapter "Pan In the Garden",Seth Lerer, in his book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, writes of the impact of the Edwardian era on children's literature..."the years before the First World War in Britain and America were also years that socially and politically redefined childhood."
Children's books written in the Edwardian era are known, even today, by many children: The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett), Peter Pan (JM Barrie), The Wind In the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) and more.
The cover illustration is by Inga Moore.
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." Albert Einstein
The illustration is from Miyazaki's Castle In The Sky.
Disney Got It Right in 2011-- After Previous Stumbles
According to Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of the critics (out of 127) liked the 2011 Disney production of Winnie the Pooh. Here is excerpt from the review by Michael DeQuina inMovie Report.
..."the writing team and directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall make it work by never losing sight of the spirit of the characters, world, and Milne: imagination, innocence, and heaps of heart--best encapsulated by the bear's simple, moving gesture of friendship that so eloquently ties up the story, characters, themes and the enduring legacy that is Pooh."
Maine has an organization - EmBrace A Vet - that provides healing support with therapy service dogs. They also provide retreats for groups of vets and their families. This is from their site:
"Embrace A Vet is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing direct and supportive services to these Maine Veterans and their families living with PTSD and/or TBI. Besides helping to save the lives of our veterans by providing love and hope through a new canine 'best friend', we also save the lives of many of the dogs who we adopt from shelters."
Embrace A Vet is the recipient of a $5,000 grant for their Paws for Peace Program. This funding, from thePlanet Dog Foundation (PDF) will aid in the placement of 12 dogs with veterans in need,
Jessica Lahey,in the Motherlode section of the New York Times, wrote an excellent article on reading,literacy, and RIF. Here is an excerpt...
"Fortunately, Reading Is Fundemental (RIF), has been enriching children’s childhoods through thedistribution of free books since 1966, when the founder Margaret McNamara resolved to give books to the children of Washington, D.C., children who may not otherwise have the chance to own books. RIF delivered books into the hands of these children by way of their iconic Bookmobiles; magic vehicles of wonder that pulled right up to the schoolhouse door and invited children to select, and take home, books of their very own. In its first year, RIF gave 200,000 books to 41,000 Washington children, and by the time I stepped into my first Bookmobile in 1977, I was just one of 1.1 million children RIF served that year.
Literacy is a prime predictor of student success, as well as a range of economic and physical well-being. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly half of the adult population, or 93 million Americans, read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully to society. Adults below this basic level of literacy are far more likely to be unemployed and live in poverty, while individuals who achieve higher levels of literacy are more likely to be employed, earn higher wages, and vote in state and national elections"...
Here's a link to read it all: Motherlode
Go Ask Alice
AnthonyLane,in an effervescent New Yorkerarticle, wrote about Lewis Carrol, the Alice books, the world of nineteenth century Oxford,and several biographies in what Lane calls the Carrolllian maze. Here is an excerpt from this fascinating article... "Conversations about what is real, what is possible, and how rubbery the rules that govern such distinctions turn out to abound in the tales of Alice. Yet they are sold as children's books, and rightly so. A philosopher will ask how the identity of the self can be preserved amid the ceaseless flow of experience, but a child -- especially a child who is growing so fast that she suddenly fills the room -- will ask more urgently, as Alice does, "Was I the same as when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little a little different" Children, viewed from one angle, are philosophy in motion."
After I had prepared this post, I found that it was already posted by Maria Tatar on Breezes From Wonderland. Tatar has since added more about Alice including information about a new Annotated Alice by Mark Burstein and other news about 175 translations worldwide.
Here is a link to Grace Slick singing White Rabbit at Woodstock (August 1969)
The illustration of Alice is one of ninetytwo by John Tenniel for Lewis Carrol's books.
A Rose Is Not a Rose...
This excerpt is from a fascinating article by Marina Warner in the Guardian
"A fairytale doesn’t exist in a fixed form; it’s something like a tune that can migrate from a symphony to a penny whistle.
Or you can compare it to a plant genus, to roses or fungi or grasses, that can seed and root and flower here and there, changing species and colour and size and shape where they spring. But if the prevailing idea of an archetype gives too strong an impression of fixity, the picture-language of fairytale is fluid and shapeshifting: a rose is not a rose, an apple not an apple; a princess or a villain signify far more than what they seem. A dictionary of fairytale would look more like a rebus made up of icons: snow, crystal, apples, dark forests, pinnacled castles, mermaids, toads, giants, dragons, sprites, fair princesses, likely lads and crones.
The symbolism comes alive through strong contrasts and sensations, evoking simple, sensuous phenomena that glint and sparkle, pierce and flow, by these means striking recognition in the reader or listener’s body at a visceral depth (gold and silver; diamonds and rubies, thorns and knives; wells and tunnels). It’s an Esperanto of the imagination, and it’s available for any of us to use – in almost any medium..."
The painting of Sleeping Beauty is by Edward Burne Jones. The illustration is by Jennie Harbour.
The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
I highly recommend Kidlitosphere as a source for anyone interested in children's literature.
The following is excerpted from their site...
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.
The “KidLitosphere” is a community of reviewers, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, parents, and other book enthusiasts who blog about children’s and young adult literature. In writing about books for children and teens, we’ve connected with others who share our love of books. With this website, we hope to spread the wealth of our reading and writing experience more broadly...
KidLitosphere Central strives to provide an avenue to good books and useful literary resources; to support authors and publishers by connecting them with readers and book reviewers; and to continue the growth of the society of bloggers in children’s and young adult literature...here is a link to read more.
Welcome to our world.
The top illustration is of of Tom Thumb. The bottom illustration is of the Frog King.
There's magic, wonder, and exceptional animation here...I learned of this film, when I received this message from Joy Ward (author of exceptional dog books)..."There is an absolutely gorgeous animated movie out right now. It's Song of the Sea by an Irish team. Lovely story about o little boy and his selkie sister. Wonderful for everyone!"
The film reviewers have been uniformly enthusiastic. Here is an excerpt from Leslie Felperinin the Guardian:"Song of the Seablends Celtic legends, bravura design and animation, and intelligent storytelling that understands but never patronises young viewers, to create an exquisite and rewarding work ..." Here is a link to the trailer: Song Of The Sea
No Dark Deeds Here
This excerpt of the review by Jo Williams in the St Louis Post-Dispatch, sums up the Minions, a movie for the very young.
"If you’re old enough to read a movie review in a newspaper, you’re too old to fully appreciate “Minions.” Ditto if you’re old enough to read the menu at a fast-food joint, the height requirements at an amusement park or the price tag on a shiny yellow toy. This spinoff of the “Despicable Me” cartoons is like a pre-verbal version of “Inside Out,” all coos and colors and cute facial expressions. Tiny tots will eat it up like jelly beans. But what about their bigger siblings and baby-sitters? Will they be trapped on a sugar-rush cycle with no hope of escape?
Yes, but … The mad scientists at Dreamworks have scrubbed this ’toon of anything that might scare or challenge the target audience"...
Several years ago, I read Deb Eades book, Every Rescued Dog Has a Tale, and first learned about the nationwide network of volunteers who are "rescuing dogs from certain deaths in kill shelters and then being driven by dedicated animal lovers to a new life in another state."
Deb Eades was one of these volunteers, and her book is filled with touching first-hand stories of rescuing dogs and driving them to a place where another volunteer takes over and drives the next leg of the rescue journey. Or, sometimes, actually driving the rescued dog(s) to their new home.
Sunbear Squad is a mainstay in dog rescue. Here is an excerpt from their site:
"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..."
To read the entire article follow this link: Rescue
"All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog." -- Franz Kafka, Investigations of a Dog
I am woefully behind in progressing through the James Patterson Master Class on writing. It is not because it is a bad class (my thoughts so far here and here) but because I have so many other things going on it is hard for me to make the time to watch the videos. A few weeks ago I got am email inviting me to submit a writing sample to be critiqued by Patterson himself and even though I did not take advantage of the opportunity, having no fictional work in progress, I thought it was a pretty cool thing and felt a bit bad that I did not have any fiction in progress to submit and see just what kind of feedback was on offer.
Today in my email I received a message that my friends are eligible for a $15 discount of the price of a Master Class, any Master Class it seems. So if you are interested in taking Patterson’s fiction class or trying out any of the other classes on offer, if you sign up by midnight PST on September 8th, enter the code PTS86W.
There is a great article called Silence in the Library that you all might be interested in reading. It is written by an archivist and discusses the issue of naming that those who catalog materials must deal with. Before I went to library school I could honestly say I never once thought about how materials were cataloged, that someone had to figure out what subject headings and keywords and other metadata to add to them. And then when I did think about it I wondered, really, how hard could it be?
I am not a cataloger, but I had the pain and pleasure of finding out just how important these folks are in more ways than you can imagine. Because we all know that naming is important and it bumps into issues like privilege and race and class all the time. Library cataloging is not immune to any of the issues. Catalogers struggle with it every day. Not only do they have to figure out what to call materials so you, the library patron can actually find and borrow them, but they also very often consider the implications of how materials are named. Librarians at the reference desk often get all the glory when they help a patron find something, but those behind the scenes catalogers are owed a great deal of credit for creating the metadata that allows that reference librarian to help you.
Anyway, the article is great and delves into a bit of the issues and implications of naming and how librarians have the opportunity to be silent radicals. Give it a read you will have a new appreciation for librarians and archivists.
Depending on where and when you live, the world can be a dangerous place.
Howl's Moving Castle, the award winning fantasy wonder tale, takes place during a time of war.A film for children and adults filled with magic and incredible visuals...it is set in the past, an anti-war filmthat features a romance with a flawed wizard, and an incredible moving castle.
Freely adapted by Hayao Miyazakifrom a children's fantasy novel byDiana Wynne Jones, it is another masterpiece from the creator of My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.
A.O. Scott, writing in the New York Times, said," Not that children are the only viewers likely to behaunted and beguiled by "Howl's Moving Castle" - all that is needed are open eyes and an open heart."
Hayao Miyazake, at the time he was adopting Howl's Moving Castle, was very concerned about the USA going to war in the Middle East. With his extraordinary talent and imagination, Miyazaki created an anti-war film that is balanced by humor, wizardry, and romance.
Much has been written about how the experiences of real life influence literature and all the arts, including children's stories, film and theater. Jack Zipes, quoted below, expresses the many dimensions of this concept. I feel that Howl's Moving Castle is a wonderful example of a tale of wonder portraying the human struggle to not succumb to violent power. Here is an excerpt from Zipes' comments:
"At their best, the storytelling of fairy tales constitute the most profound articulation ofthe 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. Fairy tales are uncanny becausethey tell us what we need and they unsettle us by showing what we lack and how we might compensate for lack."
…Fairy tales map out possible ways to attain happiness, to expose and resolve moral conflicts that have deep roots in our species. The effectiveness of fairy tales and other forms of fantastic literature depends on the innovative manner in which we make the information of the tales relevant for the listeners and receivers of the tales."
The photo is of Jack Zipes and his poodle, Vinnie.
It All Began With A School Boy
Howl's Moving Castle, released in 2004, was freely adapted by Hayao Miayazai from a book of the same name, published in 1986, by Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011). The prolific author of many books for children and adults (primarily fantasy), Wynne Jones said that the idea for the book came from a boy, Stephen, on one of her school visits. Stephen asked her to write a book about a moving castle. The book she wrote was very well received internationally and won several prizes.
When Wynne Jones was asked about the major differences between writing for adults and children, she replied, "Writing for adults, you have to keep reminding them of what is going on. The poor things have given up using their brains when they read. Children you only need to tell things to once."
Wynne Jones also said,"Things we are accustomed to regard as myth or fairy story are very much present in peoples lives."
When the film was completed, Miyazakiflew to England and arranged a private showing for Dianne Wynne Jones. Her comments: "It's fantastic. No, I have no input—I wriThe book cover is of Dianna Wynne Jones original version of Howl's Moving Castle. The photo is of Hayao Miyazake, courtesy of Ghibli Studios.te books, not films. Yes, it will be different from the book—in fact it's likely to be very different, but that's as it should be. It will still be a fantastic film."
The biggest change made by Miyazake was in creating an anti-war film. Howl becomes a major force in helping to bring about the end of war.
A delightful montage of Miyazaki's film magic, created by DONO ,is on Vimeo.
The book cover is of Dianna Wynne Jones original version of Howl's Moving Castle. The photo is of Hayao Miyazake, courtesy of Ghibli Studios.
"War was the weather system of my youth"...
The twentieth century was filled with upheaval and wars and millions of children today continue to face the chaos and pain of war.Alexandra Fuller, author of the very well received Leaving Before the RainsCome , published in January 2015, grew up in war-torn Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
In a fascinating interview withSimon Worrall (Book Talk) in the National Geographic,she speaks of the effects of growing upamidst "the traumas of war and the non-stop incidents and accidents where I was raised"...Here is an excerpt from the interview:
"But the biggest effect was that war was the weather system of my youth. The war was everywhere. And what came with that was death and the insanity of war, which leaks on even after a cease-fire has been declared. I think the hardest thing it did was to make childhoodinnocence, those precious years until you're about 11 or 12, not exist for us. War makes you cunning and a survivor. It can make you very damaged or very resilient. But it never leaves you.
You spend the rest of your life trying to redress what happened to you in those first years, even though it's not your fault. But your body doesn't know that, your limbic system doesn't know that. You're always waiting for the next trauma to happen—or drama. You're constantly on watch."
In her first book, the very well received bestseller, Don't Let's Go To The Dogs Tonight, Fuller wrote of her childhood in Rhodesia... a world where violent death was an everyday reality; where her family compound was surrounded by razor-wire, and where young Alexandra's father trained her in shooting a rifle. Alexandra Fuller now lives in Wyoming.
The photograph is of Alexandra (on the right) with her sister, Vanessa. It was taken in 1972, just before the family moved to the then Rhodesia. I don't know who the little girl is on the book cover.
The Awesome PAL
I am awed by the list below...a list of hospitals, Veteran's care facilities, children's centers, libraries, retirement facilities, and rehab facilities all served by PAL.
This is a list of places where people young, old and in-between find affection, solace and supportfrom the dogs of PAL (People Animals Love)based in Washington DC.
Pal is not for profit. PAL is a volunteer organization. PAlis people -- dog owners who want to help others.
The logistics of bringing therapy dogs and their owners to all these places must be difficult. Situations change, needs change, and schedules change. Please take a moment and consider this awesome list and the wonderful work of PAL to bring comfort, solace, and, often, inspiration, to so many people.
Arleigh Burke Pavilion Nursing & Assisted Living, Arlington Central Library, Arlington Library- Shirlington Branch, Arlington Library- Columbia Pike Branch, Arlington Library- Westover Branch, Alexandria Library- Beatley Branch, Alexandria Library- Duncan Branch, Armed Forces Retirement Home, Burnt Mills Elementary School, Capitol Hill Supportive Services, Chinn Park Regional Library, Culpepper Garden, Episcopal Center for Children, Goodwin House Alexandria, Goodwin House West, Grand Oaks, Heritage Hall Nursing & Rehab, Inova Behavioral Health, IONA Senior Services, Knollwood Retirement Home, Little Sisters of the Poor, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, Mount Pleasant Library, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, PAL Club at Stanton Elementary, Pohick Regional Library, Sibley Hospital Center, Specialty Hospital of Washington, Stoddard Baptist Home, St. Coletta's of Greater Washington, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington Home, Woodbine Rehab & Healthcare Center
Here is a link to one of their many brief PAL videos:
Here is a link to a 5 minute homemade video of their wonderful PAL Clubat Stanton Elementary School. Stanton is located in Southeast Washington, a poor, underserved, neighborhood.
The top photo is of PAL therapy dogs and their dedicated owners. The bottom photo below of two friends was taken in one of the facilities on the PAL list.
Do you think that it is possible for dogs to stop a war?
This was the lead-off sentence in Wayne Walker's review of Castle In The Mist. I was delighted to read it, for not only was it provocative, it went to the core of the story...
Castle in the Mist is an anti-war story.The Planet Of the Dogs series is anti-war. In each book, the dogs help humans to find non-violent solutions to ruthless rulers, invaders, and the abuse of power.
Here is more of what Wayne Walkerwrote:
“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 who come from another planet to help people on earth. But under the surface are the important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and how to overcome evil with good.” The same things are true as the story continues in Castle in the Mist. The book is well written and easy to read. It will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next, and, as with Volume I, leads to a satisfying conclusion. You can learn more about the series and read sample chapters atwww.planetofthedogs.net."
Wayne Walker's complete review appeared on the Home School Book Review; the Home School Buzz; and Stories fof Children Magazine.
We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogsseries for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the books.
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell'sand many more.
Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at
"For much of her life, C. A. Wulff was involved in animal rescue. In this memoir, she shares her own personal rescue stories. As is the case with animal rescue, some of these tales are funny and others are poignant. However, all of them are true.
From early childhood, Cayr was drawn to animals. She sought connections with each animal that entered her life. She helped those that she could, including ill, injured and difficult to place animals. Many of them found a permanent place in the author’s home. Her heart has always been in the right place..."
We are having a lotto and giving away of 3 paperback copies of the second edition of Born Without a Tail. To enter, please send an email to Books4DogLovers@gmailand place the word "entry" on the subject line.
"Fairy tale and filmenjoy a profound affinity because the cinema animates phenomena, no matter how inert; made of light and motion, its illusions match the enchanted animism of fairy tale; animals speak, carpets fly, objects move and act of their own accord."
Marina Warner, in her book, Once Upon A Time.
The illustration is from Howl's Moving Castle.
The KIngdom of Dreams and Madness
Mami Sunada has created a fascinating documentary about the world of Hayao Miyazaki and Ghibli studios. I highly recommend it for readers of this blog who want an in-depth picture of the complex nature of creating animation; and an intimate visit with Miyazake and the world of Ghibli.
Miyazaki storyboards every film from start to finish; he times every shot on the storyboard; yet he often doesn’t know where or how will end. He is very hard working, a perfectionist who pays attention to every detail; he is also a caring idealist.
Here are two of my favorite Miyazaki quotes from the film:
“The world isn’t simple enough to explain in words”….
“Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.” ― Neil Gaiman, M Is for Magic
Little Man -- A Brilliant Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin
Michael Cunningham, is an acclaimed American author of seven books. His novel, The Hours, won a Pulitzer prize and a PEN/Faulkner Award. He has now reimagined several fairy tales from the past in a new book, A Wild Swan: And Other Tales,to be published November 10, 2015). One story from the book,Little Man, published in the New Yorker, is a wonderful retelling
of Rumpelstiltskin. Here is an excerpt:
"Having a child is not, however, anything like ordering a pizza. Even less so if you’re a malformed, dwarfish man whose occupation, were you forced to name one, would be . . . What would you call yourself? A goblin? An imp? Adoption agencies are reluctant about doctors and lawyers if they’re single and over forty. So go ahead. Apply to adopt an infant as a two-hundred-year-old gnome.
You are driven slightly insane—you try to talk yourself down; it works some nights better than others—by the fact that, for so much of the population, children simply . . . appear. Bing bang boom. A single act of love and, nine months later, this flowering, as mindless and senseless as a crocus bursting out of a bulb.
It’s one thing to envy wealth and beauty and other gifts that seem to have been granted to others, but not to you, by obscure but undeniable givers. It’s another thing entirely to yearn for what’s so readily available to any drunk and barmaid who link up for three minutes in a dark corner of any dank and scrofulous pub.
You listen carefully, then, when you hear the rumor. Some impoverished miller—a man whose business is going under (the small-mill owners, the ones who grind by hand, are vanishing; their flour and meal cost twice as much as the big-brand products, which are free of the gritty bits that can find their way into a sack of flour no matter how careful you are), a man who has no health insurance or investments or pension plan (he’s needed every cent just to keep the mill open)—that man has told the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold..."
Maria Tatar edited and annotated a wonderful book of Classic Fairy Tales which includes a version of Rumpelstiltskin by the Grimms. Her comments regarding Rumplestiltskin are in harmony with the story as reimagined by Michael Cunninghamin Little Man.
"Here is an excerpt: (Rumpelstiltskin is) "a misshapen gnome of questionable origins, who is probably one of the least attractive of fairy-tale figures.Yet Rumpelstilskin come off rather well in a world where fathers tell brazen lies about their daughters, marriages are based on greed, and young women agree to give up a firstborn child. He works hard to hold up his end of the bargain made with the miller's daughter, shows genuine compassion when the queen regrets the agreement into which she has entered, and is prepared to add an escape clause to their contract even though he stands to gain nothing from it."
The illustration by Paul O. Zelinsky is from his Caldecott medal winning version of Rumpelstiltskin.
Sesame Street Partners With HBO
Sesame Street needed funding. In the past, they received most of their funding through DVD sales. Times have changed and those sales have diminished as more and more people have turned to Internet streaming. Emily Steel, in the New York Times, wrote a comprehensive article, including the pros and cons, about this major shift in Television for kids 2-5. Here is an excerpt:
"The letters of the day on “Sesame Street” are H, B and O.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group behind the children’s television program, has struck a five-year deal withHBO, the premium cable network, that will bring first-run episodes of “Sesame Street” exclusively to HBO and its streaming outlets starting in the fall.
The partnership, announced Thursday, will allow the financially challenged Sesame Workshop to significantly increase its production of “Sesame Street” episodes and other new programming. The group will produce 35 new “Sesame Street” episodes a year, up from the 18 it now produces..."
"The rise of American children's literature is, to a large degree, inseparable from the rise of the public lending library, and by the 1870's librarians had become the guardians of children's reading. The fact that it is the American Library Association that gives the major children's book awards makes clear that in this country, there is a unique relationship between the worlds of children's reading, and the structures of the library...The first children's room in any public library opened in Brookline , Massachusettes, in 1890... (and librarians) made the library a place of imagination..."
Seth Lerer, Children's Literature, A Readers History from Aesop to Harry Potter
The photo is of the Brookline Public Library built in 1899 with a new children's room.
I nominate The Guardian, always vigilant, to be welcomed as an honorary member of BARCA, Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors.Here is an excerpt from an article written by Tom Lamont and Robert Muchamore when Russel Brand announced that he was writing children's books...
"A celebrity– Kylie, Sting – announces his or her intention to write for children, and I instinctively feel for the career-pledged writers who have been huffing away with their thesaurus and watercolour brushes for years. Beneath them, the hopefuls with worthwhile manuscripts hustle for interest... And, uh oh, here's another celebrity, lolloping into the game. They've noodled out an idea on a Groucho Club napkin. Their agent has swivelled at the bar to arrange a six-figure deal. The published result, you can bet, will absorb more than its share of publicity budgets, review space, shelf space.
Given the subject under discussion, I'll express this in short sentences. Stop it, celebrities. Go away, celebrities"...Here is the link to read all of this article: Guardian
The photo is of the well known children's book celebrity author, Madonna.
Have you seen the delightful yelodoggie artwork video celebrating dogs? Here is the YouTube link
There are birthday cards, cups, clocks, shirts, mouse pads, and a multitude of other delightful Yelodoggie designs at Cafe Press.
New paintings are appearing in the Yelodoggie etsy shop.These are original watercolors and a great bargain.
Yelodoggie is joyous.
Anna Nirvais 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 the rescue of abandoned hunting hounds.
Anna has found that abandoned hunting dogs perish daily of exposure and starvation all across America. Here is an excerpt from a Sunbear Squad rescue story: "An ice storm was bearing down in the southern United States and a pack of 3 adult Beagles and 5 puppies were sighted in a rural Arkansas forest. Concerned animal lovers sent numerous emails to locate a rescuer who could take immediate action to save the dogs, and two compassionate women rose to the challenge.
It's not like they didn't have anything else to do that day. Desiree had successfully lobbied for felony animal cruelty laws and had just been informed of the law's passing, and Carol worked full-time. But later in the afternoon, after learning of the ice storm coming, they gathered their gear and drove 45 miles to the woods where the dogs had been sighted." Here is a link to read all of this story: Rescue
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't have evil or jealousy or discontent." -- Milan Kundera