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1. SUPPORT AUTHORS--Buy Direct from Them!

AUTHORS your kids will READ

 Authors have terrific imaginations, a love of words, and a passion for creating 
wonderful stories. Unfortunately, this rarely translates into buckets of money.

We write because we love to weave words into stories
 that capture children's imaginations.  

The idea of kids eventually reading our stories to 
THEIR children is our kinky kind of immortality.

Don't laugh. . . I am SERIOUS! 

Authors only need two things from READERS:


Tell others if you (or your child) enjoyed the read. . . or NOT.

Buying from an author's website helps 
YOU and the AUTHOR.

Authors make more from the books THEY sell, and
YOU often  get DISCOUNTS and much CHEAPER postage.

Authors love to AUTOGRAPH the books you buy.
This makes your GIFT of a  BOOK  extra special.

The Authors listed in the panel on the RIGHT have
private websites, where you can BUY DIRECT from
them, and even ask about their plots and characters.

Their books are also available on
Amazon, bookstores, and other places

More author names and links will be added
as they are discovered.

Margot Finke 
Skype Author Visits

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Flower Power
Dress by Boden, shoes model's own.

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

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

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

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

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

Real and Unreal... 

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Witches Were Real 

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

Puritan Reality

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

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

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

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

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

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


TomThumbWarwickGoble John's Reality

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

The illustration from Tom Thumb is by Warwick Goble


  Temp 2

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

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

Logofull bp Logo2_flatPreferredWe have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series  for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

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

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, and Tolino.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


A Hard Reality about Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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


Canine Therapy is Real HandsRose.4jpg

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

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

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

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



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

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


 Movies -- PAN 

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

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

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

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

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

The trailer looks exciting. Here is a link: PAN


The Reality of Five Senses


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

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

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


NewYork Public Library Childern's Literary Salon

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

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

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


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

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

 Before You Travel

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


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





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4. Coloring Page - Where is Salami?

Another adorable coloring page featuring characters in "Where is Salami?" (by Donna J. Shepherd, illustrated by Jack Foster). 

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FOLLOW the  Revamped  PATH.

BOOK. . . News
WRITING. . .Ideas
MARGOT'S. . . Thoughts

W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R  Grabs My Interest. 

Hold onto your hair, mate
not even The SHADOW knows! 


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     Celebrate International Literacy Day

*Books help children and adults learn
about the world and themselves.
*Reading opens a window to the rest of the world.
*Books are the Magic Carpet Ride every child needs.

*Reading opens minds and hears.

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Literacy Day

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6. A fairy tale is more than just a fairy tale

When some one says to you "that's just a fairy tale," it generally means that what you have just said is untrue or unreal. It is a polite but deprecating way of saying that your words form a lie or gossip. Your story is make-believe and unreliable. It has nothing to do with reality and experience. Fairy tale is thus turned into some kind of trivial story.

The post A fairy tale is more than just a fairy tale appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. September- Wonders are Forever, kids, books, movies, and dogs

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 film that features a romance with a flawed wizard, and an incredible moving castle. 

Freely adapted by Hayao Miyazaki from a children's fantasy novel by Diana 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 be haunted and beguiled by "Howl's Moving Castle" - all that is needed are open eyes and an open heart." 

Here is a YouTube Link to see this wonderful film dubbed in English: Howl's Moving Castle 
Here is a link to Disney's trailer. There is no reference to war in this preview.
They Tell Us What We Need 
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, Howl Rescuewizardry, 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 of the human struggle to form and maintain a civilizing process. They depict metaphorically the opportunities for human adaptation to our environment and reflect the conflicts that arise when we fail to establish civilizing codes commensurate with the self-interests of large groups within the human population. The more we give into base instincts – base in the sense of basic and depraved – the more criminal and destructive we become. The more we learn to relate to other groups of people and realize that their survival and the fulfillment of their interests is related to ours, the more we might construct social codes that guarantee humane relationships. Fairy tales are uncanny because they tell us what we need and they unsettle us by showing what we lack and how we might compensate for lack."

Vinnie & Coach 2Fairy 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." 

This article was excerpted from Jack Zipes  remarks on The Art of Storytelling Show 
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 HMCWynneJonesBook Coverof 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." 

-Hayao_MiyazakiPortraitWhen the film was completed, Miyazaki flew 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 Rains Come , published in January 2015, grew up in war-torn Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). 

In a fascinating interview with Simon Worrall (Book Talkin the National Geographic, she DianaWynneJonesChildreninGardenspeaks of the effects of growing up amidst "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 childhood innocence, 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.

Dont lets go to the dogs tonight3You 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 support from the dogs of PAL (People Animals Love) based in Washington DC.
PalVolunteersPal is not for profit. PAL is a volunteer organization. PAl is 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-
WomanDogShirlington 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 Club at 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 CITM-Prince Ukko-blog sizebook, the dogs help humans to find non-violent solutions to ruthless rulers, invaders, and the abuse of power.

Here is more of what Wayne Walker wrote:

 “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 at www.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 Dogs series  for therapy Jordyn2dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books.  

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

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Oyster, Inktera, Scribd, and Tolino.

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 Castle In The Mist. The little girl reading Castle In The Mist is Jordan; the photograph is by Jennifer Wickham. 


This review by Ann Morris of the second edition of Born Without a Tail appeared in McGuffy's Reader 
"For much of her life, C. A. Wulff was involved in animal rescue. In this memoir, she shares
Bwtcoversamp_sm (2)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..."
To read it all, click this link:MCGuffy's Reader
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@gmail and place the word "entry" on the subject line.  


"Fairy tale and film
enjoy a profound affinity because the cinema animates
HowlScarecrowOldladyphenomena, 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 KIngdomofDreamsMadnessthe 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”….

“Children are what keeps me going” 


 “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 GaimanM 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 . . . RumpleAnneAndersonWhat 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..."

Read it all: The New Yorker

The illustration is by Anne Anderson

Little Man Honors Tradition
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 Cunningham in Little Man.

RumpelstiltskinPaulOZelinsky"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.
TooloChildreninParkwalking2015SpringSesame 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 with HBO, the premium cable network, that will bring first-run Sesamecastepisodes 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..."

Here is a link to read it all: Sesame Street.




 Turning Point for Young American Readers

Brookline_public_library_Massachusetts1899"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.


BacaLogoI 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...

Madonna-grammys-09feb15-03"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.



I happen to be a Yelodoggie fan.

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

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8. “My Home, Your Home” Book Sample Illustrations

“My Home, Your Home”, an educational children’s book from Cloverleaf books, and some samples below.

mhyh cover&spread1

mhyh spread 2

mhyh page1

mhyh page4

mhyh page2

mhyh page3

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9. Still Working

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10. 6 Authors + 5 Books = 1 Great Evening of Readings and Book Signings…

It’s been a busy summer of new releases from Mirror World Publishing, so they’re throwing a multi-author book launch event to celebrate! If you’re in the area or able, please come out and meet the authors of five new books. Here are the details:

When: September 3rd, 2015
Where: Artspeak Gallery, 1942 Wyandotte East, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Authors:

Sharon Ledwith - Legend of the Timekeepers
Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred - Unintended
Rita Monette - The Legend of Ghost Dog Island
Elizabeth J. M. Walker - She Dreamed of Dragons
Nate Friedman - The Coffee Monster

From children's to middle grade, young adult and adult, Mirror World Publishing is launching creative fiction novels in every age category! Come out and hear the authors read from their new releases, pick up a signed copy, and stick around for your chance to win free books! Plus there’s going to be cupcakes and coffee on tap from local vendors. Yum!

BTW – Rita Monette is the special guest star, as she'll be coming in from Tennessee! So don't miss this opportunity to meet her and get your signed copy of The Legend of Ghost Dog Island! Hope to see you there! Cheers!

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11. Mermaid Illustration

mermaid 2

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12. Review: The Day The Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt illus. Oliver Jeffers

Following on from the phenomenally brilliant The Day The Crayons Quit comes the sequel. The crayons are back…and they are still not happy. This time around Duncan has to deal with the lost and forgotten crayons. The broken, chewed and melted crayons. And they are all, quite rightly, even more upset! These are the crayons who […]

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The Goodnight Star
How it began

I always find it interesting when I have finished a book to look back at my very first thoughts. Some spreads end up almost identical to my first thumbs where others go through many changes. It took me a while with Goodnight Star to get Megan right. I had a lightbulb moment when I decided to put her in pyjamas rather than a floaty nightdress. Suddenly I felt she had the right attitude.

Click on all images to enlarge.

'The Goodnight Star'  author Amy Sparkes will be having a book launch on Saturday 12th September from 10.30-11.30 at Tiverton Library.
Find out more about Amy here.

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14. Pig-duction

When a pig tries seducing you...just let it!

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The Goodnight Star
by Amy sparkes

I'm really pleased to be able to share with you my latest book 'The Goodnight Star' beautifully written by Amy Sparkes and published by Random House Children's Books. 'The Goodnight Star' will be available to buy from 27th August.

 'Megan is afraid of the dark.'

 'Holding the star carefully, she climbed up to her treehouse...

 This image was my favourite so I was really pleased that it was chosen for the cover.

'The Goodnight Star' is my 8th book with Random House Children's Books. I'd like to thank the team at Random for all their help. Special thanks to Kerrie and Joe.

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16. August -.Happy Endings, books, kids, movies and dogs


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...

CoverEnchantedHuntersEnchanted 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, horror has 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. 

 "RRHVogelBy 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 "Once Upon A Time, A Short History of the Fairy Tale", in the Guardian   

TomThumbWarwickGoble"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...

SleepingChild“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 GaimanThe Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

Illustration by Mike Dringenberg or Kelly Jones .


 Humane Society of Missouri

The Humane Society of Missouri helps more than 85,000 homeless, abused and unwanted animals each year. Here is their mission statement:

HumaneSocMOKids readtodogs"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 pet overpopulation 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..." 

Learn more about their work at www.hsmo.org.


 "Perfect for Me"


ParadeMisfitsBkCoverCayr"Wulff`s heartwarming stories about 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. Wulff is 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 Pet Should I Get? Here's an excerpt...

"First, though, the book itself: It features a round-faced brother and sister — his close-
WhatPetShouldIGetcropped 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 is a link to read all of Russo's article: SUNDAY BOOK REVIEW

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.  



Winnie the PoohShepard Illustration

"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

GrimmRackhamHanselGretel (2)

This is the title of Marina Warner's excellent and inclusive article in the NY 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 GrimmArthurRackhamKingThrushbeardinterpret 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.



By Don Blankenship, educator and reviewer for Good Books for Kids . This is an excerpt from his review of Castle In The Mist... 

20141128_183146_resized"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 the eye. 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 CITM-frontcover-jpg-654x945dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books. 


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



Laputa-castle-in-the-sky-"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 in Movie Report. 

WinnieDisneyMovieEyore2011..."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."

Here's a link to the trailer: Winnie-the-Pooh



Maine has an organization - EmBrace A Vet -  that provides healing support with therapy Embrace a VetRetreatsservice 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 the Planet Dog Foundation (PDF) will aid in the placement of 12 dogs with veterans in need,

Learn more about Embrace A Vet here. 

Here's a link to their new video


Reading Is Fundemental

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 the distribution 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 ReadingIsFundementalchildren 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.

RIF’s vision has remained constant since Ms. McNamara handed out those first books: to
create “a literate America in which all children have access to books and discover the joys and value of reading.” 
While RIF promotes literacy for all children, its priority is to provide books to children in underserved and impoverished communities. Since 1966, RIF has given 412 million books to more than 40 million children, and today, it hands out 15 million carefully selected tomes each year.

Reading 2

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

Anthony Lane,in an effervescent New Yorker article, 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...
AliceGrownBigTenniel"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
SleepingBeautyJennieHarbourflower 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.



TomThumbDäumlingThe 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, Frog kingpublishers, 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 SongOfTheSealearned 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 Felperin in the Guardian: "Song of the Sea blends 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.

Minions2"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"... 

Here is the trailer: Minions


The Dog Rescue Railroad...

EveryRescued DogHasTaleCoverSeveral 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.


Sunbearsquad-logoSunbear Squad...

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

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17. New Winter Book

We have just completed the final edits on our new winter story told in verse.  We are now beginning the illustration process.  We are so excited about this next story and can’t wait to hear your feedback.  Here’s a few hints about what our next story will be about.  Aren’t they just beautiful?  What other animal reminds you of winter?

Red Fox 3



Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) on snow at sunset, Kamchatka, Russia

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We're Having a Super Baby
by Abie Longstaff

I have 2 new books coming very soon. We're having a Super baby written by Abie Longstaff and published by Scholastic will be available from 3rd September. Abie has written lots of great books including The Mummy Shop and The Fairy Tale Hairdresser.

'This warm and funny celebration of the bond between siblings is perfect to share with your first-born.'

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19. A Rainbow Is A Rainbow!

A rainbow is a rainbow, 
with whom you ride it is all that matters! 

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20. June -- Wonder Has No Opposite, kids, books, dogs and movies


 "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 

BettelheimUses of Enchantment"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’s book 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 figure for 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 story we 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” Maerchen-rotkaeppchen-DW-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.




 3AM: Magazine

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..." 

 Marshall was inspired by Jack Zipes' recent translation of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm   (1812 & 1815) and by Zipes' provocative ideas regarding the impact of the Grimms' tales, Grimm Legacies:The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales.   

 Here is another excerpt from this very heady article:

"From 'The Frog King' to 'The Golden Key,' wondrous worlds unfold—heroes and heroines are SnowWhiteVogelrewarded, 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 Brothers Grimm: 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 $531,750,700 attest 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
CinderellaTalesAroundtheWorldCoverknow 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...

Cinderella in Ireland: The Story of Ashey Pelt 

"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 Cliffsof Claireunhappy. 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's Cinderella 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
BrannaghCinderella3similarities 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 Ed Vulliamy in the Guardian about a retold version of the Cinderella story with a very different setting, and a totally different ending.

"It is hardly surprising that Kenneth Branagh’s saccharine Barbie-Cinderella, with her tiny waist and crinoline dress, has caused a storm in Hollywood and irked cinema-going women, let alone those wanting to see changed female role models on screen.

The actor-cum-fairy-storyteller – and his critics, to cheer them – would have done well to
EllasBigChanceShirleyGreenwayCoverheed 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 Shirley Hughes, serial award-winning doyenne of children’s books, described by Philip Pullman as “a national treasure” (I should declare an interest here: Shirley Hughes is 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 Paws Logo

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.

MunchkinNancy KeenPalmerREADing 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."

R.E.A.D.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 

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

Wilheim Grimm as quoted by Seth Lerer in his bookChildren'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.

CITM-frontcover-jpg-308x445ISBN_9780978692810The 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.


CITM-Dogs at night-blog sizeCastle 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

Visit our website for sample chapters: http://www.planetofthedogs.net

The illustration from Castle In The Mist is by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty


For sample chapters from all the books in the series,visit our Planet Of The Dogs website.

We have free reader copies of the Planet of The Dogs book series for therapy dog
2 Doghead 1.457 by 1.573 inchesorganizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books. 

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


Here's another look at Cinderella from BerkeleyMews.com




KidLitoSphere is 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...

"As Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors founder and let’s say president, I see it as the
BacaLogokid lit equivalent of the four horsemen of the apocalypse when 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 Celebrity Authors. 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


Circling the Waggins

Aaron Fowler wrote a profile of C.A. Wulff for Akron Life....Here are excerpts...

ArielWaldo..."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. 

CtWAlthough 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." 



A Fairy Tale excerpt from the Turnip Princess by 

In lieu of actually reviewing the newly translated (by Maria Tatar) Turnip Princess, Slate published 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...

VonSchonwerthCover..."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...”

Read it all on SLATE



Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

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.''"

Read all of this insightful article at:  Way Cool Dogs



My Apollo, A Story of Companionship and Healing

by Kaitlin Jenkins

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 Apollo and wanted to share excepts here:

ApolloBook"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."

You can learn more about author/illustrator Nina Huang on her website.

The photo of Scooter, the dog, and the book, my Apollo, is by Kaitlin Jenkins.


Littleprince"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


Sunbearsquad-logoThe 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...

Visit SunBear Squad -  - 


"No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses." - Herman Melville 


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21. Chocolate Affair

Having an affair with the chocolate.

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22. Birthday for A Little Princess

Some years ago I was asked to step in to illustrate " A Little Princess"  for Penguin Books because the original artist commissioned became ill.  I had just finished " SHARKSI" for them so this was a pleasant departure.

" And what a party it was."
from  A Little Princess

Steven James Petruccio

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Daddy Is My Hero

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads!

'Daddy Is My Hero' Written by Dawn Richards - Published by Random House 2013.

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24. July - Threshold of Wonder, books, kids, movies, and dogs


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.

TomThumb2GustavDore"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 forest are losing their way in life, losing touch with their conscious selves and voyaging into the realms of the subconscious..."

 Here is a link to read all of this article about fairy tales and the forest

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 and connection 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
GrimmstheRobberBridegroomJohnBGruellehis 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 portals that 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 FunGuardian

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.



VetdogsLogoThe 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 to America's VetDogs will support the training and placement of dogs for veterans being trained through their
VetDogOlderVetMassachusetts 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 Dassannayake in the Express: 

"The moving clip starts with a child celebrating her birthday and follows her moment by Save-the-children1moment 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...

InsideOutGirl2After a rather disappointing hiatus of wonder, the folks at Pixar -- who produced Up, Toy Story and Finding Nemo --have produced another winner, both critically and with audiences.

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 98% of 217 reviewers 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 Mathieson in the Sydney Morning Herald:

"The most pleasurably complete Pixar film since 2004's The Incredibles, Inside Out delivers 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
INTRO-2-INSIDE-OUTyou’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?' ..."

Here's is a link to the trailer: Inside Out


Wendy TalkingDogA Dog that Meows and Sings..WENDY

This is amazing...a video for all.



Finding Fido:A Book That Can Save Your Dog's Life

FindingFido"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 in U.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
SpiritedAwayGirlTrainIntdisregarded. 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 Museum in New York is presenting an extraordinary exhibit, both at the Museum and Online...

Alice_in_wonderland_very_tall"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's classic 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.


 Another Reality

“You know very well you’re not real.”

“I am real!” said Alice, and began to cry.

AliceTweedlesTenniel“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 enjoyed in CITM-blog size-382KBPlanet of the Dogs and Snow 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...


For sample chapters visit our website: Planet Of The Dogs

CITM-frontcover-jpg-654x945We 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 planetofthedogs@gmail.com and we will send you the books. 

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



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25. Castleford Children's Library Mural - at Last!

Well, it's been a bit of a long time coming, what with the original delays to installation and then John's little bit of drama at home, but I am finally able to show you how the children's 'Tigers in the Jungle Library' mural looks in situ. 

I'm so pleased with how bright and funky it looks. It was such a dark and dismal room before: more like a cell than anything, so we certainly have transformed the space.

As you can see, I added my little trademark signature to the bottom, just like I did with the first mural in Wakefield Library:

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.

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