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1. Princess Theme

Here are a couple of princess images I created.  One was for a Halloween book and features my daughter with her friends and cousin. The other is a spread from A Little Princess which I stepped in to illustrate for another illustrator when she could not meet the deadline...I'm glad I took the job!



Halloween Counting Fun



A Little Princess

Watercolor Illustrations by
Steven James Petruccio


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

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


Enchantment takes many forms in wonder tales.

Metamorphosis and transformation are part of life.

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

And then, there is the beast...  

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

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

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

Dinner in the Castle



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

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

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

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

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

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

 Read Sample Chapters of the Planet Of The Dogs series.

The illustrations from Snow Valley Heroes and Planet Of The Dogs are by Stella Mustanoja-McCarty
 
................... 
 

Action and Compassion...An exciting video posted on Facebook by the Logical Indian...a dog, carried along turbulent waters, is rescued... for compassionate people and for all dog lovers...a dog rescue video

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

RoomToReadSriLankaRoom to Read...bringing books to disadvantaged children

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

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

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

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

Here is a link to the Room to Read Literacy Program

RomReadCambodiaGirls' Education

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

Here is a link to the Room to Read website

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 The Dogs of Circling the Waggins Live Here

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

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


FindingFidoFinding Fido: Practical Steps for Finding Your Lost Pet 

Here is an Amazon Review:

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

 


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

Here is an Amazon Review:

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

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

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

Phillip Pullman

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

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

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

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

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NEADSlogo

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

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

 

Mission and Services

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

NEADSChildNanDog

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

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

Visit their website: NEADS

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

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The World and Its Wonders

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

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

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

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

Movies 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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GoodnightMoonElegant and Deep 

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

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3. Nurturing Strong & Courageous Sons and Daughters

by Sally Matheny

Strong and Courageous
Photo by pixaby.com
Often, we hear heartbreaking stories of youth, raised in Christian homes, choosing to walk away from the Truth of Jesus Christ.
It’s frightening.

As Christian parents, we find it difficult to contemplate the possibility of our children living, and dying, without the hope, the peace, and the eternal joy that comes only through Christ.

What can parents do when the Enemy silently creeps into our children’s lives and captivates their attention with lies and deception? What can we do to help them avoid unnecessary distress in their futures? 
Read more »

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4. End of Year


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5. Merry Christmas!

From Illustration For Kids!

































Paula's Blog
Paula's Website

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6. Panda Hug

When world needs a hug...give it a HUGE Panda Hug!

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

  Thomas Nast Santa

 

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

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

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

                *************************************

              EnglandChildLaborDickens

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

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

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

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

But the Spirit Of Christmas does live on.


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

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

Scrooge Lives On...

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


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

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The Legend of Santa Claus

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

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

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

 

The illustration is by Thomas Nast.

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The Fairy Tale Moves On Its Own Time 

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

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

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

 

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The Elves and the Shoemaker

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

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

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

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

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The Saga Of Santa Claus 

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

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

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 Kwanzaa 

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

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

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

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

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Every Year...

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

 

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  Penn Vet


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

 

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

Learn more about Penn Vet Working Dog Center here. 

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 The Ghost Dog of Christmas Past

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

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

CA Wullf also created the cover for her book.

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NemoSnowjanuary-february2010

Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Singing One Of The Old-Time Carols

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

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

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

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

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Interview With Santa

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

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

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

Interviewer: Is it a true story? 

Santa:  Absolutely. 

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


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

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

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

Interviewer: The dogs? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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 Boyhood Memories

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

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

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RefugeesDafurGPE

 Light In The Darkness 

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

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

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

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

 ............................

 Movies

Hope in Dystopia in  Mockingjay: Part 2

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

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

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

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

Here is a link to the article: Richard Lawson

Here is a link to the trailer: Mockingjay 2

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

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

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

 ........................

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

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

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

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

Here is a link to the trailer: Dinosaur

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

 

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WCDogsheader9All About Dog Love

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

by Winnie Hu NY Times

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

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


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

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

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

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8. Happy Thanksgiving 2015!


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9. I'm on Manchester's Library Cards!


Manchester Libraries have redesigned their library cards and they thought that the children's cards ought to be illustrated. 

They used illustrations from my baby books as part of their publicity when the newly refurbished library was launched last year (do you remember the poster?). So they came back to me this time and asked if I would let them use my work on the library cards. It seemed such a lovely idea, of course I said yes.


They sent me some samples of the actual cards. Great aren't they? To launch them, they organised a days of children's events with me. We had a lot of fun. I thought it only fitting to read the three books featured on the cards, so I read Kangaroo's Cancan Cafe for the first time in a long time (complete with feather bower and high-kick dancing!), as well as Bears on the Stairs and Class Three all at Sea


I did two storytellings in the morning, then a workshop with older children and their parents in the afternoon. We had a great turn-out and it went really well.


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10. Beartime Stories


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

      US Fall 2012 159
  

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

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

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

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

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

 Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bawdier and Crueler

 


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

 Here is a link to the Trailer: Tale Of Tales 

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

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

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

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

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

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

.......

The Oral Tradition

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

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

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

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

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

Illustration from Pekka Halonen's painting, Pioneers In Karelia

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The TN Safety Spotters 

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


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

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

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Who were the Snow Valley Heroes?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribdTolino   

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

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

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

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The Skies Have Clouded Over

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

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

The picture is from the TV show Game Of Thrones

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Dark Dystopia 

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

This is another huge crossover phenomenon.

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

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

Here is a link to the trailer for   Mockingjay2  

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Pan Has Crashed

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

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

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

 

....

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

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

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

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

The Hollywood Movie Meeting - How Movies Get Made

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

Executive #1: Should we produce this film?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive#3: Changes? What kind of changes?

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

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

To Be Continued... 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all in the article by  and  NY Times Motherlode

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Beasts of No Nation 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is a link to sample pages of Deb Eades book: Every Rescued Dog Has a Tale: Stories from the Dog Rescue Railroad.
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"The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs."
Alphonse Toussenel
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12. The Witches of MacBook – A Poem for Susanna’s Annual Halloweensie Competition

Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting her 5th Annual Halloweensie Contest on her bog: write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children using the words costume, dark and haunt. All the other amazing entries can be found here. My poem is for … Continue reading

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13. “Believe”: A Book Review of the Kids’ Edition (and Who Won the $25 Gift Card!)

by Sally Matheny

Believe Book Review


My husband and I recently finished reading with our eleven-year-old son the kids’ edition of Believe, edited by Randy Frazee. We read one of the thirty chapters each night. The first ten chapters are about key beliefs of the Christian life. The second ten chapters talk about key practices of the Christian life. And the final ten chapters contain the key virtues of the Christian life.

Each chapter begins by asking the reader a key question to ponder. It then presents a key idea and a key verse.  Also, there is a Think About It section before the introduction. Then, actual scripture (NIV) from the Old and New Testaments, present the core truths, followed by three discussion questions.

 


We truly enjoyed reading this book together. It held my son’s attention with its short excerpts from the Bible. There are blue and white illustrations on almost every other page. The book isn't watered down or fluffed up! It was pure scripture, with a thought to ponder before reading, followed by three great discussion questions. These questions often generated further conversations with our son.

There are versions of this book for ages 4-8, 8-12 (which is the one we read), 13- 18, and one for adults. In a year or two, I’d love to get the teen version for our son.  Several years ago, he made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. We aim to train, nurture and equip him for his journey. Believe is an ironclad tool that will enhance his understanding of the Sword of Truth and how to apply it.
Read more »

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14. Happy Halloween!



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15. SUPPORT AUTHORS--Buy Direct from Them!


DISCOVER
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:

#1
BUY THEIR BOOKS!

#2
WRITE a REVIEW!
Tell others if you (or your child) enjoyed the read. . . or NOT.




PLUS
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.

YOU CAN ALSO eMAIL an AUTHOR 
 
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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16.

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

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

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


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

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

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

Real and Unreal... 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Witches Were Real 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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


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  Temp 2

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

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

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

Planet Of The Dogs is now available in digital format at

Barnes and NobleAmazonKoboOysterInkteraScribd, and Tolino.

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

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

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

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Canine Therapy is Real HandsRose.4jpg


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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 Movies -- PAN 

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

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


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

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

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

The trailer looks exciting. Here is a link: PAN

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The Reality of Five Senses

Miyazaki-nature

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

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

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

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

NewYork Public Library Childern's Literary Salon

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

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

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

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

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

 Before You Travel

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

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

mermaid 2

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20. 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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21. Still Working

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22. “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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23. September- Wonders are Forever, kids, books, movies, and dogs

   
  HowlsCastleCastle
                
 
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. 

HowlsMovingCastlePosterVertical
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.

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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.

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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. 

 
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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.

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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. 

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Mcguffy'sReaderHeader
 
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.  

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"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.
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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” 

 
 
.............
 

MisForMagicGaiman
 
 “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

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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.
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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.

 

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..

 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.

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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.

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Yelodoggie 

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.

 

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Sunbearsquad-logo

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

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"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't have evil or jealousy or  discontent." -- Milan Kundera
 
 
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24. 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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25. INTERNATIONAL LITERACY DAY--with Grammarly!


HOOK KIDS on READING

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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