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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Fairy Tales, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 293
1. Chinese Fables: The Dragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom | Book Review

This collection of pithy tales is multi-layered. The stories linger in the mind the way a good poem resonates. They are ancient Chinese fables Shiho S. Nunes has expanded into longer tales.

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2. Call for Submissions: NonBinary Review


NonBinary Review, the quarterly literary publication of Zoetic Press, wants art and literature that tiptoes the tightrope between now and then. Art that makes us see our literary offerings in new ways. We want language that makes us reach for a dictionary, a tissue, or both. Words in combinations and patterns that leave the faint of heart a little dizzy. We want insight, deep diving, broad connections, literary conspiracies, personal revelations, or anything you want to tell us about the themes we’ve chosen.

Literary forms are changing as we use technology and typography to find new ways to tell stories—for work that doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre, we’ve created a separate category to properly evaluate submissions of a hybrid or experimental nature.

Each issue will focus on a single theme. Upcoming themes:

Issue #1 (June 2014): Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Issue #2 (September 2014): Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

We are a paying market--1 cent per word for prose/hybrid work, $10 flat fee per poem, and $25 flat fee for art.

For more detailed guidelines, please expand the guidelines box of the genre you’re submitting to on our Submittable page.

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3. Call for Submissions: Rose Red Review

Rose Red Review is now accepting submissions for its Summer 2014 issue!

Rose Red Review is published four times a year, in homage to the passing season. In fairy tales, the future is unknown, often summarized by the vague phrase “happily ever after,” but each character is influenced by his or her past, and we, like the characters, live in the moment as we read their story. Rose Red Review seeks to publish art, fiction, photography, and poetry that best reflects the magic in the every day–work that honors the past, the moment, and the uncertain future.

Read more about the publication here.


Please send your submissions here.


Please visit Rose Red Review on Facebook. On Twitter.

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4. The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran, by Rita Jahanforuz | Book Review

Set in Tehran, Iran, this quite original tale is a reminder that story themes are universal. At times it has the feel of Cinderella with a cultural twist. Other times, it is reminiscent of Charles Perrault’s tale of the kindly sister and the bad-tempered sister, whose deeds have different outcomes.

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5. Writing Competition: Fairy Tale Review

Fairy Tale Review is thrilled to announce the debut of an annual contest, beginning this year with Prose & Poetry awards.

We’re interested in poems, stories, and essays with a fairy-tale feel—mainstream to experimental, genre to literary, realist to fabulist. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum will judge prose; Ilya Kaminsky will judge poetry. Both contests will award $1000, and all submissions will be considered for publication in The Mauve Issue.

Reading fee: $10.

Submit online or to:

Fairy Tale Review, c/o Kate Bernheimer
Department of English
University of Arizona
Tucson AZ 85721

Deadline: July 15th, 2014

Awards: $1,000 each

Eligibility & Procedure

All submissions must be original and previously unpublished. For prose, please send works of up to 6,000 words. For poetry, no more than five poems and/or ten pages per entry. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please withdraw your manuscript immediately upon acceptance elsewhere, and note that the reading fee is nonrefundable. Multiple submissions are acceptable, but please note that you will need to pay a reading fee for each submission.

Submit to the Poetry Contest.
Submit to the Prose Contest.

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6. Grimmtastic Girls by Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win autographed copies of the first two books in the brand new series, Grimmtastic Girls, written by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams. Giveaway begins March 18, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 17, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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7. Call for Speculative Flash Fiction: Lightning Cake

Lightning Cake is a tiny zine of illustrated speculative flash fiction. New electrifying bites posted weekly—cut yourself a slice and chomp in. Lightning Cake wants speculative stories—stories that are fantastic, strange, idiosyncratic. Science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, slipstream, weird, new weird, futuristic, surreal, mythic, fairy tales—Lightning Cake likes them all. Lightning Cake will fall for the stories that scared you to write, and will love the stories that you loved writing.

Submit previously unpublished speculative flash fiction up to 500 words.

Lightning Cake pays $5 ($0.01-$0.04/word) for accepted stories.

Upcoming reading period: April 1 - July 31, 2014.

Follow @LightningCake on Twitter for updates.

Read our guidelines here.  Our website.

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8. My Favorite Art Prompts (Great for Writing, too!)

Deciding what to draw or paint every day can be just as worrisome as wondering what to write. That's why I rely on my grab-bag of prompts for both activities, whether they're from magazine cut-outs, art history books, or my handy pile of themed index cards. 

Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite idea-starters, ones that can be used for artwork or sketching practice as well as steering clear of the writing doldrums:

  • Illustrate a fairy tale. It helps to choose a story you truly love, but if, on the other hand, you feel that "Sleeping Beauty" or "Little Red Riding Hood" have been over-done, or are too iconic, try choosing an unfamiliar tale, one from a culture foreign to your own, or one you've made up!
  • Collage your current goals. Magazines are a great way to find your initial pictures, but don't overlook the hidden gems you might discover in junk mail, retail catalogs, or business brochures.
  • Last night's dream. Although it can be fun to reproduce the objects and scenes from a dream, I personally find it more evocative to paint the mood of my dreams. Fortunately, I have always dreamed in color, but even if you're a person who dreams in black-and-white, you can still explore what you think the colors of your dream would be if they appeared on paper.
  • A still life of five random objects. Don't think--just gather items without judging or evaluating their artistic worth. Your job is to arrange the items in such a way that they take on a whole new life and meaning. Aim for, "Wow! I never thought of that before!"
  • Copy an Old Masters painting in pencil. Don't be overwhelmed if the painting you've chosen to copy is too big, too detailed, or just plain old "too good." Instead, play with line work, blocking out the composition, or a portion of the picture, e.g., a section of drapery, the trees in the background, the hands in a portrait.
  • Cut up or tear a reproduction or photocopy of an Old Masters painting and turn it into a collage. Pay special attention to the colors and themes of any materials or ephemera you add to your composition. Try some startling contrasts or harmonious blending. 
  • Your hand holding an object. Sometimes when I'm really stuck for subject matter I'll simply draw my hand and wrist. To make the exercise more lively, I've started adding objects to the mix: my pen, a toy, a cup of tea. Often these drawings can be the equivalent of a complete, but much-less complicated, self-portrait.
  • Draw or paint a landscape with only two colors. Limiting yourself to a two-color palette can be a fun and inspiring choice. Will you use complementary colors (say, red and green), warm vs. cool colors, or two shades from the same range, for instance a light violet paired with a darker purple? It's interesting to note how the colors you pick can often speak more loudly than an entire rainbow of color.
  • Collage with black-and-white photos. Make photocopies or prints of vintage photographs, whether from your own family or those found in used bookstores or thrift stores. Tell a visual story; then add writing or calligraphy to embellish the composition. Alternatively, you can use the pieces to make a strong and surreal abstract.
  • Cut shapes out of various colors of construction paper. Then arrange them into interesting designs you either glue to paper and paint over, or use as a reference to copy and turn into a separate, and original, piece.
  • Draw to music. Never fails. Whether you're doodling or painting a masterpiece worthy of gallery space, listening to music while you work is a great way to loosen up and fully express yourself.
  • Read a poem. Then paint your feelings, or illustrate your favorite line(s).
Many, if not all, of these ideas can easily be turned into writing prompts. For instance, rather than painting a fairy tale, try rewriting one like I did with "Little Goldie"-- my take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Happy creating!

Tip of the Day: Write these and any other prompts you can think of on scraps of paper. Fold each one into a square, then place it into a jar or bowl to select at random each day. Be sure to keep the prompts when you're finished; repeating the exercises with new subjects, mediums, and approaches is a valuable practice in itself.

0 Comments on My Favorite Art Prompts (Great for Writing, too!) as of 3/7/2014 12:36:00 PM
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9. Tell a Fairy Tale Day is February 26th

Fairy tales are a beloved and meaningful part of the lives of many people, across many languages and cultures, and so surely it comes as no surprise that there's a Little Known Holiday dedicated entirely to those time-honored tales:


Tell a Fairy Tale Day


Celebrated annually on February 26th, it's a day to have some fun and tell some fairy tales in whatever way suits your fancy. And just in case you're stuck for ideas, we've collected a few suggestions to get you started:



Make Up Your Own Fairy Tale to Write or Tell or Act Out

You can have a ton of fun creating your very own original fairy tale. Need help getting started? No problem. Here are a few basic guidelines on what makes a fairy tale...a fairy tale:
  • The story begins at a non-specific point (such as: "Once upon a time..." or "A long, long time ago, in a kingdom far away..."). 
  • Things tend to happen in threes.
  • There is usually some type of royalty involved.
  • Some sort of good vs evil theme is always a good bet.
  • Some sort of magic is typically included (say, a talking animal, perhaps, or a magic sword).
  • Often, there is some type of quest to be embarked upon, or a difficult task to be completed, before the hero/heroine can accomplish their goal.
  • A lesson is usually found at the end.
  • Most endings are of the "Happily Ever After" sort...but not always. There could instead be a "cautionary tale" aspect to the ending.

Find Some Ready-Made Fairy Tales to Share
  • Visit your local library and check out some of your fave fairy tales to share with your loved ones, no matter their ages. Or look for fairy tales that are new-to-you. Children, or adults, or preteens...even teens* love a good fairy tale. (*Yes, you do. You know you do - especially if that fairy tale is of the Fractured Fairy Tale type, or maybe even a picture book with some really awesome illustrations.) 
  • Wander the aisles of your local bookstore, browsing their fairy tale collections, until you find a couple of fairy tale books that you just have to have. Stories so powerful that they've stayed in people's hearts and minds over so many, many years must certainly be worth adding to your own collection of books, right?

Go Online
  • Visit this Pinterest Tell a Fairy Tale page for a fun, informal game of "Guess the Fairy Tale."
  • The World of Tales web page has a large collection of fairy tales you can read online for free. The tales are from a variety of cultures, and also include folktales and fables.

Watch Some Videos


* * *

However you choose to celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day, we hope the fairy tales you enjoy today live on in your heart...happily ever after.



0 Comments on Tell a Fairy Tale Day is February 26th as of 2/27/2014 9:26:00 PM
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10. Call for Submissions: Dead, Mad, or a Poet

Call for submissions for re-launch of Dead, Mad, or a Poet. Fiction, poetry and articles for a Pagan literary magazine. Submit by January 15. Guidelines here.

Our focus is on fiction, poetry and art by a certain subset of modern Pagans, but we will happily accept work from other folks, Pagan or no, if it suits our sensibilities and aesthetic. We do not publish oathbound material, nor do we support the proliferation of fake “traditional” material which actually has a known or knowable source. We may publish liturgical poetry presented to us by the original author, but we do not publish spells or rituals unless they have independent literary merit.

We print previously unpublished work, except by arrangement. Previous publication includes the Internet, so if you have posted your work in your personal blog or other fora, please remove it before you submit it to us.

Poetry: Image-rich, sensuous, and strange. It should sound like the fairies would like it. Send 3-5 poems per submission.

Fiction: Fiction by or about Pagans, re-tellings of myth or fairy tales, original work in a mythic or fairy tale style, or anything that wouldn’t look out of place with them at a party.

Art: Digital formats, please. More specific information forthcoming.

Non-fiction: Craft (as in writing) essays, Craft (as in witch) essays, folklore, mythology, history relevant to our other interests, or any combination of the above. We welcome solid scholarly work with cries of glee, but personal musings are also perfectly acceptable.

Poetry may be any length; fiction should be less than 10,000 words. Microfictions are delightful. Send as an attachment (.doc, .rtf, or .odt file) to an e-mail with the genre, your name, and the title(s) of your work in the subject heading to:

submissionsATdeadmadorpoetDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

You may submit as many times or in as many genres as you like, but please wait until you receive a response before sending your next submission. We do not accept simultaneous submissions.

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11. Coming Soon: Karen Foxlee’s Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Poking around Netgalley I came across Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and, intrigued by the description, began reading it and was quickly hooked. It is a lovely, moody contemporary reworking of Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” set in a museum, no less. I find books set in museum to be tricky things — sometimes the setting seems more important than the rest of it. Fortunately, in this case, it totally works. Our heroine, Ophelia, has arrived in the never-identified city with her older sister while their father works on a blockbuster exhibit of swords. They are all mourning the loss of the family’s mother in their own ways: the father throws himself into work,  the older sister becomes eagerly distracted by the exhibit’s fashionable female curator, and Ophelia gloomily wanders the museum, counting the days and hours since her mother’s death. In her wanderings she comes across the Marvelous Boy of the title and so her adventure begins.  Ophelia is a winning heroine as she fights fear to do what needs to be done (just…you know..saving the world and stuff),  the Boy sad and stalwart (his own back story meanders through the larger story taking place in the museum), the writing elegant, and the plot compelling.  There are creepy creatures, ghosts, a deliciously evil villain, magical things, and plenty more to keep middle grade readers engrossed. 

Recently the publisher sent me a print ARC along with a key and a tiny tube of super glue (a particularly clever, if for those who haven’t yet read the book, especially enigmatic touch), all of which made me smile.


0 Comments on Coming Soon: Karen Foxlee’s Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy as of 11/14/2013 5:09:00 AM
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12. Philip Pullman, Shaun Tan, and Grimm Fairy Tales

9783848920013_grimm

Last summer, at a wonderful international children’s literature conference, I met Klaus Humann of Aladin Verlag at which time, among other things, we chatted about his publishing a German edition of Philip Pullman’s Grimm fairy tales retellings. It was interesting to talk to him and later to Philip about the interesting situation of translating a British retelling of what was, after all, originally a collection of stories written and published in German.

I think I also did vaguely know, but forgot until now that Shaun Tan was to do the cover. But now I just learned that he did much more than that, he did illustrations too, small sculptures for each of the stories, no less!  Of course, I ordered it immediately.  You can see a few of them and read about Shaun’s thinking about the creation of them here.  

 


4 Comments on Philip Pullman, Shaun Tan, and Grimm Fairy Tales, last added: 10/21/2013
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13. New Disney Cinderella

Did you know that Disney has a new Cinderella movie in the works?  Directed by Kenneth Branagh? With Cate Blanchett as the stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the fairy godmother? Well, I sure didn’t. For many of us Disney’s 1950 animated feature Cinderella epitomizes a certain sort of fairy tale princess, one who waits for her prince to come.  Many have railed against these animated princesses (notably Jack Zipes) and Disney has somewhat responded, supplying their more recent princess heroines with more agency. And so I am fascinated to see what they will do with their forthcoming live-action Cinderella.

Here’s the image and press release that came out last week:

cinderella-lily-james-600x468

DISNEY’S LIVE ACTION “CINDERELLA”
BEGINS PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY IN LONDON

Starring Lily James, Richard Madden, Academy Award®-winner Cate Blanchett and Oscar®-nominee Helena Bonham Carter and Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh

Burbank, Calif. (September 23, 2013)—Walt Disney Pictures announced today that principal photography has begun at Pinewood Studios in London, on “Cinderella,” Disney’s first-ever live action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale.

Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh (“Jack Ryan,” “Thor”), the film stars Lily James (“Downton Abbey,” “Wrath of the Titans”) in the title role, Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones,” “Birdsong”) as the Prince, Oscar®-winner Cate Blanchett (“The Aviator”) as the infamous stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech,” “Alice in Wonderland”) as the Fairy Godmother. Holliday Grainger (“Great Expectations,” “Anna Karenina”) and Sophie McShera (“Downton Abbey,” “Waterloo Road”) play Ella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, respectively. Stellan Skarsgård (“The Avengers,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Nonso Anozie (“Game of Thrones,” “The Grey”) play the Arch Grand Duke and the Prince’s loyal friend, the Captain. Tony® Award-winner Derek Jacobi portrays the King.

“Cinderella” is produced by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: First Class,” “Elysium”), Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), David Barron (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Jack Ryan”), from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy,” “The Golden Compass”).

The filmmaking team includes three-time Academy Award-winning production designer Dante Ferretti (“The Aviator,” “Hugo,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (“The Aviator,” “The Young Victoria,” “Shakespeare in Love”), director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (“Sleuth,” “Thor”) and Academy Award-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Clash of the Titans”).

The timeless story of “Cinderella” dates back to 1697 when first created by Charles Perrault, although it truly came to life for millions all over the world in 1950 with Walt Disney’s celebrated animated feature.

Director Kenneth Branagh says: “It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker. With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace. Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella.

The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drisella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand as a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.

Production on “Cinderella” will take place at Pinewood Studios and locations throughout England.

“Cinderella” will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on March 13, 2015.


1 Comments on New Disney Cinderella, last added: 10/4/2013
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14. Entering the Dark Forest

 

  Raasepori-MoonLohja-summer2013 032

 The forest  has played a major role in children's literature from the earliest time.

The forest was mysterious, a place of unknowns and often darkness and fear.

From legends to fairy tales, the forest was a place of wonder and often a place of danger...from Winnie the Poo to Little Red Riding Hood

Eastern Finland-PunkaharjuThe forests are central to the Planet Of The Dogs and Castle In The Mist.

For readers, the forests, like the books whose stories embrace them, open the doors to the imagination.

This blog is dedicated to children's literature that opens the doors to the imagination. And to the amazing role of dogs in enhancing our lives. - 

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SLEEPING BEAUTIES VS. GONZO GIRLS By Maria Tatar  

In this fascinating article that moves through children's literature and cultural myths ranging from Gretel and Red Riding Hood to Katniss Everdeen and Lady Gaga, Maria Tatar explores the evolution of the female archetype today. Here are excerpts.

"We’ve come a long way from what Simone de Beauvoir once found in Anglo-European entertainments: 'In song and story the young man is seen departing adventurously in search of a woman; he slays the dragons and giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound asleep: she waits.' Have we kissed Sleeping
Beauty goodbye at last, as feminists advised us to do not so long ago...
Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” series have given us HungerGamesJenniferLawrencefemale tricksters, women who are quick-witted, fleet-footed, and resolutely brave...  they are not just cleverly resourceful and determined to survive. They’re also committed to social causes and political change...

The female trickster has a long and distinguished lineage...Many of our female tricksters—often new inflections of the ones we know from legends and fairy tales—have complemented their DoreRedRidingHoodarsenals of verbal weapons with guns and steel.Little Red Riding Hood has been revisited again and again in recent years. The girl in red, often positioned as a seductive innocent who courts the predator as much as she fears him, is no longer a willing victim. When Buffy, from the popular nineties TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” dresses up as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween...

These days, the trickiest of them all may be Lady Gaga... Lady Gaga draws us out of our LadyGagaKidscomfort zones, crosses boundaries, gets snared in her own devices. Shamelessly exploitative and exploratory, she reminds us that every culture requires a space for the disruptive energy of antisocial characters. She may have the creativity of a trickster, but she is also Sleeping Beauty and menacing monster, all rolled into one."

Maria Tatar chairs the program for folklore and mythology at Harvard University. She is the editor of the excellent Enchanted Hunters, the Power of Stories in Childhood.

The Illustration Of Red Riding Hood in bed with the wolf is by Dore...

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                   RedRidingHood2011Movie

In recent times, many versions of the fairy tales of old have been made for film and TV. Producers of these retold versions of Little Red Riding Hood have been inspired by the early versions of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault with the ominous forest, the dangerous wolf, and the innocent young maiden. These retellings have often been heavily influenced by the quest for commercial success, and the reults have been decidely mixed. Often banal or cliched, they are examples of how commerce as well cultural change affects the retelling of fairy tales.

Here is a link to the trailer of the  2011 Movie film, Red Riding Hood

And here is an excerpt and a link to Roger Ebert's laugh out loud review.

"Of the classics of world literature crying out to be filmed as a sexual fantasy for teenage RedRidingHood2011moviesgirls, surely "Red Riding Hood" is far down on the list. Here's a movie that cross-pollinates the "Twilight" formula with a werewolf and adds a girl who always wears a red hooded cape...

What this inspiration fails to account for is that while a young woman might toy with the notion of a vampire boyfriend, she might not want to mate with a wolf. Although she might think it was, like, cool to live in the woods in Oregon, she might not want to live in the Black Forest hundreds of years ago because, like, can you text from there?

"Red Riding Hood" has the added inconvenience of being dreadfully serious about a plot so preposterous, it demands to be filmed by Monty Python..."

Like Mr Ebert, most critics gave the film a negative review. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the audience rating was 39%.

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

RedRidingHood1997A sensual intepretation of Little Red Ridin Hood  from 1997 is found in this short film by David Kaplan adopted from Conte De LA Mere Grande...music by Debussy...the wolf moves like a seductive spirit of the forest...soft black and white images and a clever Red Riding Hood... 

Here is the Link: Red Riding Hood

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Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

Roald Dahl wrote his own version of Little Red Riding Hood in the form of a RoalDahlhumorous,tongue in cheek poem. This is how it begins...

"As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma's door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, "May I come in?"
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
"He's going to eat me up!" she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
RedRidinghoodDahlHe ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, "That's not enough!
I haven't yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!"
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
"I've got to have a second helping!"...

The image above is from a fun film made of Dahl's Red Riding Hood poem using stop-motion puppets. The imaginative creators, Hannah Legere and Andrew Wilson, certainly caught the spirit of the Dahl poem. Link here to this delightful film version of Roald Dahl's  poem...

The dog lover in the photograph is Roald Dahl.

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Artists and Illustrators...

LittleRedRidingHoodBookCover Wisnewski 14 different artist's versions of Red Riding Hood are posted on the  Art of Children's Books  blog site..here is an excerpt from their introduction...

"Folk tales and fairy tales are at the top of the list when it comes to vintage children's books. The Brothers Grimm* folk tale, Little Red Riding Hood, has been a beloved and enduring story. Originally titled Little Red Cap, the story has a strong lesson. Since it's publication, Little Red Riding Hood has been illustrated by many artists over the years. Here is just a sampling of the different artistic interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood."

 Book cover by Andrea Wisnewski...*The original version was published by Charles Perault.

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RedRidingHoodForestThe Forest and Imagination...
The influence of the forest on the imagination will 
always be with us, especially in legend, folk tales and children's stories.
Innumerable film and TV versions, including 
many annimated cartoons, of Little Red Riding Hood will continue to be made. And wonderful writers like Roald Dahl in the past, and Philip Pullman in the present, will continue to find the forests of fairy tales a timeless setting for timeless stories. 

 The illustration is by Arthur Rackham...if you look closely, on the path beneath the huge tree, you will see red Riding Hood and the wolf.

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Reading for Pleasure...opening the imagination, opening the mind...

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Reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom, according to a UK study of the reading behavior of appoximately 6000 young people. Here are excerpts from a report that reaffirms the value early reading and bedtime stories.

"Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better at school than their peers, according to new research from the Institute of Education (IOE).

Jordyn castleThe IOE study, which is believed to be the first to examine the effect of reading for pleasure on cognitive development over time, found that children who read for pleasure made more progress in maths, vocabulary and spelling between the ages of10 and 16 than those who rarely read...

...Children who were read to regularly by their parents at age 5 performed better in all three tests at age 16 than those who were not helped in this way." 

The research was conducted by Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown; To read the article, visit Pleasure Reading

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The Doors that Rose opens... 

“I consider myself a facilitator…if my dog could drive, she would not need me. Rose seems to enjoy seeing people multiple times and developing a relationship with the people… She is SusanPurseTDRose_01a working dog by nature and she just loves these jobs.  I am constantly amazed at the doors that Rose opens…she goes to places I could never get without her…reaches beyond my reach, touches a person deeper than my touch.  The restless or agitated patient who is calmed by Rose’s touch...the child in the classroom who won’t settle down and get to work but when Rose sits by them, they quiet right down and the hyperactivity seems to dissipate.  The child getting excited about reading to Rose every week; they wouldn’t do that for me, but they do it for Rose.  Lying with a dying patient who will smile, close their eyes and stroke her with a peacefulness that is so precious…I know I could not enter that person’s space without Rose…it really is all about occupying part of someone else’s space for just a short time be it in a school, home or hospital...” 

A former teacher, Susan Purser, and her Australian Cattle Dog, Rose, have been very active as a therapy dog team for several years in Sarasota, Florida. 

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Paws Giving Independence

 Paws Giving Independence is a recpient of a 2013 Planet Dog Foundation Grant. GIPGivingIndependeceBoyandDogPlanet Dog has this year donated $71,500 in new grants to 16 non-profit dog organizations..."The PDF grants will help fund assistance dog, therapy dog and search and rescue programs across the country and support a wide variety of non-profit programs that are helping children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities; injured service members; natural disaster survivors and many more people in need..."

"Paws Giving Independence is an all-volunteer organization that saves dogs from area shelters, trains them to be service/companion dogs, and places the dogs, free of charge, with those in need. GIPGivingIndependenceGirlDogKaraLogan Their Saving a Life to Change a Life project identifies suitable dogs in shelters and trains them to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities. They train dogs to open doors, pick up dropped objects, turn lights on and off, and other ways to assist in independence. In addition, they train dogs to alert for epileptic and diabetic seizures, and psychological assistance for military veterans with PTSD. PDF funds support veterinary care, special prosthetics and balance equipment and training."

 Paws Giving Independence was founded in 2008 by 3 Bradley University students who recognized the marvelous healing capabilities of dogs.

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for Dog Lovers and decent people...

Here's a Goodreads review that strikes home and makes sense for dog lovers and decent people...Passionate dog rescuer, animal rights advocate and author.C.A. Wulff wrote How to Change The World in 30 Seconds...

"At first i started reading this book as an animal rescuer myself. But as i started to go Arielchange world3edthrough all of the information in the book i realized that this book is a GREAT informative guide for people who have just dipped their toes into the realm of rescue. It is laid out in a way that focuses on an audience that may, or may not have already heard of some of the ideas. This way a novice rescuer can understand it, but the veteran rescuer isnt just wading through either. I saw several options that were detailed out even for someone in rescue many years. So really what im saying is.. it doesnt matter if you are new or old to it, this can give you great ideas, starting points and explanations for why so many rescuers are able to save lives on click at a time."

 Here is a link to the full review by Sylence of How to Change the World in 30 Seconds, in Goodreads... 

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 Much has been written of the importance of childhood experiences with books...books that meant a lot to an individual as a child and where the memory of the book remains important in their adult life. Here, thanks to Monica Edinger's Educating Alice blog, are excerpts from a rather fascinating converstion by two of the most prominent, respected, and imaginative writers of children's and YA literature...

FineBooksCollectionsLogo-top

 

 

 

Guest Blog: Gaiman & Pullman Talk Children's Books in Literary Oxford

BY REBECCA REGO BARRY ON AUGUST 26, 2013 8:40 AM Guest Blog by Catherine Batac Walder 

 "Gaiman talked about reading the Mary Poppins books when he was six or seven and how they helped form whatever worldview he had as a kid. 'The idea that the world is incredibly unlikely and strange secret things are always happening, that adults don't really explain to you, or in fact, that adults may be oblivious to'...


''His (Gaiman's) wonder was infectious as he recalled discovering the library when he was very GaimenCoverCoralineyoung and having that incredible feeling of power; discovering the card catalogue in which you could actually look up subjects like witches or robots or ghosts; or you could just take down books and read the interesting ones. Both authors talked about discovering American comic books and marveled at the speed in the stories, the size of them, with Gaiman adding, "Everything was alien, everything was equally as strange and unlikely, so skyscrapers, and pizza and fire hydrants were just as alien to my world as people in capes flying around..."

 

 

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   Aliceheader

Monica Edinger, a fourth grade teacher, and a passionate advocate of the wonders and benefits of children's literature, has a very lively and informative blog:  Educating Alice . Her new book, Africa Is My Home, is receiving excellent reviews.

Here are excerpts from her blog ;

                                The Unjournal of Children's Literature 

EdingerAfricaIsMyHomecoverThe “un” movement is an intriguing one. Until recently I had only heard about it in terms of unconferences, participant-driven events such as this one. But now there is another sort of un-thing, an unjournal. Created by children’s literature graduate students at San Diego State University, the inaugural issue of The Unjournal of Children’s Literature is up and ready for viewing, reading, and responding. Gorgeous to look at, clearly designed in terms of navigation, fascinating in terms of content, this is one elegant web publication.

And from an article on kids, books and reading: "Reading to me is many things and so I think we teachers need to provide many different experiences with reading and books.  My fourth grade students read all sorts of material on their own, for themselves, for all sorts of reasons..."  

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PALbanner

What do Therapy Dogs Do All Day?

Here are videos from Peple Animals Love (PAL), based in Washington DC, that document the wonderful work that their volunteers and their dogs perform. Click this link: PAL

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Fairy Tales as the Last Echoes of Pagan Myths...

Seth Lerner, in writing about the orgins and history of fairy tales and folklore, points out that Wilhelm Grimm, at the time the Grimm brothers books were being published in 1812 and 1815, wrote that fairy tales were the "'last echoes of pagan myths'. He GrimmRackhamHanselGretel(Grimm) went on:"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) belong to our national poetic heritage..."

Lerner sees even more significance in Fairy tales. He goes on to point out that "what we find inside these secret forests, caves, and seas is not just a poetic heritage, but a personal one as well. For fairy tales are full of families, full of parents who bequeth a sense of self to children, full of ancestors and heirs whose lives play out, in little, the life of a nation from childhood to maturity..."

 Seth Lerer is Dean of Arts and Humanities and Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego. The quotes and ideas above are from his informative and insightful book, Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter

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NYPLlogoNYPL's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our event on Saturday, October 12th at 2:00 p.m.

The ABC of It: Curator Leonard S. Marcus in Conversation
Join Bank Street’s Center for Children’s Literature, Interim Director Jenny Brown as she interviews historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus about his current NYPL exhibit and the importance of children’s literature as a whole.
This event will be held in the South Court Auditorium in the main branch of New York Public Library.
For any questions or concerns, please contact Betsy Bird at elizabethbird@bookops.org.

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GalleyCat_header 

Harry Potter's Textbook...

"J.K. Rowling will write her first movie script for Warner Bros., writing Fantastic Beasts and Where to
JKRowlingBookFind Them–a film based on Harry Potter’s textbook from his school for wizards.

The film is part of a planned series featuring the author of the magical book, Newt Scamander. Rowling published a book by the same name in 2001. She had this comment on her Facebook page:

"Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world..." Here is the link: JKRowling

 

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Dogs in the Forest...

The forest plays a very important role in the Planet Of The Dogs Series. Here is an excerpt from Castle In The Mist...

CITM-blog size-382KB"The dogs continued to lead the soldiers deeper into the woods.  Soon, it began to snow, slowly at first, and then, the wind increased and the snow was everywhere.  It became very difficult to see very far.  The leader of the soldiers told his men that they were to follow him.  They were returning to the castle. 

They started walking through the snow when one of the men, who was an experienced forest guide, said to the leader, “With respect sir, but I don’t think we are going in the right direction.” The leader was about to answer him when howling started.  It seemed to come from all directions.  Then the leader spoke, “You will follow me, I am certain that this is the way.”  They continued on through the swirling snow, unable to see, and surrounded by howling dogs..."

Here is an excert from a review:"Do you think it is possible for dogs to stop war? Author Robert J. McCarty has created a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two different levels…a 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…Castle In The Mist will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. 

Wayne Walker reviewing Castle in the Mist for Stories for Children Magazine, the Home School Book Review and the Home School Buzz wrote:


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Canadian Service Dog Foundation logoCANADIAN SERVICE DOG FOUNDATION

           CanadianCSDFdog_walker

The Canadian Service Dog Foundation trains and provides service dogs for a wide variety of human needs and services. They provide a wide range of vital services,,,ten major humanitarian objectives are listed on their website. Here are the first two:

  • "To improve quality of life for Canadians through the use of service dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals. Provide opportunities, resources, and support through the use of trained service dogs for Canadians living with psychiatric disabilities so as to allow for greater functional independence, sufficient to make healthy choices and lead active lifestyles."
  • To support past or present military personnel, emergency service workers, and related professionals dealing with operational stress injuries through the use of specially trained service dogs.
  • Here is a link to learn more about their wide reaching canine services for people: CSDF Services 
  • ............................................

Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by Pod bookmark back_flat

clicking here:Books

Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes  Noble, Amazon, Powell's...

Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.

Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at barkingplanet@aol.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the kids read dog books to you?"

And Now -- for the First Time -- E Books of the Planet Of The Dogs Series are coming on KDP Select...

Planet Of The Dogs will be available October 1...Castle In The Mist will be available on October 15 and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, on November 15...in time for the Holiday Gift Season... 


Any one of these books would make for a delightful—and one would assume cherished—gift for any child.  All three would be an amazing reading adventure. Darlene Arden, educator, dog expert, and author of Small Dogs Big Hearts wrote:  

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Finding Fido

"We are excited to announce that Barking Planet Productions is publishing a new book by C.A.Wulff.

"Finding Fido" will be available for purchase at amazon.com on September 30. "Finding Fido" is a handbook every pet owner will want to have in their library.

Between 3 and 4 million pets are put to death in shelters across the U.S. every year. Some of Fidofrontcover72them are owner surrenders, some are impounds, but the vast majority of them are missing or stolen pets.
 
C.A. Wulff and A.A.Weddle, the administrators of the service Lost & Found Ohio Pets, have compiled a guide to address this sad reality.  ‘Finding Fido’ offers tips for preventing the loss of a pet; advice for what to do with a stray pet you’ve found; and a step-by-step plan in case the unthinkable happens, and you lose a pet.  
 
This is an instructive and important tool every family with a dog or cat should have on hand… just in case.
 
100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book benefits The Beagle Freedom Project!"

 

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 WCDogsLogo

A Dog Health Update: here are excerpts from an article on Giardiasis – Parasitic Diarrhea in Dogs, Cats and Humans...The microscopic parasites known as Giardiasis are the most common intestinal parasites to be found in humans, dogs and cats. A protozoan parasite infection, it is the cause of a very serious diarrheal illness in the intestinal areas, known to be highly contagious but not lethal. However,  it is a parasite that can be transferred across species — from person-to-person or animal-to-person... The most popular locations for this parasite are on surfaces or within soil and food.However, drinking water and recreational water that has been contaminated with feces (poop) from infected humans or animals are the most common methods of transmission. This includes untreated or improperly treated water from lakes, streams, or wells...

Here's the link to read this comprehensive, informative article: Way Cool Dogs

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       New England Conferences-Book Shows in October for           IPNE Small-logo-blue-white       Independent Bookstores and Libraries

 As members of the Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE), we will be exhibiting Circling the Waggins and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale at the New England Independent Booksellers Association (NEIBA),October 6-8, in Providence, RI and the New England Library Association(NELA), on October 20-27, in Portland, Maine.

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Nyt-global-edition-masthead-logo

Green Eggs and E-Books? Thank You, Sam-I-Am By Julie Bosman

Here are excerpts from Julie Bosman's article...

"Dr. Seuss books, those whimsical, mischievous, irresistibly rhymey stories that have been passed down in print to generations of readers, are finally catching up with digital publishing...

DrSeussCatInHatThe Dr. Seuss canon will be released in e-book format for the first time, beginning later this month, his publisher said on Wednesday, an announcement that could nudge more parents and educators to download picture books for children...picture books have lagged far behind(adult fiction) . Several publishers said e-books represent only 2 to 5 percent of their total picture book sales, a number that has scarcely moved in the last several years.

But the release of the Dr. Seuss books, still hugely popular after decades in print, could move that number higher. The e-books will be available on color tablets, including the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook HD. The first titles to be released, on Sept. 24, include “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham,” “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!” and “The Lorax” (featuring an environmentally conscious character who might be happy about the announcement)."

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           LearEdmundBookofNonsensecover

''The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea 
In a beautiful pea-green boat, 
They took some honey, and plenty of money, 
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.''
Click here for information and videos of COROMANDEL , byTrevor Bachman's... Here is an excerpt from their site...A" vibrant musical odyssey for children and adults, Coromandel is a journey through the mind of poet Edward Lear"...playing in New York City in early October..." a fusion of rock, jazz, bluegrass, tango, musical theatre, and classical sounds makes for a diverse, delicious, and sonically satisfying evening. Told with a whimsical simplicity that appeals to children of all ages..."

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SunbearSqBigLogo

"We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace." 

—Albert Schweitzer, "The Philosophy of Civilization" -

I found this quote on

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15. Call for Submissions: The Golden Key

The Golden Key is a bi-annual journal of speculative and literary writing, inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale of the same name. We seek realist work sensitive to the magical and strange. The fantastical. Slipstream. Fabulist. Gothic. Weird tales. Work that unlocks. Work that restocks. We love writers who see familiar things in unexpected ways, and writers who revel in playing with language.

We are currently accepting unpublished fiction and poetry submissions for Issue #3 Things Unseen.

Bring out your work that invokes the cloak of night, ghosts, and hidden motivations. Poltergeists, microbes, tooth fairies all welcome here. Introduce us to characters who are often heard of, but never heard from. We want presences shaped by their outlines and negative space.

Present us with your best card trick, or a story or poem that quietly slips under our skin. Bring us to life with the scent of a stewing tomato, the barest tickle on the backs of our necks, or a strange strain of music that floats off the page.

We want work that is spectral, smoky, suggested. Work that has us weaving after it through the brume. Give us your intangibles, your stories and poems that can’t be grasped too tightly. Peel back the veil.

Deadline: The Things Unseen issue ends October 1, 2013.

Please see our website for further detail on submissions. For journal updates, follow us on Twitter @GoldenKeyLit or Facebook. We do our best to keep our response times to about 4-6 weeks
.

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16. A Good Day of Drawing

Image

It was a great day in the studio.   My characters for my story are growing.  Can you see how they almost tell their own story?  Look at this little pigs face. Does he like cooking?  What is he making? What is he thinking?

Writers develop their characters with pen in hand. I also have pen in hand, but mine is to draw the characters first… then move on to writing the story. 

There is still so much to do… I have only JUST BEGUN!

 


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17. Call for Mythic Fiction and Poetry: Fickle Muses

Fickle Muses, an online journal of mythic poetry and fiction, wants your work! We are particularly interested in poetry at this time.


Submissions are considered year-round and are open to all mythic traditions. Simultaneous and previously published submissions will be considered. Please send no more than one submission per genre per year unless requested.

Also, please only send written works clearly related to mythology (fairy tales are acceptable).  

Read our complete guidelines here. Submit your work here.


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18. Fairy Tale Comics


Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists
Edited by Chris Duffy
First Second, on shelves September 24, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

From the same editor who brought us Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists, we now have this fabulous collection of Fairy Tale Comics!

17 different artists, 17 different stories from the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Bre'r Rabbit, 1001 Nights, and Japanese, English and Russian Folktales.

Readers in my classroom will recognize the work of Raina Telgemeier (Drama and Smile) and Charise Mericle Harper (Fashion Kitty versus the Fashion Queen). Probably 6 of the 17 stories will be familiar.

So, it's safe to say that this book will introduce readers (in a fun way) to many new graphic artists and many new fairy tales! Win-Win!

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19. Middle Grade Voices



 Middle Grade Books

1) “Children of the Lamp (The Akhanaten Adventure)- by P.B Kerr, published by “Orchard books, and imprint of scholastic Inc.  New York 2004.  What if you find out that you are descendants from a long line of Dijon, human-like  beings created from fire.  They are able to grant wishes, and take on different animal forms.  This is exactly what happens to two twelve-year-old twins, John and Phillippa, after they get their wisdom teeth pulled.  The children are sent to London to their Uncle Nimrod's home where their amazing adventure begins. This venture takes the reader on a magic carpet ride through a fantasy Middle Eastern World.  This journey teaches the twins that granting wishes is not only dangerous for themselves, but for people who desire wishes as well.

2) “Peter and Star Catchers”-Written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, illustrated by Greg Call.  Published by Disney Hyperion paperbacks for children New York 2004.  How was never-land discovered?  How did Peter Pan become a boy forever? This book helps the reader find answers to those questions and many more.  Peter Pan is a never aging boy, who visits children at night and takes them to fantasy island called Never-Land where magic lives.  Through the use of vivid language and pencil illustrations, the authors introduce us to how Peter Pan became a part of a world, full of amazing creatures, and magic. This story reveals the mystery of magic dust and how Children can make it real by looking within and tapping into their own imagination.

 
3) “Infinity Ring book three the trapdoor”- written by Lisa McMann, published by Scholastic Inc.  New York 2013.  The next book in this interactive serious takes our heroes Dak, Sera and Riq to Maryland in 1850 just before the Civil War.  The main character in this book travel back it time and fix History Breaks, that has been caused by an evil corporation with intentions to take over the world. The time period in this book describes how new law has been passed that allows any white American to report free blacks, and then make them slaves. The children's mission is to stop this law, and to save the civil right leaders from a prison Dream like landscapes, humor and adventure take the seriousness of the topic at hand, and twists it into a fun read for everyone. 

4) “The 13thReality, the Journal of curious letters. - Written by James Dashner, illustrated by Bryan Beus, Published by Shadow Mountain Press an imprint of Worzalla Publishing Co.  Stevens point, WI. 2008. One day a nerdy boy, Atticus Higginbottom receives a strange letter from Alaska.  After this boy’s life changes from a boring one to life full of mystery and questions that, need to be answered.  Twelve clues help him understand that the world he lives in is just one of many parallel worlds, which still need to be discovered and saved.  If a child likes to solve problems through clues, they would love this book.  A story progresses Atticus goes from zero to hero.  The pencil illustrations and secrets surrounding the boy’s life will keep your middle graders turning the pages.  

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20. 99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One

By Mary Pleiss

Wicked Witch of the WestWhen I was a little girl, the witches I knew came from fairy tales. They were old, ugly, and mean–life ruiners who cast evil spells with no provocation. My young friends and I ran into the problem of the witch in our play. We didn’t want to meet a witch in a dark forest or a bright one, even if that forest was the pair of trees in our backyard. Certainly none of us wanted to be the witch. But we knew we had to have a witch. Witches made things happen, provided scary, shivery tension, and gave the good characters something to fight against and overcome.

We often solved this problem by keeping the witch offscreen; we called out plot points detailing the unseen, unheard witch’s actions: “Now the witch is casting her spell. If you get to the swing set, you’re safe!” or, “You stepped into the witch’s clover patch–you’re trapped!” We could imagine the witch without casting her because we’d read stories and seen movies (mostly Disney movies and of course The Wizard of Oz). We knew witches well enough to weave them into our play without having to face the fact that we all had it in ourselves to be witches.

The Witch of Blackbird PondIn sixth grade, I read Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I started thinking about witches in a different way. What made the people of Wethersfield believe Hannah Tupper and Kit Tyler were witches, when any reader could see they weren’t magical or evil–just a little bit different? Why did their neighbors feel the need to banish or imprison them? If Hannah and Kit weren’t really evil, what did that say about the fairy tale witches I’d always feared and hated?

The witches in our fiction today are very different from those in fairy tales, and it turns out that even the Wicked Witch of the West has more complexity than I realized when I was growing up. I knew her from the movie, but reading the books as an adult, and learning more about the history of the Oz books in particular and witches–and those who were accused of witchcraft–in western culture has witches in a new light. L. Frank Baum was heavily influenced by his mother-in-law, Matilda Gage, who was an historian and feminist who promoted influential theories about women who were called witches in history. Baum had those theories in mind when he populated Oz with witches who were more dimensional than what had come before; they had backstories and motivations, and while some of them were evil, just as many were good.

Since Baum, of course, a number of children’s and YA writers have included witches–and women accused of witchcraft–in their stories. Whether bad, good, or somewhere in between, those witches have developed into characters with more depth and complexity than even Baum could have imagined. As societal attitudes about the roles of girls and women have evolved, fictional characterizations of witches have changed, and we can’t  get away with taking the problematic witch offscreen or making her a one-dimensional villain. Now, when we write about witches, we work to make them as dimensional as all of our other characters, and our problem becomes the same as that we face with most other characters: how do we bring the witch to life?

Here are some suggestions and questions you can ask yourself if you’re including witchy characters in your fiction:

Consider doing some research into historical witches and witchcraft trials. You might find an angle or a detail no one’s ever written about before.

If your witches really do practice magic, is their power individual or communal, or some combination of both? Is magic learned or innate? Can you make witchcraft/magic a source of conflict, rather than a crutch that relieves it?

Does your character need to make choices about her “witchiness”—whether it’s to become a witch, to fully use or curtail her own power, or to educate herself about her power? Against or for whom she will use her power? Will she embrace her power right away, or resist it?

These are, of course, just a start to creating fully realized witch characters, but they’re a way to turn the witch into an integral part of your story, rather than a flat stereotype. Give your readers more to think about when you write witches, so that kids who play pretend will argue over who gets to be the witch, rather than relegating her to an offscreen ghost.

March Dystropia MadnessMary Pleiss: Though some might say all the hours Mary Pleiss spent haunting the library and disappearing into book worlds hinted at her future in writing for middle grade and young adult readers, she confesses that at the time she just thought it was a good way to escape her noisy family (she loves them, really, but six siblings can be a bit much at times). She is a curriculum development specialist, teacher, and recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Follow Mary on Twitter: @MKPleiss

This blog post was brought to you as part of the March Dystropian Madness blog series. 


5 Comments on 99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One, last added: 4/16/2013
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21. 99 Problems But the Witch Ain’t One

By Mary Pleiss

Wicked Witch of the WestWhen I was a little girl, the witches I knew came from fairy tales. They were old, ugly, and mean–life ruiners who cast evil spells with no provocation. My young friends and I ran into the problem of the witch in our play. We didn’t want to meet a witch in a dark forest or a bright one, even if that forest was the pair of trees in our backyard. Certainly none of us wanted to be the witch. But we knew we had to have a witch. Witches made things happen, provided scary, shivery tension, and gave the good characters something to fight against and overcome.

We often solved this problem by keeping the witch offscreen; we called out plot points detailing the unseen, unheard witch’s actions: “Now the witch is casting her spell. If you get to the swing set, you’re safe!” or, “You stepped into the witch’s clover patch–you’re trapped!” We could imagine the witch without casting her because we’d read stories and seen movies (mostly Disney movies and of course The Wizard of Oz). We knew witches well enough to weave them into our play without having to face the fact that we all had it in ourselves to be witches.

The Witch of Blackbird PondIn sixth grade, I read Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and I started thinking about witches in a different way. What made the people of Wethersfield believe Hannah Tupper and Kit Tyler were witches, when any reader could see they weren’t magical or evil–just a little bit different? Why did their neighbors feel the need to banish or imprison them? If Hannah and Kit weren’t really evil, what did that say about the fairy tale witches I’d always feared and hated?

The witches in our fiction today are very different from those in fairy tales, and it turns out that even the Wicked Witch of the West has more complexity than I realized when I was growing up. I knew her from the movie, but reading the books as an adult, and learning more about the history of the Oz books in particular and witches–and those who were accused of witchcraft–in western culture has witches in a new light. L. Frank Baum was heavily influenced by his mother-in-law, Matilda Gage, who was an historian and feminist who promoted influential theories about women who were called witches in history. Baum had those theories in mind when he populated Oz with witches who were more dimensional than what had come before; they had backstories and motivations, and while some of them were evil, just as many were good.

Since Baum, of course, a number of children’s and YA writers have included witches–and women accused of witchcraft–in their stories. Whether bad, good, or somewhere in between, those witches have developed into characters with more depth and complexity than even Baum could have imagined. As societal attitudes about the roles of girls and women have evolved, fictional characterizations of witches have changed, and we can’t  get away with taking the problematic witch offscreen or making her a one-dimensional villain. Now, when we write about witches, we work to make them as dimensional as all of our other characters, and our problem becomes the same as that we face with most other characters: how do we bring the witch to life?

Here are some suggestions and questions you can ask yourself if you’re including witchy characters in your fiction:

Consider doing some research into historical witches and witchcraft trials. You might find an angle or a detail no one’s ever written about before.

If your witches really do practice magic, is their power individual or communal, or some combination of both? Is magic learned or innate? Can you make witchcraft/magic a source of conflict, rather than a crutch that relieves it?

Does your character need to make choices about her “witchiness”—whether it’s to become a witch, to fully use or curtail her own power, or to educate herself about her power? Against or for whom she will use her power? Will she embrace her power right away, or resist it?

These are, of course, just a start to creating fully realized witch characters, but they’re a way to turn the witch into an integral part of your story, rather than a flat stereotype. Give your readers more to think about when you write witches, so that kids who play pretend will argue over who gets to be the witch, rather than relegating her to an offscreen ghost.

March Dystropia MadnessMary Pleiss: Though some might say all the hours Mary Pleiss spent haunting the library and disappearing into book worlds hinted at her future in writing for middle grade and young adult readers, she confesses that at the time she just thought it was a good way to escape her noisy family (she loves them, really, but six siblings can be a bit much at times). She is a curriculum development specialist, teacher, and recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Follow Mary on Twitter: @MKPleiss

This blog post was brought to you as part of the March Dystropian Madness blog series. 


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22. New Market for Writers of Children’s Books

Last August I blogged about writing markets for child authors. After I’d compiled a list on my blog, the editor of the e-zine Knowonder! contacted me to let me know it also publishes children’s writing (as well as children’s stories written by adults). I was unfamiliar with the e-zine but saw it paid, so I submitted a few stories online. Knowonder! recently purchased a Christmas story from me.

The editor has since let me know that Knowonder! is now accepting chapter books for ages 7 to 9. If you’re interested, you can find guidelines and submit at knowonder.submittable.com/submit

From what I’ve submitted to this publisher, I gather the editors are seeking stories more like traditional fairy tales, with an element of magic or fantasy. They ask for “imaginative, exciting, action-filled” stories. They don’t appear to be seeking run-of-the-mill contemporary stories with everyday situations set in ordinary settings.


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23. Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachel Mortimer

red riding hood

Lovers of fractured fairy tales are bound to eat up this one. Mr. and Mrs. Wolf are angry that Little Wolf isn’t big and bad like they are. They send her out to gather ingredients for dinner and she stumbles upon Red Riding Hood in the forest. Little Wolf doesn’t know what to do. Perhaps the unlikely duo can find a solution to Little Wolf’s problem.

This is a fabulous book! It’s a neat twist having the wolf parents being the bad ones, while Little Wolf has no desire to eat little girls. Instead, she likes fairy tales and playing dress up. It’s also funny and unique how Red Riding Hood is reading some familiar fairy tales as she makes her way to grandma’s house.  You simply can’t help but love this story. It’s so clever.

I knew Liz Pichon provided the artwork for this story without even looking. In addition to being the author of her own fractured fairy tale, her distinctive style adds beauty and humor to Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf.

Children will love this one. Highly recommended.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tiger Tales (March 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589251172
ISBN-13: 978-1589251175

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.


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24. Tom McNeal’s Far Far Away

Tom McNeal’s just out Far Far Away is getting some well-deserved buzz so I figured I would post my brief goodreads comments, written after reading it a few months back.

A very unique read, sort of spooky, definitely creepy as it goes on. With one notable exception, the characters are-not-quite Grimm characters, but nearly. The book is filled with Grimm tropes and you think the author is going to take you in somewhat predictable fairy-tale directions and he doesn’t. McNeal really knows how to make food sound really scrumptious and also various characters twinkly and fun until…they are not. It probably would have given me nightmares as a kid. That is, I was the sort of kid who always freaked out around clowns and there is a character in this book that reinforces just why they freaked me out. Can’t say more without spoilage.


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25. A folklore and fairy tales reading list from Oxford World’s Classics

By Jessica Harris


This month our Oxford World’s Classics reading list is on folk and fairy tales. Many of these stories pre-date the printing press, and most will no doubt continue to be told for hundreds of years to come. How many of these have you heard of, and have we missed out your favourite? Let us know in the comments.

Beowulf

No list on folklore would be complete without Beowulf: probably the most famous English folk tale and a great story. This half-historical, half-legendary epic poem written by an unknown poet between the 8th and 11th century tells the story of the majestic hero Beowulf, who saves Hrothgar, the Danish king, from monstrous and terrifying enemies before eventually being slain. Through this tale of swashbuckling adventure we also see the power struggles and brutality of medieval politics.

Selected Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

In 1812 the Brothers Grimm took contemporary German folk tales and shaped them in their own bloodthirsty way, and in doing so captivated and horrified children for years to come. There are no morals here; no happy endings – the antagonists such as the evil stepmother won’t just steal your sweets but would kill you without a second thought. Here we have, for example, the original Snow White, with the Witch forced to dance in red-hot shoes until her death.

Le Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory

This text, written by Sir Thomas Malory in 1470, provides us with the definitive version of many of the King Arthur stories: the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot’s betrayal, and the Quest for the Holy Grail. Here we see the Round Table full of warring factions; we see Arthur the King discredited by Lancelot, who begins an affair with his wife, Guinevere, and we see Arthur’s supporters’ revenge that Arthur is powerless to prevent. The book shows how Arthur and his court lived and felt – and it’s no wonder the legend is such a fundamental part of British culture.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

When the mysterious Green Knight turns up at King Arthur’s court and challenges anyone to strike him with his axe and accept a return blow in a year and a day, Sir Gawain, the youngest Knight in Sir Arthur’s court, decides to prove his mettle by accepting the challenge. However, when he strikes the Green Knight and beheads him, the man laughs, picks up his head and tells Gawain he has a year and a day to live. Despite being written in the fourteenth century, this poem’s main theme – proving yourself – makes it instantly relatable and compelling.

Statue of Hans Christian Andersen reading The Ugly Duckling, in Central Park, New York City

Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

This collection of fairy tales is a world away from Grimm’s violent and sinister collection – this Danish author was the creator of charming, accessible stories such as The Ugly Duckling and the Emperor’s New Clothes. Despite being poorly received when they were first published in 1936 because of their informality and focus on being amusing rather than educational, these stories have entertained generations of children. Christian Andersen invented the “fairy tale” as we know it today – simple, timeless stories that explore universal themes and end happily.

Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas

This saga was originally told orally around 1000 CE and was written down in the thirteenth or fourteenth century and is a major landmark in Icelandic folk literature. It tells the story of Eirik’s exile for murder, the same fate as his father, and his discovery and settlement in “Vinland”, a lush, plentiful country. It is believed to describe one of the first discoveries of North America, five hundred years before Captain Cook.

The Nibelungenlied

This epic comes from Medieval Germany and is a masterpiece of fantasy storytelling. Written in 1200 but rediscovered in the 1700s, it has since become the German national epic – on a par with the Iliad or the Ramayana. This story has it all: dragons, invisibility cloaks, fortune telling, and hoards of treasure guarded by dwarves and giants. We see love, jealousy and conflict, and the story ends with awful slaughter. The story has inspired a number of adaptations, including Wagner’s Ring cycle.

The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven medieval Welsh stories which combine Arthurian legend, Celtic myth and social narrative to create an epic series – its importance as a record of the history of culture and mythology in Wales is enormous. The stories are fantastical: the Four Branches of the Mabinogi are tales about British pagan gods recreated as human heroes, and sociological: The Dream of Macsen Wledig is an exaggerated story about the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus.

Jessica Harris graduated from Warwick University with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and has been working as an intern in the Online Product Marketing department in the Oxford office of Oxford University Press.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog.

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Image credit: Statue of Hans Christian Andersen reading The Ugly Duckling, in Central Park, New York City. By Dismas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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