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1. 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%.

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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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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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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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2. Fifty Shades of Grey Boosts Random House Earnings

Random House posted a 64 percent increase in operating profit for the first half of 2012. According to Variety, the publisher also boasted a 20 percent increase in revenue–rising to $1.2 billion.

Here’s more from the article: “The titillating [50 Shades of Grey] trilogy sold more than 30 million copies between March and June, with sales evenly divided between the trade paperback and e-book editions. The Social Network producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti are producing the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey the first book in the trilogy, for Universal Pictures and Focus Features.”

Random House also credited the growth in eBook sales and the popularity of some of their biggest bestselling authors including George R.R. Martin  (A Song of Ice and Fire series), John Grisham (Calico Joe), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Dr. Seuss (The Lorax).

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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3. BOX OFFICE REPORT: Animators Rule US Box Office

21 Jump Street

In a rare trifecta, animation artists ruled the top three spots at the box office this weekend. The number one spot, with an estimated $35 million, belonged to the TV adaptation of 21 Jump Street. It heralded the live-action feature directing debut of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were the co-creators of MTV/Teletoon’s Clone High and the directors of Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Second place went to Illumination Entetainment’s The Lorax which earned an estimated $22.8M in its third weekend, pushing its total to a robus $158.4M. Rounding out the top three was Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, which dropped 55% from its first weekend to an estimated $13.5M. The Disney flop’s two-week total is $53.2M and is headed to a final domestic tally of $90-100M.


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4. Bronze Lorax Statue Stolen from Dr. Seuss’ San Diego Estate

A bronze statue of The Lorax has been stolen from the grounds of the late Dr. Seuss‘ San Diego estate. The statue reportedly weighs 300 pounds and stands three feet tall.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Seuss’ step-daughter and the sculptor who created the art piece, wants “very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs.” Dimond-Cates made two Lorax statues; one for the San Diego estate and one for the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (pictured).

In an interview with Reuters, San Diego police lieutenant Andra Brown revealed that the police have not yet determined whether this is a prank or a theft. The police have observed that the ”evidence at the scene suggests that the thieves rolled the statue down the hill to an adjacent property, where it was likely loaded onto a waiting vehicle.”

continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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5. “Kill Me Now”: An Artist’s Plea For Help?

Apparently, somebody wasn’t having a good time on the production of Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax.

(via Aryeh David Zucker on Cartoon Brew’s Facebook page)


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6. Top 100 Picture Books #33: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

#33 The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
53 points

A timeless classic. I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t plan to; it’s one of those cases in which the book is perfect just as it is. – Melissa Fox

because “UNLESS someone like you / cares a whole awful lot, / nothing is going to get better. / It’s not.” - Philip Nel

Previously #83 our little Lorax take an almighty leap and goes up fifty places to #33.  Undoubtedly the film helped to give him a bit of a push.  That’s the way a list like this works sometimes.  Classics with recent tie-ins move up faster because of their new status.  So here he is, ladies and gentlemen!  The little guy who starred in a made-for-TV movie that I saw when I was eight and have been effectively traumatized by ever since.  If I’m a good environmentalist, it’s because The Lorax made me so.  Violently.

Basic plot:  The Once-ler moves to town, takes advantage of all the natural resources he can get his grubby hands on (and the guy is mostly hands) and ignores the pleas of The Lorax to stop before it’s too late.  Too late it becomes and The Lorax takes off for greener pastures.  Hope then resides in a small boy and the single seed of a Truffula Tree that The Once-ler has saved in spite of everything.

Said School Library Journal, “The big, colorful pictures and the fun images, word plays and rhymes make this an amusing exposition of the ecology crisis.”

So the recent movie . . . I haven’t seen it myself, though I was a little perturbed that none of the commercials showed anything closely resembling pollution in them.  Even more disturbing?  A commercial that may well be remembered as the most ironic children’s literature/movie tie-in of all time.

I hate to say it, but give me that old creepy hand drawn version any day of the week.

And I’d show you the pretty Lorax statue but . . . well . . .

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7. “The Lorax” talkback

The Lorax, anyone? I’ll be seeing it an an Asifa-Hollywood screening next week, so I’ll reserve judgement. I’m not trying to be negative, but the L.A. Times’ Kenneth Turan says “most of it not very good and not in keeping with the spirit of the Seuss original”. Claudia Puig disagrees in her 3-stars (out of four) write-up in USA Today, saying “it remains faithful to the spirit of Seuss”. A.O. Scott at the NY Times sums it up this way: “The movie is a noisy, useless piece of junk”!

How about you? As usual our talkback posts are open to those who have actually seen the film, in a theatre, and have an opinion, pro or con.


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8. Fusenews: “whimsically apocalyptic”

As I’m sure many of you heard Jan Berenstain, half of The Berenstain Bears, passed away recently. The Gothamist called us up at NYPL and wondered if we had any Berenstain goodies in our collection. We don’t but we knew who did. You can read their obit here. The SLJ obit is also well worth seeing since they managed to work in that crazy What Dr. Freud Didn’t Tell You book the Berenstains worked on years ago and full credit to Leila at bookshelves of doom for discovering THAT gem. In fact, Leila has posted what may be the cutest picture of the Berenstain humans I’ve ever seen. A-dor-able.

  • Meanwhile the good folks at TimeOut Kids New York gave me an impossible challenge: Come up with the Top 50 Best Books for Kids. And while I’m at it, balance the classics with some contemporary stuff. Just to be cheeky I added some nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels and works by people of color. The result is a list you will enjoy but not entirely agree with. I think that that’s sort of the point, don’t you? Everyone has their own list. This one’s mine.
  • Let me just put it this way: If I were in the publishing business and I saw this (created by the hugely talented Kate Beaton of Hark, A Vagrant) I would run, not walk, to the nearest cell phone and put in a call with her agent. Stat.
  • I think we’ve all seen at least one dead-to-irony Lorax ad by this point, yes? Seems to me that about the time you have a Lorax shilling for SUVs it’s time to throw in the towel. Or, at the very least, to try to wrest the Seuss rights from the widow (fat chance). And we thought the Cat in the Hat movie was the low point! Ha! Rocco Staino translates his disgust into a Huffington Post piece that speculates on what other famous children’s book characters might want to get some lucrative corporate sponsorship going.
  • I like illustrator Scott Campbell anyway but when I saw him illustrate the cast of one of my favorite movies, that just clinched it. Check it out. The man does a darn good Elijah Wood.
  • Re: Hunger Games, I only advise you to look at Capitol Couture if you have a couple hours to kill. Darn thing sucked me in and was mighty reluctant to let me go. Had to break out the pruning shears to make my escape. True story. Thanks to Marci for the link.
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9. Video Sunday: “Not after what those kids did to Pop.”

Fun Fact: Remember that Re-Seussification Project I posted?  And how it happened to come out the day before the birthday of the good doctor himself?  Total coincidence.  I had no idea.  At the same time The Lorax has come out in theaters.  Know how I know?  Because every other minute there’s an ad on my television featuring the Lorax.  Seems he’ll sell anything these days.  Chaps my hide.  Chaps Stephen Colbert’s too, I’m happy to report.

Full credit to this next link.  This compilation of Judy Blume pop culture references has earned my respect, partly because it included the two I already knew of (Sawyer reading her book on LOST and the Saturday Night Live skit).  Very fun to watch.

Which, naturally, leads to this.  And I suppose it isn’t workplace appropriate.  But it is sweet.

That was recorded almost half a year ago.  I assume they’ve met by now, yes?  I mean, she is married to a Newbery winner.

I think this is applicable to our usual subject matter today.  After all, I suspect that there are a few authors out there for kids that still use typewriters.  I used one as recently as 2006 in conjunction with my job.  Plus this is a great little piece.

Thanks to Playing By the Book for the link.

I’ve shown the video of Christopher Walken reading The Three Little Pigs before.  This one, though, is new to me.  We never see him who I’m not wholly convinced it’s actually him.  It’s a possibility, though.  A distinct possibility.

Thanks again to Playing By the Book for the link.

And finally, for our off-topic video, what can I say?

Baby otters.

Thanks to Dan McCoy for the link.

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10. Ypulse Essentials: ‘The Lorax’ Sets Box Office Records, Understanding Millennials’ Language, ‘The Real Housewives of Disney’ Spoof

Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ nabbed the top spot at the box office this weekend (garnering $70.7 million — the best opening of the year so far — and becoming the best debut ever for a non-sequel animated film! Although the movie didn’t... Read the rest of this post

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11. BOX OFFICE REPORT: “The Lorax” is a Hit

Lorax

Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax exceeded expectations and debuted in first place with a stunning $70.2 million last weekend. That places it in eighth place for all-time biggest openings for an animated film, and fourth-best for a non-sequel animated film. The success of the film validates the producer-driven approach to animated filmmaking taken by Illumination head Chris Meledandri, who exercises tight control over the casting, writing and creative direction of his films. It’s a page straight of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks playbook and, for better or worse, Meledandri is proving that it can work for producers without the initials JK.

Meanwhile, in its third weekend, Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty grabbed $1.5 million from 1,431 US theaters. The film landed in 14th place, but had the lowest per-theater average of any film in the top 20. Its US total now stands at $16.8 million.


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12. “Lorax” diapers

If you’re gonna crap all over The Lorax, you might need this:

The Lorax became the number #1 movie in the country last weekend, and part of that success was establishing merchandising tie-ins with numerous licensees. But here’s one even last year’s Winnie The Pooh (a more appropriate match) didn’t think of. Apparently the 7th Generation company is selling all sorts of eco-friendly Lorax products including these “Lorax-approved” baby diapers. For those Seuss collectors who have to have everything, you better hurry: they are a limited edition – and yeah, images of the little orange Danny Devito voiced creature are printed on the tab fastener of the diaper.

(Thanks, Jeffery McAndrew)


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13. The Lorax Pop-Up

I'm not always a huge fan of book-to-movie adaptations, but though I haven't even seen The Lorax yet, it looks adorable. And, at this point, anything about the environment aimed at kids is probably an important movie to see. 

If your kids (or yourself) are loving on The Lorax right now,  David A. Carter has created a beautiful pop-up book, using the Dr. Seuss story and illustrations, in honor of the release of the movie. 8 gorgeous pop-ups and a Dr. Seuss book. Sold.

I thought it was really nicely done and would make a great gift to a child that loved the movie (or hasn't even seen it yet) or an adult that collects pop-ups. Everyone needs a little Dr. Seuss in their collection!


The Lorax, Pop-up
Dr. Seuss/David A. Carter
18 pages
Pop-up picture book
Random House Children's Books
9780375860355
January 2012
Review copy

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14. Box Office Report: “Lorax” Beats “John Carter”

John Carter

An animated film led the US box office for the second week in a row: Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax dropped 44% from its first week for an estimated earning of $39.1 million. Its two-week total now stands at $122 million, making it the top grossing film of the year to date. It is currently pacing $3.5 million ahead of Illumination’s biggest hit Despicable Me, which went on to earn $251.5 million domestically.

This weekend also saw the debut of John Carter, the first live-action feature from Pixar director Andrew Stanton (WALL·E, Finding Nemo). The megabudget sci-fi film, with a reported production cost of $200-300 million and marketing costs of $100 million, was positioned as Disney’s next “tentpole” property, along the lines of the Pirates of the Carribean franchise. It opened weakly, as expected by most industry observers as well as the Disney studio itself, with an estimated $30.6 million, on a par with the opening for Disney’s Prince of Persia, which opened with $30.1 million. It trailed the debut of last year’s sci-fi Cowboys & Aliens which opened with $36.4 million. The film’s saving grace may be its overseas performance, where it has opened powerfully, especially in Russia, and has already racked up over $70 million.

One can’t even begin to imagine the pressure that Stanton is under, but he hasn’t been particularly graceful in dealing with the film’s critical reception. In interviews, Stanton has been defensive about the film’s budget, and over the weekend, he wrote an oddly worded tweet that blamed moviegoers as “jaded” if they didn’t enjoy his film:

Andrew Stanton tweet

Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty added an extra $402,000 boosting its US total to $17.6 million. It is the fourth highest-grossing anime film ever released in the US, behind only Pokemon: The First Movie, Pokemon: The Movie 2000, and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie.


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15. Earth Day Youth Initiatives Roundup

By now we've all seen the studies on "green teens," trend pieces on eco-friendly campuses and stats revealing tweens who volunteer more than Mom and Dad. It's official: this generation of youth has helped raised our collective environmental... Read the rest of this post

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16. I Speak For The Trees

Years ago, I discovered Fred Meyer, a giant everything-in-one-place store similar to Super Walmart but with less evil and awesome childcare. A few years later, the single California store in a predominantly Northwestern chain closed its doors. The mammoth building sat empty, in view of the freeway, forever while rumors swirled about its future. And then one day I came over a rise on the off-ramp and saw that the entire building had been leveled overnight. I was swept by nausea as I absorbed the magnitude of such obscene waste. Demolishing a ten year-old, up-to-code building merely because new commercial tenants (a Lowe’s built virtually in the footprint of the bulldozed warehouse) want something specific enraged me. I was angry for years. I’m still angry. I experienced a similar sucker-punch moment the first time I drove past Chico’s old Downtown Plaza Park and saw it laid bare in the name of progress, raped of all the beautiful trees allegedly so “diseased” they had to be removed for public safety but healthy enough to be replanted on the property of the developer. I happen to unexpectedly like the metropolitan feel of the new plaza, but it took me weeks to picture the gaping hole where the gazebo had been without tearing up. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is not subtle. I guess the narrative master wanted the message to get through loud and clear: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

http://www.amazon.com/Lorax-Classic-Seuss-Dr/dp/0394823370

http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Dr._Seuss/

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17. Danny DeVito to Star in Adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Actor Danny DeVito will voice an orange environmentalist in an animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss‘ beloved book, The Lorax. The film joins a long list of Seuss adaptations: The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Horton Hears a Who.

Zac Efron will play the human hero, Ted (named after Theodore Seuss Geisel), and Betty White will play his grandmother. The two villains will be voiced by Ed Helms and Rob Riggle. Helms will play Once-ler while Riggle will voice a new villainous creation.

The film will be shot in 3-D and release is tentatively set for 2012. The video embedded above shows a clip from the animated musical television special of The Lorax developed by CBS back in 1972.

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18. Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Theodore Geisel's Dr Seuss Magnet


Today is the anniversary of Dr. Seuss' birthday--and Read Across America Day. How are you celebrating? Last year we made green eggs benedict. Tonight I think I'll made this green egg and ham frittata, from Eating Well magazine. My kids have been asking me to take them to the bookstore or library. I have been putting it off as I've been in the midst of a couple of freelance jobs but . . . given that today is Read Across America Day it would be a shame not to go, don't you think?

I'll be back later in the week to with some more Seussian goodness. Until then, please enjoy my other Dr. Seuss-related posts:


How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Roast Beast
The Lorax - Truffula Trees with Dipping Sauce

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19. FIRST LOOK: Licensing Show teaser posters

Dreamworks’ The Croods, Rise of the Guardians and Madagascar 3, Sony/Aardman’s The Pirates and Illumination’s The Lorax are among the properties being showcased this week at the International Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. The gang at ComingSoon.net have snapped a bunch of photos (click the bottom three for a larger image):




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20. FIRST LOOK: “The Lorax”

Someone on the Chinese video site Sina posted this work-in-progress trailer for The Lorax from Illumination Entertainment, whose earlier films were Despicable Me and Hop. Some shots are incomplete and unfinished, but it’s worth a look:

The Lorax, which is slated to open March 2nd, 2012, is directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda. It’s the second Seuss adapation for Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, who previously produced Horton Hears a Who! while running 20th Century Fox Animation. Danny DeVito voices the Lorax, and Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms and Betty White provide additional voices.


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21. “The Lorax” trailer

Here’s the final version of a trailer we leaked a few months ago, Illumination’s adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax:


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22. Silver Screen: The Lorax

What am I reading now? Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
 

Have you heard? The Lorax is on his way. On Friday, March 2, 2012, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures will be unveiling their adaptation of Dr. Seuss‘ environmental manifesto.

The Lorax

The leap from picture book to silver screen couldn’t come at a more opportune moment. We’re at a point in time where the naysayers can no longer claim that the “green movement” is simply a fad that will run its course. Instead, its importance has been solidified in the collective consciousness.

The Lorax is about to send out his call-to-action yet again. If you haven’t already sprung into action, isn’t it time you did?


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23. Web of Words: The Lorax

What am I reading now? Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
 

I present a passage from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.


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24. Stephen Colbert Parodies Tie-Ins for The Lorax

The marketing team behind film adaptation of Dr. SeussThe Lorax have made more than 70 deals for promotional product tie-ins.

Comedian Stephen Colbert gave a sarcastic pitch (written in verse) asking for more: “I’m demanding more branding of Loraxian stuff!” The pitch included suggestions such as Lorax-themed SUV’s, oil drills and McDonald’s meals.

Follow this link for a full transcript of Colbert’s ranting rhyme and click here to watch the video. What do you think?

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25. Dr. Seuss, The Lorax, and Read Across America

It’s a Seuss trifecta today, as we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday, kick off Read Across America, and The Lorax (one of my all-time favorite Seuss stories) opens on the big screen. 

15 years ago, the National Education Association (NEA) created Read Across America to celebrate reading and provide inspiration for kids of all ages to discover the joys of reading.  What better date than March 2nd, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, to bring kids and books together. 

Every year Read Across America gives special emphasis to a classic Seuss title and 2012 is going green with The LoraxFirst published in 1971, The Lorax quickly became a classic with an environmental message that was ahead of its time.  Now, the original gets a modern twist with a fun new pop-up edition of the book and, of course, the blockbuster movie adaptation.  At my house, we’ve been reading the book and I’m excited to take my daughter to see The Lorax movie, with its star-studded cast and larger-than-life animation--I'm particularly in love with the Truffula trees, fluffy and bright, just as I'd imagined from Dr. Seuss’ pages. I may even have to spring for 3-D...

And speaking of pages, let’s kick this thing off--grab your kid and a book, tip your hat to a tree, and settle on down to a grand reading spree.  Remember, "You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child."

 Here are some of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories--which of his books do you love the most?  --Seira

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