The Guardians of Childhood

October 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

*A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books*

Title: The Man in the Moon

Author: William Joyce

I clearly have an artistic and literary crush on the fabulous writer and illustrator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore! William Joyce’s work is simply beautiful, spunky, cozy, and classic.

During story time at Half Price Books in Humble, I was very pleased to discover a pile of The Man in the Moon on the shelf this morning, the first of many in Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood series.  It seems as though Joyce’s work, despite being lengthy, is just the remedy for a squirmy, whiny toddler.  One look at these gorgeous illustrations and immediately stillness and wonder ensues.

Joyce presents the myths of childhood in a way that a child will understand that they are beautiful dreams to enjoy, a fantasy to embrace.  Kids and and adults alike cannot tear their eyes away from the colorful and powerful images he creates, and all are equally riveted by the presenation of the tales.

I am coming to cherish my time reading these books to the kiddo and I cannot wait to acquire the others in this amazing series:

Buy your own collection of Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood today!

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A Grimm World

August 1, 2012 at 1:19 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The new season of Grimm starts August 13, 2012; roughly two weeks until round two! Because of this, my husband, who just fell in love with the show via Hulu, has been making me watch season one. I say “making me” as though it is this incredible chore, but in reality, it is a relaxing date-night type activity for us once the kiddo has gone to bed.

The NBC original series portrays the Brothers Grimm as magnificent demon hunters, and the main character their detective descendant.  As a Grimm, Nick sees demons for what they are and can catch the bad guys of urban legend with his handy dandy Grimm family heirlooms as well as the help of the police department.  It’s CSI meets Van Helsing. Of course, the original stories weren’t collected by demon hunting bad asses, just two brothers in Germany in the very early 1800’s enthralled with folklore.

So, as we wait for 9pm (kiddo’s bed time) to hit every evening, I have decided to start reading my copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  I bought one of those shiny lettered, fancy leather-bound copies long ago (the cheaper version from Barnes and Noble, not an Easton Press or anything) with the intention of my husband reading them to the kiddo before bed at night when she gets older.  The stories are rather short and as I read to her all day, I think it best for bed time stories to come from Dad.

 The stories are mostly terrible.  In theory I love mythology and folklore, but what I’m discovering more and more is that I adore lengthy retellings rather than the original short stories.  Yet, I’m a serious advocate for source documents.  Just as I don’t want to watch the TV show Grimm without reading the original stories – I definitely would be appalled at myself for reading a fancy retelling in the form of a novel without reading the original collection of tales.  As in most things, I believe in the principle of it.

I found The Little Farmer to be especially awful.  What a deceitful and greedy group of people! And the fact that this horrible little man becomes the sole proprietor of the town and all the riches therein is quite appalling.  I enjoy stories with a solid moral, a bigger picture, lessons for life about the merits of goodness.  Instead, The Little Farmer breeds selfishness and sociopathic characteristics.  The Life Lesson being: the cheaters that are most cunning rule the roost.  Of course, this is a valid truth in most societies, but in my perfect story I want there to be inspiration to persevere under the pressure to keep up with the Joneses (or just kill them off if you can’t), and do something great in your life.  The Little Farmer may walk off a wealthy man, but he has no friends and he has not lived a fulfilling life.  Be proud of hard work, rather than trickery.

I am not a fan of people getting rewarded for bad deeds or laziness.  Just as I cannot get my novel published until I finish writing it (blaming my main character Dani for being elusive and moody when I’m trying to get her life organized), the princess shouldn’t get a Frog Prince to marry when she hasn’t been anything but mean to him.

There are, however, wise stories in the Brothers Grimm, not just the “only people who share are the people who don’t have anything” kind (a real-life adage from my own father).  The Nail is the very story which proves one of my old martial arts instructors’ words correct: slow makes fast; or, as the Grimms tell us: Make Haste Slowly.  Stories like these, though the horse suffered much for the sake of the warning tale, is what keeps me reading and what reminds me that the kiddo will benefit from growing up with the stories as well.

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A Tale to Swoon Over

December 26, 2009 at 3:58 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Claire Danes in the major motion picture of Stardust, based on Neil Gaiman's novel

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is delightful.  A lovely little fairy tale for grown ups, the adventure sucks you through a wall into a magical world of falling stars, unicorns, witches, spells, and flying ships.  Gaiman provides all the adults in the room a Faerie romance we can swoon over without re-reading Cinderella and Thumbelina for the hundred-thousandth time.  We get a handsome Romeo, a bit of a love triangle, true-love from the stars, and a happy ending (even if it goes out with a limp – literally).  Stardust made for a wonderful wintery read by the fireplace this Christmas.

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