Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Imelda and the Goblin King

Imelda & the Goblin King by Briony May Smith.
Flying Eye Books, 2015.

Maybe it was the cover art, or the fact it had the words "Goblin King" in the title, but I've wanted this book in my hands for months. My interlibrary loan came through! (Thanks, Lawrence Public Library!)

Imelda & the Goblin King is the enchanting work of Briony May Smith. It's published by Flying Eye Books, the children's imprint of Nobrow Press, which puts out some amazing books.

Look at the endpapers. Seriously.

So young Imelda lives next to a magical wood, where she is friendly with the fairy folk and their queen. They play with her and share their secrets, and all is well, until the Goblin King arrives.

The Goblin King is mean and nasty. The Fairy Queen thinks, perhaps, if they show him some kindness, he would soften and become kind in return. She invites him to the fairy solstice, but things do not go well. The Goblin King is greedy and rude and eats the entire feast. The queen tries to tell him off, but he retaliates by kidnapping her.The fairies rush to Imelda for help.

Imelda knows how greedy he is, and uses the fairies' magical berries to fool the Goblin King.

Needless to say, Imelda saves the day, and the goblins crown her their queen!

We love fairies and magical creatures, and this funny, beautiful book filled a need, as humdrum as our winter has been. For more on our little homemade flower fairy, see this post.

You can also find many magical fairy crafts and photos on several of my Pinterest boards: A Little Magic, Fairy Day/Midsummer Fairy Party, and Fairy Birthday Party Inspiration.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

It's Kansas Day

Happy Birthday to the 34th state, my home state of Kansas! Kansas joined the union 155 years ago today.

I did check a few picture books out for Kansas Day, starting with S is for Sunflower. Little Sis was especially excited for this one, because last year's first grade show at her performing arts magnet was based on this book. Little Sis was E: "E is for explorers who dare to dream of flight." She got to wear her Amelia Earhart Halloween costume again, including her airplane.

We also grabbed the companion book, One Kansas Farmer.

S is for Sunflower: A Kansas Alphabet and One Kansas Farmer: A Kansas Counting Book
by Devin & Corey Scillian, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press, 2004 and 2009.

We also checked out a lovely book called Climbing Kansas Mountains. The "mountains" in question are grain elevators.

Climbing Kansas Mountains by George Shannon, illustrated by Thomas B. Allen.
Simon & Schuster, 1993.

You may have noticed the chocolate sunflowers in the above photos. I visited Cero's Candies, a local chocolate shop.

I wasn't hit with a craft bug this year. Last year's Kansas Day post has been visited so many times in the past few weeks, as people are finding our paper plate sunflowers via Google and Pinterest! Little Sis pointed out that last year's sunflowers were still in a box under the end table, right here in the family room. It only took a little tape to add them to the fireplace.

Since I have no new crafts or recipes, I thought I'd just share a few photos I've taken around our state over the past 7 or 8 years. There's still so much I haven't seen. TravelKS.com recently posted a Kansas tourism Bucket List. I can check a few things off, and there are a few things I will never check off  (no deer hunting for me!), and there are things I wish were on the list. The Kansas Sampler's  8 Wonders of Kansas has more.

The Keeper of the Plains, Wichita
The Wichita troll

Munger House, Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita

Charles Ingalls's hand dug well, Little House on the Prairie Museum, Independence

The original "Mater" - Cars on the Route, Route 66, Galena

Chase County Courthouse, Cottonwood Falls

Main Street, Council Grove
Oz Museum, Wamego

Kansas Silent Film Festival, Topeka

Children's Realm, Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Bonner Springs

Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, Overland Park

Amelia Earhart Festival, Atchison

Fishing near Kanopolis State Park

Mushroom Rock State Park, Marquette
Garden of Eden, Lucas

I LOVE to travel. I love mountains, I love seaside towns and boardwalk, I love real lakes and forests, and old historic buildings and all kinds of things I can't get in Kansas. 

But nothing beats a winter sky on the prairie.

You know where this is going, right?

"There's no place like home."

O.J. Watson Park, Wichita

More Links:

my Kansas Day Pinterest board
my Sunflower State Pinterest board
my 2015 Kansas Day post
and 2014
and 2013

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats

New cat book! We love our kitty books, just like we love our kitties. Say hello to Jenny! Jenny is around 17 years old now. You can see Peanut the Mutt off to the side there. Jenny is not shy, nor is she fearful. The dog has never frightened her, although once in a while, Peanut gets a little too hyper. Jenny is good at doling out punishment: Whack!

This is a book about some very timid felines.

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif.
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015.

I waited a long time for the library to finally get this book! The title alone made me want to read it. Plus, we loved Birgitta Sif's Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance. Seemed like a win-win!

The plot is simple. Miss Hazeltine opens a Home for Shy and Fearful Cats. She didn't know if anyone would come, but soon, lots and lots of cats arrive. "He runs from mice!" "She's scared of birds!" "Can't pounce!"

The most timid cat is Crumb, who runs inside and immediately hides. Miss Hazeltine works with all of the cats (they're even scared of the broom!), but she spends extra time with poor Crumb. She even confesses her fear of owls and mushrooms to him.

One evening, Miss Hazeltine realizes they're almost out of milk. She tells Crumb she is going to fetch some. She heads home with a bucketful, then trips and falls in a hole, twisting her ankle. Only Crumb knows where she has gone, so he rounds up the other cats, bringing the dreaded broom along for the trip.

Of course, the cats save their beloved Miss Hazeltine, proving that love conquers fear.

It's such a cute book. Alicia Potter's story is adorable, and coupled with Sif's illustrations, the book is definitely a keeper.

Would you like to see our other kitties? Mabel isn't shy or fearful. Mabel likes to randomly swat the other pets if she feels they are getting too much attention. She has caught a few mice in her day, too.

You can meet baby Mabel here and here. Here she is today:

If we have a shy and fearful cat, it would be Lucy, Mabel's sister. Lucy had three kittens out in our yard. They found a home with Little Sis's preschool bestie and her family. After her brother, Orange Boy, disappeared, Lucy moved in. She only likes Mr. B, and she hates Peanut the Mutt and being picked up. 

{She also loves this chair.}

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Alice to Watch

To read more about these books, please see my previous "Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll" post.

Today is the 184th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll. In other words, it's another excuse for an Alice-inspired blog post!

I thought I would share a few videos I recently discovered on YouTube. {Thanks to the awesome people who shared them in the first place!} Come, follow me down the rabbit hole, or through the looking glass if you'd rather...

First, here is an incredible Broadway production that aired on PBS's Great Performances program in 1983, starring Kate Burton as Alice and her famous father, Richard, as the White Knight. It's a revival of the 1932 stage hit by Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus. Other famous actors to look for: Eve Arden, Geoffrey Holder, Maureen Stapleton, Colleen Dewhurst, Nathan Lane, Donald O'Connor, Austin Pendleton, and Kaye Ballard.

Okay, this one is a lot harder on the eyes. The first "talkie" version of Alice in Wonderland was an independent film made in 1931, in Ft. Lee, New Jersey. Alice was played by an 18-year-old unknown named Ruth Gilbert in a bad wig. It does open with a cute rendition of Irving Berlin's song "Alice in Wonderland," written for the 1916 stage production, The Century Girl. This movie was never considered good, and the surviving print as uploaded to YouTube is difficult to watch. The shaky quality makes it pretty nightmarish. If you're susceptible to motion sickness, consider yourself warned! [By the way, you can find it on DVD now, available as a double-feature with the 1915 silent version.]

Of course, two years later would see the release of the first big-budget talkie, the all-star Paramount version from 1933. I happen to love it, as do my daughters, but I'm willing concede it isn't for everyone. Universal owns the rights today, and they finally released it on DVD in 2010. You can also rent or buy it for streaming via Amazon, YouTube, or iTunes. Or... check out the Internet Archive.

This one is pretty faded, but here is the Kraft Television Theatre that aired in 1954, hosted by Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

And last, here is the 1949 French version, made using a mix of live action and stop-motion puppetry. This one was on both Netflix and Hulu for a long time. I've noticed that many Alice movies recently disappeared from the streaming sites. [I did find it on SnagFilms, which has a Roku channel.] Perhaps they're gearing up for the Tim Burton Alicey sequel? {Yeah, we'll probably go see it, even though none of us cared much for the first movie...}

While not on Amazon Prime, the film can be streamed via Amazon [here, too] and it is available on DVD. There is this one released by Synergy Entertainment, this one by Vision Video, or go for the one by Apprehension Films/Midnight Matinee with the really provocative cover art.

This one was released both in English and French, although it came to America late, thanks to Disney, which was making its 1951 animated feature, and pushed to keep this one out of the country.

Here it is in English. [You can find the French version on YouTube as well.]

I posted some silent versions of Alice way back in 2012. Just head to my very first Wonderland post.

If you'd rather just stick to books, I've got you covered! Check out the books in my lead photo, if you prefer the classic. You can also read more about The Nursery Alice and Alice's Adventures Under Ground, Alice as rendered by Lisbeth Zwerger,or in vintage Wonder Book form, as a manga picture book, as a graphic novel, or as a Disney Little Golden Book. Little Sis showed off some of her artwork last summer, and of course, we went all our for Halloween and Little Sis's birthday in 2015. There are other links scattered throughout some of those posts,
so enjoy the RabBit hoLE!

And happy birthday, Lewis Carroll!

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Instagrams, Books & Family Stuff, and Link Love

Happy Weekend, dear readers! It is very, very cold here in south-central Kansas, but dry and snow-less. I hate that. If it's going to be this cold, then I want to see some snow! Real snow, not the tiny dust specks that blew for a minute or two this morning. For all of you who may be up to your ears in the stuff, I'm sorry. Roll your eyes at me. Ignore me. Yell and threaten to send me all your white stuff.

I haven't done a nice Friday round-up of what we've been reading in a while, and unfortunately, I don't have one now. I have to admit, my attention span is slightly shot lately. I think I'm still coming down from shows and traveling and stuff. The girls are doing a much better job. I posted the first picture on Instagram last night. Big Sis is finally reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She has three different copies placed in different places: my leatherbound deluxe edition (which I bought in the bargain assortment at Barnes & Noble) is in her desk at school, my original hardcover is up on her bunk bed, and her own illustrated edition is roaming around the rest of the house. She just happened to be wearing her Gryffindor socks last night, too.

Little Sis is re-reading the Owl Diaries books. She read the first book aloud to me this week:

She started reading the second book again last night. There is a third book, but I've talked her into waiting until the school's Scholastic Book Fair next month to get it.

Otherwise, the month has seen Little Sis enjoying her new art supplies:

There's her new Tsum Tsum. Little Sis continues to love her toys, especially her dolls and stuffed animals. She is spending Friday night at her BFF's house, then Saturday will find her at Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party. She has a very busy social life!

Big Sis is my quieter girl. She began guitar lessons this month and is progressing quickly. She is developing a knack for music. Besides her guitar, her Beatles records are her other favorite Christmas gifts. 

Other favorite projects: counting down the days until she can change earrings [she used Christmas and leftover birthday money to get her ears pierced!], making candles with her daddy, playing with Peanut, making a pompom scarf, and playing lots and lots of Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition.

Another favorite Christmas gift: the girls received a Doodle Crate subscription from a family friend in Minnesota! The first project was screenprinting! It came with a screen, ink, and stencils, and a drawstring backpack. They both love it.

I've been in cold weather cooking mode. I made baba ghanoush for the first time, along with roasted red pepper hummus. [This cookbook.] I made homemade pita bread, and along with a boxed mix falafel and yummy feta, it turned out to be a delicious meal. A couple days later, I made my potato soup with Irish soda bread.

Other Favorite Things

  • Shakshuka is currently my favorite savory breakfast, especially when it's under 30 degrees outside.
  • This show just appeared on Hulu. I've already watched it once (and Mr. B has seen it twice), but "All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again." Halfway through season one now, in fact.
  • Mr. B and I watched this, too. Loved it. [We watched it via Shout Factory's Roku channel.]
  • I am very excited to see this on the big screen again next month. [I saw it 3 times in the theater in the '80s!]  It was already on the Orpheum schedule, but it will be especially poignant now. Little Sis will wear her t-shirt. I will sing along and whisper all the lines.
  • By the way, have you ever seen this? It was made for HBO back in 1986, and was included on the DVD extras.
  • If you have Amazon Prime, this new original series for kids is very cute. It's based on a book, which we may have to check out.
  • I shared this on Facebook, but I'm sharing here, too, BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME.
  • And also this.
  • Sigh.

Stay warm, dear friends!

Merry Weekend! Happy Reading!