Olivia! Olivia! Olivia!

Someone was super-duper excited when the Scholastic order came into the preschool this week.  
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses!!!

And that someone was the dorky grown-up who has been collecting Olivia books and toys since 2000...  you know, five years before she had kids of her own.

The jack-in-the-box was a Christmas present from the hubby's best friend in Arizona.  It was Big Sis's first Christmas, but the jack-in-the-box wasn't for her.  

The girls have taken over Mommy's toys, of course.  The Madame Alexander Olivia doll is missing her tights, collar, and purse.  The china tea set is missing some lids.  (This picture is just a sample of that little tea set, though.  I still have most of it.)  The hubby once heard me cry, "You ripped my book!" at a too-young-to-know-better Big Sis.  I used to have cardboard standees and stuff from the bookstore - any time an Olivia display was coming down, they'd call me first.  Alas, the only thing worse than kids when you have stuff?  CATS.

Oh, wait...  Would you like to see the new book?

Well, there is a fabulous graphic excerpt on Simon & Schuster's website.  And for more information about the book, you can read this wonderful Q & A with Olivia's creator, Ian Falconer, on Publisher's Weekly.

Here's a bit more for you:
Page One.  "Mommy, what does 'depressed' mean?"
My new favorite Olivia illustration.  After we read the book, I showed this video to the girls.  I also showed them a bit from Appalachian Spring, which they'd seen before, but had forgotten about.  

I love seeing what poster is in Olivia's room from book to book.  While the Eleanor Roosevelt is still my favorite, Martha Graham is awesome, too.

The back cover.  Olivia has had enough.
 I'm sure it is obvious from my Fairy Day posts and such that we can be frilly and girly around here.  However, as Olivia says in this wonderful, awesome, fabulous book, "There are alternatives."

For those who are familiar with the Ian Falconer books, I would rank this one with the best.  I admit to being disappointed by the last book, Olivia Goes to Venice.  I loved the fact that she ate gelato on almost every page - when I went to Europe in high school, I overdid it on gelato, too - but it just wasn't as good as the previous five books.

We Made A Hat

Every year, Big Sis's school has a Hat Day Parade.  The kids and their families make hats reflecting that year's theme.  This year, the theme was "When I Grow Up."  

We made her hat out of a brown grocery sack.  I rolled up the bottom of the bag to be the brim, then the hubby sprayed it antique white.  Then Sis and I decorated it, then sealed it with Modge Podge.

Big Sis wants to be a teacher or librarian - for now.  She says she will dance and do theatre for fun, and she will travel (especially to Paris) and live in a farmhouse in the country.  Or maybe she'll live in the city.  She's undecided.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, POP Wonderland Edition

This was a curious find at the library.

Or should I say, curiouser and curiouser?   Well, okay, that doesn't really work.  But I had to say it - I love Alice!

There is a series of POP Wonderland picture books, published by Dark Horse Books in the US.  They are Japanese retellings of famous stories, featuring lush pastel illustrations in the anime/manga vein.  Alice, of course, is much simplified from the original Lewis Carroll work, but it made for appropriate bedtime reading.

The stories were adapted in Japanese by Michiyo Hayano and translated into English by Camellia Nieh.

Our library had two copies of this one floating around.  Alas, it has none of the other books in the series.  Fairy tales!  I am curious about those, too!

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Homemade Books for Mommy

The girls made me books this weekend!

This is Little Sis's book.

This is Big Sis's book.

Why yes, we're very excited for Halloween around here.  How can you tell?

Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday: Faerie Tale Theatre

"Hello, I'm Shelley Duvall.  Welcome to Faerie Tale Theatre..."

As a small child, I thought I had it pretty good, TV-wise.  We not only had basic cable, we had HBO!  We had an RCA SelectaVision  VideoDisc player (alas, my father tells me it stopped working a couple years ago) and an early VCR.  (My parents chose VHS - we won!!!)

Then one evening, a Cablevision guy came to the house.  And before I knew it, HBO was gone, to be replaced in my house with Showtime.  My parents based this decision on one program:

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre.

Shelley Duvall was already well-known to me.  My family loved  Robert Altman's much-maligned  live action film version of Popeye, starring Robin Williams.  We still love this movie.  And seriously, who can resist Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl, singing songs penned by Harry Nilsson?

Well, I actually know a lot of people who resist this movie.  To them, I can only say THRRRRRPPPT.

Faerie Tale Theatre was a live-action anthology series hosted and executive produced by Ms. Duvall, starring and often directed by many famous people.  It could be compared to Shirley Temple's Storybook, which I mentioned in this post here.  The series was already in full swing by the time we added Showtime, but the episodes were rerun enough for my parents to videotape quite a few of them for us.  By the time the series ended in 1987, my parents were divorced and the cable had been completely cut, so we could only see later episodes at our neighbors' house (which we did, often), but the series remained a high point in my sister's and my 1980s-soaked childhoods.  

And sadly, our 1980s VHS tapes were either taped over, lost, or ruined, and VCRs were replaced by DVD players, and Faerie Tale Theatre might have become a distant memory.

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre: The Complete Collection Gift Set
Hooray for DVDs.

And hooray for Hulu!  Because the entire series is available on Hulu (with its series syndication intro) to watch on the computer, or with Hulu Plus to watch elsewhere.  (We have a Roku.)

The episodes are usually close to an hour long, but to get a proper taste, I have linked to a few of my favorites:

  • "The Snow Queen," starring Lee Remick, Melissa Gilbert, Lance Kerwin, and Lauren Hutton.  
  • "Hansel & Gretel," starring Ricky Schroder, Bridgette Andersen, Paul Dooley, and Joan Collins.
  • "Thumbelina," starring Carrie Fisher, William Katt, Burgess Meredith, and Conchata Ferrell.
  • "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers," starring Peter MacNicol, Dana Hill, Christopher Lee, Frank Zappa, and David Warner.
  • "Beauty and the Beast," starring Susan Sarandon and Klaus Kinski.  This one's design and story borrow heavily from Jean Cocteau's spectacular French feature film version from 1946.  If and when you decide to introduce your kids to foreign films with subtitles, that's a great one to start with.  Showing them the Faerie Tale Theatre version is a nice way to ease into the French version, too.
And here is the Faerie Tale Theatre episode that started it all:  "The Frog Prince," directed by Eric Idle, and starring Robin Williams and Teri Garr, from 1982.  My family still likes to quote the "It's a box!" bit every time we open presents.

One more thing.  This is off-subject, but I wanted to share one more happy nostalgic thing.  My family dropped HBO prior just as Fraggle Rock was premiering.  Thus, my Fraggle-viewing was limited to the babysitter's and friends' houses.  As a Muppet fanatic, I have tried to catch up over the years.  Today, The Nerdist premiered this bit of awesomeness (click to read more about it) by the reunited Ben Folds Five.

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