Bonus Saturday Post: Pippi Longstocking, My Favorite Costume

Apartment Therapy recently did a wonderful round-up of homemade literary-themed Halloween costumes for kids.  (Seriously:  dig the Alice costume from the Misha Lulu blog!)  I do love book-related costumes, but I'm not so great with the whole homemade thing.  The Dorothy and Alice costumes you see under the blog title?  Thank you, big box store.

But this is what we did last year:  Big Sis was Pippi Longstocking.  Because we seem to go to many events that require a costume, the wig my mother made for her didn't last.  Lucky for us, we had orange hairspray on hand, a prize she won at a birthday party only a couple weeks before.  I'm still pretty proud of this costume, so I thought I'd show it off!

We love Pippi.  Big Sis was a bit disappointed that so few kids her age knew who she was, but oh!  The grown-ups knew!  I read the Lauren Child-illustrated edition (from the library) to her when she was in preschool, then a year later, she decided to use an Amazon Christmas gift card to buy a copy for herself!  Of course, we read it again.  Pippi is so funny, and we love Lauren Child, too.  (I would link to Lauren Child's website,, but at this time, I get an error message saying the domain has expired.  Here is the link to the official Charlie & Lola website, though.)

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New Favorites for Halloween

Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich (2006) and Frankenstein Takes the Cake (2008)
by Adam Rex.  Harcourt Children's Books.

These are the funniest picture books I have read in a long time.  I will admit, I liked them better than the girls did, mainly because I know my movie (and book) monsters better than they do.

If you haven't read them, they are basically a series of short rhyming stories or vignettes featuring famous monsters.  For instance, in the first book, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, the title story involves a hungry Frankenstein, who comes to the village searching for food, only to have things pelted at him.  He soon realizes that all the edibles being thrown at him would make a tasty sandwich!

Big Sis's favorite part was a recurring Phantom of the Opera bit in that same book.  The poor Phantom suffers over and over from a bad case of earworms.  She's seen some (not all, but some) of the old Lon Chaney silent movie, so I know that's one reason she was partial to this, but it is very funny.

Adam Rex is a very funny fellow.  I'm going to have to go in search of more of his books.  These were a SCREAM.  (Heh, heh - get it?  A scream?  I slay me.)

While I thought the first book was funnier, Frankenstein Takes the Cake definitely has its moments.  I'm rather partial to the blogging Headless Horseman.

And if you would like to see the book trailer:

In other news, we are almost done with Three Tales of My Father's Dragon!  Finally!  I'm halfway through The Flight of Gemma Hardy.  The hubby and I are still ripping carpet out of the playroom, and I've started to turn a closet into a reading nook.  Little Sis has had a cold, but she felt up to going to Autumnfest at the preschool tonight.  I finished their fall fairy costumes!  I'll have better pictures soon.

I'm running out of time for Halloweeniness and stuff, so I'll have a couple posts going out this weekend.  OH!  And my custom domain is up and running.  We are now at!

Merry Weekend!

My Morning Girl

I wake up scary in the morning.

I hate mornings.

This is me in the morning:

(Well, it's my coffee cup, but you get the idea.)

My oldest overslept a bit.  When I went in to wake her up again, I realized she was still wearing her glasses! Despite going to bed a bit late last night, she decided she needed to read.  And what did she decide to read?

Me:  I think that book is a little too advanced for you.
Big Sis:  Yeah, it has too many words.  That's why we need to read it together!

She says she made it to page 11.  (That's four pages.)

Happy morning girl.

Happy morning girl in her Happy Halloween finest.  My grandmother took her to Target for her birthday.  Instead of picking out toys, she loaded up on Halloween t-shirts and skeleton tights.

She threw on her warm fall coat, grabbed her backpack and lunchbox, and raced out the door with her daddy.  He says everyone went crazy over her tights.

My crazy morning girl.

Note: This is the kind of post I cobble together very, very quickly when I realize the one I scheduled to publish this morning wasn't finished, and wouldn't be finished today.  I knew what Miss Smiley Face was going to be wearing today and waited to catch a few pictures before she headed out the door.  The fact I woke her up with her glasses still on, book beside her, was a nice bonus!

Five Days in Instagrams






What You See:  A major home improvement project (bye-bye nasty carpet in the girls' room); school fundraiser at Baskin-Robbins; a Daisy Scout Halloween outing; a "finished" bedroom floor (for now - it needs refinishing someday); my favorite Halloween socks with my saddle shoes; Fall Fairy costumes, as I was making them; our old Siamese Katie, showing her age by sleeping through all the ribbon and tulle; a "new" thrift store dresser for the girls' room; Cadbury Halloween Eggs; my baby girl's art and one pair of well-worn ruby slippers; my baby girl home sick for the evening, putting away her My Little Pony friends.

What You Don't See:  A thought-out post for the day.  This bedroom thing and my sick kiddo are messing with my blogging!  (tee hee hee)  

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

The hubby and I were thinking...

Wouldn't it be nice to start a family Halloween tradition of reading "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" together?  You know, the way families often read A Christmas Carol together at Christmas.  After all, it's the quintessential American ghost story.

You know the story.  Schoolmaster Ichabod Crane moves to the tiny New Amsterdam town of Sleepy Hollow to teach.  There, he falls in love with town flirt Katrina Van Tassel (and her father's rich farm), makes an enemy of Katrina's suitor Brom Bones, and falls prey to town folklore and superstition, until one night, he meets the infamous Headless Horseman and disappears from town forever.

I'm sure I have a Barnes & Noble paperback of Washington Irving's short stories somewhere, but for fun, I decided to check the Books Of Wonder edition of the story out from the library.  It's a facsimile of the 1928 edition, illustrated by the great Arthur Rackham!  Some of you may remember this post.  I really hoped for more Rackham Sleepy Hollow goodness!

Alas, there are no great illustrations of the Headless Horseman in the Rackham version.  The only one is on the cover.  The very shiny cover that I cannot photograph without a glare.  Grrrr...  If you want better pictures, just click here.)

The original version of the story is a bit much for a modern 5- and 7-year-old, too.  I did think to check out a couple of picture book adaptations.

The simplest of the books, as far as text goes, is The Headless Horseman, illustrated by Emma Harding.  The illustrations are dark and moody.  The text was concise, and easy for the kids to understand.

 Of the three editions I checked out, my favorite illustrations were found in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, retold and illustrated by Will Moses, great-grandson of Grandma Moses.  The beautiful folk art paintings perfectly capture the time period in which the story is set.  Moses's adaptation of the text is a step up from the Harding version, keeping more of the flavor of Washington's original.  Although it is longer, this version was preferred by my daughters.

There are multiple two-page spreads like the last one pictured above.  They are truly beautiful.

How about I leave you with some old animation?  First, "The Headless Horseman" (1934), courtesy of Ub Iwerks and his ComiColor cartoons.

And I can't seem to leave the classic Disneyana alone this season.  Here's the famous Bing Crosby-narrated "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" sequence from 1949's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

Obsessive Halloween Nostalgia Disorder: The Worst Witch

I really don't watch that much TV.  Really.

Yet I realize that all of my "Halloween Nostalgia Disorder" posts have been television-related.  I am so sorry.     I don't know that I have any books that fit into this category I've created for myself.  (Wait until Christmas!)  I was an '80s kid, though, and both of my parents worked.  The combination made for an unholy amount of TV viewing, I guess.  On top of this, I was also a book nerd, who started reading on my own at a very young age.  Should I mention I played no sports and had no extracurricular activities, or is this too obvious?

Um, anyway.

Let's look at today's long-lost bit of Danzel's childhood:  The Worst Witch, an 1986 HBO TV movie based on a book I've never read.  (Perhaps I should fix that.)

It starred a young Fairuza Balk as Mildred Hubble, a clumsy girl attending a witch academy.  The kindly headmistress, Miss Cackle, is played by Charlotte Rae, as is Miss Cackle's evil twin sister Agatha.  The demanding, imperious teacher who gives Mildred a hard time is played by Diana Rigg.  And showing up as The Grand Wizard is Dr. Frankenfurter himself, Tim Curry.

My sister was cool enough to find and buy this on DVD as soon as it came out.  For the past several years, though, it has resided in my house.  Once in a while, a little girl - or a sad, weird little girl at heart - gets an itch to put it in the DVD player.

Did it cast such a spell?  I don't know, but it is funny when Mildred accidentally turns the mean girl into a pig.

I know there was a British television series made years later, based on the same series of books.  Has anyone ever seen it?   Has anyone read the book(s)?  Heck, has anyone ever seen this movie?

Because if you have, you won't forget it.  The cheesy effects and the "Growing Up Isn't Easy" theme song will stay in your head for years.

Here's the movie on YouTube:

Or you can just skip ahead and watch Tim Curry.  Those synths!  Those special effects!  The weirdness!

And don't worry.  I have many book posts planned.  And crafty posts.  Even nonYouTube-dependent posts! Stay tuned tomorrow for a "visit" to a little Dutch town in New York...  Follow along with Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes on FacebookBloglovinInstagram, and/or Pinterest!

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