Hats, Hats, Hats!


We had a hat parade this morning!  Every year, the elementary school has a Hat Parade with a special theme.  This year, our theme was "Stars."  (The school is a performing arts magnet.)  The kids had the option of making a hat that was about celestial stars or people they considered stars.

Little Sis wanted a singer on a stage for her hat (no one specific.)


Big Sis loves science, and she wanted her hat to show constellations.  We constructed a hat
out of a paper sack (like last year), stuck some battery-operated lights through it,
and connected the "stars" with a silver Sharpie.  

By the way, those lights took 2 C batteries each.  This was a top-heavy hat.

So in honor of our school hat parade, I thought I'd leave you with a collection of picture books about hats!

Top Row:  1. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss.  Random House, 1938 (1989 edition).  2. Jennie's Hat by Ezra Jack Keats.  Harper & Row, 1966 (Puffin, 2003 edition).  3. Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.  Little Simon, 1984.  Middle Row:  1. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. Harper & Brothers, 1938. (HarperCollins, 1999 edition).  2. Old Hat, New Hat by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  Random House, 1970.  Bottom Row:  The Hat by Tomi Ungerer.  Parents Magazine Press, 1970.  2. This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.  Candlewick, 2012.  3. A Three Hat Day by Laura Geringer, illustrated by Arnold Lobel. Harper & Row (now HarperCollins), 1987. 


As for what we're reading:  The Emerald City of Oz (me, reading to the girls), Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket (Little Sis with my help), Judy Moody Predicts the Future (Big Sis), The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls (me).

What we've finished this week:  Judy Moody Declares Independence (Big Sis), The Tail of Emily Windsnap (me), Divergent (me).

Speaking of Divergent, have you read it???  I'm so mad, because there's a huge waiting list for Insurgent at the library.  I may need to go buy it.  I'm curious about the movie too, especially since Kate Winslet has been one of my favorite actors since Heavenly Creatures.  Speaking of teen movies based on teen books that adults really like, I finally had a chance last week to watch The Hunger Games.  I really thought they did the book justice, and I admit, I'm getting excited for Catching Fire now, although it should be noted that I hardly ever get to see movies in theaters anymore.  Unless, as my husband says, they involve cartoons or puppets.

Anyhoo, you know what I always say...

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

Arthur Rackham's The Illustrated Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales

The Illustrated Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
Originally from 1909, this edition is by Portland House, 2001.

It's September 19.  For some folks, it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Love it.  And somewhere I have some funny pictures of the girls wearing homemade pirate hats, carrying homemade looking glasses.  Yet I have no pirate books to share with you.  Maybe next year.  Instead, let us focus on the fact that one of the greatest illustrators of the Golden Age, Arthur Rackham, was born on this day in 1867, because ta-da!  I have a book to share with you!


I know these illustrations are better reproduced all over the internet.  You can buy the prints, you can pin them on Pinterest (um, i.e. my "Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes" pinboard).  But let us appreciate them in book form, with the original stories.  

In this copy, the black and white illustrations (which date from a 1900 edition, I believe) are scattered throughout the book with the actual tales, while the color illustrations (from 1909) are sandwiched in the middle of the book on their own.  

from "Hansel and Grethel"

from "Rumpelstiltskin"

from "Jorinda and Joringel"

from "Briar Rose"

from "The Frog Prince"

from "Rapunzel"

from "Hansel and Grethel"

from "Red Riding Hood"

from "Ashenputtel"

from "The Youth Who Could Not Shudder"

Here is Rackham's "Note by the Artist," found on the last page of the book.


This edition is now out of print.  You can find the listing for it on Amazon here.  There are other listings, as well, for newer editions and older, but I have no idea which is the best.  If anyone knows of a perfect copy, let me know!

Watching Mary Pickford Movies


I got a Facebook message from an old college friend of mine last week.  He's a film writer in New York now, and his wife just had their first baby, a girl.  The message was so sweet.  He wanted to know how to instill a love for old movies in his daughter while she was young.  I loved this.  Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know I love my old movies, and I love watching them with my girls.  (And yes, I am conscious about the messages and humor in some old movies.  I steer clear of films that are particularly racist or sexist, and when we do encounter those things, we discuss them, now that the girls are old enough to understand.  But for the most part, the girls watch things I've pre-approved anyway.)

One of the last movies I DVR-ed before we said goodbye to cable (and my beloved TCM) was 1917's The Poor Little Rich Girl, starring America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford.  I knew Big Sis would love it, but I wasn't sure if my 3 1/2-year-old would sit through it.  She surprised us by watching the whole thing!  She did ask, many times, if Mary Pickford was "really a little kid."  No, Mary Pickford was about 25 years old when she played Gwendolyn, who "celebrates" a very sad 11th birthday in the movie.  Unfortunately, the DVR cut off the very end of the movie.  But now, 2 1/2 years later, we have finally seen the ending!

"Rags & Riches:  The Mary Pickford Collection" from Milestone Films.

Yesterday, I picked the girls up from school, made a short jaunt to the library, grabbed some dinner, and came home to watch Poor Little Rich Girl.  Big Sis shocked me by remembering scenes from the movie better than I did, and Little Sis got worked up and wanted to "run into the TV" to teach the mean little girl who gets Gwendolyn into trouble a lesson.  We had such an enjoyable time.  Our watching of the movie coincided with finding this book at the library.

Mary Pickford Rediscovered: Rare Pictures of a Hollywood Legend by Kevin Brownlow.
Introduction and Photograph Selection by Robert Cushman.
Harry N. Abrams, 1999.

It's a lush coffee table book with text by renowned film historian Kevin Brownlow.  It gives biographical information, in addition to beautiful portraits like this one:


and this one:


Then the book gives an overview, with pictures, of each of her movies, starting with her early Biograph shorts directed by D.W. Griffith, and culminating with her four talkies.  


Oh, goodness!  Here is a movie I would give anything to see.  Made the same year as The Poor Little Rich Girl, it's her version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess, co-starring Zasu Pitts!  


Omigosh!  I don't have to give anything.  I just had to check YouTube.  I must watch this before it goes away!






 Someday, I plan on getting around to the book on which The Poor Little Rich Girl is based.  I scored this Grosset & Dunlap copy from the forties at a used book sale last spring.

The Poor Little Rich Girl by Eleanor Gates.
Originally published by Duffield & Co., 1912.
Reprint edition by Grosset & Dunlap, 1940.


Oh, so how did I answer my friend's message?  To paraphrase, "Never make a big deal about black and white vs. color.  Comedy, fantasy, and musicals work best.  The Wizard of Oz is the greatest gateway film.  Other favorites include the 1933 Alice in Wonderland, the 1934 Babes in Toyland - actually, any Laurel & Hardy - Singin' in the Rain, and stuff starring Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Shirley Temple, and Mary Pickford."

If you were curious about the necklace in the my first photo, it came from the Kansas Silent Film Festival a couple years ago.  Big Sis goes with me every year (except this year - stupid blizzard), and I usually get her a calendar.  They were out of calendars, so I got her a beautiful Mary Pickford necklace instead.  She impressed her art teacher in first grade.  "Oooo, I like your necklace!"  "Thanks!  It's Mary Pickford!"



By the way, looking at the schedule for the 2014 festival - Charlie Chaplin! Animation! Ella Cinders! - I cannot miss it.

For more Mary Pickford, you can check out my pinboard.  If you have Netflix, there is a documentary.  On YouTube, you can find a wealth of Pickford goodies:  Documentaries, shorts, clips, news stories, and feature films.

Sunday At Botanica


Happy Monday!  Remember how I said we might go to the state fair?  Well, that didn't happen.  We worked on school projects (Hat Parade!) and went to birthday parties.  The girls received invitations to two birthday parties, but unfortunately, the parties were at the exact same time on the exact same day.  It worked out, though.  Mr. B took Little Sis to the younger girl's Hello Kitty party, and I took Big Sis to Botanica for a Brave-themed party.  While we there, I took some pictures.  The summer flowers are fading, and the butterfly house is full of huge butterflies that will soon be released.  I found plants I would love to have in my own yard someday:  Easter egg plants, pumpkin peppers, hairy balls...  















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