Friday Reads

Now that Halloween and birthdays are behind me, I can share some of the other things I've been reading lately. Just don't expect an eloquent review or anything.  I'm a reader, not a writer.  (My blog doesn't count.  Proceed to laugh at me.)   Let's start with the third book in one of my favorite series ever.

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland 
And Cut the Moon in Two 
by Catherynne M. Valente, 
illustrated by Ana Juan. 
 Feiwel & Friends, 2013.

I am in love with Catherynne M. Valente's Fairyland books.  I gushed about the first two titles here.  I love the richness, the beauty, the weirdness, and I love Ana Juan and her illustrations.  I am still thinking about this third book, though.  The gorgeous language and visuals are still present - Valente is a master storyteller.  This one was a bit more difficult for me.  September is caught between childhood and adulthood, and I think that automatically gives this book a melancholy feeling.   I highly recommend these books.  When my girls are older, I will hand them my pretty hardcover copies and beg them to tell me what they get from them.  I want to know what children think of them, because I still feel they are children's books for grown-ups.  (Ha!  Slate agrees.)

I also read the second book in Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth.
HarperCollins, 2012.
Of course, I am behind.  The third and final installment is now out (and yes, I've heard about the ending, which didn't really surprise me, and oh look, I'm ahead of myself), and I have only finished book 2.  I didn't like Insurgent as much as I did Divergent, but I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Allegiant.  I'm only number 80-something on the hold list at the library.  Maybe I'll have to break down and buy it...

And I'm looking forward to seeing Divergent the movie, although I'm sure I won't see it until it's on Amazon or Netflix or something.  Sigh.  I remember when I saw everything in the movie theaters, sometimes more than once...

Ah, dystopian teen series.  Who knew I'd hop on that bandwagon?  

In the to-be-read stack:  Sarah Addison Allen's The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Peach Keeper, Neil Gaiman's Fortunately the Milk, Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden, and Alex Grecian's The Black Country.

As for the girls, we are reading The Emerald City of Oz together at bedtime.  When Little Sis and I get some alone time, I have been reading Junie B. Jones books aloud to her, while Big Sis is forging ahead on Judy Blume's Fudge books, with some Judy Moody and American Girl books thrown in, too.  

And we have been reading picture books, too!  Some of them are so popular these days, I decided there would be little point in featuring them on my dinky blog.  (Um, but Danzel, didn't you just post the Insurgent book trailer?  Yeah...)  That said, do check out The Day the Crayons Quit.  It's awesome.

Hope every one of you has a lovely weekend.  We have a birthday party to attend, and I'm making butternut squash mac and cheese to take to a potluck dinner/read-thru of my next play. Sunday is still open, but may involve a play date, perhaps a birthday dinner for my dad.  The girls are out of school for Veterans' Day, so they can spend the day with their former Marine daddy, gathering leaves and riding bikes.  I think I will make this for dinner.

Okay, done babbling!  Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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Thankful Thursday

Or as I've started referring to it in my mind, Instagrams of thanks. 
Cramming little drops of gratitude into every Thursday in the month of November.  
This week, I'm thankful for... 

What are you thankful for today?

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Beauty and the Beast (Ursula Jones/Sarah Gibb)

Another fairy tale for you today!  Both this book and yesterday's were birthday gifts for Little Sis, by the way.

This is Beauty and the Beast [Orchard Books UK, 2012], retold by Ursula Jones and illustrated by Sarah Gibb.  I've mentioned Sarah Gibb before, as she illustrated the Emily Windsnap series.  She is best-known in the U.S., I think, for her gorgeous picture book version of Rapunzel.  

The illustrations are truly gorgeous.  Little Sis's copy is a sturdy paperback.  It definitely makes me want to seek out more from this duo, particularly The Princess Who Had No Kingdom.

I love "Beauty and the Beast" as a fairy tale so much.  While I appreciate the Disney version (that library!), this is the reason I first fell in love with the story:  the Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre version that ran on Showtime in the U.S. in 1984.

Of course, the Faerie Tale Theatre version lifts heavily from the exquisite French film version, directed by Jean Cocteau in 1946.  It's available on Hulu if you live in the United States (see below).  No YouTube link, or I would post that instead. It is so worth hunting down to watch if you have never seen it.  Truly, this is one of the most beautiful films ever made.

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The Fairy-Tale Princess

Hey, fairy tale fans!  Look.  I have such a treat for you today.  You may have seen images from this book floating around Pinterest before.  Well, do you know what's better than looking at pictures on a computer? Holding a beautiful book in your hands.

Yes, the illustrations are intricate paper miniatures, created from old books.  Su Blackwell is amazing.

The stories are familiar ones, but hew closely to their literary sources, if that makes sense.  For example, Snow White is dropped, allowing the apple to come out of her mouth - no Disney kiss.  (The queen, however, falls to her death, rather than dancing herself to death in red hot iron shoes, such as the Grimms would have her do.)

"The Frog Prince"

"The Frog Prince"

"The Twelve Dancing Princesses"

"The Princess and the Pea"

"Snow White"


"Sleeping Beauty"

"Sleeping Beauty"

Here is "Cinderella," from the Thames & Hudson YouTube page.

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Old Cowtown Birthday

I just don't know if anything is as beautiful as a perfect, colorful autumn day.  Even better?  When that day is spent in a scenic park, with trees and historic buildings, and lots of smiling kids and parents.  

And a happy birthday girl.

It turns out fairies are lovely and all, but it's a lot of fun to gather with your buddies for a little "steer" ropin' and schoolyard games, a wagon ride, cake and sarsparilla.  My cowgirl was a very happy birthday girl.  Yee haw!  [By the way, her dress is by Three Giggly Girls, which I purchased at the Kansas Barn Sale.  The oversized hat came from Party City.]

Happy November!

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