Tag Archives: fairy tales

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

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Thank you Ajoobacats for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! http://ajoobacatsblog.com/

Rules for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  2. Put the award logo on your blog
  3. Answer the ten questions sent to you
  4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Nominate ten blogs

Here are the ten questions Ajoobacats sent me:

  1. When did you realize you had a passion for reading?

    Probably when I was very young and my parents read books to me. I loved that.

  2. How does blogging enrich your life?

    Blogging enriches my life by helping me make friends with people all over the world and share my writing with them.

  3. Are there any films you’ve seen that are better than the book upon which they are based?

    I think the movie James and the Giant Peach is in some ways better than the book by Roald Dahl (even though I love the book and he’s one of my favorite authors). I also think the newer version of Charlotte’s Web has one component that makes it better than the book or the older movie, which is Fern being much more active in the plot. (Although, again, Charlotte’s Web is still one of my favorite books). I’m also under the impression (though I haven’t finished any of the books) that the movie Leminy Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is better than the series it is based on, mostly because as I understand it, part of the point of the books is to be parodies that they don’t have happy endings. The movie does, which is part of the reason I like it. I’m glad a story with such a dark premise is able to have a happy ending, even when the author doesn’t intend it to.

  4. Can you remember the first fiction book you ever bought?

    I’m guessing it was a book from the “Baby-Sitters Little Sister” series about Karen Brewer (an offshoot from “Babysitters Club”), since those were the very first chapter books I read.

  5. What do you do with your old books?

    I keep them and reread them from time to time. To me, one of the most special things about book characters is that they’ll always be there when you open the book.

  6. If you were to write a book, which genre would you choose?

    Definitely children’s literature, probably middle grade fantasy. As you can probably tell from my previous answers, I love children’s books. I am hoping to be a published children’s author someday.

  7. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

    I’m a cat person. I always have been. I like dogs in theory, but they’re too overstimulating for me in person. I love, though, how calm cats are, and how they purr when I pet them.

  8. What’s your pet peeve when it comes to grammar?

    Getting plurals wrong, like calling feet “feetses” or books “bookses”

  9. What do you do to unwind after a particularly emotional read?

    Unwind? Why should I unwind? I love it when books make me emotional! (Even though making me feel emotional is not hard, whether you’re a book or not). I bask in the feeling when I read an emotional book!

  10. Do you prefer stand alone books or a long running series?

    Stand alone books, though I have enjoyed shorter series before.

Here are ten questions for my nominees to answer:

  1. Do you have any hobbies that you hope will become something more someday? If not, how do you keep yourself from getting too ambitious with your hobbies?
  2. How do you stay in touch with your inner child?
  3. What do you do when none of the books you pick up are appealing, or you can’t get through them?
  4. What was it like having siblings growing up (or being an only child if you were one?)
  5. What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
  6. If you could change one thing you’ve done in the past, what would it be?
  7. If you could make three wishes right now, what would they be?
  8. What’s your favorite fairy tale? Why?
  9. If you could be any animal, which one would you choose? Why?
  10. If you could be any fantasy creature, which one would you choose? Why?
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The Land of Picture Books

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Animals talk,
Toys come to life,
Anything is possible
In the Land of Picture Books.

Fairies fly,
Mermaids swim,
Princesses dance
In their castles.
Magic happens
In the Land of Picture Books.

Witches cast spells!
Giants crunch bones!
Trolls hide under bridges!
Even fairy tale villains are real
In the Land of Picture Books.

Beautiful

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The following poem refers to this song here.  Please comment if you know it! 🙂
Beautiful,
So beautiful I forget the ugliness
That I know
And remember,
Too well.
Too strong for the demons within
To destroy.

So beautiful it takes me back,
To my first flights of fancy with
Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel,
Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood.
A time I thought all wishes
Could come true.
Still they may.

Clearing Book Space

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Old books out,
New books in,
Old and new
On Kindle.

Meditation books
No longer useful,
Out with the old.

Some religion books
Not useful,
Out of home.

Some religion books
Still useful,
Out of room.

Books about
Native Americans,
Same.

Some picture books
Gone,
For I don’t want to write ‘em

Some picture books
Stay,
Priceless treasures.

Writing instruction books
Stay,
Folk and fairy tales
Stay.

Old books out,
New books in,
Old and new
On Kindle,
Old and new
In print, too,
For now.

Review of Jerry Pinkney’s “The Ugly Duckling” Adaptation

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This version of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale sticks to the original story enough to be heartfelt in the same way as the original, retaining the themes of finding one’s inner beauty and place in the world. Besides cutting unnecessary details from the original story (of which there are many), the only things that are changed in this version include the ugly duckling’s mother never saying anything negative about him. and the children who take in the ugly duckling never being mean. I appreciate Pinkney changing these two details, because the idea of a character who was never treated nicely by anyone in his  life is pretty rough for children. I think having most, but not all, of the characters be unkind to the ugly duckling is adequate.

I’m glad the children in this version were always kind to the ugly duckling, especially since, according to Maria Tatar’s The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, the meanness of these children came not from Andersen’s wish to have the duckling mistreated until the end, but from Andersen’s own dislike of children. This is one example of modern authors changing classic stories for the better, I think.   However, I wish the part with these children trying to play with the duckling had been illustrated. It would have been very interesting to see a picture of the children trying to play with the duckling but him running away, thinking they were being mean.

The illustrations do show, however, that the same children see the duckling after he becomes a beautiful swan, but don’t recognize him. According to a commentator’s analysis of this story, referenced by Maria Tatar in The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, the bread they throw to the duckling is meant to be thought of as a symbolic result of the milk, butter, and flour he jumps into when trying to get away from the children. In that case, even though the part about him jumping into these food items isn’t in Pinkney’s retelling, maybe when I retell the story, I’ll make it clear that the children admiring the swans are the same children who tried to play with the duckling, and that the bread they throw to him is made from the very same milk, butter, and sugar he jumped into. I would have him jump into these food items when the kids are trying to play with him and be nice, but he is afraid.

Another thing the illustrations don’t show that I wish they did is the other ducklings right after they hatched, when their down was still wet and ruffled. They show the ugly duckling right after he hatched, but they don’t show his brothers and sisters until after they’re dry, fluffy, and cute. This is not fair. They should have shown his brothers and sister right after hatching, too, to show that all birds are ugly right after they hatch. This would have helped the illustrations show that the duckling wasn’t really ugly; just different from the others.

The only other part I would have liked to see illustrated that wasn’t was the autumn after the duckling went back to the pond. I think Pinkney chose not to illustrate it because it is not an important part of the story, but if I retold and illustrated my own version, I would try to fit the autumn in, because autumn is my favorite season.

All in all, I think this is a pretty good retelling of “The Ugly Duckling.” The text is beautiful, and the illustrations are beautiful, too, showing lots of details in both the story and the background.  The retelling also strikes a nice balance between sticking to the original story and improving it in parts. I think it could have improved it further while still maintaining the essence of the story, but it is not at all bad the way it is.