The limits of now, of everyday life, open up to the unlimited possibilites of tomorrow for children who like to read...unlimited, at least in the mind and imagination.
Folklore, fairy tales and mythology change and evolve with time. Books provide children with doors to the past and the future.
Beginning with books, and now with the newer media -- film, TV, audio recordings, CDs, and the internet -- an endless variety of stories are available to children.
Yet the classics, or variations therof, remain at the core and continue to exert their powerful spell on young readers.
Classic fairy tales often have several versions. There are over over 24 versions of Cinderella, ranging from Charles Perrault in the 17th century to Phillip Pullman's version published in his wonderful book, Fairy Tales from the Brother's Grimm (2012).
Teachers and librarians bring the world of reading to the young.Organizations like Lit World and First Book reach out to the inner cities, the disenfranchised and the third world. And for the reluctant reader and children in hospitals, there is the very special work performed by therapy reading dogs.
We salute them all.
The photo is by Kate Soroka, Easthampton, NY. The boy in the photo loves books.
There Will Be Some Changes Made...
From the Odyssey to Snow White, from the Brothers Grimm to Walt Disney, the revision of folklore, fairy tales and mythology has always been evolving and changing...
Remember the game where a group of kids (or adults), gathered in a circle, whispered an anecdote to the person sitting next to them, who then repeats it to the person sitting next to them, until the telling has gone full circle?
The final version is inevitably far removed from the original version. It's a matter of happenstance, where the changes vary depending largely on the differences in the players.
And children's literature, it has often been the case that an author has deliberately changed a story.
This notion of eternal revisions, the author's motives, and the importance of age appropriate books is a major focus of this months's blog...along with the extradinary work of therapy dogs -- man's best friend.
The Big Bad Wolf has gone beyond Disney...
These ranged from the first tellings as a folktale, to later versions written by authors such as the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Walter De La Mare, James Thurber, Alphonse Daudet, Anne Sexton and Charles Marelee.
Zipes is an authority in recognizing and articulating the siginfigance and underlying meanings of fairy tales and folklore. In this case, he uses the tales to provide a detailed social history of Red Riding Hood and to explore questions regarding Western culture, sexism, and politics.
Pamela Paul, author and editor of the New York Times Book Review (and former editor of the Children's Book Review) has reviewed four new variations on the earlier versions.
It seems the wolf now befriends bunnies and pigs. Well why not? In earlier versions, the wide variey of endings ranged from the wolf eating Red Riding Hood to her threatening to pee on the bed, therby driving the wolf out to the forest where he was shot by a hunter.
(Jack Zipes, is the author of over a dozen books on fairy tales, folklore, and children's literatue, and editor of even more; he is Professor Emeritus of the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota. Among his many publications is his complete translation of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm....)
Whatever Happened to the Big Bad Wolf...Pamela Paul, NYT
"Once upon a time, the Big Bad Wolf was a mighty fearsome fellow. In the folkloric tales of Aesop and the Grimms, he terrorized small children and other helpless critters. He blew down houses in Disney’s “Three Little Pigs,” and in “The Three Little Wolves,” a somewhat sinister Silly Symphony cartoon from 1936, after the Nazi ascent to power, he is saddled with a German accent.
Perhaps he was due for a makeover. Four new picture books this year brush aside his surly past and sweeten him up for warmer and fuzzier tales, while still retaining a bit of bite"...
The review continues and covers four books: The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf; Rabbit and the Not-So-Big-Bad Wolf; Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf; The Big Bad Wolf Goes On Vacation.
I wonder what Jack Zipes thinks about the new, friendly, wolf..?
More Good News for Children
Once again, dedicated volunteers that recognize the benefits that therapy reading dogs
bring to children and to a community have organized.... See Spot Read serves the schools and libraries in Wake County, NC(Raleigh is the hub) and typifies the dedication found in therapy reading dog owners.
Here's a description of their working philosophy as posted on their website:
"Literacy specialists acknowledge that children who are below their peers in reading skills are often intimidated by reading aloud in a group, have lower self-esteem, and view reading as a chore. Dog reading programs are based on the premise that children will find reading to an animal less intimidating than reading to their peers, parents or teachers.
Research with therapy animals indicates that children with low self-esteem are often more willing to interact with an animal than with another person. Being with the dog is relaxing and fun, and builds a positive association with reading activities. Instead of reading being a chore, it becomes something to look forward to when a dog is involved...We're also fostering positive interactions between children and dogs and have seen many kids overcome their shyness or fear of dogs. "
There is an an excellent interview with See Spot Read organizer, Beth Cooke Weaver. Jessica Lyons conducted the interview and wrote an article for Edcation Portal.com. Here is a link to the Interview
Here is a link to the website for See Spot Read (My first dog was named Spot)
The Kalevala...the Finnish national epic
Finland, a northern country of great forests and lakes, was relatively isolated from the ebb and flow of conflicts over power, religion and territory that swept over Europe for many centuries. Finland was under Swedish domination from the 13th century with periodic invasions by the Russians. In the early 19th century Russia again overcame the Swedes. and under the benign rule of Alexander the First, Finland became an autonomous Grand Duchy.
Except for settlements along the coast, the people of the interior had developed a culture that was largely divorced from outside influences. It was there that the oral tradition of the rune singers had been developed and the ancient mythology of Finland -- known as the Kalevala -- preserved.
Recording for posterity...
By the nineteent century, the tradition of the rune singers was dying out. A traveling physician, Elias
Lonnrot, greatly moved by these epic poems, spent 20 years, primarily in the eastern area known as
Karelia, finding the remaining great singers, and recording for posterity their traditional songs. In 1835 he published the first edition of this rapidly vanishing mythology, the so called, Old Kalevala. A greatly expanded version was published in 1845
Songs of the Beginnings and beyond...
As is the case with all folk tales, fairy tales, and mytholog, there were many variations within the Kalevala, deprnding on the region, the time and the singer. The poem about the creation of the world occurs immediately after an introduction by a rune singer to his friend to join with him. The tales that follow deal with the vissicitudes of life, death, power, desire, dreams and beyond. They have a timeless quality and transcend national and cultural boudaries.
Tolkien learned Finnish as a student and read the Kalevala. The following quote is from the Tolkien Gateway (all things Tolkien) website::
"The Finnish mythology, as presented in the Kalavela, had a profound impact on the young J.R.R. Tolkien, and became an inspiration for the creation of his legendarium... In 1955, writing to his friend W.H. Auden, he says that "the beginning of the legendarium [...] was in an attempt to reorganize some of the Kalevala, especially the tale of Kullervo the hapless, into a form of my own".
The illustration, by Alexi Gallen Kallela, is of the tragic figure, Kullervo
A Fairy Tale Is Not A Text
Seth Lerer, in the San Francisco Gate, gave a glowing, insightful and informative analysis and review of Phillip Pullman's book Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm wherein Pullman retold -- rewrote -- the the original talesin his own voice.
"Pullman himself is one of our most erudite imaginers of other worlds, and his "New English Version" is learned and eloquent. Collecting 50 of the "Tales," he offers lucid stories in an English shorn of archaism or affectation. Each tale concludes with a brief commentary and a guide to further study, informed by contemporary scholarship.
But, as he recognizes in his introduction, "a fairy tale is not a text." It is a mobile story, changing with each telling and adapted to the audience and aura of its moment. Pullman's versions do not so much fix each tale as offer a script for their performance. This is a book not to be read alone in silence, but to be read aloud to others..."
(Seth Lerer is dean of arts and humanities at UC San Diego. He won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism for "Children's Literature: A Readers' History From Aesop to Harry Potter.)
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Fairy-Tales-From-the-Brothers-Grimm-4100774.php#ixzz2UQtWnmCj
This video by Patriot Paws will touch your heart.
It's the story of service dogs that change the lives of wounded veterans, helping them with
physical and emotional needs..dogs that heal and help.
The non-profit Patriot Paws program also helps to heal the lives of women in a Texas prison who train the dogs.
Final, cutomized training for individual verterans takes place at Patriot Paws own facility in Rockwall, Texas. There is no cost for the veteran.
There is a long waiting list.
Watch the video and see the amazing abilities of man's best friend as they help the wounded veterans and women in prison to have a better life.
Here is a link to the Patriot Paws website.
Do you think that it is possible for dogs to stop a war?
This was the lead-off sentance in Wayne Walker's review of Castle In The Mist. I was delighted to read it, for not only was it provacative, it went to the core of the story... Here is more of what he wrote...
"The dogs from The Planet of the Dogs are back! Now that a year of peace has existed between the people of Stone City and the people of Green Valley, a new threat has arisen. Prince Ukko of the Black Hawk tribes... Will the dogs who have come to earth to bring happiness and harmony to mankind be able to do anything to rescue the children and avert fighting?
I said in my review of McCarty’s Planet of the Dogs (Volume I), “Author Robert J. McCarty has created a charming fantasy-allegory that can be read and understood on at least two different levels. Children will enjoy the story about dogs who come from another planet to help people on earth. But under the surface are the important messages of friendship, love, loyalty, and how to overcome evil with good.” The same things are true as the story continues in Castle in the Mist. The book is well written and easy to read. It will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next, and, as with Volume I, leads to a satisfying conclusion. You can learn more about the series at www.planetofthedogs.net."
Wayne Walker's complete review appeared on the Home School Book Review; the Home School Buzz; and Stories fof Children Magazine
Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here: Sample Chapters
Our books are available tfhrough your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series.
Ariel Wulff is an informed and passionate dog lover and animal rescue person.
Barking Planet Productions is proud to have published the last three of her books.
We are big fans of her Yelodoggie art work
We avidly read her animal book reviews on the Examiner
And we're always interested in what's on her mind...and therefore, we read her Blog, Up On The Woof.
Here is an excerpt from a current post on Up On The Woof...
"There is an insane amount of trash talking in animal rescue. There are people who band together to do what they can to destroy the reputation of a rescue group. Sometimes it’s because the rescuer is too pretty. (really!) Sometimes it’s because the rescuer does things differently than other rescuers. Sometimes it’s because the rescuer is in the spotlight because he or she is trying to accomplish great things.
I don’t understand this vitriol. I’ve actually heard someone complain ridiculously that a certain rescuer shouldn’t ask for donations. When I asked how that rescuer should fund her rescue, the reply was that she should get a job. Really? Where do people get off making judgements like that? First of all, the rescuer being criticizeddoes have a job — and she funnels most of what she makes into her rescue. But I’d like to see a rescuer who funds their organization completely out of their own pocket. Just who was this critic using as a model? And ultimately, why the hell was it any of her business, anyway?.."
To read it all, click this Link: Up On The Woof
To see videos of PAL dogs with retired veterans, kids reading, and spreading healing joy to many, many people, clink this Link: PAL Dogs. It will take you to the PAL video channel on YouTube. PAL = People Animals Love
Burlington Free Press.com
Vermont, also known as the Green Mountain State, is one of the 13 original colonies, and has a population of over 608,000. Much of Vermont is rural and agricultural; tourism is a major source of income. This article held special interest for me as Barking Planet Productions is a member of the Independent Publishers of New Englan (IPNE).
Vermont small publishers share big ideas...
How independent publishers in Vermont are churning out printed pages and selling books - and ideals - in the digital age...an article by Susan Greene
"Papyrus began to flourish in ancient Egypt. The Chinese figured out how to make paper in about 105 AD. Movable type was invented by a German in 1440. Worldwide during the 21st century, the tactile process of turning a page has been increasingly eclipsed by reading from an electronic device.
But whatever the medium, the message remains constant: Books must first be published by somebody somewhere. In Vermont, dozens of those somebodies are devoted to independent literary pursuits of one sort or another.
Steve Carlson, for example, has maintained a hands-on approach to an eclectic list of titles for the company he calls Upper Access (www.upperaccess.com), located at his home on Upper Access Road in a bucolic part of Hinesburg. Tucked away in the woods, this almost 30-year-old publishing operation tackles a range of subjects such as herbs, weather history, house repair and the many facets of dealing with death..."
Here is the link: Vermont small publishers
The Smithsonian has a wonderful and informative article by Chris Colin on How Dogs Can Help Veterans Overcome PTSD
It begins like this: "Going to the movies was the worst: the crowds, the dark, the whispering.
'I would constantly be scanning for who was going to come stab me from behind,'
says Robert Soliz, a 31-year-old former Army Specialist from San Joaquin, California. He was discharged in 2005 after serving in a heavy artillery quick-reaction force in South Baghdad. But fear, anxiety, depression and substance abuse swept into his life, and Soliz became one of 300,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder..."
The article continues and describes the success that veteran Soliz has had in the remarkable Paws for Purple Hearts program. Like the Warrior Canine Connection program, Paws for Purple Hearts has veterans with PTSD actually train service dogs for wounded vets. And working with the dogs has an extraordinary healing effect on their PTSD.
I strongly recommend clicking the link for this excellent article and exceptional documentary video wherein the healing power of therapy service dogs is there for all to witness.
Heres the Link to the article and the exceptional VIDEO:Smithsonian... Photo by Paws for Purple Hearts.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstien
Barbies Gone Wild is the title of Myla Goldberg's review of Peggy Orenstien's book
about the effects of marketing and Disney on young girls in the USA...you can read it all through this link: Myla Goldberg
..."Orenstein's main concern is the princess problem. As I or any other mother of young daughters can attest, Disney dames and Barbies-gone-wild seem to grab little girls in greater numbers and with greater intensity with every passing year. Who is to blame for this pink menace? Is it the marketers, who are producing more and more pathologically monochromatic and prettified products? Is it the parents (and aunts, and grandparents) who continue to buy these toys? Or is this actually not a problem at all?
There's real pleasure to be derived from reading Orenstein's sane and reasoned dissection of this phenomenon. She interviews the Disney exec responsible for the birth of the Disney Princess concept that, 10 years later, has landed some permutation of Ariel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Belle in every American household containing a girl-child between the ages of 2 and 10. ..."
Thirteen isn’t what it used to be...
Justin Cronin, author of bestselling cross-over novels The Passage and The Twelve, opened his enthusiastic NYTimes "Children's" book review of Rick Yancey's new YA book, The Fith Wave, with comments regarding the blurring, if not the demise, of the distinction between YA and mainstrem fiction.
"In a post-Potter, post-Katniss era, the line between young adult and mainstream fiction often blurs. Novels that once would have slipped beneath the radar of adult readers are now proudly displayed by middle-aged commuters on public transit; books that not so long ago wouldn’t have made it past the P.T.A. into the middle school library are, for a generation raised on endless reruns of “Law and Order: SVU,” just another day at the office. Thirteen isn’t what it used to be — nor, apparently, is the 30 it’s become.
Finding a manuscript that will satisfy both audiences has become the holy grail of publishing. It's a tricky line to walk and few succeed. But Rick Yancey's wildly entertaining new novel, "The Fith Wave'. is such a book...then the fun begins, I say 'fun' because Yancey isn't content with just one brand of Armageddon, and delivers the apocalypse with multivalent gusto..."
Operation Roger Truckers Find Homes for Cats and Dogs
By Michele C. Hollow for Pet News and Views
"Their hearts are big and so are their rigs. The men and women of Operation Roger describe themselves as “a rag-tag group of 20-30 truckers who volunteer to help needy pets find loving homes.”
If you talk to anyone of the volunteers of this 501 (c) (3), they will tell you that they are truckers first and are required to do their jobs. They travel across America’s highways, often moving from one end of the country to the other.
Since they began back in 2005, Operation Roger volunteers have found permanent homes for almost 700 cats and dogs...here is the link to read all : Pets News and Views
The caring truckers of Operation Roger reminded me of the people in the Dog Rescue Railroad described by Deb Eades in her touching book, Every Rescued Dog has a Tale.
Here is the link to the truckers and Operation Roger
Authors in the Classroom and Library
When authors, whose books the kids have read and liked, appear in the classroom and share with kids what happened -- the process, if you will, that resulted in their book(s) -- excitement fills the classroom. It's a proven way to ignite greater interest in books. Judith and Dan Greenburg have been exciting kids about reading -- and writing --- for several years.
Judith is the author of "Andrew Lost," a humorous science adventure series published by Random House for kids ages 6 - 10. (My youngest grandchildren and I are big fans)
Both Judith and Dan have an exceptional ability to make contact and communicate with kids.
Judith has had a lifelong excitement and curiousity about science. She enhances her presentations with exciting powerpoint illustrations to stimulate curiousity about everything from dinosaurs to stars.
I've always felt that heartfelt testimonials provide good insights. This comment sums up what exciting authors bring to the classroom.
“Dan Greenburg was an inspiration to both the students and staff. His storytelling had all of us on the edge of our seats. He has an uncanny ability to use his life experiences to teach students to be creative and inventive writers. He is, by far, the best author we have had visit our school!”
–Dr. Laura Russomano, Principal, Theunis Dey School, Wayne, New Jersey
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON... an INTERVIEW from IN-SIGHT MAGAZINE...
Insights indeed...an interview by a Chinese journalist Linguei Shao, in Denmark, with Dan Ringaard, an Associate Professor at Aarhus University. This is how it begins...
For many people, Andersen is a writer who wrote fairy tales for children. However, Andersen himself was never satisfied with that. He did not want to be a fairy tale writer only; he wanted to be a world famous author.
Andersen became famous in 1835 at his 30s. He accomplished 156 fairy tales, 1000 poems, 6 novels, 3 autobiographies, several travel books and lots of letters and diaries.
L: There are two kinds of fairy tales: One is the original that passes on from generation to generation, and the other is written by romantic authors. How would you compare Grimm brothers and Andersen in this regard?
D: Grimm Brothers didn’t create stories. They collected stories. You had the same kind of people collecting fairy tales in Denmark, Norway, and also in France, Italy, all over Europe. So The Grimm brothers were the most famous among those who collected stories, whereas Andersen is the most famous among those who actually wrote new fairy tales. Sometimes he used some of Grimm brothers’ fairy tales in his own words and changed them somehow..."
Here's the Link to read it all: Anderson...The illustration for Tom Thumb is by Wilheim Pederson
"Summer and dog friendly summer outings are just around the corner. No doubt, you’ve started thinking about where you’ll be heading and what you’ll be getting up to. Along with your dog[s], of course!
You also will have probably considered the restrictions on your plans that owning a dog might have.
Luckily, while many pets won’t take kindly to a change of scenery, dogs love sniffing out new turf and will be all too happy to accompany you on your summer jaunts: see Oscar the globetrotting pooch as exhibit A!.." The article continues with: Where To Go; How To Get There: Where To Stay; and What To Take...To read it all, click this link: Way Cool Dogs.
The Library of Utopia...
"If it were just a matter of moving bits and bytes around, a universal online library might already exist. Google, after all, has been working on the challenge for 10 years. But the search giant's book program
has foundered; it is mired in a legal swamp. Now another momentous project to build a universal library is taking shape. It springs not from Silicon Valley but from Harvard University. The Digital Public Library of America — the DPLA — has big goals, big names, and big contributors. And yet for all the project's strengths, its success is far from assured. Like Google before it, the DPLA is learning that the major problem with constructing a universal library nowadays has little to do with technology. It's the thorny tangle of legal, commercial, and political issues that surrounds the publishing business. Internet or not, the world may still not be ready for the library of utopia."
A dog is lying by the side of the road...What do I do? What are my options? I want to be helpful, but this is all new to me... For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you.
"When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem."- Edward Abbey