There are well known classics in children's literature and film.
There are thousands of new books every year. Their qualities are mostly unknown. The question is...which stories and ideas should a parent, teacher, or librarian look for to enhance the lives of children.
This blog is dedicated to these issues and related matters. And to the amazing role of dogs in enhancing our lives.
“I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.”
―Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventure's In Wonderlad
Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll...was a precocious youth, a brilliant mathematician, an exceptional writer, an accomplished photographer and lifetime scholar at Christ Church College, Oxford. He was also the writer of timeless children's books, and an innovator who was primarily responsible for the establishment and acceptance of what has been labled "nonsense" writing.
He lived in an culture of great writers, from Dickens and Ruskin to Darwin and Trollope.
In Victorian England cathartic social and economic change were continuous, pushed forward by the industrial revolution and the expanded empire wher "the sun never set"'
In a world of tradition and conservative gentry, new wealth and a burgeoning middle class existed side by side with industrial slums and horrific child labor.
In the midst of all this he found beauty, grace, and curiousity in three sisters, the daughters of his friend, Henry Liddell, Dean of Christ Church College. They inspired him. The book he wrote, Alice's Adventure's In Wonderland, became a classic and marked a turning point in children's literature.
"Dodgson was the first author of children's books fiercely invested in developing stories that would induce children -- with all their desires for mobility and play -- to sit still and listen.Rather than writing what he thought appropriate for the child, he probed the child's mind as he "perfected" the stories. It was as a professor of the mind and childhood...that he made his discoveries about what girls want to read." Maria Tatar, Enchanted Hunters
Over the years Wonderland has fascinated children and adults in many forms and interpretations. Trans lated into 97 languages, Wonderland lives on today....
"The fairy tale is in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration. To keep one version or one translation alone is to put a robin redbreast in a cage...you (dear reader) have a positive duty to make the story your own. A fairy tale is not a text."... Philip Pullman, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
Books, movies, TV, theater and music are all a reflection of the time and culture in which they were produced. Often, the governing force is a commercial one. Occassionally, there is a truly creative person or group of people responsible.
Movies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- in a perpetual state of becoming and alteration --have been produced since the earliest day of theatrical films.
Link to the first film of Alice's adventures made in 1903. This is a restored version of the only remaining copy.
Link to the 42 minute 1915 movie of Alice In Wonderland
Link to the 1985 musical version, a two part TV production , of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The black and white illustrations are by John Tenniel who illustrated the original Alice's Adnenture's in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
Walt Disney, the titan of sweetened film versions of classic fairy tales, after a long period of preparation, produced his own version of Alice in Wonderland in 1951. The film received a highly critical reception both in the USA and England, especially from Lewis Carroll enthusiasts.
According to Wikipedia, "Disney was not surprised by the critical reception to Alice in Wonderland – his version of Alice was intended for large family audiences, not literary critics
– but despite all the long years of thought and effort, the film met with a lukewarm response at the box office and was a sharp disappointment in its initial release, earning an estimated $2.4 million at the US box..Walt Disney himself felt that the film failed because Alice the character had no "heart... in 1974, the Disney company gave Alice in Wonderland its first theatrical re-release ever, and the company even promoted it as a film in tune with the'psychedelic" times (mostly from the hit song 'White Rabbit' performed by Jefferson Airplane). This re-release was successful enough to warrant a subsequent re-release in 1981. Its first UK re-release was on July 26, 1979."
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The newest (2010) Disney Studios version of Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton was a $200 million, highly imaginative, 3D extravaganza. It grossed over 334 million and received decidedly mixed reviews. Here are excerpts from Peter Rainer's informed review in the Christian Science Monitor...
" The betting line on the new Disney 3D 'Alice in Wonderland' was that it would be marvelous because the imaginings of its director, Tim Burton, are pronouncedly in sync with Lewis Carrol's. But are they really? The movie is a decidedly mixed bag, in part, because of the equally pronounced disparities between Burton and Carroll – and between Burton and Disney, for that matter...I wouldn’t have minded if Burton used Carroll as the merest of jumping-off points for his own nightmarish visions. What we have instead is a hybrid: Carroll’s hallucinatory wit crossed with Burton’s rank unseemliness rolled into Disney “wholesomeness...”
Click here to read all of this excellent and insightful review: Peter Rainer
Door: “Why it's simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don't you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing's impossible!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
In February 1967, Jefferson Airplane, a San Francisco rock band with folk roots, released their record, Surrealistic Pillow. It became an instant succes, selling over a million copies in the first year. White Rabbit, a featured song with lyrics written by singer Grace Slick, was clearly inspired by Alice In Wonderland. Their fame spread to a crossover audience, appearing on the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, the Ed Sullivan Show, and the counter culture Smothers Brothers.
Here are the opening lines of the White Rabbit lyrics:
And the ones your mother gives you, Don't do anything at all.
Go ask Alice, When she's ten feet tall..."
And here is a link to Grace Slick singing White Rabbit at Woodstock in 1969.
“This show occupies a dreamscape where the judgments and classifications of the waking mind are inoperative, and where the single self keeps splitting and blurring.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times
The following description is excerpted from the Then She Fell Website
the writings of Lewis Carroll, and just 15 audience members per show.
Then She Fell is a fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which only 15 audience members per performance explore a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into lushly designed world. Inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll, it offers an Alice-like experience for audience members as they explore the rooms, often by themselves, in order to discover hidden scenes; encounter performers one-on-one; unearth clues that illuminate a shrouded history; use skeleton keys to gain access to guarded secrets; and imbibe elixirs custom designed by one of NYC’s foremost mixologists.
Here is a YouTube video link to a 41/2 minute Then She Fell Preview
Two fascinating and enthusiastic Reviews/Articles about Then She Fell appeared in the New York Times regarding this production. To read about Siobahn Burke's recent visit to the theater, click this Link: Sinister Wonderland. To read Ben Brantley's review of Novenber 2012, click this link: Brantley...........
“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn’t have come here.”
People Animals Love (PAL)is a wonderful full service therapy dog oranization based in Washington DC...PAL brings healing help and hope to young and old. Visit their excellent PAL website and learn more...
Here is a link to PAL's new therapy dog video...a documentary with many dogs bringing good moments to many people..The human canine bond in action.
Why Third Grade Is So Important: The ‘Matthew Effect’...a fascinating article on children reading by Annie Murphy Paul
Children who have made the leap to fluent reading will learn exponentially, while those who haven't will slump
What makes success in third grade so significant? It’s the year that students move from learning to read — decoding words using their knowledge of the alphabet — to reading to
learn. The books children are expected to master are no longer simple primers but fact-filled texts on the solar system, Native Americans, the Civil War. Children who haven’t made the leap to fast, fluent reading begin at this moment to fall behind, and for most of them the gap will continue to grow. So third grade constitutes a critical transition — a “pivot point,” in the words of Donald J. Hernandez, a professor of sociology at CUNY–Hunter College. A study Hernandez conducted, released last year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that third-graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high school dropouts.
Too often the story unfolds this way: struggles in third grade lead to the “fourth-grade slump,” as the reading-to-learn model comes to dominate instruction. While their more
skilled classmates are amassing knowledge and learning new words from context, poor readers may begin to avoid reading out of frustration. A vicious cycle sets in: school assignments increasingly require background knowledge and familiarity with “book words” (literary, abstract and technical terms)— competencies that are themselves acquired through reading. Meanwhile, classes in science, social studies, history and even math come to rely more and more on textual analysis, so that struggling readers begin to fall behind in these subjects as well"...To read all of this informative article and to learn the orgins of the term, "The Matthew Effect", click this link to TimeIdeas
Annie Murphy Paul is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. A contributing writer for Time magazine, she writes a weekly column and...
The photos are from teacher Julie Hauck's very successful Pages for Preston therapy dog reading program at the Longfellow School in Sheboygan, WI.
There is no charge to the recipent...33% of the dogs are rescued from shelters."
Based in Minnesota. their services extend to Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota, and with a few placements in Missouri and Illinois.
Can Do Canines has provided assistance dogs to more than 400 people with seizure disorders, mobility disorders, children with autism, people with diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness, and people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing ."
On their website, Can Do Canines provides information on the many disabilities where their service dogs make a life changing, 24 hours a day, difference. Here is an example dealing with childhood autism.
"Our Autism Assist Dogs are trained as assistance dogs with full public access rights. We train the dogs to provide safety, a calming influence and peace of mind for these children and their families. When in public, children are tethered to their dog for safety. If the child bolts away suddenly, the dog will lay down and hold position, keeping the child secure and close by. We are currently accepting pre-applications from families who have a child with autism between two and seven years old and live in Minnesota. The expected wait for placement of a dog is more than two years."... There is a link on the Can Do Website that expands greatly on what an Autism Assist Dog does. They do the same for all the disorders serviced by their dogs.
VIDEO: You tube has many brief videos on the help these Can Do service dogs provide. Their 2011 documentary presentation is both informative and touching...the variety of life affirming and life saving roles these dogs perform is amazing. I recommend it for its heartfelt testimonials.
“Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.”
― Lewis Carroll Alice In Wonderland
The Jumblies by Edward Lear (1812-1888)
They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
Zach MacDonald wrote a fascinating personal review based on his lifetime relationship with the Lorax book by Dr Seuss. It includes an analysis of how the movie, taken from the book, failed the original.
This is an excellent example of how importantant children's literature can be, and how much it can continue to be an important part of adult life..."UNLES someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not."
The excerpts that follows relate to the Lorax movie. A link to the rest of this very interesting personal memoir/article follows these excerpts.
"I popped it into my laptop and watched. As would be expected the movie was a Hollywood-fried, song-filled, rumble and tumble adventure, with boatloads of stuff that
were never in the book. But beyond all the, ahem, artistic liberties taken with the source material, and I’m talking about an unending parade of them, the Lorax (voiced by Danny DeVito), the Truffula trees, the Once-ler and his Thneeds were all there, along with the story of environmental destruction run amok in the name of unchecked greed.
One major diversion from the original story is that at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) the Lorax comes back, along with the forest, the animals and clear blue skies, for a happy reunion with the Once-ler. In the book none of this happens and nothing in the future is for certain: it all lies with the decision and resolve of the child, and by extension any child reading the story. The movie takes that responsibility out of the viewer’s hands, the happy ending provided for them already. I’m saddened to think that there are plenty of children out there who may never read the book, content with the movie alone, or of parents who will now never read it to them, satisfied instead to put the DVD in the player for the umpteenth time and leave their kids sitting in front of it." Here is the link; Lorax; Here is the link to his personal blog: MacDonald
The Planet Of The Dogs book series is available through your favorite bookstore or via Barnes&Noble. Amazon, Powell's...
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.
Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the the kids read dog books to you?"
Read Sample Chapters:Planet Of The Dogs series
"The summer is waning and that can only mean that our regular Children's Literary Salon series is gearing up once more! Please join us for the following event:
profit consultant, who knew the Petershams when she was a child growing up in Woodstock, NY. Under the North Light has received rave reviews and made Books and Culture’s Favorite Books of 2012 list. According to their review it is “loaded with ravishing illustrations, the book is a labor of love, recounting the life and work of Maud and Miska Petersham. If you love children’s books, and the art of illustration, order a copy without delay.”
Sick Pets-Knowing When to Call the Veterinarian
When we are faced with recognizing and treating sick pets, knowing when to call the veterinarian can be vital. There are certain pet conditions we can care for at home, and there are
medical conditions that require veterinarian care.
Different pet illnesses and their treatments depend on the type of medical care required and how much the owner knows of basic vet care. Diseases in sick pets can spread quickly within their bodies, requiring a more qualified vet diagnosis to discern what type of disease is involved and what is involved in the treatment.
Many times, pet owners attempt to treat the disease of their sick pets single-handedly at home …to read all click WCD
'Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures' by Virginia Morell
These excerpts are from a compelling review in the Examiner by C.A.Wulff:
If you have ever wondered if animals think and feel, wonder no more. If you have ever questioned whether animals have social relationships, question no more. ‘Animal Wise’ provides those answers and deep fascinating insights in its examination of what makes different species tick..."
Lewis Carroll, the Use of Language...Sense and Nonsense
Seth Lerer, in Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, while discussing Lewis Carrolll's use of language has a wonderful quote by Carroll:"No word has a meaning attached to it; a word means what the speaker intends by it, and what the hearer understands by it, and that is all."
Earlier, Lerer writes of Nonsense writing,,,"Nonsense, then, offers more than play or foolishness. It bridges the discourses of adult and children's literature, and it crystallizes our social and aesthetic attitudes towards words and their relationship to worldly things, human intention, and the pictorial imagination."
Seth Lerer is Dean of Arts and Humanities and Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of California at San Diego.
Here are excerpts from Ann Staub's review on Pawsitively Pets of How to Change the World in 30 Seconds: A Web Warrior's Guide to Animal Advocacy Online by C.A. Wulff...
"This book is a terrific guide that can help those wanting to help animals in need from their
computer. It's geared towards dogs, but I think it can be valuable no matter what type of pet you're advocating. While I was already aware of some of the things the book talks about, I really did learn a lot from it and it gave me a lot of new ideas...
We salute the Planet Dog Foundation
The Planet Dog Store sells top quaility dog products. They give 2% of every sale to the Planet Dog Foundation (PDF). They, in turn, award support money to non-profit service and therapy dog organizations as well as search and rescue organizations. Can Do Canines, posted above, was on of this year's recipients.
This year PDF gave $71,500 dollars to 16 organizations across the USA. I know of nothing comparable. Suppose Purina or Petco did something comparable...
What follows here was copied directly from their PDF website...Home for Life is one of their 16 award winners this year.
Home for Life
Home for Life Renaissance Program pairs teenage boys who have been adjudicated to residential juvenile detention homes for felony level offenses with dogs from the Home for Life Animal Sanctuary. They choose younger dogs with disabilities or behavior issues who have been rejected from shelters and rescue programs. The boys participate in a 10 week program to train the dogs so they become certified therapy dogs. It is a win-win-win program - at risk dogs trained by at risk kids to help at risk people of all ages. PDF funds support overall program operations.
For answers, examples, true stories and more, visit Sunbear Squad...Let the experience of compassionate dog lovers guide you...free Wallet Cards & Pocket Posters, Informative and practical guidance...Visit SunBear Squad
“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes