Here is a world of fantasy alive.
Fantasy belongs to all the arts.
Fantasy lives in the imagination.
Fantasy is not limited by time or place. It is limited only by the mind of the individual.
Fantasy opens the mind to possibilities, to discovery, to hope.
Fairy tales -- wonder tales -- are a home for fantasy.
Here is a link to Pina Bausch (above) and her world of fantasy and imagination. Photo by...
Perrault and the Rise of Fantasy in English Children's Literature
"In any case, the more respectable children's literature that began to emerge for the first time in the 18th century was far from devoid of fantastical elements. One highly regarded favourite in middle- and upper-class families were the fairytales
of Charles Perrault, first published in France in the 1690s and in English in 1729. They contained morals alongside the supernatural elements. ‘The Little Red Riding Hood’, for instance, ended with a warning for ‘growing ladies fair’ against wolves ‘With luring tongues, and language wondrous sweet’ who ‘Follow young ladies as they walk the street’. And although fairytales continued to be criticised by Lockean educationalists, new editions were printed especially for children throughout the century...
Whatever led to the rise of fantasy literature, two things are clear. Firstly, by the end of the 19th century children were having a vast range of fairytales and fantasy literature written for them. And secondly, this literature was not quite so different as we might at first think from the realistic and didactic texts that fantasy and fairytales have sometimes been seen as displacing..."
The above is an excerpt from an inclusive article by Matthew O Grenby, Newcastle University, that explores, with a fresh voice, the relationship between fantasy and morality in 18th- and 19th-century children’s literature.
The illustration of Little Red Riding Hood is by Walter Crane.
Children's Versions of Grimm Tales
The Grimm's, learning of Taylor's success in England, edited their later German editions of the original Tales in a similar manner, and thereby achieved a wider audience.
In England, the market for children's books continued to grow and the tales were further modified by publishers to accommodate 19th century tastes. And to sell more books.
“Many of the tales in the first edition are more fabulous and baffling than those refined versions in the final edition for they retain the pungent and naïve flavor of the oral tradition. They are stunning narratives because they are so blunt and unpretentious…not yet censored with sentimental Christianity and puritanical ideology..In fact, the Brothers endeavored to keep their hands off the tales, so to speak, and reproduce them more or less as they heard or received them.”
The first edition of the Grimm's tales was published 1812-15. Six more editions were published; the final version appeared in 1857. These publications precipitated a turning point in children's literature.
The Illustration, by Andrea Dezso, of The Three Sisters is from Jack Zipe's translation of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brother's Grimm.
Snow White, The Original Ending
It only makes sense that the early versions of the Grimm's stories, taken from the adult oral tales that reflected the hard uncertain lives of ordinary people, would be modified for children. An example of a fairy tale that needed modification, including a new ending, is the story of Snow White. Here is the Grimmm's 1812 ending to Snow White translated by D.L. Ashman.
"Their wedding (Snow White and the Prince) was set for the next day, and Snow White's godless mother was invited as well. That morning she stepped before the mirror and said:
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who in this land is fairest of all?
The mirror answered:
You, my queen, are fair; it is true.
But the young queen
Is a thousand times fairer than thee.
She was horrified to hear this, and so overtaken with fear that she could not say anything. Still, her jealousy drove her to go to the wedding and see the young queen. When she arrived she saw that it was Snow White. Then they put a pair of iron shoes into the fire until they glowed, and she had to put them on and dance in them. Her feet were terribly burned, and she could not stop until she had danced herself to death."
The top illustration of Snow White and the seven dwarfs is by Walter Crane.
The illustration from Snow White of the queen and the mirror is by an unknown artist.
Discovering Real Magic
"Stories ignite not just the imagination but also intellectual curiosity, tugging at us and drawing us into symbolic other worlds, where we all become wide-eyed tourists, eager to take in the sights. Like Lucy on the threshold to Narnia, we are both "excited" and "inquisitive"...
As readers, we traverse vast regions "without moving an inch". discovering the thrills of story worlds, recoiling from their villains and empathizing with their champions, all the while shaping our values as we build a relationship with the book and discover its real magic..."
Maria Tatar in her book, Enchanted Hunters, the power of stories in childhood.
The illustration is by J.R.R. Tolkien.
In A Wonderland
Children yet, the tale to hear, Eager eye and willing ear, Lovingly shall nestle near. In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream— Lingering in the golden gleam— Life, what is it but a dream?
--Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass
The Heritage of Found Fantasies in an Era of Turbulence
Children’s book publishing saw continued large growth after Edgar Taylor published his version of the Grimm’s tales in 1824, and I try to image the impact, the influence, of these stories on British culture in those turbulent times. This was an amazing period of time in England…it was the era of worldwide colonialism from India to Africa and beyond. It was the time of the industrial revolution with its rapid urban growth, a burgeoning middle class, new wealth, and great poverty. It was the time of new discoveries, a time of challenging ideas and political change…It was the era of Darwin and Dickens, of Mathew Arnold and Alice in Wonderland, and of John Ruskin, Rudyard Kipling, and Treasure Island.
Toward the end of this era, the heritage of the Grimms lived on. Publishing books for children continued to grow as a thriving business. Between 1889 and 1913, Andrew Lang published 12 collections of fairy tales and 13 collections of other stories and poems for children. They were immensely popular, as were the books of L.M. Montgomery, Kenneth Grahame, Francis Hodgson Burnett, J.M. Barrie, and others.
A new era began in 1913 with the shot fired in Sarajevo and the advent of World War One. Children's literature, however, would continue to have a substantial and meaningful place in the world of children and the reading public.
The illustration for the Secret Garden is by Inga Moore.
Living Life as it Should Be -- The Planet Of The Dogs Series
Don Blankenship, Teacher, Reviewer at Good Books for Kids, and dog lover wrote:
"I love this series of books and this first, Planet of the Dogs, sets the stage for those works that follow…This book can be, and should be, read on several different levels. First, it is completely appropriate for children from about the age of eight
and up. While not a beginning reader by any means, the story could be read to children of a younger age and I feel there would be complete understanding with little explanation of the reader's part.
Secondly, this book is quite sneaky about throwing in wonderful facts about dogs, such as their ability and method of communication, life style, temperament and abilities.
Thirdly, this book makes some very insightful observations of the general human condition.
Fourthly, these books are excellent motivators, not only for reading, but for generally living life as it should be led. Finally, the entire work is almost irresistible to dog lovers."
The photo is from teacher Julie Hauk's therapy reading dog program, Pages for Preston.
"What I've learned to do, and what I really feel proud about, is being able to say more with less. Let the reader enter within his or her own imagination -- and that makes us co-conspirators as it were, together, the reader and me."
Toni Morrison, author, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner
Cover and book illustrations by Giselle Potter.
The Forest Where the Wind Returns...
"The next project from the famed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki isn’t a film—it’s a nature sanctuary for children. Miyazaki, the visionary behind Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and other animated films, announced that he will invest 300 million yen (about $2.5 million) to create a nature park called 'The Forest Where the Wind Returns.'...
The park’s 10,000 square meters will be located in the Zendo Forest Park on Kume Island in Okinawa, Japan. Think of it as the anti-Disneyland: In contrast to the American animation company’s carefully branded theme park, Miyazaki aims to turn the landscape into a serene natural playground, using trees and boulders rather than swing sets and trampolines in order to encourage kids to explore the natural world.."
Here is a link to read the complete article by Katharine Schwab in the Atlantic
World Vision is working in nearly 100 countries around the world to help refugee families. Here are excerpts from their website:
Between 2 million and 3 million Syrian children are not attending school. The U.N. children’s agency says the war reversed 10 years of progress in education for Syrian children.
- 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance due to a violent civil war.
- 4.8 million Syrians are refugees, and 6.5 million are displaced within Syria; half of those affected are children
- Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school. See new photo slideshow.
- Most Syrian refugees remain in the Middle East, in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt; slightly more than 10 percent of the refugees have fled to Europe.
The photograph of the refugee child is by Muhammed Muheisen.
Anne Frank Today Is a Syrian Girl
This is the headline of a very poignant article by Nicholas Kristoff in the New York Times...the parallels are disturbing.
Opening the Door To Wonder with 6.5 Million Books
REACH OUT AND READ gives young children a love of reading and a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together...
"The director David Lowery brings natural sweetness and heartfelt wonder to this remake of the 1977 fantasy. Young Pete’s parents are killed in a car accident in the rural Pacific Northwest, and Pete, who survived, heads for the woods, where he’s rescued by a furry green dragon—more like a gigantic, winged, fire-breathing dog—which he calls Elliot. Five years later,.."
The Nutcracker Returns
I realize Disney has trampled on children's classic stories and not given credit to the original. It is with some trepidation that I am reporting their planned production of the Nutcracker. Here is an excerpt regarding their plans from Variety:
"Helen Mirren is in talks to join Keira Knightley in Disney's new retelling of “The Nutcracker. Mackenzie Foy is on board to play Clara, with Misty Copeland and Morgan Freeman also attached to the movie.
The live-action film — based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” — is titled “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” In the pic, one of Clara’s Christmas toys — a Nutcracker doll — comes to life and battles the evil Mouse King with seven heads..."
Here's a link to read the full article in Variety
The illustration is by Maurice Sendak from E.T.A. Hoffman's book The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
Curious George is 75...
"September 17th marks the annual ‘Curiosity Day’, in which the publisher, HMH, celebrates the magic of learning and discovery through reading as only George and The Man with the Yellow Hat can... In celebrating his diamond jubilee, George remains one of the most recognizable children’s’ icons with his distinct look and unflinching curiosity, delighting readers young and old for generations with his playful antics. Curious George swung into the hearts of millions since H.A. Rey and Margaret Ray created and published the first book, Curious George in 1941".
Here is a link to the nicely done Curious George HMH 75th Anniversary promotional video (1 minute)
Sunbear Squad is a leading source for information and guidance in dog rescue and care. Here is an excerpt from their site about Sunbear -- the original inspiration for all the good work they do...
"Who was Sunbear?...He was a young dog who died tragically of neglect in an empty townhouse in 2002 even though there were neighbors on both sides. Sunbear's highly-publicized case had a huge effect on humane laws in West Virginia, and his story inspires thousands worldwide to help save animals in distress today. Read his true story here."
We have free reader copies of the Planet Of The Dogs series for therapy dog organizations, individual therapy dog owners, librarians and teachers...simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the books.
Our books are available through independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's and many more.
The Planet Of The Dogs series (including Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale) is also available in digital format at..Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's, Kobo, Inktera, Scribd, and Tolino.
Librarians, teachers and bookstores ..You can order the Planet Of The Dogs series through Ingram with a full professional discount.
To read sample chapters of the series, visit PlanetOfTheDogs