Movies Scare Me Sometimes

Ok, so I understand that when you are famous and rich you can do pretty much whatever you want, but seriously, is there any way to stop Marilyn Manson from making an “arthouse horror” movie about Lewis Carroll? Is there any way to stop him from playing the title character himself? Please tell me there is! I can’t even explain how much the very concept of “Phantasmagoria – The Visions Of Lewis Carroll” horrifies me. Maybe that’s what it is intended to do, but still…

New Dolls – Rassi, Project Runway, etc.

There are several new dolls today! The first one is Andrae’s design from the first challenge of Project Runway’s second season, the “six yard of muslin” challenge. The second is Chloe’s design from the same challenge. I plan to do a bunch of the designs from the show, and most of them aren’t as boring as these two! The third doll is Belle in her yellow ballgown from “Beauty and the Beast”. I really like how she turned out. I think the folds in the skirt are very pretty. The fourth doll is Catwoman! I love how she turned out! Black is really hard to shade, but I think it ended up ok and the purple is great, so hopefully that makes up for anything lacking in the black. The next two dolls are mini Barbie dolls from a 1969 Barbie paper doll. The last doll is Rassi Thimblebock from Michael’s current Shackled City game! I have created a page for the game, but it’s pretty bare right now, so for information on Rassi, check our Wiki.

Andrae - Six Yard of MuslinChloe - Six Yards of MuslinBelle Yellow GownCatwomanBarbie Paper DollBarbie Paper DollRassi Ready for Battle!

Chanel’s Spring Line

I’m completely in love with Chanel’s 2006 spring couture line! Unfortunately, I can’t afford to do anything but look at it.

Chanel Spring 2006 - Suit

There are fantastic tailored suits! I love the details and unique shapes. The jacket on this white skirt suit is so pretty and so flattering! I think one of the things I like about this line is that everything has a classic quality to it, but is trimmed with unique outside-the-box details that make it completely Chanel.

Chanel Spring 2006 - Dress

This white dress may be my favourite piece from the line. I love the flared skirt and fitted waist (I love that shape) and the details are so great! I love the chain pattern on the dress and the chain trim over the arm. The details are great and the shape just makes it perfect! I would love to own this dress.

The evening gowns are really pretty too. None stood out to me like the suit and dress above did, but there were some wonderful pieces there. Chanel did a brilliant job on this collection! I can’t even believe how much this line appeals to me – there is almost nothing in it that I wouldn’t wear in an instant!

Caldecott and Newbery Winners Announced

The ALA has announced the winners for 2006 of the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal. I haven’t read either at this point, but I will attempt to as soon as possible! I have read a few of the Caldecott honor books, and they were excellent.

Jasmine in a Pink Robe

I am so proud of this doll! She has more shading colours than any other doll I’ve made and I used layers and transparency for the first time. I think that it turned out quite well! I copied the outfit from an illustration from a story book. I like the color combination on Jasmine. There was supposed to be a giant feather on her head too, but I thought it looked dumb and left it out. Click on the doll to go to the base site.

Jasmine in a Robe

Book: The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree
Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
1978

This book is one of the classic “Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners”. It uses several of the very familiar Berenstain Bears characters, although they are not named in the book (names are harder for beginning readers). The story is simple and repetitive and the pictures not only have clues to the text but also expand the story beyond the words. The layout is dynamic but very easy to follow so that it will hold the interest of preschool readers without confusing them. This is one of the best examples of this series that I have seen.

The story is very simple and basic. The little bears go into the spooky tree and have adventures. Eventually, they lose all of their equipment and get the shivers. It is scary, but they are able to run home to safety at the end. The illustrations are in muted colours, which is very appropriate to the spooky tone of the story. I love the familiar Berenstain Bear style with its curvy lines and adorable characters. The illustrations add a lot to this book. They are safe and comfortable – as scary as the story may get, you know nothing truly awful could happen to Brother and Sister Bear. I also like the added details to the story throughout. The crocodile and the falling axe add a lot to the story, but never get mentioned in the text. The whole book is exceptionally well done.

I definitely recommend this book. It is a cute, spooky story with fantastic illustrations and a superb design. This would be a perfect book to give to preschoolers as very beginning reading material. The story definitely sticks with you (Michael remembered it from when he read it as a kid). I highly recommend this book. It is a wonderful addition to any collection!

Publisher’s Description
Official Berenstain Bears Website
Buy it from Amazon

Ladies of Camelot Quiz

Found on Romancing the Tome


You are Igraine, the mother of King Arthur. You go
with the flow, never putting yourself before
others. Igraine lived by her duty whether it
was to her crown, her husband, or her country.

Which Lady of Camelot Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Book: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
Illustrator: Michael Foreman
2004

I really like this book a lot. Every tome I read it I find more fun details and images in it. The illustrations in this edition, however, did very little to bring out those clever details that Carroll so specifically included. The world of Wonderland is very proper within this book. The chairs at the Mad Hatter’s table all match (which the text says they do not) and other such mistakes. In fact, there are a great number of detail mistakes in this book, some of them not so trivial. The one that irritated me the most was that the gardeners who were painting the roses red were hearts when they are supposed to be spades (I happen to really like that detail, so it bugs me). The mistakes are distracting and any kid will pick them out immediately, which isn’t a good thing!

This edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is illustrated by Foreman in watercolours. Supposedly the artist was trying to mimic Carroll’s photography, but other than Alice’s hair and dress there is very little evidence of that. Getting beyond nit picky details (which I admit, I tend to get hung up on sometimes), the illustrations still seem to lack the originality and magic necessary for the story. The author specifically draws the real world in sepia tones while Wonderland is in colour, but rather than adding anything to this story the technique just feels copied and overdone since it is a very common motif.

Mr. Foreman states in the back of the book that every illustrator must undertake Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at some point in their career. This makes me wonder if he really loved the book and thus wanted to illustrate it or if he felt like he should because it was expected. I don’t know. That might explain the lack of magic, though.

I don’t really recommend this book. I would do in a pinch, but there are many editions that are much better with far more wonderful illustrations (even Tenniel’s original drawings are better). Thus, I don’t recommend this book. If you need an edition of Alice, find a better one!

Publisher’s Description
Book Blog Post (First Impressions)
Book Blog Post (Illustrations)
Book Blog Post (More Illustrations)
Book Blog Post (Final Impressions)
Buy it from Amazon

Allende Trilogy to be Made into Movies

Walden Media, the studio that is producing the Narnia films, has recently bought the rights to a trilogy of children’s books by Isabel Allende. The trilogy consists of City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, and Forest of the Pygmies. The stories are set in the Amazon rainforest.

I haven’t read this trilogy, but I’ve been meaning to. I look forward to seeing what Walden does with them! I am also looking forward to seeing Walden’s upcoming live action version of Charlotte’s Web.

Book: The Butter Battle Book

The Butter Battle Book
Dr. Seuss
1984

This is one of the Dr. Seuss books that I remember most vividly from when I read it as a child. It chronicles the battle between two countries, one of which eats their bread with the butter side up and the other of which eats their bread with the butter side down. Neither side ever really attacks, but they continuously escalate their threat. The weapons just keep getting bigger and more dangerous until they are locked in a single moment, waiting for one or both of their homelands to be totally wiped out.

I think that this is one of Dr. Seuss’s more political book. I never saw it as a kid, but looking back at it now I see definite cold war themes. That said, I think the message about building more and more dangerous weapons and the vicious cycle it creates is very applicable today. And throughout the whole thing is this stupid butter-themed conflict that really shouldn’t mean anything. Unlike some of Dr. Seuss’s other books where everyone learns to get along and appreciate each other (for example Green Eggs and Ham or The Sneetches), this book doesn’t end with any kind of reconciliation. It doesn’t even end with any kind of resolution of the main conflict. I honestly don’t know why I liked this book as a kid, other than it was an interesting story, but I definitely appreciate it as an adult. I doubt many writers could have gotten away with something like this, but Dr. Seuss had a long history of great nonsense books and political cartoons that somehow gave him a free pass to publish stuff like this. And I’m glad he did, since it is a rare thing in children’s literature.

I like this book a lot and definitely recommend it, but don’t expect warm fuzzy feelings from it!

Publisher’s Description
Official Dr. Seuss Website
Buy it from Amazon

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