The Greek Gods by Evslin, Evslin and Hoopes

The Greek Gods by Bernard Evslin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Like the other Greek mythology book by Evslin, Evslin, and Hoopes, this too, takes stories and makes them more palatable for adolescents.

This one focuses more on the creation myths, the gods themselves, and the workings of nature. Not every God is here in the book, but most are mentioned in one way or another. The story of Hades and Persephone is in here too.

I have very fond nostalgia for this book (and the other one) and credit both of them with my love of Greek Mythology. This is a very PG method of introducing children to Greek Mythology.



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Heroes & Monsters of Greek Myth by Evslin, Evslin, and Hoopes

Heroes & Monsters of Greek Myth by Bernard Evslin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a book I’ve had since I was a kid and it was one of my favorites. It was this book and it’s companion that introduced me to Greek Mythology.

If you know anything about Greek Mythology, then you know that the majority of the stories and quite adult with their antics. With this book, the stories are re-written in a way that either glosses over those antics, or just doesn’t include them. This doesn’t make the stories in anyway less than what they were, and the stories that were based on adult antics aren’t included.

I loved this book as a kid and read it several times, so my copy is pretty well worn and I had to be really careful with it. As an adult, I still enjoyed the stories, but noted the differences from the originals.



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Stories of Fairies, Elves, and Little People by Francine L. Trevens

Stories of Fairies, Elves, and Little People by Francine L. Trevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a book from my childhood that I do not remember at all. I know it’s mine since my mother wrote my name in the cover, but I have no memory of this book. So reading this time around was a whole new experience.

These are stories about forest folk, that explain why you never see one, why they live in forests, and what they like to do with their time. There are a few wholesome stories, like “there’s no place like home” stories and such too.

This is a book that I would love to read to my children. There are illustrations of the fairies, and all of the characters are just too sweet. I’m glad I found this book and that it is mine.



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Unicornucopia: The Little Book of Unicorns by Caitlin Doyle

Unicornucopia: The Little Book of UnicornsUnicornucopia: The Little Book of Unicorns by Caitlin Doyle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I bought this book because of my love of unicorns (and the small section on Unicorn Spells at the back to the book).

What I’ve found is that this is a book for adults with kids. Maybe small kids?

The way it’s put together is the book is fairly small, but thick; this is because the pages are not full of text, but word art and pictures (until you get to the recipes). The information given about unicorns is referenced in the back (which I love), and there are also many recent memes included. I especially like the ones about believing in yourself.

The illustrations are beautiful, if a bit cartoonish, but as its a parents book for kids, it works and goes with the themes. There are also crafts, recipes, and spells included in the book. I know I said spells and I’m sure many people are cringing at that, but don’t worry. The spells are just a complicated, fun way to communicate with the spirit of a unicorn. The spells center around finding happiness for yourself and seeing the magic of the world, nothing sinister here, it’s a unicorn for gravy’s sake!

So I do like this book, it’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s given me something to do for a little while!

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[DVD] Movie Review – The Goonies

The Goonies was not a movie I grew up watching, I came into it later in life and then wished I had grown up with it. Staring Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, and Jonathan Ke Huy Quan, four young friends and one older brother join in an adventure to save their homes from becoming a country club.

They run into some trouble, or else it wouldn’t be a very good movie, and it is, and has become a cult classic. A group of criminals is soon hot an their tails as the search for One-Eyed Willy continues.

I really do wish I had grown up with this movie, especially since Cyndi Lauper has a cameo in it, and I still enjoy her music too, but maybe I would have found her and loved her music earlier too. This movie has become a favorite of mine now too.

 

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[DVD] Movie Review – Disney’s Babes in Toyland

This is an older Disney movie musical starring Ray Bolger (also known as the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz), Ed Wynn, Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands. It is set in Toyland, the land of fairy tales and toymakers. But not all is fun and games as the evil Barnaby (Bolger) plots an evil deed with two hired thugs to turn a happy wedding upside down.

I first watched this movie as a child off a VHS tape, and now as an adult I own the DVD and still enjoy the songs especially The Forest of No Return, its a children only scene from the movie. But my favorite scene is the battle of good and evil at the end before everyone returns home to finally have a happy wedding.

There are also some slow love ballads between Tom (Sands) and Mary (Funicello) to show how devoted they are to each other and give some substance to the story. The unfortunate Toymaker (Wynn) gets caught in the middle of Barnaby’s plot, but ultimately he has a happy ending too.

Everytime I watch this movie I get a sense of nostalgia and suddenly wish I was a kid again.

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Series Review: Oz Series by L. Frank Baum

wizardofoz

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that I finally finished reading all 15 of L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Yes, there are 14 books that continue the story of Dorothy and her friends in the land of Oz. You can read them all as ebooks separately for free (or get the Kindle collection for 99 cents).  Or (as above) you can scour Barnes & Nobles for the three collective books. Now, onto some reviews (this gets long so be warned!).

The First Five Novels:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Book One) is the story we all know and love, thanks to the classic movie made in 1939. Its still one of my favorites, and introduces all the major characters. The movie follows the book pretty closely, so if you’ve never read the book but have seen the movie, you’ll be able to follow along without any problems.

In The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book Two) we meet some new characters that reappear throughout the series, most notably the Sawhorse and Jack Pumpkinhead. It’s another adventure through Munchkinland against Mombi, but more notable is General Jinjur and her all female army. We also finally meet the dethrowned leader of Oz, but in a most peculiar manner (this is a reason this is my second favorite Oz book).

Ozma of Oz is the third book, where we come upon the Nome King for the first time. Unfortunately he makes trouble for many citizens in Oz and does so reoccurringly for quite a few more books.

Book four, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, is a bit of a filler book. The author wanted to write a book for his fans and so included many of their suggestions in this book. Its a new adventure for Dorothy and the Wizard, they meet many new characters, but none of them return in any of the next books.

In The Road to Oz (Book Five) we meet more new characters as Dorothy travels through more of Oz. The Shaggy Man, Button Bright, and Polychrome (another favorite) are introduced, and all of them return in future books. We also have a return to Baum’s original writing style.

Novels Six Through Ten:

In The Emerald City of Oz (Book Six) Dorothy brings both her Aunt and Uncle over into Oz, where they can live there happily ever after. Dorothy always finds trouble and ends up lost, while the Nome King returns to wreck some havoc on the citizen of Oz. I liked that Dorothy finally brought her relatives to live with her, and that is an important plot point in the series.

Book Seven: The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Book Seven) obviously introduces us to a new character, but Ojo is the star character(?). However, the Patchwork Girl and another new character (the Glass Cat) are the ones who return for another adventure. By this point, Baum is introducing new characters in each book, forgetting some along the way, something I don’t care for.

More friends arrive in Book Eight, Tik-Tok of Oz, and the return of the Shaggy Man who wishes to rescue his brother from, you know who, the Nome King. At least Dorothy and Ozma have a new playmate from Oklahoma (Betsy Bobbin, who returns in further books).

The Scarecrow of Oz (Book Nine) helps newly arrived friends from another Baum series, which makes this book a crossover (though I’ve never read that series). I’ve never read that series, but it makes this book very similar to Book Seven, and Book Four, and maybe some others.

I have a blog post review of Book Ten: Rinkitink in Oz , so I won’t go over it too much here, but it’s almost a stand alone book in this series.

Novels Eleven Through Fifteen:

I have blog post reviews of the last five novels, so I’ll sum this all up quickly. In Book Eleven Ozma is kidnapped and everyone (nearly) comes to her rescue, in  Book Tweleve, the Tin Woodman finally remembers his Munchkin sweetheart, Book Thirteen is Ozma’s party and final end to the Nome King, and in Book Fourteen Dorothy is kidnapped and then rescued. Book Fifteen is a short story collection that fills in some holes from the series. Below are links to reviews I’ve already done:

Overall Thoughts:

Most of you will be quite happy just to read the first book and leave it as such. After all the first book is the most popular having been made into movies on several occasions (The Wizard of Oz, The Wiz, Tin Man, etc) and therefore the most well known.

Some will want to know what happened next, and boy, is there a next. Fourteen books of next even. If you are a serious Oz fan that you might not be disappointed, but do be aware that the books repeat storylines, have enough characters that you’ll need a chart to keep track of them all (hey, there’s a thought), and become a bit predictable and anticlimactic after awhile.

Having said all that, I’ll probably read through this series again (and make that chart!).

[DVD] Movie Review – The Wizard of OZ

Another classic from my childhood and a book series I undertook reading a couple of years ago. The Wizard of Oz is a classic in many ways and many of you will already know the movie itself. After all, Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a beautiful, iconic song that can stand on it’s own, and Judy Garland does it justice.

Alongside Miss Garland, Ray Bolger, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, and Clara Bandick star is this wonderful children’s movie.

I was even an extra in my school’s rendition of The Wizard of Oz. I always found the forest of the Cowardly Lion and the first visit to the Wizard two of the scariest parts of the movie. My favorite part is the ending, where Dorothy makes it home after her friends have found their own rewards.

If you’ve never heard Judy Garland sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, you are missing out and therefore I provide you the opportunity to correct this. And for those of you who have already heard this song, I offer you a repeat chorus.

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[Netflix] Movie Review – Mary and the Witch’s Flower

This movie that I stumbled upon on Netflix is based on a children’s book, The Little Broomstick, by Mary Stewart. Now I haven’t read this, and didn’t even know about growing up, but I found it on Amazon and put it on my wish list.

After watching the movie, I know how the “little broomstick” fits in. This is an anime type animated film from Studio Ghibli (a Disney company). I have and do watch Anime on a semi-regular basis, so this is nothing new for me.

I love that the kids are the stars and the adults are evil (well some of them). This is another movie where the kids are clearly underestimated by the adults who think they know better.

Even though Mary is the main character, I’d like to make an official petition for the Little Broomstick, which makes such a valiant effort throughout the entire movie, and it’s the name of the book the movie is based on.

If you have Netflix, I suggest a watch of this fantastic movie.

[DVD] Movie Review – Bedknobs & Broomsticks

 

I watched this growing up, and it’s part of why I love movies that blend live action and animation (see Who Framed Roger Rabbit or The Incredible Mr. Limpet). Movies don’t really do this anymore, if needed there is 3D animation for characters that can’t be actors.

Anyway, I also really like Angela Lansbury, and this is a young Angela. Also David Tomlinson is a treasure and really should have been in more Disney movies. There is a lot of nostalgia here for me, and so that is my bias here. Fair warning.

The Isle of Naboombu is a great sequence, and I love the ending where she finalizes the last spell to fight off the invaders (this movie takes place in WWII fyi). And, of course, since it’s Disney there’s a variety of lovely songs and dances to go along with the action.