Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Picks

Books, books, books.
Here are Willow's picks. I talked to her about why these were her favorite books for this month, and she gave me some very insightful responses. I will insert Willow's book reviews for your enjoyment.

"Tails" by Matthew Van Fleet is a very entertaining read. It has a pleasant weight to it, since the pages are very thick as is the binding. The first thing I loved about this book was the cover. I know they say you're not supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but how can you resist all the colors and textures that just POP off the page?! It's fantastic! I like to sit for a good two or three minutes just to study the cover and feel all the different textures. Of course my favorite is the tiger's tail, but I spit up on it today, so I'm pretty sure it will never feel the same again. My bad. Anyway, each page has rhymes about animals and their tails, uses great descriptive words to describe how they feel, and incorporates unique animals (and their tails of course). Each page has textures, or pop out pages, flaps, or whatnot to interact with. My favorite tail is that of the porcupine. I've learned that porcupine tails are very spiny. To say the least, I highly recommend this book to my peers---just not my copy, since I had a little mishap on the cover (as previously mentioned) it's my favorite.

How do you feel about puppies? Well, I've never really seen a real puppy, but these DK pictures are very realistic and I feel like I can relate to each puppy. I mean, they're always running around and chewing things, I know exactly what they're going through! I also love all the textures on each page. My favorite is the last page, there are three little puppies with velvety noses--I can't resist it, I MUST kiss them every time we get to that page. I'm very good at kissing lately.

What's not to love about Dr. Seuss and his unique rhyming scheme? Nuff said.

Thanks to Willow for collaborating on this post and giving her book reviews of her Favorite February books.
Here's what I've been reading this month.
"Death Comes to Pemberley". Just started this one, so we'll see how it goes...but basically, Mr. Wickham gets murdered. The author attempts to write using Austen-like prose, so it's interesting.

This book is not as cheesy as the cover would suggest, but it was a quick read and very I guess I'll still place it in the cheesy category. It was a relaxing story, however, and I read it one day.

I have loved the movie "The Princess Bride" for so long, I was excited to finally read the book. I'm a firm believer in books being better than movies that are based on the same story-- but I was actually surprised to find the book surpassed my expectations. What makes the book so clever is that the author makes you believe that you are reading an abridgment of The Princess Bride that was originally written by S. Morgenstern as a parody on the decline of European monarchies. Goldman tells you about his son and psychiatrist wife, offering a purpose for why he is even going about writing an abridgment. He sprinkles in enough facts about his actual professional life that you start to believe him. The introduction to "The Princess Bride" is so long that you start to wonder when the actual story will begin. In reality, S. Morgenstern, his 'original' story, the son, and the psychiatrist wife are all made up (I had to look it up on Google because I was so curious). Throughout the whole story, Goldman is constantly interrupting the text, to either tell you something he is skipping over in Morgenstern's 'original' story, or to give you some parenthetical commentary on the world at that time. He's very long winded in these commentaries, but his dry sense of humor is irresistible so I usually ended up reading his comments whether I wanted to or not. Since Goldman actually did help to write the screenplay for "The Princess Bride" the similarities between the book and the movie are numerous. However, I was surprised to find that Buttercup was not only beautiful, but also silly, awkward, and a little ditsy...sometimes even socially awkward, and painfully embarrassing. I loved it.

Willow is also starting to enjoy watching TV, which I'm not particularly happy or proud about. But I confess, it is good to have a break once a day where she isn't fussing at me to hold her or play with her. She demands 100% of my attention, and she knows if she's not receiving it. There are very few instances when she is happy to be on her own. She knows how to play by herself, but she hates to be alone. Hence why she has been crying in her crib for the past thirty minutes (currently), because she refuses to go to sleep. We've been trying to get to sleep for the past two hours. She's over tired, and basically hasn't had a nap in the past 11 hours because she refused to nap this afternoon. Anyway--all that to say that Willow enjoys watching her 40 Years of Sesame Street DVD. She is in love with all the puppets, especially Big Bird, Grover, and Elmo. She definitely pays close attention to those the most. She has a few favorite clips and we watch them over and over again. I don't mind, since it's so nostalgic to watch vintage Sesame Street. Adam enjoys it too.
She's also been watching the first ten minutes of "The Princess and the Frog" this week. She is enthralled by the animation and the musical numbers. It's sort of a scary movie though, so I'm glad that her attention span maxes out after several minutes. Maybe I'll try to find copies of Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast.

This, on the other hand, is what Adam and I are watching lately. "Once Upon a Time" is about every fairy tale character (basically) you ever knew that has become trapped in the real world. There has been a curse placed on them and they have know memory of who they really are. All their lives are a little messed up, and not ending happily ever after--but there is a way to break the curse. We don't know what it is yet, but it involves Snow White's daughter. I like how it twists the stories just a little so that they are recognizable, yet unexpected. I also like how their names in the real world are somehow linked to their fairy tale names. Snow White's name becomes Mary Margaret Blanchard. Blanchard makes me think of the word blanch, or blanc, which means white. And I've heard that Mary Margaret is part of the name of a woman from the 18th century that inspired the Snow White story. The evil queen's name becomes Regina, which means Queen. Jiminiy Cricket's name becomes Mr. Hopper. Red Riding Hood's name becomes Ruby. It's not just the names that draw me in. I love fairy tales, always have, and probably always will. Even though I took a class about them in community college, which basically ruined fairy tales for me temporarily. Apparently, fairy tales can be interpreted in dirty ways, and my teacher always did exactly that. The most interesting thing about that class was reading 10-12 different versions of the same stories from all over the world. You quickly see that, without much communication, almost identical stories were popping up all over the Eastern and Western hemispheres--they were archetypes, universal, and enduring.


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