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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 18:53
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, The Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, The Emperor and the Nightingale - Rabbit Ears,Glenn Close,Jodie Foster,Sissy Spacek

Title:  Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales and Other Stories: Thumbelina, the Talking Eggs, The Fisherman and His Wife, the Emperor and the Nightingale

Author:  Rabbit Ears

Genre:  China / Fairy Tale / Folktale / Magic / Animals


Year Published: 2006

Year Read: 2009

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury

Publisher:  Listening Library (Audio)

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Rude Behavior and Intense Moments)

 

 

Thumbelina

When I first heard that Rabbit Ears was finally releasing their classic stories on audio CDs, I was so excited and happy because not only will I have the pleasure of listening to these fantastic classics over and over again, but now everyone will have a chance to listen to this fantastic series! “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is an audio cd that is full of various fairy tales created by Rabbit Ears and with a vast array of famous celebrities along with engaging music for each story, this audio cd is a delightful treat for both children and adults!

Since I have reviewed half of these stories already, I am just going to briefly summarize each story on this audio cd:

The Fisherman and his Wife 
Told by: Jodie Foster
Music by: Van Dyke Parks

In this Brothers Grimm tale, a meek fisherman stumbles upon a magical flounder who promises the poor fisherman that he will grant him several wishes if he frees him. When the Fisherman told his wife about this, his wife suddenly gets greedy and she starts wishing like crazy.

The Talking Eggs
Told by: Sissy Spacek
Music by: Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil

A kind girl named Blanchett learns about the importance of being kind towards other and how it brings its own rewards.

Thumbelina
Told by: Kelly McGillis
Music by: Mark Isham

A tiny little girl named Thumbelina, who is no bigger than a thumb goes on a wild adventure in the outside world that changes her life forever.

The Emperor and the Nightingale
Told by: Glenn Close
Music by: Mark Isham

An Emperor learns about the importance of the real thing when the real nightingale has to save the Emperor from a horrible fate.


Emperor

Oh my goodness!! Never would I have thought that I would enjoy this series now as much as I did as a child! Every narrator on this audio CD has greatly contributed enough excitement and tenderness to each of these stories that will have any child and adult listening to this series over and over again! Out of all four of these stories presented in this audio cd, my favorites were “The Talking Eggs” and “The Emperor and the Nightingale.” In “The Talking Eggs” Sissy Spacek has indeed done an excellent job at narrating this story as she provides a Southern flair to the story and actually puts so much emotion in her narration whenever she is enacting a character yelling or being soft-hearted. Micheal Doucet dit Beausoleil’s music is clearly catchy and inspiring as it has a slight country theme that will have many children toe-tapping to the music until the very end of the story! In “The Emperor and the Nightingale,” Glenn Close does a splendid job at narrating this story as she sounds extremely tender and soothing and Mark Isham’s music provides a magnificent presentation of Chinese inspired music that will have everyone be mesmerized by the music.

The only problem I had with this audio CD was that it did not come with a book or in this case, books, to accompany each story. For anyone who has grown up with the Rabbit Ears series since they were children might possibly be disappointed in not receiving a book to go with each story. However, because the celebrities’ narrations are so effective and creative, this audio cd is still a treat to listen to. 

Overall “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Fairy Tales” is a fantastic audio cd for both children and adults who love reading old classics and fairytales and will be an instant treat for many years!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-23 17:24
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories: How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Leopard Got His Spots, The Monkey People
Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories: How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Leopard Got His Spots, Monkey People - Rabbit Ears,Jack Nicholson

Title:  Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories: How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Game Got His Hump, How the Leopard Got His Spots, The Monkey People

Author:  Rabbit Ears

Genre:  Animals / Folktale / Manners / Respect / Africa / Colombia 


Year Published: 2007

Year Read: 2009

Series: Rabbit Ears Treasury

Publisher:  Listening Library (Audio)

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+ (Some Rude Behavior)

 

 

Rhino

“Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories” is one of the first audio CDs released from Rabbit Ears Entertainment (or Rabbit Ears Productions as I fondly love to call it) and this audio CD features four stories called “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin,” “How the Camel Got His Hump,” “The Monkey People” and “How the Leopard Got His Spots.” Each story is narrated by a famous celebrity during the 80s and 90s and it will be an instant treat for anyone who is a huge fan of Rabbit Ears stories!

Since I have already reviewed some of these stories on separate reviews, I will just briefly summarize each story:

How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin
Told by: Jack Nicholson
Music by: Bobby McFerrin

When a rude rhinoceros eats the Parsee Man’s delicious cake, the Parsee Man starts to take revenge on the rude rhinoceros.

How the Camel Got His Hump
Told by: Jack Nicholson
Music by: Bobby McFerrin

When an arrogant camel refuses to do his share of work, it is up to the Djinn of all Deserts to set the camel straight.

Monkey

The Monkey People
Told by: Raul Julia
Music by: Lee Ritenour

When an old man comes to a village full of lazy people and shows them monkeys cut out of leaves doing all the chores, the people learn the hard way about the importance of hard work.

How the Leopard Got His Spots
Told by: Danny Glover
Music by: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

When all the animals moved to the forest to hide from the Leopard and the Ethiopian, the Leopard and the Ethiopian must learn to camouflage themselves in order to eat to survive!

Oh my goodness! Imagine my surprise when I first heard about this animal series coming out on audio CD! I was so excited about listening to Jack Nicholson, Danny Glover and Raul Julia narrating these fantastic tales that I remembered from my youth! Each story was extremely interesting to the next story and the narrators and the musicians have both done an excellent job at narrating and providing appropriate music to each story. Out of all four stories featured on this audio CD, my favorites were “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin” and “How the Camel Got His Hump” which were both narrated by Jack Nicholson and both had music by Bobby McFerrin. In both stories “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin” and “How the Camel Got His Hump,” Jack Nicholson narrates both stories in an extremely silky voice that soothes you to the bone as you hear him narrate these stories and anyone who has seen Jack Nicholson in “The Shining,” will definitely be surprised at how calm he sounds in narrating these stories! Bobby McFerrin is truly magnificent in providing music for each story as he mainly uses his voice to create music for each story which brings so much creativity to the stories. Another story that I enjoyed on this disc was “How the Leopard Got His Spots” as I loved the way that Danny Glover narrates this story in an African accent which brings creativity to this story and Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s music is truly wonderful as they vocally sing in African tones.

Again, there is no book to go with this audio CD; however the narration and the music provided in this audio CD will help many fans still love this audio CD. 

All in all, “Rabbit Ears Treasury of Animal Stories” is a true treat for fans of the fantastic Rabbit Ears series and who love Jack Nicholson, Danny Glover and Raul Julia and I am sure that many children and adults will love this audio CD for many years to come! I would recommend this audio CD to children ages seven and up since the “Just So Stories” might be too complicated for younger children to understand.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-01 07:42
Victorian Fairy Tales
Victorian Fairy Tales - Michael Newton

This was one of these books that really just wasn't for me. It features a nice introduction on fairy tales in the Victorian era, which was a good read and although I'm not particularly interested in the subject, I found it entertaining and interesting.

Next is a string of fairy tales and frankly, I enjoyed them very little. It became a burden for me to pick up the book, as I either struggled with the translation of some of the stories, and especially the long stories were plain boring. While I'm sure they are a nice representation of fairy tales in that time, I just found out those really are not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-02-24 08:31
Review: The Wily Witch, by Godfried Bomans
The Wily Witch and All the Other Fairy Tales and Fables - Godfried Bomans,Patricia Crampton,Wouter Hoogendijk
It's a risky proposition to go back and reread books that meant a lot to you as a child. They often warp or shrink or mildew to mulch over time.
 
I first read The Wily Witch somewhat late in my sheltered childhood. I was in the sixth or seventh grade, and it had never occurred to me that fairy tales could be dark or subversive or lewd. Not that this book pushes any of those boundaries very far, but there are some twisted endings, some questionable morals, and a boob or a penis or two in the illustrations.
 
... I guess I should back up for a minute and describe what this book even is. Godfried Bomans was a beloved Dutch author, humorist, and TV personality who was active from the 50's to his death in 1971. Among other things, he was known for writing witty modern fairy tales (sprookjes). Though his work remains somewhat popular in the Netherlands, most of his books were never translated into English, and I don't think The Wily Witch ever made much of a splash in the English-speaking world.
 
I originally found it in my school library in Ohio - god knows why they had a copy. The book contains a few dozen fairy tales, none more than a couple of pages long, along with the original (and charmingly bizarre) illustrations by Wouter Hoogendijk.
 
There are two stories I distinctly remembered from reading it back then:
 
1) "The Innkeeper of Pidalgo", whose titular character is known throughout the land for his succulent roast. When a famine strikes, he is heartbroken - not because his family is starving (though they are), but because he can no longer enchant travelers with his cooking. When the king stops by and requests the famous roast, the innkeeper can't bring himself to refuse. In a few days' time, he manages to obtain and prepare the most amazing cut of meat for the king and his entourage. Everyone marvels over it until one of the courtiers notices that the sickly-looking Innkeeper has a wooden leg...
 
2) "The King in His Undershirt", which is about a king who, while frolicking through a cornfield for no apparent reason, realizes he has to take a shit. That's basically the entire story, but it's really the illustration that stuck in my memory:
 
 
 
So I mean, it's really pretty mild stuff. But at the time I thought this book was ridiculously cool.
 
Rereading it now, I realized that the reason I didn't remember most of the other stories is that they are fairly unmemorable, though some are quite funny and some are refreshingly bleak. It's really the illustrations that feel subversive to me now - it's one thing to read a story about a bunch of angry villagers murdering a poor blackberry picker (he convinced them he was rich, when really it was just nature that was his palace), it's another to see a full-page illustration of him hanging from a tree. And, in another story about a man who was despised for being too happy all the time, I could really do without the depiction of his gory decapitated head laughing manically on the scaffold.
 
So I can really only recommend this book as a curio. It's too graphic for young children, but it's not twisted or salacious enough to interest fans of more adult-oriented fairytale reimaginings. While many of the stories are sly and satirical, there are just as many that are cloyingly earnest. It's just as sexist as any medieval specimen of the genre, and it doesn't push the envelope compellingly far in any particular direction.
 
But it DOES have that bare-assed pooping king. So... at least there's that.
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