Sunday, February 28, 2010

Edward Burne-Jones at Museo de Arte de Ponce

I am an avid adherent of serendipity and am always thrilled when it takes place in my own life. This past week, I had a wonderful moment--more like a half hour--of serendipity when I visited the Frist Center here in Nashville. The Frist is an exhibition museum, featuring two to three traveling exhibits at a time. The most recent just opened last weekend, Masterpieces of European Painting from Museo de Arte de Ponce. Imagine my delight when I learned it included three Briar Rose paintings by Edward Burne-Jones.

I never expected to see these paintings in person seeing as how they are usually in the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is not on the top of my dream vacation spots--nothing against it, there are just other places I want to see more. And up until this week, I didn't know that these three paintings were even there, usually.

They were fittingly displayed side-by-side on the last wall of the last room of the exhibit. I had already had a preview since I had been upstairs to see the Greek exhibit first. But by the time I had explored the entire exhibit and found some other beautiful pieces, I was ready to visit with these three paintings for a good fifteen minutes. I stood in front and studied them. I stood back and observed them. I sat on the long bench and enjoyed the entire effect of all three.

I realized these were not the ones I have seen the most often on my own site and the web. I grew more and more curious, too. I am still investigating all of the many Burne-Jones Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose paintings. There is not enough information to help through the sources I've investigated. Some of it is even wrong, imagine that. But I do know for a surety that these three paintings are from earlier in Burne-Jones' career, painted in 1871.

I also know they are exquisite. From across the room, the first impression is of three tapestries thanks to the bright pink briar roses floating throughout all three paintings. When one approaches them, you can see details that are nearly invisible if not completely so in the reproductions. The horror, awe and fear on the Prince's face are very real. A ruby ring, very bright, shines on the king's finger. The strings on the lute in the bottom right hand corner of the Sleeping Beauty panel are all snapped and tangled. One also notices the plant with roses not in bloom yet on the right edge of the king's panel, foreshadowing what will be seen in the next one with Briar Rose.

And so, without further ado, the Briar Rose panels by Edward Burne-Jones, currently on exhibit in Nashville, but usually only found in Puerto Rico. Look carefully, for they are not the ones most often seen around the web, especially the king's court one. These are softer focus and more romantic than the later panels he painted of the same subject.

Tip: If you click on the image, you can see a slightly larger and fuller version since Blogger cuts off the right edge to size them for this blog template.

The Prince Enters the Woods, 1871

The King and His Court, 1871 (I didn't find this one represented anywhere on the web although there are a few others by Burne-Jones of similar composition. This one is my favorite because for one thing the king is dressed in bright red.)

The Sleeping Beauty, 1871

You may compare these with the ones I have posted on SurLaLune.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Black History Month: More Folklore and Fairy Tales

I completely dropped the ball on Black History Month and sharing more titles. I know Black History Month itself is controversial these days, but I have no problem using it to find inspiration for sharing African American and African folktales and fairy tale collections. After all, I also have big plans for Women's History Month in March, so stay tuned.

Anyway, I made a Listmania list near the beginning of the month on Amazon: Black History Month: Folklore and Fairy Tales for easy reference of titles although I only managed to feature two of them this month. (It's been an even more insane month for me than usual away from this blog. I'm just happy I've managed to post every day despite everything!)

Here are five more titles culled from the list of particular interest to the armchair reader as well as scholars:

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore: Three Volumes edited by Anand Prahlad

Here is Booklist's Starred Review for it:

Intended for "students, scholars, writers, and the general public," these volumes cover African American folk traditions in the Caribbean and North, South, and Latin America. The multidisciplinary nature of folklore studies is reflected in the list of 140 or so primarily academic contributors, whose areas of expertise include art, literature, anthropology, religion, and more. Editor Prahlad is a professor of English at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Some 700 alphabetically arranged entries, varying in length from around half a page to 10 pages, make fascinating reading on topics as diverse as samba, the Sea Islands, sermons, Tupac Shakur, Stagolee, and the steel pan drum. Entries cover "the most important narrative and nonnarrative genres and motifs, major scholars and works, representative artists, key groups, and critical historical and theoretical concepts." The "Guide to Related Topics" presented, along with an alphabetical list of entries, at the front of each volume groups entries under nearly 20 broad topics, among them "Groups, Places, Regions" ( Barbershop, The; Ghetto; Gullah; Rio de Janeiro); "Material Culture" ( Dreadlocks, Gris Gris, Quilting, Soul food); "Music" ( Big drum ceremony; Blake, Eubie; Delta blues; Rap); and "Religion, Spirituality, Belief" ( Ashanti; Islam, Nation of; Preacher tales; Testifying). There are entries for a number of countries, among them Brazil, Haiti, and Uruguay. Other than South, The, there is no specific entry for the U.S. Article text is accompanied by occasional black-and-white illustrations and by sidebars containing folklore excerpts. In addition to the further reading lists attached to each entry, the reader will find a selected bibliography arranged by topic in volume 3. Also in volume 3 are a state-by-state appendix of archives, folk-art programs, and other resources and an extremely detailed index.

The fact that more than 100 entries are devoted to scholars and collectors, among them Imamu Amiri Baraka, Zora Neale Hurston, and Melville Herkovits, supports a statement Prahlad makes in the introduction. The encyclopedia seeks "to provide a significant overview of the current study of African American folklore" rather than simply define genres and themes. This goal, plus some scholarly language, makes it most appropriate for students at the undergraduate level and up, although there's plenty of content that would draw high-schoolers as well. This "first comprehensive general reference work" on African American folklore is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.

Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States by Zora Neale Hurston

Publishers Weekly Review:
Although Hurston is better known for her novels, particularly Their Eyes Were Watching God, she might have been prouder of her anthropological field work. In 1927, with the support of Franz Boas, the dean of American anthropologists, Hurston traveled the Deep South collecting stories from black laborers, farmers, craftsmen and idlers. These tales featured a cast of characters made famous in Joel Chandler Harris's bowdlerized Uncle Remus versions, including John (related, no doubt, to High John the Conqueror), Brer Fox and various slaves. But for Hurston these stories were more than entertainments; they represented a utopia created to offset the sometimes unbearable pressures of disenfranchisement: "Brer Fox, Brer Deer, Brer 'Gator, Brer Dawg, Brer Rabbit, Ole Massa and his wife were walking the earth like natural men way back in the days when God himself was on the ground and men could talk with him." Hurston's notes, which somehow got lost, were recently rediscovered in someone else's papers at the Smithsonian. Divided into 15 categories ("Woman Tales," "Neatest Trick Tales," etc.), the stories as she jotted them down range from mere jokes of a few paragraphs to three-page episodes. Many are set "in slavery time," with "massa" portrayed as an often-gulled, but always potentially punitive, presence. There are a variety of "how come" and trickster stories, written in dialect. Acting the part of the good anthropologist, Hurston is scrupulously impersonal, and, as a result, the tales bear few traces of her inimitable voice, unlike Tell My Horse, her classic study of Haitian voodoo. Though this may limit the book's appeal among general readers, it is a boon for Hurston scholars and may, as Kaplan says in her introduction, establish Hurston's importance as an African-American folklorist.

The Girl Who Married a Lion: and Other Tales from Africa by Alexander McCall Smith

Publishers Weekly Review:
Straying from the safety net of a bestselling series (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, etc.), Smith tells 40 traditional African folk tales with his by now signature humor, simplicity and reverence for African culture. With an introductory letter from No. 1 Lady Detective Mma Ramotswe as a preface, he sets the literary stage for a nostalgic stroll down his own personal memory lane. Born and raised in what is now Zimbabwe, Smith began collecting these stories as a child and combines them with several he gleaned from a friend who interviewed natives of Botswana. Many of the stories parallel classic Western tales, from Aesop to Mother Goose. The ubiquitous wolf-in-sheep's-clothing fable becomes a parable about a girl who unwittingly marries a lion. Other stories deal with familiar themes ranging from ingratitude (in "Head Tree," a man cured of a tree growing out of his head does not pay the charm woman her due) to vanity (in "Greater Than Lion," a hare outwits a conceited and boastful lion). However, many are uniquely African, such as the stories that explain why the elephant and hyena live far from people or how baboons became so lazy. These are pithy, engaging tales, as habit-forming as peanuts.

Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela

Publisher's description:
The vibrant tradition of African folktales—an oral heritage that predates Ovid and Aesop—is long and varied, but to date it has been largely overlooked in the West. Aware of this gap, Nelson Mandela selected thirty-two stories, many of them translated from their original tongues, to show the seminal role of African folklore in world literature. We meet tricksters from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena and learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. These fables present a veritable bible of stories "universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts and the mystical."

African Genesis: Folk Tales and Myths of Africa by Leo Frobenius and Douglas C. Fox

Recorded in the early 20th century by an eminent anthropologist, these entertaining tales reflect the geographic and cultural backgrounds of their narrators. They range from Kabyl creation legends of the Berbers to ballads of the southern Sahara and the humorously exaggerated Improbable Tales from Sudan. Enhanced by illustrations adapted from prehistoric rock paintings, and by portraits of 20th-century Africans, this volume is of immense value to students of African culture as well as readers of folklore and mythology.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Fairy Tale Brownies

Three weeks ago, one of my fairy godmothers sent me a box of Fairy Tale Brownies as a surprise gift. They were a wonderful surprise, discovered on my doorstep, the shipping box wrapped in plastic and sprinkled with snow just after midnight when I returned home from the hospital where my new niece entered the world. I was tired and happy and chocolate deprived.

I pried open the box, discovered a charming package inside, all brown and purple, with lots of individually wrapped brownies inside, two of each flavor so I could share with John who was perhaps even more excited than me.

Now that I have sampled all of the flavors (except the coffee--John ate those both the first night with my blessing since I don't like coffee flavor), I can say these are fine brownies. I was surprised that what I expected to be my favorites were not. I'm usually a caramel or mint chocolate girl, but these two were some of my least favorites. My favorites were cream cheese (not a surprise), toffee, chocolate chip (really big chips, more like chunks) and even the white chocolate. The walnut and pecan were runners up as well as the original. I'm not a peanut butter or raspberry girl--give me orange instead--but those were fine brownies, too. So overall, a great and unusual treat.

I've been aware of Fairy Tale Brownies for years, so it was fun to finally see what they were like. The tasting was even better, of course. These make an unusual gift instead of the usual chocolate or cookies, at least in my family where brownies are one of the treats of choice!

And thanks, Kim, for for the great gift. It was delightful.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

See Heather Tomlinson on Tor Blog

Heather Tomlinson will be a regular (semi-regular? guest? I didn't clarify) blogger on for the next several weeks writing about fairy tales as she promotes her new book, Toads and Diamonds, set for a March 30th release date.

Her first post was published today at YA Fairy Tale Fiction by Heather Tomlinson. Here's a quote:

For a genre with roots in a centuries-old oral tradition, fairy tales have proven notably flexible. Like polymer modeling clay, the material is easy to work with and the sophistication of the results limited only by the crafter’s skill and imagination. Some young adult writers bring traditional lore into a modern setting. Others revisit darker elements that popular culture has tended to leave out, whether in the name of protecting vulnerable young people, or not offending the parents who pay good money for adorable princess merchandise.

Head on over to the site to read the rest...

Also consider preordering Heather's new book, too. I am thrilled she is exploring Diamonds and Toads myself. I just finished a new article on the tale for the next issue of Faerie Magazine and am surprised that one of the tales with the most variants in the world--perhaps even more than Cinderella--has been interpreted so rarely by authors. This tale deserves to have its renaissance just like Twelve Dancing Princesses and East of the Sun and West of the Moon have had over recent years.

I'll also give Heather and Toads and Diamonds a full write-up closer to release date.

New Book: The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler is yet another new fairy tale related release this month. This is Zahler's first novel for young readers, a retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Publisher's description:

Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.

Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.

A classic fairy tale with a bold twist, The Thirteenth Princess tells the unforgettable story of a magical castle, true love, spellbound princesses—and the young girl determined to save them all.

Per usual, I haven't read this one yet. When I first saw the title listed as a fairy tale retelling several months ago, I wasn't even sure if it was a Twelve Dancing Princesses tale since there wasn't much information available, although I assumed as such with the title. It's on my list of books to acquire depending on budget constraints, so when I get to read it, I'll share more.

So far the reviews and blurbs have been positive--Gregory Maguire provided one of the author blurbs. The book has also been chosen as an NCTE/ALAN Pick for February 2010.

Here's the review:

This story is a twist on the traditional German tale of the twelve dancing princesses who mysteriously wear out a pair of dancing shoes each night. Zahler adds a thirteenth princess to the tale, creating a unique twist. While the back story of the twelve enchanted princesses is woven seamlessly into the plot, readers will enjoy the addition of twelve-year-old Zita, the thirteenth princess, who has been relegated to the servant quarters by her dad because her mother died during her birth. Zita adores all her sisters, but she can only have a secretive relationship with them. When Zita discovers something horribly amiss with her sisters, she learns she must save them from an enchantment that threatens to slowly steal their lives. In the end, she is able to win back her father’s affection, expose the witch that cast an evil spell on her family’s castle, and attain her rightful place alongside her sisters.

Though she is everything a princess is expected to be—pretty, smart, lively—Zita also is adventurous, brave and selfless. In the end, these qualities help her unveil truths that save the day. Young teens will be thoroughly entertained by this new take on a familiar tale.

Reviewed by Elaine J. O’Quinn, Boone, NC

So has anyone else read this one yet? Please comment if you have.

I'm really impressed with how many retellings of this tale that have been published in the past decade. Hardly anyone seemed to know this fairy tale existed when I started SurLaLune and now there is a glut of novelizations. To see a list of other Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings, visit Modern Interpretations of Twelve Dancing Princesses on SurLaLune.

New Book: Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer

Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer is another new release this month. This is Palmer's third fairy tale novel for teens, following Cindy Ella and Geek Charming. First of all, I haven't read this one yet, but Palmer's books are rather the opposite of the Simon Pulse series. They are aimed at teen readers, too, but use modern settings and situations, rather cleverly playing with the original inspiration fairy tales. They are fun and entertaining with light humor and enough romance to satisfy most readers. Each are stand-alones, too, so reading previous titles isn't necessary to enjoy the latest one.

Also, here's a little quiz from the publisher to promote the book: Fairy Tale Quiz.

Publisher's description:

Sophie Greene gets good grades, does the right thing, and has a boyfriend that her parents— and her younger brother—just love. (Too bad she doesn’t love him.) Sophie dreams of being more like Devon Deveraux, star of her favorite romance novels, but, in reality, Sophie isn’t even daring enough to change her nail polish. All of that changes when Sophie goes to Florida to visit her grandma Roz, and she finds herself seated next to a wolfishly goodlooking guy on the plane. The two hit it off, and before she knows it, Sophie’s living on the edge. But is the drama all it’s cracked up to be?

And while we're here and since I've not featured Robin Palmer on the blog before, here are more detailed descriptions of her two previous books:

Publisher's description for Cindy Ella:

The Best Dress.
The Best Shoes.
The Best Date.
Cindy Ella Gold is sick of it all.

Prom fever has infected LA - especially Cindy's two annoying stepsisters, and her overly-Botoxed stepmother. Cindy seems to be the only one immune to it all.

But her anti-prom letter in the school newspaper does more to turn Cindy into Queen of the Freaks than close the gap between the popular kids and the rest of the students. Everyone thinks she's committed social suicide, except for her two best friends, yoga goddess India and John Hughes-worshipping Malcolm, and shockingly, the most popular senior at Castle Heights High and Cindy's crush, Adam Silver. Suddenly Cindy starts to think that maybe her social life could have a happily ever after. But there's still the rest of the school to deal with.

With a little bit of help from an unexpected source and a fabulous pair of flip-flops, Cindy realizes that she still has a chance at a happily ever after.

Publisher's description for Geek Charming:

Princess, meet frog . . .

Dylan Schoenfield is the princess of L.A.'s post Castle Heights High. She has the coolest boyfriend, the most popular friends, and, to top it all off, a brand-new "It" bag that everyone covets. But when she accidentally tosses her bag into a fountain, this princess comes face-to-face with her own personal frog: self-professed film geek Josh Rosen. In return for rescuing Dylan's bag, Josh convinces Dylan to let him film her for his documentary on high school popularity. Reluctantly, Dylan lets F-list Josh into her A-list world, and is shocked to realize that sometimes nerds can be pretty cool.

As the queen bee of Castle Heights royalty helps Josh turn from a frog into a prince, she's shocked to find herself becoming friends with a geek -- and liking it. But when Dylan's so-called prince charming of a boyfriend dumps her flat, her life - and her social status - come to a crashing halt. Can Dylan - with Josh's help - pull the pieces together to create her own happily-ever-after?

I think what I like most about Palmer's books is that they are lighthearted and don't try too hard, but are clever and well-written enough to entertain me better than some of the "heavier" fairy tale offerings out there. These would especially work well with those teen readers who don't care for fantasy settings but with whom you might want to share some fairy tale love. Or, you know, just for yourself although the covers may be a little embarrassing for a less-confident adult. Another blessing of a Kindle--no embarrassing covers to display to the world....although you also can't rubberneck people's reading either.

PS: All three of these titles are eligible for Amazon's 4-for-3 promotion. Buy any 4 eligible items and get the lowest-priced item free.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New This Week: Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguié

Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguié, the newest in the Simon Pulse Once Upon a Time series, was released this week.

I haven't read this one yet, but I am curious since there are very few novelizations using Princess and the Pea for inspiration. (Almost none, really, just see Modern Interpretations of Princess and the Pea, which I need to update with this title!)

Product Description from the publisher:

A Retelling of "The Princess and the Pea"

When a storm brings the dashing Prince Richard to her family's farm, Violet falls in love at first sight. Richard also gives Violet his heart, but he knows his marriage is destined to be an affair of state, not of passion. For the king and queen have devised a contest to determine who will win their son's hand in marriage.

To be reunited with her prince, Violet must compete against princesses from across the land. It will take all of her wits -- and a little help from an unexpected source -- if Violet is to demonstrate the depth of her character and become Richard's bride.

So has anyone else read this one yet? Or plan to? I forgot to preorder it, but am going to buy a copy sometime this week.

Next up in the series will be The World Above by Cameron Dokey, due out in June and drawing inspiration from Jack and the Beanstalk.

By the way, you don't know how hard this post has been to write. For some reason, whenever I read the title--and I like the title just fine--I think of Hall and Oates's song "Private Eyes" and of course make it "Violet Eyes" instead. I blame the recent ad campaign of USA Network for Psych. And my mom owning the cassette when I was in my formative years....

Sorry if I planted an earworm for you. Share my pain!

Syfy's Beauty and the Beast This Weekend

I promised I would post about this earlier to the air date so that those who are interested will have time to program that DVRs or VCRs if that's how you still roll.

Beauty and the Beast, SyFy's first fairy tale film interpretation in their new series airs this Saturday night. Here's a link to the official page on their site.

As rather expected, the earlier reviews are panning it. I'm not going to take the time to quote them here, but here are some links for your edification:

Television Review: Beauty and the Beast by R.J. Carter

Beauty and the Beast: Reviewed by The Foywonder

And one press article of an interview with Gavin Scott, the screenwriter:

EXCL: Beauty & the Beasts' Gavin Scott

So who's going to watch and who isn't?

By the way, if you were around for my previous post where I added a small diatribe against the SyFy branding, there was a recent article in a well-known magazine putting SyFy in the top ten worst rebrands in recent years. I felt so vindicated even if I can't remember where the article was.

Okay, I had to find it, it was Time Magazine:

Unless science fiction is spelled syience fyction, owners of the popular television network need some serious spelling help. The channel announced in early July 2009 it had decided to rename — er, respell — the channel SyFy. What was the point? Execs argued that Sci Fi was the name of an entire genre, not a channel. "We couldn't own Sci Fi," former president Bonnie Hammer said. "But we can own SyFy." It could also have owned Sy Figh, Sigh Fae or SaiFai, if it wished.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tangled Up...

This is one of the more interesting posts about the name change of Disney's Rapunzel and other stuff on the Disney docket. From Monday Mouse Watch: Will “Rapunzel” ‘s new title translate into higher grosses for Disney’s next animated fairy tale? by Jim Hill:

As for the reason that Disney opted to change “Rapunzel” ‘s title to “Tangled” … According to the Mouse’s market research, it would seem that – outside of the United States & Germany – the story of Rapunzel itself has very little name recognition. More to the point, even those among surveyed who actually recognized Rapunzel’s name, these people had little or no knowledge of what her fairy tale was actually about. They knew that this story featured a princess with long hair who was trapped in a tower. But beyond that … zippo.

So here was Disney’s marketing department trying to trade on Rapunzel’s name recognition only to then discover – outside of the U.S. & Germany – this fairy tale didn’t really have any name recognition. Which then forced the Studio to rethink how it was going to sell this particular animated feature.

And thoughts on The Princess and the Frog's influence on the decision:

Speaking of Princess Tiana: Of all the Disney Princess dolls that were sold over the 2009 Christmas shopping season, Tiana moved the most units. Which is pretty extraordinary for a brand-new character.

So as far as DCP is concerned, “The Princess and the Frog” was a home run. They’d love it if WDFA turned out a new movie like that every year. Whereas the folks on the Studio side of things, who judge success not by how many dolls were purchases, but – rather – by how many tickets were sold … “TPATF” ‘s grosses weren’t quite what they were looking for.

Which bring us back to “Rapunzel” … Or – as this film is now known – “Tangled.” As I understand it, in an effort to win over young men, to convince them that this Holiday 2011 release is far more male friendly that “The Princess & the Frog,” the posters, trailers and TV ads for this upcoming WDFA production will place a pretty heavy emphasis on Rapunzel’s love interest, the infamous bandit Flynn Rider.

I don't really know what to think about it all and haven't done much reading about the topic. When I worked in Burbank, I learned to never expect Disney's corporate mind to stay the same from one minute to the next. But it's always fun to sit back and watch when I don't have a rabbit in the race. This time I'm just happy none of my personal friends are losing jobs in the hand drawn department...they were all let go almost ten years ago when the same kind of events took place.

The Girl with the Red Riding Hood

More recent news buzz about The Girl with the Red Riding Hood, a film using Little Red Riding Hood and apparently some werewolves.

From Warners Wants Amanda Seyfried for Red Riding Hood by Genevieve M. Blaber:

Today's suspect is Warner Bros., which is hard at work trying to develop a modern-day version of Red Riding Hood. According to The L.A. Times, the new take has the "requisite dark/dangerous/romantic elements that can appeal to Twilight fans -- while also attracting audiences who simply like the fairy tale."

Lined up to bring this vision to the big screen is none other than Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first Twilight film but parted ways with Summit Entertainment on the project. So far, Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer's Body) is one of the names being floated around for the part of Riding Hood, and David Johnson (Orphan) has worked on a fresh version of the script titled The Girl With the Red Riding Hood.

Whether the project goes any further, is still up in the air, but I'm certainly interested in what a modern Riding Hood tale would entail.

From My, What Big Love You Have by Jim Vejvoda:

Amanda Seyfriend has surely grown accustomed to wolf whistles by now, but this is taking it to a whole new level.

The Los AngelesTimes reports that Warner Bros. wants the Jennifer's Body and Dear John actress to star in The Girl with the Red Riding Hood, the studio's modernized, Gothic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale "Little Red Riding Hood."

Catherine Hardwicke has been lined up to direct Red Riding Hood for producer Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way production company. David Johnson (Orphan) penned the screenplay.

From Former Twilight Director Tries To Reignite Supernatural Sexual Tension With Werewolves by Meredith Woerner:

It was a shame when Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke was booted off the sequel, New Moon. It's an even bigger shame that her next project, a sexy Red Riding Hood picture, sounds so ridiculous. Even if it stars Amanda Seyfried.

Catherine Hardwicke will try and redirect teens' fascination with sex and supernatural beings onto a Little Red Riding Hood picture. With Amanda Seyfried in the lead, the story will put a modern twist on the classic fairy tale, retitling the project The Girl With The Red Riding Hood.

According to the L.A. Times Seyfried is at the top of the director's wish-list list to play Red, but let's all cross our fingers and hope she passes on it. We really like this actress, so we hope she doesn't get tangled up in the new trend that is teens lusting after monsters.

Orphan writer David Johnson has been working on the adaptation, which features werewolves and is being labeled as "elevated genre" material. Which we hope means there's more to the story than a monster/vampire who can't have sex.

I must say I'm curious, too, but I am also afraid, but then again, I think I am supposed to be...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is It Possible To Avoid The Princess Phase?

Recently read this and thought I'd share: Is It Possible To Avoid The Princess Phase? by Shelley White

I've gleaned the most pertinent bits for this blog to share, but as always, click through to read more.

The first paragraph:

My twins aren't even three years old, and I'm already sick of that girly triumvirate that seems impossible to escape when you are raising girls: The Princess/Barbie/Pink matrix. Toys 'R' Us has entire aisles devoted to Disney Princess merchandise, racks of sparkly pink dress-up clothes, pretend makeup and costume jewelry, and of course, those totally weird Bratz dolls with their stripper clothes and drag queen makeup.

And another passage about fairy tales and Disney:

No doubt, the P/B/P trap will be difficult to avoid. Introducing my kids to traditional Disney fare like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast would be a surefire way to turn them into tiara-wearing maniacs. So right now, we stick with Treehouse. When I told my friends that I've altered some traditional tales (like Cinderella) to make them more "girl power," a couple of them thought I was nuts. Did I really think I was going to hide the fact that the Prince rescues the poor, helpless maiden when these stories have been told for generations? No, probably not. But I'm determined to allow my daughters to make their own choices when it comes to their self-image, especially now, before High School Musical and Hannah Montana teach them that stereotypical beauty = teenage power.

And if you read more, the author is aware of books like Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess and presumably other alternative princess titles.

I am amazed at how much angst the princess stage causes for so many parents. If you missed it, see my previous post Princess phase is OK.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales

Molly Alicki Corriveau
Frog Prince Progeny
Acrylic on wood
Inspired by The Frog Prince

Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales is a new exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art February 18 through May 2, 2010 in Muskegon, Michigan.

Marlan Cotner
Doorbells Alive
Oil on canvas
Inspired by Three Billy Goats Gruff

Here's the official release from the website:

Explore the legacy of fairy tales, myths, fables, and legends through the talents of 29 West Michigan artists represented in a special invitational exhibition, Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales, at the Muskegon Museum of Art February 18 through May 2, 2010.

The artists, selected and invited by Muskegon Museum of Art staff, were asked to turn their creative vision towards classic tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Tom Thumb, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and many others. Artwork in the show includes painting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, drawing, and sculpture. Participating artists were asked to select a classic fairy tale or myth and create a work of art that either illustrated the story or addressed some part of the theme. The result is an exciting array of artworks that highlight some of the best talent in our region and bring these classic tales to life. Folk and fairy tales are found around the world and have been altered and adapted by subsequent generations as tastes and cultures develop and change. Illustrations of these tales have come to define them as much as the words, and many children know these stories only through animated movies and picture books. This show was developed with families in mind, so parents and grandparents can share a unique art experience with children, but visitors of all ages can find something to enjoy, exploring old favorites and finding new perspectives.

Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales was organized by the staff of the Muskegon Museum of Art and made possible through the generous support of the Verizon Foundation.

Wanda Gringhuis Anderson
Frog Prince Progeny
Inspired by Little Miss Muffett


Cinema Sunday Series
Three upcoming films in this series are related to the MMA’s exhibition, Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales. Cinema Sundays feature famous films of art cinema from all over the world, focusing on the key works of major directors. Films are subtitled unless otherwise noted. Film scholar E. J. Hamacher introduces each film with a short account of its cultural and historical importance and leads open discussion afterward. Film admission is free with Museum Membership or with Museum admission.

February 21, 2:00 pm
Kwaidan (The Woman of the Snow, Hoichi, The Earless, & In A Cup of Tea)
Immaculately composed against otherworldly hand-painted sets, this 1965 Japanese anthology of horror-themed fairy tales is one of the most meticulously crafted fantasy films ever made.

March 7, 2:00 pm
Alice (Něco z Alenky)
Master animator and puppeteer Jan Švankmajer, a member of the Czech Surrealist Party, achieved a lifetime’s ambition in this highly anarchistic adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

March 21, 2:00 pm
The Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête)
Lush adaptation of the classic French fairy tale.

March 13, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Fairy Tale Super Saturday
MMA themed Super Saturdays feature free family activities and admission. Underwritten by the Alcoa Foundation, supporting Howmet communities. In March, take guided tours of Mirror, Mirror, see the film, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child in which classic fairy tales get a new twist with upbeat songs and lively characters with musical animation and drop in to make and take crowns, swords, and wands. Fairy tale attire is welcome!

Thursdays, April 1-29, 1:00-3:00 pm
Open Tours
Drop in every Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm for free guided exhibition tours led by MMA docents. In April, guests will tour Mirror, Mirror: Art Inspired by Fairy Tales. Reservations are not required.

Deborah Rockman
The Space Between Us (4)
Colored pencil on mylar over digital inkjet print
Inspired by Beauty and the Beast

Snow White and Rose by Anastasiya Archipova

This one is for all of you Snow White and Rose Red lovers out there. A new picture book of the tale out in the US this March and this past January in the UK.

This Snow White and Rose Red is illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova with text accredited to the Brothers Grimm. In other words, it appears to be a straightforward retelling of the tale.

Publisher's description:

Snow White and Rose Red are good, happy children living a peaceful life with their mother. When they meet a big black bear and an angry dwarf, their lives are changed for ever—but will good eventually triumph over evil?

This classic tale from the Brothers Grimm is brought to life in beautiful illustrations by Russian artist, Anastasiya Archipova.

Anastasiya Archipova is a freelance illustrator living in Moscow and has illustrated a few other fairy tales previously, including Hansel and Gretel, Favourite Tales from Hans Christian Andersen and The Golden Goose and Other Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Either way, I've only seen these images online and so far the book looks beautiful and a wonderful addition to a library, especially if you don't own a picture book of this dear tale about loving sisters. (Try to name another such tale. I challenge you.)

And it looks just so wonderful for spring. After this particularly snowy winter, I'm ready for some lovely garden scenes like those shown here. And to see other previous releases of the tale, visit the Snow White and Rose Red Book Gallery.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snow White's Mac Apple

I recently read Apple Logo Stands The Test Of Time For 30 Years by by Ron Callari. Since I am married to a Mac fanatic, I am well aware of the Apple logo and really admire it is a strong, effective logo. The article discusses Adam and Eve, Newton and of course Snow White as famous characters associated with the fruit.

Here we are only concerned with Snow White, of course, so I wanted to share these images again along with links to where you can buy them on Etsy from The Dark Monkey.

This is actually the more common image seen around the web, and it looks better balanced but it makes less sense since the apple bite is facing away from her.

Of course, there is also some playing with the images, such as this version titled Snow White's Revenge. (It's available in black or white, by the way.)

I am not affiliated with this Etsy seller. These links are only provided as information, not endorsement. Do the explore the shop though since there are some other funnies to be seen, too, completely not fairy tale related.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fairy Tale Art by Lisa Falzon

Snow White and the Woodsman

I discovered this fairy tale art by Lisa Falzon on Etsy, a fun place to shop. Prints of the paintings as well as other objects using the images are available in her Etsy shop.

Of course, I am posting it this week as part of the Snow White posts I'm offering, but I can't leave out her other fairy tale related work.

Snow White and Rose Red

Falzon definitely throws in the macabre--it's more obvious in her other work--but these were some interesting images, not typical of so much I see.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

Goldilocks has the most humor, if you are sure to read the title, too.

Goldilocks - This Rug is Just Right

I am not affiliated with this Etsy seller. These links are only provided as information, not endorsement.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thumbelina by Sylvia Long

Thumbelina by Sylvia Long has a release date for next week, but it is already shipping from Amazon and appearing at brick and mortar bookstores.

I haven't seen the book in person, but the previews have been positive. The book is apparently 58 pages long and would thus hopefully contain the full Andersen version of the tale. So this one would be particularly recommended for slightly older picture book readers, not for a three-year-old bedtime's story. Although the three year old would probably enjoy the book over a few readings and enjoy exploring the pictures.

And to see some of the page spreads, visit Scribd to see 9 layouts. Long's version definitely emphasizes the nature worshipping possibilities of the tale and avoids more of the twee tendencies of other versions. Not surprising since her strength is illustrating natural elements, large or small.

And if you enjoy Long's style, you might peruse her completely unrelated book, but highly recommended, An Egg Is Quiet. (And it is currently bargain priced on Amazon, too. Bargain price doesn't imply it's not a great book!) I've also always been partial to her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. You can also see more about Long herself on her website.

And to see other verions of the tale, see The Thumbelina Book Gallery on SurLaLune.

Snow White by Marianne Stokes

I don't know much about Marianne Stokes as an illustrator, but I love this illustration for Snow White by her, titled Snow White in Her Glass Coffin is Mourned by the Dwarfs. I've seen this image appear elsewhere on the web, but seldom with an artist credit. So I wanted to share it here with full credit after I discovered in on (where prints are also available of it). The original is apparently available in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne.

Marianna Stokes was a well-respected Victorian artist, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. An image search of her name on Google will result in many beautiful images of her work. Especially look for The Young Girl and Death and Aucassin and Nicolette.

There is also a larger image of this painting available on Wikipedia, but I preferred the one pictured above since the one on Wikipedia has too much red saturation and needs to be color corrected.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Princess and the Frog on DVD 3/16/2010

The Princess and the Frog (Single Disc Widescreen DVD)

Now here's where I'd like to take an informal poll and ask how many of you have actually seen Princess and the Frog? I'll admit I haven't. All the hype and my interests didn't combine to get me out to the theatre to see it. I am bemused at how poorly it did at the box office by Disney standards. (Otherwise, it's a success by other studio standards).

I think the release date had a lot of impact on it. I still don't understand why it came out on December 11th, almost a month later than the usual Disney winter holiday releases. I ended up with neither the time nor inclination to go see it. Then all the snowy weekends since--I am in the South after all--have continued the trend.

The Princess and The Frog (Three Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo with Digital Copy)

Anyway, Disney is releasing the movie to DVD next month on March 16, 2010. I have placed my preorder after debating between the three different options available. Yes, three options. There is regular DVD, regular Blu-ray and a combo pack where you get DVD, Blu-Ray and a digital copy. How about that for hedging their bets? And then of course it will be a limited time release, per usual Disney practices.

The Princess and the Frog (Single Disc Blu-ray)

I do hope the DVD sells well since Princess and the Frog's "failure" at the box office has already caused the studio to rethink its production schedule and rename Rapunzel to Tangled. Tangled? Tangled mess, I think. I love the way Hollywood thinks we're all uninformed sheep who wander into movie theatres without any information about what we're seeing. Guess they've never heard of the internet, have they?

I think the internet hurt them with all of the controversy about Tiana being a frog for most of the movie. This becomes more obvious when one looks at the stills. Almost all of the Tiana pics come from one scene. Then there's a lot of frog images. The princess fans wanted a princess, not a frog, whatever the color of her skin.

These links are all to Amazon, by the way, and the pre-order price guarantee means that you will get the lowest price between now and release day no matter what the price is today. These DVDs usually go lower closer to release date, especially Disney ones as price leaders. If I see any great deals come up, I will post them here.

Disney's Snow White by Thomas Kinkade

Another Snow White entry for the week...

I am well aware that Thomas Kinkade is in the "love him or hate him" category of modern artists. He definitely has his own "fairy tale" quality to his paintings so I can't think of a better artist for interpreting traditional Disney films and apparently someone else thought of it first, because he has.

Kinkade has produced a limited edition series of paintings for some of Disney's most popular films, including Snow White. Above is Snow White Discovers Cottage.

And while we're here, I'll share the Cinderella related Kinkade prints. There are also ones for Pinocchio and Peter Pan, but I'm not sharing those here, just providing links.

Cinderella Wishes Upon a Dream

A New Day at the Cinderella Castle: This one is more about the park than the movie, but it's Cinderella, so here it is!

And now I admit I wish he had put his hands to interpreting the Once Upon a Dream sequence from Sleeping Beauty.... These aren't my primary taste, but I always get happy feelings when I see that scene.

Disclosure: The links are to, of which SurLaLune is an affiliate, so any sales made after clicking through links provide a small percentage back to SurLaLune. However, being an affiliate also gives me the right to post the images without any copyright infringement issues, too. And as always, thanks for your support of SurLaLune.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wondermark: Jack and the Beanstalk

Reader Sarah shared this link for today's Wondermark comic strip, featuring allusions to Jack and the Beanstalk, of course. Click on the image or link to see a larger and thus more legible version.

So the real question is, are you a cow or magic beans type of person?

Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

Snow White by Courtney Brims

I thought I would share some of my recent Snow White discoveries this week in conjunction with my article appearing in Faerie Magazine. I'm not making it an official Snow White week, but expect a few extra Snow White posts. Once my next anthology of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty tales is completed, I plan to do an official week...

Today is a lovely pencil drawing by Courtney Brims, an Australian artist. "Courtney Brims is a self-taught artist based in Brisbane, Australia. She loves all things unusual and is inspired by fairytales, Victorian illustration, memories and dreams."

So explore Brim's site and see some of her other work....although I admit this one is my favorite. I had a visceral reaction to it the first time I saw it and it has become one of my favorite Snow White images ever, hands down. I don't say that lightly. The simplest explanation is that it captures the character so well for me, one of the ways I always imagine her and didn't realize until I saw it.

This one had been in my files for a while, but it also appears on Eirin Forteller's blog if it looks familiar...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Faerie Magazine #19 On Newstands

The latest issue of Faerie Magazine is now available on newstands. (You should be able to find it at Barnes and Noble or Borders as well as many indies or you can subscribe online.) The magazine has abandoned naming issues by seasons and is assuming a simple numbering system, thus this is issue 19.

Per usual, I have a fairy tale history column in this issue. This time it's "Who's the Fairest?: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." I really enjoyed writing this one and came to appreciate Snow White even more than ever. The article is also being adapted to appear in my next fairy tale anthology of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty tales from around the world.

But wait, I have not one, but two articles in this issue. I also wrote "Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie & Her Victorian Fairy Tales" for your reading enjoyment. There isn't much available to read about Thackeray Ritchie beyond two rare biographies and a few academic papers, but she is a fascinating author and literary figure from the Victorian era.

Of course, there are many more articles in the issues, too. There is a great one about illustrator Ruth Sanderson, a column by Brian Froud, and many more interesting bits and pieces.

You have about a month to find this since the next issue is slated to start appearing on newsstands on March 15.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fairy Tales and Romance Week: Valentine's Day

I admit my first thoughts of Valentine's Day--besides the ubiquitous chocolate and roses and candy hearts--are the cards. I remember eagerly picking out cards to give out to classmates in grade school and working feverishly to make sure I filled one out for each kid. I think I picked Snoopy ones more years than not.

I've been searching for several weeks for various romantic greeting cards with fairy tale themes or references and somehow kept failing to find many, except for Disney related ones. I didn't want Disney ones!

But, here are two that I found and decided to share. First, this one is funny, not specifically for Valentine's Day, but a general purpose card. I found it at the Montreat Conference Center website where this line of cards featuring funny lines by kids is sold.

Full saying: "They lived happily ever after, and then they had to go to work." Inside: "Fairy tales do come true."

The next was my favorite and I found it on the artist's blog. Her name is Heather Castles and she gave permission for me to use the image and helpfully provided the interior words since the card is no longer in production.

Full saying: "Our love is like an enchanting magical dreamy fairy tale except for one thing..."
Inside: "'s Real!"

So Happy Valentine's Day to all of you! I prefer to make the day about all kinds of love and don't celebrate it with my own true love as a romantic holiday. It's sandwiched between our wedding anniversary and our first date anniversary, the day we KNEW, well, that we would be married someday. Those are much more important to us personally so we use Valentine's Day to spread love further around to friends and family because it can also be a day of loneliness and overwrought expectations, too. Take away the pressure and it all becomes much more enjoyable...

So I send my love to you all and thank you for sharing this fairy tale passion with me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fairy Tales and Romance: East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Many of you regular readers are well aware that Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. Consequently, I have a soft spot for a closely related tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I came to this tale much later than Beauty and the Beast, but fell in love when I discovered it. A Norwegian tale, it is also a boon to have a tale that comes from a good portion of my ancestry although I have almost as much German ancestry through the line that gave me my Heiner name.

Anyway, I'm not the only one to love this tale for it has become one of the most popular ones to reinterpret into novels over the last several years, from Edith Patou's East to Dennis L. McKiernan's Once Upon a Winter's Night to Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow to Sarah Beth Durst's Ice, each unique in their own way.

I considered a discussion of why so many of the most popular fairy tales are romantic tales, tales of love found and happy endings after great trial and tribulation. But I don't have much to say on the topic and well, it's Saturday. I just wanted to share one of my favorite tales and some of my favorite illustrations for it, particularly those by P. J. Lynch for Naomi Lewis's retelling of the tale.

Aren't these beautiful and dare I say it, romantic? Make you want to reread the tale again, don't they? P.J. Lynch has some images for the tale available on his website where I borrowed these from for this post. Visit here to see them all. Then buy the book if you don't have it. Cause it's too beautiful not to see them in full glory. They're bigger on his site, too.

Also, I shared Lynch's images for Snow Queen back in December and he discovered the post and commented on it, so visit the post again to see. But my post also inspired him to post on his own blog about how illustrators influence and are influenced by each other. See his posts Borrowing from Dulac and Inspired by Dulac and Christian Birmingham's version of The Snow Queen.

Either way, go read the tale. It's about love found, lost and found again. The heroine is spunky and endures to the happy ending, rescuing herself and her lover. A fine tale for a cold, winter weekend. (Unless you are one of the few readers living on the other side of the equator, of course.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fairy Tales and Romance Week: The Prince's Diary

Today I thought I would share a recent discovery although it's not a new book. This is one of my challenges, knowing no matter how hard I work, SurLaLune can never be a fully comprehensive resource. It's impossible to keep up with it all, or even discover it all, although many of you are kind enough to share your discoveries and own creations, too.

Anyway, I'm sharing this picture book because it was named the No. 1 Valentine's Day Pick by BookSense in 2006. (Once again, old news for a few of us, especially now that BookSense is IndieBound.)

The book is The Prince's Diary by Renee Ting and illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Essentially, it is a picture book telling the Cinderella story through the prince's point of view.

Product Description from the publisher:

Young Prince Stephen has a problem: how to find the girl he calls Cinderella. He has seen her from afar, but figuring out how to meet her proves difficult. In this charming version of the Cinderella story, take a peek at the Prince’s personal diary as he tells the well-known story from his point of view.

In his diary, find out what the Prince was feeling when he first met Cinderella, and what he really thinks about her stepsisters! All your burning questions will be answered: Did Cinderella have a fairy godmother? Did the Prince really try a glass slipper on every girl in the kingdom? And most important, what really happened at the ball? In this twist on the familiar tale, the Prince tells it like it is, and you’ll be amazed by the real story.

Follow along with the Prince as he searches for his Cinderella, and discover a whole new way of looking at this classic fairy tale.

I also saved this entry for Friday because Dulemba has a wonderful page devoted to the book on her website including coloring sheets and activities for kids. Visit it here: The Prince's Diary Activity Page. Nice resource for the extended holiday weekend, snow or no snow.

Dulemba also illustrated Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling by Keith Polette.