Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Picture Book from France: Cendrillon illustrated by Annette Marnat

Cendrillon illustrated by Annette Marnat was released last year in France. As always, I love the European editions of fairy tales that provide illustration styles we don't see very often in the U.S. Marnat--whose blog you can visit here--has a style very reminiscent of the mid-20th century, The cover image made me think of Gustaf Tenggren and some other artists that I cannot remember the names of this morning, such as some of the Little Golden Book illustrators.

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Release: Princess in Disguise: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker

(US/UK Links)

Princess in Disguise: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker is released this week in both the US and UK, see Princess in Disguise: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess: UK Link. This is the fourth book in the Wide-Awake Princess series which has offered some other fairy tale retellings. I am not sure which fairy tale provided the primary inspiration, if there was one, for this new book.

Book description:

With the help of family and friends, Annie and Liam's wedding day looks as if it's going to be perfect until everything starts to go wrong. Liam's father doesn't show up, nor do the magic-wielding guests. Members of the wedding party come down with strange afflictions, Annie's gown is ruined, a storm floods the castle grounds, and an unknown king lays seige to the castle. Queen Karolina decides that they need the help of her fairy godmother, Moonbeam, but a pea-soup fog keeps the messengers from leaving. Only Annie and Liam can get past the magical fog to find Moonbeam, but even after they find her, it’s up to them to discover who cast the spells that ruined the wedding, and why the unknown king wants to conquer Treecrest.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Funny: Cinderella's Slipper

From BerkeleyMews.com, here is this week's sobering Cinderella Sunday Funny. Moral of the story: Always leave a shoe behind...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fairy Tales in Advertising: Submarino.com: Fairy Tale

Submarino.com: Fairy Tale
Would you like to hear a story?

Okay, you have to click on this one to make it larger and see all of the glorious detail--and the full uncropped image since it is cropped in this post.

Then you can also play a game with yourself of "Name That Fair Tale." I did. And it was fun. And if I listened to audio books I would want to buy them from here because I love the ad. It was that happy for me. I see just to start: Rapunzel, Three Little Pigs, Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and more, much more...

Campaign info from Ads of the World:

Audiobooks available at Submarino
Advertising Agency: DM9Rio, Brazil
Creative Directors: Alvaro Rodrigues, Diogo Mello
Creatives: Guilherme Cunha, Otto Pajunk, Diogo Mello
Contact: Polika Teixeira, Marcia Aguiar
Illustrators: Studio D'Ávila, Magma, Firegrader

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Art Thursday: Mandie Manzano

These have been sitting in my photo file since Christmas. So it's time I shared them for Art Thursday. I discovered Mandie Manzano on Society 6 when looking at iPhone case designs. Her work resonated with me immediately despite the definite Disney influence on several of them which is not a selling point for me. Needless to say, my favorites are those with these least Disney influence, my personal preference and catnip.

Simply said, I adore stained glass windows and these illustrations simply shout for stained glass. I am still debating which image I will choose when I make a purchase, for I will need to at some point.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Three Sisters: A Greek Cinderella Tale

The following tale is one of the hundreds that appear in Cinderella Tales From Around the World. It is a short and much less sweet Cinderella tale from Greece. Greek Cinderellas often have mothers murdered by Cinderella's sisters. I've been seeing this mentioned in articles around the web and thought I would share an example of it here. The tale is also like a majority of Cinderella tales where she meets the prince at church instead of at a ball.

The Three Sisters

THERE were three girls sitting spinning with their mother, and they agreed that whosesoever thread broke first they should kill and eat. Their mother's thread broke, but they said, “Let us spare her for having carried us in her womb,” and went on spinning.

When the mother's thread broke a second time, they said, “Let us spare her for having suckled us from her breast.” But when the mother's thread broke a third time, she had to be killed. The two eldest killed her, cut her up, cooked her, and eat well of the flesh, but the youngest would not join them, and when they had finished she collected the bones and put them in a large earthenware jar. Every day for forty days she incensed them.

After forty days she went to the jar and found within it three dresses (one, the plain with its flowers; another, the sea with its fish; and the third, the heaven with its stars), and a pair of beautiful slippers and a splendid horse.

On Sunday she put on the first dress and went to church. There the king's son saw her and fell in love with her, but she ran away before he could catch her and speak to her.

So it was the next Sunday, when wearing the second dress she came to church again.

On the third Sunday she put on the third dress. As she was returning from church she stopped to let her horse drink, and one slipper fell into the drinking-trough. The prince, who was following her, stopped his horse too, and it was frightened at the slipper, and would not drink. So he saw the slipper and knew to whom it belonged, and went round to all the houses in the town trying to fit it.

The eldest sister had put the youngest under a basket, and on this the prince sat down to try the slipper on. It would not fit them, and he asked them if they had no other sister. They said, “No,” but the youngest took a pin from her hair and pricked him with it, and so he lifted up the basket to see what was under it.

When it was lifted, the eldest sister said, “She is a poor outcast, our servant, whom we put there that you might not see her.” But the slipper fitted her, and the prince recognised her, and they were married.

Source: Paton, W. R. “Folktales from the Ægean (Continued).” Folklore. Vol. 12, No. 2 (Jun. 1901). pp. 197-208. (From Cassabi.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Funny: Cinderella Party

Time for a Cinderella themed Sunday Funny. This one is all over the web in several permutations (granddaughter, niece, daughter) and I don't know who first thought it up, but this was my favorite image found at SomeECards. That's my kind of Cinderella party! Don't think the Kensie niece would enjoy it though.

And while we're here, here's an extra one also found at SomeECards:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fairy Tales in Advertising: Ajuda de Mãe: Fairy tale

Ajuda de Mãe: Fairy tale
An early pregnancy is no fairy tale.

Okay, another hard hitting ad using fairy tales about a social issue. Interesting. Reminds me of the student and other projects we see like this so often about "real" princesses.

Campaign info from Ads of the World:

Advertising Agency: Fuel, Lisboa, Portugal
Art Director: Bruna Gonzalez
Copywriter: João Silva
Creative Directors: Marcelo Lourenço, Pedro Bexiga
Agency Producer: Pedro Silva
Photographer: Frederick Vanzeller
Producer: Garage Photos

Thursday, March 19, 2015

So I Saw Disney's Cinderella 2015

Cinderella 2015 Wedding Dress, images from Vanity Fair.

Yesterday I saw the new Disney's Cinderella film, what was essentially a women's ritual in my immediate family that included my sister, her daughter (my five-year-old niece), my mother, and my sister's mother-in-law. I love all of these women and between all of us we have a very diversified relationship with Disney and its products. I am really not in the mood to write a review. I've thought about the film, yes, but analyzing it for its story is almost pointless. There is some, but not much, that diverges from the original animated Disney's Cinderella. The acting was fine, the sets were beautiful, the costumes were overall stunning. I will not forget Cinderella's wedding dress which was much more elegant and less little girl's dream than Cindy's ballgown which was just a tick or two below over the top ridiculousness. Really, it balanced on the precipice. I imagined the laughs they all had when shooting the dance scenes trying to choreography with and around that skirt. I see a new trend in wedding dresses either way. And the costumes in the early idyllic life scenes were making me long for spring in ways I haven't quite had time to do yet this year.

The rest of the women in my group loved the film to varying degrees, with little Kensie the most enthusiastic. She proceeded to dance and dance and dance at the bottom of the theatre steps after the film, a mix of romantic and pent up energies after sitting for too long energies since there was once again a plethora of previews before the film that lengthened it by too much by far, nevermind some that were not appropriate for the youngest audience members. But I digress. And am reminded of why I prefer home viewing of movies anymore. And then there were the first three trailers and commercials that were played without picture, just sound, until I got up to find someone to fix the problem although we were far from the only people in the theatre. I was amused and wondering if anyone would go and didn't even hear any conversations to that point, my innate observer tendencies entertaining me much more than any trailer could. But I was there for Kensie so I went and found someone to fix it for us.

My favorite line in the entire movie? "I speak French, not Italian." Only gotten in context but my only genuine surprised laugh. Most of my entertainment was from watching Kensie watch the movie. She is a princess incarnate and loves all of these fantasies and has a rich imagination. She also is getting other tales and stories and I am far from worried about her romantic expectations of life. She is a child who has only grown happier over the years as she has gained more autonomy. If there is a child who has hated being a child and the lack of control of her life it offers her, she is it. But she has a rich fantasy life that gets her through her frustrations where she grows up to be Queen of the Universe with many superpowers. And she firmly got the message that courage and kindness are much more important than beauty although in this movie, let's face it, beauty is a commodity as well. My mother pointed out that the real princess is beautiful, too, just the physical antithesis of Cinderella. The Prince prefers who.

That said, the few story changes that are there were richly borrowed from both Ever After and The Slipper and the Rose. The conniving stepmother is very much Ever After. Cate Blanchett did amazing things with her lines and never chewed the scenery. I would love to see what she would have brought to Ever After, although I've always been satisfied by Angelica Huston's performance in that. The "you must marry a princess" politic were much more The Slipper and the Rose, but not as heavy handed and never felt nearly as threatening to the ending as they do in Slipper.

But I admit as I compared it, I longed to watch Ever After again. There is a richness to the characters in that one while these characters only ever stayed flat for me and suffered by comparison. I liked this Cinderella just fine, but I didn't see growth in her, just an abiding patience which I am all for admiring--not all my heroines need to be Agent Carters or Wonder Womans or even Annas or Elsas--but it didn't give me much to see or explore beyond that one level, there wasn't a real struggle for her and her justified pain was nearly invisible relative to the level it deserved.

Overall, this is a perfect Disney product. It delivers exactly what it promises. There is nothing new here, but it is pretty and entertaining and will delight millions as it should. And it is very pretty, very, very pretty. I love pretty and this makes great wallpaper.

Lots of Bargain Ebooks: From Archangels to Beauties and Their Beasts

On the Road with the Archangel by Frederick Buechner is on sale for $.99 in ebook format. Unusual SurLaLune offering you think? Well the book is based on the Book of Tobit from the Apocrypha which is also one of the earliest, if not the first, Grateful Dead stories recorded, over two millenia old. You're going to be innundated with Grateful Dead on this blog soon, so here's a chance for an early start.

That said, this title is one of hundreds currently on sale on Amazon (and probably elsewhere), a few with some fairy tale connections, but also just a lot of great books. Here are links to the lists which I am still mining myself for treasures--There is lots of Terry Pratchett (who we lost this week) and Deborah Crombie and many romance authors, including some fairy tale inspired romances, like The Princess and the Pea and The Emperor's New Clothes by Victoria Anderson and The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane: Rhymes With Love by Elizabeth Boyle, a Beauty and the Beast romance. There's more but those are the ones with tabs I opened.

HarperCollins Books on Sale for $.99 Each

HarperCollins Books on Sale for $1.99 Each

Avon Books on Sale for $.99 Each

Avon Books on Sale for $1.99 Each

Book description:

One of the brightest lights in late-twentieth-century literature, Frederick Buechner has published more than twenty-five works of fiction and nonfiction that continue to dazzle critics and readers alike, adding continuously to the ranks of his fiercely loyal following. On the Road with the Archangel is sure to continue this tradition with its powerful blend of humor, artistry, and insight into the nature of the human and the divine.

Inspired by events in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, from the second century B.C., this is the magical tale of two families brought together, as no mere coincidence, by the devilishly clever archangel Raphael. One is the family of Tobit, a virtuous man who can no longer support his wife and son because of Raguel, the quiet, devoted father of Sarah whose pact with the demon Asmodeus has left her life in tragic shambles.

Assuming human form, Raphael appears before Tabias, Tobit's devoted son, to help him retrieve his father's fortune hidden in a faraway city. Together, they embark on a miraculous journey in search of the answers to both families' prayers--a journey that is made challenging and delightful by Rapheal's artful efficiency.

On the Road with the Archangel is a masterful combination of fluid writing, lyrical storytelling, and ancient truth blended with modern wisdom. And beneath it all lies a subtle, glowing meditation on the nature of the Holy.

Hailed as "one of our most original storytellers" (USA Today), Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Frederick Buechner has written an extraordinary new novel that shines with the mystery and wonder of the divine.Drawn from the ancient apocryphal Book of Tobit, On the Road with the Archangel unravels the tale of a eccentric blind father and his somewhat bumbling song who journeys to seek his family's lost treasure. Narrated by the wry and resourceful archangel Raphael, Buencher's tale is a pure delight, alive with vivid characters, delightful adventures and wondrous revelations.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ashey Pelt, An Irish Cinderella for St. Patrick's Day

The following tale is one of the hundreds that appear in Cinderella Tales From Around the World.

Ashey Pelt

WELL, my grandmother she told me that in them auld days a ewe might be your mother. It is a very lucky thing to have a black ewe. A man married again, and his daughter, Ashey Pelt, was unhappy. She cried alone, and the black ewe came to her from under the greystone in the field and said, “Don’t cry, go and find a rod behind the stone and strike it three times, and whatever you want will come.”

So she did as she was bid. She wanted to go to a party. Dress and horses and all came to her, but she was bound to be back before twelve o’clock or all the enchantment would go, all she had would vanish. The sisters they did na’ like her; she was so pretty, and the stepmother she kept her in wretchedness just.

She was most lovely. At the party the Prince fell in love with her, and she forgot to get back in time. In her speed a-running she dropped her silk slipper, and he sent and he went over all the country to find the lady it wad fit. When he came to Ashey Pelt’s door he did not see her. The sisters was busy a-nipping and a-clipping at their feet to get on the silk slipper, for the king’s son he had given out that he loved that lady sae weel he wad be married on whaever could fit on that slipper.

The sisters they drove Ashey Pelt out bye to be out of the road, and they bid her mind the cows. They pared down their feet till one o’ them could just squeeze it on. But she was in the quare agony I’m telling you.

So off they rode away; but when he was passing the field the voice of the auld ewe cried on him to stop, and she says, says she—

“Nippet foot, and clippet foot
Behind the king’s son rides,
But bonny foot, and pretty foot
Is with the cathering hides.”

So he rode back and found her among the cows, and he married her, and if they lived happy, so may you and me.

Source: Damant, M. “Folktales. Ashey Pelt and the Three Golden Balls.” Folklore. Vol. 6, No. 3 (Sep. 1895). pp. 305-308. (The tale was told me by a woman now living, a native of Ulster, aged about sixty.—M. Damant)

Cinderella Films: The Slipper and the Rose

This is mostly a repost of a blog entry from several years ago. With Disney's new film, I have Cinderella films on the brain and several of my favorite fairy tale films are Cinderella inspired and The Slipper and the Rose: The Story Of Cinderella [Blu-ray] is one of the top five for me. After all, barring the animated Disney features, this was my very first fairy tale film. And for years I knew virtually nothing about it, even its title.

This is one of those movies that would be played as filler on Sunday afternoons on one of the local stations and occasionally the networks. I wasn't given much TV viewing time as a child, especially on Sundays, but on occasion a bout of bronchitis or such would send me to the couch on a weekend where this would appear magically on the little screen for me, with me usually missing some portion of the beginning and thus the title and credits sequence. I didn't know what it was but I knew I loved it and I remember rediscovering it at least two or three times before I finally was old enough to get a title from the TV guide in the paper. (Oh, I feel old.) The film wasn't even that old for it was released in 1976 but just timed for my discovery.

Then I eventually was able to record it when we owned a VCR and watched it quite a bit. I eventually saw it on the big screen when I was in college when it was shown one Friday night on campus. I was thrilled. I remember sitting in the theatre with some friends. It was a big audience that night and the first time Richard Chamberlain broke into song--for this is a musical--most of the guys in the audience broke into hoot and hollerin' laughter. They didn't know they were in for a musical, especially with Mr. Thorn Birds himself. Yes, the musical numbers just suddenly happen, so it is a shock, but I imagine a lot of guys didn't have very successful date nights if they didn't wise up quick because I doubt I was the only girl in the theatre with an emotional attachment to the movie.

Is it a perfect movie? No. Is it still a hidden gem? Yes, certainly. Here are my reasons why:

1. The aforementioned music. I think the music to this one blows Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella away, even my favorite version with Julie Andrews. I like some of the songs from R&H and even performed a few of them long ago for a musical comedy class, insuring I was quite intimate with them. I prefer these songs by the Sherman Brothers who also gave us the music to Mary Poppins. The tunes are catchier but lusher at the same time. And overall, they are consistently better than the R&H ones. There are some standouts by R&H but there are some I just don't like very well, too. I like all of the music offered here by the Shermans. Personal taste, but I have met many over the years who agree.

The Slipper and the Rose (1976 Film Soundtrack)

2. One of the bitterest complaints against this version is how passive Cinderella is. Valid point. However, I've always considered this movie to be the prince's story. We all forget that he is just about as passive as her in the tale. We even tend to dislike him for just being a silent paragon of princeliness who hasn't much character at all, a blank blob we can lay our own expectations over. The Slipper and the Rose shares his story about politics and protocol. He is expected to marry well and most certainly not for love. This becomes an important part of the plot, one usually glossed over or completely ignored in other versions of the tale. He has to fight for what he wants. It's different and thus entertaining. There are some unexpected twists to the story, too, not major ones, but somewhat unusual.

3. The setting and scenery and costumes, oh my. This is lush. It's the 70s fantasy version of another era and it is pretty to look at if not the height of historical accuracy. However, it is Cinderella so is historical accuracy necessary? No.

4. All the character actors. Singing and dancing no less. If you love BBC productions, so many of the faces we know, especially from older movies and series from the same era, are here. And they sing and dance which is quite amusing.

5. The Fairy Godmother as played by Annette Crosbie. She just may be my favorite fairy godmother. If I could pick one for myself, I'd pick her without a moment's hesitation. These days she is best known for One Foot in the Grave but she is a brilliant fairy godmother and made such an impact that I recognized her immediately when I first saw One Foot in the Grave. She has great lines and delivers them with great aplomb, many referencing other fairy tales which makes it fun for me as a grown-up who gets the references. She is spunky and funny and very no nonsense, a great antidote to the Disney Fairy Godmother with her Bibbidis and Bobbidies and Boos. 

Here is a passable movie trailer made by a fan, so I thought I would share it here.