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In Honour of Zombies, Ghosts, Ghouls... aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful

by Adrienne - 3 Comment(s)

Inspired this past May (which was Zombie Awarenes Month), this post reviews a few graphic novels that fit the theme. Fairies and Ghouls beware! Halloween is fast approaching and Calgary just had it's own Zombie walk on Saturday October 13th! Do you have your costume ready? Or are you a die hard Zombie fan who will wash and recycle their Zombie gear creating environmentally friendly apocalypse wear for All Hallows Eve? For great Zombie books and movies year round check out Alex's great Zombie Awareness Blog from last May.

For now, here are some ghouly graphic novels to get your Halloween grease moving. Grimericks by Susan Pearson and Monster Museum by Marilyn Singer are both illustrated by the lovely Gris Grimly. Think Tony Diterlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles) meets Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) - on paper. Take MaryLou Jones; the java drinking, peter pan collar, blue polka dotted dress, blonde bob, pilgrim shoe wearing skeleton as a Grimly Zombie example. Both books are filled with witty puns to boot! Singer gets straight to the point with a Zombie poem that teaches us how Zombies "dance" and a ghost poem delineating all the family "types". Pearson's

Recipe for a Grimerick goes:

1 limerick, lightly salted

dash grim

slosh of spook juice

1 cup giggles

3 ripe guffaws

Mix together with 1 funny bone.

Chill in dank cave.

Turn the lights down low.

Lock the doors.

Look under the bed.

Read with relish!

I hate to admit it, but I'm actually not actually into Zombies (I know, I know ... please don't bite me!), I AM however, very into juicy, messy, blotchy, splotchy drawings. How to Draw Zombies a Fantasy Underground book by Mike Butkus & Merrie Destefano, is chock full of them! There is much exquisite mark making here showcasing all the delicate intricacies of the artists hand and/or personality - if you believe in hand writing analysis. Each drawing/painting/digital rendering is broken down step by step so that you can see all the layered marks in isolation like Mr. Dress Up - Zombie style! Anyone up for creating a Zombie Mr. Dress Up art piece? We would love to see your submissions on our Teens Create page. Looking through this gem, I have to admit that Zombies are fine ground for digging in & sketching out all the gory details. Mr. Dress Up challenge aside, if you could draw a Zombie what/who would it be?

Here are photos of Calgary's May 2012 Zombie Walk, and here are the photos for the October zombie walk. Calgary's Zombie community is Awesome!

If that's not enough, these stellar Zombie comics and novels should keep you entranced for awhile:

Plus for former Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans... we currently have Diary of a Zombie Kid on order!

When dealing with ghosts what fits the bill of beautiful? Perhaps when the meaning of a mystery lies in belief being it's own reward? Or perhaps when illustrations tinge on being creepy but really are pretty brilliant comic illustrations. Slog's Dad illustrated by Dave McKean, (who also illustrated The Sandman by Neil Gaiman) is a master at this. Written by David Almond, this graphic novel defies easy categorization or interpretation, embedding itself heavily in enigma.

Always save the best 2 for last, right? Here they are. The winner has to be Zombie's Vs. Unicorns, a great new anthology compiled by Holly Black (Team Unicorn) & Justine Larbalestier (Team Zombie). The two duke it out with witty commentary before each short story and the reader is left to decided who wins, Zombies?? or Unicorns?? This book includes many stars of YA fiction such as Scott Westefeld ( who is Justine's husband, did you know?), Libba Bray & Meg Cabot. Westefeld may have actually been playing in this sandbox for a long time. Ever think of nanos as Zombies? Specials anyone? Kathleen Duey included a particularly haunting addition in which you could most likely classify the Unicorn AS a Zombie. Isn't any creature that has eternal life sort of technically you know - a zombie? I, I admit my Zombie love is growing, fed by Unicorns of course!

Finally, because Halloween should always end with something wholesome - like apples... candied - we will end with Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. This book could be described as Casper... for 16 year olds, with just the slightest bit of Creepy!! thrown in. If you fell down a well, ... well would you befriend that ghost? Join Anya B as she navigates private school with her ghost. As their friendship develops she discovers that being friends with a shade may or may not be all it's cracked up to be; and that somethings are more important than others. This debut graphic novel written and illustrated by Brogol is Great. It has won numerous awards... for good reason! Long live....

My Top 3 of 3

by Jilliane - 0 Comment(s)

Over the last 3 years I have done a lot of reading. I've read some pretty lame books, some okay books, some pretty darn good books...and then there are the books that remind you why life is amazing. I only encounter these books about once a year, maybe twice if I'm lucky. Today, I'm going to share my most-amazing-books-ever list. I mean, I might be exagerating a bit when I say 'most-amazing-ever,' but over the past 3 years, these are definitely some of the best that I've encountered.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is a graphic novel autobiography by Marjane Satrapi. Satrapi relates her experience of growing up in Iran following the Islamic Revolution. It's not a pretty or sentimental story, rather, it's a riveting, deeply moving coming of age story. Satrapi begins her tale at childhood, depicting her sweet, believing innocence and the many talks she had with God in these younger years. She then moves on to describe her tumultuous youth of exploration and self-discovery all with a heated political backdrop. Her parents, political activists, send her away to live in France where they know she will receive a better education and be free from the opression she would face in her own country.

This beautiful autobiography is not only a peek into the world of nations overcome with political unrest, but it is also a sweet coming of age story. Satrapi explores feminism, religion, politics, family life, romance and growing up. She is not heavy-handed, rather, she lets you draw conclusions and focuses on narrative.

The book was made into a movie, which is brilliant, but skips a lot of content.

A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls was based on an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, a amazing author who died in 2007 of breast cancer. It's a lovely story of a boy dealing with death. Conor is 13 years old and has a mother who is terminally ill. Conor's mother is hopeful and fights her cancer fiercely. She is determined to stay with Conor, and as a result, Conor has not faced the idea of life without her. Except in his dreams. Every night Conor has the same terrible nightmare.

At exactly 12:07 Conor wakes to voice calling him. He looks out his window to see a gigantic monster. This monster tells Conor that he has 3 stories to tell Conor. He will come each night and tell his stories and when he is done, Conor must tell him a story.

Despite the wild idea of a monster appearing in the night, A Monster Calls is a deeply realistic story. The reader lives through every day with Conor--at school, dealing with his grandmother, visiting his mother in the hospital, and grieving. But every night at 12:07 the monster visits and you hear a story...a story that somehow helps Conor.

The book is beautifully illustrated and is definitely worth a read.

Lost and Found by Shaun TanLost and Found is an incredible collection of my 3 favourite Shaun Tan books. It includes: The Red Tree, The Lost Thing and The Rabbits. Tan's illustrations are vivid and poignant and the stories are meaningful. I read The Read Tree on days when I'm feeling sad. I read The Lost Thing on days when I'm feeling lonely. Finally, I read The Rabbits on days when I need to remember.

Step Up Revolution Contest

by Alexandra - 0 Comment(s)

If you are anywhere near as jacked for Step Up Revolution as we are, you are gonna FLIP for our latest contest!

All you have to do is head over to TeensCreate and submit a dance-related post! A picture of your dancin' feet, a cool costume from a favourite routine, drawn-out steps for the cha-cha, YOU NAME IT! There are only three rules:

1) You must own the content that you post -- you can't just copy and paste a link from YouTube or someone else's work!

2) You cannot show your face in the picture! For FOIP reasons we cannot publish someone's image or likeness on the website -- so don't put it there in the first place! Crop it out, wear a mask, or slap a happy face on top of it... we're sure you're really, incredibly good-looking, but we JUST DON'T WANT TO SEE IT!

3) You must use your library card number as the title of the submission, so we can contact you if you win!

But really, that's it! Prove you're a dance enthusiast and you'll be entered for the contest!

Here's what you could win:

ONE GRAND PRIZE

  • Cineplex ROE passes (two admissions) for Step Up Revolution
  • StreetDance 2 DVD
  • Step Up Revolution ear buds
  • Step Up Revolution sunglasses

FOUR RUNNER-UP PRIZES

  • Cineplex ROE passes (two admissions) for Step Up Revolution
  • Step Up Revolution sunglasses

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Congratulations to our winners, who will be contacted shortly to pick up their prizes! Be sure to check back for more contests, prizes and other wicked stuff.

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful... New Fairytale Comics!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I am happy to report that we have some great new fantasy graphic novels in! The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen being notable among them. Yolen weaves a story around just enough stereotypes to turn them around and come out with a satisfactory egalitarian ending -- a great read. Yolen is one of the most prolific writers of our time, boasting 300+ books to her name (with CPL carrying 40+ of her YA and Adult titles). A great storyteller with a penchant for fantasy and extremely relatable characters, she ranges from writing children's books, to poetry (adult poetry among them), to novels. She has also partnered with many great artists throughout her career, such as Come to the Fairies' Ball illustrated by Gary Lippincott. Sacred Places illustrated by David Shannon is also a notable highlight among her illustrious ilk. In The Last Dragon artist Rebecca Guay fits right in there by creating a visual feast for the eyes with hints of Art Nouveau and the Pre-Raphealites. I like pretty comic books, it's true. Guay has also illustrated Black Pearls A Faerie Strand, a YA novel by Louise Hawes.

Pay the Piper is a modern rock n' roll twist on the Pied Piper -- Modern, urban fantasy at it's best. Another great Pied Piper re-telling that just hit the stacks is The Brixen Witch by Stacey DeKeyser

At the back of the graphic novel The Last Unicorn there is a spread of art by 5 different artists depicting the characters from the story. I'm assuming the artists auditioned to illustrate the final comic. The art was amazing, as were the artists they picked, and it made me wonder how the novel would have been different if illustrated by each artist. A picture is worth a thousand words and this concept - of seeing other artistic possibilities for the same book intrigued me. Then, along comes Spera by Josh Tierney! One graphic novel, one story, illustrated by five different artists, each depicting their own chapter! The most surprising thing about this really is how smoothly the story actually flows from artist to artist, yet each lends a particular flavour, slanting and enhancing the scenes at hand. And for those of you who just can get enough, there's a Volume 2 on order!

Although not new to our collection the following items are more than worth your while.

Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries... Arthur Rackham makes an appearance as a stork and there are lots of other humorous post-modern references sprinkled throughout. Linda Medley, the author, has been described as Arthur-Rackham-meets-Charles-DeLint-meets-Marvel-comics! I highly recommend her. And there's Castle Waiting II too. Funnily enough the intro is written by... Jane Yolen! Of Medley she says: "Once upon a time, which is how all good fairy tales begin (if you grew up in western culture), a child was born in the rural Salinas area of California. Or Califunny as those of us who live 3000 miles away like to call it. Which, if one were writing a fairytale would be prophetic. If one were drawing a comic, it would come with a banner: Here is born Linda Medley. Then an arrow to a group of trees, Rackham trees. A child sits with her back against the heavy bark, in her lap a drawing pad. There is a newspaper, folded to the comics page by her side, a copy of Grimm Tales... So I feel as if Linda Medley is an old friend who has written Castle Waiting just for me - a feminist fairy tale with attitude, heart, imagination, laughter, love and truth. Er, Truth." I heartily agree!

The Goblin Companion by Brian Froud has long been a standing favourite of mine. Although Froud is famous for his fairies I particularly enjoyed seeing how he would draw a goblin wife, what kind of tools each fool possesses, and in general the rough juiciness of his pencil drawings particularly suits a more ornery subject... such as goblins. Check it out!

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful cont... Genius = Kids Books for Adults

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, in addition to Alex's latest blog Poke a Little Fun, in my time here I have noticed that there are many stellar picture books out there that are almost more suitable for an adult audience, in both their stunning content and maturity. The true genius of these books lies in the fact that they manage to span the ages and appeal to all ages. TRUE genius at heart. Here are 4 offerings in that vein.

Three Ladies Beside The Sea by Rhoda Levine illustrated by Edward Gorey who is famous for his darker art and pictures books for adults is a fun tale of 3 sisters with rhyme and metaphor that younger readers may miss and older ones appreciate. Also not to be missed is his humourous, The Epileptic Bicycle.

Elliott, written and illustrated by Tobin Sprout features bleak and beautiful surrealistic paintings accompanying a cute story about finding your calling... when your old life is over. Sprout is also a musician (best know as a former member of the indie rock band Guided by Voices) in addition to being an an artist and writer!

Where in the World by Marie-Francine Hebert and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a heart-string pulling tale of what a young girl decides to do and to take with her when her life is all of a sudden usurped by war. Originally written in French, this book's illustrations won the Governor General’s Award for French language picture books. The dedication aptly reads, "For all of you, little or tall, who are working hard to add more soul into the great jar of life."

In the Heart of the Bottle written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers reminds me of the heart imagery in Christina's Perri's video Jar of Hearts ... but as a children's book. A poignant story of how your heart can get into and out of ... a bottle.

Enjoy!

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

Youth in Revolt

by Tomas Jonsson - 0 Comment(s)

Arcade Fire with Mick Jagger

During their recent set on Saturday Night Live, performing with Mick Jagger, The Canadian band Arcade Fire pointedly and politically wore red squares in solidarity with the student protests in Quebec.

Now over 100 days, the protests in Quebec are an example of a global overflowing spirit of rebellion and dissatisfaction with authority, particularly by youth, an emotional wellspring that Arcade Fire has tapped into throughout their various projects.

As much as I love Karen O and the Children's contributions to the Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack, to me the defining song of this movie – or rather it's trailer – is still "Wake Up". The song, from Arcade Fire’s breakthrough album Funeral is a pitch perfect complement to Director Spike Jonze’s psychoanalytic take on Maurice Sendak’s classic story. While they weren't included in the soundtrack to his movie, Jones later worked with lead singer Win Butler and his brother Will in creating a 28 minute short film, Scenes from the Suburbs, another dystopian vision of growing up in a future full of alienation and lurking violence, inspired by Arcade Fire's album the Suburbs.

Scenes from the Suburbs - Spike Jonze

Named after John Kennedy Toole’s first novel (written when he was 16), Neon Bible is a darkly melancholic concept album, with many allusions to the recent flooding of New Orleans, the city where Toole grew up, and where he set his follow up novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, whose protagonist wages a Quixotic revolt against the entire 20th Century. Recently, Arcade Fire contributed two songs to the Hunger Games film soundtrack. "Horn of Plenty", which plays several times in the movie as an anthem for the fascist District of Panem. Conversely, their second song, "Abraham's daughter" is a subversive reinterpretation of the biblical story, weaving in a very Katniss-like character that up-ends the overly patriarchal tone of the original story:

Abraham took Isaac's hand
And led him to the lonesome hill
While his daughter hid and watched
She dare not breathe; she was so still

Just as an angel cried for the slaughter
Abraham’s daughter raised her voice

Then the angel asked her what her name was
She said, "I have none."
Then he asked, "How can this be?"
"My father never gave me one."

And when he saw her raised for the slaughter
Abraham’s daughter raised her bow
"How darest you, child, defy your father?"
"You better let young Isaac go."

Red Riding Hood Revisited

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

So I admit to being just slightly obsessed with Little Red Riding Hood (okay, okay maybe actually completely obsessed...). What piqued my interest? A lot of that has to do with the research I did into the history of the folktales and a fascination with how a story can shift and change over time to reflect changes in the cultures it resides within.

As a result I was really excited to discover that there was a film version of Red Riding Hood, produced last year by Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight). When I finally watched it, I admit I was disappointed, mostly with the casting; not of the main characters who are for the most part good, but it's amazing how bad supporting actors can make a film seem fake & ruin a mood!

The film, however, is a visual feast with splendid, gorgeous, stunning images of long red cloaks against white, white snow, beautiful tree lit night scenes and chic neo-medieval costumes that are meticulously researched with details to satisfy the hippy-geeks in all of us. This in turn spurned some research into medieval costuming. Stay tuned for a follow-up blog with some cool books about medieval dress...

Fortunately the more I watched the film (obsessed remember), the more I appreciated the subtle metaphors and historical references it embeds. For instance, was Peter, Peter The Wolf? Also, it's obvious in the final stew scene at grandmother's cottage that Catherine Hardwicke put some research into how the tale was originally a metaphor for the passing on of wisdom from one generation to another (grandmother to granddaughter Eucharist style). I appreciated this, along with the soundtrack, which is fantastic. Check out Bloodstream and Keep The Streets Empty for Me by Fever Ray!

In fact does a fairy tale have to seem real? Or does a certain amount of fakeness actually seek to better distill the story and symbolism in your subconscious in a more subtle way than if everything was completely realistic? The fakeness allows it to exist in the realm of metaphor, fantastic space, the dreamworld where things aren't usually completely logical.

After being obsessed with the film I read the book by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. She wrote this after the movie was created, spending time on the set researching the characters and getting to know them. They book delves deeper into the inner lives of the characters and has additional scenes. This was really fun - I kept expecting the book ending to be different and was somewhat disappointed in the end. You have to go online to read the last chapter. If you don't, the book ending leaves more tantalizing trails left for the imagination to follow...

So what other Red Riding Hood remakes have made the mark? Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is tantalizingly well written featuring an innovative re-imagining of the whole werewolf adventure. Available in book, e-book and book CD formats at CPL! Stiefvater is also a musician and artist and has created her own songs to go along with each book, as well as stop animation teasers (scroll down) using wallpaper cutouts! The book is followed up with Linger and Forever. On a side note, Stiefvater likes to decorate things such as her printer and guitar with intricate designs in sharpie markers. You can see some of this on her website as well as in the preview for Forever (scroll down). Click Here and scroll down for a neat pop up animation for Linger.

I think it is important to point out that most of the heroines in the RRH revisions in this blog (except in the comedy section) have teenage or young women as protagonist. This changes the moral tone of the stories and makes them (slightly) less creepy! For instance, Little Red Riding Hood illustrated by artist Daniel Egneus is definitely not the watered down version served up for most 5 year old. And the woman in the illustrations is definitely not 5 or 8 or even 11. Scoring high on beauty in line quality and penmanship, they also evoke a sense of horror in their disjointedness - hinting at how truly horrific such a story would be, were it actually real.

Adaptations that are truer to legend with juicy twists are: Scarlet Moon by Debbie Viguie (Ruth follows in her grandmother's footsteps learning her wise lore) & Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is another werewolf adventure involving 2 sisters. Red Hood's Revenge by Jim C. Hines is one of four books that reinvent RRH, Cinderella, Snowhite and the Little Mermaid into one cohesive world where our famous heroines form sisterhoods rescue children from Rumplestiltskin, marry, attempt assassinations on each other, reconcile, etc. Fun, fun, fun! Cloaked by Alex Flinn has references to RRH as well as fairytales such as The Shoemaker and the Elves, The Frog Prince and others. In Birthmarked, a great dystopian novel Caragh M. O'Brien, servant girls wear red cloaks however, the resemblance stops there. Similarly from the cover, what with the red cloak and wolf!!, you'd think The Light Bearer's Daughter by O.R. Melling was a RRH re-vamp, but no! Scores are in order however, for a great cover...

Woods Wolf Girl by Cornelia Hoogland takes the story of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it inside out in this sensuous Canadian retelling. Published by http://wolsakandwynn.ca/about

All this fuss about a girl and a cloak and a wolf? Well yes, rich in myth and symbolism, fairytales are a metaphoric minefields, hands down. "Our lives are stories, and the stories we have to give to each other are the most important. No one has a story too small and all are of equal stature. We each tell them in different ways, through different mediums—and if we care about each other, we'll take the time to listen." - Charles de Lint

"As our storytellers continue to draw upon past knowledge, including looking to the animal world and to tribal storytellers for guidance, we grow in strength. We reshape our ancestors' stories for our children, so that these tales will, like our people, our spirits, endure." - Carolyn Dunn

I find the psychological effects of fairy-tales intriguing. If you are interested in the psychology of fairy-tales Clarissa Pinkola Estes has written Women Who Run with the Wolves, which examines folk and fairy-tales from a Jungian perspective. Reading it might just put a new spin on Margaret Atwood's Bluebeard's Egg, or a whole lot of your childhood as well! Far from being outdated, fairy tales continue to shape our lives. Currently the re-shaping of these stories is booming. As Terri Windling says, "Why are so many of us en-spelled by myths and folk stories in this modern age? Why do we continue to tell the same old tales, over and over again? I think it's because these stories are not just fantasy. They're about real life. We've all encountered wicked wolves, found fairy godmothers, and faced trial by fire. We've all set off into unknown woods at one point in life or another. We've all had to learn to tell friend from foe and to be kind to crones by the side of the road. . . ."

On a more humorous note: Artist Wiliam Wegman did a Little RRH book in 1993 which involved photographing dogs posing as all the characters, and in true English hound style... plaid for the book end pages! Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde are 8 short story RRH re-makes that may never have you looking at fairy-tales quite the same way again! Gail Carson Levine recently wrote Betsy Red Hoodie illustrated by Scott Nash, and there are hilarious graphic versions of little red riding hood in these two YA Graphic Novels. Definitely not for little ones : some very Grimm fairy-tale comics and Fracture Fables by Jim Valentino. When a RRH girl finally karate chops the wolf in self defense rather than being gobbled up by him, we know we are living in a society that is beginning to place more of a priority on empowering our little girls rather than seeing them pay blind obedience instead. And that, in my mind, is a good thing!

If you are interested in researching the history of folk and fairy tale these are some good websites: Endicott Studios, JOMA (Journal of Mythis Arts) , Cabinets des Fees - a journal of fairy tales, Terri Windling. In our E-Library (once you sign-in) there are articles like "The Trails and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood" by Jack Zipes. Look under Book Authors and E-Books, Literature Resource Center or Literature Criticism Online and enter in a heading like "Little Red Riding Hood". You will get links to a variety of great articles! Do some research using our spiffy new catalogue and do a re-vamp as you see suggested in the challenge issued here!

"Our lives are our mythic journeys, and our happy endings are still to be won." TW

The Star Wars Comeback Special

by Jocelyn - 1 Comment(s)

The blog author embraces her inner Leia.

Ok, I admit it. I am of the generation that grew up with the original Star Wars (that would mean episodes IV through VI for the rest of you.) I grew up pretending I was Princess Leia, and I even had a Princess Leia shampoo bottle (disturbingly, the head is the bottle cap that twists off.) I embraced the Ewok movie too. Later on, I read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces because I heard that was the book that inspired George Lucas. In San Francisco, I stared at the ships beyond the wharf, as I had heard that was the place that gave inspiration to many of the ships in Star Wars

So when I heard that they were making a new trilogy about Anakin Skywalker, I couldn’t contain my excitement. Sadly, like many of us who grew up with the originals, I was deeply disappointed in episodes I to III. It was like George Lucas had taken the greatest villain in cinematic history (Darth Vader) and reduced him to a whiney sniveling shadow of a young Jedi (what is up with that!?!?)

The good news is, despite all that, Star Wars is still wildy popular, especially in hyperspace, and it’s not because of George Lucas endlessly re-editing the films (I don’t even want to talk about what he did to Return of the Jedi). Lego certainly has something to do with it – Lego Star Wars books, the game on Wii, etc. have breathed some new life into old loveable characters, such as Chewie. One can only imagine what would happen if Lego teamed up to create some kind of Hunger Games model sets… but I digress.) The other factor is the fans themselves and the endless video spin-offs you can find on YouTube or the books you can find in the library – for example, I just read Darth Paper Strikes Back: an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger. This is the sequel The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and I quite enjoyed it.

For those who just want to peruse the art the fans have created on the internet, here is a few to check out:

1)Star Wars Uncut. This is a Star Wars fan tribute video, coordinated by Casey Pugh, where thousands of fans got together and did a scene by scene remake of Episode 4. They filmed with Lego, with their old Star Wars toys, with themselves, with their own home-made videos. And from what I have seen, it is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ezeYJUz-84

2)Jedi Cats Strike Back. Two college students filmed this vignette with their newly rescued kittens. It is absolutely adorable, and pretty much the only non-violent light saber battle that I could find on the internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z3r9X8OahA

3)Chad Vader. This is a series made by Blame Society Productions about a guy related to Darth who happens to work at a grocery store called Empire Market. Or at least he did. Here is Chad trying out some other work. It doesn’t go so well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmDf6SnTVxg

4)Pink Five. This series features Stacey, a rather chatty X-wing pilot that was created by some true Star Wars fans. Here, she has accidentally followed Luke Skywalker to the planet Degobah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf8bbaX6D1s

5)John Williams is the Man. This is a rather hilarious acapella Star Wars tribute (although it's actually done to the tune of the Indiana Jones theme...but that is just a mere technicality, right?): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk5_OSsawz4

And don’t forget to check out Wookiepedia – the Star Wars wiki – where you can get lost for hours reading everything you wanted to know about Star Wars at http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

This photography really speaks to me...

by Jocelyn - 0 Comment(s)

The Central library just got more beautiful.

And Speak is the reason why. Speak? you ask. Yes, Speak, I say. Speak is the mesmerizing new show of student photography from Calgary’s Sir John Franklin school, which is on public display at Central on the 2nd floor until April 28.

These stunning photographs look like they belong on book covers. There are many different types of photographs – photographs of people, of objects, of landscapes, and of old machinery. Some are action shots, some are stills. Some are realistic, and some are distorted. Some are black and white, and some are in colour. All of them look as though they belong in an art gallery.

One is a mind-bending angle of what turns out to be, with a closer look at the photograph, a chain-link fence. Another is an action shot of a dancer on a rooftop. A third is of a girl’s back, with her spine and vertebrae highlighted by what appears to be paint (pictured). Yet another is a sepia-toned image of a boy hugging his knees – this photograph, entitled Bullying Sucks! is a strong visual statement on the emotional impact of bullying. Other photographs are abstract (When I look at Dreams in particular, I question whether it is of paints mixing together in water, or of an alternate world.) Freedom is where you discover is more realistic, yet whimsical –- it is clearly a portrait of a girl with balloons giving a coy look to the camera. And Everyone follows the flow is a beautiful landscape shot, in this case the landscape of a snowy world that encases a river.

You can also read about the photographs in the gallery book, located in our Teen Zone. This is where the young artists give eloquent Artist’s Statements that explain their work. Be sure to check out these beautiful images next time you check out books at the Central Library!

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