It’s Children’s Book Week!

Today is the start of Children’s Book Week.

Let’s go in the Way Back Time Machine and look at a fellow named Aesop, who lived in Ancient Greece, and was the source of over 600 fables!

Here is an early illustration for The Donkey and the Lion….


Great Month for the Library

April is a great month to get to your local library.

April 13 is National Library Workers’ Day, and April 30 is Children’s Day/Book Day, a day to celebrate children’s books!

This day is known simply as Dia in Mexico, where it is a very popular day.

So get yourself and your kids to your library!

The fine ladies above are at the Tottenville (Staten Island) branch of the New York Public Library.

Asterix from France

When I visited relatives in France in my early teens, the newspapers ran a comic strip called Asterix, about the exploits of the title character/hero and his village of ancient Gauls as they resist Roman occupation.

The Asterix series is the most popular of French comics in the world. To date, the comic strip has ran over 50 years, and 325 million copies of 34 Asterix books have been sold worldwide.

The illustration above is the cover of Asterix Conquers Rome. Just another Roman orgy!Vive Asterix!

Edgar Allan Pie

Split two raven breasts down the middle
1 cup of curdled milk
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of palpable fear
1 tell-tale heart
1 gold bug
1 tablespoon of macabre
1 tablespoon of foreboding
1 teaspoon blood

Mix milk, flour, sugar and fear. Chill overnite (preferably in a cemetery).

Vlad the Vulture from “Horton Hears a Who!”

If there can be a “scene-stealer” in animated films, then Vlad Vladikoff the Vulture is it.

The movie’s been out for a while, and my two kids love watching the DVD, especially my 4-year old.

Voiced by Will Arnett (in a Romanian-type accent), there are some really funny lines by Vlad (and about Vlad).

When we first meet Vlad, the jungle-ruling Kangaroo enlists the vulture to destroy the clover that Horton constantly carries with him. (This scene spooks my son a little bit.)

Vlad excitedly tells the Kangaroo what he will do the clover. “I will crush it, then devour it. Then I will regurgitate it, and devour it second time. Two times devoured.”

He then has a rip-roaring chase with Horton over the clover. He’s quite an over-the-top character. The animators and writers did great work with him.

The Illustrations of Gustaf Tenggren (1896-1970)

Gustaf Tenggren once worked for Walt Disney, but got fed up and left Disney in the 1920s to produce his own works. Check out these very nice illustrations

Aliens, Pirates, Robots, etc.

Having two boys, 4 and 8, I get to witness much of their playtime, which often involves pretending. Just this morning, the younger one stood in the middle of the bedroom and wrapped one end of a blanket around himself.

The older one said it was an octopus tentacle and that his little brother was going to be eaten. Funny stuff!

Often, the floor of the bedroom is “water” that can only be crossed by throwing pillows on the floor. The same goes with the outside walkway to the front porch. The walkway is water, and can be crossed by jumping over it, from one side of the walkway to the other.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think that girls pretend in this way.

Over the past couple weeks, the younger one has really been excited by UPS trucks driving along our street. He’s always been fascinated with trash & recycling trucks stopping outside, but now it’s UPS trucks too.

It got me thinking about the various things that really strike a chord in boys’ play and imagination. The list could be endless, so here’s just a few:

Cars & trucks
Digging, in dirt or sand