Off the Shelf: The Steadfast Tin Soldier

It isn’t often that you find an entire book dedicated to just one of Hans Christian Andersen’s lesser known tales. I found this copy of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” at this great secondhand bookstore here in San Diego, and I … Continue reading

Just Crocheting-a-Long…

Da da da daaaaa! I’m participating in my first ever crochet along. I’m joining Tamara Kelly over at Moogly for her 2014 afghan crochet-a-long. I was surprised to discover that the CAL lasts all year. For some reason, I thought they … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: Hansel and Gretel

I was in a part of San Diego that I wasn’t too familiar with, and I needed to visit the bank. Google Maps said that there was a branch of my bank in the strip mall right across the street … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: The Stinky Cheese Man

I’m a big fan of fractured fairy tales. I mean, fairy tales are really easy targets. So many of them have plots that don’t make sense or they involve such ridiculous situations that it’s almost too easy to poke fun … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: More Hans Christian Andersen

I’m a sucker for Hans. Every time I see a book of his stories, I have to take a look — and most of the time, I have to buy it. That’s what happened when I saw “The Classic Treasury … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: All-Star Emporer

John Lithgow as the Emperor? Harrison Ford as one of the two thievish weavers? Steven Spielberg as the Honest Boy? Yes, please! Add Nathan Lane as the Imperial Dresser, Madonna as the Empress, Jeff Goldblum as the Imperial Wizard, Dan … Continue reading

Off the Shelf: Classic Fairy Tales – Part 2

In last week’s botched post, I mentioned that the book I got in Phoenix contained fairy tales by Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen. I’ve already shared the illustrations from Perrault’s tales, so here are a few from Andersen’s stories. Most of these you’ll recognize.

Here’s Thumbelina being born from the flower.

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Here are a few from a curious story called The Tinderbox about a poor soldier who receives wealth from three wide-eyed dogs. In the process, he mercilessly cuts off the head of an ugly but helpful witch, and I can’t help but feel sorry for her.

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I love the apoplectic king in this one.

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Do you recognize the one-legged steadfast tin soldier?

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Now here are the risqué hijinks of the emperor and his shyster clothiers.

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This is a funny little story called The Swineherd about a selfish princess who gets what’s coming to her.

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She’s giving away kisses for toys. Never a good idea, girls.

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Here are a few classic images of The Nightingale. Here is the little maid showing the courtiers where to find the lovely bird.

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Finally, a few funny ones from the Princess and the Pea.

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Gotta love the servant’s 90-degree stride!

Have a great day!

Off the Shelf: Traditional Celtic Tales

Hello there. It’s been a while. Remember me?

I’m not sure how bloggers typically apologize after going dark for nearly…ahem…three weeks. I could give you a whole bunch of excuses as to why my life went into warp speed and why I haven’t had a spare moment to pick up a crochet hook since, seriously, the last time I blogged. Or I could just pretend like I’ve never been gone. Mmmm, I’ll go with option B. Let’s just pick up right where we left off like good friends do.

Before I was bombarded by summer madness, I checked out a new library bookshop. While it wasn’t that great, I did find this hulking copy of “Traditional Tales from Long, Long Ago” (1999 Dempsey Parr) a collection of Celtic folklore retold by Philip Wilson and illustrated by Sue Clarke, Anna Cynthia Leplar, Jacqueline Mair, Sheila Moxley, and Jane Tattersfield. Phew, that was a lot of artists!

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The book contains stories of leprechauns, innocent milkmaids, powerful kings, clumsy giants, horned witches, vengeful monsters and talking animals. Exactly what you would expect and wonderfully so. I haven’t read all the stories, but some of them are dark and morbid, which is in keeping with most fairy tales, right? More likely to give your kids nightmares than teach them lessons — unless the world was much scarier back in the day and kids weren’t so easily frightened.

Since there are quite a few illustrators, there are several different artistic styles. For example, there’s this traditional cartoony style with hard black outlines and fine details. (See how the mistress of the house is working with fiber? You go yarn lady.)

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Then there are highly stylized illustrations with few details but a lot of texture and movement. (Can anyone say phallic symbol?)

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I like this whimsical one with the spotted ocean.

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There is even one story in the book that I’d seen before. It’s called “The Haughty Princess” and it’s almost exactly the same as “Prince Hawksbeak,” which I featured in a previous Off the Shelf post. The only difference is that the princess in this story makes fun of the prince’s whiskers instead of his ever-so-slightly hooked nose. Here’s the princess-turned-beggar’s-wife dancing with the prince in front of the entire kingdom, and leftovers from the kitchen are falling out of her pockets, shaming her.

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I love how the prince is just enjoying himself, not seeming to notice what’s going on. Heh. Here are a few more interesting illustrations from this book. Enjoy!

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Off the Shelf: More Old-Time Fairy Tales

A couple of weeks ago, I shared “My Book of Old-Time Fairy Tales.” Remember it?

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In that previous post, I showed you the illustrations for the more well-known fairy tales, so today, I’d like to show you some of the other lovely images from the lesser known tales.

First up is King Hawksbeak, a story about a haughty princess (think “The Cutting Edge” movie) who was too good for any suitor who came to marry her. She was so full of herself that her father said he’d marry her to the next beggar who came to the door. So, here’s the princess and her new husband (who is, of course, King Hawksbeak in disguise).

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The next illustration is from The Dancing Shoes (or The Twelve Dancing Princesses). As we all know, the princesses were dancing their slippers to shreds every night, and no one could figure out where. After a bunch of princes failed to solve the mystery, a lowly soldier tried to puzzle it out (with some help from a fairy in disguise). Here he is being offered wine by the eldest and most beautiful of the twelve princesses. But he knows that the wine is drugged, so he doesn’t drink it, and he solves the mystery — and nabs himself a bride, of course.

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And here’s the youngest of the twelve princesses crossing the sapphire sea with her soldier rowing away. He’s complaining that the boat is very heavy. That’s because the soldier is onboard wearing an invisibility cloak a la Harry Potter.

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Here’s one from Jack the Giant-Killer. This is not the same story as Jack and the Beanstalk (do not believe Hollywood). I thought this was a sweet image of Jack stopping for a rest in the dark, lonely forest before reaching the castle of Blunderbore.

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Here’s the ugly two-headed Welsh giant who owned the four valuable things Jack wanted: the coat, cap, sword, and shoes. This giant wasn’t too bright. Jack tricked him into killing himself. Or is it himselves?

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This next story I’d never heard of before. It’s called Furball. In order to escape marriage to an ogre, this young princess asked her father for some very hard-to-get wedding gifts, including a coat made from a thousand different animal skins. To her dismay, she actually received her gift. Here she is wearing it the night she decided to run away to escape the marriage. She’s darkening her face with walnut juice — not putting on makeup like I originally thought. Kind of like a linebacker.

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This next one is from a story called Toads and Diamonds. A widow had two daughters. The elder was ugly and mean, while the younger (pictured) was pretty and kind. Because life is not fair, the widow loved the elder daughter and made the younger one work like a slave. One day, the young girl was fetching a pitcher of water from a spring, when an old woman (another fairy in disguise) asked for a drink. Because the young girl was so kind and obliging, the fairy cast a spell so that whenever the girl spoke, flowers and jewels fell from her lips.

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After getting kicked out of the house for the charm she’d been given, the young girl ran into a handsome prince — why not? When he saw the jewels fall from her lips, he immediately fell in love with her … and put a ring on it.

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One last illustration to leave you with. My fav, a girl reading.

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Have a great day!