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Poetry Friday: The Witch in the Glass by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

August 7th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

"My mother says I must not pass
Too near that glass;
She is afraid that I will see
A little witch that looks like me,
With a red, red mouth to whisper low
The very thing I should not know!"

"Alack for all your mother’s care!
A bird of the air,
A wistful wind, or (I suppose
Sent by some hapless boy) a rose,
With breath too sweet, will whisper low
The very thing you should not know!"

- The Witch in the Glass by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

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The Raven's Child by Thomas E. Sniegoski, art by Tom Brown

August 4th, 2015 (07:56 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Giants by Matt Nathanson

The Raven's Child, a new graphic novel written by Thomas E. Sniegoski with art by Tom Brown, flies into bookstores today!

A mesmerizing dark world filled with monsters, where humanity's only hope lies in the bravery of one woman...

When the Throng came, the human race never stood a chance. The monsters were simply too strong, too numerous. It only took a few months for them to take over and leave the few poor souls who survived cowering in terror for years to come.

But even the monsters fear something: the dark goddess known as the Raven's Child. Legend says that she alone is destined to destroy the Throng and free those under their cruel power.

And whoever wields her name and image could become the bane of the Throng and an inspiration to humankind - even if she were only a young woman, like Carissa Devin, who has vowed to reclaim the world for the human race, no matter what the cost...

Available at Amazon.com
Available at Amazon.co.uk
Published by InkLit
ISBN-10: 0425279073
ISBN-13: 978-0425279076

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Best Books of July 2015

August 1st, 2015 (08:46 pm)

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: Giants by Matt Nathanson

July 2015: 7 books and scripts read

My favorite new book this month was Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel. Put it on your to-read list now if it's not there already!

My favorite re-read: When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

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Poetry Friday: An Irish Wild-Flower by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

July 31st, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

She felt, I think, but as a wild-flower can,
Through her bright fluttering rags, the dark, the cold.
Some farthest star, remembering what man
Forgets, had warmed her little head with gold.

Above her, hollow-eyed, long blind to tears,
Leaf-cloaked, a skeleton of stone arose...
O castle-shadow of a thousand years,
Where you have fallen - is this the thing that grows?

- An Irish Wild-Flower by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

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Poetry Friday: After Wings by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

July 24th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: Leverage score music by Joseph LoDuca

This was your butterfly, you see,-
His fine wings made him vain:
The caterpillars crawl, but he
Passed them in rich disdain.-
My pretty boy says, "Let him be
Only a worm again!"

O child, when things have learned to wear
Wings once, they must be fain
To keep them always high and fair:
Think of the creeping pain
Which even a butterfly must bear
To be a worm again!

- After Wings by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

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Booklist: Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

July 17th, 2015 (04:59 pm)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: SVU score music

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Some of these books are comedies, some dramas, but all include characters who are dedicated to their school paper.

Listed alphabetically by author:

Peeled by Joan Bauer (protagonist and supporting characters work on the paper; contemporary realistic drama/mystery; ages 12 and up)

Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond (a teenaged Lois Lane investigates the truth behind the bullying at her high school - and strikes up a friendship online with SmallvilleGuy; contemporary realistic drama; ages 12 and up)

Reality Check by Jen Calonita (protagonist works on the high school paper; contemporary realistic drama; ages 12 and up)

Prom Kings and Drama Queens by Dorian Cirrone (protagonist and supporting lead work on the high school paper; contemporary realistic dramedy; ages 12 and up)

The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark (protagonist and two supporting characters work on the paper; contemporary realistic drama; ages 12 and up; highly recommended)

Juicy Gossip by Erin Downing (protagonist is the editor of her middle school paper, starts writing a gossip column; contemporary fiction; ages 8 and up)

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (protagonist contributes columns occasionally; historical fiction; ages 10 and up - this book was published as juvenile fiction but has been widely read by both kids and adults)

Alice McKinley books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (once in high school, protagonist and supporting characters work on the paper; contemporary realistic drama; ages 12 and up)

Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle (protagonist works on the high school paper; contemporary realistic dramedy; ages 12 and up)

Standing for Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman (protagonist is profiled in the paper; contemporary realistic dramedy; ages 10 and up)

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises (protagonist writes restaurant reviews for the local paper; contemporary realistic drama; ages 12 and up)

My favorite films and plays related to newspaper workers are His Girl Friday and Newsies. His Girl Friday was based on the play The Front Page written by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. I also like the 1974 film version of The Front Page. I have yet to see the 1931 film version or the various TV versions & series. I also enjoy the film Meet John Doe.

If you're interested in a story about a school yearbook staff, check out Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. It's captivating.

More Titles
Books in which the reporter is someone other than the protagonist:

Grace's Turn by Christy Carlson Romano (best friend is a photographer for the paper; contemporary drama; ages 12 and up)

Love Undercover by Johanna Edwards (mother who writes a relationship column; romantic comedy; ages 14 and up)

And Also

Here's a wonderful passage/list from the aforementioned book Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle:

I am not who I was last year.
I am not who I was last week.
I am not unpopular.
I am not popular.
I am not playing that game.
I am not a sleep.
I am not my yearbook photo.
I am not better than anyone else.
I am not worse than anyone else.

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Poetry Friday: Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon

July 17th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: pleased
Current Song: Bloodline score music

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.

- Everyone Sang by Siegfried Sassoon

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Poetry Friday: Back Yard by Carl Sandburg

July 10th, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: curious
Current Song: Sense8 theme song

Shine on, O moon of summer.
Shine to the leaves of grass, catalpa and oak,
All silver under your rain to-night.


Shine on, O moon,
Shake out more and more silver changes.

- selected lines from Back Yard by Carl Sandburg

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

July 4th, 2015 (08:56 am)

Current Mood: accomplished
Current Song: The Last Word is Mine from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


When Alice follows a white rabbit down a rabbit hole, little did she know she was in store for growing and shrinking, talking animals, a mad tea party, and a trial.

I love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for many reasons: the imaginative and lyrical writing, the delightful dialogue, the fantastic fantasy world, the colorful characters, the detailed illustrations by John Tenniel, and, most of all, the independent and thoughtful protagonist. I think the character of Alice is truly great. She's resourceful and spunky. The only big thing upon which Alice and I disagree: she, at the start, thinks books without pictures or conversations are useless. Nonsense, dear child!

Read It

If you have yet to read the original version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, please do. Project Gutenberg has posted the full text and illustrations online. You can visit Google Books.

A Booklist is Born

Thank you to Rebecca for prompting this booklist! May your class put it to good use.

Recommended Reading: Written by Charles Dodgson Himself
Alice's Adventures Under Ground written and illustrated by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, a Classic Illustrated Edition compiled by Cooper Edens - illustrations from the late 19th and early 20th centuries from multiple artists throughout the original text
The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll
The Selected Letters of Lewis Carroll
The Annotated Alice - the original text by Lewis Carroll and illustrations by John Tenniel with notes by Martin Gardner

Recommended Reading: Non-Fiction
Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture by Will Brooker
The Other Alice by Christina Björk - This juvenile biography about Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson offers humorous anecdotes (42!) and gorgeous illustrations. Sadly, I think it is out of print. Happily, I own a copy. Thank you, used bookstore! Highly recommended.

Recommended Reading: Fiction
Still She Haunts Me by Katie Roiphe - The story of an unlikely friendship between an intelligent man who fit nowhere and the spunky girl who inspired his best-known work. This is a fictional take on the friendship of Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson, with Charles' real letters woven in throughout the book. Shelved in adult fiction/literature. Highly recommended.

Recommended Reading: Graphic Novel Adaptations
Wonderland by Tommy Kovac, illustrated by Sonny Liew - Told from Mary Ann's point of view - great twist!
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland by Martin Powell

Related Works of Fiction
The Problem of the Missing Miss by Roberta Rogow - Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dodgson team up to find a little girl who has been abducted. A fun, fast-moving historical mystery, shelved in adult fiction or mystery. No fantasy elements are involved. There are just enough references to each author's works to be cute, rather than overdone. To the best of my knowledge, the two men never met in real life. I liked how they worked together in this book. Thanks to Sarah for the recommendation.

Art and Gift Books
All Things Alice: The Wit, Wisdom, and Wonderland of Lewis Carroll compiled by Linda Sunshine
Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll by Douglas R. Nickel
The Art of Alice in Wonderland by Stephanie Lovett Stoffel

Somewhat Related
The Baby-Sitters Club #121: Abby in Wonderland by Ann M. Martin - I love the BSC series and I love Alice in Wonderland, so I was hoping for more from this book than I got. Abby attends an Alice-themed party thrown by her grandparents. The costumes*, the food, and the decorations were all appropriate for the theme, but Wonderland itself did not matter to the story. It could have just as easily have been a fifties-themed party or a Narnia-themed party. The plot of the book did not have any ties to nor parallels with Wonderland. I wasn't expecting it to become a fantasy, of course - BSC stories are dramatic and comedic, but firmly realistic - but I wanted Wonderland to matter, to have been chosen for a reason. In fact, the plot itself was not fully realized. When I read the final page, I felt as if the story was only half-over.
*The grandmother dressed like the White Queen, who is actually from Through the Looking-Glass. The illustrations on the cover did not quite match the descriptions in the book. But I digress.

Attempted Sequels - Related titles that left me lukewarm
Automated Alice by Jeff Noon
Alice Through the Needle's Eye by Gilbert Adair
The Roundhill by Dick King-Smith
Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

. . . and those I have yet to read:
The Looking-Glass Wars by Frank Beddor and other books in the line
A New Alice in the Old Wonderland by Anna M. Richards
Fantastic Alice edited by Margaret Weiss


My favorite film version of this imaginative tale was made in 1972. As I mentioned in a much earlier post, I first saw this movie as a child and was absolutely delighted to see a brunette Alice (portrayed by Fiona Fullerton) rather than a blond girl. This British live-action musical was adapted and directed by William Sterling, with music by John Barry and lyrics by Don Black, based on those by Lewis Carroll. It employs the full title of the original book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

I think Charles Dodgson would like this adaptation of his most famous story. It offers a beautiful score by John Barry (Somewhere in Time), and the lyrics by Don Black are nearly lifted directly from the page. The movie is available on DVD, and the soundtrack is available on CD. Get them. Get them now.

The icon I used for this post captures one of my favorite shots from the film. Look how well it matches Tenniel's illustration. See all of the icons I made from the film. Thanks for the screenshots, Emily!

Additional Film and Television Adaptations of Alice

(If it's bold, I've seen it from start to finish. Bold doesn't mean I loved it, just that I've watched it. If it's italicized, I've only seen a few scenes.)

Film and television adaptations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland include:

Alice in Wonderland (live-action film, 1903)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action film, 1933)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action made-for-TV movie, BBC, 1946)
Alice in Wonderland (stop-motion film, 1951)
Alice in Wonderland (animated film, Disney, 1951)
The Adventures of Alice (live-action made-for-TV movie, BBC, 1960)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action made-for-TV movie, BBC, 1966)
Alice of Wonderland in Paris (animated film, 1966)
Alice in Wonderland, or, What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (animated made-for-TV movie, Hanna-Barbera, 1966)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (live-action musical film, 1972 - see above for reasons why it's my favorite adaptation)
Алиса в Стране Чудес (animated film, Russian, 1981)
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (filmed stage play, 1982)
Fushigi no Kuni no Alice (animated film, Japanese, 1983)
Alice in Wonderland (made-for-TV two-part movie, CBS, 1985)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action + puppetry five-episode TV series, 1985)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action four-episode TV series, BBC, 1986)
The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987)
Alice in Wonderland (animated film, Australian, 1988)
Alice (live-action + stop-motion film, 1988)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action made-for-TV movie, NBC, 1999)
Alice's Misadventures in Wonderland (live-action film, 2004)
Alice in Wonderland (live-action, 2010)

Related Films

I heard about Phoebe in Wonderland in August 2008 and was immediately interested. I watched the trailer online and want to see the film in full.

Alice, Meet Johnny Smith

The Dead Zone was a thought-provoking, creative television series. It brought Alice up more than once.

In Season 1, they closed an episode with a character reading aloud to Johnny from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, after having referenced the story a few times throughout the previous scenes. Later, for a different episode, they released a still image of Sarah and J.J. reading the book.

In Season 6, the episode Big Top revolved around an Alice in Wonderland-themed fair. The circus performers who were dressed as characters from the book had gorgeous costumes and props. Though I wouldn't wear them together, I seriously want Alice's dress and knee-highs. The episode also made multiple, important references to the show's pilot episode, which made me extremely happy.

Disney's Wonderland

I'd much rather read the original book or watch the aforementioned musical than watch the animated Disney film. I didn't care for their depiction of Alice as I felt she was not as strong nor as intelligent as she was in the book. The inaccurate parts of Disney's adaptation bug me. They changed things from the book, then brought in elements from Through the Looking Glass only to change those too. Sigh. I didn't care for the live-action Disney/Tim Burton film adaptation either.

No, It's Not a Romance

A lot of adaptations add an element of romance, often making the Mad Hatter Alice's love interest. First of all, no. One of the best aspects of the original story is that Alice is strong, even when she's all by herself. She is young and innocent. She is searching for a way home, not searching for love. She learns things about herself. She is on her own most of the time; those who guide her are strangers who come in and out of the story, while she is the only through line, the only ever-present character. Any fear is trumped by her need to know and to explore - curiosity is what keeps pulling her forward.

Second of all, no. Please, everyone, stop romanticizing the Mad Hatter. He's not Alice's peer, and he's not a romantic interest. He's an adult, and he is cuckoo. He's an example of the nonsense in Wonderland. He's not supposed to be her boyfriend. Neither is the March Hare. Neither is the dormouse.

I think it's strange when people shine the spotlight on the Mad Hatter and forget about the March Hare and the dormouse, because I see those three characters as a unit. They will always be a trio in my mind. Look at Tenniel's illustration - That's what I see.

Charles in Charge

All of the research I've done about Charles Dodgson makes me feel as though he was an intelligent man who loved math, photography, and storytelling, but he didn't quite fit in society. I do not think he was the creepy guy that some assumptive persons would lead you to believe. I think Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was a smart, creative man who didn't fit into society or at least didn't have equal peers, and I think Alice Liddell was honored by the story she inspired.

Oh, if I could only have a little piece of each: I would love to inspire someone's story, and to share my own stories with the world. I am, at times, the White Rabbit for others, but then the results are for others, and I am peripheral yet again.

I am known to explain the difference between Dodgson and Lewis Carroll any time the opportunity presents itself. (Real name versus pen name. Real person, a really shy person, versus a famous name, a known author.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Lenny's Alice in Wonderland Site has one of the best FAQs I've ever read regarding the books, the author, and related works. Check it out.

As Seen in Willowood

A sweet exchange between two characters in the children's book Willowood by Cecilia Galante:

...Nate was right about reading [the book] aloud. Lily had never read a book aloud. It seemed to create a lull of sorts as she went along. She felt sleepy and warm at the same time.

"I like it," she said.

Nate threw the last of the cages over into a pile. "Told you. And we haven't even gotten to the Cheshire cat yet. He's the best. He's so

"I can tell I'm already gonna like Alice the best," Lily said. "She's so brave."

"That's just 'cause she's a girl," Nate said. "Girls always like the girls."

Lily shrugged. "Maybe."

How It Started

Have you seen the original manuscript for the first version of the story? Written in Dodgson's own hand, with his own sketches, the story was original called Alice's Adventures Under Ground. It's now available in many different collections and volumes of his work.

Here's one spot where you can read it online.

The Book's Conclusion

I readily admit that I've never cared for the way the book ends. I have two main reasons for this: I felt as though her adventures hadn't quite reached a close, even with the trial and such. She makes a bold declaration, yes, but she was already bold and acted as such throughout the story. Then, when she wakes up, she has lovely thoughts and remarks, yet her sister's thoughts close the tale.

My Personal Conclusion

I love Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Postscript: Thanks to Lorie Ann Grover for creating this Alice-themed collage for me!

Also check out the Alice in Wonderland entry in the Book-A-Day Almanac! (November 26th, 1865)

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Poetry Friday: To love thee, year by year by Emily Dickinson

July 3rd, 2015 (06:00 am)

Current Mood: artistic
Current Song: Doctor Who score music

To love thee, year by year,
May less appear
Than sacrifice and cease.
However, Dear,
Forever might be short
I thought, to show,
And so I pieced it with a flower now.

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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