Hans Christian Anderson on Stage

Just the other day, we were talking about the story of the Princess and the Pea which made me think of this illustration which I have always loved....

It's the work of Edmund Dulac and appears in The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, which I would highly recommend.  I also love the new translations done by Tiina Nunnally.

It's amazing to read through the stories and realise just how many fairy tales originated with Andersen.  My son pointed out that Ponyo is based on Andersen's The Little Mermaid, which somehow never occurred to me.

But since our friend Mr. Andersen seems to be turning up everywhere, we weren't too surprised to find that someone has now written a play based on a selection of his tales.
Anderson's Inkwell is by Gina Wilkinson and Micheline Chevrier and we are looking forward to going to see it at the end of the month.  I have snagged this page from the Geordie  website and do hope they won't mind!


Zombies vs. Unicorns

I think I know someone who will like this ....

From the press release:
Young adult authors Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier enlist the help of an all-star lineup of contributors to help settle their ongoing feud in Zombies vs. Unicorns, an anthology to be published in hardcover in September 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  Edited by both Black, who is pro-unicorn, and Larbalestier, who is pro-zombie, the anthology includes twelve of today’s hottest YA novelists such as Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, and Scott Westerfeld making strong arguments for both sides in the form of short stories.


Doctor Wonka?

As if we needed further proof that all roads lead to Doctor Who, I found the following wiki-trivia while trying to google up an answer to the question, "Did Roahl Dahl attend a screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?"
Dahl, who had rights to the film production, unsuccessfully pushed foSpike Milligan to play Willy Wonka. His next choice, Ron Moody, rejected the part. Jon Pertwee also turned down the role due to ongoing commitments to Doctor Who....
Dahl was ultimately unhappy with the production, feeling "disappointed"about many elements. These included the non-casting of Milligan as well as the emphasis on Wonka and not Charlie. He was said to be "infuriated" at the plot changes made by David Seltzer, which included the conversion of Slugworth into a spy and the "belching" scene. This displeasure led to Dahl not allowing any more versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to be made in his lifetime. 
We would have been interested to see Pertwee as Wonka, and fully agree about the non-necessity for belching scenes in general.

Speaking of Spike Milligan, we were just cleaning out the bookshelves and came across Dip the Puppy, which truly has to be the most whackadoo thing I have ever read in my life.

To illustrate, I open the book at random and here is what I find:
The door opened and there was a Red Ice Lolly with one leg in a big yellow boot.  "I'm Frozen Fred," he said.  "Follow me," and he hopped down a long hall full of flowers, and bright blue and lemon parrots wearing spotted socks.



Have promised to watch the Jackie Coogan Oliver Twist with younger son today.  He's already watched it once and despite the fact that I've found it on youtube insists we watch it on the VHS tape someone gave him.  Just like they did in 1922, I suppose.

Go to 4:16 to see little Oliver ask for more gruel ... and then get shaken about like a rag doll.  At then at 6:06 there is a great sequence where Oliver dreams of "food, glorious food."

Oh, and here's a very nice cover for a Classic Comic edition:

And here is the relevant passage from the book:
The room in which the boys were fed, was a large stone hall, with a copper at one end: out of which the master, dressed in an apron for the purpose, and assisted by one or two women, ladled the gruel at meal-times. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer, and no more- except on occasions of great public rejoicing, when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again; and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls), they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed; employing themselves, meanwhile, in sucking their fingers most assiduously, with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. Boys have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months: at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one boy, who was tall for his age, and hadn't been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a small cookshop), hinted darkly to his companions, that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry eye; and they implicitly believed him. A council was held; lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.