Four Little Bunnies

 

 

“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.” So begins the classic tale of naughty Peter and his adventures in Mr. McGregor’s garden. Originally published in 1902 by F. Warne & Co., this and Beatrix Potter’s other books have charmed and delighted readers for over a century. They have become a permanent fixture in the world of children’s literature, handed down across generations. Potter’s whimsical stories and fanciful illustrations combine to create an enchanting world that captives readers from the first page. The vocabulary Potter uses is simultaneously perfectly appropriate for a children’s story and deceptively challenging for emerging readers, making her stories excellent resources for little learners. Also, Potter’s drawings are extraordinarily detailed, allowing the audience to make a plethora of connections between them and the text. These books were a staple of my childhood and now that I am a teacher, I love using them in my classroom and sharing them with my students! 

Beatrix Potter: Lady of the Lakes

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Today marks the birthday of Beatrix Potter. Though best known for her children’s books, her legacy extends far beyond the literary world. Beatrix was born into a well-to-do family, who spent its summers in England’s Lake District. It was during these holidays that Beatrix developed her love of the outdoors, which she keenly observed and painted. Through her studies and drawings, Beatrix became a well respected naturalist (particularly in the field of mycology) before becoming a full-time writer in her 30’s. After the great success of her books (which she both wrote and illustrated herself), Beatrix returned to her roots in the Lake District, purchasing Hill Top Farm. Over the next several years, she bought several other properties to preserve the unique hill country landscape. Through her efforts, she not only became a pioneer in the Conservation movement but also a prize-winning sheep breeder. Upon her death, Beatrix left her entire estate to the National Trust. It now comprises much of the Lake District National Park. Beatrix Potter lived a life that is as engaging as any of her stories and I hope you enjoyed learning about her as much as I did! 

 

A Ghostly Christmas Tale

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Perhaps one of the most iconic Christmas books ever written is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Its timeless characters and themes have become almost synonymous with the holidays. With its classic story and multiple adaptations, this book has something for everyone. I absolutely love reading this tale every Christmas (and debating with my family which movie version is the best)! The themes of forgiveness and redemption are especially poignant this time of year. It is an excellent reminder to be kind and compassionate to everyone, even the least among us. And on a lighter note, I absolutely love the scenes of victorian London! One of my favorite adaptations is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. My siblings and I watched the 1983 cartoon every year when we were little. I hope you and your family enjoy this tradition as much as we have! 

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Beren and Lúthien

I have always loved J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rings trilogy. I can remember reading them with my father when I was a little girl. Tolkien’s mastery of the English language, his vivid story telling, and the magic of Middle Earth have captivated me my entire life. This is why I was thrilled to discover recently that one of his unpublished works would finally be available. Beren and Lúthien draws from material in the History of Middle Earth to tell the tale of the title characters. I look forward to delving into this latest installment of Middle Earth and I hope you enjoy it as well! Thanks to The Tolkien Society and The Wall Street Journal for the information! 

H/T The Tolkien Society 

“The earliest version of the tale of Beren and Lúthien was written in 1917, when Beren was an Elf not a Man and the equivalent of Sauron was a large evil cat.

The story underwent considerable revision throughout Tolkien’s life, and was reworked in both prose and poetry. The new book will demonstrate this evolution.” 

H/T The Wall Street Journal 

“In 1917, after returning from the Battle of the Somme, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a story inspired by his wife, Edith. Titled ‘Beren and Lúthien,’ it was a Middle-earth tale about a mortal man who falls in love with an immortal elf.

Though he never published it, the story was close to his heart. It formed the kernel of his book, ‘The Silmarillion.’ And years later, he had the characters’ names engraved on the gravestone he shared with his wife.

Next May, ‘Beren and Lúthien’ will be published, a century after it was written.” 

For these entire stories, please see The Tolkien Society and The Wall Street Journal 

C.S. Lewis and Turkish Delight

One of the most memorable moments of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is when Edmund betrays his family for some Turkish Delight. This pivotal decision has stoked the curiosity of readers for generations. What is the allure of this treat? This article does an excellent job of shedding some light on this mystery. Thanks to JSTOR Daily and Cara Strickland for the information! 

 

H/T JSTOR Daily and Cara Strickland 

 

“The academic conversation surrounding Edmund’s Turkish delight, the eventual reason that he sells out his three siblings to the witch, focuses mainly on one question: With the entire world of food and confectionery open to him, why Turkish delight? (This question is especially important to people who have tracked down Turkish delight expressly because of Edmund.)”

 

For the entire story, please see JSTOR Daily and Cara Strickland 

Beatrix Potter

From the time I was little, I have loved the tales of Beatrix Potter. I have always been amazed that she not only authored but also illustrated her books. Equally as captivating as the stories Beatrix wrote is that of her own life. This article provides an excellent description of both. Thanks to History Today and Richard Cavendish for the information! 

 

H/T History Today and Richard Cavendish 

 

“The announcement in 2016 that the new 50p coin would feature Peter Rabbit was a tribute to the author of some of the best-loved stories for children that have ever been written. Her own lonely childhood may have helped to inspire them. Her parents, Rupert and Helen Potter, both inherited plenty of money. They moved in artistic circles and she was their first child, born in a smart new London house in South Kensington.”

 

For the entire story, please see History Today and Richard Cavendish 

 

– See more at: http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/birth-beatrix-potter#sthash.TBGVMcCm.dpuf

Celebrating Ninety Years of Winnie-the-Pooh and Queen Elizabeth II

When I was a little girl, two of my favorite things were books and royalty. In particular, one of my favorite series was Winnie-the-Pooh and I have always had a soft spot for the British royal family. This year, these two interests coincide in a unique way. It marks the ninetieth birthday of Queen Elizabeth II and the ninetieth anniversary of the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. In honor of the occasion, author Jane Riordan and illustrator Mark Burgess have created a new story where these two famous personalities meet. This charming story (featuring an appearance from Prince George) will delight readers and royal watchers of all ages. Disney has also released an audio version of the story performed by Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent (aka Professor Horace Slughorn from the Harry Potter series). Below is an excerpt from the story and the video of the audio version. Enjoy! 

 

“What the friends didn’t realise was that Pooh Bear had arrived in the Forest in the very same year that Princess Elizabeth was born. But time is a tricky thing; years begin by lazing along slowly and then suddenly, up they jump and off they trot as quickly as ever they can. To Winnie-the-Pooh, it felt like just yesterday that he had come bumping down those stairs. Bump, bump, bump. And that is just the way it should be.”

Winnie-the-Pooh and the Royal Birthday

– written by Jane Riordan and illustrated by Mark Burgess 

 

 

H/T Royal Central

 

“The Queen isn’t the only one celebrating their 90th birthday this year, so is Winnie the Pooh and to celebrate both of their birthdays –  a new story has been released about their meeting.

Winnie-The-Pooh and The Royal Birthday is the adventure of Pooh bear taking a trip to Buckingham Palace with Christopher Robin, Eeyore and Piglet to give Queen Elizabeth a birthday gift after travelling through London on a red double decker bus to see the sites. The story, which is available free at http://www.Disney.co.uk/WinnieRoyalBirthday, comes both as an illustrated story and an audio-video edition narrated by Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent.”

 

For the entire story, please see Royal Central

 

For more information about the story, please see Disney Inspired