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Happy birthday/deathday, Shakespeare! If you're looking for ways to celebrate Shakespeare today, tune in to THE WONDER OF WILL LIVE  on C-SPAN 2 at 10 AM MST. In the mean time, here's the Bard, by the numbers:  

shakespeare 01

cinderella 01

One of my favorite fairytale characters is Cinderella. She is the classic princess. I love everything from her kind heart to her fancy dress and slippers. However, when asked what books I would recommend to Cinderella, here is what I came up with:

how to win friends and influence peopleHOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
by Dale Carnegie  

Let’s face it. Cinderella is kind…but she is often bullied by her step-family. And as a soon-to-be princess she really needs to know how to gain good political allies at court. This book just might be a step in the right direction to help her navigate relationships with all kinds of people—and hopefully win friends and influence them along the way.

 

every womans guide to foot pain reliefEVERY WOMAN’S GUIDE TO FOOT PAIN RELIEF: THE NEW SCIENCE OF HEALTHY FEET
by Katy Bowman  

Cinderella seems like she has iron feet. I mean, she danced in glass slippers (that are usually depicted as high-heels) for a whole night. And then she lost one shoe and had to trek home (possibly for miles) in one dancing shoe and one bare foot. Needless to say, even if Cindy had some healthy feet before that night, she probably could have used a foot massage and this book.

 

wild mindsWILD MINDS: WHAT ANIMALS REALLY THINK
by Marc D. Hauser  

We all know that Cinderella befriends all sorts of animals. As an animal lover she might enjoy this book. It talks about different animals and all sorts of things from animal emotions to animal communications. And when your best friends are all animals, it might be helpful to understand a bit more about animals and what those instincts or communications may mean.

 

real simple cleaningREAL SIMPLE CLEANING
by Kathleen Squires  

Even if Cinderella is good at cleaning her whole house, this book might still have a few tricks and tips that could make her life easier. And seriously, who wouldn’t want their life to be easier when trying to maintain a huge house alone. Plus, this book also has tips for some of the more modern items that need to be cleaned (like electronics) that poor Cindy might not be as adapt at.

best dance moves in the worldTHE BEST DANCE MOVES IN THE WORLD—EVER! : 100 NEW AND CLASSIC MOVES AND HOW TO BUST THEM
by Matt Pagett  

We all know that Cinderella was a good dancer—I mean the ball is where she captured the heart of her prince after all. But perhaps she would like a book on how to do a few more dance moves than just a waltz or other classical dances. This book will teach Cindy how to “walk like an Egyptian” or “twist” (among other things). And hey, if Cinderella wants to “moonwalk” or head to the “Y.M.C.A.” she can learn about that here as well.

True Confessions of Carla: While I do appreciate an occasional Shakespeare play along with any movie version involving Kenneth Branagh, I most love William Shakespeare when I’m watching 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU or SHE’S THE MAN.

This is not an impressive confession, but it is the truth.  

Wonder of WillFortunately, this Saturday I have an opportunity to improve my understanding and appreciate of Shakespeare’s contributions to our language and culture by participating in an exciting live streaming event.   April 23rd is the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.  To commemorate his amazing contribution to our world C-SPAN will broadcast The Wonder of Will Live.  This presentation will include a diverse array of actors, community leaders, artists and scholars all sharing their connection to Shakespeare through compelling performances and personal stories.  For the Shakespeare enthusiast, this is an amazing opportunity to celebrate and learn.

In my own attempt to observe this anniversary, here is a list of my favorite Shakespeare adaptations and why I love them.

10 Things10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
dir. Gil Junger
(1999)

Based on THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, this classic teen drama features young Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  I could never put my finger on exactly why this movie spoke to me but every time I hear Sinatra sing "I Love You Baby", I picture adorable Heath lip-syncing in the bleachers.  And thus, a celebrity crush was born.

Shes the man posterSHE’S THE MAN
dir. Andy Fickman
(2006)

My sister and I have a strange obsession with this adaptation of TWELFTH NIGHT.  Starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum, this is a high school drama of the most cliché sort.  And I absolutely love it!  I can watch it over and over and I really don’t know why.  The critics hated it and I’ll admit a bit of the humor is slapstick and silly.  Still love it. 

McLintockMCLINTOCK!
dir. Andrew V. McLaglen
(1963)

I cannot count the numbers of times I’ve watched John Wayne chase Maureen O’Hara around the small town of McLintock.  We watched it frequently growing up and I don’t think I realized it was based on THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.  I think Shakespeare would have appreciated The Duke’s hat tossing prowess.

 

Kiss Me KateKISS ME KATE
dir. George Sidney
(1953)

While some of these adaptations may not be obvious, KISS ME KATE certainly is.  This is a Cole Porter musical version of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and I can still sing some of the songs even though I haven’t seen it in years.  The sign of a great musical!

warm bodies final posterWARM BODIES
dir. John Malkovich
(2013)

Shakespeare and zombies.  Doesn’t get better than that.  In WARM BODIES, zombie R saves Julie from certain death and falls in love with her, possibly because he eats her boyfriend’s brains, but you can’t blame him…he was hungry.  I thought this movie was pretty charming and I think I liked the ending better than Shakespeare’s tragic original.

Thanks Will!  Happy anniversary!! 

kid lit worlds 01

In the Children’s Department there is a series of books where each title starts with “You Wouldn’t Want to…” This is a fun series in that it tells loads of facts in a fun (and often gross or gruesome) way to interested kids. They range from YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO BE A SALEM WITCH to YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT INSECTS (these books cover quite the range of topics). 

In thinking about these books, I started thinking about the broader world of Children’s Literature. And really, there are a lot of books that I’m just not convinced I would want to live in (or could ever handle living in). In fact, I think they might be just a bit more horrid than I suspect when reading while sitting on a cozy spot on my sofa. So here is the list of my top five children’s books that I would not want to live in: 

lion the witch and the wardrobeTHE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
by C. S. Lewis
(1950)

Not only does this world have an evil witch running around turning everyone to stone (or quite a lot of people) and manipulating and controlling hordes of bad guys…this world (at least for the majority of this book) is a world of Winter. I HATE being cold. I also hate bad guys ruling the world. But I can’t think if I am too cold. I suspect that in this world I would be basically a stone statue just from having to traipse about in a world of snow without really getting a chance to warm up. So I’m glad Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were all able to take care of things while I watched (or read rather) from the sidelines. For the rest of the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA I think I could possibly handle being in that world. Just not the Winter season.

fever 1793FEVER, 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson
(2000)

Out of all of the books on my list, this one is actually a place (Philadelphia) and a time (1793) that actually existed. Which means that I am sure glad that I live when I do (since Philadelphia is actually a wonderful city and I have nothing against it…I just wouldn’t want to live in Philadelphia in 1793!). Mostly, I like some modern conveniences: central heating (see entry for THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE), plumbing, and modern medicine. That’s right, where would I be without doctors to help me feel well? I tell you what, I probably wouldn’t be around. And I wouldn’t want to live in that type of world and I probably wouldn’t want to see any of the people with those horrific diseases in that world, would you?

loraxTHE LORAX
by Dr. Seuss
(1971)

Yeah, I think most people probably saw this one coming. A world without trees and loads of smog in the air just isn’t any fun—especially if the world could have been a world with pink, yellow, and orange trees. I think the tragedy of this world is that you know just how amazing it could be…and then how sad life is when things get bad. I promise Dr. Seuss. I learned my lesson. I’m with the Lorax on this one.

gregor the overlanderGREGOR THE OVERLANDER
by Suzanne Collins
(2003)

Bugs, arachnids, and rodents tend to freak me out. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t do well in Gregor’s world. Not to mention that it is all underground (and thus sometimes very dark). I do like how Gregor becomes quite the hero…but this is one quest I am glad to read away from all the creatures that make me squeamish. 

 
My least favorite place is a TIE:
game of sunken places

GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES
by M.T. Anderson
(2004)

jumanji  JUMANJI
by Chris Van Allsburg  
(1981) 

Wow. If you could see me right now you would notice that I am shuddering at the thought of living in these two similar worlds. Totally great stories; however, I do not think that I could be nearly as brave as any of these characters when they found out their world is a GIANT GAME BOARD. Just imagine playing monopoly and when a bit of bad luck comes your way you have to RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Yeah. I’m glad I don’t have to roll the dice and hope for my life.

So there you have it, the five worlds of Children’s Literature that I would HATE to live in. Don’t get me wrong, these are amazing stories. I love them all. I just wouldn’t want to be characters in those stories. What about you? Are there any worlds I missed?

*There are also some horrific fantasy and dystopian worlds that tend to live in our young adult fiction collection. None of these have been considered (otherwise the HUNGER GAMES world would be #1 on my list).

 

 

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