Viva la Alice!

NowI'llTellYouEverythingPhyllis Reynolds Naylor.  Now I’ll Tell You Everything.  New York: Atheneum, 2013.

This was a pretty ambitious project for Naylor, creating a final book that covers not just a couple of months, but forty years.  I can see how that would get mixed reviews (as far as I’ve seen on Goodreads, anyway), some people saying it felt like Naylor rushed through Alice’s experiences.  Considering the length of the book, I was glad for the fast pace, and felt it balanced well between skimming through certain parts of Alice’s life vs. spending more time on other parts.  I also thought it balanced well between new material and nostalgic reminders of the previous books, the latter especially in the final chapter.

Some say the story feels like fanfiction, with Alice & co. living predictable lives, everyone finding the job he or she wanted, or that suits them best, no one suffering any horrible tragedies…it’s an overall feel-good story, which was fine with me.  It did start to drag on towards the end, and although I liked most of the last chapter, the bit at the very end felt way too cliche (you’ll have to see my Goodreads review for more spoilers details).

For what it was trying to do, I’d say the book did a nice job.  And I totally want someone to create a three-part bar like The Voyage/Temptation/Source, because that really would make an awesome bachelor/ette party spot.

. . . . .

My other Alice reviews:

Incredibly Alice
Alice on Board
My Top 10 Childhood Book Series

I hope everyone enjoyed Free Comic Book Day yesterday!  My brother and I hit three different spots, each getting +/- eight comics by the end.  My haul included:

Avatar: The Last Airbender (plus Plants vs. Zombies and Bandette), by Dark Horse Comics:  Three short one-shots in which Toph and Ty Lee visit the circus, a mad scientist alien creature builds a devious new invention, and a plucky young bandit plans an epic movie theater heist.

Boom! Studios’ Ten Year Celebration – 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special:  A collection of ten stories, including such titles as Labyrinth, Adventure Time, Peanuts, and Lumberjanes.  Of course I loved the Labyrinth story, “Wisdom & Idioms,” which features the classic comedy stylings of the Wiseman and his snarky bird hat thing.  I also really liked Mouse Guard: “Service to Seyan,” a sort of fairy tale about a grand afterlife city “where warriors of renown go to rest.”

Steampunk Goldilocks, by Rod Espinosa and Antarctic Press:  a really goofy adaptation in which sisters Goldi and Muffi (Miss Muffett) are called by their employer, the Dark Queen, to complete a heist at a bear-guarded bunker.  Here’s a brief interview of Espinosa by the FCBD crew.  I’m definitely curious about his other Steampunk Fables, like The Snow Queen and Red Riding Hood.

Excerpts from Super Mutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki, printed by Drawn & Quarterly.  Just last week, I read Etelka Lehoczky’s NPR review, which describes SMMA as a kind of parody of Harry Potter.  There are students with cat ears, lizard heads, invisibility powers, and of course Instagram accounts, engaging in such adventures as dueling bake sales, prom dress criticism, and gym class sexism recognition. StepAsidePops

Sharing the same book as SMMA are excerpts from Step Aside, Pops, Kate Beaton’s forthcoming Hark! A Vagrant! collection (to be released Sept. 2015).  Behold! The Mulder family plans to attend an Austen-esque X-Files ball…Julius Caesar plans his March wardrobe…the brutal “Black Prince” Edward is oddly remembered as “the Flower of English Chivalry”…and more historical/artistic/pop-culture shenanigans!

Cleopatra in Space, by Mike Maihack.  Graphix and Scholastic Press.  Excerpt from Book One: Target Practice.  Teenage Cleopatra VII accidentally sets off a time machine that sends her into the distant future, where she’s met by a group of talking cats that run a research and military defense pyramid during an interplanetary war.  It’s cute and intriguing, though the whole “You’re our prophesied teen savior!” thing has gotten old.

BBC’s Doctor Who:  Three one-shot adventures featuring Doctors 12, 11, and 10, respectively.  Here be electrically charged quartz planets, evil comic book viruses, and giant mud monsters in the laundry room!Flight Primer

Image Comics’ Flight Primer: An intro to the Flight collections (which I’ve reviewed more in-depth here), featuring two stories by Kazu Kibuishi and Jake Parker, respectively.  A guy and his faithful dog build their first airplane and hope for a non-disastrous maiden voyage.  A bird and a robot become best friends and have adorable adventures until winter arrives. GrimmFairyTales comics

Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales Halloween Special: Containing a very grim adaptation of W. W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw.”  Three unsuspecting trick-or-treaters enter the haunted house of a scantily clad witch (apparently the friend of one kid’s mom), who tells them the further-twisted story of “The Monkey’s Paw.”  Yeah, this one was a bit too grim and twisted for me.ChocolateFrog

There was also a free mini-comic preview of the upcoming TNT show, The Last Ship.  You know, one of those killer-virus-pandemic stories.  Ooh, and one of the shops was selling Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs!

What were some of your favorite FCBD finds this year?

A mini-review of Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.

Ah, the fascinating world of fandom.  I first discovered in early high school, when I was searching for evidence that I wasn’t the only fan of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, nor the only Sarah/Jareth shipper (and of course I wasn’t.  By any long shot in the universe).  I started posting my own fics around junior year, when I was deeply engulfed in the Harry Potter world, as well as in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series.  Nothing on the level of Carry On, Simon, of course.

And then, in May of 2012, I discovered BBC’s Sherlock and fell head over heels for Johnlock.  Reading the “excerpts” from Cath’s Simon/Baz stories has definitely made me nostalgic for those early days in the Sherlock-dom, and had me jonesing for a re-read of my favorite five.

Rainbow Rowell gets it.  She gets the joy of expanding and exploring areas of a ‘verse where the original authors/creators haven’t gone, or don’t wish to go.  She also sees why some people might have problems with fanfiction — though, the jacket-flap exaggerates re: Cath’s professor’s attitude.  She never disparages fanfiction as a whole/its right to exist.  She just doesn’t like students turning in fanfiction for assignments (if I was a creative writing instructor, though, I would’ve made that clear in my syllabus, so there’d be no confusion later).

Rowell also gets how overwhelming college life + things back home + your own evolving sense of self can get.  So much so that, about halfway through, she started to hit a bit too close to home; it’s lucky the story was compelling enough to keep me going after a short break, and of course it’s a credit to Rowell for creating such relatable characters.

P.S. I totally want to know what Simon Snow and the Selkies Four is about.  Who are these four selkies??

P.S.2.  OMG Rowell is actually going to publish a Carry On book, which will actually be about Simon and Baz!  Sweet!

Pure Dead Magic

Back in September, on one of my last days in Wisconsin, I wandered up the street to the Little Free Library and discovered a tattered copy of Pure Dead Magic, by Debi Gliori.  Since I’d recently donated an item, by local LFL rules, the book was mine to keep.

Meet the Strega-Borgia family, who live in the Castle Strega-Schloss on the shores of Lochnagargoyle, just outside the Scottish town of Auchenlochtermuchty.  Baci is an amateur witch with, so far, more enthusiasm than ability.  Her husband, Luciano, is just trying to hold things together at Strega-Schloss (and steer clear of his notorious relatives back in Italy).  Twelve-year-old Titus and ten-year-old Pandora are determined to disabuse their latest visitor of the notion that she could be their new nanny.  Not-yet-two-year-old Damp thinks said visitor is quite lovely, actually.  And Flora McLachlan is much more savvy and helpful than any of the Strega-Borgias yet know.

There are also three mythical beasts, a moat-guarding crocodile, a pregnant pet rat, a sassy lipstick-wearing spider, and a cryogenically-preserved ancestor affectionately called Strega Nonna.

There are currently six books in the Pure Dead series, and I’ve just finished the third.  These stories are admittedly full of gross-out humor and some events that require a healthy set of suspension-of-disbelief goggles.  But they’re also funny and clever, and in the third book (Pure Dead Brilliant), baby Damp is obsessed with fairy tales at the same time as she’s developing her own magical abilities, which leads to some seriously adorable mishaps.  I didn’t as much appreciate the portrayal of overweight people as either odious villains or horrifying visions of the future; as I’ve mentioned before, it’s pure dead cliché at best, and not the kind of attitude I’d want to pass along to younger readers.

Otherwise, it’s a harmlessly goofy series that combines myth, cybermagic, a dash of history. and (in Book 2) some real estate intrigue.

Board Book Bonanza

Back in August, Rachel Smalter Hall of BookRiot offered a list of titles for the very newest readers – “A Bookish Parent’s Guide to Baby’s First Library.”  With titles like Moby Dick: an Ocean Primer and The Game of Let’s Go, the list inspired me to do my own exploration of the board book and Early Reader shelves.

Jennifer Adams’ and Alison Oliver’s BabyLit series, as Hall notes, uses classic literature to teach simple concepts like words, colors, numbers, and more.  The Sherlock Holmes primer, for instance, focuses on spooky sounds:



Of course, they baby-proof any tragic and/or disturbing elements.

MobyDick3LOL, guys, you got me!  Ha ha, now you’re all wet!

The books do include some quotes from the original story for parents to read aloud, so babies and toddlers can experience the beauty of language even if they can’t understand it yet.


Wuthering1Ok, guys, exposing babies to advanced vocabulary is awesome,
but this is really stretching it.

Someone in the comments section of Hall’s post mentioned Les Petits Fairytales, so of course I sought out The Little Mermaid next.


LittleMermaidLike the BabyLit books, Les Petit Fairytales generally stick to the cheerful parts of the story.

Then I found a few of the Gnome books by Rien Poortvliet.  They’re sweet stories that focus on daily/life rituals like morning greetings, school lessons, playtime and music.

Gnomes1     Gnomes2                             Gnomes3


Page: 1 2

Yeah, anyone know if there’s an “official” term for a group of mermaids?  There’s a glory (or blessing) of unicorns, a parliament of owls, a murder of crows…  I tried Google-ing it, but all I found were guesses and hearsay, and one person wondering why the heck it even matters.  Way to be a spoilsport, that person.

Anyhoo, I’ve been on a serious mermaid kick lately, and it’s all Sarah Porter’s fault. Many months ago, while browsing in a Barnes & Noble, I saw this:

TheTwiceLost cover

The jacket summary sounded very promising, despite a mention of Love Interest Drama (which I won’t include b/c spoilers)…

TL jacket1 . . . .

TW jacket3

Wait, conclusion?  Trilogy?  To the library!

* * *

TRIGGER WARNING:  the Lost Voices series deals with child abuse, rape, and other very triggering subjects.  There are also a few gory scenes (not directly related to those topics), particularly in Waking Storms and The Twice Lost.  More graphic than anything I remember from The Hunger Games.  Like, if you’ve seen Final Destination?  Kind of like that.

* * *

One library e-book download later, I was in Sarah Porter’s world — our world, but with mermaidsLost Voices1 having been around for thousands of years, and society (at least the U.S.) just beginning to find out.  We start in a small town on the west coast of Alaska, where fourteen-year-old Luce Korchak is sinking deeper and deeper into depression.  It’s been a year since her father was lost at sea and her uncle stopped holding back his alcohol-enhanced aggression.  And then one night he breaks the last straw.

And that’s when something weird happens.

If I wanted to over-simplify what Lost Voices is, I’d say it’s a Mermaid Peter Pan.  It’s about tribes of Lost Girls who escape cruel humanity not by teleporting to a dream world, but by transforming into something magical and powerful and deadly.  Something that never has to grow up.  When they sink ships, though, it’s not just a game of kids vs. pirates; it’s revenge and catharsis.

But there’s plenty more to Lost Voices than that.  Porter draws from Greek mythology, as well as Slavic and Inuit, for inspiration.  The East European rusalki, for instance, are said to be the spirits of young women who died young from persecution or heartache, or who jumped into the river to escape marriage, either way trading the human world for something wilder and more free.  You’ll find traces of the Sedna legend, too — the story of the Inuit sea goddess whose transformation also stemmed from abuse and betrayal.*


  • Story and Characters

One of the best things a well-written story can do is make me feel like the characters are my friends even though no one ever speaks directly to me. Porter makes me care about everything that happens to these girls and the humans who try to understand them. As I said in my 2014 favorites roundup, the teenagers feel very believable, talking and thinking like actual 21st-century adolescents (including the occasional swear word).

And like the people, the main conflict is realistically complex; it’s not a simple good vs. evil plot, or totally lovable protagonist vs. totally despicable antagonists. Save for one person – and even that person’s motives are adequately explained – there are no through-and-through, unredeemable villains. You understand why the mermaids want to drown as many humans as they can, and you understand the humans who want to destroy what they see as vicious monsters. And there are plenty of people in between these extremes.

Aaand, there’s no love interest in the first book. The mermaids do talk about guys, but what matters more are their relationships with each other. Even when Porter introduces a love interest in Book 2, it still feels like Luce’s friendships with her tribe members and other mermaids are equally – if not more – important.  And, on the other hand, the guy does fit into the story in ways beyond the forbidden love angle.

  • Sound and Vision

Another way Porter convinces me to believe in her world is through her use of imagery. She is awesome at describing the ocean both from a human’s and from a mermaid’s point of view. At night, the “golden and wide-eyed” moon “gleamed like floating coins all over the tops of the waves.”[1] By day, in “the delirium of sun,” the undersea “was stained green and golden, laced with writhing threads of light,”[2] and down there one could watch “the fragile, milky, long-legged crabs whose bodies were translucent and whose tapering feet looked almost like pink glass. There were tiny drifting medusas, too, with crystalline gelatinous frills around cobalt blue hearts”[3]

Porter also describes sounds with this intense poetic clarity. The cave where Luce and her tribe live in Lost Voices, “with its glowing crystals like half-obliterated stars” (couldn’t resist one more visual), had a “constant resonance as the waves roared outside. Like living in the hollow of a violin, sustained in one endless note…”[4] Music plays a huge role in the series, so it makes sense that Porter would try to make us hear every note as if we were there. Even as if we were singing the songs ourselves.


  • Strange Conversations

Lost Voices2While most of the characters are written very believably, there are these two guys in Waking Storms who seem really cartoonish as antagonists – one of them basically a Smith clone from The Matrix, the other a giggling sidekick who occasionally says more than he should. There are several scenes in which the Smith clone is interrogating a fifteen-year-old boy with all the over-the-top sneering and posturing of the original Agent Smith. It almost turned me off from the book, but the overall story was luckily compelling enough to keep me going.

Then there’s the bit where two teens are discussing a girl (now a mermaid) who was sexually assaulted, and though both teens seem appropriately disturbed by the details, one of them suddenly starts putting the girl down because, as a mermaid, she no longer has the equipment to make a guy happy ifyaknowwhatImean. I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?  I know there are people in real life who would talk like that, but it just doesn’t seem like what this particular character would say at that moment.

  • Too Much Story, Too Little Explanation

There’s a point in Waking Storms where it starts to feel cluttered.  I won’t give much detail so’s not to spoil anything, but there was a sub-plot that needed either to be trimmed out or explained better.  Otherwise, it just comes out of nowhere.  My main questions — again, without spoiling anything — are:  I get what the voices are, but why do they exist, and why do they latch onto that particular place?  Has this happened in other places, in similar circumstances?  Without those explanations, it just feels like there are one too many threads in the overall story.

  • Copyeditor! Copyeditor!

I don’t know if this is only in the Kindle edition, but Book 1 had a bunch of typos that, like the cartoonish agents in Book 2, almost threw me off my reading groove for good. Like when, near the beginning of Lost Voices, Luce is talking with a “gray-Saced” man who muses that she looks tall “for a Sourteen-year-old.”[5] Or when she observes Catarina’s eyes shining “with their stony, moon-aolored light.”[6] Or when Catarina gives her a look that makes Luce feel like she “had said the”[7] … Had said the what? We’re never told. We just jump to the next paragraph.

There are more examples that I’ll leave alone, but it’s seriously annoying. And this was published by one of the Big Six; you’d think there’d be someone assigned to quality-check the Kindle edition of each book. If Kindle Copyeditor isn’t a thing yet, it definitely should be.


Lost Voices was one of those books that pretty quickly convinced me I needed to own it and its sequels. The characters feel as real as friends and the conflict is realistically complex. It’s sad that the existence of mermaids on Porter’s Earth, like that of selkies in Seanan McGuire’s Fae-verse, depends on pain and loss. It could be triggery like woah for anyone who’s experienced abuse, so I don’t recommend the series to everyone.  But there are joyful and wonderful parts, too, and a world made of mystical music.

And if you’re jonesing for more merfolk awesomeness, I also highly recommend A Mermaid’s Tale, a memoir by Amanda Adams, in which she discusses the influence of “mermaidenry” on her own life, and her research on the water beings of various cultures.  There’s also Mermaid Tales From Around the World, in which Mary Pope Osborne adapts twelve mermaid stories and Troy Howell matches them with twelve different styles of artwork — each meant to embody the culture from which the story originated.  My favorites were “Menana of the Waterfall,” “The Little Mermaid” (I like Osborne’s take on the mermaid’s relationship with the young prince, who sees her as his best friend), and “The Fish Husband” — the last of which is extremely similar to the Lithuanian folktale “Eglė, Queen of Serpents.”

You can also check out my five multiple mer-related Pinterest boards, as well as the six mermaid designs in my CafePress collection (one of them actually inspired by the many colors of mermaid tails described in Lost Voices).

ETA 4-16-15:  Check out this interview with Sarah Porter, in which she describes what drove her to write the Lost Voices books, as well as her thoughts on fairy tales and her next works in progress.

Pinterest Board RealMermaids 3

Did you know that the covers of the Lost Voices books show actual women photographed in synthetic mermaid tails? They were all taken by mermaid photographer Chris Crumley. It’s yet another neat way to make Porter’s world seem as real as possible.


* This info on Sedna and the rusalki comes from Amanda Adams. A Mermaid’s Tale. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2006. Chapters 5 and 7.

[1] Sarah Porter. Lost Voices. Boston: Houghton/Harcourt, 2011. Pg. 40. Kindle ed.

[2] Pg. 88

[3] Pg. 84

[4] Pg. 56

[5] Pg. 22

[6] Pg. 132

[7] Pg. 172

2014 Favorites

Edit 02/07/15:  Ack! I missed a few.  See the amended “More Books” section, below.

Let’s take a quick look back at 2014…

  • My favorite books reviewed here @ Postcards:
    (click on each cover for the review)

AnnieOnMyMind2  Black Unicorn  FairyTaleComics cover  NurseryRhymeComics


  • Favorite Re-read:

NumbertheStarsNumber the Stars, by Lois Lowry.  The last time I’d read this was in grade school, and I’d forgotten how beautiful it is.  My favorite passage:

“Where is his bodyguard?” the soldier had asked. 
     “And do you know what the boy said?” Papa had asked Annemarie. She was sitting on his lap. She was little, then, only seven years old. She shook her head, waiting to hear the answer. 
     “The boy looked right at the soldier, and he said, ‘All of Denmark is his bodyguard.’” (pp. 13-14)
. . .
She turned to her father. “Papa, do you remember what you heard the boy say to the soldier? That all of Denmark would be the king’s bodyguard?” 
     Her father smiled. “I have never forgotten it,” he said. 
     “Well,” Annemarie said slowly, “now I think that all of Denmark must be bodyguard for the Jews, as well.” 
     “So we shall be,” Papa replied. (p. 25)

  • More books:

Chimes at Midnight, by Seanan McGuire:  The one where Toby finally gets herself banished from the Kingdom of Mists.  And discovers Shocking Revelations while trying to stop the goblin fruit epidemic (in this world, goblin fruit is a recreational drug that’s fun for purebloods, but deadly to changelings and humans).  And we finally learn the Luidaeg’s real name!

fables and ficciones~ ~ ~

Fables and Ficciones, by Carol Lay.  A collection of short one-shot comics about humans (mostly) and the weird situations we get into.  There’s a man who can’t stop moving, and when he finally forces himself to stand still, something unexpected happens.  There’s a woman who follows a series of story-telling billboards to an unexpected conclusion.  There’s a boy who gets to choose his own name on his tenth birthday, with unexpected results.  You see the pattern; each story has a punchline.  It’s a quick read, the kind you can breeze through in an hour or two.

                                         ~ ~ ~

Katya's WarKatya’s War, by Jonathan L. Howard.  Even more of a thrill ride than the first book.  Katya is like a 16-year-old James Bond (as played by Daniel Craig), especially with her ability to show a cool, smart-aleck attitude under duress.  And as with the previous book, Jonathan Howard defies the traditional model of female-centered YA by not giving Katya a love interest.

Definitely also check out the companion story, “Mojito Doomsday,” which is set on another planet in the Russalka Chronicles universe, and which is apparently going to be important in later books.

              ~ ~ ~

                            Lost Voices1  Lost Voices2  Lost Voices3

The Lost Voices trilogy, by Sarah Porter.  This is the most realistic portrayal I’ve read of what it would be like for mermaids to exist in the real world.  Finding food and shelter, avoiding orcas, talking and thinking like real teenagers (including the occasional swear word).  Just a warning – the books could be very triggery for anyone who’s experienced abuse, including sexual assault.  There is occasional goriness, too, especially in the second and third books, so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with a really sensitive stomach.  But personally, I think the gory scenes are balanced out well with some of the most beautiful ocean imagery ever.  Expect a longer review soon.

            ~ ~ ~


The Sandman comics, vols. 1-6.  Surreal.  Scary.  Profound.  Beautiful.  Freaking scary.  These stories delve into folklore, philosophy, religion, metafiction, graphic horror, and more, and must be approached with caution (did I mention the graphic horror? Also, some nudity) and an open mind re: religion.  Gaiman’s art and concepts will seriously blow your mind.

My favorite volumes so far are A Doll’s House and A Game of You, which are effectively one long story arc, though separated by two volumes.

The Insatiable Booksluts did a read-a-long last year, with a discussion post for every two volumes.

~ ~ ~

What were some of your 2014 favorites?  Least favorites?  Any books you’re particularly looking forward to reading this year?

Well, actually…

That hiatus I mentioned last post might not be as over as I thought.  I have a serious case of blogging and reading fatigue, and the S.A.D. certainly isn’t helping.  So I’m closing up shop for now.

I wish everyone a very happy holiday season, and a bright start to 2015!

Hi everyone!  So, that was another fun hiatus.  Since our last episode:

  • My family moved from our Wisconsin home of 20 years, to the Fort Wayne area.
  • I’ve made it a project to check out all the area coffee places and review them on FourSquare (and also hopefully find a new favorite haunt or two).
  • Put together another awesome Abby (from NCIS) outfit for Halloween.
  • Remembered it was time for my other favorite Fall/Winter tradition: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Joined a yoga class in hopes of strengthening my zen-munity system to fight the S.A.D. bug.
  • Resigned myself to the post-Halloween $tart of Chri$tma$ adverti$ing.  Hope y’all are having a happy Black Friday Eve!  Who else has visions of Walmart sales dancing in their heads? (/sarcasm)  Nah, but seriously, I hope everyone has a happy and delicious Thanksgiving.
  • Saw Mockingjay: Part 1.

And it’s that last point that finally put me back in the blogging mood — specifically, how they interpreted “The Hanging Tree” song.  If you haven’t seen the movie but don’t mind an audio preview, check out this bit from the soundtrack:

For those who’ve read the book, don’t worry — they do explain the change from “rope” to “hope.”

I spoke briefly, in my “Everything is Music” post, about the role of folk songs in the Hunger Games series, specifically Rue’s lullaby in book 1 and “The Hanging Tree” in book 3.  Now, while I wasn’t totally a fan of how movie 1 interpreted “Deep in the Meadow” (they could’ve at least given us the complete first verse; though, there is this bonus track by Sting.  Eh, it’s sweet, but it sounds too generic to me), I immediately loved Jennifer Lawrence’s performance of “The Hanging Tree” in Mockingjay.  It really sounded like it could be an Appalachian folk song, and I liked the combination of eerie matter-of-factness and defiance in the tone.  It reminds me a bit of “The Highwayman” — the Alfred Noyes poem as sung by Loreena McKennitt — or “Which Side Are You On,” a 1931 protest song written by the wife of a Harlan County, KY union organizer (this was the version I heard originally, on one of my Pandora stations).

On a much more chilling note, Lindsey Weber of Vulture connects the song to Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” which is based on a 1938 poem about the lynching of two black men, and which became a Civil Rights anthem in the 50s and 60s.

Then a friend directed me to another version of “The Hanging Tree,” a fan arrangement by Adriana Figueroa (she has an even more gorgeous interpretation of Rue’s Lullaby. Seriously, it’s amazing):

See, now that’s the kind of melody I could imagine charming the mockingjays into silence and bringing Pollux to tears, as Katniss describes in the book.  And where the movie version sounds like a protest song — appropriate for the rallying-the-districts angle — Figueroa’s song is more of a ballad, like “The Cuckoo” and “One I Love.”  The song’s speaker in the movie version (Weber sees this as true of the song in general) could be addressing many people, calling not just his love, but his neighbors to defy the authorities even if it means risking death.  The tone is defiant and encouraging.  Figueroa’s version is more bittersweet, more despairing, with the dead rebel (did he really murder three people? Or was that just an excuse the authorities made up?) calling for his beloved to follow him into the afterlife, away from the suffering they’d been through.  Just like Finnick at the beginning of the movie, knowing Annie was in the Capitol, saying he wished she was dead so Snow couldn’t torture her.

I was a little disappointed they didn’t give the back-story re: how Katniss learned the song and what it means to her, but maybe there’ll be something in Part 2.  In the meantime, there’s this fan-made mini-film (about 12 min).  The same group also made a film about Haymitch’s Quarter Quell, and a series of videos about Annie and Finnick.

What do you think of the movies’ take on the folk songs of District 12?  How did you originally imagine them, and have you heard any other good fan versions?

Nursery Rhyme Redux

Three years ago, before Fairy Tale Comics, there appeared in the folklore-themed-comicsphere…


What I love about this collection is that the illustrators treat the rhymes like little stories, following the original words but interpreting them in different ways.  It’s “not a parody or deconstruction,” says editor Chris Duffy, but they do imagine context and backstory — who’s actually the speaker in “Little Boy Blue,” and what’s his/her/their real motivation for letting him sleep on the job?  What if the Knave of Hearts had a good reason for stealing those tarts?  Why does the Old Woman (the one with the shoe house) have so many children — and she doesn’t really whip them literally, does she?

Just like in Fairy Tale Comics, we get multiple art styles — from Dave Roman‘s adorable Ron Weasley look-alikes (two of whom also appeared in Flight: Vol. 7, debating personal philosophies in “I’ve Decided To Become a Skeptic“)…

Buckle My Shoe

To Lilli Carré‘s song of strange pie recipes…

Song of Sixpence

To Craig Thompson‘s “noir-ishly operatic”tale of feline-avian romance…

Owl and Pussycat1

(Yeah, I can’t read this part with a straight face either…)

To Kate Beaton‘s Hark! A Vagrant!-worthy “Grand Old Duke of York”…

Duke of York

Oh! And Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell is in here, too!


Intrigued?  What are some of your favorite nursery rhyme adaptations?  I’ve actually just gotten into Bill Willingham’s FABLES comics — a quite adult (i.e. I’d give it an R rating) rendering of many Western fairy-tale and nursery rhyme characters, imagining how they’d cope if they were forced to live in our world (i.e. New York City…y’know, does it always-ish have to be New York City?  I get that it’s the epitome of the modern American concrete jungle, but it’s really getting beyond cliché as a setting with which to bewilder storybook characters, don’t you think?)

P.S.  New York residents, plz don’t hate on me — your city is truly awesomesauce.  Sincerely!  I’m just getting tired of seeing it as the seemingly default “modern city” setting, that’s all.


Just for fun, this is Beatrix Potter’s interpretation of “The Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe,” from her own collection of nursery rhymes:

BPotter OldWomanShoe


* So says Leonard S. Marcus in his Introduction to Nursery Rhyme Comics.