Monday, May 21, 2018

Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues

Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald J. Sobol, illustrated by Leonard Shortall, Elsevier/Nelson Books, New York 1966.
It is always fun to match your wits against a master (though young) like Encyclopedia Brown.  This is ten stories, with the key to solving each mystery presented laters.  Encyclopedia Brown of course is a kid detective, and he helps his father, the police chief solve cases.  Some of these stories I figured out before reading the clues, most I didn't, and some I still don't get even with the clues. I like the case of robbery, with the suspect seeking through the hood, the bully who wants to sell divining rods, the bitter drink story, and many other fine stories.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Review: The Seven Chinese Brothers

The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng, Scholastic, New York, 1990.  This is a fascinating Chinese story about what happens to a bad emperor.  Not to be confused with "The Five Chinese Brothers" which is very similar in its theme.  In this case each of the brothers has a special gift: hearing, seeing, strength, iron neck, legs that grow, resistance to fire, and crying tears like a river.  The first six brothers always wanted to keep the seventh brother from crying.  Te strong brother helps to alleviate suffering by repairing a hole in the great wall.  However the emperor is jealous, and has him captured as he is too strong.  He is sentenced to die next die by chopping off his neck, but the next brother trades places, and so it goes, until the emperor orders death by arrows.  At this all the brothers agree to face the emperor and die together, which causes the seventh brother to cry a river, and washes the emperor away.  This is a cute story with a good moral. 

Movie Review: ***^White Buffalo (1977)

This movie stars Charles Bronson as Bill Hickok and Will Sampson as Crazy Horse.  However they are both keeping their names hush hush; Hickok because of his part, and Crazy Horse because he is told not to use his name until he kills the white buffalo.  Part of this movie were not very well done, including the White Buffalo attack of the Indian village that killed Cray Horse's child.  Even Tony noticed that.  It was flashes of the buffalo and then blood.  However is is because of this incident Crazy Horse is given his task of killing the white buffalo and his name is changed to "worm" until he does so.  At the same time, Hickok has ben seeing the white buffalo in his dreams.  Hickok if joined by his friend, Charlie Zane (Jack Warden). 
There are also several cameos: Slim Pickens as the stage coach driver, John Carradine as the undertaker, Kim Novak as the female interest and Clint Walker as the man who wants to kill Hickok.
However this movie is more than three men chasing a white buffalo, which can cause earthquakes and avalanches.  It turns out in the end to be about relationships, and personal growth, for both Crazy Horse and Hickok.  Zane, the old timer, does not go along, and in the end Hickok loses a friend in Zane and gains one in Crazy Horse.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Art: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso by Hans L Jaffe, Harry N Abrams, Publishers, New York, 1983.
This is the second Pablo Picasso book I have gotten from the library.  I must admit, sometimes I get his art, and sometimes I don't.  He was very prolific in terms of the number of projects he finished every year.  This book seems to have a couple of themes.  One is women with their breasts exposed.  However, these pictures are often done in a distorted style.  The other is the dove of peace. 

If there were a third theme it would be portraits, but distorted to be unrecognizable.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Movie Review: ***^Ferdinand (2017)

How do you take a classic children's book and make it new.  You add a little girl who loves Ferdinand.  This story is about not always being what others expect, or you can't read a book by the cover.  John Cena voices Ferdinand, the barnyard rebel who realizes that things do not turn out well for the bull.  Ferdinand is part of the family, after he escapes the bull ranch when he is young.
However when the bull fighters come looking for the perfect bull, Ferdinand is bound to be overlooked, except for a bee.  An ill-timed bee sting has Ferdinand selected for a big day at the bullfight.  Despite a wild escape attempt, Ferdinand ends up in the bull ring; where he doesn't fight, finally winning over the full fighter.  Ferdinand is much more interested in flowers than fighting.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Movie Review: ***^Leap (2016)

This movie was a great motivational platform about pursuing you dream.  However there were a couple of things about the movie which made it play smaller.  A couple incidents of farty humor.  Even kids deserve better.  And then the other of the competing ballerina at the end going all antisocial and murderous.  It was just a bit not believable.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Illustrated version)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay, Arthur A. Levine Books, New York 2016.  (Originally published 1996.)
Combining the artwork with this fantastic book really brings the story to life.  Again we are given four or five portraits of important characters (Hagrid, Mrs. Weasley etc,)    also with important scenes such os Hogwarts in winter and Diagon Alley.  The pictures of Aragog and his spider  offspring is just creepy.  In this book the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts has been opened, which releases a basilisk, a snake like creature.  The basilisk has been wreaking havoc on the school, but caused no deaths.  I you look at it directly you die, but so far everyone has seen it through reflection rather than directly.  When the basilisk takes Jeannie Weasley captive, Ron and Harry follow, with Professor Lockhart, not so brave as he would have us believe, but he does know a good memory spell.
This story ends with the Phoenix bird coming to help Harry.  He brings the sword of Gryffindor.  On of the more fascinating illustrations is of the Phoenix.