Wednesday, November 24, 2010

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Hello, Friends. I have been doing a lot of reading and getting through some of the things to be filed and "to do's", as I call them, that have piled up around my desk. I'm beginning to feel a little clutter free. Okay, so I have a long way to go, but I'm excited that it has begun. Here is my other recent book review on "East of the Sun, West of the Moon".

Before I go there, this is what I've learned about Storytelling - we need to a) share our personal stories - this keeps "us" and our families alive for generations; b) share historical stories - for this keeps even the small things of history alive and shared and we can gain so much encouragement and learning from them; and, c) share old stories - fairytales, moral stories, folktales, cultural stories - because they explain how it used to be, they give us dreams, they teach us and are universal in their story, oh, and d) share "new" stories that we have developed, because that charges our creativity, innovation and imagination and brings relevance to people.

I think we are doing "a" and "b" pretty well, however, the old stories are getting so lost - we need to go back to old stories and remember and learn them. That means old books, like "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." We also need to develop more "new" stories, not just personal, but fun and great fiction stories that are relevant to people today and encourage them in the world of storytelling. Okay, so I've lectured a bit. Now here's the book review. Peace and belief, and Happy Thanksgiving!

East of the Sun and West of the Moon:
Old Tales from the North
Written by Peter Christen Asbjornsen & Jorgen Engebretsen Moe. Illustrated by Kay Nielsen

Published 1976 by Hodder & Stoughton Children’s Books, London, England
Published 1977 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY
ISBN: 0-385-13213-1
LCCN: 77-74791

My Thoughts
This is a classic in the world of storytelling and stories, which I know only because the book keeps coming up in bibliographies done by storytellers. If you ever heard that storytellers also use the number 3 in stories, i.e., The Three Pigs, The Three Bears, etc., then these stories are the true testament to the use of 3. Also, with the use of repetition. It was one of those times I never wanted anything repeated again. The pictures are pre-anime (Japanese) and I would love to see some of them in large posters, however, the stories, are mostly so-so, with little glimmers of light, and lots of bright spotlight on other fairy tales that are better written with the same general plot.

“Another theme is the maturing of love through a hazardous search such as in East of the Sun and West of the Moon in which we recognize a version of the Greek legend of Cupid and Psyche.”

Kay Neilsen
“A school mistress at Emerson relates how a small Mexican boy used to come often to the studio to watch him paint “The Canticle”. One day the boy said he would like the mural better if there was a cat in it. Did he have a cat? Yes, so Kay told him to bring it to the studio and he’d paint it into the mural. Later Kay confessed he would have wished for a more photogenic cat but had not wanted to disappoint his young friend. And there it sits, an all-white puss on a red brick paving.”

East of the Sun and West of the Moon – I like this story. However, I just read Edith Pattou’s book, East. She does a great job of taking this story and developing characters and location – it was truly magical! (See yesterday's post)

The Blue Belt – a variation of “Simon and Susannah”, Negro love story and folk-tale found in The Last Tales of Uncle Remus by Julius Lester.

Lassie and the Godmother – the moral is “you reap what you sow”, and really powerfully done. This one is going to be included in my list of stories. P. 53-60.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Quickie

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am posting my latest book review. It is the book "East" by Edith Pattou. I hope you'll pick up this book even over this holiday and enjoy a great adventure. Peace, Sheila.

By Edith Pattou
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0152045635
ISBN-13: 978-0152045630

My ThoughtsI LOVED THIS BOOK!! What a great read and I will never forget my trip with Rose and the White Bear. I learned about mapmaking and cartography (never read a book where that was an active part of the story ) I read the fairytale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” AFTER I read “East” and, wow!, what a great job Ms. Pattou did in enhancing the lives of the fairy tale characters. However, she was also so very, very true to the original story. I would like to learn to write AND tell a story like this, particularly expanding a fairy tale without losing the essence of the story.

If you have some SciFi readers – send them this way. I do believe your girls will be the ones most appreciative of this book – the romance and the fairy tale are a girls’ dream. Understand, though, Rose is no “wimp” or “prissy” or “milktoast” young lady – she is grit, determination, smart, adventurous and amazing. I think it will be a while until I read a young adult science fiction story that makes me fall in love and want to read it again and again and again and again and…

Author Information

I love to hear from readers and read every single letter and email I receive, but the truth is that in general I am worse than pathetic at responding. I am trying to turn over a new leaf, but sincerely hope that ninety-nine percent of your questions will be answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website. On the off chance that they are not, I will do my best to respond, or will make sure your question is added to my FAQ's section.
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Edith Pattou (author)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Review From School Library JournalGrade 6 Up-A compelling novelization of the folktale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Rose's story-from her birth as a replacement for a dead sister to her eventual happy marriage to Charles VI's fifth child-is recounted from the kaleidoscopic viewpoints of her father, her brother, the troll queen who bewitched the Dauphin, the White Bear whom the Dauphin became until Rose's rescue, and Rose herself. Each character's unique perspective and voice adds texture and tension to the plot, which is imbued with Nordic mythology and unfolds in a unique story line. Numerous interpersonal tensions are examined, including those between a comparatively "modern" man and his superstitious wife, between the bewitched bear and the women who want to claim him as a mate, and between Rose and the neighbors she meets in each of her worlds. Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy, inviting those unaccustomed to either genre to explore the frozen world of questing that she has so vividly created.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA