The Dinosaur Daily – The Potency of Children’s Literature

The Dinosaur Daily

February 23, 2014

The Dino Daily

Article: 9 Life Lessons Everyone Can Learn From These Beloved Classic Children’s Books by the Huffington Post; Published February 3rd, 2014; Written by Amanda Sherker

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The child that reads is a child that learns.

Think about all those books you read as a child. Or maybe you didn’t read that many, but I bet you’ve got one book that stayed with you after all these years. These books, these characters, become our best friends even after the story is finished being told. For me, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was an enormous impact in my life; I was wild about climbing trees and Silverstein’s book taught me to appreciate nature and the sacrifice of others. Another favorite of mine is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Max wanted to run away and so did I. But like Max, I learned to live my fantasy, and always return home. Where the Wild Things Are is one of the 10 books chosen by the Huffington Post in the post 9 Life Lessons Everyone Can Learn From These Beloved Classic Children’s Books. Chances are you’ve read most or all of these books listed, and I hope you will agree that some very valuable insights came to you as a child from reading these books or others like them.

This article by the Huffington Post popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, and I honestly expected it to be another article claiming the best 10 books and why everyone should love them, but it’s much more insightful. This article is about the heart of these classic books and why they are loved. Of course many more books could be added to the list, everyone was influenced differently as a child, but the point is that Children’s Literature, including picturebooks, has the potent power to make children (and adults) understand difficult concepts in their own corners of the world. It is a mutual understanding, interpreted by children all over the world. The picturebook isn’t as simple as it seems, they are beautifully complex pieces of art and the correlations between the visual and verbal narratives can say speak directly to the reader in his or her own language and understanding. This article is a good reminder for every reader to return to the lessons they learned as a child and reflect how it has affected them today. Maybe it is time to return to our favorite children’s tales to relive the memories and re-stoke the embers of insight.

Jameson here.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately. Between that and watching the Olympics I’ve been a pretty busy dinosaur. In all of my reading, I noticed a serious tragedy in children’s literature. Where are all of the dinosaurs? There are pigs building houses, fish stealing hats, bears eating porridge, cows typing, and chickens reading. When does the dinosaur get his debut?

I’ve done a bit of writing just to test if dinosaur literature would be worth a read or not, and I have to say, I think it is magnificent. The last book I read, Let’s Do Nothing by Tony Fucile, was a lovely story about two boys fighting boredom. Now, imagine if dinosaurs had a more prominent role in society. This is a glimpse of what the story may have been written like:

Let’s play Dinosaur!

“How do we play dinosaur? Simple. We sit on our hands and knees and we Rawr. We Rawr loud. Louder than loud. Ground-shaking sound. LOUD.”

“We can pretend we’re a couple of stegosauruses you see in the valleys. You know, the ones with spikey backs and stuff.

…. Well, it’s a work in progress, but you get the point. I bet Tony Fucile could write it much better than I. It’s too hard to write with claws anyway. Let’s Do Nothing was just such a fun book, I wanted to be a part of it. What do you think? Could dinosaurs become more popular in today’s literature? Like, you know, as popular vampires or something? Here’s hoping.

Much love,

Jameson

Vampire Academy: Film Review

 Vampire Academy FilmVampire Academy

Directed by Mark Waters

Starring Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry

Based on the novel by Richelle Mead

IMBD Rating: 6.9/10 Stars

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 9%

Opening Weekend: 3.9 million dollars

 

My Review:

If you haven’t already heard, Vampire Academy didn’t exactly succeed its opening weekend. Both critics and reviewers have been a bit harsh towards the film. After watching the film myself, well, I have to agree with the public.

The funny thing is, as little as I liked the book, I was more so impressed with the film. The casting was spot on. Rose, although I still hated her character, followed the novel very well. Even better in fact. One thing that made this movie better than the book was that the director, Waters seemed to understand exactly what Mead was going for in the novel and delivered it better than Mead was capable of in her writing.That is, Rose was actually kind of funny. Her sarcasm was rich throughout the film and yeah, I laughed once or twice. Even Lissa had a few shining moments, she wasn’t as weak as portrayed in the novel, which I have to believe was Mead’s true intention. I was also impressed with Natalie and Mia – for supporting characters, they were capable of taking some of the spotlight. Natalie’s scene in the jail with her uncle was brilliant although her relationship with Rose and Lissa was breezed through and seemed odd in the film. Mia matched Mead’s description as exact as I could have imagined; she was both cruel and pitiful. I loved to hate Mia much more in the film than I did the book. And I suppose I should mention, the male actors were as tempting as described in the novel. Dimitri, played by Danila Kozlovsky, was the best surly yet sexy guardian one could dream. If all you want is an easy flick with something (rather someone) pretty to look at. Sure, this movie might be the best 104 minutes of your life.

For the book lovers, the film follows quite close to the book. While I followed along perfectly fine. There was a ton of backstory packed into the film. For 104 minutes, viewers were expected to follow too many complicated plot twists. Hopefully the sequel is more about plot and character development rather than packing in stale information. I suppose it is forgivable of the first film, but I think there were scenes that weren’t necessary.

Overall, I liked the film. I liked it better than the book. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before, but I really believe Waters understood what Mead was intending to accomplish with her novel. Waters interpreted the story the way I wished it had been written – with real humor. Although, it could have done without all the drama. I thought the characters were cast perfectly, but too much of the backstory was distracting from the action. Even with all of the backstory pressed into the story, all supporting relationships seemed to be lacking spark.

I give Vampire Academy 2.5/ 5 stars.

2.5 Stars

The Dinosaur Daily

The Dinosaur Daily

February 9, 2014

Today’s Topic: Is book to film really unoriginal?

The Dino Daily

The popular media BuzzFeed is a highly attractive site that I myself visit *ahem* often. Many may have read the article “16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year.” It’s exciting to see some old favorites (The Giver) and new hits (Vampire Academy) taking the silver screen for the chance to be visualized and re-imagined by audiences across the world. If you haven’t already, check out the article for the chance to get ahead by reading the book BEFORE the film. It really is a much better experience if you take the time to read the book first. Or maybe that’s just my opinion. Anyway, one of my cinema coworkers made the comment that screenplays are becoming so unoriginal, they (assumedly the script writers) need to draw from existing content to get any kind of idea for a new film. Well, as much as I adore an original screenplay, I admit I’m addicted to watching my favorite stories acted out. While some novels have become a visionary success on the big screen and others have failed entirely, if I read the book, I simply need to see it imagined by another. Seeing the film is like sharing my own journey through the novel. I don’t think adapting a novel to a screenplay is unoriginal at all; it re-navigates the story in many ways, and while sometimes it is sad to see an event or character imagined differently than expected, I can still appreciate the work put into the adaptation and the way it makes me feel. I think I speak for every reader when I say that every good book read is a life lived. Film gives words life too. Maybe I’ve worked at the cinema too long, but I find the two perfectly compatible. That said, I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.

Check out the list. Many of these films are already in cinemas, so you better get reading. And come back next week to read my film review of  Vampire Academy.