Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: LoiS-sez@LoiS-sez.com .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Beston - The Marvelous Dog and the Wonderful Cat - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This past week began the Year of the Dog for Chinese New Year.  A whole year deserves a story, but what cat will permit a dog getting more attention?  They are both here.  This is a fairly long story, so I will split it into three weeks. (Phew!  That gets me past the insanity of Sister Act the Musical, but I still would love for you to catch the show.)

While the use of fairies in 1919, when the book was published, may be less popular today, the sorcerers in this story are very important, in addition to the animals.  I think lovers of Harry Potter books, by the final segment, will find it includes magic enough to satisfy the faculty of Hogwarts.  (Yes, that's a hint to pay attention to the wizards.)  Also this comes in time for Tell a Fairy Tale Day 2018 on Monday, February 26. 

Back in 2013, when I started the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments, I included that first year a story from Henry Beston's The Firelight Fairy Book.  Because the blog format puts the most recent post first, I want to post again this link to Theodore Roosevelt Junior.  The son of President Roosevelt (who was famous in his own life) wrote a Foreword worth reading and reminding us of the child inside every "grown-up"and how this book has been favorably received and "universally acclaimed" by his own and other people's children.  (Also nowadays I don't try to do two pages at a time, which I hope makes it easier to read.  Because the book is old, any slight movements of the pages is not pushed down to avoid damage to the original book.)




The adventure has begun!  The Year of the Dog has begun, too.  Come back to see more next week in preparation for Tell a Fairy Tale Day.
****************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Coming Week!

Be sure to look all the way to the end of this post for a video I hope doesn't match me by week's end.  I can't believe all that is happening next week!  For one thing I'm in a great musical version of the movie, Sister Act.  (I start out in one scene as a Hooker under arrest.  The rest of show I'm a nun -- just can't kick the habit of an annual musical!  This show is a lot of fun and the cast and all involved have been Outstanding!  Hope to see you there -- I'll be wearing my glasses.)
(By the way if you buy tickets, please "take my name in vain."  I don't give people a big sales job, so I never expect to be the top ticket seller, but I know this show is blessed whether the pope shows up at the end or not!)

O.k. that's one thing with the coming week of final rehearsals earning it the name of "Hell Week" among theatre friends.  Although one cast member, who also is a fine director -- had her a few years back in Aye Do! -- directs many youth theatre productions calling it "Heck Week"!!! WHATEVER!

Monday February 12 is Lincoln's Birthday, celebrated as a holiday in some states, while the whole U.S. tends to lump it together on this coming February 19 as Presidents Day to give an annual three day holiday on the third Monday in February to include our first president, Washington, born February 22, and Lincoln, and beyond.  I'll celebrate the twelfth doing one of my current six school residencies, but then on to rehearsal that night for He** Week.

Tuesday is known as either Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday with Detroit metro area tending to turn Polish for a day buying up Pączki that Wikipedia link will tell you more, but I find it's pronunciation around here is Poonch-key with a "punch" to it just like I find this deep-fried jelly-filled seems to give me a punch to the stomach.  In New Orleans it's Mardi Gras time.  The idea is a last minute blow-out before Lent begins and that quick Mardi Gras link gives an international view of the day

Wednesday is both Valentines Day, which I've covered before in talking about Queen Victoria, and  Ash Wednesday.  While the religious aspect is certainly appropriate for me in Sister Act, I don't know if I'll be able to make it before any rehearsal since we must be at Central United Methodist Church -- that's the CUMC on the show flier -- by 5:30!  According to Wikipedia "Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics,[note 1] and some Baptists.[1]" Maybe they should have a service for our cast?  As for my own Valentine of a husband, I guess we'll take a day all our own.
I'm looking angelic in the front row, not counting our Deloris wondering what has she gotten into!

Thursday is that Lenten time I mentioned, but Friday is also the start of Chinese New Year!  A favorite mystery author, Anne R. Tan, the author of the Raina Sun mystery series, gives a view of the Chinese American life in her books and blog.  She says in her blog this week titled "Who Stole My Tangerines":
Most people associate red envelopes and dragons with Chinese New Year. The adults give their blessings to the children in the family in the form of a red envelope filled with money. You’re not traditionally considered “an adult” until you got married. I got red envelopes during Chinese New Year until I was 30.
In my childhood, a home isn’t ready for the holiday unless it’s filled with tangerines and small chocolate gold ingots. And not just any old tangerines, they must always have the stems attached to represent good fortune and abundance.
And after praying to the ancestors, my parents would stick a diamond shape red paper on the rice tub (the paper from last year would be discarded the night before). The tub holds 50 pounds of rice, so you can guess how big that red paper is. They would also stick diamond shape red paper on all the doors, and above every entryway, so we cannot walk through the house without our ancestor’s blessings. And last, the children get to play with firecrackers in the front yard to chase away all the bad luck from the previous year.
As I write this, I realized the only tradition my husband and I kept was the red envelopes. This is pretty sad…okay, I’m off to Amazon to see if I can get red paper and firecrackers delivered in the next day or two.
This will be the start of the Year of the Dog.  Hmmmmm.  Maybe next Friday I'll be able to post a story about a dog...or a president...or a Polish story...or Lent...but try not to be like this video of a little five year-old girl who reminds me so much of my own daughters.  I can't seem to get it to be easily clicked on here, so go to YouTube and, if that link doesn't take you there, put in When you're emotionally exhausted but the show must go on,  (It's there currently four times, but all have the same little girl.) 

It's worth seeing.  We've all been there, with or without HE** Week.  Next week I'll post a story as I presume I'll survive after I sub at White Lake Library on Saturday.  What a week!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Blaisdell - The Clothes-Line Telegraph

Black History month tends to bring my programs about the local Lerich family to audiences.  Liberetta Lerich Green and her family were abolitionists and had an Underground Railroad Station in Utica.  Here's the event presented by the  Novi Historical Commission at the Novi Public Library on February 8.  Learn about Michigan's role in abolition, the Underground Railroad, and the Civil War as told by a woman who grew up with it.

There are so many stories, including claims some historians doubt about the use of the laundry line for signals to the Underground Railroad.  This story from Albert F. Blaisdell's Stories of the Civil War takes a different view showing the clothes line's value for military intelligence.

The story follows a picture of a simple craft I made several years ago at Greenfield Village's Civil War Days.  It's the rosette or cockade worn by a Union sympathizer, which the Lerichs certainly were.  I let the safety pin show as it's simply red, white, and blue ribbon pulled into a circle and stitched onto a pin.  Yes, that Wikipedia link says safety pins were patented in 1849.  Campaign buttons are a form of communication, as is storytelling.  If you go to Creative Cockades you will find they are a centuries old way of showing support for a cause, the political lapel pins of yesteryear.  There are pages about cockades for the Union, Confederate, Mourning, Revolutionary War, Suffragette, and Copperhead (opponents of the Civil War and the Union) opinions.  Today's story shows Dabney figured out yet another useful form of communication easily overlooked.
As Albert Blaisdell explained in putting his book together, "These stories are designed to interest as well as to instruct young people, and to excite in their minds a keen desire to know more of the noble deeds of their fathers and grandfathers, who sacrificed so much during this momentous period of our country's history."  Even now that desire and knowledge is needed.
*******************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wiggins - How the Sun, the Moon, and the Wind Went Out to Dinner - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The term "once in a blue moon" comes true next week on January 31.  Blue moons happen on average every two and a half years.  To add to my attention, both the earlier full moon on January 1 and this moon will be "supermoons" and I've always noticed the weather tends to get worse after a full moon.  I presume this is due to tidal disturbances and we certainly had that at the start of this month across the country, with dangerous rains causing mudslides, snow, ice, and cold even in the normally warm south, possibly due to those so-called super-moons.    The Old Farmer's Almanac can tell you more and I recommend both of their articles on that link and also their article on Supermoons.  While their astronomer-blogger, Bob Berman, points out they are only 14% bigger, which is hard to tell visually, the closer the moon gets to our tides, the more they seem to be affected.

Now that you may be worried, here's a story concluding people love the moon.  The story is also well loved enough it's included in many anthologies.  I chose the Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith version the sisters edited because it comes with illustrations by Elizabeth MacKinstry.  Like the blogger at Enchanted Conversation, I wasn't familiar with her work, but loved the way she personified in a humorous way the three characters.  Both Tulane and Yale have collections of her work, but to see it online, treat yourself by going to Google Images!


May all my worries about the weather after this moon be unnecessary, but trust you will enjoy knowing this story.  I believe it is from India because Joseph Jacobs included it in his volume of Indian Fairy Tales.
********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lang - To Your Good Health! - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This season's flu season is no joke, but we all are trying to stay well.  I'm certainly conscious of staying well for both storytelling and because I'm in rehearsal for my annual musical addiction . . .  Sister Act the musical.  It made me think of an old Russian story about sneezes, "To Your Good Health!"  We tend to say "God bless you!" or "Bless you!" instead of the Russian response, but let's enjoy this story which has been long recognized as lots of fun.

Before getting into the story I went looking for a good sneeze picture.  I don't want to get too serious, but here's a scientific, but enjoyable, article not only telling how sneezes spread germs, but also "Why Can't We Keep Our Eyes Open When We Sneeze?" 
Now the story and, hopefully, you're not reading it while sick.

Illustration by H.J. Ford in The Crimson Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang




Ah, may this spring's coming royal wedding in Britain be just as much fun . . . and healthy, too.
*******************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Corrections . . . or Nobody's A Nobody

2018 is barely started and, just as New Year's Resolutions are a form of corrections, I'm finding a pair of corrections needed on my blog, yet each of them got me singing.

David Quesal said it's not a biggie that last week I called Truggs "Trugg" even in my article's title.  I can see why he feels that way when you consider how many puppets are part of the Quesal Puppet Troupe after their tenth anniversary last September.  I disagree with David a bit after hearing this great video cover by Truggs and all his puppet friends performing the song "Nobody's a Nobody" with the various members of his puppet troupe.  Love the lyrics of "Nobody's a nobody and everybody is weird like you and me and everybody is weird like you and me!"  I am impressed with how many videos you can find of this wacky puppet vision.  For many more go to the David Quesal channel on YouTube.  There is also a secondary channel.

 

But I did say this was CorrectionS.  I'm already preparing to bring back my One-Room School teacher program and found a correction needed from a much older post.  In all fairness, I never used the part missing so far.  I took it from online posts of the song about the presidents as sung to Yankee Doodle.  Since the next time I will be doing the program, I'm going further into the 20th century, I began to realize President McKinley had been skipped!  Here's the song from August 10, 2014! with my addition of the 25th president -- what a difference one line (and life) makes.  Because I also gave links and talk about the original source I'm including a bit more than just the song between the asterisks.
***
I'm going to insert Wikipedia links for easy access to basic information on each president.  Wherever those links don't explain a historical reference I'll either add that parenthetically or as a link.


George Washington, the choice of all,
By Adams was succeeded.
Then came Thomas Jefferson
Who bought the land we needed.
Madison was called upon
To keep our noble men.     (I presume this is about England impressing U.S. sailors)
And James Monroe ushered in
John Quincy Adams was the next
And then came Andrew Jackson
And after him Van Buren came
And the Panic's wild distraction.
Then Harrison for one month ruled,  (death by pneumonia introduces "The Curse")
And Tyler came in order,
About a little border.
Then General Taylor was the choice,
But after one year only
Death called the hero to his rest
And left the chair to Fillmore.
Then Pierce and James Buchanan came
And the War closed thickly lower.
And Lincoln was the chosen one,
The statesman for the hour.
Johnson of Tennessee.
And Grant a war time here
The Silent Man was he.     (? His throat cancer came after the presidency)
Then R.B. Hayes was counted in, then
Garfield, second martyr,
Whose term was ended peaceably by
Next Cleveland came and Harrison, (grandson of first President Harrison)
Then Cleveland came once more.
McKinley wore a martyr's crown before his term was over,
Then Roosevelt came to serve the state,
The people called him Teddy.
Then William Howard Taft came on,
For duty ever ready.
Then Woodrow Wilson came to fill the
Loftiest of stations.
He steered the Ship of State throughout
The World War of the Nations.
Next Harding ruled a few short months, (half of his term)
And Coolidge then succeeded.
Hoover served his country well
Wherever he is needed.
The text for this song was found in an excellent PioneerSchool Teacher Guide put together for the Fort Worth Log Cabin Village) with the assistance of Heritage Village School, Lincoln Nebraska, Diane Winans, Eagle Mountain Elementary, Shelly Couch, Saginaw Elementary, and the Log Cabin Village Staff.

This song goes to the early 1930s as views of Hoover and the Depression probably would change the final two lines.  It's an interesting challenge to update the song, throwing in an occasional memorable fact which also helps the rhyme.  World War I might need rewording to allow for World War II.  There's certainly more a teacher might want to cover on presidents than the few comments of the song, but it does help make history and presidential names more memorable than mere name recital to Yankee Doodle.  

Music was certainly more than just a memory aid.

***
While we're thinking about the one-room school teacher, here's me on YouTube telling a few stories from the program as used in the current 2015-18 Michigan Humanities Touring Directory.  (If you want to find my listing, go to page 52 -- shared with a listing for Gwendolyn Lewis.)  The current round of grants are again open at Michigan Humanities Council .  If you happen to see this at a time when grants are closed, check back as there are repeated rounds throughout the year and is a great way for non-profits to afford my program and many other fine Michigan performers.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Trugg says 2018 is here!

We're solidly into the New Year, but Saturday, January 6 is the 12th Day of Christmas or Epiphany.  My puppeteer colleague, David Quesal, and his "monster", Trugg, send this message.
This is Trugg

For some enjoyable videos of David and his Puppet Troupe, check out his YouTube videos.  I especially loved his fairy tale mash-up, A Fairy Tale of Errors, and gladly would recommend it to groups looking at ways to creatively use several folk tales to create a new story.  Just as with "Fractured Fairy Tales" it's important to know the original.  In this case it could be considered a look at what might happen after the tale ends or "and they all lived happily ever after...NOT!"  Whether intended or not, David follows the same sort of "down the garden path" in the musical "Into the Woods." 

I'm looking at a rapidly filling "dance card" of commitments, including a local residency with an adult special education class creating a puppet show and video version of Snow White.  Since the aim of the production is performance for preschool classes, it will be interesting to see how the group chooses to balance the original story's repeated efforts by the queen to kill Snow White and also its ending with a rather gruesome execution of her with Bruno Bettelheim's view of the necessity to recognize such evil exists and the need to show justice when it is punished.  Just as with this past year's Young Writers program, it will be in the hands of the students and they create their version of the story.  The fact that those young writers only created as much as they could handle was part of the solution with another grisly Grimm tale.  That Bettelheim label takes you to, among other posts, my earlier consideration of how to approach it. 


Interestingly enough two Caldecott award Honor books each chose to include the traditional ending. You may choose to look for yourself at the 1938 book by author/illustrator, Wanda Ga'g, known for her accurate translations of Grimm.  Wikipedia offers a very brief article saying she was approached to do a version more faithful to the original after the success of the 1937 Disney film.  The book's critical reception focused on the visual  way Ga'g handled it, but that is precisely the focus for Caldecott awards as long as the book is considered worthy.  Also worth noting, prior to 1971 an Honor book was called a "runner-up", with all previous books in that category changed to the new term. 

If you dismiss that book as coming from an earlier time, look at the 1972 version translated by poet and author, Randall Jarrell , who also translated a few other Grimm tales.  It, too, retains those same elements possibly considered too mature or troublesome.  This version won the Caldecott Honor award for illustrator, Nancy Ekholm Burkert.  While Caldecott awards require a text of merit, the award goes to the illustrator (although it never hurts the book's sales for its status).  This is her most celebrated work, but she has won more recently the Boston Globe-Horn Book award for Valentine and Orson and was recognized by the Wisconsin Library Association as a Wisconsin Notable Author.  She will be 95 in mid-February, so this will probably remain her best known work although not all she illustrated.  It's worth prowling reviews, even the positive ones, to notice how some view the ages able to handle the queen and also her ending.


Over all of this lurks the 1937 Disney version.  No less than the Library of Congress cites its value as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" when placing it into the National Film Registry and it's among the American Film Institute's 100 greatest American films, going even further by naming it the greatest American animated film of all time (2008).  Whether we like Disneyfication of literature or not, it is a fact that this first feature length film by the Disney Studios has influenced how the story is viewed.  The dwarfs are not named nor all given personalities in the original tale.  Their comic value is important to the film's tone although a lot of the suggested gags, while developing the movie, were dropped.  Disney even paid $5 per suggested gag in that early stage.  Reading the previously mentioned Wikipedia article shows the same type of planning the students will need to consider.  They will be seeing the film.  Much as I personally love the movie's songs, we'll not be tempted to use them because of copyright royalties.  The movie was a critical and long-time economic success.  Beyond that, I think the Library of Congress is correct in considering it of significant value to our culture.  Growing up with Little Golden books, here's their children's book using the film version.
I think it's safe to say that almost every American grew up with this version of the story and a great many haven't a clue that the original story is so dark.  Now the trick is to gauge how much of the original is appropriate to a preschooler or, possibly more importantly, a preschooler's parent...remember those review comments mentioned in the Jarrell/Burkert edition.

We should have our script ready by National Tell a Fairy Tale Day and working on puppet, scenery, and prop creation.  This year's NTaFT day falls on a Monday, since February 26 is the celebration date.  Mondays are when this group will work on their production.  I hope they also choose to celebrate Fairy Tales and grow from this project.