Books & Media

Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Folklore – Revisited and Retold

We all grew up with the stories, so we know them backward and forward.  But in the past few years, some writers have taken those stories and turned them inside out, upside down, and sideways.

Usually when Hollywood decides to make or remake (or remake and remake!) a fairy tale or fantasy novel or folklore, the story stays basically the same.  Walt Disney stayed close to original sources, though he softened some parts of the stories and even introduced some original characters.

Book Hunters in Brief #153: Mythology & More from Oceania, Polynesia & Hawai'i

In honor of the release of Disney's Moana, Book Hunters in Brief presents a selection of mythology, folklore, and traditional tales from the South Pacific.

Here, There Be Dragons

dragonOpening this weekend in theaters is a movie I have been looking forward to seeing for months: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe created by J.K. Rowling. This chapter in the franchise follows Newt Scamandar and his briefcase full of magical creatures through the magic community in 1920s New York City. This film not only gives Harry Potter fans a look at the magic community in the United States, but it brings focus to the magical creatures, some of which were not even introduced in the original series.

One of my favorite magical creatures to see on film is, of course, the dragon. Although there may not be dragons in Fantastic Beasts (I’ll report back once I’ve seen the movie!), these creatures did feature in three of the original Harry Potter films: with Norbert in Sorcerer’s Stone, during the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, and at Gringott’s in Deathly Hollows: Part 2. Each of these dragons played a unique and crucial role in Harry’s journey.

Of course, dragons aren’t exclusive to Harry Potter films. In fact, dragons have featured in many films in the past 40 years. In some movies, like Reign of Fire, the dragon is decidedly the enemy of mankind, while in others dragons and humans work together. Often, the dragon is a serious or destructive force, as in The Hobbit. But, dragons also appear as humorous sidekicks or companions, as in Mulan. No matter the physical appearance or their role in the plot, dragons continue to be a popular magical creature in films.

If you’re in the mood for a movie featuring dragons this weekend, check out the list below and request a movie today! What’s your favorite dragon movie?

The Prettier Side of Politics

First Women by Kate Andersen BrowerLet's take a break from the deluge of political commentary and look at the prettier side of politics: the First Lady. This week someone mentioned a book to me that I immediately added to my list: First Women: the Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower. 

Book Hunters in Brief #152: Mickey Mouse's 88th Birthday

He's the original mouse that roared, and built an empire. From his beginnings as Steamboat Willie, he now has his four-fingered, white-gloved hand in some very lucrative pies ranging from the four-letter TV sports behemoth to far-flung amusement complexes in places like Paris and Hong Kong.

Even with a prodigious imagination like Walt Disney's, it is hard to imagine he dared to imagine his little flickering, black and white rodent would be so phenomenally successful.

So, let's all raise a cup of Ovaltine to Mickey on the occasion of his 88th birthday.