Thursday, April 3, 2014

Find a Rainbow Day is April 3rd

Who knew there was a day dedicated to finding rainbows? Not me. But apparently, Find a Rainbow Day is a thing.

Well, I didn't find a rainbow today (yet), but I did find a pretty awesome one last year. The picture is a great reminder for me, but seeing it in person...well, it was just spectacular. It showed up all of a sudden, big and bright and beautiful, when the sun burst through all at once after a totally epic summer afternoon rainstorm:

Have a radiant Find a Rainbow Day, and happy colorful hunting!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tell a Fairy Tale Day is February 26th

Fairy tales are a beloved and meaningful part of the lives of many people, across many languages and cultures, and so surely it comes as no surprise that there's a Little Known Holiday dedicated entirely to those time-honored tales:

Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Celebrated annually on February 26th, it's a day to have some fun and tell some fairy tales in whatever way suits your fancy. And just in case you're stuck for ideas, we've collected a few suggestions to get you started:

Make Up Your Own Fairy Tale to Write or Tell or Act Out

You can have a ton of fun creating your very own original fairy tale. Need help getting started? No problem. Here are a few basic guidelines on what makes a fairy tale...a fairy tale:
  • The story begins at a non-specific point (such as: "Once upon a time..." or "A long, long time ago, in a kingdom far away..."). 
  • Things tend to happen in threes.
  • There is usually some type of royalty involved.
  • Some sort of good vs evil theme is always a good bet.
  • Some sort of magic is typically included (say, a talking animal, perhaps, or a magic sword).
  • Often, there is some type of quest to be embarked upon, or a difficult task to be completed, before the hero/heroine can accomplish their goal.
  • A lesson is usually found at the end.
  • Most endings are of the "Happily Ever After" sort...but not always. There could instead be a "cautionary tale" aspect to the ending.

Find Some Ready-Made Fairy Tales to Share
  • Visit your local library and check out some of your fave fairy tales to share with your loved ones, no matter their ages. Or look for fairy tales that are new-to-you. Children, or adults, or preteens...even teens* love a good fairy tale. (*Yes, you do. You know you do - especially if that fairy tale is of the Fractured Fairy Tale type, or maybe even a picture book with some really awesome illustrations.) 
  • Wander the aisles of your local bookstore, browsing their fairy tale collections, until you find a couple of fairy tale books that you just have to have. Stories so powerful that they've stayed in people's hearts and minds over so many, many years must certainly be worth adding to your own collection of books, right?

Go Online
  • Visit this Pinterest Tell a Fairy Tale page for a fun, informal game of "Guess the Fairy Tale."
  • The World of Tales web page has a large collection of fairy tales you can read online for free. The tales are from a variety of cultures, and also include folktales and fables.

Watch Some Videos

* * *

However you choose to celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day, we hope the fairy tales you enjoy today live on in your heart...happily ever after.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Umbrella Day is February 10th


Whatever you call your rain protection device, have a very happy Umbrella Day!

But do try to make sure the one you choose to use is up to the task:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

National Read in the Bathtub Day is February 9th

National Read in the Bathtub Day is observed annually on February 9th, but we here at Bugs and Bunnies have no idea why. We couldn't find even the tiniest morsel of information as to Who-What-Where-When-Why this holiday came into being. We did, however, find several other bathtub-related revelries, with varying levels of backstory:

  • First, there's plain ol' Bathtub Day, celebrated every October 7th. We found a whole lotta very interesting info on this one – so much that it'll be needing its own dedicated post come October. (So be sure to come back and check it out.)
  • Then, there's National Bathtub Party Day. This one is simple and straightforward: Created by Thomas and Ruth Roy, it's an excuse to have a party in the tub, and is celebrated every December 5th.
  • And finally, there's Bubble Bath Day, the annual January 8th celebration which seems to have come about due to a greeting card company creation. 

Back to the holiday at hand, even though there seems to be no official origin or backstory for National Read in the Bathtub Day, that doesn't mean we can't celebrate it, with snacks and perhaps a similarly-minded rubber duckie:

But before you head off for a water-filled read-n-soak in the tub (or a pillow-filled read-n-snuggle in the tub, for those who'd rather not risk ending up with soggy books), you'll be needing some reading material. And so, for your consideration, here are a few books for kids – in which a bath or a tub or both feature prominently – that we here at Chez Wheedleton just love:

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub
Written by Audrey Wood
Illustrated by Don Wood
Ages 4 and up

King Bidgood has his own ideas about how to rule his kingdom, and much to his faithful Page's chagrin, he has gleefully decided to do it all from his tub. The members of his court, at the Page's frantic requests, try all manner of strategies to lure the king out of the bath. He cheerfully obliges each suggestion, with one caveat: they must join him - fully clothed, in all their courtly finery - in the tub. They battle in the tub. They lunch in the tub. They fish in the tub. They even dance in the tub. But the only ones to leave that tub are some very soggy, frustrated courtiers. Is there anyone who can convince the king to leave his bath?

The Dirty Cowboy
Written by Amy Timberlake
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Ages 4 and up

Ah, the life of a cowboy: roundin' up cattle, cookin' up some vittles, singin' songs around the campfire, with only his trusty steed and loyal dog for company. Yessir, life sure is perfect for a cowboy...until he gets it in his head that he oughta prob'ly have hisself a bath. The cowboy in this story sets out to do just that. Just gettin' to the river takes some doin,' but he gets there alright, and charges his dog with guardin' his duds. An' then he heads to the river, nearly-new bar of lye soap in hand, an' he gets good and clean. But, once he fixes t' go git his duds back? Well, that's when things get interestin.'

The House on East 88th Street
Written and illustrated by Bernard Waber
Ages 5 and up

The day Mr. and Mrs. Joseph F. Primm and their young son Joshua move into the house on East 88th street, they hear an unusual sound coming from somewhere in the house: SWISH, SWASH, SPLASH, SWOOSH. So Mrs. Primm goes to investigate. When she takes a peek in the bathroom, she finds the source of that sound: A crocodile! In their bathtub!

Then, an oddly dressed man arrives at the door, hands Joshua Primm a note, and leaves. Hector P. Valenti's note explains that the crocodile's name is Lyle, that he will only eat Turkish caviar, and that he can perform tricks. Will the Primms welcome Lyle into their family?

* * *

When February 9th rolls around, grab a couple of books, and then off to the tub with you. And whether you fill that tub with warm relaxing water, or soft fluffy pillows, have a very happy National Read in the Bathtub Day!

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2014 - Part 5 of 5

And so, we've come to the final post – Part 5 of 5 – for the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. If you're new here, or new to the series, clicking on the link above will give you all the details. When you're done, don't forget to come on back to this post and see what's in store for today.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident dragon expert:  Lovely Girl

Each book featured in this series deals with dragons on its own terms; in some, dragons are central to the story, and in others, less so. But reading any or all of these books is a wonderful and fun way to appreciate a dragon.

Of the three dragon books we're sharing today, two are fun and full of fabulous illustrations, and one is a treasure trove of dragon myth, legend, and lore:

Serious Trouble
Written and illustrated by Arthur Howard
Ages 4 - 8

Ernest is a boy with a serious-sounding name, the son of serious people – King Olaf and Queen Olive – who expect him (as a future king) to be equally serious. Yet, despite the King and Queen's expectations, young Ernest wishes to be neither serious nor king. In fact, he tells his incredulous parents, he wishes to be...a jester.

One day, when Ernest rushes outside to practice some jokes, he comes face-to-face with the kingdom's serious problem: a fire-breathing, people-eating, three-headed dragon, which makes clear its plans to live up to the people-eating part of its serious reputation. Ernest begs it not to, then manages to escape as the dragon's heads argue amongst themselves. Unfortunately, his escape is brief.

Wrapped inside the dragon's tail and on the verge of being eaten, Ernest proposes a deal to his captor's three heads: If he can make them laugh, he goes free. The dragons decide to give him two chances. Or maybe three. So Ernest gets to work on some serious jestering. But will it be enough to overcome such a very serious predicament?

Written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon
ages 8 - 12

Danny Dragonbreath is a carefree kind of dragon, but he does have a few irritations. The best he's ever been able to manage in the fire-breathing department is a bit of smoke from his nostrils, despite his dad's entreaties to "Think hot thoughts." And he's a daily target for Komodo dragon Big Eddy, who loves to taunt Danny about that lack of fire-breathing ability. But for now, he's facing more pressing problems. His science report on "The Rare and Elusive Snorklebat" – which he totally made up on the 15 minute ride to school that morning – earned him a big, fat, red "F," plus a new assignment: Rewrite the paper. On a real ocean topic. By tomorrow.

Danny's first approach to the problem is to hope for a snow day. But his ever-practical best friend, an iguana named Wendell, points out that's not likely, since it's April. Then Wendell suggests a research trip to the library, which does not go over well. But when Danny's mother suggests a research trip to his sea serpent cousin, Danny agrees wholeheartedly. So, a very excited Danny and a very apprehensive Wendell take the bus to a rickety dock on the Sargasso Sea for a visit with cousin Edward.

Wendell is petrified by the undersea tour, but Danny is thrilled by the creatures they encounter: a barfing sea cucumber, a color-changing octopus, and a snot-shooting vampire squid, to name a few. But when a giant squid comes after them, Danny's thrill turns to fear. Though Edward tries to draw the enormous creature away, the tactic doesn't work, and eventually it wraps its tentacles around Wendell, pulling him towards its giant chomping beak. Danny is beside himself with terror, wracking his brain trying to think of something, anything he could do, to try and save his friend. But what can such a small dragon do against something so big?

Dragons: The Myths, Legends, and Lore
Written by Doug Niles
Foreword by Margaret Weis
Ages: Young adult and up

This book is a nicely organized collection of the history of dragons within various cultures and peoples of the world via their folklore, art, mythology and poetry, beginning from antiquity and continuing all the way up through the fiction, films and games of modern pop culture. Within its pages, the reader will find descriptions and illustrations of various dragon types, as well as retellings of the legends and folklore surrounding specific dragons.

* * *

Here ends our literary dragon fun for the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. We hope you've enjoyed the journey!

Be sure to come back in January 2015, when we'll present a whole new set of dragon books to revel in. And in the meantime, feel free to contact us and let us know of any dragon books you just love that you'd like to see included in next year's celebrations. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2014 - Part 4 of 5

Three down, two to go: Today marks Part 4 of 5 for the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. If you're new here and wondering what all the fuss is about, click on the link above, and that should get you nicely up to speed. Then come on back here to continue the festivities.

If you already know what's up (or you're new but now up to speed), you'll probably be wanting to get right to it. Scroll on, then, and let's get started.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident dragon expert:  Lovely Girl

Each book featured in this series deals with dragons on its own terms; in some, dragons are central to the story, and in others, less so. But reading any or all of these books is a wonderful and fun way to appreciate a dragon.

Today we have three more books to share. Two involve helping a brand-new-from-the-egg dragon get its start in this life. The third involves a typical dragon-and-princess scenario that comes about through decidedly non-typical circumstances:

The Egg
Written and illustrated by M. P. Robertson
Ages 5 - 8

George does what any self-respecting boy would do when he finds an enormous egg under his mother's favorite chicken: He takes it to his room, where he keeps it warm and reads it stories.

And when the egg hatches three days and nights later, out comes a dragon who seems delighted when he sees George. And so, George takes on the motherly duty of teaching the dragon some "dragony ways." There are flying lessons, and fire-breathing lessons, and lessons in rescuing damsels in distress. He even teaches the dragon how to defeat a knight, and reads him dragon tales in the evenings.

But one day, the dragon becomes lonely for his own kind, and George can only sadly wonder: Is this the end of his days with the dragon?

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
Written by Bruce Coville
Illustrated by Gary A. Lippincott
Ages 9 - 12

Sixth grader Jeremy Thatcher, on the run from two bullies intent on making him submit to a rather insistent girl's kiss, suddenly finds himself in a part of his small town that he's never seen before, in a small magic shop he's never been in before, unintentionally buying what he thinks is a mysterious marble.

When he gets home, Jeremy gets out the instruction sheet the shop's owner gave him, and can hardly believe what he reads there: What he has bought is not a marble. It's a dragon egg, and he's now charged with both hatching and raising the beast - neither of which he knows anything about. 

Hatching the egg turns out to be fairly simple, but raising the dragon he names Tiamat is not, even with help from Miss Priest, the town's librarian, and – to Jeremy's great surprise – Mary Lou Hutton, the girl who was so fervently determined to kiss him the day he got the egg.

But when the shop owner sends another note a few months later, Jeremy discovers hatching and raising a dragon are not nearly as hard to do as what what must come next - seeing that dragon home.

Dealing With Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One
Written by Patricia C. Wrede
Ages 10 and up

Princess Cimorene of Linderwall does not fit the customary princess mold. She is dark-haired, instead of fair like her six sisters. She is tall, instead of petite like her six sisters. She does not enjoy princess-ly lessons in etiquette or embroidery, and does all she can to wrangle fencing lessons or magic lessons for herself – at least until her parents get wind of what she's doing and ends them. And as for her disposition? Well, "strong-minded" is a phrase often aimed her way, and sometimes, "stubborn as a pig."

One day, Cimorene learns of her parents' plans to marry her off to Therandil, prince of a neighboring kingdom, thereby taking her off of their exasperated hands. Frustrated and angry, she despairs of ever living an exciting life. But then she meets a talking frog who points her in the direction of a source of help. Following the frog's advice to the letter, Cimorene soon finds herself in a damp, dark hovel, conversing with unseen voices. It's not until a ball of light illuminates things that she finally lays eyes on those she's conversing with: Dragons!

Frightened at first, Cimorene slowly begins to see a way out of the boring life her parents have planned for her. It is a bold idea, and what she proposes shocks the dragons: What kind of young woman volunteers to be a dragon's princess?

* * *

Time does fly when one is having literary dragon fun, and we are nearly done for 2014. Join us next Friday, January 31st, for Part 5 of 5, where we'll share three more books in the final post of the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2014 - Part 3 of 5

Yesterday, January 16th, 2014, was Appreciate a Dragon Day. We here at Chez Wheedleton spent the day reading dragon books to mark the occasion. But yesterday wasn't our only day of literary revelry in all things dragon.

Here at Bugs and Bunnies, we choose to appreciate dragons not only on Appreciate a Dragon Day, but also on every Friday in January - sharing with our readers the dragon books we've read in the past year that we think are just fab. And today, Friday, January 17th, is one of those Fridays - the third one of 2014, in fact.

So, welcome to Part 3 of 5 of the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. We're glad you're here.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident dragon expert:  Lovely Girl

Each book featured in this series deals with dragons on its own terms; in some, dragons are central to the story, and in others, less so. But reading any or all of these books is a wonderful and fun way to appreciate a dragon.

Today's post brings three more dragon-tastic books. Chez Wheedleton's own Handsome Boy writes about the first one. The second one is the first in a series, and the final one is a delightful picture book for the very young:

Dragon Run
Written by Patrick Matthews
Ages 8 - 12  
*summary written by Handsome Boy

Dragons rule over twelve-year-old Al's world. Al is a human, one of the five mortal races created by the Dragons as vessels to gather magic for the Dragons' own use. Al's life up until now has been an ordinary one: He works in the fields his family owns every day, and he comes home every evening.

But everybody starts to become nervous as Testing Day rolls around. Al and the rest of the twelve-year-olds will be tested and assigned a rank, with the number carved on the backs of their necks. What happens to Al on Testing Day will shock everyone, make him a target for the merciless killers known as the Cullers, and ultimately flip his life upside down.

Can Al make things right? How far will the Dragon overlords go to see him dead? Will Al beat the odds? Or will the world take him down?

The Coming of Dragons: The Darkest Age, Book One
Written by A.J. Lake
Ages 8 - 12

Eleven-year-old Edmund, son of King Heored, is traveling in disguise aboard the Spearwa, on his way to Gaul to live with his uncle. Elspeth, also eleven, is aboard as well; the sea-savvy daughter of Master Trymann, the ship's captain. Besides the disguised prince, the Spearwa has another mystery aboard, a wooden chest held fast by a huge, rusted iron padlock with no keyhole.

When a sudden raging storm blows up, its cause is not nature, but a deliberate attack on the Spearwa by the terrible ice dragon, Torment, who has been freed by powerful dark magic from his thousand-year imprisonment in the frozen North. 

By the time the storm abates, the Spearwa is wrecked, and Edmund and Elspeth are the sole survivors. They wash up on the shore at Gullsedge along with the smooth-padlocked chest. All three are found and taken in by an old man named Aagard. While staying with Aagard, Elspeth comes into possession of something she neither asks for nor wants. And Edmund comes to realize he has powerful skills of the mind - ones that frighten and confuse him. Neither Edmund or Elspeth want anything more than to deny what has happened and return to their respective homes, despite Aagard's pleas for them to stay and let him help them.

Aagard tasks the mysterious traveling minstrel, Cluaran, with seeing Edmund and Elspeth safely east and toward their homes, though Cluaran is not happy to do so. On their journey, Edmund and Elspeth face dangers they never imagined coming to bear. They battle unexpected enemies, and gain help in unexpected ways. Even if they can survive these dangers, can they learn to live with the unwanted powers they never knew they had and are unable to refuse?

Waking Dragons
Written by Jane Yolen
Paintings by Derek Anderson

Even the littlest of knights have chores, and this little knight must wake the dragons before school. And so, joined by his faithful pup, the little knight does just that.

But there's more to waking dragons than just rousting them from their dragon-sized beds. There are dragon-sized fangs to be brushed, dragon-sized jammies to put in the hamper, dragon-sized waffles to be launched into dragon-sized mouths, and outdoor clothes to fit on dragon-sized bodies.

And all the little knight's hard work does not go unappreciated. When it comes time for him get to school, he gets a dragon-sized ride!

* * *

Thank you for joining us today! Be sure to come back next Friday, January 24th, 2014, for Part 4 of 5 of the Second Annual Literary Appreciation of Dragons.