Friday, January 30, 2015

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 4 of 4

Far too soon, we've come to the end of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series. Anyone needing some backstory, or a refresher, can click on the link in the first sentence and get caught up quite nicely. But don't forget to come back here to catch this last literary dragon post for the 2015 series.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

So far, we've read our way through three Fridays of dragon book fun:



and



And for today's post, we've got something really fun:

Drawing Dragons

That's right! We here at Bugs and Bunnies were delighted to find this little collection of books, so we could learn how to draw the dragons we love to read about! We hope you enjoy them, too:




1-2-3 Draw: Knights, Castles, and Dragons: A step by step guide
By Freddie Levin
Ages 5 - 10

This one is great for the beginner level artists out there. It starts with a list of very basic tools you will need - all things you probably already have around the house. The book is separated into several sections, starting with drawing basic shapes. As you move through the book, these basic shapes are used to guide you through drawing a variety of medieval-type things, starting with a basic person, and moving through to specific ones (king, queen, prince, princess). There are sections for drawing castles, heraldry, knights, and of course dragons. And there are other sections, too, each related to knights, castles, and dragons, plus an index.



How to Draw Dragons (Drawing Fantasy Art)
By Jim Hansen and John Burns
Ages 9 and up

This one is great for those who want to both learn a little about dragons as well as draw them. The Introduction section explains the equipment you may want to have on hand before you begin. (Some of the supplies listed are more advanced equipment, but you will still be able to use this book with just the basics - pencil, paper, eraser.) Then there's a short lesson on Perspective. And then there's the instruction, separated into types: Western Dragon, Eastern Dragon, and North American Dragon. The book also contains a glossary of art-related terms, as well as a section on suggestions for further reading. The instructions start basic and work up to the details fairly quickly, so this book will be most helpful to those who already have a good base of drawing skills.


Draw! Medieval Fantasies: A Step by Step Guide
By Damon J. Reinagle
Ages 8 - 14

This one starts with a list of basic drawing tools, and a few "Common Sense Drawing Rules" to get you started. It is for those who are a little more advanced in drawing skill, yet still starts with Basic Shapes, then moves on to sections showing you steps for how to draw Rods and Joints, Dragons, Castles, and Heroes and Villains. Then there is a section on adding Textures and Patterns to your drawings, and finally, one on Putting It All Together.



Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book: Become an artist step-by-step
By Ralph Masiello
Ages 8 - 12

As with the others, this one also starts with a section on the drawing tools you may want to use. It is also for those who know a little about drawing already. There are step-by-step instructions for drawing eleven different types of dragons, from all over the world. For each dragon, you'll be shown one detailed step at a time, using just the drawings to guide you - no text instructions. You can easily tell which is the new line to add for each step, because it is shown in red.

Once you've been guided in drawing the dragon, the next page for each one shows what the fully-complete drawing could look like, with all color and pattern added, as well as some information about the type of dragon you just drew, and hints for how to create the patterns you see in the finished drawing example. At the end, you'll find a section on Resources for you to learn even more about dragons, as well as a Pronunciation Guide, so you'll know how to pronounce the names of the dragons you've just learned how to draw.



* * *

And so, we've reached the end of our series for this year. We hope you enjoyed this Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons Series as much as we did, and we hope you'll come back again next year to celebrate a whole new bunch of fabulous dragon books with us!

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 3 of 4

Another Friday in January, another post in the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons series. (Not sure what this is? Click on the link in the previous sentence, and that will get you up to speed quite nicely. Then come back here to continue the book-ish dragon fun.)

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl

Back now? Great! Let's get to it:

If you've been here for the last two posts, you'll recall that we've added a new component to this year's festivities: Themes! And if you're new to Bugs and Bunnies? Well, now you know. The theme thing is new.

So far, we've had fun with two themes:

Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable – with dragon books that are informational in nature


and

Chinese Dragon Tales – with dragon books rooted in Chinese culture, with Chinese dragons


For this week, we present:

Other Dragon Tales

These dragon stories involve a variety of world cultures - Egyptian, Viking, English, and one that's unspecified but seems American. Enjoy!



The Dragon and the Thief
Written by Gillian Bradshaw
Ages 9 and up

Prahotep was born backward, with his eyes wide open. The people of his small Egyptian village took that to mean he was frowned upon by the gods. And it seemed to be so, for this son of a fisherman was no good at fishing. 

When one day a crocodile attacks Prahotep's father, his dying wish is for Prahotep to leave his small village near the Nile river, and try to find something he is good at. So Prahotep travels to Thebes. But his attempts at learning new trades there goes no better, and he finds himself labeled with a new name: Bad Luck. Finally, there is only one trade left for him to attempt – theft. When even that doesn't go well, he begins to think the gods really do frown on him. 

And then, Prahotep stumbles into the cave of Hathor, the last of what was believed to be an extinct line of dragons. Her discovery by others will mean her death. Could this be the destiny Prahotep has sought for so long? Could he be the one who can save the last Egyptian dragon?




Dragon Stew
Written by Steve Smallman
Illustrations by Lee Wildish
Ages 5 and up

Five bored Vikings are looking for an adventure. But they don't want to do the same old things. Battle? Nothing new. Shark fishing? Nope. Wresting a bear...in their underwear? Been there, done that!

And then, Loggi Longsocks comes up with one last idea: Catch a dragon, and make a dragon stew! To that, the other Vikings say, "Now, that's something new!" And the adventure begins...




The Reluctant Dragon
Written by Kenneth Grahame
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
Ages 7 - and up

Long ago, there lived a shepherd, his wife, and their small son. One day, the father came across a dragon living in a cave outside the village, and he was beside himself with fear. But the boy, who read lots and lots of books and knew about these things, was less upset. "It's all right, father. Don't you worry. It's only a dragon."

And then, the boy befriended the dragon, and soon convinced his parents the situation was not as dire as all that. The dragon was rather cultured and quite mild-mannered. But when word spread, as word is wont to do, the villagers were not so serene. And they sent for St. George, slayer of dragons. 

The boy sees only one way to save his friend. And it involves convincing the whole town – and a dragon slayer  – to not slay a dragon. But, how?



The Best Pet of All
Written by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama
Ages 3 - 5

This is the story of a boy who wants a dog for a pet. But each time he asks his mom for a dog, she refuses.

Then one day, the boy decides to ask for something new. He asks for a dragon for a pet. And this time, his mom says, "If you can find a dragon, you can keep it for a pet." 

So he finds a dragon. But a dragon does not make a good pet. And when the boy's mom tells the dragon to leave, it refuses.

The boy has an idea how to get the dragon out of the house, though. And it involves a dog...



* * *

And that's that for this week. We hope you enjoyed Part 3 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. Please join us again next Friday, for Part 4 of 4, when we present dragon books that will satisfy those who like to do more than just read about dragons...





Friday, January 16, 2015

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 2 of 4

Here we are, with the second of four posts for the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons!

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl


Regular readers – or at least those who follow this particular series here on Bugs and Bunnies – already know what's what. For those who are new: click on the link up there in the very first sentence of this post, and you'll find all kinds of information that will catch you up quite nicely. Then come on back here to continue the dragon-y fun.

Last week, our theme was Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable. This week's theme is:


Chinese Dragon Tales

It's a little round-up of four picture books focused on stories rooted in Chinese culture, with Chinese dragons:



The Paper Dragon, by Marguerite W. Davol
Illustrated by Robert Sabuda
Ages 5 - 8
* Summary courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl

Humble artist Mi Fei spends most of his time painting scenes of the glorious past on paper scrolls. The people of his village love to admire his epic portraits of gods, festivals, heroes, and great deeds. When news arrives one day that Sui Jen, the great dragon of Lung Mountain, has woken from his hundred years' sleep and is rampaging through the country, the villagers are sure that Mi Fei has enough knowledge of ancient heroes to save the day. But Mi Fei is just a simple artist! Can he live up to his village's expectations and convince the mighty dragon to sleep once more?



The Boy Who Painted Dragons
Written and Illustrated by Demi
Ages 7 - 10
* Summary courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl

 Ping paints dragons everywhere - on the walls, columns, doors, windows, tables, and chairs, and all over the ceiling and floors. All of the other children are in awe of his skill, but none of them know Ping's secret: he is terrified of dragons. No matter how many he paints, he still is unable to get over his fear. When the mighty Heavenly Dragon catches a glimpse of his art and decides to pay Ping a visit, the boy artist is in for a big shock... 



Chopsticks
Written and Illustrated by Jon Berkeley
Ages 4 - 8

Chopsticks is a small gray mouse, living on a floating restaurant in a busy harbor on the island of Hong Kong. The restaurant's entrance is flanked by two huge pillars, each of which has coiled around it a magnificent carved wooden dragon. One night – New Year's night, Chopsticks is going about his usual business of foraging for crumbs, when one of the dragons of the pillars speaks to him, and asks him for help with something very important. But how can one small mouse help a dragon made of wood and lacquer to realize his most cherished dream: to be free, so he can fly?



Dragon Dancing
Written by Carole Lexa Schaefer
Illustrated by Pierr Morgan
Ages 3 and up

A class of students listen to their teacher read a book about dragons. And then, during art class, when it's time to decorate for Mei Lin's birthday, the sparkly paper and ribbons give the kids a great idea. And very soon, a sparkle-headed Birthday Dragon is off exploring imaginary lands, far, far away...at least until they hear their teacher calling.


* * *

And so we've come to the end of Part 2 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. Be sure to come back next Friday, for Part 3 of 4, when we'll explore some more dragon tales...


 

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 1 of 4

We're getting a bit of a late start for the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, but let's not let that dampen our fun, shall we? Counting today, there are still four Fridays left for us to fill with fabulous books full of fantastic dragon stories of one sort or another.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl


A Bit of Explanation, for those new to Bugs and Bunnies, or new to this series:

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons is a series where we feature books with some sort of dragon connection, with posts appearing each Friday in January. It began here at Bugs and Bunnies as part of our 2012 observance of Appreciate a Dragon Day - a holiday celebrated annually on January 16th. The day officially came into being ten years ago, courtesy of author Donita K. Paul, to celebrate the release of her novel, DragonSpell (Waterbrook Press, 2004). Want more details? Click on any of the links above for all kinds of dragony fun. When you've had your fill, come on back here, and we'll get started with this year's bookish dragon festivities.


And now, on to the literary dragon fun:

New for this year: Themes! (Not planned, but the books did seem to just fall into categories of their own accord. Weird, how that happens sometimes, isn't it?)

This week's theme:


Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable

All of today's books are informational in nature. All but one contain brief descriptions of various myths, legends or stories specific to various world cultures and histories. And that one that doesn't? Well, we'll save it for last. It's kind of in a category all its own:



Dragons (Monsters and Mythical Creatures)
By Carla Mooney
Ages 13 and up

Dragons is a well-researched, informative book presenting a wide variety of information, images and illustrations on everything to do with dragons. Five chapters cover the general similarities and differences dragons have across different cultures and mythologies, content specific to Western dragons and Eastern dragons, animals that may have inspired dragon myths, and dragon depiction within pop culture. There are also useful sections at the end, detailing the author's sources, a list of various media to consult for further exploration, a content index, and picture credits.



Dragons (Mythologies)
By John Malam
Ages 8 - 10

This beautifully illustrated Dragons book focuses on dragon myths and stories within various cultures. It covers information, myths and legends about dragons of Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan, and India. For each of these areas of the world, general information is presented about how dragons were depicted and described, as well as brief retellings of one or two myths or stories from those cultures. A helpful glossary and index are included at the end.



A Time of Golden Dragons
Written by Song Nan Zhang and Hao Yu Zhang
Illustrated by Song Nan Zhang
Ages 9 - 12

A Time of Golden Dragons traces the history and significance of dragons in Chinese culture, from their earliest beginnings up through today. The authors weave together history, culture, myth, art and storytelling to give the reader a clear, easy-to-understand narrative of the ways dragons are used, referred to, and depicted by the Chinese people.

There are sections on Where Dragons Come From, the difference between Eastern and Western dragons, dragons as a symbol of imperial power, Where Dragons Live, dragon references and their meanings within the Chinese language, the significance of dragons in Chinese festivals, dragon references and use in modern Chinese culture, and the dragon's part in the Chinese time measurement system. Each page is accompanied by colorful and detailed illustration to enhance understanding of the text.



The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species (How to Train Your Dragon)
Written and Illustrated by Cressida Cowell
Ages 8 - 12

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, reluctant hero of the How to Train Your Dragon series, against the wishes of his Viking Barbarian father, Stoick the Vast, Chief of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, presents to the reader: The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species, which contains everything Hiccup has learned about dragons.

He includes sections on Dragon Anatomy, Nesting Sites, Dragon Eggs, Training Your Hunting or Lap Dragon, Dragon Riding, The Wilder Species, The Mighty Monsters, The Future of Dragons, and Know Your Dragons. Each section contains drawings, illustrations, typed information, and handwritten notes – some whole-page and some margin, and even a handy reference chart of dragon types and their respective characteristics. There is also a fold-out Map of the Barbaric Archipelago – the lands where Hiccup and the Hairy Hooligan Tribe and the dragons live and travel.

* * *

And so, that's that for this week. We hope you haven't yet had your dragon fill, though. Come on back next week for Part 2 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, when we delve into books with dragon lore from one particular corner of the world...


 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Dragon (Books) Are Returning...

The Third Annual Literary Appreciation of Dragon Series is most definitely on its way. Bit of a late start, as the first Friday in January has already whooshed past – dragonless. But there are still four Fridays left, and we here at Bugs and Bunnies have four Fridays' worth of deliciously dragon-y books we're excited to share with you!


If you're a regular reader here, you already know what's what. If you're new, clicking on the link up there in the first sentence of this post will take you to the main series page, where you can explore everything we've presented about dragon books so far, to your heart's content. And of course, regular readers are welcome to click, too, and reminisce.

Then, be sure to come back this Friday, January 9, 2105, for the first of four new posts full of fabulous dragon books. 

Until then, we'll leave you with this:

"We men dream dreams, we work magic, we do good, we do evil. The dragons do not dream. They are dreams. They do not work magic; it is their substance, their being. They do not do; they are."
                                         – Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series 2014 – Installment #19

All too soon, we've come to the last post for our Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. If you're new here, clicking on the link in that first sentence will bring you right up to speed. If you're not new here, you can click the link, too, for nostalgia or for a refresher...or not. But whether you're New or Not New, if you click, don't forget to come back to this post to see what's up for today.




The first three posts in this year's Picture Book and Poetry Palooza sub-theme have had the following Variations on the Overall Weirdo Theme:


And now, let's revel in one last variation for this 2014 series:


Animals Are People, Too (And Vice Versa)


Pretty self-explanatory, this one.

Also, if you'll recall from the Weirdly True post, we promised one anomaly would be included in this otherwise all-picture-book-and-poetry presentation: a novel. And today's post has that novel. (We're big on keeping our promises here at Bugs and Bunnies.) Here we go:



Stuart Little
Written by E.B. White
Pictures by Garth Williams
Ages 8 - 12
Summary graciously provided by Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl:

When the Little family welcomed their second son, Stuart, it was obvious from the start that he was a little...different. He wasn't much bigger than a mouse. In fact, he looked like a mouse in every way. Let no one say that the Littles weren't open-minded about things, though. From doll's clothes to a bed made out of a cigarette box to a tiny mallet to turn the faucet handle, the Littles made every effort to accommodate their unusual child.

Stuart could walk and talk almost immediately, and being the adventurous type, he got into quite a bit of mischief in his hometown of New York City. After befriending a pretty sparrow named Margalo, though, Stuart decides that he'll need to go out into the big wide world to find her after she migrates away. But it's dangerous being a mouse in a human's world... This city mouse will need to keep his wits about him as he ventures into the countryside on his own!



I'm a Manatee
By John Lithgow
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Ages Preschool - 3
Another Lovely Girl-provided summary:

One little boy is so sick of his humanity that in his dreams, he becomes a manatee! He and the other manatees spend their time enjoying their watery world and peacefully chowing down on their favorite foods. Good things don't last forever, though...

*An extra bit of fun: Also included with this book is a CD and musical score of the story, with lyrics by John Lithgow and music by Bill Elliott.



Have you ever seen a Moose taking a bath?
Story by Jamie McClaine
Art by April Goodman Willy
Ages 4 and up
Yet another Lovely-Girl-provided summary:

Maybe you have seen a moose taking a bath before, but never quite like this!

This particular moose isn't satisfied with just splashing around to get clean. Bath-time is a very serious event – one that requires goggles, a noseplug, a scrubby-dub brush, Mr. Moose Bubbles, and of course his ducky Bill Webber. Be sure to stand back as he gets ready to get in the water, or you might end up soaking wet, too!



No Moon, No Milk!
By Chris Babcock
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Ages 3 and up

Martha is sick of cowing around in a pasture. And when farmer Rob asks her what she would like to cow around in, her answer has him stumped: "The Mooooon."

Rob doesn't see how he can get Martha to the moon, but he has to do something to meet her demand. No moon, no milk!

So he tries a few things. He takes her surfing. He takes her to see an honest-to-goodness crater right here on Earth. He even takes her to Radio City Music Hall to see the famous Rockettes. But Martha is unmoved by all of it. The only thing she wants to do is cow around on the moon.

Finally, Rob suggests one last thing to try. But will it be enough to meet Martha's out-of-this-world demand?

* * *


As this is the last Friday in September, so this is the last post in the Fifth Annual Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. But never fear, we'll be back next year with a whole new bunch of wonderfully weird books to explore.

Until then, we'll leave you with this:


"The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it."

                                        – Hunter S. Thompson 


 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series 2014 – Installment #18

If you've been following along with our Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, we're glad you're back for more. And if you're visiting for the first time, well, we're glad you're here.




If you need a refresher on what this series is all about, clicking on that link up there at the beginning of the post will catch you up quite nicely. Then come on back here to keep the weirdness rolling.

So far in the Picture Book and Poetry Palooza that is this year's sub-theme within the Overall Weirdo Theme, we've frolicked through the following weekly Variations on the Overall Weirdo Themes:


And today, we bring you Installment #18:

Supernatural

Specifically, monsters. Not the dark, blood-curdling, super-scary kind. (We don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies.) Just the quirky ones:



The Monster Trap
Story and pictures by Dean Morrissey
Written by Dean Morrissey and Stephen Krensky
Ages 5 - 10

Paddy has come to stay with his grandfather for a few days. It's his first time there on his own, and Pop's place seems darker than Paddy remembers. That night, they listen to Monster Radio Theater, and when bedtime comes, Paddy is sure he hears the monster from the radio stories. Pop's solution? A monster trap, complete with "sure-fire, high-grade monster bait."

The next morning, the small trap is empty. Pop thinks that means there aren't any monsters. But Paddy thinks they were just too smart for the trap. So Pop and Paddy get to work building a bigger, smarter trap.

And if it works? Well, that could be a whole new problem.




I Need My Monster
Written by Amanda Noll
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Ages 5 - 8

When Ethan heads to bed one night, instead of his usual monster under the bed, he finds a note: "Gone fishing. Back in a week. – Gabe" 

Ethan can't sleep without his monster under his bed. And he can't go without sleep for a whole week. So he does the only thing he can think of – interview for a replacement.

But can any of the other monsters measure up to Gabe?

* An added treat: We found this video from SAG Foundation's StoryLineOnline.net, with actress Rita Moreno reading I Need My Monster, including animated illustrations from the book presented as she reads. A bit over 11 minutes, total, and very, very fun!



Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo
Written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
Ages 3 - 8

Professor Wormbog's beastie collection is incomplete. Though he has found a beastie for nearly every letter of the alphabet, from the Askinforit to the Yalapappas, there is one last beastie that still eludes him: the one for Z, the Zipperump-a-Zoo.

So the professor sets off, determined to catch one and complete his collection. He digs a pit. He fishes the sea. He tries to lure it out of the air. He climbs a craggy peak. He drops into caves. Each time, he finds something. But each time, it is not the Zipperump-a-Zoo. Finally, the disappointed professor gives up and heads home, empty-handed.

But sometimes? The very thing a person searches for the hardest tends to turn up in the most unexpected of places...




The Mysterious Tadpole
Written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Ages 5 - 8

Every year, Uncle McAllister – who lives in Scotland – sends Louis a birthday present for his nature collection. And when this year's gift arrives, Louis proclaims it "the best one yet," and takes it to school the next day. His teacher proclaims it a tadpole, and Louis names it Alphonse.

By summer, Alphonse still looks nothing like a frog, and has outgrown his jar, the kitchen sink, the bathtub, and even the apartment. Louis decides what Alphonse really needs is a swimming pool – which they don't have, and can't afford to build. Though nobody wants to, it looks like the only option is to take Alphonse to the zoo. But that night, Louis remembers the middle school pool, which sits unused all summer. He happily sneaks Alphonse in, and it works...until the swim team shows up for its first practice, and the coach says Alphonse has to be gone by the next day.

Louis is out of options and in despair when he runs into his friend, Miss Seevers, the librarian, on his way home. He tells her his problem, and then takes her to meet Alphonse. And then, Miss Seevers comes up with a plan to help. A plan so far-fetched, it just might work.

* * *

See? Not scary at all. Be sure to come back next Friday, September 26th, for Installment #19 of the Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, when animals and people show there's more to them than meets the eye.

Until then, we'll leave you with this:


"The possibilities that are suggested in quantum physics tell us that everything that we're looking at may not be in fact there, so the underlying nature of being is weird."

                                    – William Shatner