grandchild, and only granddaughter Alathea decided to join her brother and
cousins in providing a guest book review for Grandpa’s blog.
As was the case
with Andrew’s first book review, Alathea cannot yet speak, but I believe I have
conscientiously represented her opinion by inferring from her expressions,
gestures, and sounds.
The Very Bad Bunny by Marilyn Sadler, illustrated by Roger Bollen, is a third person narrative of P.J. Funnybunny, the picaresque hero of the
Alathea was excited
to hear the main character’s name, thinking it signaled an aptronym. This
allayed a rather dark sense of foreboding she felt from the title. But alas,
P.J. was not very funny at all and the book does indeed take a dark and
sinister twist. Alathea wants to be clear however, that the title most
definitely does NOT refer to P.J. who was by no means a very bad bunny.
P.J. was simply a
bit clumsy and careless as children often are. He created small inconveniences
for his family, by accidentally spilling, breaking, or ruining things. Alathea
found this aspect of P.J.’s character resonated deeply with her, as she
sometimes slobbers rather excessively on her brother Andrew’s toys. She doesn’t
try to make them icky, and she certainly isn’t being bad – just a child. She is
confident she will grow out of it.
P.J. does have one
moment of willful disobedience when he throws his pillow out the window. Alathea
is no apologist for P.J. His behavior was wrong and he knew it, but he’s only
human – ermmm??? anthropomorphized leporidae after all.
But the real drama
in the tale starts when P.J.’s cousin Binky shows up. Binky is a true terror
and intentionally naughty. And suddenly P.J. wasn’t so bad. When Binky finally
leaves, P.J.’s family is so happy they hoist P.J. on their shoulders and
everyone is happy.
In spite of the
illustrator’s portrayal of this as a heartwarming, joyous occasion, Alathea is
concerned it could send the wrong message to some young readers – that it’s OK
to be bad, as long as you are not quite so bad as the next guy (or bunny in
Alathea is thankful
her behavior is not judged in comparison to that of her cousins Luke or Judah.
She believes that there is right – and there is wrong. They are the standards
by which we should be judged. Alathea felt the ephemeral nature of the
Funnybunny’s conspicuously dualistic ideology will only lead to confusion and
disappointment for P.J. if he is not subjected to a more assessable paradigm.
thought the bunnys were cute, even Binky, though she feels he needs some tough love. She was glad for the happy
ending. She likes P.J.
Alathea gives it 3
Oh, and Andrew
couldn’t help but peek in. He feels that now that he’s reading Tolkien (Mr. Bliss) these types of books are rather childish. He just wanted to see the bunnies.
When possible, I like to watch a film rendition after
completing a classic, and I include a brief comment at the end of my book
review. However, I’ve fallen behind a bit, and just recently got to film
adaptations of four of my books from last year – three of which were of major
film serial production:Atlas Shrugged
Part I (2011), Atlas Shrugged Part II (2012), and Atlas Shrugged: Who is John
Galt (2014). Three films was probably a good idea, but entirely recasting each
successive film was not. No exaggeration – 100% recast each film.There were a few other minor problems, but it
was pretty faithful. I don’t recommend it though. If you are a fan of Atlas
Shrugged the novel, you should probably skip the films. If you are not a fan of
the book, you should definitely skip the films.
War and Peace: 1956 starring Audrey Hepburn and Henry Fonda.
I was pretty skeptical that a single film could do this justice, but this was a
pretty decent adaptation and the 3 ½ hour length helped. It was a little light
on War, both in how much of the film portrayed the war, as well as how it
portrayed war. The war scenes should have been epic – cast of thousands – but
it looked like they tried to cut costs with a cast of hundreds. But I’ll
forgive it. It isn’t the most compelling part of the story, and the rest of the
film adaptation was pretty faithful. It cut some parts down considerably, but
the man themes – the lives of Pierre (Fonda) and Natasha (Hepburn) were pretty
Great Expectations: 2012 starring Jeremy Irvine as Pip and
Holliday Grainger as Estella is faithful to the book, well cast, well
portrayed. I’m usually not a fan of film adaptations of Dickens, but this was
quite good. Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch was especially good.
Tom Jones – I watched two versions: 1997 A&E / BBC 5 hour
television mini-series was pretty good, but I expected to prefer the 1962 film
with Albert Finney as Tom and Susannah York as Sophie.It won the Academy Award for best picture
after all and four other Oscars, and five more nominations including Best Actor
for Finney. I am apparently no film critic, but I thought it was rather awful.
As usual in my experience, BBC does a better job with Fielding, Austen,
Have you seen any of these films? Can you recommend a better version?
Our local library was
having a fundraiser with a big sale of old and rare books – these were not
library copies, but books people donated for the fund raiser. I picked up a
circa 1940s edition of Alice in
Wonderland for my daughter, $1 and a two-volume, 1967
edition of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes
(4 novels + 56 short stories). The box is in fair condition, but the books
themselves are in very good condition. $8.
I began reading Les Misérables; I’m only about 100 pages
in, of 1300, but it’s very good so far.
But I must say that
title is a terrible misnomer. Why Victor Hugo named it Less Miserable – silly French
spelling aside – I’ll never know. I can’t imagine anything MORE miserable. It’s
the story of poor Jean Valjean and I definitely think More Miserable would have been a better title.
using NOVA this week to display my Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law:
A two-volume, 1938 Heritage
Press, Heritage Club edition of Les
Misérables, illustrated by Lynd Ward and translated by Lascelles Wraxall.
It is in nearly new condition and has the original slip case. I’ve mentioned
elsewhere that I have a hardcover edition of every book I’ve read on my quest,
but this is now one of my most treasured.
(stealing the fateful loaf of bread)
always get my sense of humor, and I’m sure it’s less obvious in print – so, I know
the title is not Less Miserable.)