Thursday, July 27, 2017

Disney Princess Post- Sleeping Beauty Children's Books

So continuing with the Disney related theme of this week this review contains three quick reviews of my favorite Disney Princess: AURORA from SLEEPING BEAUTY!! 

Sleeping Beauty: 
A Moment to Remember (2010)
Written by Catherine McCafferty
Illustrations by Disney Storybook Artists

Synopsis: Aurora simply wants to spend time with Prince Phillip, but she has had to stay busy with planning parties and other princess duties that they haven't had a lot of time to spend together lately! Well hopefully that will get remedied as soon as possible.

My feelings: This was only about a ten minute read for me, if that. A child would love this book. Its story is simplistic with that we should spend time with those we love. It also is about never having too much time for them as well. This premise made me greatly enjoy this short read. I could see a mother reading this to their child and the child greatly enjoying it. It is also heavily illustrated with beautiful drawings that a child would enjoy and a mother can point out while reading to engage the child. Overall a great read for such a short book.


The Perfect Party (2011)

Written by Wendy Loggia
Illustrated by Studio IBOIX and Gabriella Matta

Synopsis: The fairies have lived in the castle with Aurora for a year now, but they still miss aspects of the cottage they used to live in with her. Aurora decides to throw the fairies a party to bring back some of the woods to them in the castle. 

My Feelings: This is a bit longer read than the other two books on this list. This one is a chapter book for a little older audience than the other two. This book showcases the importance of helping friends and letting them know how much you care for them. Also it shows that you should be concerned about your friends like as well, since Aurora discovers what the three fairies are missing the most from the cottage and brings them to the castle for the party. The book has beautiful illustrations that can engage someone that is learning to read. Parents, I would recommend this to purchase for your kids that you are wanting to engage in literature, especially those that you know love the Disney Princesses. It was a pleasure to read this book and for an adult it didn't take that long to read (30 minutes). I walked away from it thinking that I definitely would want to get this for my own nieces, if they were younger. 

Sleeping Beauty:
Aurora's Slumber Party (2010)
Adapted from an original story in "The Princess Party Book"
Written by Mary Man-Kong
Illustrated by Francesco Legramandi and Gabriella Matta

Synopsis: Prince Phillip is going to be away from the castle for a few days, so what better way to stay busy than invite your friends over for a slumber party? Aurora invites her fairy friends over and has a wonderful time teaching them that there is more to life than just their magic!

My Feelings: This was another quick read! I loved that this book had the message that there are times you should not take a shortcut (magic in this case) and other times you should (again with magic here). It also showed the importance of having friends and doing things with them. I really think that this is a book that children would enjoy, especially young girls. The book shows different things that you could do at a slumber party (like having a talent show). It would be somewhat educational for a young child, but also the illustrations would be something to discuss and engage with as well. I can see this being a book that a parent would read over and over again to their child that is going through a Disney Princess phase. If you don't mind that then you should definitely pick this one up for them. It will be worth your time and money!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Review: Vidia and the Fairy Crown by Laura Driscoll

As part of "Disney week" here is a review of one of the Disney Fairies books. If you have been following for a minute you may remember that I reviewed the manga of this book. You can read that review HERE. The book version was published long before the manga version, just to clarify on their publication order. I hope you enjoy this review! 

Vidia and the Fairy Crown
By Laura Driscoll
Published by Random House in 2006

"Prilla looked Vidia in the eye. "I want to help you," she said, 
"because I remember what it's like to feel alone."

Central Theme:

This version of the "Vidia and the Fairy Crown" story focuses much on the same themes that were present in the manga version as well. This being that someone has to be responsible for the words that they say. In this case, don't say you are going to do something unless you are ready to be held accountable for saying that you were going to do it. In this Vidia said to two fairies (Tinker Bell and Raini) that she was going to steal the Faerie Queen Crown during an important party. When the crown comes up missing the first suspect? Vidia, of course. The other central theme is that you have to be willing sometimes to prove when you are actually right and you should defend yourself when appropriate. 

My Feelings:

This version of the story was very similar to the manga version. The main difference between the manga and the book was that due to the way that a visual representation of the story had to be presented there were moments were characters had to explain things a bit more in the manga. In the book version things seem to flow better. Between the two I would highly recommend the book version of the story over the manga. This being said though, both are very good for enjoyable reading. 

The story seemed to be quicker in the book version. I think this is because I knew were it was going due to having read the manga. Also I felt less distracted from the overall plot, even though there are illustrations within the book version. These illustrations seemed focused on providing just some visualization that children would need. The illustrations are very beautiful here, as well. I actually preferred them over the artwork in the manga. They were stunningly beautiful. The below picture is just one example of the artwork contained within. 

I really loved the message of this book. Stick up for yourself when you are right, even if it comes across as having a bad attitude. When you know that you are right and that you didn't do something you are being blamed for, let people know. Figure out how you can change mindsets. It may mean going on a wild goose chase to figure out what happened, but at the end people will know if you put in effort that you must be telling the truth. Your character will be better for it. Vidia doesn't become this instantly likable character through this, since she is really the meanest of the Disney faeries, but she has a charm to her throughout this. I also feel that Prilla really helps to make her more likable in this. Prilla is someone that helps her greatly within the context of the story. Prilla's story is explained here and lets you know exactly why she would help someone that has done truly heinous things to Pixie Hollow (the faerie's home). One of these evils that she has done to Pixie Hollow is mentioned here, so you get a glimpse of some of the other tales that have came before this particular book as well.

Who I Would and Wouldn't Recommend This Book To:

I wouldn't recommend this book to someone that isn't into the magical world of fairies. The entire book is focused around them, so why put yourself through that? Also if you are wanting to just focus on Tinker Bell you won't find that here. She is a side character and mentioned, but she is in it barely for like 2 pages for the most part. The main character of this book is in the title, which is true for any of the Disney Fairies books (see about that below). For someone looking for a serious story or high class literature do you really think this is that? If so you are mistaken. This is a children's book.

I would recommend this to people that don't mind that this a children's book and that it will be a quick read for those of us that may be older than the target audience. There is still enjoyment to be found within the pages of this book. Not every book has to be a "To Kill A Mockingbird" type of read. We, as readers, are allowed to read fun, short reads when we want. For those of you that realize this, you will enjoy this. Also if you love Disney Fairies this book is going to make you happy because as said earlier that is all there is here; Beautiful fairies are the main characters. 

Other Things to Consider:

Remember that there is a manga version of this book available as well by Tokyopop. This was already reviewed on the site previously (The link was mentioned above for the review). If you are a visual person this was published on July 25, 2017 and may be a better overall fit for you. Both, however, are enjoyable if you want to read them both. 

Disney Fairies is also a book series that has had numerous titles within it. These are covers for just a few of them. There are many others, if you are interested in reading about other faeries from Pixie Hollow. 

You Can Purchase
"Vidia and the Fairy Crown" 

Book Depository- Not Currently Available

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cassie's Library Presents... DISNEY WEEK!

So, I have realized I might have an unhealthy obsession with the world of DISNEY. 
I have previously reviewed two of the manga sets that NetGalley offered

Then I noticed that this week I was going to be reviewing two more Disney related books (starting to see a pattern here yet?). So I decided that I would simply try to get it out of my system by doing an entire week related to nothing but DISNEY related books! That being said though I am starting with a Q & A over Disney and myself. You can see some of my Disney love in the following questions. Enjoy! 

Why Do I Love Disney?

Most of my life I have been forced into being an adult, even as a child (i.e. before I should have been). I didn't get to watch many of the Disney features as a child. I didn't get to enjoy them and have those nostalgic memories of them as most children have. The memories that I have of Disney primarily as an adult. The fancy and carefree nature of many of the stories. The crisp clear lines. The stories of love conquering so much hate. This type of story, no matter how cliched you may think it is, is important for people that have been through horrendous things, like myself. To have an entire company that you can guarantee is going to have positive messages in the vast majority of the films they create and present to the world is vital for someone looking for that type of storytelling. Also many aspects of Disney and their related franchises are simplistic. They do not require someone to be overly intelligent or to engage with super deep meanings, though often there are some deep meanings if you are wanting to hunt for them. You, however, can enjoy Disney and their properties on a surface, mindless level and never come away feeling disappointed. This is why I hug tight to the different Disney franchises. 

Favorite Disney Princess?

My favorite Disney Princess is:

Yes, I love Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). Her aesthetic (look) is beautiful to me, but also I have always enjoyed the fact that her story involves a Princess saving her. What can I say? I like the cliche of a damsel in distress needing saving. While I know she is not represented as the "strongest" Princess. I mean duh Mulan has a lot more "strength" if we were judging solely on that. I just enjoy the classic story of "Sleeping Beauty" and enjoy this representation of her. I enjoy her so much that I literally had my birthday cake this year as her.  

Favorite Disney Animated Movie?

I can't just choose one. This is so hard for me to do! Okay fine... It is a little known Disney film, but it relates back to one of my favorite book series as well.

I love "The Black Cauldron" movie that Disney made. It is based on the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. At some point I will probably reread these books and review them because I love them so much. This movie though is not widely popular as a Disney film, but it holds a dear place in my heart. The characters are similar to their representation in the book series. The animation is also on par for normal Disney films. Every single time I watch this my heart soars and yes I have watched it way too many times for one person. Perhaps I am trying to make up for those of you that probably have never seen it?

Favorite Disney Live-Action Film?

This one was super easy for me. There was no contest. This has been my favorite Live-Action Disney film since forever (I snuck watching this as a child) and it will never be replaced. I still sing this song from it: 


Yes, my favorite live-action Disney film is Pete's Dragon. This film is about a boy and his imaginary friend, Elliott (who is a dragon). He is an orphan and it is a magical musical romp of an adventure. I know they recently remade this, but I have not forced myself to watch it because I do not want it to alter my memories of this particular film. 

 So these are just a few of my favorite Disney related things. This week you will also get the opportunity to see my opinions on different books that are Disney related! 

(All images and videos are property of the Disney company and are used here for blogging and review purposes. All rights are still theirs and theirs alone.)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Old Blog Post Saturday - For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange

Once Upon A Time...

Cassie used to do another blog, as "Optimistic Reader". 
These are those reviews:
(These are formatted as best to their original view as possible to show my own progression with reviewing)

For Color Girls who have considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf
by Ntozake Shange

I am a huge fan of the movie "For Colored Girls" that is based off of this book and I thought that I should finally look to see if my University Library had a copy of it. Indeed they did have a copy of it. This book is done in poetry form, which makes it a unique reading experience. Also it gives a unique voice to the characters contained within as a result of this chosen form by Shange.

I devoured the pages within an hour because Shange's prose is interesting, engaging, and insightful. This book is riveting and really showcases well the voice of an African-American woman. We can learn from this book about their struggles and experiences. I would recommend this to anyone that is in a field that works with a variety of individuals, such as a social worker. The book tells you how women, not just African-american, struggle with the choices they have to make. If you understand Shange's words you will come away changed for the better for having read it. 

My favorite part of the book is "He nearly walked away with all my stuff". This is about giving someone else the power over your life. Not recognizing your own individual self-worth.Truly letting someone else walk away with everything you have and could ever desire. It is hurtful, but there is power in recognizing that you got out of that bad relationship and didn't go back to it. Shange embodies the emotions that someone feels when they come from this dark place. Only someone that has either been there or truly understands the human emotional spectrum can write as Shange does.

This will give you some great insights and will also move you to tears by the end. It is a highly recommended read for another wanting to step outside of their world. Be willing to explore worlds that you might not be a part of, but will learn a great deal from if you simply examine it. Reading a book is a good way to start that journey.

Until next time... Stay Optimistic!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

TOPIC CONVERSATION: Five Films To Watch To Help Understand the African-American Experience Part 1 (MY EDITION)

 I mentioned on my posting of "You Can't Touch My Hair" by Phoebe Robinson (review here) that I would post some important African-American media (movies and television shows) that can help showcase the experiences of African-Americans. These are films that I either want to watch or have seen before. Even though I am not African-American I know that these films speak to that experience based on not only my own perceptions of the films that have helped to start to educate me on these matters, but also due to hearing their importance in that community. This are not in any order or any importance order either. These are also just a limited number of the possible films you can watch. These are just the ones that immediately come to my own mind that you can view to better understand these experiences. Without further ado:


1. Dear White People (2014)

Reason for Inclusion Here: This film tells the story about how college students that just so happen to be African-American experience different aspects of the college experience. This film is within the last ten years, so it is pretty focused on racial issues that are currently occurring within our society. I have personally yet to see the movie, but have watched the Netflix series that has been developed from this film. If this film is anything like the Netflix series it is vital viewing to help educate yourself on these experiences. 

2. Set it Off (1996)

Reason for Inclusion Here: While this film is just a great film, the realities that each of the four main characters encompass about the African-American experience is also important. They each showcase different experiences of how these four women have had to live as African-American women to survive within our society, which ultimately leads them to decide to become bank robbers. This is a very serious movie, so don't think that premise of bank robbers is a comedic element. It isn't. This is about the realities of the world making you do something that you never thought you would do because of racial issues that are contained within our society. This is a film that may not seem like it would educate you, but if you understand those underlying messages it will make you understand these experiences very concretely. 

3. The Long-Walk Home (1990)

Reason for Inclusion Here: To understand the African-American experience in American society you have to look at the history of the Civil Rights Movement as well. You have to begin to grasp that slavery did not end racial prejudices within our society. This film focuses on racial issues that were alive and well in the south. This is done in a more approachable manner than some other films in this particular film wheelhouse. This film would be a good starting point for someone from my own race (white) to start off with, since one of the main characters is this. This, however, should not be the only film that you view related to these experiences because it will present a limited view. It coupled with another couple of movies will greatly aid you towards understanding the issues we have with racism in our country and that they were prevalent in our past as well. 

4. Fruitvale Station (2013)

Reason for Inclusion Here: While I have never seen this film myself. I am aware of the contents because I know what caused this film to be made. This film is based on a real life occurrence where an African-American male was killed by a transit officer. I used to live in San Francisco, so many friends made me aware of this particular incident. Cell phone footage was taken of this incident and showcased horrifically how African-American people can be treated by those in authority. This is a much watch film and as I type this I realize I will need to watch this soon as well. 

5. The Ghosts of Mississippi (1996) 

Reason for Inclusion Here: This film focuses on important historical elements of racism as well. This one focuses mostly on the trial of the killer of Medgar Evers, a prominent civil rights leader. For years, the gentleman was tried for his death, but had two hung juries. This film showcases what happens when someone steps up to help the widow of Evers and it ultimately showcases the experiences of African-Americans within the judicial system. It is another important film to begin to grasp some of the racial issues we have still within many American society.

What I would like to do with this particular blog posting is pose a question to the readers: What are some films that you may be aware of that shine some light on the experiences of African-American individuals in American society? Television shows are acceptable as well. In a month or two (depending on how many comments are given) I will try to watch these films and discuss why they are important to the overall conversation about African-American experiences.