Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fairy Tale Haiku -- 28

Twelve Dancing Princesses

Soles and souls tattered
From nightly dancing. Soldier
Saves the last princess

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fairy Tale Haiku -- 27

A little early...


Miller boasts. Daughter
Threatened. Who will save her neck?
Name: Rumpelstiltskin


Why I will not use, and would strongly recommend against, T-Mobile:

1. On September 15, 2011, my cell phone and wallet were stolen. As the cell phone was my only phone and I did not have access to another phone, I could not report the theft to T-Mobile until I ended up in the hospital a few weeks later.

2. On October 15, 2011, I contacted T-Mobile, via my sister’s cell phone. After several minutes and a few transfers, reported the theft with T-Mobile and canceled my T-Mobile account. I asked the representative to send me a final bill.

3. On November 1, 2011, I had not yet received a final bill, but I did receive a letter from ER Solutions, a collections company working on behalf of T-Mobile. I wrote to ER Solutions and explained my situation. Presumably, ER Solution bounced my account back to T-Mobile because...

4. On November 17, 2011, I received a statement from T-Mobile, charging me for October into November. Clearly, at that time, my account had not been canceled. I wrote to T-Mobile, explaining my situation and my concern that my account had not been canceled.

5. On December 10, 2011, I received a letter from Angela Long, a Customer Relations agent for T-Mobile. Not only did her letter not address my concern about my account still accruing charges, now up until December 4, 2011, when it was supposed to have been closed on October 15, 2011, the charges on my account had now jumped almost another $100.

6. At the end of December, 2011, I received a letter from Melissa Vaughn, Customer Relations. It stated that “per contractual agreement” I am responsible for the any charges incurred between the date of the theft (September 15, 2011) and the reporting date (October 15, 2011). Fair enough, but surely the “contractual agreement” charges would not extend past the reporting date and date the account was closed (October 15, 2011). I have been billed for the remainder of October, all of November and up until December 4, 2011.

7. On January 20, 2012, I received yet another bill from T-Mobile, still reflecting charges through December 4, 2011, but no answers to my concerns or requests.

I have repeatedly requested, now six times, five in writing, a final bill for my T-Mobile account showing charges only through October, 15, 2011. Not only have I not received one, charges continued to accrue on my account long after the closing date.

T-Mobile may provide great service, but the customer service is unhelpful, ineffective and at times quite snide. If you choose T-Mobile, pray you never have any problems with your phone or your service.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book 102

Treasury of Fairy Tales, written by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Sophy Williams, Oxford University Press 2003

Everything about this edition of fairy tales is soft and rather pastel -- from the cover art, to the inside illustrations, to the rendering of some very well-known fairy tales. That means, even when reinterpreting tales by the brothers Grimm, there is remarkably very little death, and what there is is quickly glossed over in this book. I don't mind the darker, sharper tales, in fact I often prefer them. When reading to a three-year-old, however, discretion should be practiced. As this book is very unlikely to induce nightmares (a rather noble goal), it is a very good introduction to fairy tales to young listeners.

The cover artwork and illustrations are both glowing and soft. I would be shocked if the medium used to produce the art was not pastel. Because the illustrator has managed to not produce the muddy effect so common with pastel work (well, mine anyway) and instead has created something bright and lovely, I'm impressed and quite stunned by the beauty of the illustrations.

*For other reviews, please see my companion blog Books I Buy and Why

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book 101

Are All The Giants Dead?, written by Mary Norton, illustrated by Brian Froud, Magic Carpet Books (Harcourt Brace), 1997 (first published 1975)

When I was looking for Bed-knob and Broomstick to purchase, I came across this title by Mary Norton. The title grabbed my attention, but the illustrator, Brian Froud, made me want to buy the book. Visions of Labyrinth danced through my head -- hello, Goblin King!

So, of course, I bought the book. And read it. And loved it. Are All the Giants Dead? serves a healthy dose of fantasy to the imaginative and brings to life (and ages) many favorite fairy tale characters. For example, Beauty of Beauty and the Beast, left behind her svelte figure and took on middle-aged proportions not very different from mine. I had to love that. The book is a great romp as a read. It also was surprisingly educational. I thought Jack-of-the-Beanstalk was Jack-the-Giant-Killer. Not so! They originally were two separate people. Clearly, I am not the only one who mixed them up, because a movie coming out this year is entitled Jack the Giant Killer, but is about Jack of the Beanstalk.

The illustrations are perfect -- as can be expected from the premiere illustrator of goblins, hobgoblins and fairies of our age. Visions of Labyrinth will dance through your head.

* For reviews on other books, please see my companion blog Books I Buy and Why

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Book 100

Bed-Knob and Broomstick, written by Mary Norton, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Harcourt 1943 and 1957

This Christmas season, as well as watching Mary Poppins, we watched Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I loved that the movie was set during the second world war and I wondered how it was handled in the book, so I bought the book. Turns out it wasn't handled at all. The whole premise for the student witch to learn magic in the movie does not exist in the book. Further, the book was actually two books put together: The Magic Bed-Knob and Bonfires and Broomsticks. The movie is very loosely based on the two books.

Bed-Knob and Broomstick is still a most enjoyable read. If I preferred the Miss Price in the movie to the one in the book, I preferred the Charlie in the book to the one in the movie. If I missed the noble intent in the movie, I liked the time travel in the book.

The black-and-white illustrations have a charmingly vintage feel. I think Erik Blegvad could have inspired Edward Gorey. And that is a very good thing.

*For more reviews on books, please see my companion blog, Books I Buy and Why

Fairy Tale Haiku -- 26


Was not Jack, Giant Slayer:
Two people -- Who knew?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book 99

Mary Poppins, written by P.L. Travers, illustrated by Mary Shepard

Over the Christmas holiday, we watched Mary Poppins with the always wonderful Julie Andrews. As enjoyable as the Disney movie was, I did find myself wishing for more of the book.

Mary Poppins is a perfect book to read to my son now. He doesn't need illustrations on every page and he can sit still for an entire chapter. Why Mary Poppins is so perfect, though, is because every chapter is a short story. The stories all fit together for form a longer story, but they also can stand alone quite well. My favorite chapter is entitled The Dancing Cow. Those who have seen the movie may not recall a dancing cow. That's because it is not in the movie. And that is one of the reasons why the book is so much better than the movie.

Mary Shepard was the daughter of E. H. Shepard, and E. H. Shepard, as every bibliophile knows, illustrated the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Suffice to say, the talent gene was passed on.

*For other reviews, please see my companion blog: Books I Buy and Why

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book 98

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, written by Bill Martin, illustrated by Lois Ehlert, Beach Lane Books; Anv edition (September 22, 2009)

Thomas checked this book out from the library about a month ago and I had to sneak it out of his room to return it (on time, of course). So, I had to buy him his own copy. He just has to wait until Christmas.

Right now, he is really into letters. He'll pick up a "V" and say "V is for violin", all through his alphabet letter, but in random order. He also picks up a book and "reads" it by recognizing letters. Maybe that's why he likes alphabet books in general. He likes Chicka Chicka Boom Boom in particular because of the sounds of the words within; i.e., Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM. He even helps me read it.

His favorite book to hear every night is still Top Cat, written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, so naturally he is drawn to her illustrations in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. They are vivid, dimensional and deceptively simple.

*For other reviews on books to buy, please see Books I Buy and Why

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fairy Tale Haiku -- 25

The Snow Queen

Devil’s mirror smashed,
Splinters shatter, scatter. Fill
Eyes of innocents

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fairy Tale Haiku -- 24

Little Match Girl

Three matches for warmth:
First shows Christmas tree, then goose,
Then dead grandmother