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World’s Tiniest Disney Princesses

Some people can’t get enough of Disney princesses. But these are the smallest (and cutest) I’ve ever seen. Thanks to Karen Marie/Belly Beautiful Portraits, Genevieve Shaw Brown, and ABC news.

“No doubt these tiny babies will always be precious princesses to their parents, but now they have the photos to prove it.

Disney’s “amazing tales of love and heroism have always been an inspiration to me,” California-based photographer Karen Marie told ABC News.”

PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot. <p itemprop=

Marie decided to let her favorite Disney films inspire her work, putting out a call for newborn babies for a princess-themed photo shoot at her Belly Beautiful Portraits studio.

Six babies participated, all of whom were about two weeks old at the time of the shoot, Marie said.

The studio decided which baby would be dressed as each princess before they arrived.

PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot. PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot.

Marie and the babies’ parents were surprised to find that the portraits now are being enjoyed and shared by people around the world.

“I hope it’s because I captured a small portion of the Disney story in each image and that people see the beauty in what I was trying to create,” Marie said.

Marie, who has been a maternity and newborn photographer for more than a decade, said this shoot was special.

“I love seeing the parents doting over their babies dressed as princesses and their reactions to my finished work,” she said.

PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot. PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot.

The babies’ gowns were created by Sew Trendy Accessories and are now available for sale, so parents can create their own Disney princess-themed photo shoots if they choose.

PHOTO: A photographer turned newborn babies into Disney princesses for a magical photo shoot.

Marie said she has plans for additional Disney princess- and heroine-themed photo shoots in the future.

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How Disney Princesses’d Look With Real Hair

By Loryn Brantz at http://www.boredpanda.com/disney-princesses-realistic-hair-loryn-brantz/

Ladies, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

Besides all the mermaids, sorcerers, witches and princes, there’s another aspect of Disney princesses’ lives that just doesn’t add up. Loryn Brantz, a staff illustrator at Buzzfeed, noticed that their hair often behaves in strange and unrealistic ways, so she decided to show how they might look if their hair behaved the way ours does.

Ariel

Ariel with wet hair

Belle

Belle with her hair stuck to her lip gloss

Cinderella

Cinderella with bed head

Mulan

Mulan with static

Elsa

Elsa with her roots showing

Jasmine

Jasmine with realistic hair volume

Snow White

Snow White with moisture frizz

Pocahontas

Pocahontas with her hair in a twister


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The True Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales

This fascinating piece is by Valerie Ogden at The Huffington Post.

Fairy tales, gripping, magical and inspiring, are master narratives. Children subconsciously recall their messages as they grow older, and are forced to cope with real injustices and contradictions in their lives. Some fairy tales are based on legends that incorporated a spiritual belief of the culture in which they originated, and were meant to emulate truth.

Numerous fairy tales, and the legends behind them, are actually watered-down versions of uncomfortable historical events. These darker stories might be too terrifying for today’s little lambkins, as well as some adults! Their horrific origins, which often involve rape, incest, torture, cannibalism and other hideous occurrences, are brimming with sophisticated and brutal morality. Their images cannot be dispelled easily and their lessons are more powerful than the present-day, innocuous fables they resemble.

In the early 1800’s Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected stories that depicted the unpredictable and often unforgiving life experienced by central Europeans. These brothers, determined to preserve the Germanic oral story telling that was vanishing, poured over the folklore of the region. Their first collection of stories was based on actual, gruesome events. However, they had to provide lighter interpretations of these factual incidents in order to sell books. Consequently they paid attention to previously printed fairytales, particularly those of Charles Perrault. As early as the 17th century, this Frenchman who is thought to be the father of fairy tales, created some of the most imaginative and delightful stories ever told. His confabulations of a pumpkin carriage and Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, for example, are magnificently enchanting. His original Cinderella, based on a true story, contains violent elements as well, since the wicked stepsisters butcher their own feet while trying to get into the slipper that the Prince had found.

Perrault’s tales, albeit charming, were unsentimental; for they were intended for adults, because no children’s literature existed at the time. His suspense story, BLUEBEARD, reads like a crime thriller, with the bloody knives and curious dead wives, his moral, that women should be less nosy, apparent. Perrault based his fairy tale on two accounts of dark depravity in Brittany, France. The earlier of the two accounts dealt with a savage, 6th century ruler. The second detailed the acts of a nobleman, named Gilles de Rais, who tortured, mutilated, raped and murdered hundreds of innocent children. My book explores the life and crimes of this tragic, historic figure.

The almost barbaric episodes that follow are just a smattering of fairy tales, as we know them today, derived from spoken legends which were based on facts. The morals these stories convey are far more important than the events themselves, the circumstances of which are often forgotten. These cautionary tales, where good conquers evil, the wicked get punished, the righteous live happily ever after, offer hope that one can do something positive about changing oneself and the world.

snow white

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
The fairy tale is based on the tragic life of Margarete von Waldeck, a 16th century Bavarian noblewoman. Margarete grew up in Bad Wildungen, where her brother used small children to work his copper mine. Severely deformed because of the physical labor mining required, they were despairingly referred to as dwarfs. The poison apple is also rooted in fact; an old man would offer tainted fruits to the workers, and other children he believed stole from him.

Margarete’s stepmother, despising her, sent the beauty, to the Brussels court to get rid of her. There Prince Philip II of Spain became her steamy lover. His father, the king of Spain, opposing the romance, dispatched Spanish agents to murder Margarete. They surreptitiously poisoned her.

rapunzel

Rapunzel
Rapunzel draws upon an early Christian story. In the third century A.D. a prosperous pagan merchant, living in Asia Minor, so adored his beautiful daughter he forbade her to have suitors. Accordingly he locked her in a tower when he traveled. There is no mention how hair became important, but she converted to Christianity, praying so loudly when the merchant left, her devotions reverberated throughout town. The merchant, informed of her actions, dragged her before the Roman pro-consul who insisted the father behead her or forfeit his fortune if she should refuse to give up her newfound religion. The father decapitated her but was killed by a lightning strike soon after. She became the martyr, Saint Barbara, revered by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Bluebeard
Perrault wove his story around Conomor the Cursed, the Breton chief who had been forewarned he would be slain by his own son. As soon as one of his wives became pregnant, he murdered her. But Perrault was more fascinated by Gilles de Rais, a wealthy 15th century nobleman, a hero of the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc’s protector on the battlefield. After he left the military he became a notorious serial killer of children. He was given the nickname, Bluebeard, because his horse’s sleek fur looked blue in the daylight. At his shocking trial, he described in detail how he had preyed upon and tortured innocent children. Perrault drew upon these facts to conjure up his own nightmarish character.

hansel

Hansel and Gretel
The tale of Hansel and Gretel could have been told to keep children from wandering off. But during the great famine of 1315-1317 A. D. that crushed most of continental Europe and England, disease, mass death, infanticide and cannibalism increased exponentially. Seeking relief, some desperate parents deserted their children and slaughtered their draft animals.

Or Hansel and Gretel might have stumbled upon the home of the successful baker, Katharina Schraderin. In the 1600s, she concocted such a scrumptious ginger bread cookie that a jealous male baker accused her of being a witch. After being driven from town, a posse of angry neighbors hunted her down, brought her back to her home, and burned her to death in her own oven.

Little Jack Horner
This story matches events in the life of Bishop Richard Whiting of Glastonbury and his steward, who was perhaps named Jack Horner. When King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church and dissolved its Monasteries in England, Glastonbury remained the sole religious home in Somerset. Whiting, trying to keep the abbey, bribed the King by offering him twelve Catholic manorial estates. To thwart potential thieves, he hid the deeds to the estates in a pie crust. But the seventy-nine-year-old Bishop, convicted of treason for serving Rome, was drawn, quartered and hung at Glastonbury Tor overlooking the town. His “good” steward absconded with the plum deed to the Manor of Mells, and Horner’s descendants lived there until the 20th century.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin
In 1264, a pied piper had offered to get rid of the numerous rats in the Germanic village of Hamelin, as long as the town elders gave him a considerable amount of money upon the completion of this task. After he disposed of the rats, the elders reneged on their promise. Furious, the piper enticed the children of the village to follow him. They never returned.

Some believe the Piper led the innocents to the Mediterranean to join the Children’s Crusade leaving for the Holy Land. Presumably children would peacefully convert Moslems to Christianity after the Mediterranean rolled back, allowing their safe passage to Jerusalem. The Sea did not oblige, and many children starved to death waiting for the miracle to occur.

cinderella

Cinderella
That blond, fair-complexioned, but mistreated beauty in Perrault’s tale loosely relates to the history of Rhodopis, a Greek woman, whose name means “rosy-cheeked.” When she was a young girl, she was captured in Thrace, sold into slavery around 500 BC, and taken to Egypt.

Her unusual looks made her a treasured commodity, and her master showered her with gifts, including a pair of golden shoes. These shoes and Rhodopis were noticed by the Pharaoh, Ahmose II. He insisted she become one of his wives. While not his principal, revered partner, born of royal blood, she would still perform ceremonial functions and…mainly be readily available to gratify Ahmose sexually. Did her new found status offer her perpetual happiness? Probably not.

Valerie Ogden is the author of Bluebeard: Brave Warrior. Brutal Psychopath.

Click to Tweet: The True Stories Behind Classic Fairy Tales at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Lb via @Nimpentoad


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So You Want to Write a Picture Book?

Republished from http://thewritelife.com/write-picture-book/

How do you win a marathon? You run really fast for 26.2 miles without stopping.

Like winning a marathon, writing is easy to describe, but hard to execute.

Writing a good book is a magical art that blends creating interesting characters, placing them in intriguing settings, and weaving an engaging plot with page-turning action and authentic dialogue. Easy, right? Not so much.

And if writing well wasn’t difficult enough, writing picture books puts additional limits on the author. These children’s books are shorter than adult books, so there’s much less time for story arc or character development. The author is further constrained by the audience’s age; most kids won’t understand adult vocabulary, scenarios, or themes.

Think you’re ready to try your hand at writing a picture book? Here’s what you need to know.

What exactly is a picture book?

Picture books are typically, but not always, 32 pages. They are published in larger trim sizes (e.g. 8.5” x 11”) and can contain anywhere from zero to 1,000 words. Word counts under 500 are most common.

Picture books are anomalous in that they can be written at a reading level higher than the age of the intended audience. That’s because picture books, unlike easy readers through YA, are often read to a child by an adult. That said, truly timeless picture books, like Where the Wild Things Are or A Sick Day for Amos McGee can be enjoyed by kids of any age.

max

As the name suggests, these books have pictures on every page. Illustrations help tell the story, describe the setting, set the mood, and convey information about the characters. They provide visual appeal to young readers, and help the author tell a story in fewer words. Ironically, an artist illustrates a picture book after the manuscript is accepted by a publisher. So, it’s common for a picture book author and illustrator to never meet or even speak with each other!

While there is no formulaic prescription for writing a picture book, certain crucial elements should be considered: plot type, genre, setting, theme, appealing main character, point of view and tense, word choice, love/friendship, re-readability, and satisfying ending.

Plot type

Which picture book plot type is best for your story?

Often called a sausage story, a “series of events” is just that, a string of small episodes, as in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. “Discovery” plot types begin with the character laboring under a misunderstanding. Eventually, they discover something and reverse their situation or outlook, as in Green Eggs and Ham.

“Wish fulfillment” plot types have a deserving main character wish for something and subsequently receive it, as in Cinderella. Contrast that with “purpose achieved” plots, where the main character has to struggle to attain a goal, as in Swimmy.

swimmy

Genre

Choose your story’s type of fiction, such as fairy tale, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, humor, mystery, mythology, poetry or science fiction. In my own writing, I don’t pick the genre first. I devise story concepts, then see what genre fits best, but some writers prefer to plan their genre before outlining their story.

In some cases, the choice of setting (Alpha Centauri = science fiction) or main character (Abraham Lincoln = historical fiction) dictates the genre. And yes, you can write horror, but it should be mild and humorous — more like There Was an Old Monster than The Call of Cthulhu.

oldmonster

Setting

Picture books generally occur within a single setting. What is the best time and place for the story to occur — on a farm (Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type), in a medieval castle, aboard a pirate ship in the Caribbean, or on a spaceship orbiting Mars?

clickclack

Theme

What positive message will the story convey? Examples include: beauty is in the eye of the beholder (Shrek), do unto others (How the Rhino Got His Skin), look before you leap (Curious George), and so on.

RhinoFront72small

Main character

Is the main character interesting or endearing enough that the readers care about what happens to him/her? Can readers easily imagine themselves within the story?

Main characters in picture books are usually the same age as the readers, typically either kids or animals. Rarely are they adults or inanimate objects, but there are exceptions: The Day the Crayons Quit features crayon characters. For character naming tips, see 6 Creative Ways to Name Your Fictional Characters.

Day-the-Crayons-Quit-illustration-2

Point of view and tense

Which point of view and tense are most effective for this story: first-person present tense, second-person future tense, third-person past tense? Be consistent once that choice is made.

Word choice

It is far more powerful to show than to tell. Anton Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

The low word count of picture books requires the author to be scrupulous in their word selectionDon’t dilute the impact of your writing with weak words.

Consider “the sun had nearly set” with “the sun kissed the horizon.” Characters should act, not get ready to act. Use strong, descriptive verbs. Contrast “Josh started to get up” with “Josh vaulted up.”

Love/friendship

Does the story feature love or friendship that resonates at an emotional level? Is there a strong bond between characters (Frog and Toad) or an enduring message (The Little Engine That Could)? Will readers laugh (Flap Your Wings) or have a catch in their throats (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore)? Love and friendship help form a bond between the reader and the story.

frogandtoad

Satisfying ending

Is there an unexpected twist (The Monster at the End of This Book) or satisfying payoff (I Want My Hat Back) at the conclusion of the story? A satisfying ending is the unexpected surprise that completes the child’s reading experience. It is the cherry on top of a good story.

hatback

Re-readability

Re-readability can’t be added to the recipe like any other ingredient. Rather, it is the result of considering all of the above elements.

Is the tapestry you’ve woven rich enough to warrant multiple readings? The ultimate proof that you’ve written an engaging and entertaining story is that kids read it over and over. 

While at first glance it may not seem like it, a great deal of thought goes into the few words that comprise a picture book. Every single word counts.Shakespeare was right when he said, “brevity is the soul of wit.” And as far as we know, he never even wrote a picture book.

Click to Tweet: So You Want to Write a Picture Book for Children? at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Es via @Nimpentoad


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Disney Heroines Chosen To Be “Doctor Who” Companions

Because you can never get enough Doctor Who homages…

This one courtesy of Donna Dickens at Buzzfeed – http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/disney-heroines-chosen-to-be-doctor-who-companions based on the DeviantArt portfolio of Karen Hallion (KHallion). Enjoy!

PS – On a related note, you may also appreciate The 13 Best Doctor Who Cakes of All Time.

1. Snow White – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Snow White - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

2. Cinderella – Cinderella

Cinderella - Cinderella

3. Aurora – Sleeping Beauty

Aurora - Sleeping Beauty

4. Alice – Alice In Wonderland

Alice - Alice In Wonderland

5. Tinkerbell – Peter Pan

Tinkerbell - Peter Pan

6. Ariel – The Little Mermaid

Ariel - The Little Mermaid

7. Belle – Beauty and the Beast

Belle - Beauty and the Beast

8. Mulan – Mulan

Mulan - Mulan

9. Rapunzel – Tangled

Rapunzel - Tangled

10. Merida – Brave

Merida - Brave

Bonus: What’s this? What’s this?

Bonus: What's this? What's this?

Bonus II: Little Red and the Bad Wolf.

Bonus II: Little Red and the Bad Wolf.

Bonus III: Mary Poppins is totally a Time Lady.

Bonus III: Mary Poppins is totally a Time Lady.


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Delightfully Macabre Disney Heroines by Jeffrey Thomas

This is my favorite Disney heroines homage to date. Who knew they were so evil? Collected by Donna Dickens at http://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/delightfully-macabre-disney-heroines

The awesome artwork is by Jeffrey Thomas at http://jeftoon01.deviantart.com/

1. Snow White – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Snow White - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

2. Blue Fairy – Pinocchio

Blue Fairy - Pinocchio

3. Cinderella – Cinderella

Cinderella - Cinderella

4. Alice – Alice In Wonderland

Alice - Alice In Wonderland

5. Wendy – Peter Pan

Wendy - Peter Pan

6. Aurora – Sleeping Beauty

Aurora - Sleeping Beauty

7. Maid Marian – Robin Hood

Maid Marian - Robin Hood

8. Ariel – The Little Mermaid

Ariel - The Little Mermaid

9. Belle – Beauty and the Beast

Belle - Beauty and the Beast

10. Jasmine – Aladdin

Jasmine - Aladdin

11. Nala – The Lion King

Nala - The Lion King

12. Pocahontas – Pocahontas

Pocahontas - Pocahontas

13. Esmeralda – The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

14. Megara – Hercules

Megara - Hercules

15. Mulan – Mulan

Mulan - Mulan

16. Jane – Tarzan

Jane - Tarzan

17. Kida – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Kida - Atlantis: The Lost Empire

18. Tiana – The Princess and the Frog

Tiana - The Princess and the Frog

19. Rapunzel – Tangled

Rapunzel - Tangled


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Disney Princesses As “Game Of Thrones” Characters

Because you can never get enough Game of Thrones homages…

This one courtesy of Arielle Calderon at Buzzfeed – http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/disney-princesses-as-game-of-thrones-characters?sub=3018657_2472932 based on the DeviantArt portfolio of DjeDjehuti. Enjoy!

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Frozen

Frozen

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Cinderella

Cinderella

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Mulan

Mulan

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Tangled

Tangled

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

The Princess and the Frog

The Princess and the Frog

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Aladdin

Aladdin

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Mulan

Mulan

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

Brave

Brave

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com

DjeDjehuti / Via djedjehuti.deviantart.com