Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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Modern Disney Princesses

There seems to be endless fascination with the Disney princesses. Thanks to Fernanda Suarez ad the mad geniuses at Bored Panda, you can see a modern take on them.

“In recent years, we’ve seen quite a few reimagined ‘modern’ versions of the Disney princesses we grew up loving and admiring. This latest interpretation by Chilean digital artist Fernanda Suarez, however, might be the fairest of them all.

Starting with Snow White back in July, Suarez has gone on to illustrate 7 classic princesses in hip, present-day fashion. These sketched-up smoke shows look like they follow Luxy Hair tutorials on YouTube and shop for clothes at Forever 21. They probably post selfies with their ‘princes’ on Instagram and all agree that NAKED2 is the best eyeshadow palette. Oh yeah, they probably also campaign non-stop on social media for the equal rights of dwarfs, marine wildlife, and big cat conservation.”

#1 Mulan


#2 Belle


#3 Jasmine


#4 Ariel


#5 Pocahontas


#6 Snow White

Snow White

#7 Cinderella


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Celebrities as Disney Characters (fun!)

Apparently, I’m on a Disney kick lately. Any way, the pictures taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz of celebrities as Disney characters from http://likes.com/celebs/celebs-as-real-life-disney-characters are stunningly composed, and really tickled my fancy and floated my boat. Enjoy.

#1 Sleeping Beauty

This photo of Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens must have been taken when they were still dating… Cute nonetheless!

#2 No Place Like Home

Keira Knightley looks amazing here as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

#3 Snow White

Rachel Weisz posing as Snow White, with all the cute little forest creatures. Check out the golden bricks and red high heels.

#4 Cinderella

Scarlett Johansson posing as a beautiful Cinderella, at midnight!!

#5 Alice in Wonderland

Beyonce posing as an adorable Alice, Oliver Platt as a crazy Mad Hatter, and Lyle Lovett as the March Hare… All in a teacup!

#6 Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

Tina Fey, with a very Tinkerbell-esque facial expression, posing for the Peter Pan photo shoot 🙂 How appropriate that Fey portrays a fae!

#7 Peter Pan

Gisele Bundchen as Wendy Darling, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan, and Tina Fey as Tinker Bell from Peter Pan!

#8 Merman

Photographer Annie Leibovitz shoots Michael Phelps, who posed as a merman in Julianne Moore’s photo of Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

#9 Ariel from The Little Mermaid

Julianne Moore’s red hair is perfect for the character Ariel from The Little Mermaid!

#10 Pocahontas

Jessica Biel rocks an action shot of herself dressed as Pocahontas 🙂

#11 Jasmine and Aladdin

Jennifer Lopez and her then husband Marc Anthony pose as Jasmine and Aladdin from Aladdin, on their magic carpet ride!

#12 Genie from Aladdin

Whoopi Goldberg makes a comical pose to capture the essence of the Genie from Aladdin.

#13 The Little Mermaid’s Ursula

Queen Latifah goes all out as the evil Ursula from The Little Mermaid! Her face still looks a little nice though…

#14 Beauty and the Beast

Penelope Cruz poses as a happy Belle, with Jeff Bridges as her transformed prince ❤

#15 The Evil Queen and Her Magic Mirror

Alec Baldwin is the face in the magic for the evil queen, Olivia Wilde. Not used to seeing her as an evil character!


Which was the cutest Disney animal?

Which of the following Disney animals do you think is the cutest. Courtesy of http://highonglitter.com/cutest-disney-animals

#1 Baloo with Mowgli from “The Jungle Book”

Everything about Baloo was adorable, from the way he speaks, dances, and his jolly nature… He can bear hug me all day!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#2 Dora and Nemo, “Finding Nemo”

Who in there right mind thinks fish are cute?! We do! We blame it on Disney for their amazing voices and animation. They’re “cuteness” is forever stuck in our minds!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#3 Baby Scar and Simba from “The Lion King”

We know Scar grows up to be a mean bully, but all baby animals are sweet and so Scar and Simba get our votes here! Lets just pretend the rest of the movie didn’t happen.

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com
#4 Todd and Copper from “The Fox and the Hound”

Life can be so complicated for adults, but this kit and pup duo are endearing because they’re best friends despite being natural enemies. Tear. Jerker.

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#5 Classic Winnie The Pooh

Life is simple for Pooh and we love that about him! In fact sometimes we want to be him… eating honey and chasing butterflies, YUM!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#6 Arthur the squirrel and his friend, “The Sword in the Stone”

There’s nothing sweeter than innocent Love crushes! Which one is cuter? Arthur or his girlfriend… well she thinks she is. Aww sweet!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#7 Flower from “Bambi”

The blushing and giggling Flower is one of our faves because his sweetness is such a contradiction to what he is. Much like real skunks, they’re beautiful but awfully smelly!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#8 Thumper from “Bambi”

It goes without saying that bunnies are always cute, but they can sing and dance too? Ugh, too cute!

#9 The Dalmatian family from “101 Dalmatians”

I don’t know how they do it, but raising 101 adorable puppies is enough to get you on our list!

Cutest Disney Animals from henryherz.com

#10 Lady and The Tramp (Spaghetti For Two?)

Lady and The Tramp make the best couple! We love their happy romance story. The boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets nice well-breed gal… and forever after! People should be so lucky!

#11 Baby Dumbo from “Dumbo”

Everyone feels for Dumbo for having those big awkward ears! We can all learn from him and turn our worst aspects into something good. Dumbo is precious here!

#12 Baby Bambi meets Thumper

Just looking at baby Bambi tugs at our hearts! We all know what happens to his mom, and this makes us care for him all-the-more. sniff… sniff

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Famous Movie Puppets

This post was inspired by Matthew Ponsford’s CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/08/showbiz/10-greatest-movie-puppets/index.html. The first ten puppet writeups below are from him. I have added my own commentary and five additional classic movie puppets. Enjoy.


Kermit the Frog
Originally fashioned from a green ladies coat that Jim Henson found in a bin (plus a pair of ping pong balls for eyes), Kermit the Frog has gone on to be one of the world’s few internationally recognized puppets — or, rather, Muppets. He can already count seven hit films, a recording contract, a bestselling autobiography and countless TV appearances among his achievements –and he’s set to appear on the big screen again next year in “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Henry: Superb choice. Kermit and the Muppets are quintessential puppets.


Despite being a three foot green alien puppet, Jedi Master Yoda manages to give off a convincing impression of wisdom and deliver some of the “Star Wars” saga’s most crucial lines. George Lucas drafted in legendary Jim Henson-collaborator Frank Oz to bring the elderly Jedi to life, a choice which ensured Yoda had a sense of humor to match his worldly knowledge.

Henry: “Judge me by my size, do you?” Excellent choice.


When Steven Spielberg chose to create a heart-warming alien story for children, the easy option would have been to cast a cute and cuddly puppet. Instead audiences got waddling, faintly frightening E.T. But Spielberg’s instincts were proven correct again, as the film went on to become the highest-grossing film ever released (at that time).

Henry: “Phone home.” Excellent choice. Plus, he likes Reese’s Pieces.


Audiences loved “Gremlins” adorable mogwai Gizmo — but the puppeteers did not. The tiny rubber puppet was prone to malfunctioning and so frustrated the crew that they added a scene in which the creature gets strapped to a dartboard and pelted with darts.

Henry: Dry clean only. Excellent choice.


Cinema’s most famous puppet — no strings attached. Animation, rather than puppetry, brought “real boy” Pinocchio to the world — famously in the Walt Disney classic, and later to a new generation (this time CGI) in an oddball turn in Shrek. Live-action adaptations of the classic novel by Tim Burton and Guillermo Del Toro are rumored to be in the pipeline.

Henry: Not a movie puppet per se, but a character that’s a puppet. Well played, sir.


Puppets can be terrifying too. Case in point: Chucky, the “Good Guy” doll possessed by the spirit of a serial killer in the movie “Child’s Play.” The mixture of childlike puppets and murderous violence provoked controversy — with protesters claiming Chucky made children violent — but the film’s popularity was not damaged. It has since spawned five sequels.

Henry: Arguably the most bad-ass of all movie puppets. Excellent choice.


When teenage babysitter Sarah is transported to Labyrinth’s strange maze-world (populated by Jim Henson’s puppet creations), she is helped by kind-hearted hairy beast Ludo, who sees her through the quest to recover her baby brother. The cumbersome puppet was operated by puppeteers underneath the monster suit, who could watch events unfolding on a TV screen inside Ludo’s stomach.

Henry: “Rocks friends.” One of the best characters in this movie, along with the young but already lovely Jennifer Connelly. Excellent choice.


The Red Balloon
Not all of cinema’s finest puppetry makes use of such complex animatronics. Albert LamorisseIt managed to turn a helium balloon (with a mind of its own) into the joint-protagonist of his classic short film “The Red Balloon.”

Henry: A classic movie from my childhood. A bit of a stretch calling a balloon a puppet, though. 


It’s just a few seconds of cameo, but makes a big impression and turns the film on its head. Not even the cast members (who were left in the dark about what was about to take place) were expecting the titular “Alien” to burst out of John Hurt’s chest. The shock of the creature’s arrival disguises the fact that what we’re looking at is actually a relatively simple puppet — and a whole load of blood from a butcher’s shop.

Henry: I hate when that happens. They made Alien vs. Predator, so how about Alien vs. Chucky: Battle of the Puppets?


Kim Jong Il
Even after the advent of photorealistic CGI, puppetry isn’t dead — in part thanks to South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, whose clumsy marionettes in “Team America: World Police” satirized Hollywood’s slick action blockbusters. But it’s the film’s villain — then Korean leader Kim Jong Il — who steals the show.

Henry: How can you not love a marionette version of one-third of the Axis of Evil? Excellent choice.

I’d like to add the following honorable mentions that failed to make Mr. Ponsford’s list:

Gerry Anderson death

The Thunderbirds
Per Wikipedia: Thunderbirds is a 1960s British science-fiction television series, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Filmed between 1964 and 1966, it was produced using marionette puppetry interwoven with scale-model special effects sequences, in the form of a mixed technique dubbed “Supermarionation”.

Henry: I suspect Parker & Stone got some inspiration from The Thunderbirds. Either way, I can tell you is that this was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. The vehicle designs still look fresh after 40 years. THAT is good design work.


Per Wikipedia: The Dark Crystal is a 1982 American–British fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. The plot revolves around Jen, an elflike ‘Gelfling’ on a quest to restore balance to his alien world by returning a lost shard to a powerful but broken gem. Although marketed as a family film, it was notably darker than the creators’ previous material. The animatronics used in the film were considered groundbreaking. The primary concept artist was the fantasy illustrator Brian Froud, famous for his distinctive faerie and dwarf designs.

Henry: The image above is of an evil Skeksis, but the movie is filled with other delightful creatures, including: Mystics, Landstriders, Podlings, Gelfings, Garthim, and Aughra, the lovable ogre-witch with one removable eye.


Per Wikipedia: Critters is a 1986 cult comedy horror science fiction film. The film begins on a prison asteroid in outer space. A group of unseen creatures known as Crites are set to be transported to another station. When the seemingly intelligent creatures cause an explosion that kills two guards and injures three, hijack a ship away from the station, and escape, the leader of the station hires two transforming bounty hunters to hunt the “Critters” down.

Henry: The seemingly contradictory description “cult comedy horror science fiction” aptly summarizes this movie. Definitely worth a rent by any self-respecting horror or sci-fi fan.


Sesame Street
Henry: Do I really need to explain this one? Bert, Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, and the Cookie Monster belong in the top ten! We were robbed!


Meet the Feebles
Per Wikipedia: Meet the Feebles is a 1989 New Zealand black comedy film directed by Peter Jackson. It features Jim Henson-esque puppets in a perverse comic satire. Like Henson’s Muppets, the Feebles are animal-figured puppets (plus some people in suits) who are members of a stage troupe. However, whereas Henson’s Muppets characterize positivity, naïve folly, and innocence, the Feebles present negativity, vice, and other misanthropic characteristics.

Henry: This movie makes the list as a nod to the great Peter Jackson making films before he had 9-digit movie budgets.

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19 Honest Disney Movie Posters

This tongue-in-cheek parody of Disney movies comes from the delightfully twisted folks at ScreenCrush (http://screencrush.com/honest-disney-movie-posters). Disney has no one to blame but themselves…



Aladdin (again)


Alice in Wonderland




Beauty and the Beast








101 Dalmations




The Hunchback of Notre Dame


The Lion King


The Little Mermaid




The Princess and the Frog


Sleeping Beauty


Snow White


The Sword in the Stone




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Kick-butt Versions of Disney Princesses (or, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby)

When I was in college, I saw the movie Casablanca with a theatre full of classmates. At one point, Humphrey Bogart’s character tells Ingrid Bergman’s character, “I’ll do the thinking for the both of us.” The audience howled. Happily, the steady march toward strong, complex women in movies and literature has continued.

Some fantasy and science fiction books and movies with strong females willing to swing a sword, shoot a bow, or otherwise face a foe without the help of a man include:

• Arwen & Eowyn in “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
• Luthien in “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien
• Brienne of Tarth and Arya Stark in “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
• The White Witch in “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
• Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
• Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson
• Merida (Kelly Macdonald) in Brave
• Selene (Kate Beckingsale) in Underworld
• Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens
• Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) in The Fifth Element
• Fiona (Cameron Diaz) in Shrek
• Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in The Terminator

In the spirit of the indomitable heroine, DeviantArt user joshwmc took some classic Disney damsels and gave them some teeth. No more laying asleep waiting for the prince to arrive! That time is better spent sharpening a weapon or practicing martial arts!


from wikipedia.org:
“Princess Aurora is the titular character of Disney’s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. The Disney version of the character was based on the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault, written in 1634 in Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé. She is also known as Briar Rose which is the title of the German version of the fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.”


from wikipedia.org:
“”Beauty and the Beast” (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a rendition by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740.


from wikipedia.org:
“Cinderella,” or “The Little Glass Slipper”, is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune.”


from wikipedia.org:
“Mulan is set in China during the Han Dynasty. The film’s title character, Fa Mulan, is the only daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou. She impersonates a man and takes her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a fictitious Hun invasion led by Shan Yu.”


from wikipedia.org:
“Pocahontas is the title character of Disney’s thirty-third animated feature film Pocahontas. The character and the events she goes through are very loosely based on the actual historical figure Pocahontas. Pocahontas, as the daughter of a Native American paramount chief, is the first American Disney Princess.”


from wikipedia.org:
“Rapunzel is therein character who appears in Walt Disney’s film Tangled (2010), based on the German fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm. A princess born with long, magical golden hair, Rapunzel is stolen from her parents at infancy and raised by a vain woman who exploits her hair’s healing abilities in order to remain youthful.”


Snow White
from wikipedia.org:
“Snow White is the main character from Walt Disney’s first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The character of Snow White was derived from a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, including the one collected by the Brothers Grimm.”


from wikipedia.org:
“Tiana is the main character from Walt Disney’s film The Princess and the Frog (2009). Tiana is a hardworking waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant. Her progress is stalled when she kisses a prince who has been turned into a frog and becomes a frog herself. The ninth Disney Princess, Tiana is the first to be of African American heritage.”

This article is also posted in the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.