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Author Topic: Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, and other children's books  (Read 3454 times)
frogfactory
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2013, 4:38:39 PM »

I had never read Watership Down until a year or two ago, and I absolutely adored it; I've already re-read it twice. 

There's also a gorgeous animated version from the 1970s with a wonderful voice cast. It's delightfully dark and creepy in that way so many 1970s children's films are...

I love Watership Down, but I thought The Plague Dogs was terrible, and Shardik middling at best.  I know I've read The Girl in a Swing, but I don't remember a thing about it.
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onthefringe
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2013, 4:55:41 PM »

I had never read Watership Down until a year or two ago, and I absolutely adored it; I've already re-read it twice. 

There's also a gorgeous animated version from the 1970s with a wonderful voice cast. It's delightfully dark and creepy in that way so many 1970s children's films are...

I love Watership Down, but I thought The Plague Dogs was terrible, and Shardik middling at best.  I know I've read The Girl in a Swing, but I don't remember a thing about it.

I love Watership Down as well, though I've never really liked anything else by Richard Adams, with the possible exception of an odd illustrated poem called The Tyger Voyage.

I think it's interesting that there's a whole class of "children's books" that most people feel like they know, even though most of them haven't read them. I think Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz, fall into that realm, as do Peter Pan, (which I find quite disturbing in the original), many fairy tales, and others.

In some cases, the originals are so unlike the popular conception, that it's kind of like all those people who think Every Breath You Take is a romantic song, never having actually thought about the lyrics, apparently.
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wanna_writemore
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2013, 5:00:14 PM »

I loved the Oz books.  I'd like to read them again.  I probably read Mary Poppins, since I read everything I could find, but I don't remember it. I really enjoyed the Broadway on Tour version we saw a few months ago.
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juvenal
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2013, 5:25:16 PM »

I love Watership Down, but I thought The Plague Dogs was terrible, and Shardik middling at best.  I know I've read The Girl in a Swing, but I don't remember a thing about it.

Girl in a Swing?  It's very strange and distressing--a key point is the murder of a child--with supernatural elements in addition.  In no way a children's book.

It resonates with me in a certain way, because I experienced one of the scenes in the book--drifting down the same river in Florida that's part of a chapter in the novel.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2013, 5:48:25 PM »

I love Watership Down, but I thought The Plague Dogs was terrible, and Shardik middling at best.  I know I've read The Girl in a Swing, but I don't remember a thing about it.

Girl in a Swing?  It's very strange and distressing--a key point is the murder of a child--with supernatural elements in addition.  In no way a children's book.

It resonates with me in a certain way, because I experienced one of the scenes in the book--drifting down the same river in Florida that's part of a chapter in the novel.

Hum.  I clearly in no way remember this book, though I know for sure I've read it.

Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen - although the movie was also a staple in our house - a compendium of Ukrainian folk tales that included, I think, one of the older versions of the Beauty and the Beast stories - I believe the Beast was a huge white bear in this one (and I think sold to him by her father), Ovid's Metamorphoses, Aesop's Fables - we enjoyed our fables and fairy tales in my house.  One I feel regretful about I will never be able to read.  It was a huge volume of children's stories from India, in Hindi, and my dad used to sit and read it to us, translating as he went.  Some of the stories I could probably get from translations of bits of the Vedas or other classic texts.  Some, I might find elsewhere.  I'm sure the story about a demon terrorising a village who couldn't be killed because he kept his heart, in the shape of a beetle, in a box, exists in other cultures.  The recurring heroes, the owls, Bang-ma and a Bang-mi (no snickering; the vowels don't sound anything like that) are all but un-google-able but were a huge favourite. This is a synopsis of a strange little story from it has always stuck with me for some reason:

I was travelling through the woods, when I met a fellow traveller, a man with a wheel on his head, spinning and causing him vast pain.  I asked him, why do you bear that wheel on your head?  In an instant, the wheel left his head and was spinning on mine.  He responded, "Years ago, I met a man with a wheel on his head, and I asked him why it was there.  It immediately left his head and has been on mine ever since, and I have been forced to wander until I meet someone who asks me why the wheel is there."

It was longer and a bit flowery-er than that, but that was pretty much the story.  Always stuck with me, but I've never really been a one to twig koans and so forth, so I still don't really know what to make of it.
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 8:15:13 PM »

I returned to the Mary Poppins books in my late teens as a side effect of my then-growing interest in Gurdjieff.  The books read very differently in that context.

As for Oz, Baum was also an early moviemaker, and you can find his own film adaptations of some of the Oz books here and there on the internet.  (Here's a link to the Magic Cloak of Oz, which has Hal Roach among its actors.) They are a trip, and well worth the effort in finding and watching them. - DvF
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frogfactory
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2013, 8:17:38 PM »

I returned to the Mary Poppins books in my late teens as a side effect of my then-growing interest in Gurdjieff.  The books read very differently in that context.

As for Oz, Baum was also an early moviemaker, and you can find his own film adaptations of some of the Oz books here and there on the internet.  (Here's a link to the Magic Cloak of Oz, which has Hal Roach among its actors.) They are a trip, and well worth the effort in finding and watching them. - DvF

DvF, I know we have had our differences, but you have been an absolute gem for me on this subforum of late.
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hmaria1609
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2013, 1:16:37 PM »


I've always wondered why no one had ever done any movies of the other Oz books, too, leaving it all to the original. Again, I read those some fifty years ago, and IIRC, they were very much a commentary on politics and society, although you wouldn't really know it from the movie. As with MP, I'm curious if my memory about what the books were really like is at all accurate, and, again, I don't know anybody else who has read them.
There was a sequel "Return to Oz" in 1985, starting Fairuza Balk as Dorothy.  More from IMDB.com featuring Dorothy:
www.imdb.com/character/ch0004327/?ref_=tt_cl_t1
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2013, 6:02:41 AM »

There was a sequel "Return to Oz" in 1985, starting Fairuza Balk as Dorothy. 
I saw this in the 80s and thought it was terrible.  I watched it again last week - in part inspired by this thread - and indeed it was really terrible.  Absolutely phenomenal cast, however. - DvF
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jelliajamb
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 9:48:53 PM »

Very late response because of major life changes, but I read every single Oz book I could find when I was little. (And as Marigolds already noted, my name is Ozian/Baumian.) I have a few battered copies of originals or fairly old reprints because, I am sorry to say, many libraries discard them! Yes indeed, libraries do not have full sets of the Oz books. I don't get it.
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proftowanda
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 10:58:12 PM »

Fortunately, my library when growing up had every one of the Oz books, and I also read them all.

I recommend the more recent Wicked (basis of the Broadway musical), as well.  Having read it, I now may be too cynical about Glinda to reread the original series -- although I may have to do so to see, now that I know the backstory of Frank Baum, the story's roots in the history that he witnessed as a Chicago reporter in the 1890s.

Did anyone else also read the entire Freddy the Pig series?  When Spouse Towanda and I discovered, on an early date, that we both had done so -- a decade and half a country apart -- we knew that we were destined to be together.   (Two decades later, the Freddy the Pig test continues to be valid and reliable.)
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kiana
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« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2013, 12:12:11 AM »

Did anyone else also read the entire Freddy the Pig series?  When Spouse Towanda and I discovered, on an early date, that we both had done so -- a decade and half a country apart -- we knew that we were destined to be together.   (Two decades later, the Freddy the Pig test continues to be valid and reliable.)

I have read them all, and my favourite character was always Mrs. Wiggins.
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proftowanda
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2013, 12:17:51 AM »

Did anyone else also read the entire Freddy the Pig series?  When Spouse Towanda and I discovered, on an early date, that we both had done so -- a decade and half a country apart -- we knew that we were destined to be together.   (Two decades later, the Freddy the Pig test continues to be valid and reliable.)

I have read them all, and my favourite character was always Mrs. Wiggins.

Yes!  And I always giggled at "Freddy the Pig, Esq." -- and what some of the critters thought that it meant.
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akanemd
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2013, 5:42:37 AM »

I loved Watership Down.  It has one of the best endings of any book I have read.

Just be careful to whom you mention that.  I had an interview the week after I finished the book and was asked what I books I had recently read.  I answered Watership Down and was rejected on the spot.  I think they were looking fro something more intellectual.
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cc_alan
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2013, 7:04:12 AM »

I loved Watership Down.  It has one of the best endings of any book I have read.

Just be careful to whom you mention that.  I had an interview the week after I finished the book and was asked what I books I had recently read.  I answered Watership Down and was rejected on the spot.  I think they were looking fro something more intellectual.

Interviewer: "So, what book have you read recently?"

Interviewee: "I recently finished reading Watership Down. The ending was wonderful!"

Interviewer: "GET OUT! GET THE F*** OUT OF HERE YOU G-D BUNNY LOVER!"

Alan
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