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Review: 'The Cats of Tanglewood Forest', by Charles de Lint & Charles Vess

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest
Boston & NYC, Little, Brown & Co., March 2013 Hardcover $17.99 ([6 +] 285 [+ 7] pages)
Kindle $8.89. Illustrated by Charles Vess.

The age rating on this is “8 and up”. This is one of those “all ages” books like The Wind in the Willows that you will not want to miss just because it may be in the children’s section of your bookshop or public library. Seek it out! It is worth it.

Lillian Kindred is a little girl whose parents are dead and who lives with her Aunt on a farm at the edge of Tanglewood Forest. The book doesn’t say how old she is, so that’s probably not important. What is important is that she’s established as old enough to be allowed by other people to play in the forest alone, and young enough to look for fairies. One of the things that she sees is lots of cats wandering freely – feral cats and farm cats. She does not bother them, but she does put out dishes of fresh milk for them.

One day she falls asleep in the forest, and is bitten by a venomous snake. Vess’ illustration shows a coral snake; the worst kind. Wikipedia says that, “Coral snakes have a powerful neurotoxin that paralyzes the breathing muscles; mechanical or artificial respiration, along with large doses of antivenom, are often required to save a victim's life.” Lillian does not have any of that. She is alone at the foot of a tree, dying.

'Pogo' as animated and voiced by Walt Kelly personally

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The story has long been told of how the production of the 1969 TV special “The Pogo Special Birthday Special”, a collaboration between Pogo creator Walt Kelly and animator Chuck Jones, turned into a “Hollywood ain’t big enough for the both of us!” feud, that ended up with the two not talking to each other. Jones dismissed Kelly as “he thinks that he’s an animator just because he did about 20 seconds of the easiest animation in Dumbo twenty-five years ago.” (Kelly animated the silhouettes of the clowns carousing inside the circus tent.)

Now Amid Amidi reveals that Kelly was so displeased that he decided to create his own animated Pogo half-hour TV special, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us”. But due to the difficulties of producing a half-hour of animation personally while in declining health, Kelly only completed a rough cut of thirteen minutes before he died in 1973.

Amidi has found that thirteen minutes, and presents it on the Cartoon Brew website. It may be unfinished, but it’s pure Kelly, from the drawings of the cartoon funny animals of the Okefenokee Swamp, to their animation, to Kelly performing all of the voices.

Review: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' is worth the heatstroke

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Note: I have been asked by crossaffliction to review this movie, as he is "on vacation". I understand I have big shoes to fill, so please, save the tomatoes until the end.

First off, I should probably explain the title of this review. It has to do with what a pain it was to go see this movie. My car is broken, and it is literally a hundred degrees outside. No biggie, go through Main Street and it isn't far from my house, walking won't be too hard, right? Unfortunately, Chanute won some Google-partnership thing. I'm not exactly sure why that means they have to tear up half of Main Street and temporarily close many small businesses there, but by God that's what they did.

What this meant for me was that I now had to walk much farther to circumvent the construction. Perhaps not much further, but I'm a hundred-something-pound weakling. I would have shaken my fists in anger to the heavens, but it was simply much too hot for such activity. So, by the time I reached the theater, I was sweating like a whipped bantha.

Anyway, on to the actual review.

August 2011 Newsbytes archive

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For historical purposes, a collection of links and other tidbits posted to Newsbytes in August.

Heidi the Opossum to predict Oscar winners

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Heidi the Opossum.jpgHeidi the cross-eyed Virginia Opossum, resident of Leipzig Zoo in Germany, is to predict the winners of the 83rd Academy Awards.

After being found as an orphan, Heidi was raised in a North Carolina wildlife sanctuary, before being rehomed at Denmark's Odense Zoo and, later, Leipzig Zoo. She became an international sensation last December, after photographs of her cock-eyed visage were published in the German newspaper Bild. The images went viral, and led to a hit song ("Opossum Heidi Schielt" or "Opossum Heidi Peers"), Heidi's own Facebook account, and an upcoming line of plush toys.