Young beginning readers can check out the Ollie and Bea series of graphic novels, written and illustrated by Renee Tremi. The set up is as simple as can be: “Ollie is an owl who wears glasses. And Bea is a bunny with very big feet. They don’t know it yet, but they are about to be best friends. Can they help each other to find their otter-ly awesome inner superhero?” It’s Owl Good and other books in the series are available now from Allen & Unwin Book Publishers.
Sorry. After a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, Rachele Aragno (and her associates, Dave Ryan and Robert J. Sodaro) announced that Owl Girls will soon be available from Red Anvil Comics — you can check it out at their web site. “Not everything is as it seems, especially in the SoHo district of 1940’s New York City. No, in fact, things are not always quite what they seem. There are shadows and alleyways of the world that are not normally traversed by mortal men, and in those shadowy realms, there exist things that must be dealt with by those that can divine their presence and root out that evil. This is the world of the Owl Girls, a trio of sisters who for reasons that pass understanding have the heads of Owls and the bodies of human women. Virtually every culture in the world offers up myths and legends about the nature of Owls, and we here in America are no different. These three women (Magda, Martha, and Maggie) are attempting to live normal lives, only they have mystical abilities, oh yes, and they talk to Death; an old woman who visits them at odd moments during the day, and whose bidding they sometimes do.” Got all that?
|1) a Maple-leaf headed beaver||2) a moose||3) a multi-colour owl|
|4) a porcupine with multi-color quills||5) a raccoon||6) twins wearing hats|
Lex Nakashima & I have started a project to inform YOU of the best untranslated French-language funny-animal adventure cartoon albums. The Blacksad series by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido has found a good American home at Dark Horse, but there are others that Americans are not being informed of.
Lex & I recently brought you a review of the first two The Saga of Atlas & Axis albums by Jean-Marc Pau. Next up is The Sword of Ardenois by Étienne Willem, to be completed in four albums, the first two of which are now available.
Author/artist Willem has said in interviews that The Sword of Ardenois is his homage to all of the Medieval-setting talking-animal fantasies that have influenced him; notably the medieval Roman de Renard, the Disney 1973 anthropomorphic-animal Robin Hood animated film, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels.
Willem’s first volume, Garen, won a BD Gest’ Art 2010 award (in 2011, for the best bande dessinée of the previous year) for the Best Youth Album of 2010.
Cartoon Brew reports that, “Now that Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful is a box office hit, let the Wizard of Oz remakes commence.” CB goes on to report via Variety that, “Clarius Entertainment will theatrically release the 3-D CGI pic Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return in the first quarter of 2014. We posted the film’s trailer last fall, back when the film was called Dorothy of Oz, and the reaction was tepid.”
Flayrah announced Dorothy of Oz too last September, and it did get 13 comments. The link to the trailer still works. See Tugg the talking tree, Wiser the owl, the marshmellow soldier, and the new anthropomorphic characters in addition to the familiar Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the flying monkeys, and all of the beloved others.
For Christmas 2012, I received an unexpected present from a friend. The accompanying note explained that he'd acquired a second copy of a beloved book from his childhood and had thought of me as someone likely to appreciate it. The book was Badger's Moon by Elleston Trevor, and appreciate it I certainly did.
Who was Elleston Trevor? A prolific writer across a variety of genres, under several names. He is most famous for the novel Flight of the Phoenix, which has been filmed twice, and for his series of spy stories starring an agent named Quiller (as in Memorandum). He also wrote a large number of books for children, including Scamper-Foot the Pine Marten, Ripple-Swim the Otter, and Wumpus, which stars a koala. He was born in 1920 and died in 1995.
Badger's Moon is part of a series of children's books featuring the Woodlanders. These anthropomorphic creatures inhabit an idyllic, timeless landscape of hills, woods and rivers, rather like Winnie-the-Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood or Mole and Ratty's Riverbank. Other titles in the series include Mole's Castle and Sweethallow Valley.
How many Oz movies have there been? The Wizard of Oz (1939), of course. Return to Oz (1985). Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980). Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz (1910), The Land of Oz (1910), His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914), and The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914), all co-written or directed by Frank Baum himself. The Wiz (1978). The Wizard of Oz (1925), the silent version with Oliver Hardy as the Tin “Woodsman”. The Witches of Oz (2011). It’s not a movie, but the Broadway musical Wicked (2003). Does Zardoz (1974) count? Well … LOTS!
Now there is Dorothy of Oz (2013?), produced by Prana Studios in Los Angeles and Mumbai with a pretty impressive voice cast.
Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to Kathryn Lasky's children's fantasy series Guardians of Ga'Hoole and set it up as a CG-animated film with Donald De Line producing, reports Variety.
The six-book series revolves around a parallel universe featuring a cast of owls and magic transformations. The first book begins with a young barn owl being pushed out of his family's nest by his older brother and then being rescued by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls.
Lasky will write the screenplay and executive produce. Visit the books' official website for more information.
Two publishers of young adult Furry series novels have started 2004 with a new volume. Scholastic Inc. has just released Guardians of Ga'Hoole: Book Three, The Rescue, by Kathryn Lasky; a $4.99 paperback. Soren the young Barn Owl and the other young owl cadets at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree fight a mysterious enemy which threatens all Owldom. Book Four, The Siege is scheduled for April 2004.
HarperCollins has published Hunters: Book 4, Rising Storm, by Erin Hunter; a $15.99 hardcover. Four tribes of feral cats live in a forest near a human town. "Fireheart's traitorous enemy Tigerclaw has been vanquished and exiled from ThunderClan -- but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking out there in the forest, waiting for the chance to strike." HarperCollins has simultaneously rereleased Book 1: Into the Wild in paperback at $5.99. Book 5: A Dangerous Path, is scheduled for June 2004.
Silverwing, a new 13-episode animated series produced by Bardel Entertainment, will be aired in Canada on Teletoon, starting on Sept. 6th and 7th (check local listings for showtimes). Based on the characters from Kenneth Oppel's young adult novels, Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing, the series follows the coming-of-age story of a bat named Shade and his bat colony.
Officials at the Racine zoo and the state Department of Natural Resources apparently don't know a real owl from a fake one.
The Ananova web site reports that newspaper and TV photographers in the Netherlands, in their eagerness to get a photo of a rare snowy owl (popularized by the recent release of the Harry Potter movie), may have hounded it to death. Complete article is at http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_493596.html
Raptor groups are worried that foolish parents might give children clamouring for a pet owl, like the one shown in the Harry Potter movie, a real owl.
Many raptor shelter and rescue groups have already started recieving calls from people looking for rare snowy owls, like Hedwig, the owl shown in the movie, and they fear an massive increase of unwanted owls in the wake of the film.
Unlike what the movie shows, owls in general are antisocial and hard to tame, need large spaces to fly, and have to be feed full mice and chicks to maintain health. Owl advocates are recommending parents adopt owls at zoos, or give their children stuffed owls instead.