Sunday, August 19, 2012

Comic Review: The Adventures Of Tintin: The Broken Ear

Name of Comic: The Broken Ear
Author: Herge
What's It All About: A South American idol is stolen from a museum and replaced with a fake.  Tintin finds that the man who made the fake has also been killed but has left behind a parrot who says the murderer's name.  He tracks down the man on a ship to South America, only to find that the man is killed by other men (Ramon and Alonzo) who are also after the idol.  Tintin turns Ramon and Alonzo, who murdered the man who murdered the man (stay with me) only to find that they are friends of the man he has turned them over to, a Colonel who is corrupt.  Tintin is framed and sentenced to death.  Just as he is about to be killed, supporters of General Alcazar, who are trying to overthrow General Tapioca, burst in and release Tintin, thinking he must be a rebel like them.  General Alcazar is so impressed with Tintin, he makes him his aide-de-camp.  I'm going to actually skip ahead on this one because it is so convoluted that all I'd be doing is saying, "and then he went here and this happened" or "then these guys think this so they do this".  I mean really, this story makes almost no sense.  You find out towards the end that the idol is rumored to have a diamond in it which is why Alonzo and Ramon want it and are apparently willing to go all over the globe for it.  Tintin and the two men finally track down the real idol in an American's possession on a steamship.  They wrestle over it and the diamond falls into the ocean.  Alonzo and Ramon go in after it and drown.  The American agrees to let Tintin take the stolen idol back to the museum.  Whew! Seriously.

My Favorite Bit: In this one I really like the scenes in South America in the city of San Theodoros where General Tapioca is in charge until General Alcazar succeeds with his revolution.  Other than that...not much in this one.

Go Get It: The Broken Ear on Amazon US

Alonzo and Ramon drowning trying to get the diamond.  
Some say this may have been a hallucination of Tintin's.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Comic Book Review: The Blue Lotus

Name of Comic: The Blue Lotus

Author: Herge
What It's All About: The Blue Lotus is the sequel comic to Cigars Of The Pharaoh, which you can read my review about HERE.  After capturing a gang of drug smugglers, Tintin takes a well-earned vacation.  While visiting the Maharaja of Gaipajama, a Chinese man comes with a message from Shanghai but cannot deliver it as he is hit with a dart dipped in the poison of madness and goes crazy.  Tintin travels to Shanghai to find out what's going on.  This story is a bit complicated and I won't have room to tell it in detail, but one of the most interesting things about this story is Herge begins to use real life historical events.  Tintin foils the opium cartel and various people who help him are caught and given the cartel's "poison of madness".  He is saved at one point by a man named Wang Chen-Yee, the leader of a resistance movement called "The Sons of the Dragon".  Wang's son has been protecting Tintin and has also been given the madness poison, also called Rajaijah.  Wang tells Tintin that Mitsuhirato, someone Tintin thought was a friend, is actually a Japanese secret agent.  Our young reporter finds Mitsuhirato just as he blows up a railway line, mirroring the real life Mukden Incident.  No one is killed but the Japanese government calls it a Chinese terrorist attack and invade Manchuria. During a flood Tintin rescues another well-known character, Chang Chon-Chen from drowning in the Yangtze River.  They become friends and Chang helps Tintin avoid the well meaning Thompsons.    At the climax of the comic, Tintin discovers that the drug cartel is being run by Rastapopoulus, a man Tintin thought was a friend and a movie producer.  Tintin helps arrest the cartel and a Chinese doctor finds the cure to the poison of madness.  Chang is adopted by Wang Chen-Yee and Tintin triumphantly returns to Europe.  The fallout from Tintin's involvement with the cartel and Japanese spies leads Japan to withdraw from the League of Nations.

My Favorite Bit: This is a great comic, full of action, daring, and heroic characters.  Chang is a great companion for Tintin.  The full page illustrations are just amazing.  I like this story for it's intrigue and for it's somewhat complicated but fairly believable plot.  So, I suppose I don't have a favorite part--perhaps just the reinstating of those who have gone mad.  It's nice to see people that have been helping Tintin put back to normal afterwards.

Go Get It:  The Blue Lotus On Amazon US (Don't forget to get it with Cigars Of The Pharaoh, as they are a set!)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Comic Book Review: Cigars Of The Pharaoh

Well, you can tell that my summer has not slowed down but rather ramped up.  I apologize for the lengthy quiet in between comics but on to the next.

Name of Comic: Cigars Of The Pharaoh
Author: Herge
What's It All About: We start aboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean with Tintin and Snowy.  They meet an Egyptologist named Dr. Sarcophagus who invites Tintin to come exploring with him.  They discover a tomb but opium is piped into it and they pass out.  They wake up on the sea in sarcophaguses, not knowing what happened to them.  This comic is filled with opium smugglers, Sheiks, ships, and a poison of madness.  We meet Oliveira de Figueira, Rastapopolus, Sheik Patrash Pasha, and for the first time--Thomson and Thompson, who think Tintin is a thief and a smuggler.  This fine story continues in The Blue Lotus.

Sarcophagus setting off a gun accidentally with Tintin and the Fakir

My Favorite Bit: I like this whole story.  It travels from the desert to the jungle to cruises to tombs.  I like the feel of it, the pacing, and the story line is fun.  Herge is at his best here and you can bet that parts of this story will probably end up in the next Tintin movie.  If you had to get three of these comics to start with, this should definitely be one of them.

Tintin and Snowy running for a plane / Tintin in a car in the rain

Go Get It: Cigars Of The Pharaoh on Amazon US in paperback

Tintin and Snowy back on a cruise ship, looking out to sea...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Comic Book Review: Tintin In America

I will begin reviewing the Tintin comics with Tintin In America.  While it's not my favorite, it is the first that I'll review since the previous two that Herge wrote (Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets and Tintin In The Congo) are not widely circulated and (my opinion) Herge hadn't hit his stride yet.  This is the third official comic in the series The Adventures Of Tintin.

Name of Comic: Tintin In America
Author: Herge
What's It All About: Tintin, a famous reporter, visits America with his faithful dog Snowy, where he plans to report on the crime syndicates of Chicago.  Tintin gets into many scrapes with the mob and they spend all their energy trying to do away with the meddlesome detective.

My Favorite Bit: In this one my favorite bit is when Tintin has to dive off the train, off a trestle, and into water below.  It's a pretty amazing sequence.  I couldn't find a picture of it online but that just means you'll have to buy the book.
Suitable Age For Reading: My suggestion for a good age to start reading this is around eight.  Kids can look through these at earlier ages but there is a lot of talking and many plot ideas that need a little older mind to be understood.
Go Get It: Tintin In America on Amazon US.  I listed the paperback version as they are more comic-bookey that way. The hardbacks are fine but tend to put three books in one and I prefer each as an individual comic.

A Little About The Author:
Herge is the pen name of Georges Prosper Remi, a Belgian comics writer and artist.  He was born (on my birthday) May 22, 1907 and died March 3, 1983.  He is best known for the Tintin comics but he also wrote the other book series such as Quick & Flupke and Jo, Zette, and Jocko. A Herge museum was opened on June 2, 2009 in Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium and Herge was inducted into the Comic Book Hall Of Fame in 2003.

Stick around for further reviews of Tintin Comics.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A note

Good day to you blog-world.  Just a note of apology at my lack of reviewing--we have suddenly moved and as you know moving is exhausting and consuming.  I will be posting reviews again very soon.  Thanks for holding on!  Coming soon: Reviews of all Tintin comics!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Case You Needed A Few Extra Books For Easter

I already posted my Five Books list but I found a few I couldn't resist.  Beatrix Potter usually comes to mind when people begin thinking of spring, bunnies, and little books for Easter baskets.  And why not? They are a perfect child-size, they have lovely illustrations, and they're nice short tales.  Here are a few of my favorites, along with a couple other books in case you needed them:

Owen's Marshmallow Chick

These are some of my favorite spring books and Owen's Marshmallow Chick is my favorite in a small set of Kevin Henkes books that are just good fun.  Check the set out on Amazon HERE.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Five Books You Should Have For Easter

I love springtime, mostly because of the rain.  Rain means we can stay indoors and read books, work on projects, or just do Legos...that's right--I said Legos.  Here are a few books that are great to put in an Easter basket--saves you having to put in more candy, and books are always a lovely gift.  Our children have too many toys as it is so I love to buy books on all occasions.  

You can find the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  You can also get the book above, which is a pretty good children's Bible.  We read both on Easter and even though we enjoy bunnies, chocolate eggs, chicks, and Easter egg hunts, we still remember why we celebrate Easter in the first place!
Grab it at Amazon HERE

This is a book filled with soft and pretty illustrations.  It is a "lift the flap" book with some gorgeous hidden Easter eggs with added foil detailing.  
I've reviewed this already and you can check out my full review HERE.
Grab this on Amazon HERE

This is another book in a series of photo books.  The photos are from the seventies, but they are quite lovely.  The Little Duck is about about a boy who finds a duck egg in the grass near the edge of a pond. 
Find it on Amazon HERE

(You can also check out "The Little Rabbit" which I've reviewed already HERE.)

A fun book from my childhood, written by Margaret-Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams.  Can you get any more classic than that? Check it out!
I've reviewed this and the link is HERE.

Celebrating the holiday with the most candy thrown at you, this book will look perfect at the back of an Easter basket.  It's one in a series of Happy Day Book's called "How God Gives Us..."  It's my favorite, not only because of the subject, but because it is informative, illustrated nicely, and short.  Pick this one up used today!
Get it on Amazon HERE

So there you have it.  If you need something to watch on Easter, I can always recommend these:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Children's Book Review: Amelia Bedelia

Name of Book: Amelia Bedelia
Author / Illustrator: Written by Peggy Parish and illustrated by Fritz Siebel
What It's All About: Amelia Bedelia starts work as a maid for Mrs. Rogers but Mrs. Rogers can't be there to show Amelia how to clean the house.  Mrs. Rogers leaves Amelia a list.  Amelia looks at the first thing on the list: change the towels in the green bathroom.  So Amelia takes a pair of scissors and cuts the towels up until they look different.  She looks at the second thing on the list: dust the furniture.  Amelia finds a box that says dusting powder.  She dusts the furniture.  Oh dear, Amelia.  What will Mr. and Mrs. Rogers say?
My Favorite Bit: I love these stories.  Amelia is really a fun way to show children how to understand words.  My favorite bit has to be when Amelia draws the drapes.  She looks quite confident, sitting in the  living room with a large sketchpad.  She has such a good heart and the books are just lovely.

Suitable Age For Reading It To: This one's for everyone.  Our five year old doesn't always understand why Amelia has done something wrong but my husband laughing along makes her laugh too.  I'd read these to anyone but between five and ten is probably best.
Go Get It: Amelia Bedelia at Amazon US

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Movie Review: Why I love Pollyanna

 Aunt Polly Harrington's stately home

 Pollyanna listening to what she must and must not do

Pollyanna is one of those movies that I seem to put on about once a year.  CRAZY you say? Well, that's as may be but I'm not afraid to admit I love this movie.  Why do I love it? I have this problem where it isn't so much the stories that I love, it's the atmosphere.  It's the location.  This movie has a little of it all.  I love hats, froofy dresses that serve no purpose other than to render the wearer uncomfortable and slightly more birdlike, beautiful old houses, roast chicken on a Sunday, and all the little goings on in a small town.  I love charity bazaars, porcelain dolls, a church that everyone attends (and wears hats to), visiting friends on beautiful afternoons, a train station with a train that actually comes puffing down the tracks carrying (wait for it) ladies in yet more hats and gentlemen wearing waistcoats.  I love shopping for a whole new wardrobe, milk to drink with your steak and potatoes, ice cream with a favorite maid, and a sleepy spaniel on the stairs.

Eating dinner and trying not to spill milk

Aunt Polly walking through the gardens unhappily

So okay, I may have made even myself a little ill saying all the things I love but I wanted to say something about a beautiful little story brought to the screen in the sixties with some great characters and even Karl Malden thrown into the bargain.  Take a moment out of cable-land and throw on this old classic.  If you like even half the things I mentioned above you won't be disappointed.  Share it with your kids.  Make a pitcher of lemonade, put on an old pair of gloves, and pretend you have a fat cook in the kitchen who will whip up dozens of cake just to spite you in your pearls.

Pollyanna arriving as an orphan to her rich Aunt's home

Stealing mint ice cream while Nancy and Angelica get ready to serve it to luncheon guests

Love it, too? Nab it here for a great little springtime watch: Pollyanna

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chance At A Free Give Away: Narnia Contest!

Happy 2012 
to my faithful readers!


In this new year of 2012 I'm excited to announce my first official free giveaway on Happily Ever Tales!  I will be starting a new book review series on C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles Of Narnia.  Every review will have a quiz.  You can do the quiz or help your kids complete the quiz for each book and at the end of the series of reviews I'll give away a set of The Chronicles of Narnia paperpack edition to a winner picked from amongst the contestants who do the quizzes (you can do each quiz once and be entered all seven times, upping your chance at winning the set).

Leave a comment on this page that you've completed The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe quiz so that you can be entered in the drawing once all seven quizzes are through.  You may be entered for each quiz you take (and leave comments for).  Good luck!

 Take the quiz by clicking on
the illustration above!

Novel Review 
Name of Book: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
Author/Illustrator: Written by C.S. Lewis and Illustrated by Pauline Baynes (cover above re-illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg).
What's It All About: This is the first written story (second chronologically) of a land called Narnia and the people and creatures who inhabit it and who visit it.  The seven novels follow various unlikely and likely heroes but this one starts out with four children: Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund.
     Lucy discovers a land at the back of an old wardrobe in a large house she and her three siblings have come to live in in the countryside, having had to leave their home in London because of the air raids.  In the snowy land inside the wardrobe Lucy finds a faun named Mr. Tumnus who invites her to tea.  When Lucy returns to our world she is shocked to find no time has passed.  As you can imagine Lucy has trouble convincing her siblings to come to the world in the wardrobe but eventually they go too and discover that they are long awaited "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve" who will take the thrones at a castle called Cair Paravel in this enchanted land called Narnia.
     In the world of Narnia the children quickly discover that they have disrupted the reign of a White Witch who thinks she can rule the land forever, though the true Narnians await the return of the true king, Aslan the lion.  Peter, Lucy, Susan, and Edmund, must help the Narnians in their battle against the White Witch's army.  No one can defeat the Witch except for Aslan himself.  Will Aslan save Narnia and the children from our world?
My Favorite Bit: It's hard to have a favorite part of a novel, less still when it is a story from your childhood that you love.  I believe I like little things in this story the most.  For those of us who've read these stories many times, we love to say things like, "Aslan's on the move" or "further in, further up".  There is heart to this tale and we feel it well.    
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This is one of those stories that can be read to the young and read by the older.  I would say a five year old could hear and grasp this story but a nine year old reading it themselves will have a fabulous time.  
A Little About How Narnia Came About:(found on wikipedia and excerpts from It All Began With A Picture)
Lewis described the origin of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in an essay entitled It All Began with a Picture: The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.  This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen.  Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: 'Let's try to make a story about it.' 
It All Began With A Picture Excerpt: At first I had very little idea how the story would go.  But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it.  I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time.  Apart from that, I don't know where the Lon came from or why he came.  But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together, and soon he pulled the six other Narnian stories in after him.
The manuscript for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was complete by the end of March 1949.