Sunday, 26 June 2011

Joy, Aranea and Nellie

Any ideas? Ring any bells? Hmmm? Hmmm? These are the names of Charlotte’s 3 spiderlings who decide to stay and keep Wilbur the pig company after they hatched. This is from the book Charlotte’s Web  by E.B. White if any of you still don’t know what I’m on about.  Why is Spidergrrl testing us with such trivia? Well take a lookie here and you will see:

Isn’t that gorgeous? It is by one of my favourite people Tommy Kovac. He is the coolest gay librarian on the planet (or perhaps that should be the gayest cool librarian) but whichever way you think of it he is downright amazing. I follow his 2 blogs--his personal one and his librarian one—

Tommy Kovac is a librarian who  puts a tremendous amount of thought into his displays and really tries to make that connection about the magic of reading with kids without being boring, overbearing and fusty which can really put kids off. He also is a writer and an artist. He does these clever little “doodles” on old library cards which makes him an artist who reuses materials that would normally go to waste.  A-okay in my book.

We *puffy heart* his work so much that when we saw this picture of spiders on his blog we knew we had to buy it. I love that the spiders are so anatomically correct. Nothing pisses me off more than spiders with one body part and 2 big googly eyes and lopsided grin like you forever see on Halloween stuff for kids so spiders won’t look so scary. Bosh. These sorts of spiders often appear in children’s books which is a shame. But not Tommy K’s spiders! Look closely at the detail. Click on the picture and it will magically get bigger before your eyes. I love the one fanciful detail of the curly feet because it is so adorable. I know if our spiders could curl their feet like they definitely would. We have hung it over “Tarantula Towers” where the girls live and they love it. They spend all day gazing at it and begging us to read Charlotte’s Web to them.  Ok, that’s a bit of a lie as despite having 8 eyes, none of the girls can see worth a damn. . But we spend all day gazing at it and rereading bits of Charlotte’s Web which is how Spiderman came up with the name for it.

How did we discover Tommy Kovac you may ask. He is, like me, an Oz fanatic and we share the same favourite Oz book The Patchwork Girl of Oz (although for me The Tin Woodman of Oz where Nick Chopper goes back to the tinsmith who made him and he meets his old head and has an argument with it comes a close second) Tommy knows that L. Frank Baum wrote 14 Oz books in all and many people have never even heard of the books because they only know the 1939 film which is a shame because the books are rich with wonderful adventures and characters. I’m not knocking the film--I have lots of film related Oz memorabilia, but the stories by Baum are so good it just breaks my heart that more people don’t know about them. For many years, despite the fact that kids really loved the books, uptight librarians disliked them because they weren’t “literary enough.” Poppycock. As a child I was completely immersed in the land of Oz and felt as if I knew all the characters personally. It has been so wonderful lately that Oz is having a bit of a revival. Marvel comics is committed to published graphic novel versions of all 14 original books. They have done the first 2--The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz and the next one Ozma of Oz comes out in a few months. These gems are put together by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young  and rock my world and I hope will bring the magic of Oz to a new generation of munchkins.

The other recent Oz excitement (for me anyway) is how we discovered Tommy Kovac. He has written (although not illustrated even though he totally could) an OZ comic called The Royal Historian of Oz --which was Baum’s name for himself, if you want a spot a trivia. This brings me to my next post. Stay tuned for more Oz awesomeness.

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