Introduction to The Other Side

Hello and welcome all to this very special edition of Super-Natural Salsa, where we take myths and legends from around the globe and lay them bare in half hour segments. I am your host, Sassy Susy Sakowich, and do I have a story for you today!

Deep in the heart of the deepest depths of the ocean, surrounded by decaying relics of long forgotten civilizations, lives one of the most terrifying creatures in all of humankind’s mythologies.

Just one of his eyes is bigger than your head, his body is bigger than the tank of an S.U.V. my brother just bought, and when you add in his extremities…well, it’s safe to say that he’s bigger than most blocks of houses; and he isn’t alone.

A complex society of these sea beasts ranges throughout the world’s deepest waterways and, though feared by humans, these creatures rarely bring themselves to the surface, preferring to keep to themselves within the engulfing shadows of their homes.

As with most things, there are some exceptions. They emerge to socialize with other sea creatures during the annual Fire Falls {meteor showers}, ancient history week {school is school after all}, and whenever a lovely storm can camouflage their presence from the pesky humans who drove them deeper generations ago! but no long believe in, or fear, their presence.

It wasn’t always this way. Once, long ago, the beasts were free to rest on the calm waters and bask in the warm sunlight, their large bodies and floating arms creating a beautiful play area for other sea life. Humans changed all of that when. They became bolder and more likely to attempt landing on the poor animals in search of fish for supper. The beasts did not begrudge humans their food, it is the way of the world that some creatures must eat others in order to thrive. However, these sailors were stomping all over the poor animals, leaving scars and cuts from anchors, and ruining the safety that the traveling playground should have provided.

When you think about it, they had every right and many reasons to get upset and snap at those explorers! Of course, the sailors took it poorly and began to tell some fearful tales about creatures with long tentacles and a body over a mile-and-a-half wide. These horrid beasts were after only one thing…a meal made of humans! They could spear you with a horn, wrap long tentacles around your ship, and pull everything underwater…creating a whirlpool to Suck down anything that might have been missed on the waters surface. (No survivors? Where did the stories come from then, I wonder?).

Norwegians and Scandinavians call these frightful beasts the Sykraken, some Europeans refer to it as the Krabben, and most of us probably know it best as THE KRAKEN!

But do we really know anything at all? Is this chilling tale honestly as terrifying as all that? Or do we just fear them because we fear what we don’t know?

Here today, via satellite from the waters beside an undisclosed Caribbean Isle, and hoping to answer a few of our questions is a very special guest and a dear friend of a friend. Please Welcome to the Blender, Sergio de la Kraken!

The Eye

TO BE CONTINUED…

Sleepover Zoo: A Review

This week I actually have a book review for Book Review Tuesday! I was given this book in exchange for an honest review and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Without further ado, here is:

Sleepover Zoo

By: Brenda Kearns

Publication Date: April 1, 2013

 

Written primarily with upper elementary students in mind, this children’s book follows Antonina Maria (Toni) as she tries to adjust to a new school. The story centers on a few days in her life as the ‘popular’ girl in the sixth grade, Leona, pressures the ‘weird’ new girl, Toni, to have a sleepover.

That would be fine, except Toni’s home is a little…different than normal homes. Her family works with birds and her basement is a testament to that fact, shelves lined with cages and sick or injured birds rehabilitating in them don’t make for a normal home. When a prissy, never dirty, girl who isn’t allowed pets comes into their home a great dane, a koi aquarium, a small kitten, and a Macaw who drinks coffee make for a sleepover she’ll never forget.

Throughout this book the reader learns right along with the characters. Toni’s brother, Bruno, and best friend, Meghan, help her as they learn about friendship, family, and being proud of who you are. Along with those important life lessons, Brenda Kearns also sprinkles in some interesting facts about the different animals who live with Toni and Bruno.

This book is the type that would be good for classrooms from younger ages, like Mother’s Second Grade ‘TweetHearts’ (yes I’m serious, she did name her class that…) all the way through even the Eighth grade for students who don’t generally enjoy reading, for whatever reason. The simple and easy flow of the book leads readers along while feeding them information that helps them identify with characters and learn as they go. Sleepover Zoo is also a book that could inspire children to go outside and learn about the world around them, and that is a special quality to find in print.

Over all I give this book 5 out of 5 dragons for great writing, an interesting story, and making me want to learn more about nighthawks. If you are looking for a book for your child, your classroom, or even a quick read for yourself, I encourage you to give Brenda Kearn’s books a try.

Frozen

I want to say first that I was pleasantly surprised by the new Disney movie Frozen. Near the beginning of the movie, when Princess Anna meets her supposed true love and they decide to get married after a few hours of small talk, I balked. I thought “Oh no! Not another movie where the girl is sheltered and then finds true love after the first ten minutes of being outside!” But then the tides shifted and I enjoyed the change of scenery. Plus, there’s a dancing singing snow man who loves summer…who doesn’t enjoy that?

There are some people who have decided to complain that this is another princess movie wherein the heroin(s) are tiny and perky and pretty. That three years locked away from the world after their parents die would probably have had the girls munching on large doses of junk food and lazing about until they couldn’t fit into curtain dresses. (1) These two are obviously not depressed (as witnessed by singing and dancing about). Sad, yes. Naïve and sheltered, check. But depressed…no.

(2) Very few women in the world would look at an artist and seriously say, “When you draw me as this cartoon figure of a princess, please widen my hips to about three times their normal size, add a hanging stomach pooch, and give me tubby feet and chicken wing arms.” Honestly, there is an ideal in every person’s head, male or female. We all know exactly how we want to look and what size we want to be. Even people who are perfectly happy with their body image will tell you that they could probably stand to gain/lose a pound or two, or that they would like highlights or a new tattoo, or even just a new dress.

Would I like to see a cartoon show up with a plus sized princess? Sure, if it works with the storyline. However, can we be completely candid here and agree that an overweight princess probably wouldn’t have done a great job of trudging through the snow to find her new home or older sister? I know I wouldn’t be able to get very far before my thunder thighs and bronchitis made me sit in the cold for a while. (By the way, I feel the same way about Cinderella..who wasn’t fed enough to be tubby; Ariel…a FISH who swam all day {great exercise for keeping svelte}; Aurora…who was kept in a small forest cottage with three gardening fairies; and Belle…whose only parent didn’t make enough to put much food on the table other than home grown organics.)

Perhaps instead of being so concerned that our children will grow up with a skewed view of the world because the princesses in the cartoons are so skinny and helpless (OBVIOUSLY NOT PEOPLE…PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOVIES!! GOOD GRIEF! But that’s another blog really…) maybe, just maybe, we should be focusing on making sure that they find the morals of the story and don’t focus on looks so much. Belle found love with a Beast, evil was triumphed over, and Princess Anna saved herself and her sister by an act of true sisterly love…no kisses required. Too bad she didn’t get to keep the white hair though…I would LOVE streaks like that!

What are your thoughts on the subject?

A Note for Young Readers

Here is a little note for you from Claire Tworeck, who is currently working with Harper Collins Publishing House on a Children’s Christmas book idea, tentatively set for release winter of 2014. Enjoy, and have a Blessed Day!

Dear Young Readers,

Happy National Young Readers Week!

I wanted to share some of the pretty cool adventures I’ve been on recently. I’ve had the chance to fly on a magic carpet, help rescue a princess who was locked away in a castle, gone scuba diving and I’ve seen the most beautiful and colorful fish, walked in the moon, smelled and tasted the best chocolate cake in the world, met my favorite basketball players and fought an evil knight with a sword, yet I haven’t even left my house. I’ve had all of these wonderful adventures through books. Books are not just pages with words on them, held together by a binding and cover. They are adventures waiting for you. You don’t have to go on these adventures just once either, you can go on them many times as you want to.

So stop what you’re doing and go on an adventure!