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Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

The Harry Potter series has been one of the most talked about and read series of our recent times. It not only appeals to a younger audience, but has also been known to attract an older age bracket as well. Author J.K. Rowling went from rags to riches when the first book was released, and the success of her novels has brought her much fame. But now, she is being accused of plagiarizing the familiar children’s novels.

J.K. Rowling poses with one of her Harry Potter books.

To get you up to speed, there is similar book entitled The Adventure of Willy the Wizard, which was written by Adrian Jacobs back in 1987. The author of this book is claiming that Rowling took many ideas and large chunks of the book and then included it as a part of her Harry Potter series.

The sections of the book that Jacobs is claiming were plagiarized are wizard contests and wizards traveling on trains. It is true that these things are also present in Harry Potter, but could Rowling really have taken them from Jacob’s book? It seems a little fishy.

According to Reuters, Rowling made the following statements about the accusations: 

“I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry,” Rowling, 44, said in a statement.

“The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author’s estate in 2004; I have certainly never read the book.”

“The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd and I am disappointed that I, and my UK publisher Bloomsbury, are put in a position to have to defend ourselves.”

“We will be applying to the court immediately for a ruling that the claim is without merit and should therefore be dismissed without delay.”

Whatever the outcome of this case, there is no denying that the Harry Potter series has brought much joy to its readers. Fans of the books have been standing up for the author since the claims were made.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Remember reading Winnie the Pooh when you were a kid? Or remember reading the Hundred Acre Wood stories to your young ones? Well, after 80 years, that lovable Pooh Bear is back! Today, a brand new book was released.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood is the sequel to the old time Winne the Pooh books we know and love. Of course, there is already controversy stemming from the latest book, too. Because the original author, A.A. Milne, has been deceased for quite some time, obviously a different writer had to step up for this new recreation. The question on everyone’s mind is whether or not it will be as good as the original Pooh books.

Meet Pooh’s new author, David Benedictus, a 71 year old English writer with a real passion for the Hundred Acre Wood cast of characters. While working on the production of the book, he tried to keep the original integrity of the House at Pooh Corner book alive.

An illustration (by Mark Burgess) from 'Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.' Photo from nytimes.com.

An illustration (by Mark Burgess) from 'Return to the Hundred Acre Wood.' Photo from nytimes.com.

According to an article from the New York Times, “readers of  Return to the Hundred Acre Wood will find that time has virtually stood still in that world. Christopher Robin is back from boarding school to hang with the gang, Pooh is still silly and cannot spell, and there’s a new BFF in the circle of animals, a saucy, pearl-wearing otter named Lottie.”

I do, however, like Benedictus’ take on Eeyore. In regards to the recreation of the character, he said, “I made Eeyore a little more proactive so he wasn’t always the victim.” Thanks for noticing him.

You’ll just have to go see about this new Pooh for yourself. Do you think it’ll stand on its own as a Winne the Pooh story book or will it fall off the radar?

Oh, bother.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Looking back on my childhood, I must admit that one of my favorite things to do was read books or have them read to me. Having avid readers for parents also helped my situation, and made me the voracious reader that I am today. One of my all-time favorite books of my childhood had to have been Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Now that it’s a movie, I’m stoked.

What a great book. Photo from atomicpopcorn.net.

What a great book. Photo from atomicpopcorn.net.

The children’s flick opened in theaters this past Friday and made a whopping $30 million this weekend. Many theaters that showed the movie played it in 3D, which I’m sure gave audiences quite a thrill. It was even opened in a few IMAX theaters.

From reading a bit about the plot, it seems that the movie will differ slightly from the book, which is to be expected. It is rare that a movie stays true to its printed word counterpart. Apparently, the story starts with an inventor who wants to improve people’s lives. I’m sure you can guess where it goes from there….meatballs, pancakes, and ice cream start falling from the sky!

Actors in this film include Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader, Anna Farris, James Caan, Mr. T, and even Evil Dead’s own Bruce Campbell as mayor of the town.

For me, this movie brings some nostalgia. I remember cold winter nights, and my Dad sitting next to my bed reading me the fabled tale about the town of ChewandSwallow. Oh, to be a kid again. But if you’re anything like me and LOVED this book when you were young, go check out this movie.

Just to mention, the movie has a terrific website to check out. You can find videos, play games, find downloads and learn more about the story. Visit the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs website.

Watch out for that giant pancake predicted to land right on your school.

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