Reviews

The Beatrix Potter Collection (2008)

The Beatrix Potter Collection (3 DVD set) was just released for sale on 2/12. Ligia and I bought the set just a few days ago, and we’re very happy that we did it. The series was done very well by the BBC. Each DVD contains three animated stories, and each story has a live action introduction filmed in an idyllic English country setting. Some of the live action introductions do repeat, and we found that to be a bit annoying. It would have been ideal if a different intro was filmed for each cartoon, or if only intro was present per DVD, to keep things different.

We love the animation because it looks just like watercolor book drawings that have come to life. The lines are well defined, the colors are wonderfully chosen, and the sound effects almost too real. The movement of the characters is a bit awkward, but I like it because it reminds me once again of their book drawing origin. I can’t say it enough, so I’ll say it again: watching the DVDs is just like seeing the book drawings come to life.

The stories are wonderfully plotted and contain great lessons for the little ones. It’s a pleasure to watch and follow along with the characters. The story-telling is relaxing but won’t put you to sleep. It’s just the right tempo. Some of the stories are a little scary, like that of Pigling Bland or Samuel Whiskers, but the scary scenes are only alluded to, not shown. Still, it’s effective enough to send chills down your spine, so you might want to pick and choose which stories you show to your children based on their age and level of understanding.

Here is what’s included in the set (images of each DVD cover are included below):

  1. The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends
    1. The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny
    2. The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse
    3. The Tale of Tom Kitten and Jemima Puddle-Duck
  2. The Tale of Pigling Bland and Other Stories
    1. The Tale of Pigling Bland
    2. The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or the Roly-Poly Pudding
    3. The Tailor of Gloucester
  3. The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Other Stories
    1. The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Jeremy Fisher
    2. The Tale of Mr. Tod: The Further Adventures of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny
    3. The Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town-Mouse

I’m trying to think what other cartoons I can compare them to, and their closest “relative” is probably Little Bear, which is a series about a bear family living in an American forest. The drawing style and movement of the characters is similar, thought the colors aren’t pastels in Little Bear.

I definitely recommend these cartoons. They’re great for children, but you don’t need to be of that age to enjoy them. Ligia and I both found them enjoyable.

Buy The Beatrix Potter Collection

The Tale of Pigling Bland and Other Stories

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A Guide To A Good Life

I miss Collier's Weekly

I know Collier’s has been gone for a long time, but when I see stuff like this, or this or this, I can’t help but love it. Maybe we should have more drawings in our magazines, and they should be done with the same classy style and atmosphere. Things are a bit too realistic nowadays. We can always get plenty of reality. We can’t avoid it. It would be nice to open a magazine and get lost in its own little world, where the articles, drawings, photos and yes, even ads are different from all the rest.

Collier’s Weekly

Image Credit: ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

Such little thought is given these days to good cartoonists. Let’s not forget a good cartoonist made Harper’s Weekly what it was, and great artists gave Collier’s its look. Instead of getting celebrities to do provocative photo shoots on the cover — and to manipulate their looks into something completely artificial — it would be better to feature wonderful art like Collier’s did.

Ad from Collier’s Weekly

Image Credit: ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive

When we think class these days, fashion magazines come to mind. You open them up, and about 80% of those things are ads with lanky, weird-looking models sulking or posing awkwardly/provocatively. There’s very little substance, and very little interesting stuff. True class in a magazine is a style that comes through the page, and it’s about art, layout, colors, copy and yes, atmosphere. It should invite the reader to open it. While it deals with the problems of the world, it should be upbeat and entertain. Maybe I’m off the mark, but from what I’ve seen so far, I really do wish Collier’s could be resurrected, with the same style and panache of its heyday.

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Thoughts

Book giveaway: Making Change Stick, by Richard C. Reale

I reviewed “Making Change Stick” a while ago, and liked it. Now I’ve decided it’s time for it to benefit someone else. Have a look at the review and see if you’d be interested. (Retail cost for the book is $19.50.)

The rules are the same as for the last book drawing. Just tell someone you know about my site, and invite them to subscribe to the site feed. If you can email two people, great! If not, email just one and introduce them to my site. Then leave a comment on this post telling me you did it.

I’ll hold the drawing Thursday evening, and announce the winner on my blog. I’ll also link to his or her site/blog. The winner will be responsible for the shipping cost.

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Thoughts

The winner of the "Java I/O" book drawing

A few days ago, I announced a free book giveaway. The book was Java I/O, 2nd Edition, by Elliotte Rusty Harold (my review). All you had to do to qualify was to leave a comment on that post with your thoughts about ComeAcross — what you liked, what you didn’t like. There were only two takers, Jeremy and Cosmin. I held the drawing tonight — actually, the word drawing is a bit fancy. It was a coin toss. I went by the order of the comments and Jeremy got heads, Cosmin tails. Jeremy came out the winner, and will get the book. Jeremy, please send me your mailing address, and I’ll ship the book out to you! 🙂

I also promised I would post a link to the winner’s website directly in my blog post. Here is Jeremy’s blog, and it’s pretty cool. It was started in February of this year, and it deals with photography, technology and programming.

Stay tuned for more book giveaways in the future! I have plenty of books that might be useful to others, and would like to give them away if I can. Doing it through my blog is a pretty nice way to do it, too.

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Thoughts

Book giveaway: Java I/O, by Elliotte Rusty Harold

I’ve got a whole bunch of new computer books that I’ve reviewed, and I realized I’m not using most of them. But I know there are people out there who need them. So, I thought I’d hold a free book giveaway. That’s right, it’s FREE. But you will need to pick the shipping method and cover the shipping cost, which you can PayPal to me.

The rules

So, how does it work? It’s simple, really. I’m always looking for feedback and ideas on how to make my blog better. All you have to do to qualify is to leave a comment on this post telling me what you like and don’t like about ComeAcross. I’m looking for thoughtful, considerate feedback. You don’t have to write entire paragraphs, this isn’t an essay. Just get to the point in a few sentences or less.

All of the people who leave comments will be entered in the drawing that I’ll do this Saturday evening. I’ll announce the result at that time, or on Sunday morning. I’ll contact the winner via email to get his or her mailing address, and if they’ve got a site, I’ll link to their site in a post right here on ComeAcross. That reminds me: please don’t post your mailing addresses in the comments… I’ll contact you to ask for it if you’re the winner.

The prize

The book I’d like to give away is “Java I/O, 2nd Edition“, by Elliotte Rusty Harold. It retails at $33. You can read my review of it right here. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to read my review before you ask for the book, just so you know what you’ll be getting.

I’ll be waiting for your comments, and thanks! 🙂

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Reviews

Animation is hard work!

A wonderful video from the late 1930s, a newsreel, has been posted to YouTube. It depicts Fleischer studios in action, making a Popeye cartoon. In this age of computer animation, when things work differently, it’s a real treat to see animators in action, drawing for a change. Golly, cartoons were sure hard to make! We, as spectators, can’t possibly imagine the incredible amount of work that goes on to produce a 7 or 8 minute cartoon, but this video does a pretty good job of setting us straight on that subject. This is why old cartoons are still relevant. The sheer amount of work it took to make them qualifies them as works of art. We should do our best to preserve them and share them with generations to come.

[via Cartoon Brew]

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Thoughts

Chad's Design For Television (1960)

From A-HAA!: “Remember those matchbooks that said ‘Draw Me!’ on the front? They advertised a correspondence course called ‘Famous Artists’. Everyone made fun of ‘draw Binky the Skunk any size but the same size’ – but the truth of the matter was that the Famous Artists Course was no laughing matter – it was one of the best art instructional courses ever created…”

Read the entire post for some great background info on Chad Grothkopf, one of the great animators. Here is the link.

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