Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘King’

Bees, Trees & Keys

The King’s Magnificent Sneeze. Written by Jane Elizabeth Habgood. Illustrated by Russell Ferrantti-Donavellas. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Love the preamble for this picture-book story for 4-8 year-olds, and the taller people that read it with them. “To all of the small people and tall people reading this book – please, always be kind.” That is one of the endearing aspects of this story – no matter how ridiculous, or strange, the behavior is by those involved, everyone accepts what is.

614EmitApzL._SX260_The King’s Magnificent Sneeze reminded me, in some ways, of the classic Goodnight Moon. It is similar in rhythm and rhyme, but different in the context and surroundings. This story takes place throughout the kingdom, whereas Goodnight Moon is all in one room. The tale opens with a humongous sneeze by the King of Snoffleguss.

The King’s sneeze effects some beings physically (such as birds that fall out of trees, and a pond to freeze) and others find their behavior to be quite odd. Even the unimaginable happens when, “Old people easily find their keys.” As expected, and which works perfectly, most every sentence ends with a word that rhymes with “sneeze”.

The writing by Ms. Habgood is just right for the audience, and the illustrations by Mr. Ferrantti-Donavellas are most fitting. Even though they are still drawings, they almost seem to come to life with the people, things, and actions taking place on each page. The King’s Magnificent Sneeze is funny, entertaining, and will delight one and all.

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Sensual Robin and Miriam

51l1u-uPg1LUnmasking the Knight by Terri Lyndie.
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

Come with me to the Kingdom of Mercia, in 911 AD England, and read about the love of Gisella and Ranulf. Sounds of Lorena McKennitt’s mystical music floated in the air, and visions of unicorns, magic, and misty meadows filled my vision, as I read Unmasking the Knight. Memories of the Robin Hood film Robin and Miriam, with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, flirted with my mind.

Gisella’s friends, Nesta and Drogo, warn her that Sevarin, the druid prophet, will soon insist on choosing a husband for her, if she does not do so herself. Gisella wants no one but her childhood friend, kindred spirit, and love, Ranulf, but he was lost years before when taken by the King’s army, or so she believes. Here is a brief scene of Ranulf desperately waiting for a rendezvous with Gisella.

“The air was cool, and a low mist had settled upon the moor. Crickets sang a continual melody in the inky beyond. Ranulf could make out the silhouette of the stone circle jutting up in the grassy field but there was no sign of Gisella. Fog bellowed, a figure seemed to appear, and then…”

This sensual first novella, by Terri Lyndie, is a surprising treat. It didn’t take long to read, but took me quickly to a lovely land of longing, and romance. The characters are lovely, there bond is strong, and the emotions and environment are weaved skillfully into the story. Unmasking the Knight isn’t the next War and Peace, but it never pretends to be.

The Mother Of Invention

A mother of an excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Little is known of Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba’s mother (including her name). There are reports that she was the seamstress to the Royal House of Padmasova in the Kingdom of Genoia, which was East of Africa and North by Northwest from the Indian Ocean. It is said that her mother lived a simple quiet life of service to the royal family, until a man called Shane came to town.

imagesNobody knew where Shane had come from or where he was going, but he quickly won the hearts of the royal family and was accepted into their good graces (and the queen’s adult daughter Chartres’s arms). Shane wasn’t bad, he was just made that way, or so they say. Before the people knew what had hit them, Shane had the king and queen ostracized and exiled to the Land of Ozberjian, along with Chartres (whom Shane had promised his true love too and impregnated within weeks of his arrival). Shane named himself King and demanded that a royal coat be made to adorn his beatific body.

Master Tova’s mother was devastated. She had loved the royal family and warned their daughter that this new vagabond was trouble, but they hadn’t listened. Now, she was being ordered to make a coat for the man who had dethroned her beloved employers. Working at night, with a single candle, the seamstress toiled for four weeks to finish the coat. When she had finished, she placed it carefully in a large gift box with a note for the guard’s assistant to deliver it to King Shane the next day. Master Tova’s mother packed everything she owned into a single case and left that very night, traveling through the darkness to a new land, where she met Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba’s father.

King Shane was delighted to receive his coat the following afternoon and immediately had his attendants’ help him put it on. It fit like a glove. He turned round and round, showing it off to all those who could see. It was made of colorful silk and had many pearls and rubies sewn into its hem. Everyone clapped, nodded, and admired the garment (including the king), until he sat down and felt something squishy burst in the bottom of his coat. He immediately stood, trying to turn and see what had happened. Though they tried, those in the court could not keep themselves from laughing. King Shane looked over at his chair and saw a large red stain. He took off his coat and saw that it was also drenched in a gooey red substance that was now dripping on his pants and shoes to the floor. When he went to change, he discovered that the stain had gone through his pants and underclothes and was also on his skin. He bathed repeatedly, but could not remove the red stain from his bottom.

Though the king sent out guards to look high and low for the seamstress who had sewed a concoction of permanent staining beet juice and herbs into the bottom of the coat, she was never found. It wasn’t long until word spread of the royal’s bottom and King Shane became known as King Beet Butt the Red.

More royal stories at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Gabriel,

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King is widely regarded as one of the world’s great human rights leaders.

Today and every day, Amnesty members stand together to defend the full body of human rights that Dr. King so bravely and eloquently espoused.

As we gear up for our Death Penalty Action Weeks (Feb. 27-March 11), we are inspired by Dr. King’s vision of a day without the death penalty. A day when revenge is not offered as justice and society turns to humane and constructive ways of dealing with violent crime.

Dr. King deeply opposed the death penalty, calling it “society’s final assertion that it will not forgive.” His widow, human rights activist Coretta Scott King, agreed. “Morality is never upheld by legalized murder,” she said.

Work with Amnesty to abolish the death penalty and defend basic human rights by becoming a Partner of Conscience monthly donor today.

We are moving closer to abolition in the United States. 2011 saw amazing victories: Illinois passed a law ending the death penalty, Oregon’s governor put a moratorium on executions and death sentences, and executions across the country were at an all-time low. However, it was also the year that the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, who came to symbolize all that is wrong with the death penalty.

As you read this message, eight more men are scheduled for execution in the next 60 days. More killing is not the answer.

Dr. King described violence as, “a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

Stand with Amnesty. Defend human dignity with your monthly gift to Amnesty today.

Dr. King lived his life in service to others, speaking out against suffering, inequality and injustice. In his memory, with his words, we march together toward the end of the death penalty in the United States.

In peace,

Laura Moye
Director, Death Penalty Abolition Campaign
Amnesty International USA

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