Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

Feel free to comment on posts, re-blog and enjoy. To ensure a civil and focused discussion, comments will be held for a brief period before being published.



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Check It Out!
a movie review by Deana



 
Featured movie

Nocturna
 
What's the basic plot?
Tim, an orphan in London who is afraid of the dark, has just learned that his star Adhara has disappeared from the night sky. An adventure through the night takes him on a journey of strange happenings that he never knew existed. Tim learns that he has a guardian cat name Tobermory who is up through the night protecting him while he sleeps. Tim knows all about the stars, so why is his star suddenly gone. As he investigate about what happen to his star, he meets strange creatures of the night that helps him find the truth behind his most beloved night star. 

Why you might like it
Tim is a little shy and awkward around the other children at his orphanage home. They all know that he is afraid of the dark and when they do mean things to him like hide his favorite stuff animal, Tim goes to his secret place where he knows that he is loved. Soon Tim sets off through the night and meets strange creatures like Cat Sheperd, Mr. Pee, Sr. Moka, Pastor de Gatos and so many more. As he travels on an adventure through the night with Cat Shepherd, the North Star and his guardian cat Tobermory to find out who cause his star Adhara to disappear, Tim has to overcome his fears from what is causing the Nocturna creatures and Adhara his star to disappear. With daylight coming too soon, will Tim be able to save the Nocturna creatures and his star - or will they be lost forever? 
  
Reasons you  might not like it
You might not like this film for some children because the animation characters are a little dark (no pun intended by the title). I would not recommend this film to young children, but every child is different. It is a great film if you have a youth trying to overcome their fear of the dark.  
 
Who's in it?
Cat Sheperd played by Robert Paterson

Pastor de Gatos played by Imanol Arias

Moka played by Roger Carel

Sr. Moka played by Carlos Sobera

Tim played by Lloyd F. Booth Shankley

Mr. Pee played by Joshua Zamrycki
 
Where to watch it
Every title I recommend is available for you to watch instantly, for free, using our digital library services. 

”Nocturna” can be accessed using Kanopy , with a direct link here: https://aurorapl.kanopy.com/video/nocturna

Don't have a library card? Don't worry! You can sign up for a virtual library card here. 

 
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 17, 2020 at 3:27 PM
  

Fantastical Reimaginings

Hans Christian Anderson's "The Nightingale"
by Tess J. 

Nightingale
Image from Amazon 

“The Nightingale” is a less-well-known Hans Christian Anderson tale. There are several re-tellings but not many of them have strayed far from the original story. 

History
Hans Christian Anderson wrote “The Nightingale” in 1843. His friends called him “the literary nightingale” due to his impressive and versatile storytelling skills. They likened them to the song of a nightingale, which is deemed by many to be the most beautiful birdsong in the world. The nightingale has the ability to sing many different notes and sings both day and night. Anderson knew of a man who was quite ill but seemed to take a turn for the better after a young opera singer, Jenny Lind, sang for the man. Anderson recognized the power of song to uplift and heal (Tartar, 2008).

The Original
The Emperor of China has a fabulous palace and a garden so grand and large, even the gardener doesn’t know where it ends. Travelers from around the world come to walk through the garden and admire it. The Emperor and his court are pompous and arrogant. One day, the Emperor is reading a book about his marvelous gardens when he learns that the most splendid thing is not the flowers with silver bells or the vast forest, but a musical bird called the nightingale. He is furious that he has never heard of this creature before and demands that the court members find it for him. They search throughout the palace but cannot find it. They suggest that it may be a myth but the Emperor threatens they will all be punched in the stomach if the bird is not found that night.
The members of the court feverishly search for the bird but only one person can tell them of it – a little kitchen maid who makes nightly trips down to the sea to care for her sick mother. She is so tired on her return that she rests in the forest and is renewed by listening to the nightingale’s song. She agrees to take them to the forest to find it. Along the way, the members of the court, who have rarely been outside, mistake cows and frogs for the nightingale. Finally they find the bird and ask it to come back to the palace to sing for the Emperor. It agrees and its song is so beautiful, the Emperor is brought to tears. They cage the bird and have it sing on que whenever the Emperor wishes.

Soon, the bird is famous throughout the world. Japan sends a gift of a mechanical bird, which is covered with jewels and gorgeous to look upon. At first, he tries to have the two sing together, but the nightingale’s song always changes based on its mood, whereas the mechanical bird could only play one tune. After playing the song over thirty times, the Emperor turns to look for the real nightingale, only to find that it has flown away, back to the forest. He and the members of the court are offended and claim the mechanical bird is far superior, anyway. It held a place of honor and sat by the Emperor’s bed. People brought it gifts and delighted in its one tune because they could all mimic it and sing it to themselves. The real nightingale was banished. This went on for one year until...

One evening, as the Emperor was relaxing in bed, listening to the mechanical bird, it broke! The royal doctor was called but could do nothing. The watchmaker was called, fixed the bird as best he could, but warned it could not sing as often because its gears were greatly worn down. From then on, the bird only sang once a year. Five years went by like this until the Emperor grew very ill.
The Emperor suffers hallucinations, pressure on the chest, temporary muscle paralysis, (Anderson is describing sleep paralysis) and is dying. A phantom of Death appears sitting on the Emperor’s chest wearing his crown and brandishing his sword. Ghostly faces float by whispering all of the Emperor’s good and bad deeds. He screams at the mechanical bird to sing for him, to block out these visions and sounds, but it cannot. 

Suddenly, the real nightingale lands on the windowsill and begins to sing. The faces fade and Death itself calls for the bird to continue singing. The bird bargains with Death – it asks Death to put down the Emperor’s crown and sword. Death agrees in return for a song. The nightingales songs remind Death of its own garden and slowly retreats from the Emperor to return there. 
The Emperor cannot express his thanks to the little bird enough and offers many rewards. The nightingale refuses them all, saying his tears at their first meeting are jewels enough. The nightingale will not live with the Emperor but they agree that it can come and go as it pleases and sing for him when at the palace. The Emperor heals as the bird sings over him and surprises his court members in the morning when he rises well again. 

Shelley Duval's Fairy Tale Theatre
Image from eBay

Shelley Duvall’s "Fairy Tale Theatre"
Watch on YouTube 

As a child, I had not read Anderson’s story of “The Nightingale” but discovered the tale by watching Shelley Duvall’s “Fairy Tale Theatre” television show. “The Nightingale” was and is one of my favorites in the series. If you have not seen these, please check them out! The link to the episode of “The Nightingale” is above. Keep in mind, they were made in the 80s but I still quite enjoy them. 

As a child I liked it because the court members are over-dramatic bumbling fools, that no one can look upon the Emperor without permission, and anyone who does not please him gets punched in the stomach as punishment. I liked the story of the nightingale coming to sing for him and how his heart was changed by it and the loving kitchen maid. 

This retelling is not too far off from the original story. The story takes place in Cathay, which was what Northern China was known as in Medieval Europe. The only other major difference is the kitchen maid’s role, which is much larger than in the original story. In Anderson’s tale, she is only seen in the beginning when she leads the court members to the nightingale. In the show, she reappears several times after that scene. She speaks with the Emperor after the nightingale is banished. After he becomes ill, she desperately searches for the nightingale and pleads with it to return to the Emperor, before it’s too late. After the bird drives Death away, it tells the Emperor of the kitchen maid’s deed. When he is well, he honors her above all the others by taking her on a walk in his garden.
 
***

The Nightingale
Image from Amazon 

“The Nightingale” retold by Jerry Pinkney
Available Aurora Public Library

This version of Anderson’s The Nightingale is almost exactly the same as the original. The biggest difference is the setting. While the original takes place in China, Jerry Pinkney wrote and illustrated his adaptation to take place in Morocco, Northwest Africa. Instead of the title of Emperor, he is a King and his court members are attendants-in-waiting.

The kitchen maid’s age is not stated in the original. She is old enough to work in the kitchen and take care of her ailing mother. In Duvall’s television episode, the kitchen maid is a young woman. In Pinkney’s picture book, the kitchen maid is a child of about 10 years old. Even though she is shown on the front cover of the book, her role is not larger than that of the original. However, during the celebration held when the King is well again at the end of the story, she is presented with an Imperial Ribbon of Honor with a gold medallion in the shape of a nightingale hanging from it. 

The illustrations are stunning and I greatly enjoyed this version of “The Nightingale”. 

***

The Nightingale
Image from GoodReads

“The Nightingale” – a graphic novel version by Werner Wejp-Olsen
Available instantly via Hoopla Digital

This graphic novel is available as an e-comic on HooplaDigital (hoopladigital.com).
This version of “The Nightingale” is almost exactly the same as the original. The differences are that it is a graphic novel and the illustrations and text are light hearted and amusing. It is appropriate for young children where as the original and the first two retellings described are better for older children. Death and the ghosts that come to the Emperor/King when he is ill are rather scary. I enjoyed this silly adapation. 

***

I hope that you check out The Nightingale by Hans Christian Anderson. If you have already read it, or enjoyed the original, I highly recommend the retellings listed in this blog! Please comment below with your thoughts on this beautiful story. 

Curious about what a nightingale sounds like? Listen here

Resources
Anderson, H.C. “The Nightingale”. The Annotated Hans Christian Anderson, edited by Maria Tatar, W.W. Norton & Company, 2008, p. 78-97. 
“Common nightingale.” YouTube, uploaded by BIA birdimagency, 28 May, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teP1pE6S7tQ
“The Nightingale.” YouTube, uploaded by Lee Miller, 25 August, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8dLBflODHE

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 17, 2020 at 11:46 AM
  
Create It!

Colorado has some amazing trails to explore nature! But what would a hike for a fairy look like? Join Joy with Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space in adding some magic to your backyard and making a hiking trail for fairies!


Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 16, 2020 at 3:43 PM
  
Learn It!

Introduction to Beekeeping with 3 Sisters Honey
with Margo from 3 Sisters Honey & Stacy H.

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a beekeeper? Or what goes into the honey harvesting process? Venture into the exciting world of beekeeping with Margo from 3 Sisters Honey!

Margo shares her why for beekeeping, the terms and tools used, what a bee hive looks like and how to keep happy and healthy bees! To find out more about 3 Sisters Honey, visit www.3sistershoney.com.

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 15, 2020 at 2:10 PM
  
Learn it!

A Yarn About the World - Tokyo
with Tyler

Our resident globetrotter Tyler shares his travel experiences. This time, take a trip to Tokyo! Take in the sights and learn about the city!

Have you been to Tokyo? Share your favorite travel memory in the comments! 

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Jul 14, 2020 at 12:36 PM
  
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