Fun Facts Friday: Roger Hargreaves and Mr. Men
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 13, 2011

This week we celebrated what would have been Roger Hargreaves 76th birthday. Mr. Hargreaves was the creator of the “Mr. Men”(official site | collector’s site) series of books which many of us grew on. In his honor I dedicate this post of Fun Facts Friday. 1) Charles Roger Hargreaves (9 May 1935 – 11 September 1988) was born at a private hospital in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, England. 2) Roger Hargreaves always wanted to be a cartoonist and wrote his firs Mr. Men book, “Mr. Tickle, while working as a creative director for an advertising agency. 3) He had a difficult time finding a publisher, however once published the books were an instant success selling over one million copies in three years. 4) He published his first Mr. Men book in 1971, by 1976 he quit his day job. The Little Miss book series appeared in 1981. 5) Mr. Hargreaves wrote many other stories for children, including a series of 25 books called “Timbuctoo”. image from karaman.org 6) By 1983 Lillte Miss was a TV show (Mr. Men had his own TV show prior) voiced by Upstairs, Downstairs actors John Alderton, and Pauline Collins. 7) Mr. and Mrs. Hargreaves had four…

Fun Facts Friday: Scandalous Women
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / May 6, 2011

The book “Scandalous Women” (book review) by Eliz­a­beth Kerri Mahon (blog | Twit­ter) is filled with great stories and great trivia. Instead of doing my usual Fun Facts Friday I decided to do something a bit different. I will use random.org ten times and open up to that page in  “Scandalous Women”. Once there I will gleam a fun fact from that page. 1)      To celebrate her 50 years in show biz, 68 year old Josephine Baker did a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris (page 230). 2)      Amelia Earhart is considered to be the first modern American heroine (page 285). 3)      Lady Caroline Lamb wrote an anonymous fan letter to Lord Byron after reading an 1812 ARC of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. And you thought ARCs were a new thing (page 47). 4)      If Joan of Arc lived today she’d probably be diagnosed as a schizophrenic (page 21). 5)      Mata Hari means “the eye of the day” in Malay (page 112). 6)      Boudica, a queen of the Iceni tribe (today considered part of England), seized London from the conquering Roman Empire and burned it the town the ground (page 11). 7)      Mary Wollstonecraft who caused many scandals arguing for…

Fun Facts Friday: Washington – A Life
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 22, 2011

It was announced this week that Ron Chernow’s most excellent biography of George Washington, aptly named “Washington: A Life” (book review) won the Pulitzer Prize. I think the prize is well deserved, Mr. Chernow has the ability to bring historical figures to life and his books read like novels. Here are a few interesting facts I learned from “Washington: A Life” and from our family trip to Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. 1)      In the French and Indian War, while fighting in the British Army, Washington got hit with four bullets in his coat and hat and had two horses shot from underneath him. Washington remained unscathed which started his bullet proof reputation. 2)      George Washington always regretted not having a college education. 3)      Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon may look like it’s build out of stone, but it’s actually wood with sand thrown on the white paint. 4)      George Washington loved animals. Over his life he had over 30 dogs and when the Revolutionary War was over, he retired his horse Nelson and forbade anyone from using him for farm work. 5)      Martha Washington spent half of the Revolutionary War with her husband and used her time to fixed…

Factual Friday: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 8, 2011

Even though it took me a while to get into The Hunchback of Notre Dame I was very impressed with the book (book review) and thought the last 200 pages were certainly work trudging through some of it. 1) The original title of the book is “Notre Dame de Paris” which translates into “Our Lady of Paris” – a much more fitting title in my opinion. 2) Victor Hugo made it clear that the main character in the novel is the cathedral and not any of the characters. 3) Victor Hugo was strongly against the English title. 4) Dom Claude Frollo named the abandoned child he found in the chruch “Quasimodo” because he found him on Quasimodo Sunday. 5) “Quasi modo” in Latin translates to “almost standard” but actually means “similar to”. Believe it or not this name is in line with common medieval naming conventions. The Hunchback by Brian Bustard – Purchase a Print 6) Quasimodo has fifteen bells but his favorite is named “Big Marie” 7) In the novel, Esmeralda is 14-16 years old. 8 ) Esmeralda is charged with witchcraft, among other offenses. 9) One of the subplots is Esmeralda’s search for her mother. 10) There are…

Factual Friday: Anna Sewell
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 1, 2011

Author Anna Sewel (30 March 1820 – 25 April 1878) was an English novelist best known for her classic novel “Black Beauty”. Below are a few facts about Ms. Sewel just in case you’re ever on Jeopardy. 1. Anna Sewell was part of a devout Quaker family. 2. Anna’s mother, Mary Wright Sewell,  was a popular author of “juvenile bestsellers” including “Mother’s Last Words” which sold millions of copies throughout the world. 3. Anna Sewell never recovered fully from an accident she had. Her love for horses is attributed to her difficulty walking. 4. During the writing of “Black Beauty” Anna became sicker and sicker. The novel was finished only through her mother’s transcription and dictation. 5.While traveling in Europe seeking to improve her health, Sewell met several artists, philosophers and writers. The exposure is believed to have contributed to “Black Beauty”. 6. “Black Beauty was Anna Sewell’s only publication. 7. Although considered a children’s classic, Sewell wrote “Black Beauty” for people who work with horses. 8. “Black Beauty” was suppose to have “a special aim being to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses” 9.  Sadly, Sewell died several months after the release of “Black Beauty” and…

Dr. Seuss – Birthday Facts
Fun Facts Friday / March 2, 2011

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” 1)      If Dr. Seuss were alive he’d be 107 years old today. 2)      Dr. Seuss’ first book “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” was rejected 27 times before it found a publisher. 3)      Dr. Seuss never had children and according to his wife Audrey he was slightly afraid of them and “couldn’t just sit down on the floor and play with them”. 4)      Seuss was Mrs. Geisel’s (his mother) maiden name. 5)      During his service in the US Army Signal Corps Geisel worked with a wonderful group who would later become animation pioneers such as legendary Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones and renowned voice actor  Mel Blanc. 6)      Dr. Seuss dropped out of Oxford and never received his doctorate. 7)      Dr. Seuss wrote “The Cat in the Hat” because he thought children stories were too boring. 8)      “Green Eggs and Ham” was written as a bet between Geisel and his publisher to come up with a story which uses exactly 50 words (a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat,…

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