Archive for January 19th, 2015

BB cover

by Sam Juliano

The Bunjitsu Code advocates peace and tolerance, sharing,  daily effervescence, an appetite for the challenge and a keen sense of humor.  Adapting it without reservation will inexorably lead to a life of fulfillment and inner tranquility, perspective and humility, intellectual enrichment and continuing health.  In short, the code promotes all that matters the most in living the good life, one that equates with success achieved through application and an undercurrent of positive energy.  Those who adapt the code and follow it all the way through will never look down their nose at anyone else, will avoid a physical confrontation even at the expense of meaningless pride, will understand that there is always someone who knows more than you and will make themselves readily available to anyone who needs your help.  All of this will be negotiated with cheery demeanor and a sense of purpose.

By rights John Himmelman’s Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny, should be a double dipper in the same way that Nancy Willard and Alice and Martin Provenson’s A Visit to William Blake’s Inn  was back in 1984.  In the only such instance in the history of the American Library Association’s awards, the same book won both a Newbery and a Caldecott Medal.  True, the Caldecott was of the ‘honor’ variety,  but never before has a cover boasted a validation for both its words and its illustrations.  Himmelman’s wildly popular primary grade illustrated chapter book offers up fabulously riveting prose, and stylishly minimalist art that perfectly suits the book’s spirited action and philosophical underpinning. (more…)

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Interstellar (Christopher Nolan) USA #1



Leviathan (Andrei Zvyagintsev) Russia #2

by Sam Juliano

I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the many who extended their condolences to me over the unconscionable loss of my beloved first cousin and best friend Robert “Bobby” McCartney on January 6th.  Yes life moves forward but with the heaviest of hearts.  I still feel like all that has come to pass is surreal, and that I will see him again pulling up on his scooter or pick up truck to the front of my house.  I want to thank my very dear friend Pat Perry for her beautiful card, one that brought on teary eyes.  She knows well how grief can can take over one’s life.

I was unable to do this Monday Morning Diary earlier, because of a sudden and quite nasty bout with a stomach virus, which was brought into the house by my son Jeremy.  All day yesterday I had extreme nausea, the heaves and diarrhea. (not that you really need to know that last part,  ha!)  It seems to be of the 24 hour variety, as this morning I am about 60% better- not great, but well enough to get back on line to complete this diary and move forward with my Caldecott Contender series reviews.  Yesterday’s inability to do anything but lay down on a cot groaning  also prevented me from making urgent copies of “screeners” for some friends.  I plan on moving ahead with that tonight.

I posted my Top Ten of 2014 list on my facebook page last week.  because of the extenuating circumstances of the past weeks and the unexpected demands of the Caldecott Medal series, I was unable to provide capsules reviews.  Am I tell the readers here that I find “children’s books” more urgent than films?  Not by a country mile -Wonders in the Dark is after all a film site, and for years my primary focus, and main draw on my money and time week after week -and I wrote nearly 20 exorbitant length reviews for the ‘romantic films countdown’ over the past year alone, but when I commit to a series I must complete it.  I hereby post my Top Ten and honorable list again for the WitD readers: (more…)

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