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How ‘Black Beauty’ Changed Animal Welfare for the Better

By January 17, 2018 Books, Memes

Today, I bring to you a childhood favorite, one that shows up in many Top Ten Lists on my blogBlack Beauty.

Black Beauty

My copy of the book – a Legendary Classic edition retold for children (1982 edition)

Black Beauty  was one of the first books that made me cry.  I got my own copy of the book when I was thirteen though I had read it earlier from the school library, as a prize I won at school. I still have my copy.. My school had this policy of handing out books as the prize to kids for all events; and when I had discovered that early on (I was always one of those – good students), I made sure I participated in competitions and did my best as well in class throughout the year. This ensured I got a few books at the end of every school year 🙂 But this was not my only source of books – my dad was the biggest supporter of my reading habits (and still continues to be!) – there is no way I can keep count of the number of books he bought for me (he never batted an eyelid when we entered bookstores and I returned with an armload of books). I digress, so returning to the book in hand – Black Beauty.

Though circumstances may be different today, there are still animals (and people) ill treated everywhere around the world and this book’s message of empathy, kindness,  and humane treatment of animals(and fellow humans too) is a much needed one. Read on for more interesting facts about this wonderful book.

  • Black Beauty was a very unique concept for the Victorian times – with the story written in the animal’s point of view. Many biographers believe that Sewell based Beauty on the family’s beloved pet horse, Bess.
  • This was Anna Sewell’s only published book, she started writing this in 1851 and it was published in 1857, a mere five months before she died at the age of 58. She did live long enough to learn she had authored a bestselling book (though she had sold it to the publishers outright for a price of £20 – the price paid for the book is unconfirmed however with varying records for the price of £20, £30, and £40!) (Source: The Oxford World Classic’s edition of the book)
  • The original/complete title of the book was ‘Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions : the Autobiography of a Horse : Translated from the Original Equine’
Black Beauty

This copy of the first edition of the book was dedicated by the author to her mother. It was auctioned off at Christie’s in London in June 2006 for £33,000.

  • This was not intended to be a children’s book; instead, it was aimed at adults to highlight the harsh treatment of horses and as a manual to help those who worked with horses. In her own words, her purpose in writing the novel was “to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses”[1] Consequently, her descriptions of how horses were treated, and specifically,  of the in-vogue ‘bearing rein’ of the times, led to the ban of the rein, and to changes in animal welfare laws all over Victorian England as well as in the United States.
  • The book also described how horses should be treated, and as such, was handed over to stables and horse-drives everywhere as a guide.
  • This is certainly a best seller, having sold more than 50 million[2]copies to date.

References: Wikipidea

‘Black Beauty’ is definitely one book that should be required reading for all ages, and it has inspired people in so many different ways. It still continues to be a favorite of mine.

Have you read the book? Or watched any of the various movie versions of the book? If you were to write a story about an animal in the animal’s POV (point of view), which animal would you pick and why?

This post goes towards UBCJust Jot It JanuaryABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter B (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22, as you might have already guessed, is children’s books – I will pick one popular (and sometimes the not so popular/the unknown) book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely).

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Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2018

By January 15, 2018 Books, Memes, Reviews, Writing

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Bookish Goals is the theme for Top Ten Tuesdays this week, at its new home over at ThatArtsyReaderGirl. And my bookish goals are very similar to the ones I made in previous years, with just a couple of changes.

  1. Work on my challenges – that covers many goals
  2. Read (and discuss the books we read) with my kids more
  3. Write more (those story ideas I have had since forever never made it to paper or well, the laptop)
  4. Update my book lists on my blog (TBR/completed/others) – create a new page and link to reviews wherever they are; Also update on goodreads/pinterest/bookstagram(this last one will be new to me)
  5. Start on the review of a book as soon as I am done reading it – at least a few comments/notes so I can work on it later – if I don’t then it just is not the same
  6. Find interesting bookish things – anything to do with books – and post about them (blog/pinterest/bookstagram)
  7. Write comments on my blog/goodreads for other books I have read before but not reviewed
  8. I will not continue to read books if I find them uninteresting even after 50 pages (changed from 33 before, because have noticed that some books tend to start slow). (Note: also depends on the total number of pages in the book – so this can change relative to the size – 50 pages will apply to books having around 250 pages, for my reading)
  9. Interact more with other book bloggers – one reading challenge and commenting on top ten tuesday posts/other book review posts is my plan to start on this
  10. Have fun reading and blogging and reviewing and doing all that I have stated above


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Magic Monday: Children’s Book Reviews and Short Stories

By January 15, 2018 Books, Memes, Reviews

This post goes towards It’s Monday What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA at Teach Mentor Textsand for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge as well as Just Jot It January. This also goes towards the NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge and the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me in 2018.

For the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me In 2018, here is a short short-story this week again (but not intentional – the pick of the cards!).

The Card: 6 of Spades

The Selection: Leo Tolstoy’s ‘The Three Questions

Here is the goodreads description: The story takes the form of a parable, and it concerns a king who wants to find the answers to what he considers the three most important questions in life. When is the best time to do each thing? Who are the most important people to work with? What is the most important thing to do at all times?

My thoughts: This story provides the answers to the questions posed by the king in the story (and also asked by many of us very often). Through this story, he illustrates the importance of the present moment, of mindfulness (of the whys, wheres, whos, whats, and hows of the present moment), and to simply do good. A beautiful quick read that can be appreciated by all.

Another book that I discovered after I read this story and was trying to find out more about this was an adaptation of the story for children (with a replaced character set and no violence) – named, well, The Three Questions [Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy] – by Jon J Muth. I have to yet read this adaptation but it looks and sounds like it would make a great gift (and books are my favorite books to give and receive), so I will be checking this out soon!


Epic Cardboard Adventures by Leslie Manlapig

Series: Capstone Young Readers
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers; Combined edition (March 1, 2018)

Goodreads Description: The creator behind the blog Pink Stripey Socks brings her crafting talent to cardboard! With these easy-to-make, imagination-growing cardboard crafts, kids can put on a show, travel back in time, and even rocket to outer space!

My  thoughts: This book contains many creative ideas – using, as the title says, cardboard.  And while cardboard in its many forms (cartons, paper towel tubes, toilet paper tubes, other) is not the only material needed, many of the other materials are ones you will likely already have at home! Plus, you can put those Amazon shipping cartons to fun use! A helpful material list for each craft and step-by-step photographic instructions help the reader work towards a cool end result – be it something just pure fun, a costume, playtime use, games, props to put on shows, and more. My favorite sections were those on Ancient Egypt (could be because of our recent visit to the amazing local museum here – a travel post on that to come in the next couple of weeks!), space (our Kennedy Space center visit?), and the section ‘Put on a Show’ which includes crafts for a rock concert, puppet show, and carnival fun among others.  Displaying the end results of my creations?? In a future post – coming soon!!

Note: While some crafts can be completed by kids by themselves, many of the crafts will need an older kid or adult help/supervision to complete. But – be warned, this can be addictive for those who love creating – like my DD and me (and my DH will not be a happy camper as he prefers cardboard boxes and used paper towel holders in the recycle bin usually!) This book while, will appeal more to younger kids, creative ‘uns of all ages will have fun exploring these ideas…

Rating: B+
Reading Level: Ages 7 to 11
Reread Level: 5/5


Disclaimer:Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for sending me a digital review copy of the book – Epic Cardboard Adventures. I was not compensated for my reviews. My thoughts were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. They are my personal opinions formed when I read these books.

Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

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A Hello and Goodnight at the (almost) Midway-Mark

By January 14, 2018 Memes, Writing

as i wish hello to you & myself a goodnight

light greets people elsewhere

err, brain-freeze is what i face

ways to overcome it in many tries

wisely i stop right now..


It is almost the midway-mark for the Ultimate Blogging Challenge and this is my attempt to get this posted for the day and a chained-rhyme (prompt from toads)


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Attention to Details Makes Wor(l)ds Magical

By January 13, 2018 Art, Memes, Travel


These words of Walt Disney ring true as we walk around any Disney theme park. The attention to details paid in every thing, from the obvious to the little things like trash cans and benches and lamp posts, is simply amazing. A post with more photos and tips from our Disney trip to come soon…

For Six Word Saturday  hosted at Travel with Intent and  Saturday Snapshot over at West Mommy Reads, as well as for UBC

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Book Beginnings and Friday 56

By January 12, 2018 Books, Memes

For the weekly book memes – Book Beginnings and Friday 56: I have picked a couple of sentences from the book ‘The Kindness of Enemies‘ by Leila Aboulela: I picked this book as part of the Strategic Reading Challenge; it also counts towards my Continental Reading Challenge – for books from Africa. Join me in traveling the world!

Book Beginnings: Hosted by Rose City Reader: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Include the title of the book and the author’s name.

1. Scotland, December 2010

Allah was inscribed on the blade in gold. Malak read the Arabic aloud to me. She looked more substantial than my first impression; an ancient orator, a mystic in shawls that rustled. The sword felt heavy in my hand; iron-steel, it’s smooth hilt of animal horn. I had not imagined it would be beautiful. But there was artistry in the vegetal decorations and Ottoman skill from the blade’s smooth curve down to its deadly tip.

Friday 56: This book meme is hosted by Freda. The rules of this book meme are simple too. Grab a book you are reading, turn to page 56 or 56% (whichever works), pick any sentence(s) and post it. Include the book title and the author. Link back to Friday 56

In desperation, women and children joined in an ambush. To fool the Russians that they had more fighters, Djawarat and a group of women dressed like men. Reluctantly, their husbands, fathers and brothers shared battle tactics and turbans, lent them swords and sharpened daggers, whispered advice.

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Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be (am) too late!

By January 10, 2018 Books, Memes, Writing

Many of you must have thought of the Rabbit with his timepiece from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as soon as you saw the title of this post. And you are not mistaken. Today’s post is about Alice (well, everything I can fit into one post that I am running late on….oh dear!)

Rabbit Alice

‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll tells the story of Alice who falls down a rabbit hole, into a land of wonders where she proceeds to wonder about everything, and everyone around. (And everyone there wonders too!)

Vintage Alice illustrationBefore I go into this post further, I have to admit, I do not recall reading the entire original book myself (maybe a really shortened version) and I do plan to read the original version this year (as part of one of my challenges, maybe!).

If you are like me, you can read it too – it is available to read free online in various versions and if you want the paper book, you can get those too – some of which I have mentioned below:

Some interesting facts about the book:

  • The story came about when a little girl named Alice Liddell asked Carroll to tell her a story during a boating trip.
  • Carroll took real-life inspiration for many characters in the book in addition to being inspired by Alice: one example is the dodo – he based that character upon himself.
  • If any of the other ideas for the title for this book had been picked instead, we would have been reading ‘Alice in Elfland’ or ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, (Actually, saw this on Amazon) or ‘Alice amongst the Fairies’. I am glad he went with the option we know it as today!
  • Lewis Carroll suffered from a rare neurological disease, that affects perception and size distortion. This was later called Alice In Wonderland Syndrome. His personal experience with it is of course visible in the book as Alice experiences numerous such incidents.
Lewis Carroll

By Reginald Southey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • This series of books were banned in China in 1931; reason – animals should not use human language.
  • The author of The Brave New World, Aldous Huxley, was enlisted by Walt Disney to write a script for the movie (though Walt Disney thought it was ‘too literary’ and nothing of that script made it into the 1951 movie)
  • Carroll was one of the first authors to create a ‘franchise’ off of his book. He allowed her image to appear on cookie tins and other items; and also designed a stamp case. (need to check if there is anything like this available!)
  • The book has never been out of print since its first publication in 1865; and has since been published in 176 languages
  • The first movie version of the book was only 12 minutes long (one of the longest movies of that time) and made in 1903

My favorite character(s) in the book have to be Tweedledum and Tweedledee (in the same way that Thomson and Thompson are my favorites in the Tintin comics)!! And the book provides one with so many wonderful quotes, puns, riddles, and word-games that one cannot help but fall in love with it.

John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).” 
— Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass)

How about you? Have you read the book? If yes, any favorite characters or quotes or memory of the book? Let me know in the comments!

This post goes towards UBC, Just Jot It January, ABC Wednesday‘s round 22 – letter A (my theme for ABC Wednesday’s Round 22, as you might have already guessed, is children’s books – I will pick one popular book – classic/modern/old/new… – and write about it – be it a backstory or facts or something else completely).

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Goals For The Year

By January 4, 2018 Everything Else, Learning, Memes, Writing

The past couple of years, I made and updated for myself a treasure map of goals to reach. While I did not yet reach them/achieve them fully, I did try to work towards (most of) them. And that point is why, at four days into this new year, I am planning my goals for this year. And reusing some of the ones from earlier, here are my 2018 goals – to be healthy, wealthy, and wise; and a 13 point list to help work towards them!! And if I am even halfway through some or most of them, that is still more than where I am at today and I will be happy…

  1. Exercise – I need to work on this seriously, so to break it down more specifically
    • Walk towards 10k steps everyday
    • Zumba twice a week (love dancing!)
    • Yoga once a week
  2. Hydrate
  3. Eat well (reduce dessert intake/plan and follow a weekly menu)
  4. Sleep – better sleep habits, as in the saying ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ So am going to work towards this habit and here are some tips I plan to use to achieve that.
  5. Spend wisely.
  6. Be in touch with family and friends more often than now
  7. Volunteer – at the shelter/soup-kitchen – with both my kids in scouting, I do get more opportunities to do this, so will work on doing it more often this year and do a RAK every week
  8. Start seriously working on my 52 week list made years ago (update as needed, but work towards checking it off)
  9. Read – My reading challenges, will hopefully take care of my reading goals
  10. Write –
    • in my journal everyday – just a line or two
    • poems – keeping a goal of six a month
    • posts on my blog – everyday during UBCs; and other months too if possible (excuse myself from this 5 days a month)
    • reviews that are overdue – book and product reviews I have been planning to complete
    • reviews for books that I read this year promptly
    • product reviews for products I truly enjoy using and know others will love too promptly
    • letters by hand – at least one a month
  11.  Learn – complete a course (even online) and earn a certificate, if possible
    • in something I love
    • in something that will be useful (even if I don’t love it!)
  12. Start learning a new language (Spanish might be a good choice as my son is learning it in high school now)
  13. Learn one new skill (need to figure out what) and relearn an older, left-in-the-sidelines one (drawing and painting)
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Leaping Zig-Zag into the New Year

By January 3, 2018 Memes, Writing

belly dancingLeap Into Love

She leaps gracefully
                Mimicking a dance
 She jumps joyfully
               Throwing him a glance
 Surprise him she does
               Puts him in a trance
 She zig-zags her way
               back to loyal fans
 Makes her final bow,
               bye-byes; lost his chance
 Maybe not! It’s her!!
               beckoning; Romance?

-Vidya Tiru/LadyInRead

A quadrille with the word leap; a poem that uses the word grace; a poem written using the invented form ‘zany zig-zag five‘ – this post is for dVerse Poets Quadrille Monday or maybe Poetic Tuesday (not sure if I can use it for both!!) and for ABC Wednesday‘s letter Z.

Quadrille: Rules of quadrille are quite simple:  write a poem, or short story in 44 words (excluding the title) with the specified word; this week’s quadrille word was Leap.

Zany zig-zag five: I found this in the poetrymagnumopus blog while looking for poetry forms starting with the letter Z to use for ABC Wednesday’s letter this week. On searching some more, I found the original poem written by the inventor of this form here.  Rules for this form: 5 syllable lines written in a zig-zag form that must contain movement and the words zig-zag must be mentioned; must also rhyme. For rhyming, I used the same scheme that Patricia used in her really wonderful poem – Shuffling Along.

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Throwback Thursday -13 From Past Thursday 13s

By December 16, 2017 Memes, Writing

I am sharing snippets from past posts here today, a throwback into Thursdays past on my blog – one selection each from Thirteen Thursday Thirteens for this week’s Thursday 13 

1 From Thursday Memes post,

Humbug Day is Dec 21st. The creators of this day created it to allow people to vent their frustrations. Bah! 

2 From a more recent Thursday Thirteen, where I paid tribute to a great mind

 NASA named one of it’s four ‘Great Observatories’ after him – the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The other three are the Hubble Space Telescope, the Comptom Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

3 From Memeing Through All Over Once More, where it looks like I went on a poetry-writing frenzy

dVerse – Thank you dVerse for this wonderful community of friends, poets, and for introducing me great new forms of poetry.

4 From the Treasure that is Memories:

Laugh with her – my mom and I had a sort of a mom-daughter laughter club – an impromptu one – and we would find ourselves laughing ourselves silly till our tummies hurt and the males in our family (that is,dad and brother) would pretend not to recognize us (even in our own house) – two ladies who have decidedly lost a few screws up in their heads!!:) – I would love to start this wacky tradition with my daughter and I know she will love it!!

5 From a Teetoliaciously Thursday post

Contribute   (this single word was part of that post – and in the spirit of the season, my contribution – I am hosting a giveaway on my blog starting tomorrow, so look out for it!)

6 From Hiking Trails and Tips,

Spray white vinegar on counter-tops and wipe clean (for keeping off ants)

7 From my Writing Experiments post, which has an interesting title and I enjoyed writing

Orange – derived either from Tamil நாரத்தம் naaraththam orange, நரந்தம் narantham orange, or நாரங்கம் naarangam mandarin-orange, with நாரத்தம் + காய் = நாரத்தங்காய் naaraththangaay in current popular usage

8 From another post:

Educate myself on one new thing – maybe learn something my kids are learning in school

9 From another Teetotaciously Thursday,

Dreaming – I love my dreams – the ones I have when i am asleep and those I have when wide awake! I encourage my kids to dream big too and follow their dreams

10 From Memeing Through Once Again

Cardamom,cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, chilies  – spices!

11 From Poet’s Tree,ashes from the flag

Ashes from a retired American flag – We had a flag retirement ceremony last year at a camping trip for our cub scout pack. One of the families had a flag that had to be retired – when the flag is torn/tattered, then the flag is retired by burning it in a flag retirement ceremony – this was truly something wonderful. We now have ashes from that ceremony which can be scattered, buried, or added to the ashes of another retirement ceremony – for now, we have it as a memento of that occasion.


12 From my second Thursday 13 post

For Share Your Cup my little girl and her littler cousin looked at how to draw videos and came up with this..

13 From a post in January this year

News – not the down in the d(tr)umps kind – More than 40% of California out of drought now


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