Monthly Archives: August 2010

August 17, 2010

Land of Falling Lakes

I’ve wanted to visit Croatia ever since I saw the PBS special Land of Falling Lakes about Plitvice Lakes National Park.  I could barely believe such a majestic landscape actually existed.   Sixteen bright turquoise lakes are nestled in woodland-covered mountains, and are connected by waterfalls, caverns and bubbling streams.  Plitvice Lakes was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 for its “outstanding natural beauty.”
PlitviceLakeSpring
PlitviceLakes01PlitviceLakeAutumn
PlitviceLakeWinter
Spring photo (top) by Elliot Jenko
Summer photo (2nd from top) by Jack Brauer
Fall photo (3rd from top) found here
Winter photo (bottom) found here

The documentary takes you through the seasons of the park, teaches you about the land’s unique ecology and introduces you to many of its animal residents.  With fascinating explanations of animals and the landscape of the region, this documentary will appeal to all ages.

Stream the previewPurchase the DVDAdd it to your Netflix queue.  Or better yet, go visit.

August 13, 2010

Kati and Kormos

On a quest for children’s stories from Hungary, Romania, and Croatia, I found myself at the San Francisco Public Library:

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The Main Branch downtown is massive, with 6 stories of books, and an amazing Children’s Section. To my surprise I found piles and piles of folk tales from these regions, and thanks to a kind librarian, was able to look at some books from the Historical Archives, which are not loaned out to the public. The one which resonated the most for me in both illustration and content was Kati and Kormos, written by Anico Surany and illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher:

kk cover

Kati Viszla is a prize-winning hunting dog who lived in a grand kennel on a huge estate in Hungary. She was happy, but lonely, as her owner Count Toldy was away often, and she spent most of her days inside a cage, and bored.

kk grass

Luckily one day she met Kormos Puli, a shaggy little sheepdog, and his owner Old Imne:

New Image

She learns to love a life of herding and not hunting, and abandons her life of lonely luxury for a life with good company.

kk fire

The illustrations are gorgeous in person. The tale is simple but the writing is wonderfully descriptive, and similar to Selma the Sheep, I find it conveys wisdom within its pages. The author Anico Surray is born of Hungarian ancestry, and owns a Viszla dog similar to Kati. Leonard Everett Fisher has an MFA from Yale, and has illustrated over 100 kids books, including 11 of his own.

Published by Holiday House Press in 1966, copies of this book are not very easy to find, but Amazon has a few for sale here.

This is part of an ongoing blog series exploring children’s literature and folk tales from the regions of Hungary, Romania, and Croatia. Do you have any recommendations? If so please feel free to leave a comment below.

August 11, 2010

Favorite Childhood Travel Stories from our Facebook Fans

Happy Wednesday!

Every week as part of Tote Tuesday, we ask a different question on Facebook. You can win our Little Citizens tote.

Just wanted to share some of our Fans’ Childhood travel stories and one of my own.

From Sarah (this week’s winner): Driving to Canada to see Niagra Falls and getting watermelon flavored French gum stuck in my hair when we were laying down in the back of our station wagon!

From Priscilla: My parents used to take my sister and I to Tijuana every summer. We stayed at the same hotel every year, ate at our favorite restaurants and visited neighborhing cities like Ensenada, Rosarito and Tecate. We looked forward to our summers.

From Winnie: My family didn’t go on vacations when we were young. Our first family vacation was when I was 18 years old, a trip back to China, Macau and Hong Kong to visit family. My grandmother passed away and the family was there to take care of service arrangements. Needless to say, we didn’t get to do too many things fun. But it was great to meet all the aunts, uncles and cousins I’ve never met before. It was fun getting to know them.

From Julie: When I was 11 and my brother was 8, my parents took us to Europe. In s stop in Germany a man introduced himself to us and bought us pastries in the Kondotetei. Turns out he was the Burgermeister. This thrilled us because we knew this term from the Christmas special with the Burgermeister Meisterbuger!

From Luciana: I used to live in Brazil… so on summer vacation, we would drive from Sao Paulo to Belo Horizonte and stop on little farms for snacks and rest along the way…. I remember playing in this little farm/restaurant’s playground and near the cows…. I remember the food was great and fresh milk… great memories.

From Kaarin: Almost 15 years ago, my Great Grandmother, Grandmother, and Mother took me on a tour of the world and we stopped by South Afrika for two months. While we were on safari one day a young Lioness jumped on our jeep and stared us down for what seemed like hours (probably no more than a minute!) , and my Great Grandmother finally stood up and told her to shoo away with her cane . . . I’ll never forget it ;) 4 generations of women traveling around the world!

From LisaC (that’s me): I remember going to Miami Beach for the first time from Connecticut to visit my aunt, cousins and Grandpa Abe. My brother kept saying its not Miami it’s your ami. We got to swim in more than one pool and the ocean, hang out with our older cousins and go for brunch at The Fountainebleau Hotel. Pretty cool all around.

Discover more memories on our Facebook page. What are some of your favorite childhood travel stories?

Count to Ten in Hungarian!

numbers_poster_full

(artwork by Binth)

1   Egy

2   Kettö (két before a noun)

3   Három

4   Négy

5   Öt

6   Hat

7   Hét

8   Nyolc

9   Kilenc

10   Tíz

Want to double-check your memorization? Take this little quiz here!

Interested in the phonetics of the Hungarian alphabet? Check out this handy chart here.