Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘children’s books’ Category

Beauty and the Beast Movie – Review by Adele Downs #BeautyandtheBeast

What happens when four author friends get together when they’re not writing or talking about writing? They go to the premiere of BEAUTY and THE BEAST on opening day.

From left to right: Veronica Forand, Adele Downs, Judi Fennell, Beth Long.

Disney’s newest version of the fairy tale starring Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, and Kevin Kline as Papa Maurice is a big, beautiful film offering an escape from the world for two wonderful hours. The characters are perfectly cast, the musical scenes are breathtaking, the humor actually makes us laugh, the costumes and set designs are Oscar worthy, and the dark moments are intense. There wasn’t a single thing about the film I didn’t enjoy and I recommend the movie to romance lovers everywhere.

Those who have decided to boycott the film due to a rumor that two men kiss–that is only a rumor and simply not true. There is a ballroom scene at the end (–SPOILER ALERT!–) where everyone in the castle dances when the spell of enchantment is broken, and two men lift their arms to dance together, but the gay moment is offered in the spirit of fun. It was a snapshot inside a huge, exciting extravaganza that’s not to be missed. I want to see the movie again.

Remember Your First Romance Novel?

Do you remember your first romance novel? The one that got you hooked on the genre?

I remember my first Kathleen Woodiwiss romance, SHANNA, and the blockbuster novel THE THORN BIRDS by Colleen McCullough, though my fascination with love stories didn’t start there. Mine began with the steamy TRUE magazines, which I used to hide from my mother under my carpet.

Before that, the book that sparked my romantic curiosity was ALMOST APRIL by Zoa Sherburne. I bought the novel in fifth grade for fifty cents through Scholastic Books. Just like I’ve kept my favorite childhood book LITTLE WITCH all my life, the coming of age story ALMOST APRIL about “the terribly strange feeling of being almost grown-up and almost in love” has remained on my keeper shelf. I still feel sentimental about that book when I hold it in my hands. The novel has been repackaged for today’s readers with a new cover, but I still prefer the original.

What books shaped your reading habits? Do they remain on your keeper shelf?


Remembering A Favorite Childhood Book

Do you have a favorite book you’ve loved all your life? One that fueled your love of reading?

My favorite book as a child was LITTLE WITCH by Anna Elizabeth Bennett. I could hardly wait to receive my copy the day I carried quarters to school to place my order with a #2 pencil on a Scholastic Books form. Since then, I’ve kept the paperback on my keeper shelf to read again and again. From elementary school to college, to marriage and family, from apartment to starter house to permanent residence, LITTLE WITCH has traveled with me. I read the story to my children and will one day read it to my grandchildren.

When I discovered that a 60th anniversary hardback edition of LITTLE WITCH will be released in October 2013, I ordered a copy for old times sake. The book has gotten a makeover with a modern purple cover, but the heartwarming story about overcoming adversity despite one’s circumstances is as timeless as ever.


If you’re curious about this wonderful tale for children, here’s a summary:

Nine-year-old Minikin Snickasnee (Minx for short) wishes she were not a witch’s child.  Her greatest ambition is to go to school and make friends with children her own age. But the evil Madame Snickasnee doesn’t care what her daughter wants—she spends all her time turning local villagers into flower pots, making Black Spell Brew, and causing trouble on her broomstick.  So when Minx decides to conjure up her own spells in the magic cauldron one night while the old witch is out there’s no telling what could happen!

Join the feisty Minx as she finally meets some new friends—and learns all about friendship, courage, and standing up for what’s right.  Will little Minx finally find her place in the world at last?


What was your favorite book as a child? The one that fueled your love of reading? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Happy Reading!

P.S. 6/27/2013. Just received a message from Amazon that LITTLE WITCH 60th Anniversary edition will release early–July 5!

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