Puzzle: Booked Flight

Booked flight, med
Size550 pieces, 26 missing
Dimensions: 61 cm x 46 cm
Painting: original
Producer: Ceaco, Glow in the Dark, #2333-13
Artist: Don Maitz

Puzzle: Good puzzle to leisurely put together, even with so many pieces missing (I got it second-hand, and I think this is the most incomplete puzzle I’ve ever assembled). Good places to start are the wizard and dragon’s flame, the boundary of the wings against the background, and the dragon’s head and neck. Wing section borders serve as horizontal guides.

Puzzle: The Wizard’s World by Adrian Chesterman

Adrian Chesterman - The Wizard's World, med

Size:  550 pieces, 2 missing
Dimensions: 61 cm x 46 cm
Painting: the original
Producer: Ceaco, Glow in the Dark, Series 6, 2005, #2333-37

Puzzle: A pleasant fantasy puzzle to assemble. The best regions to start are the window, the wizard’s face, hair, and beard, the fingers, the flame and the candle, and the planets. The owl, the parchment, and the rest of the puzzle can follow. A beautiful painting.

Artist: Adrian Chesterman studied fine art at Norwich School of Art and illustration at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, London. Since leaving the R.C.A. Chesterman has worked in nearly every sphere of the art world… Chesterman started with an illustration technique of his own invention which employs airbrush and painted gouache and acrylic inks on artboard or canvas… Chesterman lives in Andalucia in Spain and has also been designing gardens and parks for the rich and the famous. “I love designing gardens… When I’m painting a picture or a mural I am usually copying nature, but when I’m designing a garden I’m working with nature as my paint box.”  [Adrian Chesterman site]

Puzzle: Alter Terrain by Steve A. Roberts

Steve A. Roberts - Alter Terrain, med

Size:  550 pieces
Dimensions: 61 cm x 46 cm
Artist: Steve A. Roberts
Producer: Ceaco, Glow in the Dark series, 2003, #2333-24

Puzzle: Simple puzzle to do, the pieces fit unambiguously. Some good regions to start are the wizard’s face and clothing, the horse, the border between the two terrains, the cacti, the fortress, and the spheres of light. The grass, the rocks, the mountain peak, and the orange sky can follow, leaving a few pieces to fill in.

Notes: Change Terrain is an Uncommon Instant Spell belonging to the  Nature Magic realm. It may only be cast on the overland map. For the base Casting Cost of  50, it will change a targeted tile from one terrain type to another. Most terrain tiles are shifted one “step” closer to Grassland, and Grassland may be changed back into Forest. Several types of terrain, including Oceans, may not be targeted. The effect is permanent and does not require an Upkeep Cost to maintain. [Master of Magic wiki]

Puzzle: Wizard Stonehedge by Meiklejohn

Meiklejohn - Wizard Stonehedge, med

Size:  550 pieces
Dimensions: 61 cm x 46 cm
Artist: Meiklejohn
Producer: Ceaco, Glow in the Dark, Series 5, 2004, #2333-32

Puzzle: Simple puzzle to do: large distinct colour regions, large pieces and clear boundaries. Wizard’s face and robe, blue  light bordering it,  gold embellishments on the robe, hat with the star, the dragon ball, the lightening, and the skyline are all easily assembled. The red sky region, the hands, and the landscape can follow, leaving the rest of the pieces to fall into place.

Notes: Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, about 3.2 km west of Amesbury and 13 km north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. [Wiki]

Puzzle: The Grey Wizard by Myles Pinkney

Myles Pinkney - The Grey Wizard, med

Size:  1000 pieces
Dimensions: 48.56 cm x 73 cm
Artist: Myles Pinkney
Producer: The Canadian Group, Sure-Lox, Glow in the Dark series, 2007, 81600-6

Puzzle: This puzzle requires good lighting – the shades of the Wizard’s robe are subtle. Blue window, hair, face, hand, beard, smoke, pipe, curtains, and blue patch on the floor are all good places to start. The remaining pieces can be split into reddish (for the cape), lighter brown for the robe on one side, black in shadows, and darker brown on the other side. With Sure-Lox pieces fitting together well, it’s a pleasure to do.

Notes: The original of this picture is actually called Gandalf at Back End, and has more detail around the wizard. I wish the puzzle makers incorporated the entire painting.

Puzzle: The Three Little Pigs

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 49cm x 68cm
Master Pieces, #71144

Three Little Pigs is a fairy tale featuring anthropomorphic animals. Printed versions date back to the 1840s, but the story itself is thought to be much older. The phrases used in the story, and the various morals which can be drawn from it, have become enshrined in western culture.

The Three Little Pigs was included in The nursery rhymes of England (London and New York, c.1886), by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source. The story begins with the title characters being sent out into the world by their mother, to “seek their fortune”. The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and the pig runs to his brother’s house. The second pig builds a house of sticks and when he sees his brother he lets him in, with the same ultimate result.

The third pig builds a house of hard bricks and when he sees his brothers he lets them in. The wolf fails to blow down the house. He then attempts to trick the pigs out of the house, but the pigs outsmart him at every turn. Finally, the wolf resolves to come down the chimney, whereupon the pigs boil a pot of water in which the wolf then lands and is cooked.

The story utilizes the literary rule of three, expressed in this case as a “contrasting three”, as the three pigs’ brick house turns out to be the only one which is adequate to withstand the wolf. [Wiki]

Puzzle: Jack and the Beanstalk

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 49cm x 68cm
Master Pieces, #71145
Notes: Jack and the Beanstalk is an English folktale. The tale is closely associated with the tale of Jack the Giant-killer, and is known under a number of versions. Benjamin Tabart’s moralized version of 1807 is the first appearance in print, but “Felix Summerly” (Henry Cole) popularized it in The Home Treasury (1842), and Joseph Jacobs rewrote it in English Fairy Tales (1890). Jacobs’s version is most commonly reprinted today and is believed to more closely adhere to the oral versions than Tabart’s, because it lacks the moralizing of that version.

In the Jacobs version of the story Jack is a young lad living with his widowed mother. Their only means of income is a cow. When this cow stops giving milk one morning, Jack is sent to the market to sell it. On the way to the market he meets an old man who offers to give him “magic” beans in exchange for the cow.

Jack takes the beans but when he arrives home without money, his mother becomes furious and throws the beans out the window and sends Jack to bed without supper.

As Jack sleeps, the beans grow into a gigantic beanstalk. Jack climbs the bean stalk and arrives in a land high up in the sky where he follows a road to a house, which is the home of an ogre. He enters the house and asks the ogre’s wife for food. She gives him food, but the ogre returns and senses that a human is nearby:

I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he live, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

However, Jack is hidden by the ogre’s wife and overhears the ogre counting his money. Jack steals a bag of gold coins as he makes his escape down the beanstalk. Jack repeats his journey up the beanstalk two more times, each time he is helped by the increasingly suspicious wife of the ogre and narrowly escapes with one of the ogre’s treasures. The second time he steals a hen which laid golden eggs and the third time a magical harp that played by itself. This time he is almost caught by the ogre who follows him down the beanstalk. Jack calls his mother for an axe and chops the beanstalk down, killing the ogre. The end of the story has Jack and his mother living happily ever after with their new riches. [Wiki]

Puzzle: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 49cm x 68cm
: Master Pieces, #71146
Scott Gustafson
Notes: “The Story of the Three Bears” is a fairy tale first recorded in narrative form by British author and poet Robert Southey, and first published anonymously in a volume of his writings in 1837. The same year, British writer George Nicol published a version in rhyme based upon Southey’s prose tale, with Southey approving the attempt to bring the story more exposure. Both versions tell of three bears and an old woman who trespasses upon their property.

“The Story of the Three Bears” experienced two significant changes during its early publication history. Southey’s intrusive old woman became an intrusive little girl in 1849, who was given various names referring to her hair until Goldilocks was settled upon in the early 20th century. Southey’s three bachelor bears evolved into Father, Mother, and Baby Bear over the course of several years. What was originally a fearsome oral tale became a cozy family story with only a hint of menace. [Wiki]


Puzzle: Alice in Wonderland

: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 49cm x 68cm
: Master Pieces, #71143
Notes: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure have been enormously influential, especially in the fantasy genre.

“How Doth the Little Crocodile” is a poem by Lewis Carroll which appears in his novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s recited by Alice in Chapter 2. It describes a crafty crocodile which lures fish into its mouth with a welcoming smile.

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!

Book: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Source: audiobook
Text: http://publicliterature.org/books/wizard_of_oz/1
Audio: http://librivox.org/the-wonderful-wizard-of-oz/

Notes: Being a child, I have read the Russian version of this book (there are 6 books comprising the series based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), written by Alexander Volkov, the first of which is almost identical to the L. Frank Baum’s original. I have also enjoyed listening to The Dark Side of the Rainbow (syncing the Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon to The Wizard of Oz movie made in 1939). And so I have decided to finally check out the original book.

The most of the characters and events are very similar to the Volkov’s version, with a few exceptions. The main character is called Dorothy (as opposed to Elly) and the good witch of the South is named Glinda (as opposed to Stella), etc. Most of the discrepancies are very minor, and the story is quite enjoyable.

The following exchange made me chuckle. After the description of Dorothy’s home in Kansas as gray: with people, animals, home, and nature outside being dull and gray; she ends up in a colourful country with unique characters. Yet when the Scarecrow says: “I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.“, she responds: “That is because you have no brains…“. Um, sure, that’s a reasonable retort. If Dorothy’s conversation partner was an actual person with brains, this statement would be insulting, and moreover not addressing his view at all. She goes on to explain that “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.“, which does push through the patriotic message and makes her meaning more clear. However, one can only conclude that nomads and immigrants are not “people of flesh and blood”. Yes, yes, it’s a children’s book and it simplifies the issue. I just wish it was expressed a little less categorical.

Overall, quite a good fairy tale with colourful characters and an engaging plot. The sequels I have read in Russian are also quite good.