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The Story of a One-Eared Fox

Author Mira Bartok has raised quite a stir with her first fantasy novel, called The Wonderling. “Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: A real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny.” According to the publisher, this new hardcover book has already been optioned for a movie adaptation.

image c. 2018 Penguin RandomHouse

Two Birdies on the Town

We actually heard about this from several sources: Tuca & Bertie is a new 2D animated series coming soon to Netflix. It stars comedian Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) as Tuca, “a cocky, care-free toucan who’s friends with a 30-something and anxious songbird (the titular Bertie)”. Ms. Haddish is also executive producer on the show, which was created by BoJack Horseman producer and designer Lisa Hanawalt. AV Club has more information about it, but no premier date yet.

image c. 2018 Netflix

Flora and Fauna, Mystery and Macabre

That’s how the artist known as Kiriska says it. On their web site they describe themselves as a “… Seattle-based artist specializing in surreal and macabre wildlife art, as well as monsters, creatures, and anime-inspired illustrations.” To that end they have t-shirts, prints, stickers, and other materials for sale through a variety of outlets like Redbubble, Inprnt, and Society 6.

image c. 2018 by Kiriska


In the spirit of “How did this sneak up on us?”, it turns out that Condorito now has his own movie — called, appropriately enough, Condorito: The Movie. What, never heard of Condorito? The bird-with-a-beret was created in 1949 by Chilean doctor and political cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger. Since then, the bird has gone on to become practically the Mickey Mouse of Latin America… which is funny, given that he was created to make fun of Walt Disney’s over-sanitized version of Chile in the film Saludos Amigos. The Condorito gag strip (always ending with a lame joke or pun, and lots of characters fainting over backwards with a loud PLOP!) has become so well-known that someone was bound to make an animated movie out of it. And now Pajarraco Films (from Peru!) have brought Condorito to the screen in CGI. (It’s only been released in Spanish with subtitles, so far.) The plot? Condorito would desperately love to date his va-va-voom human girlfriend Yayita, but doing so means he has to get past her disapproving parents. Things get a bit more complicated when invading aliens capture and run off with Yayita’s mama — and who else but Condorito to try and rescue her? Admittedly the critics have not been kind to the film, some complaining that it smooths off the rough edges and adult content of the original strip. Though not very approving either, Lili Loofbourow’s review for The Week has some good background information on the strip. Oh, check out the official trailer too.

image c. 2018 Pajarraco Films

Looking Ahead To 2018

Welcome to the New Year! The helpful folks over at Animation Scoop have published a list of animated feature films scheduled to be released in North America this year — and of course, many of them are of particular note to Furry Fans.  Including things like… Peter Rabbit (coming out on February 9th), The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (February 23rd), Isle of Dogs (March 23rd), Duck Duck Goose (April 20th), Smallfoot (May 11th), Hotel Transylvania 3 (July 13th), The Grinch (November 9th), and Wreck It Ralph 2 (November 21st). They also give a list of films that are expected to come out but that don’t have a solid release date yet, including Monster Family, Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad, and The Ark and the Aardvark. They did forget a couple — in fact, first out of the gate is Paddington 2 (coming out on January 12th) which is at least as “animated” as Peter Rabbit. Also there’s Animal Crackers, which has found distribution but for which we still don’t have a solid release date other than “this year”. Look for all of these films through 2018!

image c. 2018 Studio Canal

Little Bird Lost

Pete Oswald is a very busy production designer and illustrator. Recently he and his team were responsible for lighting and set design on The Angry Birds Movie. And from his web site: “As a character designer and concept artist, Pete has helped to uplift many of the most successful animated franchises. Among other projects, Pete has worked on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 1 & 2; Hotel Transylvania; and the Oscar® nominated ParaNorman, for which he earned an Annie Award nomination.” Even with all that going on, Mr. Oswald finds the time to illustrate books for children as well.  Recently he completed one called Mingo the Flamingo (written by Justin K. Thompson and published by Harper Collins). “A hilarious picture book about a flamingo named Mingo who is ready to fly but gets lost from the rest of the flock during a terrible storm. To make matters worse, when he crashes, he completely forgets who he is and where he belongs. With the help and training from some new friends, he must find the strength to make it back home and reunite with his family.” Pete also worked with writers Laura Lyn DeSiena and Hannah Eliot to create a series of “Did You Know?” books — Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts being one of them. Also available at his web site.

image c. 2017 Harper Collins

Don’t Be Chicken! Oh, Wait…

Elise Walters is an animation artist who creates concept art and storyboards. If you check out here Weebly web site you’ll find at least a couple of her personal animation projects are especially anthropomorphic. “My Pet Shisa is a short animation about a young man in college who suddenly finds himself stuck with a young creature from Okinawan mythology: A Shisa!” Then there’s Benny Bantam: He’s “… a retired cartoon from the 1920s that suddenly finds himself having to cope with the modern world when his studio wants to revive his show for a new generation!” Plus many other projects and shorts that she created.

image c. 2017 by Elise Walters

This Dad is for the Birds

And once again, another animated property that the entire world seems to get except us here in the USA. Cracked (also known some places as Cracke’) is a series of comedic shorts created by Squeeze in Canada. The premise is simple: Ed is a friendly if nervous ostrich. (Don’t ask us why he’s red, or why he appears to have no wings. We don’t know.) Ed is a single dad who is trying to raise his brood of 8 eggs to hatching. Very, very wild hi jinks ensue. Animation World Network mentioned the series last year, when it was distributed in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Middle East, and Continental Europe. Recently they added Japan to the list — but still no mention of the USA. Well, if you visit the Squeeze web site, you can learn more about the series and how to download it as an app.

image c. 2017 Squeeze

From China to the World

Talk about International! Cloth Cat Animation in Wales and 9 Story Distribution in Canada have teamed up with Magic Mall Entertainment in China to bring Magic Mall’s new animated TV series Luo Bao Bei to the wider world. This is from Cloth Cat’s web site: “The series centres on spirited, fun-loving 7 year old Luo Bao Bei as she explores everyday life with her friends, family and animal companions, having adventures and learning that even though we seem different on the outside, the emotions we all feel make us fundamentally the same. Starting life as a popular cartoon spokesperson and community icon in Beijing, this show is created by Grace Tian.” The head writer for the new series is David Ingham, who is well-known for his work on Shaun the Sheep and The Octonauts.

image c. 2017 Cloth Cat Animation