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Book Discussion: George Washington’s Teeth

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March 8, 2003, Vroman’s bookstore, Pasadena.

Madeleine Comora discussed the book she co-authored with Deborah Chandra, George Washington’s Teeth, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Through the use of rhyming verses, the book describes the founding father’s dental problems. In the book, the co-authors note that by the time Washington was elected president, he had only two teeth left. An annotated timeline at the end of the book includes factual quotes regarding his teeth from Washington’s letters and diaries, reproduced paintings set at various times during his “dental infirmity” and photographs of a pair of his dentures made from gold and carved hippopotamus ivory. Contrary to legend, Ms. Comora reveals, Washington never had wooden teeth. Following her remarks, Ms. Comora answered questions from members of the audience.

Madeleine Comora memorial (27 of 72)

About the memorial

A Memorial was held for Madeleine on July 20, at Descanso Gardens. It was a beautiful day, and over sixty friends and family gathered to honor Madeleine and share their feelings and memories. Madeleine’s books and photo albums were on display, slideshows and video, and beautiful songs performed by the Sposato Brothers. Click on the image below to see photos of the event.

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Memorial

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A Memorial for Madeleine will be held at 1pm on Saturday, July 20th, 2013, at the Van De Kamp Hall in Descanso Gardens. All are invited, and are welcome to bring family and friends. There will be sharing of sentiments, anecdotes, and readings of Madeleine’s work. A slideshow and videos will play throughout. Light snacks and lemonade will be available, and all guests will have free use of the beautiful gardens until 4pm.

Friends and family who do not live in the area or are unable to attend are encouraged to leave a message in the comments section of this site. Your message will be shared at the memorial on Saturday. After the memorial, a brief account and photographs of the day will be posted here. …

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Drive,
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Descanso Gardens is located near the intersection of the 210 and 2 freeways. It is a 20-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles. Map and directions are below.

For additional information or help, please call the special events coordinator:
Megan VanDeusen
(818) 949-4206
mvandeusen@descansogardens.org

Map and Directions:


View Larger Map

FROM THE SOUTH (LOS ANGELES)

Take the 2 North and exit at Verdugo Boulevard.
Turn RIGHT onto Verdugo Boulevard. Verdugo Hills Hospital will be on your right.
Turn RIGHT at Descanso Drive.
Entrance is on your RIGHT side.

FROM THE EAST (PASADENA AND THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY)

Take the 210 West and exit at Angeles Crest Highway.
Turn LEFT onto Angeles Crest Highway.
Turn RIGHT on Foothill Boulevard.
Turn LEFT at Verdugo Boulevard.
Turn LEFT at Descanso Drive.
Entrance is on your RIGHT SIDE.

FROM THE WEST (SAN FERNANDO VALLEY)

Take the 210 East and exit at Angeles Crest Highway.
Turn RIGHT onto Angeles Crest Highway.
Turn RIGHT on Foothill Boulevard.
Turn LEFT at Verdugo Boulevard.
Turn LEFT at Descanso Drive.
Entrance is on your RIGHT SIDE.

FROM THE WEST (VENTURA)

Take 134 East to the 2 North
Take the 2 North and exit at Verdugo Boulevard.
Turn RIGHT onto Verdugo Boulevard. Verdugo Hills Hospital will be on your right.
Turn RIGHT at Descanso Drive.
Entrance is on your RIGHT side.

 

 

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Children’s Books and Poetry

DSCN2692Madeleine’s spirit is immortalized in a body of published and unpublished work that reflects her poetic sensitivity and seasoned writing skills. Trained as a painter, Madeleine turned her creativity to writing soon after art school, studying with the late Myra Cohn Livingston in her Master Class until her death in 1996. Madeleine taught poetry in The Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension, and her poetry is included in numerous anthologies and collections. Among her published picture books are Taj Mahal co-authored with Caroline Arnold and Illustrated by Rahul Bhushan, and Rembrandt and Titus, a story about the painter and his son, illustrated by the late Thomas Locker. Her picture book George Washington’s Teeth, co-authored with Deborah Chandra and illustrated by Brock Cole, received five starred reviews in the top review publications, namely Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and The Horn Book.

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Taj Mahal

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Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2007 Starred Review

 Placed over wide, sumptuous carpets of finely detailed golden vines or other motifs and illustrated with accomplished Indian-style miniatures, this lyrical account frames a touching tale of love and loss in magnificent visuals. Falling in love as teenagers, Prince Khurram and a court official’s daughter Arjumand courted in secret, and then after a glorious wedding went on to rule wisely and well as Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal until her death during childbirth in 1631. Obeying her deathbed wish that all the world know of their love, he built her the jeweled tomb that is still one of the world’s wonders. He too is buried there, as the separate, black tomb he planned for himself was never built. Historical summaries and other notes (including the admission that most of the story is based on legend, since Mughal rulers guarded their privacy), plus a short reading list, cap a story based in history, and as romantic as any in folklore.

Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2007 Starred Review
One of the world’s architectural wonders takes center stage in this exquisitely illustrated story about its history and lore. With abundant detail and poetic license, Arnold (The Terrible Hodag and the Animal Catchers) and Comora (George Washington’s Teeth) recount the legendary love story behind the Taj Mahal (which means “crown palace”). Shah Jahan builds the spectacular monument to entomb and immortalize his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died at age 39 shortly after childbirth. An emperor in the Mughal Dynasty in 17th-century India, “Shah Jahan spared no expense. Pearl white marble was brought from quarries in Jodhpur… crystal came from China, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan… sapphires and quartz from the Himalayas.” Bhushan’s debut picture book’s extraordinary paintings echo the floral motifs and symmetry of the famous mausoleum. Intricate, narrow borders of tiny gold flowers within ribbons of ruby red or forest green surround and connect text boxes and illustrations. In several spreads, concentric borders give the impression of framed art. Larger floral- and pastoral-patterned backdrops in muted gold bleed off each page. The scenes themselves, which have a formal, portrait quality (many of the faces are flat and in profile), are filled tiny details, from jewels and luxuriously textured fabrics to elaborate battle dress. In the wedding parade scene, nearly a hundred individuals in miniature occupy a courtyard, each wearing a finely drawn costume. Facts about the royal family and the Taj Mahal, as well as a bibliography, wrap up this nonfiction narrative, though it’s the artwork throughout that is sure to amaze.

 

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RembrandtandTitus

Rembrandt and Titus

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In this fictional biography, Rembrandt’s son tells how his father chose to become an artist. Titus highlights events in the famous artist’s life–his marriage, his wife’s death, the rise and fall of his popularity, and his wealth. Most importantly, he learns how his father sees the world. The light, shadows, and reflections help him to discover that there is beauty in everything, from old beggars to landscapes. Rembrandt proved this over and over. The richly painted illustrations are inspired by specific works, which are listed with the bibliography. The illustrator has worked in Rembrandt’s own style to produce portraits and landscapes. He masters the chiaroscuro technique and the dramatic effect that Titus mentions in his narrative. Locker is particularly skillful in creating the Dutch landscapes–not so very different from his own. The text and art fit well together. Full-page paintings face full pages of large-print text. Warm earth tones are both background to the text and frames for the illustrations. The result is a total package that transports readers into Rembrandt’s world. An author’s note offers a brief summary of the master’s life and works.
–Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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