This is text from the beloved Golden Book of my childhood, but these are not the illustrations. These illustrations by Steven Salerno are whimsical anThis is text from the beloved Golden Book of my childhood, but these are not the illustrations. These illustrations by Steven Salerno are whimsical and modern....more
This is a picture book biography of Jose Guadalupe Posada whose illustrations of calaveras (the skeletons featured in the Dia de Muertos celebrations)This is a picture book biography of Jose Guadalupe Posada whose illustrations of calaveras (the skeletons featured in the Dia de Muertos celebrations) are the most iconic if not the most famous. It contains a lot of good information presented in a simple straight forward narrative. There isn't a lot of text, so it would make a good read-aloud for schools and libraries. The illustrations have a Mexican flavor, and prints of Posada's own work are included.
A glossary, bibliography, index, and list of museums housing Posada's artwork are provided as well as an author's note explaining more about the Day of the Dead and Posada. ...more
The stories in this collection are: "Rapunzel" read by Katherine Kellgren "Cinderella" read by January LaVoy "Little Red-Cap" (aka "Little Red Riding HooThe stories in this collection are: "Rapunzel" read by Katherine Kellgren "Cinderella" read by January LaVoy "Little Red-Cap" (aka "Little Red Riding Hood") read by Simon Vance "Little Briar-Rose" (aka "Sleeping Beauty") read by Grover Gardner "Little Snow-White" read by Kate Rudd "Rumpelstiltskin" read by Jim Dale "The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces" (aka "The 12 Dancing Princesses) read by Alfred Molina "A Riddling Tale" read by Janis Ian "The Twelve Brothers" read by Graeme Malcolm "The White Snake" read by Scott Brick "The Elves" (aka "The Shoemaker and the Elves") read by Bahni Turpin "The Six Swans" read by Davina Porter "The Twelve Huntsmen" read by Dion Graham "The Goose-Girl" read by Edoardo Ballerini "Sweet Porridge" read by Jayne Entwistle "The Golden Goose" read by Luke Daniels "Eve’s Various Children" read by Roy Dotrice "Snow-White and Rose-Red" read by Julia Whelan "The Frog-King, or Iron Henry" (aka "The Frog Prince") read by Kirby Heyborne "The Sea-Hare" (aka "The 12 Windows") read by Mark Bramhall "Hansel and Gretel" read by Robin Miles
This book would be great for family road trips with small children. It contains a good mix of classic and obscure tales. It contains my favorite Western fairy tale "Snow-White and Rose-Red," which is very close to the golden book edition I would read as a child Tenggren's Snow White and Rose Red. Each story is read by a different narrator, all of whom are good but not all equal in quality, and the translations/retellings are all slightly different than the standard picture book versions. These versions aren't shy about heads being chopped off although there is no graphic violence and no sex. (Rapunzel lets slip that the prince has been visiting her not because she had no sex ed whatsoever and wants do know why her dress is suddenly getting so tight but because she remarks that the enchantress is a lot slower and heavier when climbing up her braids into the tower).
As a side note, my preschooler was bothered that Little Red Riding Hood is called Little Red Cap. Since Jim Dale reads one of the stories, she also kept asking if this was Harry Potter....more
I'd been sold on the hype of this book, and the premise is intriguing. What attracts girls to Charles Manson-like cults? How are young women open to mI'd been sold on the hype of this book, and the premise is intriguing. What attracts girls to Charles Manson-like cults? How are young women open to manipulation and exploitation especially by a smooth talker oozing charisma? Unfortunately, the book doesn't deliver on the promised exploration of this phenomenon.
Evie Boyd is a bored 14 year-old. While her divorced parents are very inattentive, she isn't abused or neglected. In fact, thanks to the inherited money accumulated by her grandmother's acting career, she and her mother enjoy cush shiftless lives of relative luxury. Evie is not likeable. It is hard to feel sorry for her when she gets mixed in the Manson-like cult. Her father divorced her mother and moved to another city. Her mother is preoccupied with her new boyfriend whom Evie doesn't like. Then Evie and her best friend have a falling out partly due to her puppy dog crush on her brother. Feeling lonely and dissatisfied, this sets Evie up to be taken advantage of. Then one day she is bored in the park when she spies three girls, and Suzanne instantly attracts her attention with her easy carefree sexuality, attitude of contempt for the world, and dirty hippie garb. Suzanne is exotic and mysterious and very different from the nice clean world in which Evie lives. She follows the girls and watches them dumpsterdive behind a restuarant only to be chased off by an employee clutching their spoils, and it is terribly exciting.
Her and the cult girls' paths cross twice more. The second time Evie's bike breaks down, and she eagerly agrees when one of the girls suggest she return with them to the ranch outside of town where they are living in utter squalor although they sell it as a paradise on earth. Evie is given alcohol and recreational drugs. She is thrilled to meet Russell (fictionalized Charles Manson) whom all the girls worship, obey, and have sex with. He graces Evie with his attention for which she feels flattered even if he did then coerce her into performing oral sex on him in return for this attention. Afterwards she reflected on how well he took it when she recoiled in horror and then frightenly submitted much to her own disgust. Wanting to be like the cool cult girls, she swept away her own bad feelings about the encounter, determined to embrace Russell like Suzanne does.
She begins spending all the time she can at the ranch. She finds slumming to be thrilling and willfully ignores the depravity, chaos, poverty, child abuse, and sexual exploitation all around her. Of course, she goes home at night to her empty but clean stable home with a stocked refrigeration and ample supply of spending money. Although her sexual encounters with Russell and later Mitch left her feeling dirty and used, they also give her a feeling of superiority over her former bestfriend who naively spends the summer drinking orange soda and going to the swimming pool with other Mary Sues. She silently gloats to herself about her new friend Suzanne.
Evie is instantly and deeply infatuated with Suzanne. At times their relationship is sister-like, at times it is loosely mother-daughter, but most of time they are frenemies. Suzanne casually feeds Evie to the wolves, and Evie keeps coming back for more. When Russell sends Suzanne and Evie as a sexual bribe to Mitch, a famous musician who was briefly bespelled by Russell's spiritual message, to ensure his help securing Russell a record deal, Suzanne pulls Evie out of the guest bedroom to (view spoiler)[lose her virginity to the fat perv in a threesome (hide spoiler)]. That was the only time I really pitied Evie. Because a person imprints on his/her initial sexual experiences, Evie had just been set up for a lifetime of repeating the pattern of being used by others. Russell had picked Suzanne up in a strip club, and Suzanne found having sex at random with whomever asked or offered to be no big deal, so she had no qualms about pimping Evie on Russell's orders despite knowing she was only 14 and sexually inexperienced at best. (view spoiler)[During this encounter, Suzanne also has sex with Evie, and because this contact was at least physically enjoyable, Evie falls deeper in enthrall with Suzanne. (hide spoiler)] Even at the very end after the murders, when Evie finally has the epiphany that Suzanne "is not a nice person," she remains obsessed with her.
The author fails to present Russell as charismatic. He says very little and rarely appears on stage in the story, and when he does appear, very little about him is flattering, so there is no good explanation for why the girls are drawn to him. The author says in the narrative that the girls were sad and abused, but there is nothing aside from this narrative assertive to substantiate this claim. It is a real missed opportunity that Russell did not have a real speaking part. He does a bit of smooth talking when Evie first meets him, which does would him appear wise, understanding, and messiah-like in a young girl's eyes, but this is the only time in the entire story where the reader witnesses his forked honeyed tongue. Hippie, free love, anti-capitalist, utopia dialogue would have gone a long way in demonstrating his appeal. What Evie observes is dirty abject poverty and sexual exploitation, which for unexplained reasons she finds as captivating as the girls in Russell's cult. This book claimed to describe the vulnerability that could lead girls down such a terrible path, but it doesn't.
Occasionally, the author will make generalizations as if they are truths, but those ultimately explain nothing. For example on page 281, "I knew just being a girl in the world handicapped your ability to believe in yourself." Considering the source of wealth for the last three generations of Evie's family was her grandmother, the story doesn't support this claim. Evie felt like a disappointment because she was neither very pretty nor very smart, and because no one in her family had to work for living, she had grown up directionless with no work ethic, but she never seemed to lack the ability to believe in herself. She had quite a bit a gumption. While at a sleepover at her best friend's house before their falling out, she (view spoiler)[waited until her friend was asleep and then climbed into bed with her friend's sleeping brother in an attempt to seduce him into consummating her feelings for him. Mercifully, he had the decency to send her back to his sister's room after fondling her a little (hide spoiler)]. When her crush's friend embarrassed her, she pushed over his motorcycle. The second time she sees Suzanne she marches up to her, introduces herself, and volunteers to steal something for her.
There was also no point in telling this story in flashbacks. Evie having run through all her grandmother's money, moving from one menial job to another adds nothing, and continuing to moon over Suzanne adds nothing except to show that regret and experience has taught her absolutely nothing. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is the story of how Cedar finally comes to terms with her grief over the death of her father and older brother who died a year before in a car acThis is the story of how Cedar finally comes to terms with her grief over the death of her father and older brother who died a year before in a car accident. Spending the summer in her mother's hometown, she forms a friendship with a local boy working at the local theatre festival. It is a gentle story about grief.
Cedar's older brother had a moderate disability (autism?), and at first the story observed the taboo against saying anything negative about life with a disabled relative. This cultural refusal to acknowledge what a struggle it can be really does a disservice to caregivers and families. It is possible to both love and resent someone, and loving someone doesn't mean that caring for them and living with them can't be incredibility difficult. The standard song and dance is that no matter how challenging it is, everything comes up roses, which is very disingenuous and only adds to the shame of having these feelings. It was refreshing to see Cedar, at the very limit, admit her guilt that sometimes she "wished Ben gone" and then he died. For another honest, albeit still sugar-coated view of normal siblings' coping with life with a disabled brother/sister, check out Via's storyline in Wonder.
A diverse group of children stumble across a dead bird on their way to play in the park. They know the bird is dead because it had no heart beat and iA diverse group of children stumble across a dead bird on their way to play in the park. They know the bird is dead because it had no heart beat and it was cold and still. They were sorry it was dead and could never fly again. Imitating grownups, they hold an impromptu funeral for the bird, wrapping in ferns for a shroud, singing a lament, placing a headstone, and planting flowers on its grave. In the days that followed, they continued to visit the graveside until they forgot.
This is a rather touching story. Margaret Wise Brown revolutionized children's literature with Goodnight Moon by insisting that instead of the fairy tales and fantasy that traditionally made up the bulk of stories marketed to young people, children wanted to read books that reflected the world around them and their own experience. With The Dead Bird, Brown tackles the issue of death. This would be a good introduction to the concept especially if the reader is secular. There is no mention -- either for or against -- of an afterlife. Rather death is a reality the children encounter, comprehend, and accept with sadness. They mourn the loss of possibility accompanying the loss of life: now the bird will never fly or sing again.
The Imperial Walkers were all my time favorite type of Star Wars transport. I still recall my awe when they first appeared out of the mist at the battThe Imperial Walkers were all my time favorite type of Star Wars transport. I still recall my awe when they first appeared out of the mist at the battle of Hoth.
AT-AT Attack! is the very simplified account of the Imperial attack on the rebel's base on Hoth from the film "The Empire Strikes Back" done in a beginning reader format accompanied by cartoonish illustrations. ...more
This is fantasy novel, but it's not high fantasy, so there is no new world to learn. It's rural Illinois with all its small town drama amplified by ocThis is fantasy novel, but it's not high fantasy, so there is no new world to learn. It's rural Illinois with all its small town drama amplified by occasional magic.
The story begins in medias res. Finn is mourning the loss of Rosa whom he saw abducted by a mysterious [supernatural] being in a black SUV. To him, Rosa was a mother figure, but to his brother Sean she was his love, his comfort, and the woman he wanted to marry. No one believes Finn's abduction story and instead believe Rosa simply left of her own free will as unexpectedly and mysteriously as she had appeared. Sean believes Rosa walked out of his and his brother's lives because she didn't love him and didn't want to be with them anymore, and Sean's ragged unspoken grief compounds Finn's. Finn is desperate to find Rosa especially when her kidnapper reappears to taunt him.
But, of course, in addition to supernatural danger and magical happenings, Finn still has homework to do, SATs to study for, and college application essays to write. Finn gets his own love theme as well. He forms an ever deepening bond with Pricilla aka "Petey." Their relationship is really a beautiful example of positive teen sexuality. It is also a good example of how someone's own personal hang-ups and insecurities can have devastating affects on his/her relationship. Finn loves Petey for what she does rather than what she looks like (not that he doesn't think she is very pretty because he does). He likes that she is a fearless and skilled beekeeper. He likes that she will march in and take charge of a situation. He likes how she roars around town on her moped and doesn't -- surfacely -- care what anyone thinks. He likes how she speaks her mind and all the jokes they share and that she will sit up with him on nights he can't sleep. And he likes that she doesn't dismiss him as a dreamy, space cadet, "moonface" weirdo like the rest of the town. She believes him when no one else, except his friend Miguel, does. She can see him as he sees himself. Petey, however, cannot accept that Finn likes her (with only "slightly dishonorable intentions" because he is a teenage boy spring-loaded on hormones after all).
Told with brightly colored illustrations, The Goodbye Book walks the reader through the different emotional and behavioral responses to grief, endingTold with brightly colored illustrations, The Goodbye Book walks the reader through the different emotional and behavioral responses to grief, ending with acceptance. It is perfect for caregivers of children who have suffered a loss whether through death or something more benign like a move....more
Full Disclosure: I received a free ARC from the Publisher.
Grayling is the daughter of a wise woman (aka witch) in a medieval fantasy world. She livesFull Disclosure: I received a free ARC from the Publisher.
Grayling is the daughter of a wise woman (aka witch) in a medieval fantasy world. She lives a quiet life in the shadow of an austere mother quick to criticize but slow to praise. Her world is abruptly shattered one morning when an evil force sets fire to their cottage, steals the family grimoire, and transforms her mother into a tree. Armed only with a basket of potions salvaged from their charred home, Grayling sets timidly off in search of other wise folk. She quickly discovers that dark magic that attacked her mother has also struck the kingdom's other magic practitioners.
With all of the adept witches and wizards in the kingdom have been turned into trees, Grayling collects a band of equally inept cunning folk. Together they follow the song of Grayling's grimoire hoping to discover the source of the evil force and break the spell that transformed the wise folk into trees. There is a weather witch who can call lightning but not properly aim its strike, her whiney bumbling niece, an enchantress who can entrance any male within reach but who has no practical skills, and a completely incompetent wizard from the kingdom's famous wizard school who believes in magical cheese. Their ragtag band also expands to include an apprentice paper maker with no magical abilities (AKA muggle). Her most useful companion is a mouse named Pook.
Pook is my favorite character in the book and a nice twist the animal familiar. On Grayling's first night away from home, he ate the contents of her basket, thus destroying what little protection she had left from her mother. Because he ate the wishing potion, and Grayling wished he could talk, he can talk. Because he ate the shapeshifting potion, he can shapeshift, although he can only change when startled instead of at will. Because he ate the binding potion, he is loyal to Grayling and helps her to the very end.
Karen Cushman is known for her historical fiction, and in Grayling's Song she blends history into fantasy for the first time. Like Cushman's other heroines, Grayling is a preteen who is doubts her own abilities until something unexpected transforms her idea of herself and shows her that she is strong and capable albeit in her own way. Her experience also changes her worldview and wants she wants from life. This book would be great for middle grade girls, and it is mercifully free of the graphic violence that permeates much of contemporary fiction even works marketed to young people. Grayling does fall into some dangerous situations; however, she is able to escape frightened but virtually unscathed with the help of her companions and her own quick thinking as well as help from her magical mouse. It is an exciting but gentle read.