What a fun fractured fairy tale! I love the humor! It really does include some laugh-out-loud moments. The book actually reminds me a bit of Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, but The Princess Games is more light-hearted.
I think what makes this book work the best is the different voices throughout. Each chapter changes point of view which gives a different insight to the games as they are going on. This helps with characterization especially because each character has such a distinctive voice.
One of my only criticisms is that I actually wish it was a bit longer! I would have loved to have some of the scenes be longer than they were and to have really gotten to know some of the secondary characters....more
I really enjoy Duffy's anthologies. What a fun and accessible way to share fables (and fairy tales in the first anthology). I love seeing the differenI really enjoy Duffy's anthologies. What a fun and accessible way to share fables (and fairy tales in the first anthology). I love seeing the different artists' work and seeing a new version of old stories. P.S. My favorite were O'Connor's! ...more
I first learned about Baba Yaga when I was in middle school, and I learned about Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition suites based on paintings by Viktor Hartmann. Suite 9, “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs” was based off of his painting of a clock in the form of Baba Yaga’s hut. Because I liked the music so much when I first heard it, I wanted to learn more about it, and one of the things I distinctly remember researching was Baba Yaga who I found fascinating! I then was reintroduced to Baba Yaga when I was reading the Fables series by Bill Willingham, and once again I went and read all about her folklore. Which meant when I saw that there was an upcoming graphic novel, my favorite!, about her, I had to get it.
Marika McCoola’s retelling of the Baba Yaga folktales does them justice. With a mix of classic stories of Baba Yaga and McCoola’s story of Masha, the book does a wonderful job of introducing the readers to who Baba Yaga is at the core, a conflicted witch, and also puts a twist on it all. Masha’s story is more than just an addition to Baba Yaga’s story though. She is the star. Her story is a sad one, and Baba Yaga may just be what she needs. This text will really start some discussions around Masha’s family status and why Baba Yaga and her may just be perfect for each other.
I am a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, and I am an even bigger fan of fairy tale retellings that take away the “whoa is me” aspect of the female protagonist. Interstellar Cinderella does just that. Deborah Underwood has given us a Cinderella that we all would aspire to be. She can fix rockets, has robots, and even is quite sensible when it comes to the prince. I am also very impressed with the rhyming of the text. It does not seemed forced and is actually quite humorous at times....more
I loved this modern and bilingual rhythmic retelling of Red Riding Hood. It really is a funny fractured fairy tale that is so much fun to read aloud because of its couplets filled with Spanish vocabulary and Hispanic references....more
Really like the creativity of mashing monster/mythology and nursery rhymes. A great intro to all things traditional lit and fantasy in a rhyming, fun way. I especially liked that the creatures hail from a variety of places and that the author included an appendix that includes information about each of them. I think this book would be a great way to introduce mythology as well as give students an opportunity to make their own parody of a nursery rhyme using a creature....more
Told in fun quatrains with cartoon-esque illustrations, this story explains how our houses suddenly get dustier than we remember them and why cleaning up isn't always such a good idea. It also celebrates differences and shows why you shouldn't automatically judge someone's choices. ...more
This book is hilarious! Cat is reading "Little Red Riding Hood" to her friend, Dog, but he keeps interrupting asking questions that Cat is not prepared, or doesn't want, to answer. Dog is such a funny character! I am sure we all have friends or students or kids that do exactly what Dog does to Cat. I really hope that Diane and Christyan Fox write more Cat & Dog stories because I'd love to hear their take on other fairy tales!...more
George O'Connor is a master at making mythology accessible and interesting. In this Ares focused retelling of the Trojan War, we see a more humanizedGeorge O'Connor is a master at making mythology accessible and interesting. In this Ares focused retelling of the Trojan War, we see a more humanized side of the blood-thirsty god of War. My students who are fans of the other books of the series, will definitely enjoy this one as well. (Also, if anyone questions if graphic novels are complex or not, they should read this one!)...more
*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will*This book took me a while to get into, but once I did, I had to know how it ended. I loved the unique narrator and the fairy tales throughout. I will say half way through the book changes directions drastically and it surprised me, but the ending redeems and weirdness about the change. overall a beautifully written book full of mystery....more
This book is more than just a retelling of Cinderella, it is a look at our society and the importance (or lack there of) of physical appearance and celebrity. I would love to know which celebrities influenced Rudnick for some of the crazy characters in Gorgeous. I also loved Becky as a person—she is quite funny and a very good person, even after she dives into Rebecca. Readers who love romance, fashion, Hollywood, and royalty will find a winner with this book and will also find a book that delves into deeper issues than it seems originally....more
Jane Yolen just doesn’t make bad books. Every time I read one of her books, I know I am reading a piece of great literature. This book is no different. Grumbles from the Forest takes 15 different fairy tales and then has a poem from two different perspectives for each fairy tale. Some are two different characters: Cinderella and her stepsisters, the frog and the princess, the wicked fairy and Sleeping Beauty, etc. including some characters who didn’t have a voice in the original fairy tale like the pea from The Princess and the Pea. Some are from one character, but two points of view: Snow White talking to the witch and with the magic mirror. I was fascinated with all of the poems they came up with!...more
I love fairy tale retellings! They are so clever and I am so impressed with how an author can read a story and then think up a prequel or a different version of it. This specific retelling has jumped to become one of my favorites because I felt that she has made a wonderful, fantastical world and was able to see Rumpelstiltskin as more than just an antagonist.
I also felt that the book did have a moral, as all fairy tales should, but it is one that creeps up on you at the end and is such a great discussion starter....more
I'm a big fan of this book. I thought is was extremely clever, funny, and a good story. (Though I am a sucker for fractured fairy tales :D) What a funI'm a big fan of this book. I thought is was extremely clever, funny, and a good story. (Though I am a sucker for fractured fairy tales :D) What a fun way to introduce or connect with nursery rhymes! It also would be great to use to have students write their own versions. There is also quite a fun mystery at the end. ...more
*A wonderful follow-up to the first Hero's Guide. I was worried that it wouldn't be as good (sequel-syndrome), but the characters grew, the story moved along nicely, and it made me even more excited for book 3. Everyone's place in the group is questioned in this book, including their place within their relationships.
I read this book for a different purpose than just to review, I wanted to really look at the princesses in the book for our girl power series we'll be doing at the end of the month and I am so impressed at the different personalities and how each princess is so unique.
Mentor text for: Making connections (like fractured fairy tales), Characterization, Multiple Story Lines, Humor, Rhyming Poetry/Songs (p. 4 et al.), Foreshadowing, Letter Writing (p. 208), Grammar (Princes Charming, Dwarves), Idioms (p. 311), Synonyms (p. 361), Oral Tradition (the bards) ...more
I knew this story, or at least the basics of it, but I wanted to reread it because my mom mentioned that it was one of our favorite holiday reads and I LOVED the ending (which I did not remember). If you haven't read the original very short story, read it and let your heart warm. ...more
3.5 stars We have all known the Cinderella story since we were little kids. Either through our parents telling it to us at bedtime or the Disney classic with Bipity-boppity-bo. And because this story has always been in our lives, we don't question much about it. But what happened in the castle before the ball? What happened after the ball? Where is Cinderella's other slipper? What is the prince like? All of a sudden, as I thought about it, I had so many questions that could be answered if someone else would tell the story. Now thanks to The Other Slipper, the spectacular adventure that we never knew happened.
Before I continue, I wanted to share a conversation I had just yesterday. Do we need to know the answers to questions? Yesterday at the Scholastic Warehouse sale, we got talking about prequels and if you should read them before the first book or after like the author wrote it. I really like prequels and sequels because even though I love having my own opinion on a book and predicting what I think is going to happen, but I also love hearing what the author had in mind. [And if you were wondering my opinion, I think you should read the prequel in the order that the author published it.]
So, if you are like me, you love fairy tale retellings because it goes deeper into the fairy tale. The Other Slipper takes the very story of Cinderella that we know and shows us what is happening behind the scenes. Kenechi Udogu's story, though, is not just a story to live in Cinderella's limelight- it is a story that stands on its own feet and is actually a fun, fantastical adventure.
Read Together: Grades 6 to 10
Read Alone: Grades 7 and up
Read With: Cinderella, Chinese Cinderella Adeline Yen Mah, Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
Snatch of Text: "The girl who stepped down from the carriage was simply beautiful, a delightful combination of flawless skin and delicate features. Her hair was held up at the top of her head with strings of shiny pearls and her gown, like the carriage, was exquisitely detailed and in a unusual style." (Kindle Location 161)
Mentor Text for: Allusion, Point of View, Predicting
Writing Prompts: Take an object from a fairy tale that has some unanswered questions (Sleeping Beauty's spindle, Rapunzel's tower, etc.) and write your own fairy tale explaining what happened to them.
I am so glad that my friend Maria shared this title with me. Adrienne of Princeless is so kick butt (and definitely is right up there with all of theI am so glad that my friend Maria shared this title with me. Adrienne of Princeless is so kick butt (and definitely is right up there with all of the girls on the Girl Power Middle Grade list from the Nerdy Book Club). She is an atypical princess who not only doesn't want to be prime and proper and she definitely doesn't want to be swept off of her feet by Prince Charming. She wants to be in control of her own life, but that is hard when your parents have locked you in a tower guarded by a dragon waiting to be rescued by her "true love". And MAN! she takes the bull, well dragon actually, by the horns.
I think this graphic novel will be a great transition book for girls who have not read any graphic novels or comics yet, but enjoy fantasy books. I cannot wait to share it with my students (and I've already passed it along to a friend to read). I am so glad my friend Maria introduced me to this series. ...more
Lemke's take on tall tales are quirky, funny and a blast to read. This graphic novel would be a great addition to any traditional literature collectioLemke's take on tall tales are quirky, funny and a blast to read. This graphic novel would be a great addition to any traditional literature collection and kids will definitely like it allowing them to be exposed to America's traditional lit- tall tales. ...more
I LOVE retellings of fairy tales and this one is no exception. And what is even better about this one is it is HILARIOUS! It reminds me a bit of Shrek except I liked the humor in Hero's Guide better because I feel it is a very smart funny. Just the concept is funny and smart- the four Princes Charming from the Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty stories star in this book (unlike the original stories where they don't even get credit with their real name!) and the Princes each have such a fun, unique personality.
While reading this, the teacher in me found many different parts that I could use- specifically when talking about point of views. I already use The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and the movie "Hoodwinked" to discuss it and Hero's Guide will be a perfect addition. I even found a part that made grammar funny!! And there is foreshadowing, a perfect plot arc, and suspense. ...more
Take The Secret Garden throw in some folk tales, a dash of mysterious characters, and a handful of Ellen Potter's luscious descriptions and you have yourself The Humming Room. Ellen Potter does a great job of capturing what we all loved about The Secret Garden- the secrets, the mystery, the hope; but she also added in her own touches through a unique setting on the St. Lawrence River and the folk tales that exist in this magical place. I also loved Roo much more than Mary from The Secret Garden. I understood why Roo was angry and acting the way she was while I always felt that Mary was just being spoiled and rude. And Roo is a character than many will connect with. Her subtle way of going about life and appreciating so many little things is a beautiful quality. Also, some readers will connect with her need for isolation and her disconnect from other people- a quality that is not often found in a book and just might be what this reader needs. Overall, a beautiful book giving homage to a wonderful classic. ...more
*Wow. Marissa Meyer completely impressed with this one! I was afraid that it was going to be just another dystopian or fairy-tale retelling, but it was so unique and really was entertaining and well done. I can definitely see why Cinder was a huge hit when it came out and I am so glad that I finally got to read it. What I specifically loved about Cinder is it didn't completely rely on being a fairy tale retelling or on being a pure dystopian novel- it is a unique combo of the two.
Characters: I love how Marissa Meyer didn't overwhelm the story with too many characters, as I have seen in other dystopian novels, she specifically delved deep into the most important characters. It made me, as a reader, feel like I had a deeper connection with the characters who actually mattered.
Setting: Holy world building batman! I am always a huge fan of a character who can build a world that is futuristic yet completely realistic. Although the Lunar colony and the glamours are a bit of a reality stretch, Kai's Commonwealth is completely plausible.
Conflict: Wow! Levana is so evil! She is a great antagonist to go up against the hardcore Cinder and handsome Kai.
In the classroom: The parallels between Cinderella and Cinder combined with many human issues throughout Cinder will definitely make it so it can be part of a classroom read aloud or novel analysis.
Topics: War, Humanity, Mechanics, Propaganda, ID Chips, Plagues, Politics
Snatch of text: "The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean." (p. 1)
"The lingering moon caught Cinder's attention, and a shock of goose bumps covered her arms. The moon had always given her a sense of paranoia, like the people who lived up there could be watching her, and if she stared for too long, she might draw their attention. Superstitious nonsense, but then everything about Lunars was eerie and superstitious." (p. 43)
(Went back and forth between a 4 and a 5, so sticking with a 4.5 only because I figured out the big secret. Otherwise- Loved it!)...more