In this fairy tale world the children of various fairy tale characters know that they will go to school and eventually grow up and take the place of tIn this fairy tale world the children of various fairy tale characters know that they will go to school and eventually grow up and take the place of their parents. So Apple White will eventually become the new Snow White. And Raven Queen will eventually become the Evil Queen destined to try to kill Apple. The only complication is that Raven doesn’t want to be evil. She doesn’t even like her mother and wants to be nothing like her. Sure she has power and goblins and the like are more than willing to have her as their queen. But Raven truly wants to be her own person and not be forced to live a life based on the choices of those that had lived before. Or based on the Storybook of Legends and what that book determines her life should be like. This line of thinking makes Apple nervous. For if Raven doesn’t follow through with her evil destiny, that will ruin Apple’s chance for a happily ever after.
This is a great book. First of all I love that it is written for a younger audience. There a few and far between books that I can recommend for elementary school-aged kids that are well written. And I am glad that another one has joined the ranks. Secondly, I love the twists and turns that come with the “kids” of all these fairy tale characters. Not only do they have some characteristics of their fairy tale parents, but they are their own selves. Sure the Charming brothers are, well, charming. But they have personalities that go beyond the few sentences that ever describe the handsome princes. And the fact that even all the more minor characters have personalities that are rich and full of depth is refreshing. (Even the narrator is given a bit of a personality!) Plus, as a kid who is often told exactly what they should do and how they should do it and who they should become, this is just the type of book to give them confidence to be themselves. Add to all that the fact that there is enough fight and pull to get away from the typical fairy tale stories and the audience just has no way to know where this story is going. I can’t wait to see where this series is headed!...more
This is another retelling of the Tortoise & the Hare, but done in the illustration style that only Jerry Pinkney can do. The race begins with loadThis is another retelling of the Tortoise & the Hare, but done in the illustration style that only Jerry Pinkney can do. The race begins with loads of animals dressed in some items of clothes (hats, vests, bonnets, etc.) ready to watch the race between the tortoise and the hare. There aren’t many words. A fox calls out, “On your marks, get set…Go!” Of course the hare takes off and goes as fast as possible. The pictures show how the hare can go quickly over logs or water and the tortoise takes more time (illustrated by more panels) to go over the same distance. To begin with the hare looks frantic and is going all-out (as shown by the completely outstretched body). But soon hare slows down and digs a hole, eats some lettuce, and takes a nap. Tortoise still trudges on. Eventually hare wakes up and realizes that the nap wasn’t such a great idea because “slow and steady wins the race!”
This is a delightfully illustrated edition of this fable. The expressions on the animals are amazing. There is so much that is told in just an expression or the body language. They way that the smaller panels show what takes longer (from the tortoise’s movements to hare’s sleeping) are a nice visual cue as to how continual movement is more important than rushing and going off-course. And the last illustration with the hare tying the checkered flag around the tortoise’s neck hints that there are no hard feelings against each other. This is a fun retelling that is nearly wordless–just the most essential words are used. Which is great since that will allow grownups who “read” the book to youngsters to continually ask “what is happening?” Which in turn will allow kiddos the opportunity to practice their narrative skills by interpreting what they see and processing it with words into a story. Nicely done, Mr. Pinkney. Nicely done....more
In this prehistoric rendition of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, three triceratops brothers (with the last name of “Tuff”) see some lush, green plants onIn this prehistoric rendition of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, three triceratops brothers (with the last name of “Tuff”) see some lush, green plants on the other side of the valley. They want to go and eat…but there is a big, bad tyrannosaurus rex blocking their way. The smallest brother (named Stanley) heads down first. Of course the T-Rex decides to wait for the option of a bigger meal. Then Rufus heads over and tells Rex about a bigger brother to keep from becoming a meal. Finally the oldest and the biggest triceratops brother comes down to the valley. The T-Rex tries to eat him, but with one powerful blow from Bob’s tail, the T-Rex is sent far away. And the three triceratops (along with many other vegetarian dinosaurs) get to eat to their heart’s content.
This is a fun play on a classic story. And what kids won’t love the fact that it is all about dinosaurs?!? The big black lines around the dinosaurs and simple textured colors will give young readers loads to look at as well as clearly showing them what is going on. However, readers who don’t know that this is a play on the Billy Goats GRUFF will wonder why the triceratops are named TUFF. But with the T-Rex flying into a volcano, most kids will only care about how cool Bob is for a big brother....more
Little Red Hot got her name because she likes to eat RED HOT peppers that many people cannot stand. When her momma told her that her grandma was sick,Little Red Hot got her name because she likes to eat RED HOT peppers that many people cannot stand. When her momma told her that her grandma was sick, Little Red Hot decided to make a hot pepper pie to kick the germs out of her. As she is on her way to Grandma’s house, she is warned by Pecos Bill and his cowboys that there is a wolf around (they found out from the Three Little Tamales that had a run-in with the wolf recently). Little Red Hot promises to be careful. But soon she meets the wolf, although he tells is not Senor Lobo but is Senor Coyote. When the wolf finds out what is going on, he runs over to Grandma’s to see if he can get a quick meal before Red gets there. Of course Grandma is no dummy, so she jumps out the window and runs away as the wolf comes in. When Red gets there there is quite a few exclamations (“my what big eyes you got” and so on). But when Little Red Hot feeds some of her hot pepper pie to the wolf, he flew up like a firecracker because of how hot it was. And Granny and Red were safe and lived happily ever after (with a nice bit of Red Hot Pepper Pie).
I liked this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I liked the bit about the peppers. (Perhaps because I have some family members who are very into hot peppers). And I liked that Red got her name from what she liked verses what she wore. I also liked how spunky she is. She wasn’t afraid of the wolf (and she knew who he was even though he tried to trick her). But she had a plan and she took care of him. And I also liked the mention of the Three Little Tamales, which is another great book retelling the Three Little Pigs. Basically, if I have a good mixed-up fairytale with great illustrations, I am a happy camper. Nice!...more
I liked this book. It was good. Solid. At times very amusing. I think this is a great book for the younger fairy tale set who love the idea of romanceI liked this book. It was good. Solid. At times very amusing. I think this is a great book for the younger fairy tale set who love the idea of romance without anything other than a small kiss being the end result of the romance. Plus it is fun to see the younger, less beautiful sister being the one who saves the day (and helps the family out even though they drive her nuts sometimes). Like I said, a good solid read. In the right hands, this book will make some girls fans of all things E.D. Baker has written. Others will just enjoy it. Either way, I will be recommending this in the future. :) It will keep fairy tale readers "wide-awake"!...more
When you are a pig and you hear all sorts of awful things about a wolf going around and huffing and puffing and blowing down houses and eating pigs…doWhen you are a pig and you hear all sorts of awful things about a wolf going around and huffing and puffing and blowing down houses and eating pigs…don’t you think you would want to do something about it? Well these three pigs do! They decide to go to school to learn how to be NINJAS! Two of the pigs don’t practice or really learn the art of being ninjas. They just pick up a few good moves and think that they will be able to teach that wolf a lesson. But, seeing how they still have straw and stick homes, they obviously don’t really know how to follow through. The third pig does stick it out. Not only does she learn all about being a good ninja and has a house of bricks, she can SMASH the bricks with her hand.
This is a rhyming fun story that I could either tell in storytime or I could read it (if the kids have longer attention spans…which would depend upon what group I happen to have in storytime on the day I do pigs or ninjas or wolves). But, no matter if I tell it or read it, this is a great addition to the ninja picture book realm.I like how it is a spoof of a classic story. I actually liked when I read the book out loud. (Sometimes I like books in my head a whole lot more than out loud.) I like that ending and how the third pig didn’t even have to fight with the wolf, she just showed her moves and scared the wolf away. I think teachers could even use this book as an example of changing stories. Then I would make the elementary school kids rewrite another fairytale with ninjas. That would be happy! Yeah, I basically thought this was a fun book. Can’t wait until I can use it…until then I will have to read it to my 4-year-old nephew. He was a ninja for Halloween. And he likes ninjas A LOT. And he likes it when I read stories to him. I have a feeling we will read this one over and over again…
And let’s face it, any story is better with NINJAS!...more
So this is a mash-up of a few fairy tales. First you have Snow White meets Goldilocks. But then you have to throw in the Pied Piper and The Brave LittSo this is a mash-up of a few fairy tales. First you have Snow White meets Goldilocks. But then you have to throw in the Pied Piper and The Brave Little Tailor and a hint at The Three Little Pigs. Because why stop with two, right? So this is totally funny. The format is more of a picture book graphic novel. And this isn't one that preschoolers would want for a story time read-aloud. However, it is funny and the kids who are old enough to know the fairy tales themselves will love this. Especially those readers who really like the visual, graphic novel type of books. I see this as more of a book that I would book talk in an elementary school. I think they are right on par for the reading level and I think they would appreciate the illustrations and snicker at the jokes (and then go tell their friends about it). And it looks like we will see more of the Seven Squat Bears in future books. Huzzah!...more
In this particular tale Rueda sticks just with The Three Little Pigs. But oh what great pigs they are! They look so cute! I think they would be very fIn this particular tale Rueda sticks just with The Three Little Pigs. But oh what great pigs they are! They look so cute! I think they would be very fun plush toys to snuggle. I can't wait to try this one in my preschool story time. Anyway, back to the book. The main charmer about this one is that there are small holes in a few of the pages and "you" are the wolf that has to blow through the hole to try and "huff & puff" to blow down the houses. With a fun twist at the end that is totally opposite of any traditional tale of The Three Little Pigs. But in this case I highly approve of the cake...er...I mean twist. Because who doesn't love cake...uh...I mean twists in fairy tales? Did I mention I like cake? I wonder why that thought keeps coming back to my head. Perhaps I should go read the book again to remind myself of why. Although I prefer vanilla cake... ...more
With a nod to Puss in Boots, Gail Carson Levine has written another brilliant tale of fairytale proportions. Elodie has traveled far from her home islWith a nod to Puss in Boots, Gail Carson Levine has written another brilliant tale of fairytale proportions. Elodie has traveled far from her home island in order to become an apprentice in the city with two castles (the king's castle and the ogre's castle). However, due to a new law Elodie cannot in fact become an apprentice without paying the master. And seeing how Elodie only had enough money for her passage and a copper (which a cat with white boot-like markings stole on her first day there) she is in danger of starving. Then enters the dragon named Meenore, who tends to be more of a detective who happens to roast bits of bread and cheese when not detecting. Meenore proposes that Elodie become ITs (dragons are neither he or she) apprentice. Elodie also becomes friends with Count Jonty Um, the shape shifting ogre that the rest of the town can't stand. With Count Jonty Um's life in danger, a betrothal of the princess, and a cat who seems to be able to be more than a cat, can Elodie help Meenore figure out what is going on without getting in trouble herself?
This is a great book full of magic and mystery and just a whole lot of enchanted fun. It doesn't really take on the perspective of those closest to the Puss in Boots characters, but it is interesting to see how that puss and it's master figures out how to swindle a town. In fact, I like how I question what is going to happen (even thought I know the Puss in Boots story) due to the fact that I am seeing it all happen from afar--like most of the people in the story would. But it is even better to see how Elodie helps to save the town and herself by using her brain rather than magic or luck. In fact, I really like Elodie. She cares about both of her parents and her friend. She tries to be good while trying to understand a city that isn't. She is careful, thoughtful, and intelligent. She gives people the benefit of the doubt. I would totally want her for my friend if I ever visited Two Castles!...more