This was nice - a quick and enjoyable story. This is a book I would have LOVED when I was little. I hope Laura Amy Schlitz writes more stories in this...moreThis was nice - a quick and enjoyable story. This is a book I would have LOVED when I was little. I hope Laura Amy Schlitz writes more stories in this world!(less)
I had never realized there are so many folktales with a food component! I love the idea for this book. I did expect a bit more from the fairy tales th...moreI had never realized there are so many folktales with a food component! I love the idea for this book. I did expect a bit more from the fairy tales themselves, being retold by Jane Yolen. They did seem very simple - especially in the beginning. Some of the recipes were a bit simple, too, but that's probably okay since they are meant for young children to be helping out. Some of them do sound very delicious. Overall, I liked the variety of stories chosen and how the recipes link to the stories.
The part I REALLY enjoyed were the bits of trivia included in the margins - of both the fairy tales and the recipes. Some bits of trivia I already knew, but some I didn't and found very interesting. Did you know that a pumpkin is a fruit and was once used as a cure for freckles and snakebite? Did you know that both the apple and the pear are members of the rose family?
The illustrations are a bit quirky, and I liked some more than others. But overall I thought they added a fun, whimsical feel to the book.
This is worth checking out if you have an occasion to pair cooking with a folktale. I would like to try the Seaweed Stuffed Shells, the Cucumber Yogurt Salad, the Magic Pear Grumble, and Snow White's Baked Apples. 3.5 stars.(less)
This is VERY reminiscent of Buffy. If Buffy had primarily hunted werewolves (called Fenris here) who then burst into "shadows" when they are killed, t...moreThis is VERY reminiscent of Buffy. If Buffy had primarily hunted werewolves (called Fenris here) who then burst into "shadows" when they are killed, this would have been practically the same. That bothered me quite a bit in the beginning, and that was one of the reasons I felt it was just okay in the beginning. But it got better and better for me as it went along, and soon I HAD to keep reading just to find out if my guesses for some of the secrets were correct.
Although that was another thing that sort of ruined the story for me - I guessed several of the secrets long before I really wanted to and felt like I was just waiting for the characters to catch up with me - even though Jackson Pearce did a nice job of trying to throw me off the scent. :) (view spoiler)[I knew there was something important about being the seventh son of a seventh son! And I kept thinking Silas had to be the Potential they were looking for. But then he said he was the SIXTH son and I thought I must have been wrong. (hide spoiler)]
There were a few surprises waiting for me at the end, which I really enjoyed. (view spoiler)[I LOVE that Rosie rescued herself. And I thought the idea of getting one eye used to the light and the other to the dark as part of her escape plan was BRILLIANT! (hide spoiler)]
So in the beginning this was around a 2.5 book for me, but by the end it had jumped up to a solid four stars. I would love to read something else by Jackson Pearce sometime.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is a fun, somewhat-updated version of the Twelve Dancing Princess fairy tale. The story still takes place in a castle with a king and twelve prin...moreThis is a fun, somewhat-updated version of the Twelve Dancing Princess fairy tale. The story still takes place in a castle with a king and twelve princesses, but some of the details, including the reason the shoes of the princesses are worn out each night, have been modernized. The mix of medieval and modern is part of the charm of this story. The rhyming text was a little annoying in a few places, but overall I liked the message and the fun illustrations.(less)
I didn't enjoy these poems as much as I thought I would. The idea behind them is very clever, and I can see that Marilyn Singer has a real talent for...moreI didn't enjoy these poems as much as I thought I would. The idea behind them is very clever, and I can see that Marilyn Singer has a real talent for writing them. I love the idea of having two poems that use the same lines in reverse order yet have a completely different meaning. The part I didn't like is that many of the poems feel choppy and vague. I had to reread some of them to catch the meaning - especially of the "mirror" poems. Sometimes it was hard to get the meaning of the first poem out of my head enough to catch the meaning of the mirror poem. Looking at the illustrations carefully, which are very clever and help point out the mirror aspect of this book, helped a lot. Josée Masse did a wonderful job with the illustrations!
This is a very clever idea, and could be used by teachers in either a poetry unit or a fairy tale unit. These poems could also be used to show the importance of punctuation and how a simple change in punctuation can greatly change the meaning of a sentence. I did enjoy this book, just not as much as I thought I would.(less)
I thought I had already read this, but I don't think I sat down and read every letter. This does take a little attention to the details of who is writ...moreI thought I had already read this, but I don't think I sat down and read every letter. This does take a little attention to the details of who is writing the letter and to whom they are writing. But I love the idea of fairy-tale characters writing letters to each other! The illustrations are filled with fun details that add dimension to the story.(less)
I finally got around to reading this! I expected to quite like it since it is fairy tales "written for young wizards and witches," and I generally lik...moreI finally got around to reading this! I expected to quite like it since it is fairy tales "written for young wizards and witches," and I generally like fairy tales. Unfortunately, I thought this was just okay. I read Quidditch Through the Ages last year and enjoyed it more than I expected since it is all about the sport of Quidditch. I have yet to read all of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is referenced several times here.
My favorite part of these "extra" books is that Rowling never "breaks the fourth wall," so to speak, and writes the entire book as if it really were translated from ancient runes by Hermione Granger with commentary by Dumbledore and only an introduction, illustrations, and notes by Rowling herself to help explain "a term or fact that might need clarification for Muggle readers." Sad to say, this one really doesn't live up to the other two "extra" books, which have many more fun details and MUCH more content than this one. Why did Beedle the Bard tell so few tales? I would have loved to at least read the story of "Grumble the Grubby Goat" that was alluded to several times. :)
Also, although this is quite short, it really isn't for young readers. Not only is the reading level and vocabulary choice best suited for older children, a couple of the stories are a bit gruesome.(less)
**spoiler alert** This is dark - very, very dark. Yet the ending does redeem it and make me feel glad I read it - although I don't ever plan to read i...more**spoiler alert** This is dark - very, very dark. Yet the ending does redeem it and make me feel glad I read it - although I don't ever plan to read it again. I've seen this described as a fairy tale for adults, and I think that fits very well. Only this isn't a light and happy Disney-type fairy tale. This is a grim, very grim Grimm's-type of fairy tale that doesn't gloss over any of the darkness, the evil, and the violence that it is portraying. This definitely isn't a story for young children, or even for older children. I wouldn't even recommend this for some young adults.
I really liked what it ultimately had to say about growing up, making choices, and the power of love for those around you. I also liked how books and the stories they tell were woven into the story. 3.5 stars.
A favorite quote: "He would talk to them of stories and books, and explain to them how stories wanted to be told and books wanted to be read, and how everything that they ever needed to know about life and the land of which he wrote, or about any land or realm that they could imagine, was contained in books. And some of the children understood, and some did not."(less)
I think we all have a bit of the ugly duckling inside us. It was nice to be reminded of this classic Hans Christian Andersen story, especially with Je...moreI think we all have a bit of the ugly duckling inside us. It was nice to be reminded of this classic Hans Christian Andersen story, especially with Jerry Pinkney's very nice, soft, and expressive watercolor illustrations.
A favorite quote:
"The new one is the best," said the children when they came down from the village nearby to feed the swans. "His feathers and his beak are the brightest of all." And when he heard that, the swan knew that it was worth having undergone all the suffering and loneliness that he had. Otherwise, he would never have known what it was to be really happy.
After a reading of "the dish ran away with the spoon," they didn't come back. The cat, the dog, and the cow who can jump go looking for them so that t...moreAfter a reading of "the dish ran away with the spoon," they didn't come back. The cat, the dog, and the cow who can jump go looking for them so that their nursery rhyme can continue to be read. They come to a fork in the road (an actual fork wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt) who draws them a map showing several places the dish and spoon might have gone - such as Little Miss Muffet's house, Humpty Dumpty's Wall, and the house that Jack built. I particularly love the dog who says things like "Can't you see I'm dog-tired?" "Doggone it," "No bones about it," and "We're barking up the wrong tree." This has many subtle and some not-so-subtle references to nursery rhymes and some fairy tales for the clever reader to discover. This reminds me of David Wiesner's The Three Pigs. I recommend this for all children who are familiar with and love nursery rhymes and fairy tales!(less)
This is a nice collection of retold fairy tales focusing on fairy tale villains. It features stories and a few poems written by many excellent fantasy...moreThis is a nice collection of retold fairy tales focusing on fairy tale villains. It features stories and a few poems written by many excellent fantasy authors such as Delia Sherman, Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, Holly Black, Jane Yolen, Nancy Farmer, Neil Gaiman, and a few others. As I expect with short story collections, there were some stories I enjoyed much more than others.
Probably my favorite story was "Up the Down Beanstalk: A Wife Remembers" by Peter S. Beagle. It is a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story from the giant's wife's point of view. I was surprised that I enjoyed the story so much because I recently read Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" and didn't like it all that much.
Catherynne M. Valente's "A Delicate Architecture" is also very memorable and beautifully written. It's a bit dark and creepy, but I really like her idea of telling the back story of the witch from Hansel and Gretel. I would like to read something else by her sometime.
I found I enjoyed each story more if I read the note at the end of the story first - which gave a short blurb about each author and their work, and also why they chose their particular fairy tale.(less)
Powerful and horrible, yet beautiful as well. This had some details of the Holocaust that I had never heard before. I was anxious for the mystery of G...morePowerful and horrible, yet beautiful as well. This had some details of the Holocaust that I had never heard before. I was anxious for the mystery of Gemma's past to be solved, and it seemed like I had to wait a long time in the book for it to happen. When it did, it was worth the wait and much more than I had imagined. Yolen's use of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale to tell a story of the Holocaust was masterfully done. I thought this quote from the book was particularly appropriate and can be applied to many fairy tales: "It ends happily, even though it's awfully sad along the way."
Note: Some adult themes are dealt with in this story, including some of the horrible violence done in concentration camps and extermination camps during the Holocaust. (less)
On the whole these were nice enough stories - some stranger than others. None of them were incredibly memorable, but none of them were incredibly horr...moreOn the whole these were nice enough stories - some stranger than others. None of them were incredibly memorable, but none of them were incredibly horrible, either.
My favorite short story in this collection was Chivalry, followed by How to Sell the Ponti Bridge. My least favorite was Sunbird - the one with the Epicurean Club.
I was interested that the first three stories each had a character named Jack. I thought the trend might continue throughout the book, but it didn't.
My favorite part of the whole book was the introduction by Neil Gaiman where he says: "Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit."(less)
I'll never look at the Rumpelstiltskin story in quite the same way since reading The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde. In spite of that,...moreI'll never look at the Rumpelstiltskin story in quite the same way since reading The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde. In spite of that, I thought Zelinsky did a really nice job of telling a quite traditional version of Rumpelstiltskin. As expected, his illustrations are completely gorgeous with meticulous details. I especially liked how he handled the shininess of the gold. Zelinsky also includes an author note giving a bit of history on the Rumpelstiltskin story.(less)
This is the book I should be using when I teach parts of a book! It could be used as a very fun and funny (and hopefully memorable) way to show title...moreThis is the book I should be using when I teach parts of a book! It could be used as a very fun and funny (and hopefully memorable) way to show title page, dedication page, table of contents and even endpapers. At one time I tried to read all of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's books, but somehow I missed this one until now. I definitely need to get a copy of this for my library. Not only do I need to be ready next time I teach parts of a book, but the stories and illustrations are completely wacky! I think many of my students would get a big kick out of this book. As I said, simply wacky and a lot of fun.
Note: Another book dedicated to me! I think that's three now. I might have to start a shelf for them. :)(less)