Reading Ladder ~ Fairy Tales

Raychel Trevino ~ LSSL 5393 ~ Dr. Lesesne

Spring Semester 2016

Reading Fairy Tales Now and Then

Fairy tales have always been the favorite genre of many. What is interesting about this particular type of story is that it doesn't have a specific "type" of audience. It appeals to the very young and to the young at heart. It is not gender specific, either. They aren't "girly" and they aren't "boyish." What they are is magical and everyone loves a story that could include anyone or anything, a tough situation can be fixed with a flick of a wand, or wink of an eye, and a perfect happy ending is just on the other side of a rocky cliff.


It's no wonder that fairy tales haven't lost their appeal throughout the centuries, and some of the same stories are just as cherished today as they were in the 1800's. They had everything a reader could ask for magic, love, adventure, treasure, and best of all possibilities. The underdog always had a chance, and good almost always triumphed over evil. Yes, they may have held teachable moments for adults reading to children, but they weren't being hammered in a boring old way, they came on the wings of fairy or landed gently on your pillow on a ray of mystical moonlight.


However, time changes all things, and fairy tales are no exception. Nowadays, we see fairy tales in their fractured form probably more often than we see them in their original form. And, strange as it may seem, the antagonist isn't always the Big Bad Wolf or the Evil Witch, especially if you are looking at things from their point of view.


This list contains modern selections for a variety of age groups that will keep readers entertained just as Andersen's do and did so many years ago.

Fairy Tales Told For Children by Hans Christian Andersen

All the best-loved fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, including “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelina,” “The Red Shoes,” “The Princess on the Pea,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” fill the pages of this beautiful leather-bound collector’s edition. Also included is “The Tallow Candle” — one of the earliest stories written by Andersen, just discovered recently! With both short and long anecdotes, this is a great book of bedtime stories or for rainy-day reading. The attached bookmark ribbon ensures readers will never lose their place as they wander through the imagination of one of the most popular children’s writers of all time.

Andersen, H. C., & Boner, C. (1870). Fairy tales. New York: Published by Allen Brothers.

Modern Day Fairy Tales

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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

Recommended for Grades 4-6


Summary

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.


Critique from School Library Journal

When Alex and Conner's father unexpectedly dies, the twins lose the person who always had the perfect story to cheer them up. Then, on their 12th birthday, their grandmother gives them the book of fairy tales he used to read to them. Suddenly it seems to come to life, and the youngsters find themselves falling into the Land of Stories, seemingly with no way to get out. Desperate, they follow instructions in a mysterious journal: if they gather eight items from various residents in the kingdoms of the Land of Stories, they can complete the Wishing Spell and have one wish granted. After scaling castle walls, diving deep into the home of mermaids, and meeting characters from all of the beloved fairy tales, they are stymied by the Evil Queen, who has escaped from Snow White's dungeon. With the hope of using the spell gone, the twins appear to have no way home until they meet Fairy Godmother, their own grandmother. In a way, they find comfort from their grief over their father's death when they realize that they have been following his journal and that he grew up in this land. The writing quality in this adventure is inconsistent and detracts from the fast-paced story. The deep sadness of the twins comes through, but they are somewhat one-dimensional, since Alex is so much the nerd and Conner, the class clown. The plotline, however, pulls readers in and is entertaining, and Colfer's passion for fairy tales shines through.


Review

"There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of."―USA Today

"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise."―The New York Times Book Review

"In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters."―Los Angeles Times

"Captivating."―Teen Vogue

"A magical debut."―Family Circle

"It's hard not to love a book dedicated to the Glee star's grandmother...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures."―Publishers Weekly



Colfer, C., & Dorman, B. (2012). The Land of Stories: The wishing spell. New York: Little, Brown.

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The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Recommended for Grade Levels 3-7 & Ages 8-12

Summary

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the more clever, hilariously successful incarnations of the current literary rage to rip apart and rewrite fairy tales… The princes in “The Hero’s Guide” may not be charming, but Healy’s romp of a book about them most certainly is.” (Los Angeles Times)

“The premise is indeed charming…a quest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others, the Marxes.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Healy’s fast-paced debut is overflowing with suspense, humor, and carefully developed characters. Healy injects age-old characters and fairy tale tropes with a fresh, contemporary sensibility, resulting in a crowd-pleaser with laugh-out-loud lines on nearly every page.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“The fairy-tale world is tongue-in-cheek but fleshed out, creating its own humor rather than relying on pop-culture references. Healy juggles with pitch-perfect accuracy, rendering the princes as goobers with good hearts and individual strengths, keeping them distinct and believable. Inventive and hilarious.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“[A] lively, humorous adventure.” (Wall Street Journal)

“This is the most fun you can have short of rounding up King Arthur’s knights, filling their armor with laughing gas, and driving them to a roller disco.” (Frank Cottrell Boyce, New York Times bestselling author of COSMIC)

Healy, C. (2012). The hero's guide to saving your kingdom. London: Harper Collins.

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Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski

Recommended for Grades 4-6

Summary

Mirror, mirror, on the basement wall . . .
Once upon a time my brother and I were normal kids. The next minute? The mirror in our basement slurped us up and magically transported us inside Snow White's fairy tale.
I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.
But hey -- we're heroes! We stopped Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! Or not. If Snow White doesn't die, she won't get to meet her prince. And then she won't get her happy ending. Oops.
Now it's up to us to:
- Avoid getting poisoned
- Sneak into a castle
- Fix Snow White's story
And then, fingers crossed, find our way home.


(Summary provided by Goodreads.com)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There’s “once upon a time” and “happily ever after,” but what happens when the story “gets all tangled up” in the middle? That question is at the heart of this debut title in a new fairy-tale-themed series. Ten-year-old Abby and her seven-year-old brother, Jonah, are living a normal life in a new town until they discover the mirror in the basement. When they knock on its surface three times, they’re whizzed away to fairy-tale land and find themselves at the home of Snow (yes, White). Just as Evil Evelyn, her wicked stepmother, is about to hand over the infamous poison apple, Jonah intervenes. But if Snow doesn’t eat the poison apple, then the prince can’t save her, and that means Snow’s love life is ruined, not to mention Disney’s whole movie. There’s lots of hilarious artistic license here (three of the seven dwarfs are women; one has pink hair), along with unexpected plot twists and plenty of girl power. Tween girls who may not be quite ready for Donna Jo Napoli and Gail Carson Levine’s fractured-fairy-tale novels will find this title is just right. Grades 4-6. --Ann Kelley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Review

Praise for WHATEVER AFTER #1: FAIREST OF ALL

"An uproariously funny read. The swift pace of the tale and non-stop action . . . will enchant readers from the first page." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Hilarious . . . with unexpected plot twists and plenty of girl power." -- Booklist

"This delightful kick-off to the series demonstrates Mlynowski's prowess at writing for middle-graders." -- Publishers Weekly

"Giddy, fizzy, hilarious fun!" -- Lauren Myracle, author of LUV YA BUNCHES

"I tore through FAIREST OF ALL in one sitting and loved, loved, loved it! It's inventive, hilarious, and full of adventure and surprises" -- Leslie Margolis, author of The Maggie Booklyn Mysteries

"Sarah Mlynowski's spunky heroine injects some girl-power into Snow White for a wonderful reading adventure the whole family will enjoy. Tons of fractured fairy tale fun!" -- Meg Cabot, author of Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls and The Princess Diaries

Mlynowski, S. (2012). Fairest of all. New York: Scholastic Press.

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Half Upon a Time by James Riley

Recommended for Ages 8-12 & Grades 3-7

Summary

Jack lives in a fantasy world. Really. He's the son of the infamous Jack who stole the magic beans from the giant, and he's working hard to restore his family's reputation. He finds the perfect opportunity when a "princess" lands in front of him, apparently from the land of Punk, as her Punk Princess t-shirt implies. May is from our world, and she's utterly confused to find herself in the midst of the fairy tale characters she has read about. But Jack and May have more in common than they realize--and together, they embark on a hilarious and wild adventure in this highly accessible, modern middle grade fantasy novel.


Editorial Reviews

Review

A NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts 2011

--Children's Literature Assembly, National Council of Teachers of English

James Riley's novel is more a re-imagined and greatly embroidered fairy tale than it is a fractured one. Highly recommended.

--Children's Literature, Heidi Hauser Green

"Half Upon A Time "has it all--voice, charming fairy tale characters with a twist, hilarity, and an adventure-filled plot.


--Bookinistas Blog

The first character we meet in this tale is Jack. But he is not the fairy tale Jack of Beanstalk fame. No, that Jack was this Jack's father; and this Jack hasn't seen him since that famous encounter with the giant. Living with his grandfather in the shadow of his father's reputation as a thief, Jack is a different sort of hero. His education is devoted to learning how to save a princess, since that is the only way to escape his life as a peasant. Unfortunately, Jack doesn't seem to be very good at it. He alone, of all the village boys, has failed his princess-saving test. Again. Still, that hardly seems to matter when a princess named May unexpectedly drops into his life. Her grandmother is missing, and she needs Jack's help to save the old woman. Before you know it, Jack is facing witches and wolves, taking on giants and dragons with the best of them. Along the way, he and May pick up a dainty companion (a fairy), a noble companion (Prince Phillip) and a scary companion (the Wolf King). A host of familiar fairy tale characters appear, including--but certainly not limited to--Snow White, Merriweather, Malevolent, Red Riding Hood, the Wicked Queen, the Huntsman, the Seven Dwarves, and Rapunzel. James Riley's novel is more a re-imagined and greatly embroidered fairy tale than it is a fractured one. "Quick-paced" is an understatement, as our heroes move swiftly from one danger to the next, with hardly a breath in between. The only disappointment is that all of the bad guys get away--but there's pleasure in that, too, as it means we'll get to see May, Jack, and Phillip track them down to set things right in a much-anticipated sequel. Highly recommended. - www.childrenslit.com

RILEY, James. "Half Upon a Time. "388p. CIP. S & S/Aladdin. 2010. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9593-7; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9595-1. LC 2010012714.


Gr 5-9-In his twisted fairy-tale world, hapless young Jack fails his princess-rescuing test, but fate gives him another chance when a circle of blue fire deposits May, wearing a T-shirt that reads "Punk Princess," into his cottage. Jack recognizes her as a true princess and they set off on a quest to find her grandmother, Snow White. Joined by super-smooth Prince Phillip, and staying just ahead of the giant green Huntsman, they journey to the Black Forest, ride the wicked wolf's back, release a genie when they break Red Hood's magic mirror, and spend time in the dungeon of a fairy queen before finding Snow White and seven dwarfs in the Palace of the Snow Queen. Jack is perennially clumsy, and May has a quick, sharp tongue until she trades her sarcasm to save Jack's life. Snappy dialogue, fast-paced action, unexpected twists, and the inevitable conflicts of a threesome made up of two teenage boys and a pretty girl make this an enjoyable read. A whirlwind ending upsets everything, setting the stage for a sequel."-Kathleen Isaacs, ""Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD"


"- School Library Journal March 1, 2011"

Riley, J. (2010). Half upon a time. New York: Aladdin.

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Ninja Red Riding Hood

Recommended Age Level: 5-8 years & Grade Levels Kindergarten - 3rd


Summary

Wolf just can’t catch a break! Ever since the three little pigs started teaching everyone Ninja skills, huffing and puffing just hasn’t been enough to scare up a good meal.

His craving for meat sends Wolf to classes at the dojo, and soon he’s ready to try out his new moves. A little girl and her tiny granny should be easy targets—right?

Not if Little Red has anything to say about it! Kiya!

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3—This action-packed fractured fairy tale is sure to excite young readers. Wolf is tired of getting beaten by his prey, so he sneaks into a martial-arts school to enhance his fighting skills. Feeling confident in his newfound abilities, he is eager to return to the hunt. He happens upon Little Red Riding Hood and thinks that he can trick her into becoming his next meal. What he doesn't bargain for, however, is that she has gone to ninja school, too. A sparring match ensues. A surprise visit from a tai chi master, though, gives Red the upper hand and puts Wolf on a new path of enlightenment. "The wolf was a mess./He'd had way too much stress./'I guess I'll give yoga a try.'" Children will gravatate to the rhyming text and exciting illustrations, created by Sumi brush work on rice paper. Speech bubbles and dialogue further enhance the story. The characters' facial expressions and body language will have kids laughing as Red and Wolf each try to best the other. A fun read-aloud, but also great for independent reading, this story piggybacks on Schwartz's Three Ninja Pigs (Putnam, 2012), in which the three little pigs share their ninja skills with their friends.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE


Review

“Schwartz and Santat deliver a powerful karate chop of a picture book. . . As silly a trip to grandma’s house as there ever was.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This action-packed fractured fairy tale is sure to excite young readers. . . . Children will gravitate to the rhyming text and exciting illustrations. . . . A fun read-aloud, but also great for independent reading.” —School Library Journal
“Schwartz’s comic verse scans beautifully, tripping through the (bamboo) forest to grandma’s house with vigor and attitude. Santat’s artwork . . . divides the action into diagonal panels, maximizing the roundhouse impact.” —Booklist


Schwartz, C. R., & Santat, D. (2014). Ninja red riding hood. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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The Three Ninja Pigs

Recommended for Ages 5-8 years & Grades Kindergarten - 3rd


Summary

Practice makes perfect in this kick-butt fractured fairy tale.

Why does this wolf think he can come to town and blow all the houses down? These three little pigs just aren't going to take it from that bully anymore! The first starts aikido lessons---he'll make mincemeat out of that wolf! His brother learns a little jujitsu--he'll chop that guy to pieces!

But when the wolf actually appears, it turs out these two pigs aren't quite ready after all. Good thing their sister has been training every day to master some serious karate moves that save the day. KIYA!


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2-In this fractured fairy tale, three little pigs are portrayed as frustrated siblings fed up with a wolf that loves to huff and puff and blow houses down. In an attempt to protect their homes in their Japanese village, they train at a Ninja school. As the first brother begins aikido lessons, he finds himself bored and drops out, which gives him little defense when the wolf comes to call. Pig Two attempts his skill at jujitsu but his confidence is larger than his capabilities, and he is no match for the villain. Their sister is the only one who studies well and practices until she masters karate. When the wolf arrives at her door, she settles the score and sends him running. Learning a lesson from their gutsy sister, the brothers return to their classes with more determination and success. Unlike the original tale, the pigs are given responsibility for their misfortune and a chance for improvement. The story has a clear message that success requires perseverance. The text and glossary include martial-arts terms. Santat's artwork is in manga style and has wonderful depictions of Japanese scenery and architecture. The pigs are full of motion and emotion as they train and battle with the wolf. Youngsters with an interest in martial arts and those seeking strong female characters will relish this picture book.-Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


From Booklist

This riotous rumble of a takeoff begins with three pigs—two brothers and a sister—saying enough to the huffy puffy wolf destroying houses in their town. So it’s off to the ninja school, where the first brother takes up aikido, but he drops out in two weeks. The second brother takes jujitsu and makes good progress, but he is too impatient to keep up his lessons. Only sister pig, a karate student, becomes so skilled that she can break boards by “performing a perfect pork chop!” Anyone who knows the original story will be well aware of what comes next, but this standout version has so much motion, action, and laughs, kids will feel like they’re hearing it for the first time. Schwartz’s clever rhyming text flows nicely, and illustrator Santat (who holds a black belt in shotokan) really gets into things. Executed in Sumi brushwork on rice paper (and completed in Adobe Photoshop), the pictures have a three-dimensional feel that’s great when kicks and chops are being executed. Sayonara, Mr. Wolf. Preschool-Grade 3. --Ilene Cooper


Schwartz, C. R., & Santat, D. (2012). The three ninja pigs. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

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Rump: The true story of Rumpelstiltskin

Recommended for Ages 8-12 & Grades 3-7

Summary

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—In a kingdom where names are your destiny, Rump is in the uneviable position of not knowing his full name. Since his mom is dead, he lives with his grandmother and they're barely scraping by—until he realizes he can turn straw into gold. But, as with all magic, there's a price to pay. For him, it means accepting whatever people offer to pay him for his gold, even if it's the miller's pathetic rations as payment. He sets out on a journey to figure out how to deal with the consequences of his magic as well as discover the answer to the age-old question, what's in a name? This is an interesting twist on a classic fairy tale. Shurtliff does a great job of making readers feel sympathetic toward a usually loathed character. The plot starts out a little slow, but is well developed and is complemented by the narrator, Maxwell Glick, whose intonations are unique and ideal for Rump's personality. He truly bring the character to life. An appealing listen for families as well as kids interested in twisted or fractured fairy tales, such as Chris Colfer's "The Land of Stories" series or the "Everafter High" books by Shannon Hale.—Jessica Moody, Olympus Jr. High, Holladay, UT --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Rump lives with his grandmother in a mountain village where he endures endless teasing about his name. When he discovers that he can spin straw into gold, he hopes to end their poverty and hunger. Unfortunately, the troublesome magic forces him to accept anything offered in trade for the gold: a sack of flour, a cheap ring, or a queen’s firstborn child. Rump leaves home to discover his true name. While on his quest, he finds the knowledge, insight, and courage he needs to understand his gift and claim his destiny. Weaving details from Rumpelstiltskin into an accessible novel, Shurtliff makes the old villain into a young hero and creates an inventive story that extends and embroiders on the original fairy tale. In an era when fantasy often takes the form of high-octane adventure, this story offers a measured pace and the reassuring notion that a hero need not always rely on magic if he has his wits about him. Grades 3-6. --Carolyn Phelan


Shurtliff, L. (2013). Rump: The true story of Rumpelstiltskin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

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Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems

Recommended for Ages 6-9 & Grades 1-4

Summary

What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories.

First, read the poems forward (how old-fashioned!), then reverse the lines and read again to give familiar tales, from Sleeping Beauty to that Charming Prince, a delicious new spin. Witty, irreverent, and warm, this gorgeously illustrated and utterly unique offering holds a mirror up to language and fairy tales, and renews the fun and magic of both.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 3–6—This appealing collection based on fairy tales is a marvel to read. It is particularly noteworthy because the poems are read in two ways: up and down. They are reverse images of themselves and work equally well in both directions. "Mirror Mirror" is chilling in that Snow White, who is looking after the Seven Dwarves, narrates the first poem of the pair. Read in reverse, it is the wicked queen who is enticing Snow White to eat the apple that will put her to sleep forever. "In the Hood" is as crafty as the wolf who tells of his delightful anticipation of eating Red Riding Hood. The mirrored poem is Red Riding Hood reminding herself not to dally since Grandma awaits. The vibrant artwork is painterly yet unfussy and offers hints to the characters who are narrating the poems. An endnote shows children how to create a "reverse" poem. This is a remarkably clever and versatile book that would work in any poetry or fairy-tale unit. A must-have for any library.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


From Booklist

*Starred Review* This ingenious book of reversos, or poems which have one meaning when read down the page and perhaps an altogether different meaning when read up the page, toys with and reinvents oh-so-familiar stories and characters, from Cinderella to the Ugly Duckling. The five opening lines of the Goldilocks reverso read: “Asleep in cub’s bed / Blonde / startled by / Bears, / the headline read.” Running down the page side-by-side with this poem is a second, which ends with: “Next day / the headline read: / Bears startled / by blonde / asleep in cub’s bed.” The 14 pairs of poems—easily distinguished by different fonts and background colors—allow changes only in punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks, as Singer explains in an author’s note about her invented poetic form. “It is a form that is both challenging and fun—rather like creating and solving a puzzle.” Singer also issues an invitation for readers to try to write their own reversos on any topic. Matching the cleverness of the text, Masse’s deep-hued paintings create split images that reflect the twisted meaning of the irreverently witty poems and brilliantly employ artistic elements of form and shape—Cinderella’s clock on one side morphs to the moon on the other. A must-purchase that will have readers marveling over a visual and verbal feast. Grades 2-5. --Patricia Austin


Singer, M., & Masse, J. (2010). Mirror mirror: A book of reverso poems. New York, NY: Dutton Children's Books.

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Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible

Recommended for Ages 8-12 & Grades 3-7

Summary

Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you'll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather . . . dull. One day, though, Harriet's parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she's twelve and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she's invincible until she's twelve! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey...until her twelfth birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.

Perfect for fans of Babymouse and Chris Colfer's Land of Stories, this laugh-out-loud new comic hybrid series will turn everything you thought you knew about princesses on its head.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3–5—From the creator of the "Dragonbreath" series (Dial) comes a new fairy tale heroine in the form of a hamster. Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not like ordinary princesses who are known for trailing around the palace looking ethereal and sighing a lot. She is, however, brave and intelligent and excels in other hamster princess skills, like checkers and fractions. Harriet is also invincible, due in part to a curse put upon her at birth by the evil wicked fairy god mouse, Ratshade. The curse dooms Princess Harriet to fall into a Sleeping Beauty-like slumber at the age of 12 but leaves her unable to die until then. Rather than worry about the inevitable, Princess Harriet lives life without fear—cliff-diving and Ogre-cat fighting, all with her trusty quail friend Mumfrey at her side. When the curse backfires, leaving all in the Kingdom in a deep slumber except Harriet and Mumfrey, it is up to the fierce little hamster to find a willing prince able to help her break the curse and save the kingdom. The artwork is large and in graphic novel-style, with sparse colors, similar to the "Dragonbreath" illustrations. Move over, Babymouse, there's a new rodent in town! VERDICT Vernon has created a spunky heroine readers will cheer for and who will leave them eagerly searching for the happily ever after in the next installment.—Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA


Review

A 2015 Texas Bluebonnet nominee
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2015
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2015
An ALA Notable Children's Book of 2016

* "A joy to read, and we can only hope that Harriet – long may she reign – will return in later installments.” —Booklist, starred review

* "Move over, Babymouse, there’s a new rodent in town!...Vernon has created a spunky heroine readers will cheer for and who will leave them eagerly searching for the happily ever after in the next installment." —School Library Journal, starred review

* "Harriet is her own hamster, but she takes her place proudly alongside both Danny Dragonbreath and Babymouse. Creatively fresh and feminist, with laughs on every single page." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


* "A book with all the makings of a hit. Readers will be laughing themselves silly." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Middle-graders with a taste for absurdity and snark will find plenty of both here...Fans of Holm’s Babymouse (Babymouse: Queen of the World, BCCB 12/05) series or Vernon’s Dragonbreath (BCCB 9/09) series will definitely want to tag along on Harriet’s future adventures." —BCCB

Vernon, U. (2015). Hamster princess: Harriet the invincible. Penguin Group USA.

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That is NOT a Good Idea!

Recommended for Ages 4-8 & Grades Kindergarten -3rd

Summary

That Is Not a Good Idea! is a hilarious, interactive picture book from bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems, the creator of books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the Knuffle Bunny series, the Elephant and Piggie series, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, and many other new classics.

Inspired by the evil villains and innocent damsels of silent movies, Willems tells the tale of a hungry fox who invites a plump goose to dinner. As with the beloved Pigeon books, kids will be calling out the signature refrain and begging for repeated readings. The funny details in the full-color illustrations by three-time Caldecott Honoree Mo Willems will bring nonstop laughter to story time.

Editorial Review

From Booklist

If anyone is going to pull off a picture book built on the conventions of old-time silent movies—exaggerated facial expressions, telling body language, and, of course, blacked-out dialogue pages cut into the story—it would be Willems. The setup is classic dastardly villain and innocent naïf, as a three-piece-suited, top-hatted, grinning fox catches the eye of a sweet, old babushka-wearing duck. Dinner! He asks if she’d like to go for a stroll in the deep, dark forest to his kitchen, where he’s making a pot of soup that’s missing only one last ingredient. At each step of the way, an increasingly frantic litter of chicks warns That is really, really, really, really not a good idea! By the time the story reaches its peak, you can practically hear the Wurlitzer throbbing, and kids will be squirming with tense glee, primed for a classic Willems gotcha that turns the whole thing on its head for the poor, unsuspecting fox. A quick, crowd-pleasing lark that should be a hit at group storytime. High-Demand Backstory: Willems, Willems Willems! And as much as everyone loves Elephant and Piggie, fans will be pleased to have a new offering in a picture-book format. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ian Chipman


Willems, M. (2013). That is not a good idea! New York: Balzer Bray.