Posted tagged ‘Fairy Tales’

The Giants and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson

October 20, 2009

url-2Here is a book by a British children’s book author that combines elements of Jack and the Beanstalk, The BFG by Roald Dahl, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, and “The Littles” series by Peterson. It even had echoes of the movie (I know! I’m not supposed to talk about “the ‘m word'”, but sometimes I do watch movies) “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” which you students maybe have never even heard of….ANYWAY, in this book three siblings (who don’t get along very well) Colette, Stephen and Poppy get captured by a giant girl, Jumbeelia, who plants a beanstalk from way up there in “giant land” because her favorite story is Jack and the Beanstalk, and she climbs DOWN to see if she can find some “iggly plops” ( giant language for “little humans”). One of the fun things about this book is the invented language of the giants. There is a glossary at the back of the book but you can usually figure out what they’re saying from the context. How do you think the three human children will make it up there in their new surroundings? If you think Brian had survival issues in Hatchet, wait till you see the dangerous things these three children have to deal with when Jumbeelia’s evil brother gets ahold of them! Check it out if you are a fan of adventurous, fast-paced, suspenseful fantasies.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Lauren Child

September 15, 2009

urlHere’s one of the most beautiful, interesting picture books I’ve seen in a long time. Everyone knows the story of Goldilocks, but Lauren Child, the author of the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean books, tells the story in a totally fresh new way. And the illustrations!! Goldilocks is a real doll, the three bears are clothed antique teddy bears, and a famous photographer has photographed the doll and the bears in beautiful stage sets. The bears’ cottage has grass growing on the roof, just like a centuries-old cottage in Europe. Inside the cottage is a miniature world full of realistic details like apples spilling out on the floor, little twig-framed pictures on the walls, and even a tiny pot of red shoe polish for Goldilocks’ red shoes. I have read this book aloud in many of my classes, and we all “oooohed” and “aaaaahed” over every page. It’s truly a stunning book for all ages.

The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French

August 29, 2009

If you like fractured fairy tales and stories that are spooky but not n239111scary, this is a great book for you. The sorceress Lady Lamorna lives in a ghastly castle above the town of Fracture. She has a burning desire for a new gown – black velvet, decorated with poison ivy, spider webs and skulls, but she has no gold in her treasure chest to pay for it. She hatches a plan: she will turn all the local princes into frogs and demand ransoms from their royal parents. The author has written a humorous adventure full of the typical fairy tale characters: a bad prince who is really not the least bit evil, a beautiful but nasty stepsister with a “heart as hard as a frying pan”, a sweet, brave little girl named Gracie who must escape her wicked stepfather, a wise-talking bat, a troll whose head often comes off, and three old crones whose job it is to spin the web of power. French is a wonderful storyteller and the story moves along at a furious pace, taking twists and turns that you wouldn’t predict. This book is a winner.