Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Juvenile Fiction Fairy Tales

Many fairy tales are short and sweet, composed of a few pages in a larger collection. The “Happily Ever After” post lists several Easy books that younger kids are sure to enjoy. For those looking for a slightly longer read, the following titles provide unique twists and interesting back stories to the fairy tales we already know and love.

Gail Carson Levine

The author of Ella Enchanted retells Cinderella with a lonely boy named Cinderellis who is ignored by his two older brothers. Though there is no wicked stepmother or fairy godmother, this rendition does incorporate the three horses (copper, silver, and gold) found in the original fairy tale. Cinderellis competes in a competition to climb a glass hill and win the princess’ hand in marriage. There is no countdown to midnight, but he does leave something behind….

Gregory Maguire

In this book Maguire presents eight parodies of famous fairy tales, whose characters have been recast as animals. Get ready to laugh as you read stories such as “Goldifox and the Three Chickens,” “Cinderelephant,” “Rumplesnakeskin,” and “The Three Little Penguins and the Big Bad Walrus.”

Diane Zahler

You may have read the story about the twelve dancing princesses. In this book, Zahler relates the story of the thirteenth princess, who was banished to work as a servant in the castle. When her sisters suddenly become ill, she must uncover the mystery surrounding their worn-out shoes and figure out a way to break their terrible curse.

E. D. Baker

In this story, the tale of Sleeping Beauty is told from the perspective of Sleeping Beauty’s sister, Annie. When Gwendolyn pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep, Annie must seek out her sister’s “true love” in an attempt to break the spell. Along the way she receives help from Hansel, Gretel, and Rapunzel, and discovers that her sister’s curse is only one part of the plot against the kingdom….

Donna Jo Napoli is a renowned author of both children and adult books and has won numerous awards for her literary contributions. Many of her novels give a new spin on old fairy tales. I recommend the following:

In this version of the traditional tale of the young boy who climbs a beanstalk, Jack searches for his father, falls in love with Flora, and learns the value of real treasure.

After learning sorcery to become a healer, a good-hearted woman is turned into a witch by evil spirits and fights their power until her encounter with Hansel and Gretel years later.

After being turned into a frog, the Prince must learn how to communicate with his now much-too-long tongue, making it a fun book to read out loud. The story follows the frog attempting to make friends and start a family in his new form. This also gives readers a chance to learn several facts about the difference between frogs and toads. (Grades 3-6)

This little mermaid decides luring sailors to their death is not the way she wants to live her life in the sea. Defying her sisters and the goddess Hera, Sirena rescues one of the sailors and soon falls in love with him.

Here the basic story of Rumpelstiltskin is retold with more depth. The plot remains the same: the miller’s daughter must spin straw into gold, and the only way she can accomplish this is with the help of a mysterious man who demands her first-born child in return. A surprising plot twist at the end reveals that Rumpelstiltskin may be closer to our hearts than we think.

Similar to Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, Napoli relates the story of a young duckling who is ostracized from his community and must traverse the Tasmanian landscape. Along the way he makes and loses friends before discovering his true identity.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Preschool and Up Picture Book Recomendations for Boys

Are you looking for some good book ideas to read aloud with your preschool and up child? Here are some books that are geared more towards boys, although girls will also get enjoyment out of many of  these titles. 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack  (Preschool to Grade 3)
 This book is to be enjoyed by both child and adult. Let your imagination run wild with Max, as he goes on a
wild adventure within his own room. Inspires Imagination in child  as well as adult.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long  (Preschool to Grade 3)
Fun and silly pirate adventures for a young boy named Jeremy Jacob who while playing on the beach spots a pirate ship. This book is full of funny pirate sayings that will keep you and your child laughing together while reading, not to mention possibly inspire some pirate talking around your house! Ahoy! Check this book out today to enjoy with your child.

Go, Dog. GO! By P.D. Eastman (Preschool to Grade 3)
A Classic from P.D. Eastman, This book is all about dogs of every shape size and color all that are on the go!  This book has simple repetitive text that keeps the child engaged with you as you are reading along. This is also a great early read to help your child start reading.
No, David! by David Shannon (Preschool to Grade 3) 
A Caldecott Honor-winning book from Author David Shannon. On every page of this book are the words "NO, David" David is a little mischievous boy into everything, and doing what he should not be doing. A great book to read aloud with your children, as they can participate in the story with you by repeating the words, "No, David". This is a good book to share with your child to talk about behavior, you can look and talk about what David is doing with your child and why David should not be doing that.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Preschool to Grade 3)
Caldecott medal winning book. This book captures the wonder of a little boys first snowfall. Wonderful artwork to share with your child as well as a great classic book.

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (Kindergarten to grade 3)
You really want to know the other side of the story of the the three little pigs!  This story is told by Alexander T. Wolf. He tells you the real story of what happens in his encounters with the three little pigs. This story is humorous and enjoyable. Get ready to have some laughs while reading to your kids. Great family read aloud as well. 

Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman (Preschool to grade 3)
Ready for a really silly read? This is definitely one that you should give a try. Aliens come to Earth because they simply love underpants. They love red ones, green ones, all sizes of underpants. The illustrations are eye catching for both children and adults. If you are working on potty training this is definitely a silly book to entertain your little one. 

Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems (Preschool to grade 2)
A bus driver takes a break from his route, when a very unlikely volunteer pops up to take over. Children will love joining along while reading this book aloud "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus".

Dinosaur vs. The Potty by Bob Shea (Preschool to Grade1) Do you have a potty trainer at home? If you do, this might be just the book for you and your little trainer. Bob Shea's red dinosaur will draw your child's attention. Dinosaur doesn't need to use the potty when he is making lemonade, running through the sprinkler, and splashing in puddles. Yeah! He is doing his victory dance, or is that the potty dance? Hurry, Dinosaur! Your kids will love to read along with you in this book, roaring like the red dinosaur! An enjoyable read for your little one!

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London (Preschool to Grade 1)
Froggy  who is a rambunctious little froggy wakes one morning to find a fresh snowfall. Eager to go outside and explore the snow his sleepy mother calls out to him that frogs are supposed to sleep till the snow melts. He wants to go out so mother reminds him he must put on the proper clothing for going out in the cold. This is a great book to read aloud with your child. The playful sounds of putting on his clothes "Zip", "Zwut", are repeated throughout the story making it fun for your little one to repeat the "sounds" of froggy getting dressed. 

Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scary (Preschool to Grade 2)
Do you have little one who is interested in all things with wheels that go? If so this is the book for you. Welcome to Richard Scary's Busy Town and all the things that go in this book. This book can be enjoyed by parent and child both. Look around busy town and see all the cars and critters that are going places. Enjoy looking for goldbug throughout the story! A fun book to enjoy looking at with you child and talking about the busy town!

Welcome to Trucktown by Jon Scieszka (Preschool to Grade 1)
If you have a little one who loves trucks then this is the book for your little one. Jack Truck and his best friend Dump Truck Dan are spending their day doing their favorite things smashing and crashing all throughout trucktown! Your little one will enjoy this book and all the trucks in trucktown.

Shark  vs. Train by Chris Barton (Preschool to Grade 1)
In this hilarious and quite silly picture book, shark and train egg each other on for more and more competitions. The competitions range from burping, bowling, piano playing, pie eating, to many more. You and your child will enjoy reading and laughing right along with this book.

Curious George and the Firefighters by H.A. Rey (Preschool to Grade 3)
What goes together better than Curious George and a trip to the fire station? George and the man with the yellow hat are going along on a field trip to the fire station. George tried so hard to pay attention while at the fire station but there were just so many things for a little monkey to see and do. Check out this title to read aloud if your little one loves Curious George and/or firetrucks.

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies (Preschool to Grade 3)
Bats in the library? An open window serves as an invitation to the bats to come in and pay a visit to the library. The older bats go and pick out their favorite books. The younger bats explore and play. Story time settles all the bats down and transports them into the stories. You and your little one will enjoy reading this book together. The art work in this book is wonderful. The rhymed narrative keeps the story flowing and fun to read with your child. 

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin (Preschool to Grade 3)
This is the diary of worm. He is like you and me in that he lives with his parents and he plays with his friends, and even attends school. However, he differs from you and me in that he does not ever have to take a bath and he eats his homework. Because he does not have legs he can not do the hokey pokey, no matter how hard he keeps trying.  This is the diary of a small worm living in a large worm world that you and your child will enjoy.

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner (Preschool to Grade 3)
Skippyjon Jones is no ordinary kitten, oh no! He is El Skippito, a great sword-fighter, and he is ready to battle the banditos all over the world! With a little imagination you can go right along with this very kind-hearted, fun, and cute cat! A book that you will enjoy. Make sure you check out the other Skippyjon Jones titles, as well. 

I Stink by Kate McMillen (Preschool to Grade 3)
Do you have a little one that is fascinated by the trash truck each week? Then this is the book for you to enjoy!  This book is about a trash truck who tells you all about what he does while you sleep. He has one of the most important jobs: hauling away your trash. This is a fun book that keeps your kids involved and interested with the great illustrations and the sounds that a trash truck has to make while he is busy eating all that trash! "BURP" keeps the kids laughing and giggling right along with you as you're reading. 

Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord (Preschool to 1)
 What could be more fun than reading about a cute furry little hamster? Oh, yeah, reading about one that likes to build and race cars, of course! The text of this book is great for a read aloud as it involves the reader and you must participate in it. If you have a little one who likes race cars, this may be the book for you. 

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stien (Preschool to Grade 3)
It's time for little red chicken's bedtime story and little red chicken is once again reminded to not interrupt papa while he is reading the bedtime stories, but it is oh so hard to do. A very cute story that most children and parents will in some way identify with in the bedtime routine!  

The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big Dark by Deborah Diesen (Preschool to Grade1)
Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam find her lost pearl. He goes out for the adventure, claiming that he is "fast as a sailfish", "smart as a dolphin", and "strong as a shark." He has a very big secret! He's scared of the dark! Your little kiddos will swim along with Mr. Fish on his journey and realize along with Mr. Fish that the power of friendship can light the way through the big big dark! 

Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer (Preschool to Grade 2)
There are so many Little Critter books to be enjoyed together, and this is just one that has become a modern classic. Little Critter and his father set out for a camping trip, just father and son. Their camping trip is filled with Little Critter's mistakes and good intentions, with which both parents and children will identify. This story has has minimal text and wonderful illustrations that both children and adults will enjoy. Make sure you check out this title along with many of  Mercer Mayer's other Little Critter books! 

Shout, Shout It Out! By Denise Flemming (Preschool to Grade 1)
Looking for a book for your little one to enjoy where he or she can "SHOUT"? Well then, look no further, as this is the book for you. In this book Denise Flemming encourages your little one to "SHOUT" it out! It all starts out with a cute little mouse who encourages everyone to "SHOUT" out your numbers, alphabet, colors, animals, and, last but not least, forms of transportation. This book will be a definite hit with you and your little ones and will  get everyone involved in the story.  Make sure you check this title out, or rather "SHOUT" it out! 

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Preschool to Kindergarten)
Did you know this? Did you know that dragons ideed love tacos? And who wouldn't, right? Dragons love all kinds of tacos: chicken tacos, great big tacos, little tacos, and of course teeny tiny tacos. So, if you want a bunch of dragons to come to your party, make sure that you have plenty of tacos and salsa. You will need to watch out because if a dragon eats really, really hot and spicy salsa, you're in for red-hot trouble! An enjoyable and funny read for both children and adults.