Friday, June 29, 2012

The Frog Princess

The Frog Princess
ED Baker
Lexile Level: 710

One of my students recommended I read this book.  Anna, it took me awhile, but here is my review:

I loved this book!  I am fairly sure Disney took this idea for their movie. 
Once upon a time, in a fairy tale, a princess finds an enchantanted frog.  Emma is not an ordinary princess.  She doesn't laugh, walk, talk, or dress like a princess should- at least according to her mother.  One day when she escapes the castle to get away from a pesty prince, she meets another sort of prince.  This prince has been cursed.  He convinces Emma that she needs to kiss him to change him back.  The kiss does not go as planned.  Emma finds herself now on the bottom of the food chain, smacking down insects, and kind of falling for the frog prince.  
E.D. Baker writes a fun tale of adventure and friendship.  I highly enjoyed this story and am planning to read more of the Frog Princess Tales. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Juniper Berry, by M. P. Kozlowsky

Juniper Berry
Juniper Berry
Lexile Level: 700

I am not a fan of spooky, creepy books that make my skin crawl....but plenty of my readers are!  So, I recommend Juniper Berry to all of you that like books that linger with you in uncomfortable ways.  Juniper is a child of famous movie star actors.  They are a very close family, at least they were BEFORE they found acclaimed fame.  Now they forget Juniper even exists.  Lonely, Juniper sees the world out of her spy glasses.  She desperately wants to be apart of the world, but is locked away from it.  One day, she comes across a thin, wisp of a boy who is also looking for belonging.  Juniper and Giles find their answer, but it turns out to be more costly than they ever thought it could. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bitterblue, By Kristin Cashore

Sequel to Gracling
see previous post

I was fascinated by Cashore's strong characters in Graceling, so I was hoping I would find that kind of strength and smartness in Bitterblue.  I am slightly disappointed.  Bitterblue had moments where I was beginning to care about her and rooting for her, but mostly I was spending my energy hoping she would get a clue.  Gracling had so much action and passion, that Bitterblue seems dull in comparison.  You get glimpses of Katsa and Po's continued story- but you are watching from afar, so it loses it's impact- like watching a silent movie.  I gave the story 3 stars, because it is not all bad.  The plot is very developed and will keep you guessing.  There is a brief escapade that provides action and a touch of passion.  Not horrible, just not Gracling.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Half Upon a Time, James Riley

Half Upon a Time
by James Riley

I've been reading lots of fractured fairy tales this month.  I'm searching for stories that incorporate many different fairy tales, very humorous, and strong characters that you care about.  James Riley met all my needs in Half Upon a Time.  The story is told from James (no not the beanstalk guy- but his son!) viewpoint.  James failed hero training, AGAIN.  As his grandfather is scolding him, a princess from Punk falls out of the sky.  Now James and May are on a quest to find her grandmother.  Enjoy this tale soon,  it's perfect for SUMMER! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Princess Curse

The Princess Curse
Lexile Level: 790

I loved the take Merrie Haskell took with the fairytale "12 dancing princesses".  The main character, Reveka, works as an herbalist assistant.  The castle she works for has a secret.  Every night the 12 princesses go to bed, but in the morning- they awake tired with holes in their shoes.  Any person who tries to stay and watch the princesses, falls into a deep sleep.  Reveka is determined to break the curse.  What she finds instead is the leader of the Underworld.  (another twisted tale).  Can't wait till Haskell writes the sequel. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Humming Room,
Ellen Potter
Lexile Level: 800

  Ellen Potter delivers a delicate tale with haunted characters, strong personalities, and a setting that is as prominent as the characters.  The Humming Room is based on the classic The Secret Garden.  The main character, Roo, is tiny and forgotten.  She hides away from the tragedy that is her life.   When her father and step-mother can no longer "care" for her, she is sent to live with an unheard of uncle.  He lives on an island called Cough Rock.  Roo is uncomfortable living in an old hospital in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.  She finds that even in her clinical new home, Roo can find wild things.  Soon she fights to stay there and take care of a secret.