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review 2017-03-29 00:17
BFG- Best Fictional Gift
The BFG - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake

This well known book is a favorite of many- and I know why. Roald Dahl is an amazing author and his work really shows through this book. It tells the story of a young orphan named Sophie who meets the BFG- Big Friendly Giant. He is the only giant that isn't nasty or a children eater. Instead, he and Sophie come up with a plan to save future children from being eaten- by telling the Queen of England and having her lock the other mean giants up. This book is perfect for all sorts of activities in the classroom. A quick search of "BFG" on pinterest pulls up many fun activities that engage the children while allowing them to learn new things. One of the best ideas I saw was incorporating "The BFG" into STEM activities (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-BFG-by-Roald-Dahl-STEM-Challenge-2538071). Students are asked to dream up then construct a fork that the BFG could use to eat his food. This can be taken to the next level, though. Students could fictitiously design tools, utensils, and other important items for people with disabilities. Not only would this put their STEM minds to use, but would also get students to think about other people who don't necessarily have that easy of a life and that "simple" tasks can be hard for other people. 


Guided Reading: U

Grade Level Equivalent: 5.8

Lexile: 720L


Another Cute Idea:



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review 2017-03-28 02:54
Book 13/100: A Frozen Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick
A Frozen Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick

This is probably the best Disney spinoff novel that I've read so far.

A big part of that is that Rudnick is a good writer, and this book feels like it came from someone who cares enough about her subject matter to really sink into the characters' thoughts, motivations, and world. The book is full of backstory for Anna and Hans that is only hinted at in the movie, gives names and personalities to "bit part" characters, and for the most part does not feel forced or contrived.

My biggest disappointment in this book was how much of its events overlapped with the movie's events -- that means that a sizeable chunk of it was essentially a "novelization," albeit a very good novelization. I would have enjoyed it a LOT when I was young and used to read the novelizations again and again in the time between the movie's theatrical release and its video release, but as an adult (who still reads Disney novels ;)), I was hungry for more new, original material -- especially since Rudnick did that so well.

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review 2017-03-21 19:20
Book 11/100: Poor Unfortunate Soul - a Tale of the Sea Witch by Serena Valentino
Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch - Disney Storybook Art Team,Serena Valentino

I love Ursula, but, alas, this was not the Ursula novel I desperately wanted it to be.

What annoyed me about the book was that it was not a "standalone," which I really feel like the books in this villain series should be in order to give each villain's potentially complex backstory and motives their full due. About half the book was focused on follow-up to events from the previous book in the series, The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince, which I wasn't really invested in. Overall, it felt more as if the author was more interested in continuing the story with the auxiliary characters that she had made up for the series than really delving into Ursula's story, which felt somewhat tangential to the story Valentino seemed to REALLY want to tell about the "odd sisters" machinations regarding the various villains in the Disney-verse. Overall, this gave the book a somewhat disjointed feel of two stories being told in parallel, one about Ursula's perspective of The Little Mermaid, one about Valentino's own characters that never appear in the Disney movies and thus don't garner a ton of investment from me.

Despite these issues, I still gave the book three stars because the parts that were focused on Ursula's backstory, especially her relationship with King Triton, were well done. The book was also a fun, quick read and an enjoyable bit of escapism. The writing is passable, and despite my disappointment with this series (and other Disney novel spinoffs overall), I know I will keep reading them because, well, Disney.

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review 2017-03-18 17:55
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs 25th Anniversary Edition - Jon Scieszka,Lane Smith

In this book, you get to see the story of the three little pigs from the wolf's perspective. The wolf claims that all he needed was a cup of sugar, so he went to ask each of the pigs if they had any. When he arrived at each house, he felt a sneeze coming, and his sneezes were so big that they blew down the first two houses made of straw and sticks. His sneeze was not big enough to knock down the third house made of brick, though, and the pig that lived inside called the police to take the wolf away. The wolf says that he was framed. 


This book could be used in the classroom for comparing and contrasting with the original story of The Three Little Pigs. It could also be used to talk about point of view. 


AD570L - Lexile Measure

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review 2017-03-14 00:44
The Sea King's Daughter by Aaron Shepard
The Sea King's Daughter: A Russian Legend - Aaron Shepard

Genre:  Music / Romance / Russia / Sea / Folktale / Magic

Year Published: 1997

Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Skyhook Press


Sea King

4.5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley and Skyhook Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have always loved reading Russian folktales and when NetGalley offered the timeless classic “The Sea King’s Daughter” by Aaron Shepard along with gorgeous artwork by Gennady Spirin, I was so excited to check this little baby out and I was not disappointed by the results!

Once upon a time, in the city of Novgorod the Great in Russia, there lived a poor but contented musician named Sadko, who would usually play his twelve string gusli during various parties that he was invited to. Everyone at the parties would happily dance to his music and Sadko was content in learning that his music was causing so much joy for the people of Novgorod! One day however, Sadko wanted to find a wife, but none of the Maidens at the parties would marry him due to him being poor. So, when Sadko started playing his gusli over the River Volkhov, the mighty Sea King suddenly popped out of the ocean and invites Sadko to play at his underwater palace. Sadko decides to go to the underwater palace, but once he gets there, the Sea King offers Sadko a chance to marry one of his daughters and stay in his kingdom forever.

Will Sadko marry one of the Sea King’s daughters and will he ever return back to his home in Novgorod?

Read this book to find out!

Wow! I was quite impressed with this book, especially with the numerous nods to Russian culture displayed in the story! I loved the fact that Aaron Shepard incorporated many Russian elements in this story as we get to see the various instruments that are shown in Russia such as Sadko’s gusli and I also loved the fact that the story uses the themes of dancing and music to be a major factor in Sadko’s life and how they affect his decisions to make a happier life for himself. I also loved the dilemma that Aaron Shepard brings to the story as Sadko has to decide if he wants to stay in the Sea King’s palace and marry his daughter or not marry the Sea King’s daughter and stay in his hometown Novgorod as it provides an interesting situation for Sadko and the reader is free to engage in deciding which decision will make Sadko happy. But my most favorite part of this book was the artwork done by Gennady Spirin as the artwork was simply gorgeous to look at! I loved the images of the citizens of Novgorod dancing to Sadko’s music as the citizens just look so cheerful whenever they are dancing and the artwork seems to glow off the pages as you see the people dancing! I especially loved the way that Gennady Spirin designed the underwater palace of the Sea King as it looked truly exquisite and beautiful and I enjoyed seeing the images of various underwater creatures like fish and crabs occupying the underwater palace. But what I loved the best about Gennady Spirin’s artwork were the exotic Russian clothing that the characters wore in the story as I often wanted to wear such clothing and it really brings out the Russian elements of this tale!

Sea King

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that the story was slowly paced and it was sometimes hard for me to get completely engaged in the story because some scenes seemed to drag out too long. Also, for anyone who does not like bittersweet endings in stories, this story does have a bittersweet ending. I will not tell you what happens at the end, but I must admit that I found myself a bit unsatisfied with how abrupt the ending seemed to be.

Overall, “The Sea King’s Daughter” is a truly great book about finding your true happiness in the world and anyone who loves Russian folktales will definitely enjoy this story! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the length of the book might be too long for some smaller children to handle.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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