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review 2018-10-23 21:29
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I spent a sleepless night reading the story. I kid you not, I've slept only three hours because I couldn't put the book down. Thank heavens I'm on holiday. 
Uprooted was fantastic. Almost perfect. The world was so deliciously creepy. The Wood, the tower, even the castle was like a never ending spookfest. And I loved it - the tension, the danger. Absolutely freaking amazing. And it got even better because Agnieszka was the best heroine ever. I liked her magic and the way she destroyed her gowns. A true heroine with substance. But the best was her friendship with Kasia. I reveled in it because there are so few books about true friendship between females. A lot of books I've read have been about girls or women in men's world. Or when a female character has a female friend it usually ends with tears and backstabbing. 
I'm too tired and rambling already. I give it 4.5 stars. And the reason is the big battle at the end of the story. As I said before, I love tension and danger and the book can have death but this was just a meaningless slaughter.
Still, great book. Read it.

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review 2018-10-12 23:59
Out Nov 20, 2018. Pre-order
A Dreadful Fairy Tale Book - Jon Etter

Disclaimer: Digital ARC via Netgalley.  It did not have many of the illustrations, but if the frontispiece is anything to go by, the illustrations should be good.


Me, handing in the review to the Review God:  Here you go.


Review God: Wait, wait.  You can’t give it five stars and then simply say because of Saint Eeyore.


Me: Why not?


Review God shakes bookshelves.


Me: But it mentions Saint Eeyore.  That should be enough to make anyone read it.  But okay fine.  Give it here, I’ll add something.


Review God takes back the review: What’s this say?  Your handwriting is horrible.


Me: Saint Eeyore, Stinkletoe Radishbottom, Lee the Harper, and William Shudderpike are all mentioned.  Plus, there is a really funny hobbit title.  Read this book now.


Review God delivers that stare with the glasses. 


Me: Okay, fine, give it.   Look, I can’t add more, if you don’t give it here.


Review God: You dictate, I’ll write.


Me: But if you’re a god, why do you need a pencil. 


Review God shakes the bookshelves again.


Me: Alright, just wondering.  Hamm.  Let’s see.  A Dreadful Fairy Book is a fairy tale that will charm readers of all ages.  In theory a children’s book, the novel is a love parody . . .


Review God: that’s not a thing.


Me: It is now.  Funk and Wagnalls said I could.  So there.  The novel is love parody poem to the joys and wonders of reading.  It will make any long-time reader weep tears of passion.  The story, supposedly related by Quentin Q Quacksworth Esq, who is a bit miffed at having to tell it, is about the heroine we have all been waiting for – Shade.  A young sprite who goes on an epic quest to find another copy of her first book love, after her book and library were savagely destroyed.  Along the way, she encounters various people and other characters, including a Professor who may actually be a professor, a troll who likes tea, and the “nephew of the second most prosperous cheesemaker in Bilgewater”.


                The story includes fantasy titles of famous real-world works, such as Lee the Harper’s to Murder an Insulting Finch.  There are fights, lost parents, owl wings, and changelings.  Long the way, the reader will have to duel with Quacksworth who has gotten it into his head that this story should not be told.  This is because he does not understand the wonder that is Shade, a beautifully flawed, book loving, sprite of color.  She also has really cool wings, though flying makes her tummy feel funny.   She can curse! The book even passes the Bechdel test.


                There are a couple wonderful send ups of Tolkien as well as knightly fighting.  There is a squire who knows his weaponry.  A kick ass mother.  There are references to family members’ body parts. 


Review God: That’s disgusting.


Me: No, it’s not.  You haven’t read the book.  Look, if you are a reader, this is a book about reading.  About how reading can bind a family together.  How reading makes outcasts feel less outcastery.  YES, I KNOW.  How dangerous a lack of reading can be. If you read, you will love this book.   Is that what you want Review God?


Review God: Yes.


Me: Okay, but we all know that everyone is really reading it for Saints Eeyore and Figgymigg.  And the scene with the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

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review 2018-10-01 18:46
Retelling of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeper and the Spindle - Neil Gaiman,Chris Riddell

Not much to say besides how much I adored this one. It's fairly short, about 80/90 pages with illustrations (e-book version). The illustrations are really what sold this book to me though. They make the story come alive. 


"The Sleeper and the Spindle" begins with some dwarves who have gone into a neighboring kingdom and heard about a castle where everyone is sleeping. Through the years the sleep spell has spread and now many people feel they are all doomed to sleep. The dwarves go back to their own kingdom and meet with the Queen (otherwise known as her Majesty) and she is told about the sleep spell. Though she's to be married (like the next day) she decides to ride off with the dwarves to see about breaking the spell.


I loved that Gaiman never gives you anyone's name. He pretty much treats it as if you should know who people are at this point.

Hint, it's Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. What I thought worked really well is that it is heavily implied and then shown that Snow White's battle with her stepmother and all that entails has left her marked in a ways. She's not exactly jumping up and down to rule. 


I loved the twist ending since I thought it was heading in a different direction. Now I need a follow-up to this story. 


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review 2018-09-08 23:03
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs - Jon Scieszka,Lane Smith

Alexander T. Wolf is in pig prison and determined to prove his innocence. He insists that he was framed in the classic fairy tale and writes his own version which is shared through his point of view in the story. This spin off is told in the most unique way, while still incorporating elements from the original The Three Little Pigs. This book would be so great when comparing and contrasting stories and when discussing point of view! I would use this in my classroom to teach both of those literary concepts. When teaching these, I would also read my students the original fairy tale so they have a story to compare it to. 


Lexile: 510L

Fountas and Pinnell: Q

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review 2018-09-02 18:03
How to Fracture a Fairy Tale - Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen has been a prolific writer of books and short story collections for all ages since 1969.  She has tackled both fiction and nonfiction, and is well regarded as an authority on literary traditions and archetypal themes.  Her latest collection, How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, contains twenty-eight stories that reimagine classic tales culled from fairy tales, legends, mythology, and folklore from a variety of cultures.  In her introduction, Yolen describes her method of “fracturing” as a creative experiment in reexamining the stories through a modern prism.  Some of Yolen’s reworkings contain subtle changes, while others contain major overhauls in terms of their point-of-view, setting, mood and moral underpinnings.  A couple of her versions also combine tales to create something entirely new.  Yolen includes an appendix to the book with information about the origins of the stories, descriptions of her recreation methodology, and sources of inspiration for the revisions.  These notes are as fascinating to read as the stories themselves, providing a unique view into Yolen’s process and demonstrating her extensive knowledge on the subject.  Some of the tales in the collection are easily recognizable while others are more obscure, but all are delightful and entertaining.  Typical collections of short stories with wide-ranging styles usually have some variation in terms of quality, but it would be difficult in this case to identify any weak entries.  How to Fracture a Fairy Tale honors the stories and their cultural importance while refreshing them and widening their potential audience.  Modern adult readers will enjoy seeing their childhood favorites polished and renewed by Yolen’s skillful hand.

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