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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy


Year Published: 1980


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press

 

 

Princess

I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.

Princess

All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:51
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm - LeVar Burton,Susan Schaefer Bernardo,Courtenay Fletcher

Genre:  Drama / Weather / Inspirational / Children's / Folktale


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Reading Rainbow

 

 

Rhino


I have been a huge fan of “Reading Rainbow” ever since I was a child and I have always enjoyed reading the books that were either featured or suggested on the TV series. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that LeVar Burton, the longtime host of “Reading Rainbow” was going to write a children’s book called “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” along with co-writing with Susan Schaefer Bernardo and artwork by Courtenay Fletcher. This book will surely inspire many children to get through hard times themselves!

The story starts off with Mica Mouse sitting with her father during a storm and she became worried about the storm due to a hurricane coming in and destroying her home over a year ago. Mica’s father then went to comfort her by reading her a story about a rhino who also went through some hard times.

In the story, the rhino was living peacefully in his home when all of a sudden, a strong storm came through the valley and started destroying everything that the rhino cared about. The rhino was so upset by all the destruction that it ended up swallowing the storm. After the rhino swallowed the storm, the storm started causing so much disturbance within the rhino and the rhino was at a lost at what to do. The spider then comes by and tells the rhino this verse:

“The world up above is shattered and gray,
But it’s where you belong, so you must find a way
To let that storm out and move through your sorrow.
You’ll find many helpers on your road to tomorrow.”


So, the rhino decided to go on a quest to get rid of the storm that is boiling inside of him.

Will the rhino be successful on his quest?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I was quite impressed with this inspiring children’s book that was written by none other than LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” fame! LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo did a great job at writing this story as I found this story to be quite inspirational, especially for children who have to deal with the harshness of the real world and need to find a way to go through life in such a negative world. I actually found myself relating to both Mica Mouse and the rhinoceros in the story as I sometimes found myself wondering about how I can deal with all the wars, deaths and prejudice going on in this world and I like the fact that this book tries to encourage children to get through tough times by inspiring them to remain positive and be aware of all the friends and families they have that will help them through tough times. Courtenay Fletcher’s artwork is highly creative and cute to look at as I enjoyed the images of both the rhinoceros and Mica Mouse as the artwork for Mica Mouse and her father are in smooth watercolors while the artwork for the rhinoceros is in cut out figures to help the readers distinguished between the two stories.

Rhino

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that this story was a bit too lengthy in trying to get its message across and I wished that they would have trimmed out a few verses that the animals were trying to tell the Rhino in order to get to the meat of the story much faster.

Overall, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” is a great inspirational book for children who are also going through hard times and want a good book that can inspire them to remain positive in such a harsh world. I would recommend this book to children age five and up since the length and complexity of this book might be difficult for some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-03 19:03
Shrek! by William Steig
Shrek! - William Steig

Genre:  Monsters / Manners / Fantasy / Romance


Year Published: 1990


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux

 

 

Shrek

“Shrek!” is another memorable classic book from the great mind of William Steig and it is about how Shrek, a repulsive ogre, tries to find the princess to marry after he leaves his parents’ home. “Shrek!” is a great book for children who love reading books about monsters.

William Steig has done a great job at both illustrating and writing this modern day fairy tale that is full of attitude. William Steig’s illustrations are truly beautiful and hilarious especially of the images of Shrek himself as he has a green and warty face, a purple shirt and yellow and green striped pants, which make him, look more hilarious than menacing. I also love the images of the trees in this book as they look simplistic yet beautiful, giving this book a somewhat simplistic tone. William Steig makes this story extremely hilarious and full of attitude as Shrek is a character who loves being repulsive and scaring off innocent bystanders, but at the same time, he gives a powerful message to the audience about loving yourself as Shrek loves his own repulsiveness, even if other people do not like his repulsiveness. William Steig makes this book extremely unique as it was one of the few books to have a repulsive character as the main character of the story.

Shrek

Parents should know that this book does contain the word jack--- and that might offend many parents who do not want their children learning such a word. Even though jack--- is used to describe a donkey in this book, the way that the “a” word is being used now might confuse smaller children and might even entice them to say the word so often. Also, another con of this book is that, in my opinion, it was not as memorable as the movie which is why I gave it a four star rating. Shrek seem more repulsive in this book than he was in the movie and that aspect of his character sort of made him a less likable character in the book, while in the movie, Shrek was a more benevolent ogre who was upset at the way that people treated him and that made him a very likable character in the movie. Also, I felt like the character development was not as strong in this book as it was in the movie and the audience might not feel any kind of bond towards the characters in this book.

“Shrek!” is a great book for children about the importance of being yourself no matter what other people think, but the movie might be a better choice about learning this message since the movie developed the characters much better than this book could. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the use of the word jack---.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-05-14 00:03
Shadow by Marcia Brown
Shadow - Blaise Cendrars,Marcia Brown

Genre:  Fantasy / Africa ./ Folktale / Horror


Year Published: 1982

 

Year Read:  2010

 

Publisher:   Charles Scribner's Sons

 

 

Shadow

“Shadow” is a Caldecott Medal award winning book by Marcia Brown and it is about what shadows do around people and what they do when they are not looking. “Shadow” may be a bit scary for smaller children, but it is truly a mesmerizing book that children would enjoy for many years.

Marcia Brown has wonderfully given a vivid description of what shadows do and what they are like and put the description of shadows in a poetic format and Marcia Brown does a great job at making shadows seem so mysterious as they constantly follow people around in ghostly figures. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are truly eerie yet creative as the people in the book are drawn as black shadows while the shadows themselves are drawn as white ghostly figures following the shadowed characters, however, there are some shadows that are dark figures such as the shadow coming out of the ash from the fire. The images perfectly blend color and black and white to bring out a more effective look at the world of shadows such as putting shadowed figures against colorful mountainsides or forests.

Shadow

Parents should know that there are some scary images in this book which involves images of the shadows taking frightening shapes such as one shadow wearing a very frightening mask and another large shadow that has ash for eyes and is walking on four wobbly legs. Many small children would also be frighten about the idea that shadows can come to life when they least expect it and it might cause many small children to not go to sleep at night because they might be afraid of their shadows coming to life to get them. Parents need to explain to their children that shadows do not come alive and they are apart of people.

“Shadow” is a brilliant book that takes on the views of the mysterious world of shadows and it will have many children mesmerized for many years. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the images are truly frightening and smaller children might be frightened at the idea that shadows come to life in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-04-08 14:59
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
The Gingerbread Boy - Paul Galdone

Genre:  Food / Fairy Tale / Retelling / Trickery


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  2017

Publisher: Clarion Books

 

 

 

Gingerbread

Now, as long as I could remember, I have always heard the stories about everyone’s favorite trouble making food product the “Gingerbread Man” and I had read a couple of children’s books in the past that detailed the Gingerbread Man’s adventures (although it has been years since I had last read a “Gingerbread Man” book). So, when I found out that Paul Galdone had written his own interpretation of the Gingerbread Man story called “The Gingerbread Boy,” I was a bit surprised to see this edition pop up and I had to check it out!

The story starts off with a little old woman and a little old man not having any children of their own and they decided to make a Gingerbread Boy to make up for it. When the old woman put the Gingerbread boy in the oven, she went off to go do some chores in the house and it was then that she forgot about the Gingerbread Boy and the oven started to burn. When the old woman quickly went to open the oven, out jumped the Gingerbread Boy and he ended up running out of the house! This then causes an escalating adventure for the Gingerbread Boy as he runs away from both the old woman and the old man and most of the villagers, while shouting out:

“Run! Run! Run!
Catch me if you can!
You can’t catch me!
I’m the Gingerbread Boy,
I am! I am!”


After the Gingerbread Boy outruns everyone in the village, he meets up with a fox and…

Will the fox catch the Gingerbread Boy?

Read this book to find out!


Paul Galdone’s retelling of the “Gingerbread Man” was quite unique and cute to read as I rarely come across many “Gingerbread Man” interpretations where the titular Gingerbread Man is portrayed as a boy (even though there were no hints about the Gingerbread being a boy other than being called a boy). I also enjoyed the scenes where the Gingerbread Boy ran away from various characters who want to eat him up as it was amusing that the Gingerbread Boy came up with this rhyme to brag about how he can evade any of his pursuers and I found myself repeating the rhymes whenever the Gingerbread Boy escapes from his pursuers. Paul Galdone’s artwork was fun to look at as all the characters and settings look scratchy as it has an old fashioned feel that made the story great to read through. I also loved the images of the Gingerbread Boy itself as it truly looks like a baked gingerbread cookie that happens to come to life and run across the pages in happy glee!

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating was because I felt that the Gingerbread Boy’s taunting verses:

“Run! Run! Run!
Catch me if you can!
You can’t catch me!
I’m the Gingerbread Boy,
I am! I am!”


Had started to get a bit tedious after a while, especially since we keep seeing these same verses pop up on every page every time the Gingerbread Boy runs away from his pursuers. While young children will get enjoyment out of repeating this verse every time the Gingerbread Boy escapes his pursuers, some older readers might find the constant repeatings of this verse to be a bit of a hassle to read through over and over again.

Overall, “The Gingerbread Boy” is a cute book for anyone who is a huge fan of the “Gingerbread Man” stories. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the ending of this book might disturb some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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