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review 2017-09-28 07:23
The Book that Jack Wrote by Jon Scieszka
The Book that Jack Wrote - Jon Scieszka,Daniel Adel,Dan Adel

Title:  The Book that Jack Wrote

Author:  Jon Scieszka

Artist:   Daniel Adel

Genre:  Children's / Humor / Surrealism / Poetry


Year Published: 1994


Year Read:  2009

Publisher: 
 Viking

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Violent Imagery)

 

 

Jack

“The Book that Jack Wrote” is one of Jon Scieszka’s books that the illustrator is not Lane Smith but Daniel Adel. This book is based off the nursery rhyme, “The House that Jack Built,” except it has a more comic twist to the classic rhyme as all the characters in this book are either hit, pushed, or chased by other characters. Surely, this book is easily one of Jon Scieszka’s most sophisticated books ever written. 

Jon Scieszka has written a more far-fetched version of this classic nursery rhyme by adding in various characters that came from various children’s books such as “Alice in Wonderland” and “Humpty Dumpty” and he makes the story even more creative when he starts the book off with the ending of the man in the tattered coat getting squashed by this book. Jon Scieszka also made this book extremely funny to read as each character gets clobbered in a slapstick way, such as the Hatter accidentally pushing the Egg over the wall when he tripped on the rug that the bug was eating. Daniel Adel’s illustrations are surreal and dark as all of the characters have large and realistic looking heads, while their bodies are also realistic, but very small. The image that really stood out the most in this book is the image of the man in the tattered coat as he has large glasses and a large head on a small body, which is the same man on the cover of the book. 

“The Book that Jack Wrote” is a silly book that plays a surreal twist on one of Mother Goose’s lovable nursery rhyme and will surely be an instant treat for many children for many years. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the fact that smaller children might not like the violent images displayed in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-09-28 06:54
Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin
Rapunzel - Bethan Woollvin,Bethan Woollvin

Title:  Rapunzel

Author:  Bethan Woollvin

Genre:  Fairy Tale / Retelling / Feminism / Humor / Adventure


Year Published: 2017


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Peachtree Publishers

Source: eARC (Edelweiss)

Content Rating:  Ages 4+ (Death)

 

 

Rapunzel

4.5 stars 

I would like to thank Edelweiss and Peachtree Publishers for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I had read many fairy tale retellings where the female protagonists (usually, “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood”) are rewritten as strong protagonists who are able to get themselves out their horrible situations using their wits and action skills. So, when I stumbled upon this new children’s book on Edelweiss called “Rapunzel” by Bethan Woollvin, which is also about Rapunzel becoming an action girl, I just had to get this book and man was this a truly interesting book!

The story starts off with the wicked witch trapping Rapunzel in a tall and dark tower and every day, the witch would come into the tower and cut some of Rapunzel’s hair off to make some money off of it. Also, the witch would threaten to put a terrible curse on Rapunzel if she tried to escape the tower.

Was Rapunzel frightened by the Witch’s threats?

Oh no, not she!
 


I must admit that I was quite intrigued with the premise of this book! I have always loved reading fairy tale retellings where a different spin is taken on the fairy tale and I will admit that this was not the first time that I had read a “Rapunzel” tale where Rapunzel turns into an action girl (Shannon Hale’s “Rapunzel’s Revenge” anyone)? Bethan Woollvin has done a great job at retelling this story as I loved the fact that Rapunzel becomes a resourceful girl who used her wits to outsmart the witch in this story and I also loved the fact that she was never scared of the witch’s threats since she is always one step ahead of the witch. Bethan Woollvin’s artwork is adorable and creative to look at as Rapunzel is shown as being a small girl with long golden hair, while the witch is shown wearing a large black top hat that makes her outfit look so unique! I also loved the fact that the artwork is mostly in black and white with Rapunzel’s hair being one of the few things that has yellow colorings in this book, which makes her hair really stand out in the book!

Rapunzel

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that the story was a bit bland at some place. I wished that more was fleshed out on Rapunzel herself and even though I like the fact that Rapunzel is much more resourceful in this book, her actions did not seem to have much weight at times because I wanted to learn more about her backstory to really sympathize with her character.

Overall, “Rapunzel” is a great read for anyone who wants to read a fairy tale retelling that features a strong female protagonist! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the narrative is easily accessible for younger readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-09-28 06:48
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Tikki Tikki Tembo - Arlene Mosel,Blair Lent

Title:  Tikki Tikki Tembo

Author:  Arlene Mosel

Artist:  Blair Lent

Genre:  China / Family / Drama / Parental Favoritism


Year Published: 1968


Year Read:  1993

Publisher: 
 Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Intense Scenes and themes of Child Mistreatment)

 

 

 

Tikki

I actually first heart of this book on a Weston Woods video and I really enjoyed this story! “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is an old Chinese folktale retold by Arlene Mosel along with illustrations by Blair Lent and it is about how a young boy named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruche-pip peri pembo (what a name!) gets into big trouble because of his long name. “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is certainly a great book for children who are fans of Chinese folklore!

I have always found this book extremely interesting to read, especially about the part where the first sons are given long and extravagant names, while the second sons are always given short names in Ancient China. Arlene Mosel has done an excellent job at retelling this ancient Chinese folktale as the story is cute and somewhat intense at the same time. I really loved the way that Arlene Mosel repeats Tikki tikki tembo’s long name (Tikki tikki tembo – no sa rembo - chari bari ruchi – pip peri pembo) over and over again in the book since it is a huge tongue twister to say fast! I also loved the close relationship between Tikki tikki tembo and his brother Chang as they loved to play with each other all the time and they are always willing to help each other out during their time of need. Blair Lent’s illustrations are simplistic since there are only yellow, blue, white, black, grey and green colors on each page, but the illustrations still make the story entertaining to read, especially as they capture the true essence of Ancient China and it was also interesting to see a big contrast in clothing between Tikki tikki tembo and Chang as Tikki tikki tembo is dressed in a blue royal looking outfit while Chang is always dressed in a yellow country styled outfit, which indicates to the audience about the importance of their names.

Tikki

The reason why I gave this book a four star rating instead of a five star rating is because of the way that Chang was treated in this book. Since Chang is the second born son of the family, his mother never really noticed him and they also seemed to lack any concern for when Chang fell into the well. Also, near the end of the story, it was unclear whether Chang was treated any better after the incident in the well. I usually do not approve of children being treated less kindly than their older or younger siblings, so this was a big issue for me in this book. Also, some children might feel like that their parents are paying more to their younger or older sibling and that might upset them, so parents should tell their children that they will always love all of their children equally.

All in all, “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is a great book for fans of Chinese folklore and for children who enjoy reading about some good sibling bonding! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes where the boys fall into the well might be too intense for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-09-12 01:45
The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais
The Little Red Wolf - Amélie Fléchais,Andrea Colvin

Genre:  Drama / Fairy Tale / Retelling / Animals / Horror / France


Year Published: 2017


Year Read:  8/9/2017 

Publisher: Lion Forge

Source: eARC (NetGalley)

 

Red

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

Introduction: 

Now, I have been reading fairy tale retellings for many years and I had read retellings of stories like “Cinderella,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” So, imagine my surprise and delight in seeing this new retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” from NetGalley called “The Little Red Wolf” by Amélie Fléchais and I just had to pick this book up! After I read this book, I have to say that this was one of the most creative and heartbreaking retellings of “Little Red Riding Hood” I had ever read!

What is this story about? 

The story starts off with a family of wolves living in the roots of a tree and the smallest wolf in the family was called Little Red Wolf because he would wear a red cape all the time. One day, Little Red Wolf’s mother wanted him to take a nice plump rabbit to his grandmother, since his grandmother cannot hunt anymore due to her losing her teeth. But just before Little Red Wolf made his journey to his grandmother’s house, his mother warned him about a human hunter and his daughter and that he should stay away from them at all costs. As Little Red Wolf journeyed through the forest, he began to feel hungry and he started eating the rabbit that he was supposed to give to his grandmother piece by piece. When Little Red Wolf ate all of the rabbit, he began to cry since he was supposed to give that rabbit to his grandmother and he had no idea how he will get another rabbit to give to his grandmother. It was then that a little girl came up to Little Red Wolf and said that she could give him a rabbit if he followed her to her home.

Will this girl help Little Red Wolf get another rabbit for his grandmother or does she have some kind of malicious agenda for Little Red Wolf?

Read this book to find out!
 


What I loved about this story: 

Amélie Fléchais’ writing: Wow! Just…wow! I never would have thought that I would ever read a “Little Red Riding Hood” retelling told from the wolf’s perspective (even though I had read a parody book of the “Three Little Pigs” told from the wolf’s perspective called “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”). Amélie Fléchais has done a fantastic job at retelling the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” story from the wolf’s point of view as the wolf presented here is shown as being more sympathetic than the hunter and the young girl compared to the original story and that is what made this such a unique and creative read for me! I like the fact that the wolf here is presented as a young cub who does not know about the dangers of being around a hunter and is actually innocent of any wrongdoing in this story (well, except for accidentally eating all of the rabbit he was supposed to give to his grandmother). I also loved the mysterious and intense atmosphere that Amélie Fléchais provided in this story as I was sitting on the edge of my seat trying to see if any horrible disaster will befall Little Red Wolf and how he would be able to handle himself (or who would help him out) if he got into such a scary and dangerous situation.

Amélie Fléchais’ artwork: Amélie Fléchais’ artwork is probably the highlight of this book as all the images are drawn in watercolor paintings, which makes the imagery so gorgeous to look at. I also loved the haunting feel that Amélie Fléchais shows in the artwork as the illustrations are mostly in dark colors and it gives the story a mysterious and eerie feel, especially during the scenes where Little Red Wolf gets lost in the forest. But, probably my most favorite image in this book was the image of Little Red Wolf himself as he is drawn in an extremely adorable manner as he has large puppy dog eyes and a small cute nose that really brings out his innocent and adorable nature.

Red

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story: 

For anyone who does not like scary moments in graphic novels or novels in general, there are some intense scenes in this book that might scare younger readers, such as Little Red Wolf getting lost in the forest and the danger of possibly encountering the huntsman and his daughter. 
Also, I felt that the ending was a bit too abrupt and I wished that more was explained about the revelation at the end, rather than just stopping the story as soon as the revelation was being made. All this just made me want to have a sequel to this story so that way, the ending would be made clearer to me than it is now and so that way we can have a more broader expansion on the characters themselves.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, “The Little Red Wolf” is one retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” that you should definitely check out, especially if you enjoy hearing classic fairy tales being told from a different perspective! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the imagery might scare smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-09-02 12:46
Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott
Arrow to the Sun - Gerald McDermott

Genre:  Native American / Parental Issues / Folktale / Fantasy


Year Published: 1974


Year Read:  2010

Publisher: The Viking Press

Source:  Library

 

 

Arrow

“Arrow to the Sun” is a Caldecott Medal Award winning book by Gerald McDermott that relates an old Pueblo Indian tale about a boy who tries to find his father, the Lord of the Sun and prove himself worthy to be his son. “Arrow to the Sun” is a fun and creative book that many children who love Native American folktales, will easily get into!

Gerald McDermott has done many wonders with both the illustrations and the writing. Gerald McDermott makes the story dramatic and simple at the same time as the writing is often shown on one side of the page and the other side of the page contains mainly images and many children who are adopted can easily relate to the boy as he tries to find his real father and many children can sympathize with the boy as some children might feel like they have to find their real parents to find out about their real heritage, so this story is similar to an adoption story for children who were often adopted and they want to learn more about their real parents. Gerald McDermott’s are extremely colorful as they show all the colorful vibes that you would find in a 70s show as this book was made during the 70s and the illustrations are also highly creative as the characters are all block shaped and there is no real figure to the characters to identify them as human beings as they look like blocks rather than human beings. The image that stood out the most was the image of the boy being turned into an arrow and being shot out into the heavens towards the sun and you can see that the stars also look block shaped but are also done in rainbow colors making the illustration look truly magnificent.

Arrow

“Arrow to the Sun” is a brilliant folktale about the power of courage and determination and many children who love hearing various folktales from the around the world will definitely love this book. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book unless smaller children might worry about the boy’s misfortune with the other boys for not having a father in his life.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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