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review 2017-11-07 07:47
The Gingerbread Man by Rana Giglio
Harcourt School Publishers Signatures: Rdr: The Gingerbman K the Gingerbread Man - Harcourt Brace

Title:  The Gingerbread Man

Author:  Rana Giglio

Artist: Henrik Drescher

Genre:  Fantasy / Humor / Retelling / Fairy Tale

Year Published: 1997

Year Read: 2017

Publisher:   Harcourt Brace & Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Some Mischievous Behavior and Scary Imagery)

 

Gingerbread

I have this weird confession to make: I once had a dream about a book that was illustrated by Henrik Drescher that was obscured and in my dream, I ended up buying the book since I am a huge fan of Henrik Drescher’s works. Well, I have to say that that dream actually came TRUE since I just recently bought this rare and obscure book called “The Gingerbread Man” which was retold by Rana Giglio along with artwork by Henrik Drescher and I have to admit that this book was a blast to read!

This book is basically a short version of the original fairy tale “The Gingerbread Man” and it pretty much retells the story about how an old couple bakes a gingerbread man and the gingerbread man ends up coming to life and running away from the couple, while yelling out:

“Run, run,
As fast as you can.
You can’t catch me.
I’m the gingerbread man!”


Will the gingerbread man escape the couple, the horse, the cow and the fox?

Read this book to find out!
 


Wow…just wow...this had to be the weirdest yet most creative version of “The Gingerbread Man” I had ever read! I have to warn you though that this little children’s book is only EIGHT PAGES LONG! Not the usual 63 pages you get from most children’s books…EIGHT!!! So, I was quite surprised at how much of the original “Gingerbread Man” story they were able to get in such a short book, but it eventually worked out alright as this book serves to be an outline of sorts about how the “Gingerbread Man” story is told. Rana Giglio did a great job at retelling this classic fairy tale as the narrative is short and simple enough to read through and it really conveys the true story of the Gingerbread Man through just a few words on each page. But, the true highlight of this book is none other than Henrik Drescher’s colorful and bizarre illustrations as they bring this book to life and we are treated to a livelier version of the “Gingerbread Man” than ever before! I was intrigued with the artwork of the gingerbread man itself as it is drawn much more differently than the average look for the character as the gingerbread man is much more human like in appearance and it has wobbly limbs instead of short and thick limbs like it usually does in most adaptations.

I will admit that I was a bit disappointed that this book was a bit too short since I wanted to see more of Henrik Drescher’s artwork through a much more extended version of the story. I also will admit that I was a bit freaked out by the gingerbread man itself as while it is quite a unique design for the character, the fact that it has such wobbly limbs and oddly shaped eyes just put me on edge. I mean, just look at this thing!

Gingerbread

Overall, “The Gingerbread Man” is an instant treat for anyone who wants to read a more obscure version of the classic fairy tale! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since the images of the gingerbread man might scare some small children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-11-07 07:39
The Frog Prince by Mike Klaassen
The Frog Prince: The Brothers Grimm Story Told as a Novella (Klaassen's Classic Folktales) - Mike Klaassen

Title:  The Frog Prince

Author:  Mike Klaassen

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling / Historical Romance

Year Published: 2016

Number of Pages:  114 pages

 

Date Read: 9/24/2017

 

Publisher:  Bookbaby

Source:  eARC (Book Unleashed)

Content Rating:  Ages 8+ (Some Intense Moments and Rude Behavior)

 

I would like to thank Book Unleashed and Bookbaby for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Now, I have been reading the Brothers Grimm fairy tale classics for many years and I have seen many retellings of their fairy tales such as “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Bremen Town Musicians” and “Snow White.” But, I had never read a retelling of the “Frog Prince” before and when Book Unleashed gave me a free copy of Mike Klaassen’s retelling of “The Frog Prince,” I just had to check this book out and man was I blown away by this interesting retelling of the classic story!

Young Prince Gerit was out playing around the bog near his father’s kingdom when suddenly, he falls into the bog and could not get out of the water. Then, an old woman named Wibke came along and noticed that Gerit was in trouble. Gerit desperately asks the old woman to help him out of the water and Wibke promised that she will help the prince if the prince promises her that he will take care of her for the rest of his life. Of course, Gerit does not want to take care of the woman, but he agreed to the bargain anyway and Wibke helped Gerit out of the water. Then Gerit tried to break his promise to Wibke by running off to the castle, until Wibke transformed Gerit into a frog and she states that the only way that Gerit will turn back into a prince again is if a princess comes along and kisses him three times. So, Gerit goes on a long journey to find a princess who is willing to kiss him three times and Gerit stumbles upon a kingdom that is ruled by his father, King Egon’s enemy, King Torsten and he finds out that King Torsten has a daughter named Anneliese. Now, Gerit tries to make an effort to get Princess Anneliese to kiss him three times or else, he will remain a frog forever!

Wow…just wow…I never would have thought that I would read a retelling of “The Frog Prince” with so much energy and emotion! Mike Klaassen has done a fantastic job at retelling this classic fairy tale as he gives a more contemporary and in-depth spin to the story. I loved the fact that the story is told from the point of view of the Frog Prince himself and this made Gerit into an extremely interesting character as we get to see how he was like before he turned into a frog and we also get to see his struggles in becoming a frog and trying to find a way to change himself back into a prince. I also loved the character development that both Prince Gerit and Anneliese go through as they both started off as royal brats who only thought about themselves and believe that they will get anything they want because they are of royalty. However, the events of the story caused the characters to grow and understand the harsh situations that they are thrown into, such as the fact that their kingdoms are being involved in a war and how both Gerit and Anneliese may have to sacrifice their happiness in order to save their kingdoms. I loved the way that Mike Klaassen developed Gerit and Anneliese’s relationship with each other as I enjoyed the interactions that the two had with each other, such as playing ball together and talking about their favorite books. I also felt that Gerit and Anneliese’s growing relationship with each other was developed in a natural way and it felt more real than in the original fairy tale as the two did not love each other at first, but started developing feelings for each other over the course of the story, which I found to be pretty refreshing!

The only problem I had with this book was that the ending felt a bit rushed. It felt like they wanted to quickly skip to the ending of the original fairy tale and did not developed the resolution of the story a bit further to see how the actions of the characters would affect the overall scheme of the story. 

Overall, “The Frog Prince” is a brilliant retelling of the original fairy tale and anyone who is a huge fan of the “Frog Prince” will easily enjoy this book!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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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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