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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-07 07:09
Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline and the Bad Hat - Ludwig Bemelmans

Title:  Madeline and the Bad Hat

Author:  Ludwig Bemelmans

Genre:  France / Friendship / Manners 

Year Published: 1956

Year Read: 1993

Series:  Madeline #3

Publisher: The Viking Press

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Mild Violence and Mischievous Behavior)

 

Bad

“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is another book created by Ludwig Bemelmans’ famous “Madeline” collection (and was also transformed into an episode for the “Madeline” cartoon series) that details Madeline’s adventures in France. This time, Madeline meets up with Pepito, the Bad Hat, who causes trouble for Madeline and the other girls. This book might be the darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but its exciting storyline and cute illustrations make up for that. 

Ludwig Bemelmans does an excellent job on both illustrations and writing Madeline’s newest adventure. Ludwig Bemelmans writes the story in a rhyming text, the most memorable lines being: 

“And lo and behold, the former Barbarian, 
turned into a vegetarian.” 


Ludwig Bemelmans chooses his words carefully to make sure that the story moves along smoothly without making the rhyming text sound like nonsense. Ludwig Bemelmans’ illustrations are also highlighted in this book as he draws the characters in simplistic yet colorful images. I especially like the way that he makes some of the images be shown in yellow and white coloring and some images where he uses all types of colors such as the image where he shows the landscape of Paris. 

Bad

Parents should know that there are some violent and sad scenes in this book. Children might see the scenes where Pepito cuts off the chickens’ heads and eats them (even though we do not see the chickens’ heads being cut off but we do see a guillotine and chickens being dragged by their necks towards the guillotine) and the scene where he is attacked by dogs (this is more graphic as we see dogs jumping on top of Pepito) as both sad and violent. Parents who do not want their children to be exposed to this type of violence might want to skip these pages to avoid any discomfort from the children. 

“Madeline and the Bad Hat” is one of the most deep and darkest of all the “Madeline” books, but is also a cute story about the consequences of being bad and how one can redeem his or herself if they have done horrible things to other people such as Pepito trying to make things right after his bad behavior. I would strongly recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the smaller children being a bit worried about the violent and sad scenes displayed in this book.

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 2017-08-13 06:42
Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper by Marcia Brown
Cinderella - Marcia Brown

Genre: Fairy Tale / Fantasy / Royalty

Year Published: 1954

Year Read: 2010

Publisher:   Charles Scribner's Sons

 

 

Cinderella

“Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is the winner of the Caldecott Medal and is one of the earlier books by Marcia Brown that retells the French fairy tale “Cinderella” about how a miserable girl named Cinderella tries to go to the grand ball with the help of her fairy godmother. “Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is clearly one of Marcia Brown’s most memorable books yet!

Marcia Brown has indeed created many children’s books throughout her life. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I read her first children’s book! Marcia Brown has made this version of Cinderella much more tame than in the other versions of “Cinderella” I have seen as Cinderella’s stepsisters in this version seem a bit nicer to Cinderella by easily telling Cinderella about their time at the ball, although they still maintained their cruel nature by teasing Cinderella about not going to the ball, which is a bit unusual for in most versions that I have read of “Cinderella,” the stepsisters were always mean to Cinderella regardless of the situation that Cinderella was in. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are truly beautiful and simplistic in this version of the classic fairy tale as Cinderella truly looks beautiful with her wavy golden hair and beautiful black eyes. Also, the illustrations are a bit simplistic due to the fact that there is barely any color in the background, but the color is mainly focused on the characters, which allows the characters to stand out more, which I have never seen done in any other book that have simplistic illustrations.

Cinderella

“Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is a brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale that I think will be more suitable to children who want to read the more tame version of the fairy tale and will be a great hit for children everywhere. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book other than the stepsisters’ poor behavior towards Cinderella.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-08-13 06:41
Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper by Marcia Brown
Cinderella - Marcia Brown

Genre: Fairy Tale / Fantasy / Royalty

Year Published: 1954

Year Read: 2010

Publisher:   Charles Scribner's Sons

 

 

Cinderella

“Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is the winner of the Caldecott Medal and is one of the earlier books by Marcia Brown that retells the French fairy tale “Cinderella” about how a miserable girl named Cinderella tries to go to the grand ball with the help of her fairy godmother. “Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is clearly one of Marcia Brown’s most memorable books yet!

Marcia Brown has indeed created many children’s books throughout her life. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I read her first children’s book! Marcia Brown has made this version of Cinderella much more tame than in the other versions of “Cinderella” I have seen as Cinderella’s stepsisters in this version seem a bit nicer to Cinderella by easily telling Cinderella about their time at the ball, although they still maintained their cruel nature by teasing Cinderella about not going to the ball, which is a bit unusual for in most versions that I have read of “Cinderella,” the stepsisters were always mean to Cinderella regardless of the situation that Cinderella was in. Marcia Brown’s illustrations are truly beautiful and simplistic in this version of the classic fairy tale as Cinderella truly looks beautiful with her wavy golden hair and beautiful black eyes. Also, the illustrations are a bit simplistic due to the fact that there is barely any color in the background, but the color is mainly focused on the characters, which allows the characters to stand out more, which I have never seen done in any other book that have simplistic illustrations.

Cinderella

“Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper” is a brilliant retelling of the classic fairy tale that I think will be more suitable to children who want to read the more tame version of the fairy tale and will be a great hit for children everywhere. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book other than the stepsisters’ poor behavior towards Cinderella.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2015-10-05 01:14
Toads and Diamonds by Charlotte Huck
Toads and Diamonds - Charlotte Huck,Anita Lobel

Genre:  Family / Fairy Tale / Manners / Magic


Year Published: 1996

 

Year Read:  2015

 

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

 

 

Now to be honest, I had heard of this story through an episode of “Adventures from the Book of Virtues” and I really enjoyed it! So, when I finally got the chance of reading this story in book format, I was just as impressed with this book that was written by Charlotte Huck along with illustrations by Anita Lobel, as I was with the TV episode!

 

There once lived a widow who had two daughters: one was her daughter Francine, who was spoiled and cruel like her mother and the other was Renee, who is kindhearted and is actually her stepdaughter. Renee is often mistreated by her stepmother and Francine as they force her to do all the housework, including getting water from the spring every day. One day, when Renee had to go to the spring to gather water, she meets up with an old woman and the old woman asks Renee if she could have some water. Renee gladly gives the old woman some water from her cup and the old woman decided to give Renee a reward for her kindness. The reward ends up being that whenever Renee speaks, flowers, diamonds and pearls will fall from her mouth. When Renee showed this gift to her stepmother and Francine, her stepmother decided that Francine must receive the same gift as Renee and she forces Francine to go out and meet the old woman by the spring.

 

Will Francine get the same gift as Renee?

 

Read this book to find out!

 

I actually really enjoyed this version of the classic French tale about the power of true kindness! I have read many fairy tales and folktales that has a “Cinderella” vibe to them and this tale definitely has the classic “nice girl who lives with a cruel step family” element woven into the story! Charlotte Huck’s storytelling is fantastic as Renee is portrayed as being a resourceful female protagonist who tries to think her way out of troublesome situations (just as the author stated in her author’s note that she wanted to create a more resourceful protagonist rather than the stereotypical helpless female protagonist that is often shown in some fairy tales and folktales). I was also impressed with the idea about how Renee is rewarded for her kindness by having pearls and flowers coming out of her mouth every time she talks since I wondered to myself about how a regular person would feel about having jewelry coming out of their mouths (personally, if someone rewarded me with the gift of getting diamonds and flowers, I wouldn’t want them to come out of my mouth)! Anita Lobel’s artwork is truly gorgeous to look at as the environment surrounding the characters is lushly drawn and they bring so much beauty to the story. I also loved the clothing that the characters wear as they represent the Renaissance Age and they bring an exotic tone to the story.

 

The only problem I have with this book is that in some of the artwork, the characters’ facial expressions look a little off, such as their mouths are almost opened in every panel and I have to wonder to myself about whether or not they really fit in well whenever the characters are getting angry or happy during a situation in the book.

 

Overall, “Toads and Diamonds” is a fantastic book about the power of kindness and how it can bring its own rewards. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the length of this book might be tiresome to smaller children.

 

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

 

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