Fabulous Friday (A Little Early)

As tomorrow is a busy day off for my family, I decided to post Fab Friday a day early.  Everyone have a great weekend!

Title: An Undone Fairy Tale

Author: Ian Lendler

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Pages: 32

Ages: 4-8

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who made delicious pies. Her stepfather, the king, loved her pies so much that he locked her in a tower to keep the pies all for himself. Many knights tried to save her, but none met with success. Until one day, the brave Sir Wilbur appeared in the castle before the king. And this is where the story gets a little, well, unusual.

You see, Ned, who paints the illustrations for the book, can’t paint fast enough to keep up with the pace of your reading. So pictures are left half done and some substitutions have to be made. Like using a tutu to dress Sir Wilbur instead of the suit of armor Ned had planned. And having the tower guarded by a fierce, fire-breathing…. pretzel.

Silliness abounds in this well-written, superbly illustrated story. I wasn’t sure how my Panel of Experts would respond, as they are not big on ordinary fairy-tales. I needn’t have worried. We ended up reading it four times in a twenty four hour period. Muffin declared it “hilarious”, while little Cupcake laughed herself silly over the tutu-wearing knights. They both enjoyed the girl-power ending of the story, where it’s the princess who rescues herself and Sir Wilbur. This one is definitely a keeper!

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 8:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fabulous Friday Once Again!

Title: Petunia Pepper’s Picture Day

Author: Cathy Breisacher

Publisher: Warner Press

Pages: 32

Ages: 4-8

Poor Petunia Pepper. Every year, her school picture turns out perfectly awful. This year she is determined to have a picture that everyone wants a copy of. She starts out looking nice in a purple dress with a matching bow. But the Fates conspire against her- anything and everything that could ruin her picture happens. Missing the school bus, rain, and a collision with a hot dog cart make it seem that her picture will surely be a bust. Petunia is up to the challenge, however, and her story takes a turn for the better when she rescues a poodle caught in traffic.

This was a cute story, teaching kids that sometimes the best laid plans will go astray, but usually things work out anyway. It was well illustrated and the storyline kept moving without bogging down. I must give one caution, though. At the end of the book, there is a page entitled “Take Time Out for God’s Word” that quotes a few Bible scriptures and gives the message that God loves you just the way you are. There is no indication in the story that this is a Christian-oriented book, so this page at the end came as a surprise. If the message does not fit in with what you are teaching your child, it can easily be removed from the book and no one would be the wiser.

Now, what did my Panel of Experts think of it? Muffin, characteristically, had quite a bit to say. “She didn’t like her old school pictures, so she decided to make this picture perfect. But her dress got all messed up and she had ketchup on it. And then the old lady lost her poodle, so Petunia had to rescue it. I liked when she rescued the poodle because I’ve never seen somebody rescue a dog in the street, so it entertained me.” (Wow- I’ve got a future book reviewer on my hands!) Cupcake was a little more succinct. “It was a good story. I like the picture where her hair was puffed up. Puffy hair is funny.” I have to agree- it was a good story and puffy hair is funny!

Note: I received an electronic galley of this book from the publisher for reviewing purposes. It was released on 07/01/2010.

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

What a Fabulous Friday!

It’s truly a Fabulous Friday here in North Florida.  The sun is shining, there’s not a cloud in the sky, and it’s 63 degrees.  Perfect!  Let’s get down to this week’s children’s book review.

Title: Big Bouffant

Author: Kate Hosford

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

Pages: 32

Ages: 3-8

On the first day of school, Annabelle looks around her classroom in disappointment at the proliferation of ponytails and braids worn by her classmates. No one does anything original with their hair! So she sets out to find a style that will set her apart from the crowd.

Annabelle’s mother suggests several hairdos. “How about a bob or an elegant bun?” But for Annabelle, only one ‘do will do- a big, beautiful bouffant, one like her grandma wore in a picture she found. The rest of the story covers Annabelle’s quest for the perfect bouffant and the reaction it gets at school.

I found this book entertaining and engaging. My 4-year-old Cupcake enjoyed it, too. Her appraisal was: “I liked it. I liked it when she wore her big, silly hair to school.” I did have to explain a couple of words to her, one of them being bouffant itself. (She also didn’t know what sneering was.) But the story was simple enough for her to follow along and comprehend what was going on. I was not able to get a slightly older take on this book, as Muffin was in school the day we read it. I would recommend this book just for the fun of it, but especially for lower-grade schoolgirls who are struggling to find a balance between being ‘normal’ and defining their own sense of style.

Note: I received an electronic galley of this book from the publisher for reviewing purposes. It will be released on 04/01/2011.

Published in: on December 3, 2010 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kicking Off Fabulous Fridays

Today is our first official Fabulous Friday! Mom and I are just back from our annual Black Friday shop-a-thon. This year we started at midnight and shopped through the night until 9:30 am. As usual, the kids made out like bandits. I bought a pair of those toning sneakers, so that means I’ll have to revive my defunct fitness plan and start walking again.

And now, on to the review! This Fabulous Friday review is of a very popular book at our house. Let me introduce you to our Panel of Experts. (I’m not comfortable putting my ‘honorary’ nieces’ names on my blog, so I’m going to use their nicknames.) Muffin is 7 1/2 years old, please remember the ½. She is just beginning to explore chapter books, but still loves to be read to from picture books. Cupcake is 4 years old. She can’t read yet, but is wicked good at memorizing books and ‘reading’ them back to you. They will be weighing in at the end of the post.

Title: Parts

Author: Tedd Arnold

Publisher: The Penguin Group (Puffin Books)

Length: 32 pages

Ages: 3-8

Parts is the story of a boy who is falling apart. Literally, it seems. His problems start when he combs his hair and discovers some strands left in the comb. Could he be going bald at five? Then he finds some mystery fuzz in his bellybutton. Is his stuffing coming out? The comic misadventures continue for the unnamed little guy until he works himself into a frenzy of worry. “The glue that holds our parts together isn’t holding me!” he frets.

I appreciate the way the story builds kid-friendly suspense without actually scaring them into wondering if they, too, will come apart. The writing is simple enough for a younger child to easily follow the story, while older children will enjoy it also, if for no other reason than the slight gross-out factor. (Think boogers and brains on the floor.) The illustrations are detailed and really compliment the story. (I like his little superhero action figure that keeps popping up.) And the lesson that certain bodily functions are normal is gently presented. Look for the bonus lesson that parents are not always perfect in their parenting skills.

If you enjoy this book, there is a sequel called More Parts that deals with common phrases that can easily be misconstrued by a little one, like “I’ll lend you a hand.”

What the Panel of Experts Thought

Muffin enjoyed the book, although she loftily told me she knew all along what was happening. Cupcake was laughing so hard, she couldn’t give an opinion. I took it as a success when it became the bedtime book of choice three weeks running.

So, what kids’ books do you find yourself reading over and over?

Published in: on November 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment