Tag Archives: Fairy Tales

Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

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Harper Collins Australia

October 2019

  • ISBN: 9781474966429
  • ISBN 10: 147496642X
  • Imprint: Usborne – GB
  • List Price: 24.99 AUD

Just because I took some time to get this one does not in any way indicate a less than worthy addition to your shelves. As readers of this blog would be aware I’m a huge supporter of ‘Mighty Girl’ books and this is certainly one of those.

With a foreword from Kate Pankhurst (descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst) one would expect nothing less than a collection of stories which celebrate “adventurous, intelligent and daring” girls.

Eight stories which are neglected traditional fairy tales which all put girls squarely into the hero’s role including: Snow White and Rose Red, The Wise Princess, The Sleeping Prince and Fearless Fiona and the Spellbound Knight.

It is of course as an Usborne book beautifully presented with striking illustrations and embellishments throughout and would make a delicious gift for a young girl of your acquaintance.

If you are building up your collection of inspiring books for girls – or perhaps books to share with both genders to illustrate that heroes come in all variations –  this is a wonderful addition to your shelves.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.

His Name was Walter – Emily Rodda

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Harper Collins Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9781460756195

ISBN 10: 1460756193

Imprint: HarperCollins – AU

List Price: 17.99 AUD

Back in October 2018 I had the immense privilege of reviewing Emily Rodda’s new book His Name was Walter and immediately fell in love with it. I promoted it heavily with my kiddos and was very excited to be one of the schools selected to receive samplers and another copy for classes to share – an opportunity that was eagerly taken up with one of my favourite Year 4 teachers. That first edition was the most beautifully presented hardback and my review copy made a very special prize for my most enthusiastic reading challenge winner. Let’s just say my generosity has its limits so this new paperback edition is staying on my own shelves as it is a book that begs to be re-read many times. The students and I were thrilled when it won the CBCA Book of the Year award as well as the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – so richly deserved – and it continues to prove a favourite among our young readers.

I find it hard to believe that anyone has remained ignorant of this treasure of a book so please do yourself and your kiddos a favour if you have not done so yet and promote it through book talks and ‘first chapter’ readings. The following it receives will warm your  heart and children who read it will be so enriched by its many layers and concepts.

Again it gives me the greatest pleasure to highly recommend this book to your readers from around 10 years upwards as well as your staff who would be well pleased at the reception they have if using it as a read-aloud.

Read a sampler and teaching notes available.

I have had the very great pleasure of socialising personally with Emily on a couple of occasions and she is both gracious and very funny (so is her husband Bob!) and I live in hope that on my annual visits to the Blue Mountains that I will somehow manage to ‘bump into her’ again!

If you missed this when it aired ABC News did a fabulous piece with Emily which you can watch here.

Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror – Natasha Farrant/Lydia Corry

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Harper Collins

November 2019

ISBN: 9781788541152

ISBN 10: 1788541154

Imprint: Head Of Zeus – Zehpyr – GB

List Price: 29.99 AUD

Whether you are looking for alternative princesses or fairy tales or just looking for a beautiful book for the Mighty Girls in your readership this stunning gift book ticks all the boxes.

When an enchantress prepares for a new princess’ naming day saying she promises to ensure that the new little girl will become an ‘excellent’ princess, she needs to determine what in fact that means.

According to some it’s clean fingernails, manners, being pretty and kind to animals but the enchantress feels it’s so much more than just that. Her magic mirror is really not that much help but she knows a way to solve that problem and shrinks the large mirror to a pocket-sized compact and so its adventures begin.

Picked up by the first princess and travelling through time, place and misadventure over centuries the mirror becomes an important talisman for a eight different girls, each with their own strengths and energetic personalities who demonstrate courage, intelligence, compassion and love with big hearts and a burning desire to live life to its very best whatever that may be.

When the mirror returns finally to the old enchantress both have learned something valuable and lasting and the new princess will undoubtedly benefit from their wisdom.

This is truly a beautiful book both to read and behold – the colourful illustrations lend a real insight into each different princess and the absolutely glorious binding will make it a treasure for any recipient.

Mirror, mirror on the wall… what makes a princess excellent?’ The enchantress’s mirror travels through time, from east to west, to find the answer. Reflected in it are princesses who refuse to be pretty, polite or obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. The Arabian princess of the desert protects her people from the king with the black and gold banner; Latin American Princess, Tica, takes a crocodile for a pet; a Scottish princess explores the high seas; African Princess, Abayome, puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower-block, Princess saves her precious community garden from the hands of greedy urban developers. {Publisiher}

Highly recommended for readers from 8 years upwards.

Wolfie: an Unlikely Hero – Deborah Abela/Connah Brecon

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Penguin Random House

ISBN 9780143781509

May 1, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $24.99

One thing I’ve learned in my years of being a teacher-librarian is that all kids, big and little, love fractured fairy tales.

Wolfie is fed up with fairy tales promoting the nonsense that wolves are the bad guys. He’s determined to put the record straight. After all, he’s really a sweet creature and he is ready to prove himself so by rescuing a princess because that’s what heroes do!

What he hasn’t quite reckoned with is that annoying the book’s narrator is not likely to provide him with a satisfactory outcome and that gives the reader a load of laughs. Wolfie tries to rescue Rapunzel – but she has a screaming fit at the very sight of him and ends up rescuing herself (as all great princesses do!). With that disaster behind him he’s swooped up by a passing dragon and oh oh, this is certainly not the heroic ending Wolfie had imagined!

Deb Abela’s text is super funny and lots of interesting fonts give it real oomph. The illustrations are likewise very humorously done and discerning readers will get a real giggle out of some of the visual jokes.

A great addition to your collection for all those units on fairy tales – traditional or otherwise.

Highly recommended for readers from around six years upwards.

The Cherry Pie Princess – Vivian French

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9781406368970

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406368970
May 1, 2017
Australian RRP: $14.99

Vivian French has put her skills of lively and fun storytelling to work in this new book which stirs up lots of elements from favourite fairy tales. Readers will find a cranky king, a hysterical queen, seven princesses (six nasty and one not), a mean governess, dwarves, giants, fairy godmothers, a hideous hag, a talking cat and MOST importantly a librarian!

Princess Peony is the misfit in her family. She does not want the frilly dresses and expensive shoes her greedy sisters are always sniping about. She does not want to be cooped up in the palace. She certainly does not want to remain ignorant her entire life. When she and her sisters are taken to the local library, the older princesses are scathing and rude but Peony is fascinated and immediately wants to borrow her first book. However, whisked away by her governess and trying to speak up leads to trouble for the librarian Mr Longbeard as he replies to her. It’s not until four years later that Peony realises that her father has had the poor librarian locked up in the dungeons.

Rescuing Mr Longbeard – and the library – becomes Peony’s first mission but the arrival of a royal baby boy and the planned extravagant christening complicate matters. Everybody knows that you simply cannot leave the bad fairy, Hag, off the guest list but King Thoroughgood thinks he knows everything.

Peony not only rescues Mr Longbeard and another new friend from the dungeons but saves her baby brother from the wicked fairy just in time!

This is a great read for newly independent readers from around seven years up. Lots of fun with a resilient, quick witted and kind hearted girl in the hero’s role.

 

 

The Singing Bones – Shaun Tan

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Allen & Unwin

Imprint; Allen & Unwin Children

October 2015

ISBN 9781760111038

RRP $35.00

Along with many others a new work from Shaun Tan sends a frisson of expectation and the promise of delighted awe through me and The Singing Bones is no disappointment. From the first ‘picking up’, feeling the sleekness of the stylish binding to the leisurely inspection of each sumptuous spread, this is a volume that can be described without hesitation as a visual and tactile feast for any reader.

A foreword from Philip Pullman and introduction by Jack Zipes, leading scholar of fairy tales, herald page after page of a book inspired by the work of legendary story collectors – and librarians! – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (the Brothers Grimm).

Rather than simply retelling the stories Shaun Tan has chosen to focus on what might be described as the ‘kernel’ of each tale; seventy-five of the Grimm’s collected folk stories in all are included. An annotated index summarises the plot of each. Stories familiar to us all such as Rapunzel, The Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood are joined by far less well known tales, allowing readers to more fully appreciate the immense body of work undertaken by the two German brothers in their lifetimes.

To accompany each tale, Tan has created the most amazing sculptures of small figures which Pullman describes as “perfect realisations of the strangeness of the characters they represent”.

In an explanation at the end of the book, Tan relates how this project evolved and provides more details on his webpage (link above).  When the book was launched earlier this month, it was accompanied by an exhibition of the sculptures – cue envy of Melburnians at this point!  I think those of us in other states would like to hope we might also have the opportunity at some stage to see this stunning display of artwork.  Apparently attendees were invited to create their own little figures in clay – a super idea for your library! I recall doing this same thing with Shaun’s little white creature from The Arrival with some brilliant results from students.

I have shown this book to several colleagues today and all have exclaimed over the ‘beauty’ of it – both presentation and contents. We are already discussing adding this to our Readers Circles titles for 2016 as it is such a unique work. With amazing synchronicity it also arrived in our box of standing orders this morning, so will shortly be prominently displayed in our library.

I know this will need no recommendation to you all but regardless; I cannot endorse it more fulsomely. It is truly special and a book to be treasured!  While I do believe fairy tales are for everybody, your teenies might find these a bit sophisticated so probably around Middle Primary and up would be my recommendation.

(Watch out for this to be an award winner!)