Showing posts with label Traditional. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traditional. Show all posts

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Student Saturday: The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan


Genre:  Middle Grade, Fantasy, Traditional
Student Reviewer: Mykyta K.

Egyptian Mythology and religion is a one of the many mysteries of our time, and one of the most interesting as well. Many fantasize about it, and many others make a career out of it by unraveling those very mysteries.

I am one of those people who enjoy fantasizing about it and imagining how it was back then, which is exactly why I enjoyed the idea of Rick Riordan’s book, “The Serpent’s Shadow”. Rick Riordan is one of my favorite authors, and I particularly enjoyed his Greek Mythology works. “The Serpent’s Shadow” is one of his comics about Egyptian mythology that starred a family called the Kanes. The Kane Family is composed of a brother and a sister, a father whose job consists of judging the dead, and an uncle who works for the gods. However, the mother isn’t talked about much. This family was in charge of doing the work for the gods in the mortal world, using the Egyptian gods' powers. They led a group of magicians who also attempted to live alongside the gods while wielding magic, but had to protect dear things to the gods from their enemies who were against their ideas.


This world painted by Rick Riordan takes place in Egypt, along with some cities in modern day America. Personally, I enjoyed the idea of this, but in my opinion, the book overall didn't really appeal to me. I say this because I consider myself to enjoy more advanced books, and occasionally light reads, but “The Serpent's Shadow” was in a way, not very serious and quite “cringey”. I would however, recommend this book to younger audiences in elementary school, as it's a nice way for younger people and minds to begin learning about mythology and history.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Student Saturday: The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Student Reviewer: Jillianna H.
Genre: Middle Grade, Traditional, Fantasy

  Marinka is a red haired girl who is also what is called a yaga. A yaga is someone who is in charge of guiding the dead through The Gate. She lives with her grandma, named Baba, who is also yaga and has been raising Marinka since she was a baby. Marinka's house has chicken legs and moves to a different spot about three times a year. The house does this so that Marinka and Baba can guide the dead.  

   As a baby Marinka used to love playing with her house and helping her grandma guide the dead. But as she gets older, she realizes that she doesn’t want to be yaga or guide the dead. Marinka does everything to try to change her fate of being yaga. She tries to make human friends, which wasn’t allowed, and she even tries to make a ghost friend. All of these events lead to trouble, either for her, Baba, her friends or the house. She ends up having to make a big decision that would risk her life but maybe save another. During this I wasn’t sure whether to think she was being selfish or making the right decision for herself and her future. This is because she wants to do it because she doesn’t want to be a Yaga or guide the dead. There are a ton of risks if she decides to go through with it, and she gets told all of these risks by another yaga but doesn’t mind them and is only thinking about what would be best for her.

  I found this book very entertaining and would recommend this book to everyone who likes stories that have unexpected endings. The book definitely surprised me and kept me on my toes.                             

Monday, February 27, 2023

Henry Bingle’s Transformation: A Fable for all Ages by Kristin Fulton

 Bingle does.
Genre: Middle Grades, Traditional Fable
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

When Henry Bingle is thrown from bed by an earthquake. He claws his way out from under a stack of debris that has been accumulating in his room for a very long time. He grabs the first things he finds to wear. When he leaves for school he realizes how weird he looks and decides to skip school. Besides, everyone already laughs at him and calls him names. He heads down to the river only to find a Nixie. This little elf needs his help. His family is trapped inside their home by the debris that careless people have thrown along the river. All of it was shaken loose by the earthquake. Henry helps the elf and then helps clear the debris from around the tree. He agrees to come back each day and help clean the mess around the river. It's funny he's never realized how much garbage Hogville has along its riverbanks. He goes home, and after cleaning his own room passes out waking up in the hospital. The bump on his head he received when the earthquake knocked him out of bed was more serious than they all thought. When he is finally released form the hospital he decides to make it his mission to clean up his town. His elf friend predicted he would do great things.  Read this wonderful story to find out all that Henry Bingle does.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Glimmer: Are you Listening by A.R. Bibeau


Genre: Young Adult, Traditional
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing

Falk lost his mother and now his father is dead. His step-mother takes him outside of the village and abandons him. It was at this point I really despised her. The snow storm is vicious and Falk is lost. He hears the voices of children and follows them into a forest. Unfortunately the voices he hears are the voices of children who are already dead. He falls asleep with a glimmer of light in his hand. The children are determined to protect him. He becomes a part of their life and they become a part of him as does the glimmer. From this point forward change happens. I found this a strange book. It was difficult knowing that all of these children who had died had been abandoned or abused. I did enjoy the book even though it took me a while to read it because I had lost it.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste


Genre: Middle Grade, Traditional, Folklore
Source: I own a copy on my classroom shelves

I love reading folklore from around the world.  What I enjoyed almost as much as reading the book was research what Jumbies are and where they come from. I did this shortly after I started the book. I had not heard of them before. Knowing a little bit about them before I started the book made it that much better. Reading this book was a treat for the senses. The world building is so good you can visualize it. You can almost taste the oranges. You are right there with Corinne.  This is just creepy enough to pull the reader in and hold them in the world. The author surrounds the main character with other characters who have their own issues. They find themselves a lot stronger working together. This is a common theme in middle grade books.

Every culture has their “boogie man” that parents use to warn their children to be good. Children are taught about the evil Jumbies.  Corinne doesn’t believe in these magical creatures. But like all good creepy stories the main character will soon have to change their opinion.  I began this book during the evening my husband was out moving his bees. I quickly decided this was a book I needed to read during the day.  That is something that is an awesome sign for me. It means that the book is so good and creepy that I will want to get a good start real early the next morning. Each Jumbie has its own creep factor that made this so original and such a great read.  Books like this one are the reason I prefer reading middle grade fiction. This is now one of my favorite authors.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Genre: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Traditional
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I love fairy tales. I love them eve more when someone has taken a fairy tale and put such a spin on it that it stays with you for days.  “While Beauty Slept” is one of those fairy tales.  This is the Sleeping Beauty story with major changes.  I have to say that out of all of the fairy tales I grew up with, Sleeping Beauty was one of my least favorites, until now.
The main character Elise has lived a hard life up to the age of 14.  It is after someone in the market calls her a name, that her mother tells her the truth about her father that helps her understand why her father treats her the way he does.  Her mother has always expected so much from her because she wants her to go far in life.  Her mother had worked as a seamstress in the castle until something happened.  Elise is determined to work at the castle.  After the death of her mother and several of her brothers from illness she leaves home and heads to her aunt’s house.  There she stays for a couple of weeks being groomed for work in the castle.  This is just the beginning of her new life.  She moves quickly up the ranks becoming the personal maid to the queen.  Don’t think this is one of those feel good Disney type books because it is not.  This one is full of love and love lost, betrayal in all forms. There are the friendships formed and lost, and so much grief.  The emotions throughout this book bring you right into the world.  I could visualize all of it.  It isn’t often that I am that involved in the story.  I was hooked from the moment Elise catches her granddaughter Raimy in her trunk.  With everyone else asleep she pulls her on her lap and says to her, “I will tell you a tale….”

If you are someone who loves fairy tales and fairy tale retellings then I would say this is a must read.  It would definitely be for the older Young Adult reader, New Adult Reader or Adult.  I look forward to reading much more by this author.

Friday, December 26, 2014

King Burue Changes the Rules by Natalija Bajlo

Genre:  Children, Picture Book, Traditional
Source:  I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

The author of the book is an eight year old who has written a wonderful fable.  Goose King Burue is a kind and fair king who always follows the rules.  One day while flying around he met a Japanese Parrot named Kimiko.  He fell in love and asked her to marry him.  Then he realized he had broken one of the rules. The rule stated that only a goose could marry a goose.  He didn’t know what to do. He tried to disguise her to look like a goose, but that did not work.  He flew off to think and find the answer.  He met and talked with many friends.  He met eagle and his companion pelican, then he met bunny and porcupine, finally he met frog and chameleon.  They had all broken the rule.  They understood how important all the rules were except the last one.  The King flew to his grandfather to ask him and met his companion a flamingo.  He learned he could change the rules and that, “kindness, honesty and happiness are not found in the color of someone’s fur or feathers.  I love the lessons taught in this story. This is a simple way of teaching children that you should like someone and treat them kindly based on what is in their heart.  I would gladly read more books by this author.

About the Author
Natalija Bajlo, eight-year-old author of King Burue Changes the Rules, is an extraordinary young lady who is very observant of the world around her. It is with an open heart that she adamantly delivers her message based on how she was taught to treat others. When Natalija is faced with issues at school where kids seem to act quickly to ridicule others, she does the opposite and speaks out on behalf of the one being challenged. The true beauty in her refusal to see the differences in people lends itself to seeing more of the uniqueness in them instead.

About the Illustrator

Illustrator Amene Beheshti, is quite a unique and talented young lady. Born in the Persian province of Qom in 1986, Amene was in love with colors and colorful pencils ever since she created her first drawing. She received her degree in painting from Iran’s Isfahan Art University in September, 2013. Now, Amene works as an illustrator and shows her feelings via her illustrations. When she had the opportunity to read Natalija’s book, Amene felt an instant connection to the meaning of the story that served as inspiration for her delightful drawings of the characters and the world in which they live. Children will be enthralled with the messages in her illustrations and how playful they are with such a creative twist. Amene has many great visual stories to tell through her art. We anticipate seeing much more of her in the near future and look forward to more collaborations.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Student Saturday: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Student Reviewer: Shalyn W.
Genre: Middle Grade, Traditional, Fantasy

The book Tuesdays at the Castle starts out with the Castle Glower growing a new room because it is bored. The parents of a girl named Celie and her other siblings. She is advised to watch them, but when her parents disappear will she be able to keep them away from this room? I can relate to this book because my mom keeps many secrets away from me. I really liked this book because usually  I'm not a fan of traditional fiction. I would recommend this book to new tradional readers.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Student Saturday: Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Student Reviewer is Kea

The book Goose Girl by Shannon Hale was a wonderful book. It was about Ani, the crown princess of Kildenree. She has the ability to speak to the birds and communicate with the wind. Because of her "odd" gift, her mother gives her crown title to her brother. When her parents die she will no longer be the next queen. She is sent to another kingdom to marry a prince she's never met. She has no idea her life will change on this journey.
this story is very suspenseful and you will feel like you are right there with Ani, facing the dangers and sharing her incredible gifts! This book shares about how love and unity are greater than wealth and relation by blood. Ani struggles with being independent and standing up for herself. In middle school we talk a lot about standing up for your self.  I think that if you enjoy fantasy books with lots of suspense this is a book for you. On a scale from one to ten I would give it a nine.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children - Keith McGowan

Pages: 192
Genre: Middle Grade, Fairy Tale, Fantasy

A new take on the Hansel and Gretel Story!

 I have had this book on my shelf for at least a year and a half.  I decided I was definitely going to read it this summer. I absolutely loved this book! For those of you who like the story of Hansel and Gretel, you will love this new spin on it.
The witch, Fay Holaderry has adapted her lifestyle to the present time, living like any elderly person in any community. But, looks can be deceiving.

Sol and Connie Blink have just moved to Grand Creek. They have a lovely set of parents who don't really seem to care about them. The reasons, and there are many, become clear as you read the book. Sol is a science nerd. His younger sister Connie loves animals and loves and admires her brother. Sol has a difficult time believing in himself after a terrible incident in the town they have just moved from.

Both Sol and Connie must learn to trust each other if they are to survive what their parents, Ms. Holaderry and many others in the town have set up for them. This story's themes of perseverance, trust and relying on family run all through this story.  I can't wait for the first day of school to begin so that I can recommend this book to my new students.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Dig - Audrey Hart

Publisher: Backlit Fiction
Pages:  229
Source:  electronic review copy
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, and Mythology

From Goodreads:
Zoe Calder has always been an outsider. Stashed away in boarding schools since her parents died, Zoe buries herself in the study of ancient worlds. Her greatest thrill is spending her summers with her archeologist aunt and uncle on digs around the world. And one day, while investigating a newly unearthed temple in Crete, Zoe discovers a luminous artifact that transports her to ancient Greece.

As Zoe quickly learns, the Olympian Gods are real, living people—humans with mysterious powers… Powers that Zoe quickly realizes she has come to possess, as well. However, when the people of ancient Greece mistake Zoe for an Olympian, the Gods must restore the balance of the ancient world… No matter what.

Zoe is forced to play a confusing and dangerous game as Hera rallies the gods against her—all except for Zeus, the beautiful, winged young god who risks everything to save her.

Out of time and out of her element, teenager Zoe Calder finds herself in ancient Greece, battling against the power of the Olympians and the vengeance of a scorned goddess—all for the strange and mysterious boy she has come to love.

My Thoughts:
We teach Greek Mythology every year at school.  It has never been one of my favorite subjects.  However, recently there have been some great books out that deal with Greek mythology in a different light.  This is one of those books and it is great.

Zoe is the type of young girl that teens will be able to relate to.  She suffers bullying at the hands of those in her boarding school because she doesn’t fit it.  I will have to say here that she doesn’t really try very hard to fit in.   When she ends up in 1000 BC, Ancient Greece her life changes.  Suddenly, the most popular boy (Zeus) has fallen for her.  I loved the idea that the gods and goddesses were portrayed as teenagers instead of the way we teach about them.

She realizes that these gods and goddesses are not much different than the teens she left behind at the boarding school except here they all have powers.  This is just the first book in the trilogy and the second one is a definite must read.  After all, we must see how things progress for Zoe.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The House of the Wind - Titania Hardie

Publisher:  Washington Square Press
Pages:  480
Source:  I received a copy for review
Genre:  Adult general fiction

I have to say the writing was beautiful.  This author definitely has a way with words.  Although I enjoyed the story, which is actually told in two different time periods, I felt the story moved very slowly.  That did not stop me from continuing on my reading journey.

The story starts out in the 1300’s with a young girl held prisoner in her own home for refusing to enter the convent.  Instead she wants to marry a man she loves.  The times dictate she must do as her parents say.  On her last night of freedom she is walking in her garden when a violent wind wipes out her home and all within.  She is left alive and must flee with the man she loves.  Later on we meet Mia, a young girl who lives with her aunt and runs place where traveler stop to rest.

We then meet Maddie, a lawyer who is preparing for her fiance’s arrival in America.  He is a doctor in England.  As her mother and sister arrive she receives a phone call from her future mother-in-law.  Her beloved has been killed in an accident.  She goes back to work at her law firm.  She goes through the motions.  Her grandmother sends her to Italy to dig into her past in hopes that she will find herself.

The connection between Maddie and Mia becomes evident when Maddie travels to Italy.  The changes she makes in her life and in those she tried to help back home becomes evident as the story progresses.  I would recommend this book with the understanding that this is not a story with a quick pace.  However, it was one I had trouble putting down.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Underworlds: The Battle Begins - Tony Abbott

Publisher:  Scholastic, Inc
Pages:  112
Genre:  Elementary, Middle Grade, Myths, Fantasy, Mystery
Source:  I purchased the book for my school shelves

Owen Brown is a very conscientious kid.  He worries about things like the up-coming concert and the multiple projects he helps collect money for at school.  What he didn't think to worry about is the possibility of mythological worlds really existing.  That is until his best friend Dana Runson disappears.  After knocking her down in the hallway, the floor beneath her splits open belching smoke and fire and she is suddenly gone.  The last thing Dana tells him before she disappears through the floor is to go to her house and find a book.  He and his friends Jon and Sydney find the book and a whole lot more.  They enter a world of monsters and the Greek, Norse, Egyptian, and Babylonian Gods.  They first must save Dana from the underworld.  Whether they want to participate or not they are all now part of a Battle that has begun.

If you are loved the Percy Jackson series you will love this new series.  It is geared toward upper elementary and lower middle school.  As an adult I found it very engaging.  For the reluctant reader who really wanted to read the Percy Jackson series but found it to be too bulky  in page length, this would be the perfect series.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cinder and Ella – Melissa Lemon

Publisher:  Cedar Fort Inc, (November 8, 2011
Pages:  280
Source:  I received a copy from NetGalley
Genre:  Young Adult ,Fantasy, Fairy Tales

The story of Cinder and Ella is loosely based on the fairy tale Cinderella.  I say loosely because it has more of a Grimms Brothers touch to it.  I loved the fact that the author broke the familiar character into two different characters.  We have Cinder who received her name because of the color of her hair, and we have Ella.  Cinder, Ella, and their sisters Beatrice and Katrina live with their parent in a happy home.  That is it was happy until  the Prince paid a visit.  He was trying to convince everyone that his father was evil, when in reality he was the evil one.  Their father changed before their eyes and then disappeared.  Their mother began spinning yarn to provide for her children.  Cinder was the one who could calm everyone and make everyone happy.    Ella  tried to be like her but yet did not give in to selfish Katrina or Beatrice.  When Cinder gets a job at the palace Ella leaves home on her own and the household become chaotic.  Cinder returns on her day off to find her sister gone and no one knows or seems to care where she is.  A knight hears her crying at night and decides to find her sister for her.  He finds it strange when his request to search for her  is granted by the Prince and only with the understanding he will take to of the Prince’s men along with him.  He learns that they are to bring her back to the castle even if they have to arrest her.  We watch the feelings between the Knight  Tanner and Ella grow as the danger increases.  I loved the way the story continued.  I loved the way it ended.  It wasn’t your fairy tale ending.  It had that darkness all through it.  Yet as you read the discussion questions at the back you realized there were so many deep questions about family and right from wrong throughout the book that were left for the reader to answer.  This is definitely a great book and one I look forward to recommending to others.  I also look forward to whatever else this author has for the future.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Animal Stories Daddy Told Us - Innocent Emechete

Publisher:  AuthorHouse
Pages:  92
Source:  Received a review copy from the author
Genre:  Middle Grades, Traditional Stories

Are you looking for a book to teach your children about moral issues?   Look no further than
Innocent Emechete’s Animal Stories Daddy Told Us.  This author is a Catholic Priest born in Nigeria, West Africa.  As he explains in the introduction, the stories in this book were originally passed down from one generation to the next by mouth since for a long time most of the people could not read or write. The book is wonderfully illustrated by Theo. Nwaodu
These stories are not unlike many of our simple legends, myths, fairy tales and fables that teach the reader a moral lesson.  Some of the stories reminded me of popular cartoons we had when I was growing up.  The story of Mr. Mosquito and Ms. Ear in reminiscent of many tales we have of princesses who berate the men who come to win their hand only to discover what they missed out on.  The questions at the end of each story add a refreshing dimension to the book.  It gives the reader an opportunity to interact with the story on a different level.  If used in the classroom this book allows open discussion that can be taken a step further and applied to real world experiences.   Each story often has more than one lesson to be learned.  This is an asset to classrooms or to homes around the world.  The stories let the reader recognize how similar the messages are in these types of stories.  I look forward to sharing this book with my students.