THE GENUINE ARTICLE

Beauty and the Beast

Written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and Marie-Michelle Joy

Illustrated by Walter Crane

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This rendition of the classic fairy tale is based on the original eighteenth century version. No Disney elements are found here. This original version was written and distributed widely in France to protest the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose or refuse a mate. The original version was a full length novel written for adults, which was later shortened.

At the beginning of the tale, the reader meets a wealthy merchant who has six sons and six daughters. They live sumptuously and prosperously. Suddenly, disaster strikes. The merchant loses his home and possessions in a fire, and pirates sack his shipping business. The distraught family retreats to a poor life in a forest cottage, which is their only remaining possession. All his daughters complain with the exception of the youngest named Beauty who is determined to make their meager life a happy one. Then one day she asks her father for a favor. She longs to see one beautiful rose. The merchant sets off to find one and his journey takes him to a mysterious castle. He is left alone but treated lavishly. Suddenly an ugly beast appears. He promises to let the traveler return home if he will return with one of his daughters to live with him in the castle. The merchant reluctantly agrees.

Beauty feels responsible for her father’s plight and volunteers to return with him to the castle of the Beast where they find unexpected surprises and treasures. When it comes time for the merchant to return home, both he and his daughter are distraught. Strange dreams bring about strange occurrences. What will happen to Beauty and the Beast? Remember, I told you that this is not a classic Disney fairytale.

The illustrations are the original nineteenth century drawings by Walter Crane. They are extraordinarily detailed and magnificently colored. The reader will think herself transported to a museum. They add to the flavor of an authentic French period piece. As an adult, I enjoyed this rendition of the classic tale. I believe that tweens and teens will find this “grown-up” rendition of Beauty and the Beast a most appealing one. Available in kindle and paperback versions.

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POIGNANT AND POWERFUL

The Thackery Journal

Written by John Holt

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This well-written book of historical fiction is divided into three parts: the first part sets the stage for the personal tragedy the looming civil war will impose on friends and family; the second part begins in 1864 when the South is on the brink of defeat and engages in plot to buy weapons from the French government, and the third part delineates the intricate plot of Northern generals to carry out the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln using John Wilkes-Booth as their instrument. Holt informs the reader that only three of his characters are genuine, Grant, Lincoln and Booth. The reader will be hard pressed to believe that statement because Holt does such a good job of making all his characters realistic and seamlessly weaves them together with both the historical and the fictional.

At the outset the reader meets Aaron Thackery, an old man who sits before the fire in the remains of his Southern home reading the journal of his deceased son who has been implicated in some sort of plot. Thackery thinks back upon his own arrest and his wife’s death. After the flashbacks, the author shifts to the town of Larkspur in Virginia introducing us to Jacob Thackery and his friend, Miles Drew. When war is declared, Miles, who does not believe in slavery nor the fact that the South can win, flees to join the Union forces. He quarrels with his best friend Jacob, who will join the Confederacy. Their paths will cross again during the war.

In the second part of the book, the scene shifts to 1864. Jacob realizes that the South will lose, but he becomes involved with the plot of the Confederacy to buy weapons from the French government. When a Mexican agent finds out about the plot, he hatches a new plan to steal the gold needed from the Mexican government, which Thackery will be responsible for delivering to the French in Canada. After the weapons destined for the Confederacy are blown up, he must decided what to do with the gold.

The third part of the book is the crux of the plot. Holt creates a character named Jarvis who will enlist Lincoln’s most trusted generals in a plot to wrest power from him and replace him with Grant. The plan goes awry, so Booth is enlisted to carry out the plan. How will Miles and Jacob be involved and how will it affect the rest of their lives and the future of the new restored Union government?

Holt does a magnificent job of transporting the characters into the minds of the reader. His research is carefully done and the descriptions of battle, angst, and raw emotion are outstanding. I had to finish the entire book in one setting, and by the end of the read was totally convinced that the story was plausible.

As a historian, I liked the fact that Holt gave citations to his research to permit further exploration of the topics. The cover is a painting from the Battle of Antietam and the period photographs add another dimension of personality to the work. There is no graphic violence or sexuality so the book is suitable for young adults. This book sheds light on the psychological, historical and moral aspects of the American Civil War much better than any historical text and is highly recommended.

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POETRY MONTH, EARTH DAY, AND EVERYTHING GREEN

Green, An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose (Silver Birch Press)

Edited by Melanie Villines; contributing editor Joan Jobe Smith.

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The editors have brought together authors from all over world to display their talents in poetry, short stories, novel snippets and interviews. Their subject is anything green: word meanings, nature, environment, seasons, food, money, emotions, and much more. Some of the material comes from well known authors like L. Frank Baum, Kurt Vonnegut, James Joyce and William Blake. Other selections are chosen from contemporary or lesser known writers. In keeping with the theme, the editors chose to dedicate the anthology to Graham Greene. I found the cover art appropriate; it features a four leaf clover which is a plant that not only is a symbol of good luck but one that enriches the soil.

It is difficult to know where to start in this anthology. The reader need not read the book in chronological order. One might want to select a passage depending on one’s mood or the genre one feels like reading at the time. Editors provide a Table of Contents listing the works by author as well as by Section. The contents by Section are organized by themes. For example, selections are devoted to money, family, environment, envy, and new life. These readings might relate to everyday objects like avocados, lifesavers or green corn tamales. Some touch on places like beaches, subways, and Chicago. There are tales of past and present. Emotions run the gamut from hope to despair. The length of entries range from one to several pages. This book can be picked up for a five minute or a fifty minute read. One of my favorites is “What Can I Do” by Ivon Prefontaine. Here are a few lines:

                                                       Change begins in me.

                                                            I am a catalyst

                                                              I look inside:

                                                      Call forth a gentle spirit-

                                                             Give it voice.

The reading level of the passages vary in difficulty. Again, the reader might want to devote extra thought to some of the more esoteric passages. In general, I would say that the book could be enjoyed by anyone age twelve and older. It certainly would be an asset to the libraries of upper middle grade and high school classrooms. The reader might also use this edition as an introduction to further exploration of other works by authors she enjoyed in this anthology.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD

The Alien Mind

Written by Virginia Lori Jennings

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This is a sci-fi story that is family friendly. While the target audience is nine through twelve, the plot and characters are developed enough to be enjoyed by young adult and adult fans of science fiction. There is a nice mix of science, moral lessons, adventure and time travel. I read the black and white paperback version of this book that is also available in a Kindle version with color photographs. No doubt that would make the book even more appealing for middle grade readers.

An alien group known as the Aruk attacked a secret government agency on Earth. They captured and tortured one hundred fifty children. Later on these children were rescued by another race of aliens known as the Aunanet, who taught them the best knowledge of both civilizations. The Aunanet assisted the most gifted to become computer mind experts or healers. These people could travel through time dimensions and had the power to use parts of the brain that humans could only dream about. The Aruk had never given up in their attempt to find these children, and the beginning of the story finds the Aunanet civilization and the children they protected under attack.

Rivi, our protagonist, is the oldest of these children at age fourteen. After the attack she finds her way back to Earth. There she meets an orphan boy named Daniel, who becomes her protege. Her saga will include lessons on how to deal with bullying and teaching lessons of compassion in the process. She will meet the President of the United States, endure further torture by the aliens, and be forced to make life and death decisions in one crisis after another. All the while she is tormented by nightmares from her past, the desire to uncover her Earthly parents, and a fierce loyalty to her adopted parents and alien culture.

Will Riva succeed in ridding herself of her difficult childhood memories, and how will she adjust to whatever world she chooses to live in? This book is highly recommended for lovers of sci-fi, adventure and those who love plots filled with moral dilemmas. Recommended for tweens, teens and adults who like to think what if?

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BOOK BLAST AND GIVEAWAY

MAGELICA’S MAGICAL VOYAGE

Louise Courey Nadeau

BARBARA ANN MOJICA’S REVIEW

At the beginning of the story we meet Magelica who has supposedly been hatched from a sapphire egg. She wants to know where she really came from. Tris, her pet dragon, and she go on a journey through the woods when darkness falls. Magelica calls on her guardian angel to guide them home. A strange creature named Odin retrieves her feather necklace and takes her on a journey in a flying bathtub to an island inhabited by a wizard. Odin teaches her to fly to the Isle of Dreams where she will meet Queen Raya and learn about the lost prince. Magelica realizes that wonderful things happen when you open your heart, use your imagination and trust in love. She no longer worries about where she came from, but now understands that it is more important to know where you are going. Young children will enjoy this book as a read aloud. Older children will find it a challenging independent reader.

About the Book

Magelica's Voyage by Louise Courey NadeauTitle: Magelica’s Voyage | Author: Louise Courey Nadeau | Publication Date: August 24, 2013 | Publisher: Kite Readers | Pages: 48 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 10

Summary: Who ever heard of a girl being hatched from an egg the colour of sapphires? Magelica doesn’t know where she came from or who she really is. But when she’s transported to the Isle of Dreams in a flying bathtub, she launches into an adventure of discovery, and learns that wonderful things can happen when she uses her imagination, believes, opens her heart and trusts in love. Come fly with her and discover for yourself the power of imagination,gratitude,believing in yourself, and love! In this special first voyage, fantasy, adventure, magical illustrations, empowering messages, and a wonderful cast of enchanting characters come together as Magelica takes young girls and the special people in their lives on a fun, inspiring voyage about making your life magical.

* Available in English / French / Spanish *

 

Purchase

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

 

Book Trailer

The Buzz

“Magelica’s Voyage is an inspiring, magical tale of a world that I did not want to leave. The author’s imagination takes off with vivid magical characters transformed into beautiful illustrations that your child will love. At the Isle Of Dreams anything is possible including Wally the wizard, the benevolent queen, Odin and even a Warblegrif. In the Festival Of Cheer the message is clear; just be yourself and let love be your guide. When you open this book you’ll instantly discover that magic is indeed in the air.” ~ 5 Star Review, StevieV, Amazon

“This is a wonderful, enchanting book! The story is so imaginative and the illustrations are beautiful! It is delightful to join Magelica on her adventure to the Isle of Dreams, and it is great to see such a positive, confident heroine. I highly recommend this book!” ~ 5 Star Review, Laurie J., Amazon

“Magelica is easy to love; a child who accepts herself as she is but who questions the very world around her, is someone many children will be able to relate to. Give this wonderful story a try- you won’t be sorry you did.” ~ 5 Star Review, Shelley V., Amazon

“Magelica’s Voyage by Louise Courey Nadeau is a beautifully written enchanting tale filled with alluring adventure. The story is magnificently illustrated, from the winsome depiction of Magelica to the creative Isle of Dreams, the authors gifted imagination is prevalent on every page. I found Magelica’s Voyage to be a charming story with a very special message for all. I highly recommend picking up a copy..” ~ 5 Star Review, Stacie T., Amazon

“I purchased the book in August and since then, my 2 kids request to read it for them every single time. I travel and I have to read it over FaceTime to them as they do not want to miss when their mom is unable….Same Timezone has helped. I recommend it to every kid between the age of 3 until 9 whether it is a girl or boy. The energy when reading it is indescribable. I bought 2 versions (the english and the spanish). Both are well made and I recommend it to every parent that cares about how their children should be raised! Great buy and thank you for the author.” ~ 5 Star Review, Hassan, Amazon

 

About the Author: Louise Courey Nadeau

Louise Courey Nadeau

Louise Courey Nadeau

A marketing and advertising executive, a tireless fundraiser for many charities, a painter, gardener and mother to two daughters and two sons, Louise’s passions keep growing. Sensing the need to do more for young children in our challenging world and inspired by life itself, Louise created MAGELICA, a young girl with fairy blood and her own questions about life. In the first book of Magelica’s Voyage trilogy, Louise takes our winged heroine along with her fun and wacky friends to new worlds of magic and adventure, where the reader discovers the magic of life and the power of love and how faith in the unknown can create confidence and a sense of empowerment . More than a decade in the making and with new stories underway, Louise and MAGELICA intend to spread their magical feathers and create a bond with children and their caregivers around the globe.

Book Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

* Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift cardAmazon 25 gift card

 

 

 

 

Prize: Two winners will each receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: May 2, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Louise Courey Nadeau and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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AUTISM AWARENESS DAY

The Thursday Surprise:A Story About Kids and Autism

The Saturday Surprise: A Story About Kids and Autism

by Ryan R. Ennis

Illustrations: Brenda Stroud

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This post reviews two books written about autism. They were written by an educator who works with autistic children. It is his belief that typically developing and autistic children have a lot to teach each other. As an educator who has worked with both populations of children, I can empathize with his perspective. These books are not boring tomes about educational theory and practice, but stories with characters who display the real emotions of these children. For parents and students who are currently being co taught in one of these classrooms or for adults and children who do not understand autism, these two books will shed a lot of light on the topic. Ennis has also thoughtfully included a section of discussion questions about the story as well as teaching resources and techniques that might be found effective in working with a blended classroom.

In The Thursday Surprise, we meet a fourth grader named Katie who is best friends with Melissa. One Thursday, Mrs. Burnette ends recess early informing the students that she has chosen a few of them to take books in to read to students in Mr. Appleton’s room. He teaches students who have autism. Katie and Melissa find the room well-organized but stark and boring. The students act different, and there are a lot of rules. Katie is paired with a boy named Michael who does not pay attention and will not look at her. She can’t get him interested in anything. Katie is so frustrated that she does not want to go back again and is still upset when she gets home. Her mom explains that each autistic child is very different; you need to be patient and try different things. Katie promises her mother and teacher that she will try, but nothing seems to be working. Will Katie find a way to help Michael and gain a new friend?

The September Surprise is not a sequel in the strict sense of the word. We do meet some of the same characters sharing the same problems. As the story begins at the end of the summer, Katie is eagerly awaiting a letter from Parker Elementary School informing her who will be her fifth grade teacher. She is hoping that it will be Mr. Sanders or Mr. Greenley. Instead she finds out that her teachers will be last year’s teacher, Mrs, Burnette along with Mr. Appleton. Katie is convinced that she needs reading help because she is in a class with two teachers and last year Mr. Appleton taught the autistic students. To make matters worse, she finds out that her friend Melissa is in Mr. Greenley’s class. Melissa suggests that maybe Katie did not so so well on her reading test.

On the first day of school Katie reluctantly enters the class and finds herself paired with an autistic child named Brianna, who has echolalia, which means that she repeats everything Katie says. Katie is not amused. She wants Brianna to respond and gets more suggestions from Mr. Appleton. When Katie hears about a writing contest, she is determined that will find a way to communicate with her partner, make her a friend, and win that contest! Katie is beginning to think that this class is a special one and not in the negative way she thought originally.

Ennis presents parents, educators and students with an explanation of autism and a wealth of information on how to handle it. Autism encompasses many issues, and no two autistic children have the same needs. Ryan succeeds by using a simple story with believable characters that make it more understandable and meaningful. The reader will walk away with greater knowledge and compassion.

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LESSONS FROM OUR ANIMAL FRIENDS

Tales of the Friendly Forest

Written by Alexi Lushkin
Translated from Russian by Galina Krylova

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This kindle book is a collection of ten fairy tales told from the point of view of several animals living in the forest. At the outset the reader is introduced to a poem that tells of the song of the forest. The animals in the tales introduce themselves one verse at a time. In the beginning, the forest was in chaos. Each of the animals went about doing whatever he wanted. One day a clubfooted bear shouted out to the other animals of the forest from the top of a tree that from now on there would be a truce; all animals would be friends to one another and there would be no territorial boundaries. From that point on, all the animals of the forest had their own names, but they were all friends and helpers to each other.

The rest of the stories focus on one or two animals who are able to teach the reader about compassion for others, the need to share knowledge, not to be afraid of the unknown, and to be true to oneself. In the story about fashion, the animals decide to be fashion mongers. Even though the boars delight in rolling around in the mud, they then rub against the trees ridding themselves of all dirt. The animals decide that boars are the neatest and cleanest animals in the forest. Appearances can be deceiving! In the story about the forest beasts watching children play hockey, children learn that TV and cinema did not always exist, there should be time for other pursuits.

These short stories are intended for children and adults. The format is a bit unusual in that the book begins with a poem and then switches to verse. In a few places the flow is a bit choppy due to the translation. Still, I found the stories refreshing with good lessons for children and reminders for adults. The book can be broken up into sections for younger children and read independently by children eight and older. Makes a nice bedtime story book for children who love animals.

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