Posts from the ‘fiction’ Category

CINDERELLA GONE WILD

Zombie Books for kids: Princess of the Dead (from Cinderella)

Written by Dina T. Seth

 

Do you like classic fairy tales? Maybe you can’t turn down a good horror story? Not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name of Cinderella. This book is a macabre twist on the fairy tale.

The first scene opens with Cinderella working feverishly tending the home at the edge of the forest. Familiar characters include the wicked stepmother, two ugly stepsisters, fairy godmother and the prince. But in this version the fairy godmother is not the kind-hearted hero, the prince no heroine, and the major players become zombies who are victims of a disease that Cinderella actually initiates. Will Cinderella and the Prince live happily ever after?

This book is cleverly written, though the amount of violence, gore and detail are too probably way too much for elementary school readers. Recommended for middle-school, young adult and adult readers who enjoy fantasy and horror stories.

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GETTING THROUGH FIFTH GRADE

Pi

Written by Lori Ann Stephens

Illustrated by Trevor Yokochi

Pierre Francois is a fifth-grade student who lives in Texas. As you may have guessed from the name, Pierre’s father is French. To his chagrin, Pierre spends his Christmas holiday in France with his grandparents. He tells his readers that he hates fifth grade because the boys are annoying and the girls are mean.

Readers follow Pierre’s troubles in school, his attempt to impress his friends by winning the spelling bee, his first crush on Cynthia, the new girl in school, and his disastrous camping adventure with school buddies. The book has a few simple illustrations. It is a pretty easy read, and I would categorize it as an early chapter book or a good choice for reluctant readers. Especially recommended for readers in grades three through six. Lots of humor and plenty of situations that they will find familiar.

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DANCING TO HER OWN TUNE

Willa the Ballerina

Written by Leela Hope

Willa the Wolf loves dancing ballet, but she feels that her fellow swan ballerinas are so much more talented than she. Cynthia, the lead swan, tells Willa that she looks like a fool and should leave the school. Willa goes off into the woods to have a good cry. She meets up with Tommy the Toad who encourages her to practice and not to worry. Once Willa stops worrying, she becomes a proficient dancer. Willa returns to the dance school before the recital. There will be a surprise in store for Willa and her readers.

This is a cute picture book that teaches preschoolers not to worry what others think, to work hard, and develop self-confidence. While it probably did not need to be written in rhyme, that makes it a good read aloud. Simple but effective illustrations convey the message. Recommended as a bedtime story or read aloud, especially for preschoolers but can be used with children a bit older.

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PERSEVERANCE PREVAILS

Charity’s Big Dreams

Written by La Keya Guy

Illustrated by Bryan Golden and Bryan Aguilar

 

Charity is a sweet, student who works hard and tries to do her best. When Mrs. Jones, her social studies teacher, announces that the top three students in each class will earn a trip to Washington, D.C., Charity is elated. Charity does everything possible to earn one of the spots. But one day, disaster strikes when a power failure causes her to be late for one of her exams. Despite her teacher’s encouragement, Charity is sure that she will not do well. She despairs, but ultimately perseveres and refuses to give up.

This book provides encouragement to children who have problems with self-esteem or lack of self-confidence. The illustrations are attractive and appealing. The book is targeted at a wide range of students, but the thirty-page length probably makes it most appropriate for children in the eight to ten-year-old age range.

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STICKING TOGETHER

Raffie and Friends – The Lunch Box Mystery

Written by VaLerie Irene

Illustrated by Amy Rottinger

 

This book contains adorable illustrations and simple text with a message important for children to assimilate and practice into their everyday lives. Raffi is a giraffe who has a fetish for grilled cheese sandwiches. One day he finds that he has misplaced his lunch box. Raffi meets animal friends like Marlon the Monkey, Torrey the Turtle and Owie, the Owl. Each friend contributes by using individual talents, Marlon makes Raffi laugh, and Torrey has infinite patience. Owie uses his logic to solve the mystery.

Children learn that friends stick together to help each other, and that patience and thinking things through will provide the answers we are seeking. This book is recommended as a picture book for younger children and a beginning reader for older siblings.

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I CAN DO IT!

Little Bunny – I Can

Written and Illustrated by Alexandra Dannenmann

Translated by S. Paterson

 

This is a cute little picture book for toddlers that features a little bunny as the protagonist. Each page features the bunny with an I can sentence that demonstrates skills mastered. Some of these skills are simple, like brushing teeth, getting dressed by oneself, and throwing a ball. Others are fanciful like taming lions and protecting a princess from a dragon. The book can serve as encouragement to acquire skills yet unlearned or as a self-esteem book rewarding toddlers for achieved goals.

Recommended as a read aloud or bedtime story for children ages two through four.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD

Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte

 

Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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