Posts tagged ‘boys’

LESSONS THAT NEED TO BE LEARNED

Fairy Tales For And About Kids

Written by Alexei

Translated by Katerina Lejkova

Illustrated by Galina Krylova

Fairytalesforkids,pic

This book of approximately forty pages contains seven fairy tales translated from Russian. For that reason, the language is a bit awkward in a few spots but does not seriously inhibit the story. A few of the tales center around little boys. Willie is a little boy who gives an eccentric old man directions and is rewarded with three wishes. The boy meets up with his friends and uses his wishes foolishly and learns a lesson the hard way. Another tale involves a young boy named Brian who is thought to be a simpleton but later undergoes an experience that turns the tables for him. On the other hand, Tom is a boastful boy intent on bullying the other children and forcing them to comply with his demands. One day his mom and a dog named Pluto prove to be his undoing. A boy and a wicked dog named Molly have a series of adventures that lead to bold actions by another little boy. Sam, a very superstitious little boy misses out on a lot of fun until a little girl named Kate teaches him how superstition is ruining his life. A lazy boy named Lukas spends his summer days watching TV, lying in bed and eating through a tube because he is too lazy to get up. He will have to learn the hard way that being lazy just leads to unhappiness. I think my favorite story is the one about the big trains and the little trains. In this tale, the large trains believe that might makes right and the spend their time quarreling with the little trains over who is more important until both parties realize they are both necessary. Unlike most fairy tales, many of the characters in this collection are boys and the setting is often in a large city.

All of these stories teach life lessons for children, and maybe for some adults! They are charming if nontraditional. There are a few illustrations which add to the appeal, but unfortunately they are a bit small on the kindle version. These short stories make up small chapters so the book is useful as a beginning reader. Parents could use the chapters as bedtime stories; teachers might approach them as short read alouds. Refreshing and different selection for anyone who enjoys fairy tales. Recommended for children age seven and older.

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BEDTIME BONANZA

LOTS AND LOTS (RHYMING CHILDREN BEDTIME STORIES)

Written by Peter Collier

Lots and Lots pic

What a refreshing collection of amusing short stories written in rhyme! This collection is very different from the typical bedtime fairytale or animal story. I especially like the fact that the featured character is a very bright little girl named Frances Nicolson, who just can’t stop asking questions. She inquiries about common everyday activities like baking a cake without a recipe and using the wrong kind of pebble as a skipping stone. Frances questions her neighbor about the funny words he uses like, “Hunky Dory” and “old curmudgeon.” She refuses to believe in tales like the Loch Ness Monster because they can’t be proven. Her imagination is unlimited: Frances uses her own backyard to go on an African safari, have tea with kings and queens, and climb the world’s highest mountain.

Frances’ curiosity is insatiable. Some of her questions include:

Do you have any bellybuttons?
If chickens are boneless, how could they walk?
What’s the difference between hunks and chunks?

When the circus came to town, Frances had all sorts of questions for the clowns like what is the reason for their baggy pants and why don’t they get dizzy from standing upside down all the time. Frances has a friend named Susan Jane who has a habit of exaggerating the truth. That exasperates Frances because she just has to have the right answer! There is only one time when Frances is quiet. Can you guess when?

The bottom line of this enticing book is that you cannot learn without asking questions. That might be annoying to parents and teachers, at times, but it is the way all children enrich their minds. Collier is to be commended for a clever story line and a character who represents a wonderful role model for children.

MONSTER MELANGE

Monsters I Know (Rhyming Bedtime Stories

Written and illustrated by Peter Collier

MonstersIKnow, picThis book would make a delightful Halloween read. The types of monsters are unorthodox and most of them are not very scary! First, the reader encounters The Big Foote Belly Button Lint monster. He lives at the feet of Thomas Mcfee’s bed. It began as some belly button lint and grows bigger every day eating only colored string. There is a Hungry Tree who walks about eating farm animals, the Smelly Kiss, Smelly Sam stomach gasses monster, a Spaghetti Dinner Monster, and the Dead End Rubbish monster.

Perhaps the scariest is the cursed School Chair monster.
The author describes it as,

“One moment you’re there
and the next you’ll be gone;”

The Jones family certainly lived to regret not getting rid of The Fridge. I won’t give away its secrets except to say,

“No one goes near it anymore:
Never will anyone open its door;
All it does now is snarl and snore.”

Children age six and up will love the absurdity and the silliness in these rhymes, although some of the vocabulary will not be understood by younger readers This kind of slapstick humor is especially appealing to middle grade boys. Although the concepts are clever, the rhymes are sometimes a bit forced. There are some issues with punctuation and line placement. In this kindle version, the illustrations are very small. Larger pictures would have added a lot more to the desired effect of the tales. On the other hand, if you are looking for a very different and funny Halloween book of short tales, this one will surely fit the bill.

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SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN?

The Ultimate Tree House Project

 

by : Gary Nelson, PMP

Illustrated by Matthew Frauenstein

The Ultimate Treehouse Project

The story opens with James bemoaning the fact that spring vacation is over. He talks to his friends Ben, and twins Tom and Tim. On a recent family outing, he discovered a tree in the forest that would be perfect for a tree house. Amanda who is Ben’s sister hears them talking. The boys tell her, “No Girls Allowed.”

Ben declares himself their leader, but he has no plan. When they can’t figure out how to make a rope ladder, they decide they don’t need one. Amanda is upset that they would not accept her help. She knows how to tie a rope knot. That night she talks to her dad. He suggests that she and her friends, Becky, Alice and Susan build their own tree house. He offers to help but warns Amanda that they will not succeed without a plan! She must first imagine what the tree house will look like and draw pictures.

At their next meeting, Amanda’s dad explains there are four major parts of a good plan. You need to have a good idea, a plan, a do phase, and a finish up. You must constantly recheck to see that your steps are working. You must keep lists with the required materials, deadlines, the resources needed and the team skills necessary to complete the job. They make a bubble chart to show when the tasks have to be done and in what order,

Armed with a plan, the girls set out in the forest with a compass to guide them, but they cannot find another tree large enough to support a tree house. The boys have made little progress and reluctantly agree that the girls can build on the other side of their tree. In a short time, the girls have a rope ladder and a system of pulleys to haul up their materials. Meanwhile, the boys run out of nails and James’ father discovers they have stolen all his nails without permission so now they must now buy their own.

A series of accidents and natural disasters occur. It seems that the tree house project is doomed. Will the girls and boys find a way to work together to get the job done or will the summer come and go without a tree house?

Nelson was inspired to write this book by his own wife and children. The language is suitable for middle grade students and the competition of boy versus girl will appeal to this age group. A fifteen year old artist drew the illustrations with simple colorful images. There is a bit too much conversation in the text which sometimes interferes with the story flow but does not impede the message. An appendix includes a glossary of technical terms. Nelson aligns the book to educational standards in the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand. Resources and kids projects are promised to be coming soon. Parents and teachers will appreciate the lessons of friendship, team work, planning and cooperation found in this book.

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