Posts tagged ‘fairytales’

A MIXED BAG

A Family Dinner

Written and Illustrated by Cory Q, Tan

A Family Dinner by [Tan, Cory Q]

This picture book contains creative and beautifully done illustrations. The plot combines a few traditional fairytales that are given an unusual twist.

At the beginning of the story, the mother asks her husband to go to the store to buy carrots as she wants to make carrot and potato soup. She does not ask him to do so with a respectful tone. Dad obliges her but soon discovers the local grocery is closed. He continues to search for carrots and gets involved in a series of adventures.

Dad meets up with a cast of characters that involve humans and some animals with bad intentions. These adventures invoke shades of familiar fairytales. Will Dad give up or will he pursue his task? Will his wife be grateful for his efforts?

The twists and turns of this tale are interesting, but many children may become lost and confused in the message. This book will probably lead to lots of questions when reading to young children. I recommend that the book be read with adult supervision and guidance.

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CHECKMATE

An Evening with Grandpa: Adventures in Chess Land

Written by Diana Matlin

This chapter book contains a story that achieves two objectives: it teaches a child how to play chess and presents an engaging fairy tale promoting strong female role models.

Annie is sick in bed with a sore throat. To make matters worse, her family is attending The Nutcracker Ballet and she is stuck home with grandpa. Grandpa sticks his nose in his newspaper. He won’t consider playing one of Annie’ s favorite child games. But once he begins telling her a story about a young girl named Pawnie who is enlisted by the Queen to fight for her kingdom, Annie wants to hear more. Grandpa cleverly reveals how to play chess in the tale about two queens and kings who are battling for control of the kingdom. Grandpa includes all the chess players and carefully details their moves and strategies for winning the battle. The white queen promises that if Pawnie successfully gets to the other side, she will become a princess. Annie is enthralled with the tale and eagerly sets out to learn how to play the game of chess with grandpa.

Matlin keeps the plot moving with clever dialogue and a detailed description of how the chess characters can succeed in winning the game by learning the right chess moves. It is a unique way to introduce children to a challenging game of skill. The chapters are kept short and the print font is large, making it a good choice for beginning and reluctant readers. The strong female role model focus combined with the traditional princess protagonist is a powerful magnet for young girls. Highly recommended for budding chess players and readers in the six to ten age group but a fun read for all.

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