Posts tagged ‘princesses’

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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PONIES AND PRINCESSES

Magical Adventures and Pony Tales: Six Magical Stories in One Spellbinding Book

Written by Angharad Thompson Rees

A magical collection of tales that feature ponies, princesses, adventurers, and sorcerers. Each of the six tales features a type of pony, some of them are real, others are carousel ponies or rocking horses. Little girls will love the combination of princesses and magical ponies, boys can empathize with Hannan seeking his lost parents in the Sahara Desert. Six separate tales feature a well-conceived plot that is filled with an adventure and characters that young readers will find worthy of emulation. The human characters are sometimes naughty and sometimes nice. All of the ponies are personified creatures who bond with their human protagonist.

My favorite story is the first one featuring a painted pony on a carousel ride who dreams of coming to life and spending time running free in the woods. I have fond memories of jumping on my favorite carousel horse and imagining myself doing just that. One night a boy named Seb tells Stargazer about the wild ponies who run free. He dares the pony to wish for more than being trapped on the carousel. Seb encourages Stargazer to imagine, dream and believe. Then anything becomes possible. Will Stargazer achieve his newfound dreams?

I loved the enchanting characters and wonderful relationships the author creates in these tales. While the plots are fanciful, readers of all ages come away really wanting to believe. Targeted for children in grades three through six, these tales are short enough for young readers and engaging for older readers as well. My only critique lies in some formatting issues of text when reading on my Kindle HD Fire. These do not appear to be present in the paperback edition.

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GIVING FROM THE HEART

Gift of Gift: Super Amazing Princess Heroes

Written by Sanjay Nambiar

Illustrated by Sedi Pak

A picture book or early chapter book centering on a trio of princesses who use their super powers to accomplish great things. Kinney, Sammie, and Oceania have just completed building a much-needed school in Uganda. Suddenly Kinney becomes ill; Doctor K’s diagnosis is a hole in her heart. Because the hospital in Uganda is not equipped for the surgery, Kinney along with friends return to the United States. When the girls learn that their friend Gift in Uganda has been diagnosed with the same medical problem, they decide to enlist the help of Betty, their mentor, who is the Fairy Mother Superstar Queen. They return to Uganda resolving to use their super speed, super strength, and flying powers along with the doctors and engineers in Uganda to construct a modern hospital. Gift’s heart surgery is successful, and the princesses’ Fairy Mother has a special gift in store for Gift.

This book is beautifully illustrated with bright,  multicultural photos that will appeal to non-readers. The text is done in large print and is easy to read for the beginning reader. While the story is clearly fictional, the lessons of empathy, selflessness, and friendship will inspire little girls who want to be princesses in their own right.

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HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Not Just a Princess! (The Mia Collection)

Written by Mary Lee

MiaCollection,pic

Trilogy of books combined into one edition that will empower young girls. Targeted for ages infancy to age six, the stylized, colorful, multicultural illustrations and large simple vocabulary text can grow with a child. Youngest readers will enjoy looking at the pictures and enjoying the read aloud. Children in kindergarten and first grade might use the book as an early reader.

The first book features Mia who generally loves playing princess, but wakes up one morning feeling like anything but a princess. She imagines herself a lioness, a pirate, a starfish and a cowgirl among other things. Mia decides there are many more options a lot more exciting than being a princess. The second books features Mia on her first day of ballet school. Again, Mia discovers a lot more than ballet steps and learns a lot in the process. In the final book of this set, Mia explains that she enjoys eating cookies a lot more than the process of baking them. She uses her imagination to think of other alternatives. The next morning Mia comes up with a surprise for her mom that does not turn out as she expected. But, in the end, Mia learns a much more important lesson about herself and her life.

Parents and teachers who want to delight and inspire their little princesses and instill a strong female role model should check out this collection available in kindle and paperback.

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WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Suzie Sparkle and the Dragon Princess

Written by Steve Moran

SuzieSparkle

Princesses, dragons, lizards, time travel, castles and fantasy. What more could a middle grade reader want? This book is targeted for children in grades three to six.

Suzie is sitting in seat 32A feeling bored. Her mother is busy reading, Mom ignores Suzie’s important question, “Why are we flying backwards?” When Suzie gets up to walk to the back of the plane, she notices a group of people dressed in robes and hoods. A young girl asks her if she is bored and would like to play. Suzie says yes, and the adventure begins.

Before she realizes what has happened, Suzie finds herself falling through the sky holding the hand of her new friend, Allaya. Their adventure turns sour when they land short of Aruahua and find themselves on an island inhabited by starved dragons. Allaya apologizes profusely; they are about to die. Suzie uses her ingenuity to trick the dragons in time for rescuers to arrive. Soon Suzie finds out that Allaya is the Princess of Rainbow Island. Allaya and her kingdom believe Suzie to be the lost Dragon Princess. When a series of earthquakes and volcanoes threaten the kingdom, she and Allaya will have to fight for their lives, caught in a death struggle with the forces of nature, the dragons, and the lizards who have arisen again from the sea. Will Suzie be able to escape with her life a second time? Does the kingdom survive? Will Suzie ever get back to her own time and family on twenty-first century earth?

The characters are appealing and interesting, and the plot elements just intricate enough to hold interest and keep the story moving along, although there are a few instances where there might have been a bit less dialogue. A few illustrations would make the read more appealing to third and fourth graders or reluctant readers. This book would make a nice classroom read aloud as the chapters are short and manageable.

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BAIT AND SWITCH

The Seven Sisters: A Fairy Tale

Written by G.C. McRae

Thesevensisters,pic

Story of a foolish king, his selfish wife and seven princesses involved in a deceitful plot. Once there was a foolish king who squandered his subjects’ money, so he was strung up by his toes! Now the brother of this king was so afraid of a similar fate that he permitted all his minsters and advisers to make his decisions. Eventually his subjects insisted he take a queen; he decided on the spinster daughter if a king from a faraway kingdom. She made many demands to which the king agreed. There was one problem he could not solve. The princess did not want more than one child running around the palace; the king had seven daughters.

The king’s advisers concocted an elaborate ruse Six of the daughters would be hidden far away in the castle. Only the eldest would be seen by the new queen. As each of the daughters grew old enough to marry, each of them would secretly leave the castle. Because the daughters looked so similar, the king hoped that his wife could be deceived. Though she was suspicious the ruse succeeded until twelve years had passed and the queen began to age. She grew increasingly jealous of the fact that the princess remained beautiful. The queen removed all the mirrors and banished old women from the kingdom because they reminded her that she was losing her own youth

The youngest princess and the court physician scheme to find a solution, but it backfires. What will happen to the king, the queen, the seven princesses and their kingdom? Is there a lesson to be learned?

The cover of the book is beautifully illustrated; the plot is fairly well developed with a clever ending. I think this book will appeal especially to middle grade students and young teens. Humor, fantasy and fairy tale are nicely interwoven.

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DANGERS AND DRAGONS PRINCESS MADELINE BLOG TOUR

Princess Madeline and the Dragon: Book Three

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

Illustrated by Sara Twitty and edited by Jeremy Sandler

PrincessMadelineBlog, pic

This is the third book in a trilogy based on the adventures of Princess Madeline. While I do heartily recommend that you read all three, a reader will find any of the three a satisfying fantasy adventure aimed at tweens and teens but no less enjoyable for adults.

Pulioff expertly guides the reader into this story by setting the stage in the Prologue in which we learn the kingdom of Soron is again under attack. Long ago, Lord Hawthorne followed out orders to attack the dragons in the surrounding forests ushering in a battle between dragons and humans. The wizard, Elias, tells Princess Madeline that all lived in peace until humans tried to steal the magic in the dragon’s eggs and the red dragon was captured. Now the kingdom is threatened by the wrath of the green dragon. When King Theodore is burned by the dragon and lies near death, the fate of the kingdom falls into the hands of Princess Madeline and her twin brother, Braden.

As they makes plans for the kingdom to survive, two major events will take place the next day: the coronation of Braden as king, and the marriage of Madeline to her knight, Daniel. The wizard Elias will accompany Madeline, Daniel and their friends as well as the villagers through the system of underground tunnels to safety in a land to the north near the Dragon’s Gate. At the same time the new king prepares for the battle with his knights in an attempt to rid the land of the dragon threat.

While treking through the dark tunnels, Elias reveals the prophecy of Queen Eleanor, who died while protecting Braden and Madeline. No one has yet deciphered the meaning of “He who recovers the orbs holds the line of the future.” When Madeline finds the missing dragon eggs and holds one up that illuminates the darkness, she realizes that she might have found the secret. She rushes to find Braden, who is already engaged in mortal combat; he is determined to destroy the eggs and the dragon.

Madeline and Braden both have strong personalities that have been developing throughout the series, but their philosophies and ensuing actions are at opposite ends. Whoever succeeds in persuading the other on how to proceed forward will determine the future of the Soron Kingdom and whether, or if, that kingdom will survive. The culmination of this inward struggle produces the most action of the series in this third volume. Pulioff has again succeeded in carefully delineating her characters. At the same time she produces more than enough adventure, action, fantasy and mystery for tweens and teens to enjoy. They may not even realize they are learning valuable life lessons and character development!

IMPORTANT NOTE; The second book in this series, The Battle for Princess Madeline is currently available FREE on AMAZON until Jan. 24, 2014. http://motherdaughterbookreviews.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=5bbf14b751f589ebf5ff0e6ba&id=ebd900fd06&e=f4533b3c18

You can read my review of the first book in this series, The Escape of Princess Madeline here https://bamauthor.me/2013/08/14/princess-in-peril

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