Posts tagged ‘short stories’

Mind over Matter

Hello Brain: A Book about Talking to Your Brain

Written by Clarissa Johnson

This book discusses mindfulness for children. It contains six stories about students in a classroom who experience different troubling situations. It begins with Sam, who is terribly shy and afraid to talk with anyone at school. Eve is frustrated because she views herself not smart enough to learn. Jane talks too much in class and can’t concentrate. Nick is grumpy, unhappy and cannot focus. Kate excels in school and sports, but cannot see the worth of other students. Will is a shy boy, who is often the victim of others who take advantage of him with unkind words and acts. In each situation, one of the other students approaches the child with a problem and reminds him that he can talk to his brain and take control of the situation to remedy the problem.

This book can be used by parents or teachers to guide discussions with individual children or a classroom group. It could be an effective resource for elementary and middle school students who are struggling with individual emotions and peer relationships. It is particularly recommended for students in the six to twelve age range.

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ELF HELP

Santa’s Helper (Children Christmas Books and Bedtime Stories)

Written by Arnie Lightning

Santa's Helper

A series of very short stories featuring Santa’s two executive elves named Sammy and Tammy. They are entrusted with granting the wishes of children who ask for the tough gifts that Santa cannot handle. For example, Victoria’s wish is to give enough food to feed all the homeless people in her neighborhood. Edgar would like to build a snowman larger than his house. The problem is that he lives in San Diego where it hasn’t snowed in 130 years. Luke from New York City wishes to find homes for all the puppies and kittens that don’t have humans to love them.. Six year old Timothy aspires to wrestle with a bear. Little Alexis desires to see into the hearts and minds of all the great men and women who have ever lived. Tammy really needed to think hard about that one! Can you guess how these two dedicated workers from Santa’s workshop managed to grant these wishes? Read the book to find out.

Great beginning reader for students in the early elementary grades one through five. A few detailed illustrations would have made the read more appealing to younger children. Recommended for children who like to solve problems; this is a fun holiday read as an independent reader or read aloud.

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BORED NO MORE

Jesper Jinx (The Jesper Jinx Series Book 1)

Written and Illustrated by Marko Kit

jesperjink,picInteresting series of short stories exploring the hijinks of eleven year old Jesper, who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesper has a twelve year old sister, who is often the victim of his shenanigans. Jesper introduces himself by relating an episode in which he sabotages his sister’s favorite drink. Then the book switches to the voice of a children’s book author and his narration of what happens when he literally bumps into Jesper. It turns out that Jesper wants that author to record his strange experiences. There is a catch; the author can never publish them or allow anyone else to read them. Do you think that author keeps his promise? Will you, as the reader, keep that secrecy promise?

The next two stories reveal what happens when the family’s white cat meets Jesper’s watercolors, and a mysterious new student from Spain becomes a willing protege. Jose Maria studies the pranks Jesper and his friend Oliver commit in their classroom. Middle school readers will love the pranks and the humorous dialogue as well as the clever names like Miss Parrot, Mr. Llawandorder and Mr. Playfair-Eales.

Simple line drawings are a bonus and add appeal to early advanced readers or reluctant readers. I think fans of the Wimpy Kid series will also enjoy this one. Recommended for middle school readers. Look forward to reading more of this series.

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NIGHTY NIGHT

5 Minute Bedtime Stories for Children (1)

Retold by Beatrice Wood

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The author is not trying to reinvent the wheel, but to collate and abridge a nice assortment of stories from around the world in five to seven minute segments. Just the right size for a busy mom or dad for a bedtime story read. They are suitable for school age children ages six through twelve and are not meant for toddlers or preschoolers. While all of them have familiar themes to many cultures; ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” will probably be recognized by all readers.

I think my favorite of these ten is the one titled, “The Story Without an End.” It tells the legend of a king who lived in a time before there were printed storybooks. This king had an insatiable appetite for stories. After a while, his subjects ran out of stories to tell. The king promised that whoever would tell a story that did not end could marry the princess. Unfortunately, if the story ended, that storyteller would be thrown in jail.

One day a poor farmer showed up with the promise of a story without end. But first the king had to promise to listen to the end. After receiving that promise from the king, the farmer began his tale, which was so cleverly crafted that it went on for months. When the king could take it no longer, he begged the farmer to stop telling his story. So the farmer married the princess and eventually ruled the kingdom.

Each story is accompanied by a black and white pencil drawing to complement the tale. This is a nice touch and provides encouragement of more discussion on the topic of each story. Creative and novel way for parent and child or teacher and child to share a short read aloud. Look forward to reading Book 2 in the collection.

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PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Rather Unpleasant Cautionary Tales for Ill-Mannered & Immoderate Children
Written by Ima Bratt

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This title is quite a mouthful, but the short 60 page e book packs quite a punch. The author states in the preface that the characters in the stories to follow will have no happy ending.  In fact, they could not end more dreadfully. Bratt defines ill-mannered  as having bad or poor manners; impolite, discourteous or rude. By immoderate she means one who is unreasonable; exceeding normal limits or bounds, going too far. Now that we are all on the same page let’s begin to discuss the tales and what they teach us.

All of these stories are written in verse which the author has very carefully crafted to match the story line. Each one of the characters exhibits a major flaw. The verse which follows teaches a moral lesson explicitly stated at the end of the tale. For example, Marjorie Pearl is pretty to look at. Once you get to know her you discover that she spits, swears, lies and is always “contrary.” Her teddy bear has no head; the family dog and cat hide in fear from her. Her parents say they feel “like prisoners of war.” One day Marjorie works herself up into such a fit of rage that she explodes in a cloud of steam. The author jokingly explains that the moral is to behave or you might go up in smoke!   Reggie the Rude is the kind of person who lets you know right away whether he likes you or not. One day he makes the mistake of sticking his tongue out at the principal and giving him the raspberries. What a surprise he has in store for him when his father takes him on a fishing trip! I won’t give away the other stories but some of the other children have flaws like refusing to obey, being stuck up and unreasonable, and the inability to get along with others. The last character is unlike the others. Candy Von Tweet is always in a good mood. How is she connected to the other characters and what does lesson does she have to teach the reader? I will simply tell you that the author cautions us, “There can be too much of a good thing.”

Parents and teachers might want to read these tales before presenting them to their children. While all the stories are fun to read, sensitive children could be upset by some of the outcomes. There are valuable lessons here ; the book is cleverly put together and certainly not malicious. Adults will surely chuckle and perhaps find a bit of themselves in the characters. This is an e book so it could be broken up into parts if needed as a basis of discussion on one or two of the lessons. I must say that this book is very different, but at the same time clever and refreshing.

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BUS STOP STORIES

Just Monkeying Around: Best of Funny Things I Heard at the Bus Stop Series plus new story featuring Mopsy Monkey

By Angela Giroux

JustMonkeyingAroundpic

Phew! That was quite a mouthful for a title. This book packs quite a punch. It includes several stories from Giroux’s bus stop series. It also features an introduction to the new series featuring the Mopsy Monkey character. On top of that, the author is offering a free copy of Goblins in the Garden if the purchaser signs up for her newsletter.

These stories are quite amusing for both children and adults. They are quirky, but definitely not slapstick funny. I can’t feature all of them so I decided to give an overview of three of them as well as introduce the Mopsy character.

In A Visit From Nonna Esmeralda, we meet twins Aidan and Hayden who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their grandmother who lives in Italy and whom they have never met. Nonna has traveled the world and is certainly not your conventional grandmother. Aidan is sitting at the table eating breakfast when suddenly the bowl of cereal goes flying all over the place including the face of Nonna, who has just entered the room. The family watches as Nonna opens her suitcase full of presents. Hayden receives a Egyptian pyramid that contains a secret compartment for a mummy; this is really appropriate because he wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up. Aidan patiently waits his turn. He is sorely disappointed when he receives an old cracked bowl. But Nonna assures him that it has magic powers! He can use it to wish himself anywhere he wants to go. His first wish is to visit the mall. Will this really work? Is this how Nonna has been able to travel all over the world?

My Alien Friend features a boy named Ethan playing in his backyard with his alien space toys when an alien space ship lands. A Green boy who calls himself Gorp uses a green light to perform magic. He swirls all of Ethan’s toys off the shelf. They start playing among themselves. Gorp suggests that they play dress up, but all the clothes wind up lying in a heap on the floor. They proceed to the kitchen. I think you can imagine what happens next. Ethan’s mother has not yet met Gorp. He and Ethan have been having a great time, but will there be a price to pay? Will Gorp decide to stay on earth with his new found friend?

Bob is an average kid who loves playing with his friends. Perhaps he does enjoy eating sweets a bit too much. The Pimple is the title of his story. One day Bob notices a red patch on his cheek which is rapidly becoming a bump. He is not upset, but feels rather proud that he is growing up. He puts on his black pants and blue striped dress shirt. His mom ruins his mood when she covers the pimple with makeup because she mistakenly thinks that he is dressing up for picture day at school. When Anna, the girl he likes, stares at him he is elated.  Then he discovers that she is grossed out because the pimple has grown to the size of a marble with yellow pus oozing out of it! As the day goes on, things get progressively worse. There is a twist and a surprise ending.

At the end of the book, Giroux introduces us to Mopsy Monkey, her new character. She is a charming little girl monkey who sets forth on her first adventure. Her mother allows her to go alone to collect frazzle berries, but she must be careful. On the journey, Mopsy meets a frog and a crocodile. Her mother has warned her about trusting strangers; now she has to make a choice. Should she take a chance and trust these strangers? Will she succeed in proving herself to her mother or will she be a failure? Just the beginning of a new series of books.

These books will appeal to children of all ages. Parents of young children can select one or two stories to read aloud.  They make good early reading books for children ages six through eight. The topics and characters vary so they will appeal to both boys and girls. Take a look and see!

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SWITCHEROO

Woof: Two Short Stories

by: Dakota Douglas

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This book consists of two short stories. These two stories are fairly easy to read with clear sentences. I think children aged six through nine will particularly identify with the characters and story line.

In the first book titled, A Dog’s Life, we meet Jeremy who has recently moved into the neighborhood. The children think he is stuck up and don’t ask him to play. For the last few days a dog that he has named Rufus has been following him everywhere. While Jeremy is watching the children play soccer, the dog suddenly jumps up and puts his paws on Jeremy. In a flash Jeremy has shrunk to the size of Rufus, and he is looking at a much larger version of himself. He has switched places with Rufus! As a dog, he diverts the ball and proves that he can really play soccer. The babysitter, Mrs. Peacock, has come to bring Jeremy home for dinner. But Jeremy is now a dog; he can only communicate by saying “Woof.” At the dinner table, he shocks his lawyer parents by flinging his steak to the carpet and clawing the floor. Meanwhile the real Jeremy is kept outside the house. Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Turner take their “son” to the doctor who tells them that he is acting out because they work long hours and don’t pay enough attention to their son. For the next few days, they take the dog, whom they believe to be their son, to the cinema, fairs and bowling. The parents reluctantly agree to keep the dog. Jeremy spends his days chasing cats and scrounging around looking for scraps of food. He begs his dog Rufus to change places and switch roles. Will he agree or will Jeremy be forced to remain a dog forever?

The second story is named, A Boy’s Best Friend.  In the beginning of the story, Jeremy is paying little attention to his dog Rufus because he is busy doing homework. Rufus is bored; he is tired of chasing cats. Later on, Jeremy and his dog Rufus are at the dinner table with Mr. and Mrs. Turner. Mr. Turner reads about a robbery in the neighborhood, but nobody seems to pay attention, Shortly after, Rufus discovers a hole under the fence which allows him to venture forth in the neighborhood. While Jeremy was at school and his parents at work, Rufus remembers seeing three men load boxes in a van. He now knows they must be the burglars. Frantically, he tries to get Jeremy’s attention and tell him, but he is unsuccessful. Can you guess what he will do to get Jeremy to follow him? Suddenly Jeremy Turner is acting strangely. Mrs. Peacock threatens to quit and chaos reigns. Will the burglars be apprehended?

What will happen to the members of the Turner family? Can things ever return to normal? You will have to read these two exciting adventures to find out.

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