Tag Archives: fairy tales

We Love Poetry – 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury

The 20th Century Children’s Poetry TreasuryTitle:
  20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury

Edited by: Jack Prelutsky

Illustrated by: Meilo So

A collection of more than 200 poems by such modern poets as Nikki Grimes, John Ciardi, Karla Kuskin, Ted Hughes, e.e. cummings, Eve Merriam, Deborah Chandra, Arnold Adoff, and more than 100 others.

“Prelutsky combed more than 4000 poetry volumes to select 211 poems by 137 poets. His sampling includes established poets like Langston Hughes, Shel Silverstein and e.e. cummings, but, to Prelutsky’s credit, not necessarily their best-known works. The overriding mood is rollickingly upbeat, uncharacteristic for a form renowned for its adeptness at expressing moments of grief or loneliness. Its unvarying tone notwithstanding, this eye-catching collection is likely to lure both future fans of verse and poetry devotees.”

We Love Poetry – Poisoned Apples

poisoned applesTitle:  Poisoned Apples

Author:  Christine Hepperman

“Christine Heppermann’s powerful collection of free verse poems explore how girls are taught to think about themselves, their bodies, their friends–as consumers, as objects, as competitors.

Based on classic fairy tale characters and fairy tale tropes, the poems range from contemporary retellings to first person accounts set within the original stories. From Snow White’s cottage and Rapunzel’s tower to health class and the prom, these poems are a moving depiction of young women, society, and our expectations.

Poisoned Apples is a dark, clever, witty, beautiful, and important book for teenage girls, their sisters, their mothers, and their best friends.”

Jellicoe Road – Unusual mystery. Believable characters. Fast-paced.

JellicoeTitle:  Jellicoe Road

Author:  Melina Marchetta

Summary: Taylor Markham, who was originally abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was 11, is now a 17-year-old trying to piece together her past all while juggling being the leader of her boarding school dorm, competing with other schools in their “territory wars,” and (maybe) falling in love. All of this is made more complicated when her guardian, Hannah, disappears, leaving Taylor with only Hannah’s manuscript written about 5 kids in the 1980’s.

Six Word Review: Unusual mystery. Believable characters. Fast-paced.

I give this book 8/10 stars. This was a very compelling read.  Marcheta writes with unusual style—somewhat similar to Ransom Riggs’ in that both of these authors write in a sort of surreal, perhaps fairy-tale-esque tone, even when the book itself is realistic fiction.  This is especially true of the excerpts from Hannah’s manuscript.  Overall, readers can connect to the characters, even if they’re not always likable, and the plot is engaging.

I started reading it because my best friend gave me this book as a gift in maybe 6th grade, and while I read it, I just remember being really confused.  I always meant to re-read it, and after a few years, I picked it up again when I needed something to read on an hours-long plane trip.  I kept reading because I was intrigued by the characters and struck by the unusual voice of the story.

Gut Reaction:  Really good book, but when reading it, it can feel really confusing due to the number of characters and the sections of Hannah’s novel placed unannounced throughout the text.

What you hated: there were a few plot holes that caught my attention, ranging from small *SPOILER ALERT* (character using cell-phones after readers were told there was no service) to large (the author refers to one character killing another even when the author didn’t make that clear in the first place).

If the main character were stuck on a deserted island, they would: Taylor would probably get angry first and then figure out practical solutions: finding shelter, food and water, all while plotting how to get off of the island.

This book reminded me both of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in addition to Jonathan Safran Foer’s work because they have similar, if a little odd, styles.

Who would like this book: mystery book lovers, people who like books within books.

Websites of Interest:
Melina Marcheta’s blog
MM’s Website
Publisher’s site

–Emma, Greenwood, Teen Blogger




Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister: Read slowly to enjoy fully

confessionsuglystepsister Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire

This novel is a work of fiction loosely based Cinderella, and set against a very real historical backdrop. First, some background information. The book is set in seventeenth century Holland. The Protestant Reformation began in the previous century with the help of people like Martin Luther and John Calvin. The latter was especially important where the Netherlands were concerned. There was a profusion of Calvinists who fled to Holland to escape religious persecution in western Europe. Calvinists believed in the predestination, among other things. Additionally, they were known for being adamantly against singing, dancing, art, et cetera. Also, Holland at this time was an economic powerhouse of Europe. They had one of the largest port cities of the time, which was a very important trade center. Tulips were being imported by the ton. Even though they are now recognized all across the globe as the symbol of the region, they were not always. The plant is not even native to the area. In order to get all you can out of this book, it is important to understand the historical context.

At the beginning, and on through until the very end, the narrator’s identity is unknown. In retrospect, I think I sort of knew in the middle somewhere, but it isn’t said explicitly until the book is nearly over. What we do know is that the narrator has been there. They are telling the story after it has happened, not during. They experienced the events first hand, and are looking back on them now, sometimes fondly and other times not, but with the intent of informing us of the truth. They have no desire to leave out the undesirable bits because then we have an incomplete picture. This story simply would not work if pieces of the puzzle were missing.
Continue reading

Wintersmith – unnecessary romance, well written as usual

WintersmithTitle: Wintersmith

Author: Terry Pratchett

Summary: In the 3rd book in the Tiffany Aching mini-series, a young witch makes a mistake and causes an imbalance of seasons.

Gut reaction: I love Terry Pratchett, unnecessary romance, well written as usual.

Why: Terry Pratchett’s humor is wonderful, perfect for sarcasm and parodies. Tiffany is as strong a character as ever, and all of the other characters work out well. The setting is superb, being Discworld. My main problem with this book is the needless romance between Tiffany and Roland, who at least became a likeable character, but I still don’t really want to read about their love and whatnot. Lucky for me and unlucky for all you romance fans, it’s not the main focus of the story and is actually pretty out of the way. I loved the character of the Wintersmith, who was written perfectly. I really have nothing but praises.

Who would like this book: Pratchett fans of any sort, humor fans, parody fans, sarcasm fans, magic fans, adventure fans, mythology/folklore fans, all people in general.

–Lexie, 16, West Seattle


Book Shorts: Nameless

Title: Nameless (A Tale of Beauty and Madness)

NamelessAuthor: Lili St. Crow

3-Sentence Summary: Camille was found alone and freezing on a dark, snowy road by one of the most powerful and magical families in New Haven. She has no memory of her previous life and no reminders but the webbed scars across her snow white skin. Ten years later, now sixteen, Cami struggles to piece together her fragmented dreams for an explanation, and choose her place in the dark world unfolding.

Six word review: Snow White gets a wicked upgrade.

Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10

I started reading because… I love fairytales and their adaptations. I kept reading because… the setting of the book is incredibly imaginative and the premise is a wholly different take on the traditional Snow White story, though it still returns to its Grimm origins.

I loved the unique retelling, and the backhanded references to other fairytales. I was grossed out by the Catherine-Heathcliff dynamic between Cami and her adopted brother. Maybe it’s because I too have an adopted brother and know that there’s more to the taboo in intrafamilial romances than common genes. I couldn’t get enough of the creepy, magical universe that is New Haven, and the nonchalant way St. Crow just throws you into the mayhem.

If the lead character was in a high school yearbook, they would be voted: Fairest of Them All.

Online Resources of Interest:  The author has a website, and by all accounts she is quite prolific.

Anything else we should know:

Mystery. Romance. Intrigue. A good, fast-paced read for an otherwise boring day.

Allegedly, there’s a sequel from the fresh perspective of Cinderella on the way, and I’m so gonna read it.

–Maddie, 17, Teen Center Advisers



Book Shorts: Between the Lines

between the linesTitle: Between the Lines

Author: Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Summary: Told in their separate voices, sixteen-year-old Prince Oliver, who wants to break free of his fairy tale existence, and fifteen-year-old Delilah, a loner obsessed with Prince Oliver and the book in which he exists, work together to seek his freedom.

I started reading it because… The author is a popular writer, this is the author’s first YA fiction, & she co-wrote it with her daughter.  

I kept reading because… It’s very creative, engaging, and I was hooked.

Main character(s): If they were in a yearbook, they would be voted Most Likely To: Live happily ever after.

Six Word Recap: Amazing fairy tale, clever and creative.

This book reminded me ofAn excellent modern day fairy tale.

Websites of interest: Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

Cindy Byron, Northgate Guest Blogger