Posted in Uncategorized

The Wrong Fairy Tale is a side-splitting new fractured fairy tales series!

Jack and the Three Bears (The Wrong Fairy Tale), by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-161-1

Ages 4-7

Once upon a time, in the Land of Fairy Tales, three bears go out for a walk while they wait for their porridge to cool down. But there’s a giant beanstalk outside, and Baby Bear scampers up to explore! He discovers a castle, and a little boy named Jack, making off with a hen that lays golden eggs and is on the run from a mean giant… but WAIT! The Bears are in THE WRONG FAIRY TALE! Can Jack and the Bears elude the giant, keep the hen, and save themselves, or are they all destined to be Giant Food? Kids will love this new twisted take on two favorite fairy tales – invite them to point out what’s wrong when you start reading! The artwork is loaded with fun little details: the giant’s kitchen has a full shelf of cookbooks, and he’s got some cookies and muffins in the oven, which makes you wonder, when you consider what he normally uses for flour. It turns out, Mama Bear is pretty good with a chainsaw, too. A hoot to read with your fairy tale fans – if you have fans of Josh Funk’s “It’s Not…” series, they’ll love this new series.

 

Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs (The Wrong Fairy Tale), by Tracey Turner/Illustrated by Summer Macon, (Jan. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-160-4

Ages 4-7

So we just read about the three bears, but where was Goldilocks? Glad you asked! In this adventure, Goldilocks – a cute little blonde girl with wild ponytails and a bear sweater dress and leggings – spots a brick house with a sign out front that says, “Notice to Wolves: GO AWAY”. Well, not being a wolf, she decides to pop in and say hello, and that’s how she meets the Three Pigs, who are hiding in a cupboard from who they think is a wolf. As she digs into the porridge they have out on the table, the three pigs put their heads together and realize that Goldilocks is IN THE WRONG FAIRY TALE – just as the Big Bad Wolf shows up! Well, he can’t blow the brick house down, but he’s going to try and come down that chimney, so Goldilocks grabs some straw left over from one of the other pig’s homes, and uses it to start a fire in the fireplace. Day saved! Cartoony, colorful artwork and frenetically paced storytelling make this too much fun to read, and more fun to listen to. Fractured fairy tales fans will love this.

Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs has a starred review from Kirkus.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Fairy Tale time! The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog

The Tale of the Valiant Ninja Frog, by Alastair Chisholm/Illustrated by Jez Tuya, (Dec. 2020, Kane Miller Books), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-68464-179-6

Ages 4-8

Alastair Chisholm and Jez Tuya are back with another fairy tale! Last year’s The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears was so much fun, the author-illustrator decided to come back for more. This time, Jamie – the boy from The Prince and the Witch… – is on a camping trip with his dad and younger sister, Abby, and it’s time to tell a story by the fire. The Prince, the Witch, the Thief, and the Bears return, along with Barry, a thumb-sized ninja frog that the Witch keeps safely tucked away. But Abby doesn’t think it’s fair to Barry to miss out on all the action, so she takes control of the storytelling and lets Barry the Ninja Frog have a grand adventure! The storytelling is such fun, and like The Prince and the Witch…, the kids steer the plot of the story with hilarious results. The story has an empowering message for kids and adults alike: don’t discount the little one. And the ending? Well, let’s just say I’ll be waiting to hear from these two again in about a year… Digital artwork is colorful and cartoony, and kids familiar with the characters will be delighted to see them in action again. Put together a great fractured fairy tales display with the two Chisholm/Tuya books and the Josh Funk It’s Not… series and let your kiddos go wild, telling you their own stories.

 

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction

Spotlight on indie and small publishers!

I hope you like these as much as I do. As I’ve worked through my ginormous TBR this year, I’ve gotten to many of the books sent to me by independent and small authors and publishers; the best way to show them off is to give them their own little spotlight. There are some little gems to be found here.

 

Ollie’s Backpack (A Carefree Ollie Book), by Riya Aarini/Illustrated by Virvalle Caravallo, (July 2020, independently published), $15.99, ISBN: 978-1733166140

Ages 5-7

Ollie is a kid who loves to put stuff in his backpack. He knows there’s stuff that’s way too big, like a moose; way too heavy, like a watermelon, or way too cold, like an igloo. The thing is, he starts to collect little things that end up really weighing him down as he goes through his day: a crumpled homework assignment; a broken toy that a bully snatched from him; a granola bar that a classmate refused to share; even a trophy that he won! As Ollie takes a break from carrying all that heavy weight, he realizes that sometimes, you have to get rid of the weight you carry. He sheds the things that made him sad, and displays the trophy, which made him happy. Once he stops hiding everything away, he realizes that he’s not weighed down anymore!

Ollie’s Backpack is a good social-emotional learning story that reminds me of Brian Wray’s and Shiloh Penfield’s excellent Max’s Box. Kids will see themselves both in the packrat stuffing of everything and anything into a backpack, and will understand the meaning of holding onto memories – for better or for worse – and appreciate Ollie’s way of embracing the good and letting go of the bad. The digital artwork is bright and colorful. A nice choice for your SEL collections. Visit author Riya Aarini’s website for more books, including the next Ollie books.

 

Sam the Superhero and His Super Life, by Kathryn F. Pearson & James T Pearson/Illustrated by Lauren Jezierski, (July 2020, independently published), $9.25, ISBN: 979-8640502343

Ages 5-8

A young boy named Sam lives with his grandparents and loves his stuffed dog, Hercules. He’s very sensitive to sound, light, and touch, and he has what his grandfather calls “big feelings”: he feels everything intensely. His grandfather shows Sam photos of himself as a baby and explains that he was he was born very small and needed to stay in the hospital for a few weeks, and was very sensitive, even as a baby; he also tells Sam that he is a superhero, just like the guys in the comics, for overcoming so many obstacles.

The book looks at children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS): children born substance-exposed and the challenges they overcome from birth. Developed by an 8-year old girl named Sophia, the story is brought to life through straightforward, simple prose and sketched, gently colorful artwork. Sam the Superhero and His Super Life raises NAS awareness and encourages adults and children alike to approach all kids with kindness and understanding. Visit https://2themoonandback.org/ for more info.

 

Chicken Little Investigates, by Lois Wickstrom/Illustrated by Francie Mion, (Aug. 2019, Look Under Rocks), $12, ISBN: 978-0916176365

Ages 5-7

A fun spin on the classic Chicken Little tale, Chicken Little Investigates puts a STEM spin on the story. Chicken Little and Henny Penny are strolling along when an acorn falls on Chicken Little’s head. Chicken Little and Henny Penny do some experimenting with gravity, and decide to go visit the king to find out what he would call their discovery. Along the way, they meet Goosey Loosey, Ducky Lucky, and Turkey Lurkey, all with different ideas on what to call their discovery, when they meet up with sly Foxy Woxy, who has his own ideas. But the gang is too smart for Foxy, and use their new discovery to escape to safety. A cute introduction to physics, with fun sounds like jangles, flops, and plops, this is a cute read-aloud that invites kids to chime in with their own sound effects. I’d use this in a Discovery Club readaloud and invite kids to drop their own pencils, pillows, and pom-pom balls to see what drops fast, what drops slow, and what sounds they make. Lois Wickstrom has been writing some fun STEM/STEAM stories; see more of her books at her website, Look Under Rocks.

Posted in Media

Attention! Dorktales Storytime Tour!

I’ve been a podcast fan for a while, but I normally listen to grownup stuff (I KNOW, right?) like spooky stuff (Lore), history stuff (Noble Blood), and other library land stuff (The Librarian is In). But Becky Flansburg of Multicultural Book Day got in my inbox a few weeks ago and told me I had to give Dorktales Storytime a listen, and I fell in love! It’s hilarious, it’s smart, and it’s just great for kids and adults alike to listen to and enjoy together.

Here’s the full scoop:

Dorktales Storytime Podcast is not only a breath of fresh air, but it is also a super-fun way to keep young learners engaged, entertained, and learning during challenging times.

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Jonathan Cormur is the host (and storyteller) of this fun podcast for kids that features:

1) Dorktales–geeky retellings of classic fairy tales with pop culture easter eggs in every story.

2) Hidden Heroes of History–real stories about people you probably never learned about in school but who have changed history in ways we could have never imagined.

Think Fractured Fairy Tales meets Big Bang Theory and the History Detectives!

In Dorktales Storytime Podcast, Jonathan is joined by his plucky puppet sidekick, Mr. Reginald T. Hedgehog (or “Mr. Redge,” if you prefer) to tell goofier versions of tales that have delighted kids for generations. The shows are suitable for preschool and early elementary school ages and are an excellent way to keep kids engaged and learning while having loads of giggles and entertainment.

Dorktales Storytime PODCAST is AVAILABLE ON:

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/3kSUJZQ

Overcast: https://bit.ly/dorktales-overcast

Amazon Music: https://bit.ly/dorktales-amazon-music

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3iNgKHA

Stitcher: https://bit.ly/Dorktales-stitcher

Google Podcasts: https://bit.ly/dorktales-google

Find more on Podcast website: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales/

You may recognize Jonathan from his work with his mom, Jodi, from Geek Club Books and Zoom Autism Magazine. His new podcast for kids, Dorktales Storytime Podcast, showcases his career as a successful voice actor who also happens to be on the spectrum.

Jonathan Cormur

Here’s How You Can Support Dorktales Storytime Podcast

I am exceptionally proud of Jonathan because he is a young man who has not let being on the spectrum define him…or hold him back!

Help us help Jonathan excel even more in his flourishing career path as a voice actor and storyteller. Here’s how YOU can support him!

SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW IN APPLE PODCASTS

1. Mr. Redge thinks it would be “utterly absurd” if you miss even one episode. So, CLICK on over to Apple Podcasts and subscribe today.

2. Listen to several (or all!) of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast episodes and leave a review! Reviews are like applause to a voice actor!

3. Share this link with another family who might be looking for fun and educational ways to share fairy tales and teach about some of the unsung Hidden Heroes in History.

4. Connect with Jonathan on social media!

CURRENT EPISODES:

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP1: What are Dorktales?

Jonathan Cormur introduces himself as the host and storyteller of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast and answers the question you may be pondering, “What ARE Dorktales?”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-podcast-introduction/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP2: Three Little Hogs?!
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

The Three Little…HOGS? Who’s heard of that? According to Mr. Redge, our Dorktales sidekick, it’s a classic tale from the fairy tale cannon! Come hear our storyteller recount the story of hedgehogs Porky, Percy, and Peregrin, and their ultimate triumph over the dastardly wolf using a glue pot, rapier, and a wheelbarrow. According to Percy, “It’s epic, man!”

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-three-little-hogs/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP3: Little Red
By Karen Simpson Gardiner

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

La, la, la, la-la! Have you heard the tale of Little Red Riding Hood? You know, the one about the sweet, innocent little girl in the beautiful red cloak who outfoxes the big bad wolf? Well forget that one and think ninja granny with a stealthy rescue plan and fierce tranquilizer dart skills.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-little-red/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP4: RumpleTaleSpin
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

“Rump, who?” asks Mr. Redge as Jonathan spins the tall tale of Daphne, the Miller’s daughter, who must spin thread into gold for a greedy king. It’s an epic yarn involving a magical lawn gnome, a clever guessing game, and a Wizard of Oz ending!

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/dorktales-rumpletalespin/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP5: Mary Golda Ross
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

Mary Golda Ross

The true tale of a woman who reached for the stars! Mary Golda Ross was one of the first women to rise in the ranks of engineering and one of the first Native Americans in the field. Her work in the early days of spaceflight was very important and is still to this day.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/mary-golda-ross/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP6: The Prickly Duckling
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

After the quacks and croaks of laughter from his siblings and bullying bullfrog, the poor little duckling waddles off through the marshes to find someone who will accept and love him. What about the gaggle of goslings? Or the brood of chicks? “No one understands me! I’ll never fit in,” he cries until he bumps into the best version of himself.

Episode webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/prickly-duckling/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP7: The Emperor’s New Quills
By Amy Thompson

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Is the fancy fabric for the emperor’s new clothes really invisible to those who are not worthy? Or is this a case of double-dealing dupery by two wily weavers? As the emperor struts his stylish self through the streets of his kingdom, it will take one forthright boy to blurt out the naked truth.

Episode webpage https://jonincharacter.com/the-emperors-new-quills/

Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP8: Louis Armstrong
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy

A tale of Mississippi riverboats, parasol parades, and breaking racial barriers! A man that built a music legacy and a legacy beyond music—Louis Armstrong transformed jazz music and became the beloved “Ambassador Satch” who performed all over the world! So much of his life was about a deep passion for music and using it to bring people together.

Episode Webpage: https://jonincharacter.com/louis-armstrong/

Coming Soon!

  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP9: The Boy Who Cried Hedgewolf
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP10: Ready, Set, Slow!
  • Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP11: Tenzing Norgay Hidden Heroes of History

Dorktales Storytime Podcast

Be sure and CLICK on over to Apple Podcasts and subscribe today.

Now, go be the hero of your own story and we’ll see you next once-upon-a-time!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and Giveaway: It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, by Josh Funk

Josh Funk returns with the latest in his It’s Not A Fairy Tale series with a sassy little girl who’s one step ahead of the narrator. Get ready, friends, because…

It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, by Josh Funk/Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor,
(10/2020, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1542006668
Ages 4-7

Little Red is a little girl who lives with her family in a little cottage in the woods, so when the Narrator shows up and starts telling her to put on a red cape and go visit her sick grandmother in the woods, she’s got questions. Lots and lots of questions: why is the Narrator sending a little girl with a giant basket into the woods all alone? Why does she have to wear red? And why does she have to walk, when she usually takes a carriage? Regardless, she listens to the narrator and heads off to Grandma’s, in spite of being concerned about the Narrator’s willingness to keep putting her in danger, and meeting an amusing, if unexpected, cast of characters. The story of Red Riding Hood is turned on its head as the Narrator becomes flustered and Red keeps pointing out big problems in the story.

With different fonts to denote different speakers (Narrator in conversation mode versus Narrator in story narration mode, plus word balloons for character dialogue), expressive sounds and snappy back and forth banter between characters, the laughs come fast and frequent for readers here. Edwardian Taylor’s artwork is hilarious fun, loaded with little extras, exaggerated expressions, and fairy tale cameos aplenty.

The This is Not a Fairy Tale series is just too much fun, and a welcome addition to fractured fairy tale collections. The kids in my library love them – especially when I give Narrators and characters different, increasingly manic voices. You can’t read these with a serious voice, and that is a good, good thing. Let yourself be as silly as you want to be – your littles will appreciate it.

 

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let’s do it. I’ve got a great giveaway thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing.

Two Lions is offering all three books in the It’s Not a Fairytale series–It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk, It’s Not Hansel and Gretel, and It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood  to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses only, please). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!

 

Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of many popular picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. He lives in New England with his family. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com.

 

Twitter @joshfunkbooks

Instagram: @joshfunkbooks

 

Edwardian Taylor is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Race!, written by Sue Fliess; the Toy Academy chapter books, written by Brian Lynch; and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, written by Josh Funk. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com.

Twitter: @edwardiantaylor

Instagram: edwardiantaylor

Tumblr: Edwardian Taylor

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Bo the Brave knows that monsters aren’t always that easy to spot

Bo the Brave, by Bethan Woollvin, (Apr. 2020, Peachtree Publishers), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-68263-182-9

Ages 3-7

Any day I get to talk about a new Bethan Woollvin book is a good day. She creates fairy-tale heroines that upend all existing conventions, whether it’s the witch getting the goods on bratty Hansel and Gretel, or Little Red Riding Hood saving the day on her own. Her new book, Bo the Brave. stars another young girl who teaches readers that monsters aren’t always fairy tale creatures – they’re much closer.

Bo is a young girl who wants to be a monster hunter like her brothers. When they tell her she’s too little, so she strikes out on her own. On her travels, she meets a griffin, a kraken, and a dragon, all of whom seem much nicer, and certainly more helpful, than she’s been led to believe. In fact, the dragon is a mother, grieving because her baby’s been kidnapped by monster hunters! Bo, pretty sure she knows exactly who the culprits are, leads her new friends to the rescue: while delivering a stern lecture to her brothers. Bo the Brave has learned that rumors and hearsay are deceiving and can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and heartache. In this story, it’s her brothers that “were certainly acting like monsters”, not the griffin, the kraken, or the dragons!

That’s the best part of Bethan Woollvin’s storytelling. She takes a look at who the real monsters are, like Hansel and Gretel; she has heroines who save themselves – they have no time to deal with that whole helpless girl foolishness – like Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. Bethan Woollvin’s heroines have no time to waste, waiting for someone to rescue them and no patience to follow someone who doesn’t value them for who they are. They’re out there on their own, using their brains and their own common sense to save the day, and teach some valuable lessons.

The endpapers illustrated Bo the Brave’s evolution, too: the front endpapers are a map, pre-journey, where Bo notes where the “horrid forest monsters”, “scary cave beasts”, and “slimy sea monsters” are, along with her “stinky brothers’. The back endpapers are edited to show that her “stinky brothers” are actually her “monster brothers”, and each of the new friends she’s made have their rightful names noted on the map.

Bo the Brave has a starred review from School Library Journal, and is essential reading.

Posted in Fantasy, picture books, Preschool Reads

The Great 2019 Read-Down: Fairy Tales

I love a good fairy tale, and the end of 2019 brought some fun new ones. Here are two of them.

If the Shoe Fits…, by Deborah Guarino/Illustrated by Seth Hippen, (Nov. 2019, Schiffer Books), $16.99, ISBN: 9780764358432

Ages 5-8

This fun take on Cinderella is the story of Murray, a humble shoemaker who meets a fairy godmother on a very special night. The fairy godmother’s out of magic, and needs some help in the form of a pair of shoes, so her poor godchild could make it to the royal ball. But Murrays clerk, Mona, has designs on being a royal bride herself, and when word gets out that the prince is trying to track down the mysterious woman who left her shoe behind at the ball, she begs Murray to make a shoe in her size, so she can make the big switch and land her prince. Murray, who’s desperately in love with Mona, complies, even though it breaks his heart, but never fear – the fairy godmother isn’t letting anyone take the day away from her godchild!

Told in rhyme, with a sweet Happily Ever After for everyone, is an adorable fractured fairy tale that kids will enjoy and get a good laugh from. The characters are goofy and kind, and the rhyme cadence is instantly familiar once you start reading, letting you fall right into the storytelling. Animator Seth Hippen’s art is cartoony and exaggerated, and loads of fun to look at as you read this progressively crazier fairy tale. Fractured fairy tale lovers will get a big kick out of this.

 

The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears, by Alastair Chisholm/Illustrated by Jez Tuya, (June 2019, Kane Miller Books), $12.99, ISBN: 978-1-61067-849-0

Ages 4-8

This book is a RIOT. It’s a fairy tale with The Princess Bride-type humor and takes on fairy tale tropes with delight. A child named Jamie gets ready for bed, and Dad sits down to tell a bedtime story to Jamie’s liking. What we get is a laugh-out loud story of a prince who sets out to rescue a princess – who doesn’t need rescuing, THANK YOU VERY MUCH – and a witch who can turn things to stone or jello, and hideous broccoli castles. Jamie has opinions throughout Dad’s story, which changes events in the telling, and ends with a drowsy kiss goodnight and the promise of more stories to come. My second grader loves the Interrupting Chicken books, and had a ball reading this one with me.

Jez Tuya’s digital artwork adds so much fun and color to this fun, colorful story! Big, expressive eyes, little nuances like the story’s characters showing up as toys in Jamie’s room, and wink/nudge moments throughout the storytelling make this artwork and story a great marriage.

Originally published in the UK in 2018, The Prince and the Witch and the Thief and the Bears is officially one of my bedtime go-tos, and I’m eyeing it for a potential stuffed animal sleepover kickoff in 2020.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Josh Funk’s latest fractured fairy tale takes on Hansel and Gretel! Plus, a Giveaway!

It’s Not Hansel & Gretel, by Josh Funk/Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor, (March 2019, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781503902947

Ages 4-8

One of my favorite picture book people, Josh Funk – seriously, have you followed him on Twitter? – has another entry into his fractured fairy tales “It’s Not…” series. This time, he’s setting his sights on Hansel and Gretel, who just can’t believe their loving parents would hatch an evil plot to leave them in a dark forest all alone, or that a sweet old lady who’s doling out candy could possibly be an evil witch!

Set up as a back and forth between our omniscient narrator and the characters, the story is set in motion. The narrator has a lot more information about the story handy than do our characters, and the back and forth between them is laugh out loud funny. Gretel chastises the narrator for making Hansel cry at the very insinuation that their parents have an evil plot to get rid of them; the narrator is exasperated when the kids go to town on all the candy that the witch puts out for them. Gretel adds a smart, feminist slant to the story, asking why it’s always “Hansel and Gretel”, when Gretel clearly comes first alphabetically; she also points out that Hansel gets to sit around and gorge himself while she, the girl, has to cook and clean, exclaiming, “Get with the times-this is the fifteenth century!” There’s a wink, nudge nod to jokes about food allergies, a fabulous unicorn makes a guest appearance, and a Happily Ever After that will satisfy and amuse readers.

Sharp-eyed readers will spot some great fairy tale cameos (was that a flying monkey I saw), and the endpapers are loaded with enough candy and treats to tempt any reader into sampling what lies inside. Josh Funk’s got a gift for snappy, fun dialogue, and Edwardian Taylor’s bright, digital art is fun and explodes with the energy Josh Funk loads his story with. I read this with my 6 year old; he voiced the characters, I voiced the narrator, and we had a blast together. A perfect add to your fractured fairy tales shelves!

 

Want a shot at winning your own copy of It’s Not Hansel and Gretel? Try this Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

Like Hansel and Gretel, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of a bunch of picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and recently, How to Code a Sandcastle, illustrated by Sara Palacios, and Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. He lives in New England with his wife and children. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks.

 

Edwardian Taylor has worked as a visual development artist and character designer in the game and animation industry. He illustrated the picture book Race!, written by Sue Fliess and the chapter book Toy Academy: Some Assembly Required, written by Brian Lynch. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com and follow him on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter @edwardiantaylor.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Bethan Woollvin’s Hansel & Gretel serves up just desserts

Hansel & Gretel, by Bethan Woollvin, (Oct. 2018, Peachtree Publishers), $16.95, ISBN: 9781682630730

Ages 4-7

Bethan Woollvin’s back with another fractured fairy tale; this time, taking on brother-sister duo, Hansel and Gretel. We meet Willow, who, as Ms. Woollvin asserts multiple times, “is a good witch”. She only uses good magic, she takes care of her neck of the forest, she’s a nice witch. So when she sees Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs all over her forest floor, she politely asks them to help clean up their mess. They’re rude, and they blow her off. Then she catches them eating her home! But she figures they’re hungry, so she invites them in and cooks for them. Because Willow is a nice witch. After a few more indignities at these bratty children’s hands, Willow’s house collapses, and then Willow gets mad. And what happens when you push a nice witch too far?

Bethan Woollvin gives readers an uproariously funny tale of comeuppance in this latest fairy tale installment, flipping the whole Hansel & Gretel story on its head. Her trademark three-color art – in this case, orange, black, and gray – is bold and loaded with mischievous fun. Hansel and Gretel sport impish smiles and shifty eyes as they take over Willow’s home. There are loads of details to spot in the artwork, including a little mouse that stays around to watch the action unfold. The endpapers extend the story, as Willow watches the two careless siblings toss breadcrumbs in the opening papers and stands next to a very large black cat (read the story) and a candy castle – her home, rebuilt? – at the end.

I love Bethan Woollvin’s fairy tales. Give her more Grimm, please! Make your own Hansel & Gretel puppets by printing out these free activity sheets.

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour and giveaway! Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep

Eduardo Guadardo is a sheep in training. He’s about to graduate from the Fairy-Tale Bureau of Investigations – the FBI – and take on the status of Elite Sheep, and he’s a master agent in the making. The FBI has even given him his own case to solve: an heiress named Mary is on the bad guys’ radar, and Eduardo needs to keep her safe. Even if it means following her to school. But Eduardo doesn’t like to play by the rules; he doesn’t think he needs a partner, until he does.

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep, by Anthony Pearson/Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris,
(Sept. 2018, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1503902909
Ages 4-7

I love a good fractured fairy tale, and Eduardo Guadardo fits the bill! Eduardo learns a valuable lesson about teamwork, and readers get a fun, new version of Mary Had a Little Lamb, with a secret agent spin. It’s a dialogue-driven book with lots of conversation, so it’s a cute readers’ theatre pick for reading buddies programs. The cartoony artwork is eye-catching and kid-friendly with something new to spot with every read. The secret agent squirrel endpapers may be one of the funniest parts of the story: have kids pick out different actions (he’s talking on a cell phone and working a listening device).

Display and booktalk with other popular fractured fairy tales, like Corey Rosen Schwartz’s Ninja stories (Ninja Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel Ninja Chicks, The Three Ninja Pigs), Bob Hartman’s The Wolf Who Cried Boy, or Emma Dodd’s Cinderelephant.

Hand out dossier files like Eduardo’s, with FBI badges, before storytime. Put some coloring sheets in them! The CIA – the real one, no joke – has a kids’ coloring book online, and you can always rely on Disney Jr’s Special Agent Oso coloring pages to show up and save the day.

Get some intel on Eduardo Guardado in his very own book trailer!

 

Anthony Pearson is not a spy. He’s not. We promise. He’s actually a school counselor, a child therapist, and the author of Baby Bear Eats the Night, illustrated by Bonnie Leick. But that didn’t stop him from digging for clues about “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” What he found made him imagine what could have inspired the rhyme: a sheep that is totally, absolutely, 100 percent in control of things … or maybe just 95 percent. And squirrels in sunglasses. Oh, and a witch flying a helicopter. But you didn’t hear about the Fairytale Bureau of Investigations from him. Anthony and his family live in deep cover in Georgia. Get more intel about him at www.AnthonyPearson.info.

Jennifer E. Morris has written and illustrated award-winning picture books and has also illustrated children’s magazines, greeting cards, partyware, and educational materials. She has not illustrated classified documents nor is she a super secret agent. She is, however, the creator of May I Please Have a Cookie? which has infiltrated more than a million homes. If you say “The dove flies at noon,” she may tell you what the ducks recorded on their cameras. Maybe. But most likely not. Jennifer lives with her family in Massachusetts, just a few miles from the little red schoolhouse where “Mary Had a Little Lamb” originated. Read more of her dossier (that’s DAH-see-ay) at www.jenmorris.com.

 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Check out this Rafflecopter giveaway!