Posted in picture books

A new Christmas origin story: The Three Wishes

 

The Three Wishes: A Christmas Story, by Alan Snow, (Nov. 2020. Pavilion), $19.95, ISBN: 978-1843653868

Ages 5-8

Long ago, when people moved about the land, a boy watched over and herded his family’s reindeer. At the annual gathering, he noticed the reindeer heading into a mysterious cave and followed them, discovering a secret inner world where it is eternally summer. The boy wants to return home, but is told that it is not possible. He’s given three wishes and asks for freedom, happiness, and time. During the year, the boy works alongside the residents of the inner world to learn about the earth; he is allowed to visit his family as long as he doesn’t wake them. Time doesn’t move as he visits his sleeping family and leaves small gifts for them so they know he was there. Every year, he returns to his family for his nightly visit, and back to the cave world for the rest of the year, adding nearby families on his visits. The residents of the cave world reward him with special gifts, like a sled and a magic feather for his reindeer, to aid him on his way, and his family leaves a special gift for him on his visit. This is a new take on the Santa Claus story, and I loved the gentle, yet bittersweet, storytelling; take care for younger readers that may be disturbed by the boy being separated from his family, but they should get the idea as the story goes on and more information is revealed. The artwork is muted, darker, and rich. The Three Wishes is a good additional book for your holiday shelves.

 

Posted in Fiction, Guide, Middle Grade

DC’s Backstories: Digest-sized origin stories for your fave superheroes!

supesSuperman: Man of Tomorrow, by Daniel Wallace/Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante (Jan. 2016, Scholastic), $5.99, ISBN: 9780545868181

Wonder Woman: Amazon Warrior, by Steve Korté/Illustrated by Marcus To (Feb. 2016, Scholastic), $5.99, ISBN: 9780545925570

Recommended for ages 7-10

Just in time for the Batman vs. Superman movie, Dawn of Justice, Scholastic is giving us the Backstories series: digest-sized origin stories of our favorite DC superheroes, including a list of friends, foes, and family; a chronology of the characters’ origins; a short biography in chapters; timelines; glossaries; fast facts, and indexes.

 

Superman: Man of Tomorrow, by Daniel Wallace tells the story of how farm boy Clark Kent discovered that he was more than just the farm boy son of Martha and Jonathan Kent, graduated from college with a degree in journalism, and went to work in the big city of Metropolis, where he found a job at the Daily Planet. The biography, told through pictures, newspaper excerpts (with a Lois Lane byline!), and artwork, also touches on Clark Kent’s Kryptonian heritage, both sets of his parents, and his first big feud with Lex Luthor. We learn a little bit about Superman’s allies on the Justice League and his biggest foes.

wondyWonder Woman: Amazon Warrior tells the story of Wonder Woman’s childhood on Paradise Island, also known as Themiscyra; her warrior training and the Amazons’ war with the Greek god, Ares, and the origin of her name, Diana, after Diana Trevor, the mortal woman who crash landed on the island and fought with the Amazons against the creature, Cottus. We learn about Steve Trevor’s – Diana Trevor’s son – arrival on the island, and how Diana won a contest of skill to be the one to take him back to America, where she would defend the human race against Ares. We also learn about Diana’s allies, foes, and armor – did you know that her tiara’s edges are razor sharp and can be thrown like a chakram? Me, either!

Each book provides a foreword from the hero, leading us into their story, introducing themselves to us. Artwork in my advance reader copies are black and white, but I’m hoping there will be some color illustration, too. These books are a good addition to a juvenile library; in my library system, the superhero trade paperbacks are largely in the teen area for content. When the kids ask for superhero stories – and they do! – I have to make sure that I’ve got a rich set of offerings for them! I’ve got easy readers and chapter books; solid little origin stories like this will really round out my superhero collection.