Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage

The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage

The Very Fairy Princess Takes the Stage Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 2011
Authors: Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator: Christine Davenier

I haven't had a chance to read The Very Fairy Princess, which came out a year ago, but since picture books should stand on their own, I decided to give this a try. Even aside from my curiosity about a celebrity author like Julie Andrews, I'm glad I did.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Earthling Hero

Earthling Hero

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday again, and I'm proud to be part of this great tradition started by Shannon Whitney Messenger promoting middle grade books. This week, I am pleased to share a book that is unusual in two ways. First, Earthling Hero is self-published, and second, it is in eBook form only. The self-publishing didn't worry me, as I have read some great self-published books, but a middle grade book only available in electronic form?

Fortunately, I gave the book a chance. It didn't hurt that it is available on both Amazon and Smashwords, so if you have a Kindle as I do, you can buy it that way, but if you don't, Smashwords has it in various formats, so that you can easily read it on-line or on another eReader. It also didn't hurt that the book is 99 cents!

In Earthling Hero, Mikey is 11 and a bit of a loner. He hikes in the mountains where his scientist parents live, and generally keeps to himself. All this changes when he wakes up one morning to find a boy in his room who looks just like him. Soon, he is embroiled in foiling a plot that threatens the planet. Oh yes, and he makes a couple friends as well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Magical Middle Grade Mystery Tour

They do many wild and wonderful things over at From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors, a group blog of some very cool middle-grade writers. The latest is a Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour.

The contest works like this: each season a group of five or more authors will set off in the Mixed-Up Middle-Grade Skype Tour Bus. You’ll have about a month to enter your class, club, or group to win a Skype visit from one of that season’s authors, along with a copy of their book, and more. For every retweet and/or Facebook reposting, you’ll get another entry. To increase your class or group’s chances, invite other adults- parents, teachers, or group members to leave comments at Each entry must be made in a separate comment. At the end of the month, a winner will be drawn for each Skype author visit. You’ll have six months from that date to schedule and conduct the visit. Authors and winners are paired randomly--you don’t enter to win a visit from a particular author. The winning entry will also receive a copy of the author’s book.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mahvelous Middle Grade Monday - Fashionista Edition

The Time-Traveling Fashionista

The Time-Traveling Fashionista, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Apr 2011
Author: Bianca Tuertsky
Illustrator: Sandra Suy

Product description:
Louise Lambert has always dreamed of movie starlets and exquisite gowns and longs for the day when she can fill the closet of her normal suburban home with stylish treasures. But when she receives a mysterious invitation to a vintage fashion sale in the mail, her once painfully average life is magically transformed into a time-travel adventure.

It is Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, and I couldn't resist highlighting this delightful, or as Louise learns to say when she travels back in time, simply mahvelous, debut novel by Bianca Tuertsky. It is listed as young adult, but the heroine is twelve and I think girls from nine and up will enjoy this. Released this week, there is still time for you to be the first to read (or introduce to your favorite middle grade/tween/teen girl) this fun and fashionable story.

Louise loves vintage fashions, and those tweens and teens who share her fascination will adore the twenty-five luxurious color illustrations of the glamorous dresses and clothing of the early 1900s, created by the talented Sandra Suy. Those of us who are less taken with fashion will still enjoy Louise and how she deals with her sudden lurch from ulta-ordinary shy twelve year-old with frizzy hair and braces to glamorous seventeen year-old actress, Alice Baxter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Sharing - The Little Island

The Little Island

Our youth minister has changed the schedule some, so I will not officially teach Sunday School until May 1st, but I still have a chance to share books with the preschoolers in Sunday School, though I don't run the rest of the lesson. Thus, I am able to offer another Sunday Sharing post. After class, I'll update the post to talk about how the kids reacted to the book, sharing their reactions with you.

The Little Island, reissued by Doubleday in 2003 (first published in 1946)
Author: Margaret Wise Brown (written under the name Golden MacDonald)
Illustrator: Leonard Weisgard
Caldecott Medal winner

Years ago, I shared this book with my own children, as well as children in earlier Sunday School classes (I think I first taught Sunday School to preschoolers when my own daughter was three, and she's twenty-four now). My copy of the book was published in 1973, and has Golden MacDonald listed as the author, so I was surprised to look it up on Amazon and see Margaret Wise Brown as the author. She is the author of many books we have loved over the years, including The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon, so it is fun to find out that she wrote The Little Island as well.

This is the story of a tiny island, and the flowers, trees and birds who live there, as well as the fish, lobsters and seals who swim nearby. It is also the story of a little kitten who visits the Island, and discovers something about faith and about being part of a bigger whole.