Tag Archives: new children’s books

What? Little Red Riding Hood Was Rotten? New Children’s Book Reviewed

When I spotted the children’s picture book called Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten: The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf by Trisha Speed Shaskan, I knew I had to read it!  It’s my favorite of all the fairy tales.  Of course my little four-year-old LOVES fairy tales too and we try to read every one we can find.

My daughter and I sat down to read Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten and we laughed right from the very beginning and all throughout the book. My daughter loved hearing the tale of Red Riding Hood from another perspective.  Seeing as she loves this time of year due to apple picking, my daughter also thought it was quite hilarious that the wolf was an apple lover (being a vegetarian) and only got hungry because it wasn’t apple harvest season. She picked-up right away that the illustration of Red Riding Hood made her look like a round red juicy apple. In fact, the illustrations by Gerald Guerlais are AMAZINGLY fun, modern and well-done and add to the humor of the story. The references to apples throughout the book are so original and the prose adoring and humorous. For instance, Granny dressed up like a Granny Smith apple was fantastic.

The book also taught about not being so arrogant and full of yourself, as Red Riding Hood was in the story. She was so rotten (like a rotten apple!) that readers probably will start pulling for the wolf and not even mind the ending! It was a shorter fairy tale than the original, but less scary and dramatic and more laughable. My daughter and I loved it so much that when she said “Read it again,” I certainly didn’t mind. I would love to have this book on my shelf in our library and am looking forward to checking out the rest of the series.

It was wonderful how the book ends with some discussion questions, recommendations for more reading, and good websites for kids. I thought that was a great added touch to the book, especially to continue my little one’s education as I pre-school her from home.

This book is part of a NEW series by Capstone Publishers called The Other Side of the Story series. The books in this series are fractured fairy tales (classic fairy tales reconstructed) and tell the story from the side of another character in the book.

For more information, go to Capstone’s website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/product/9781404866737.

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A digital ARC was made available to me from Capstone Publishing. All opinions are my own, they only asked that I read and give an honest review.

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Recordable Story Book with Cute Bear Can Warm Your Child’s Heart

It’s Valentine’s Day and anymore we don’t just celebrate with our true love, or dating partner, we many times celebrate our love for our children and grandchildren as well. Do you have a little one who lives far away and you’d love to send a gift to? Delight a special child with this wonderful recordable book and let them hear your voice across the miles! Create a keepsake storybook called “Guess How Much I Miss You” by the following the simple directions to record your own voice reading this endearing story.

 • Ages: All ages
 • Size of book: 10 1/8 x 8 1/8 inches
 • Pages: 14

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the little girls and boys who bring so much joy to our lives!! Thank you to my own three children for sharing the love of books and reading with me. The countless hours we’ve spent reading and loving books will forever warm my heart.

To order “Guess How Much I Miss You” go online to www.ubah.com/z2837 and look under “new titles” at the very bottom of the online store or look by title using the search. Thanks for shopping the online bookstore!

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I’m a Guest on Dellani’s Tea Time, a talk show for children’s book writers/illustrators!

I am super excited to have been asked to accompany two other fabulous published book authors, as well as an illustrator, on Dellani’s Tea Time BlogTalkRadio show, sponsored by Red River Writers (if you have joined them on Facebook or BlogTalkRadio do so!). Tune in to hear us talk about our books, and in  my case my “work in progress” children’s book, and children’s book illustrations. We’ll answer things like~What inspired us to write/be an artist? What gave us our idea for your book(s)? What have been our challenges?

The host of Dellani’s Tea Time, Dellani Oakes, does a super show focused on children’s writers and sometimes illustrators/artists.  
Here is the promo for our show: Valentine’s Day is a special day at Dellani’s house. Her guests will be the Amazing Amanda Thrasher author of “Mischief in the Mushroom Patch”, as well as artist & illustrator, the Wonderful Wade Zahares. They will be joined by aspiring author, the Exciting Erin Al-Mehairi and mystery author, the Boisterous Beth Groundwater whose first book, “Deadly Currents”, debuts in March. This will be a fun show (aren’t they always?), so tune in and give us a listen!

Here is the show information:

Dellani’s Tea Time

Monday, February 14th, 2011

4:00 Eastern/ 3:00 PM Central

Link to our show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio/2011/02/14/dellanis-tea-time

Thanks Dellani for having me!!

 

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The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone, a Children’s Book Review and Information on Chicago’s Minature Rooms

Marianne Malone, author of the children’s book The Sixty-Eight Rooms (new Random House from 2010), describes herself as not growing up being a reader or wanting to be a writer. In fact, from what I gather from her website (www.mariannemalone.com) she spent a good portion of her life as a middle school art teacher and she is an artist who loves to paint. However, growing up and living in Illinois, she enjoyed going to the Art Institute of Chicago and this is where she fell in love with the Thorne Rooms.  These rooms started her mind percolating over the course of many years an adventure surrounding them.

If you don’t know what the Thorne Rooms are, they are a collection of 68 minature rooms (like dollhouse rooms) given to the Institute by a Mrs. James (Narcissa) Ward Thorne in the early part of probably the 1940s.  Mrs. Thorne traveled the world and was a collector of minatures. She collected so many of the minatures that she had craftsman assist her in turning them into the various rooms from different time periods in England, America, France…and she used her minatures to create interior design themes, from the 13 th century to about the 1930s, that could be used to educate others about interior design of various eras. Of course, many children visitors over the years become entranced by the rooms and their imaginations run wild with ideas. The author Marianne Malone, of course, was one of those children. To view some photography of The Thorne Rooms, go here to the Art Institute of Chicago’s website page of the Thorne Rooms: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/thorne.  Last Spring, the Huffington Post had an article about the minature rooms and Malone’s book. If interested, go here to view the article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/07/the-art-institute-of-chic_n_528739.html

Malone’s book, The Sixty-Eight Rooms, is a children’s novel  full of imagination and magic surrounding themes of life based on two main characters, Ruthie and Jack. These best friends go on a class field trip and fall in love with the possibilities of the Thorne Rooms.  Getting a back corridor glance, and finding a gorgeous vintage key, leads them to an adventure into history as well the power that sometimes lies behind the simple act of just believing.  These sixth graders fall in love with the Rooms and Ruthie wishes so badly to have a look inside that when she holds the key, it warms in her hand and she is instantly made minature herself!  Eventually Jack is also, if he holds on to Ruthie, and they go exploring the Rooms. As they are in the rooms, they walk out the front doors and are catapulted directly into different time periods such as France right before the French Revolution and Massachusetts during the Salem Witch Trials. Actually getting to talk to other kids in that time period, and possibly change the outcome of their lives, is touched on. I really wish I could have read even more on the rooms and the time periods they enter. Eventually a piece of each of these children they meet is acutally found in the rooms and they uncover that other children, even possibly Mrs. Thorne who createdthe Rooms, have visited in the same way and they feel a bond to these others. The mystery is uncovered through the book about how the Rooms came to be magical in the first place, through an important historical figure. I won’t give the mystery away here, but I do believe I would have developed that more and let it grow to the end. The suspense would have been intriguing, though Ruthie throughout the book certainly does not have any patience. This may be a mirror of the author’s personality as a child. I’d love to ask her!

The character development of all side characters, several of the parents as well as the little old lady antique dealer who plays a very important part in the end of the book, are very well done. However, some of the other details such as fighting the mega-cockroach and some of the parts about getting from room to room and up and down into the Rooms could have been left out. As an adult, they bored me. Being a child at heart, a history buff, and sucker for imaginative and magical stories involving doors and keys, I wanted to hear more about the magic and I wanted them to explore various parts of history longer and more in depth.

I did LOVE the art element in it, beyond the Institute, as Jack’s mom is a struggling artist and the museum caretaker of the Rooms, a faded photographer. I probably love this because I love art and also am a photographer. My love for art museums and history both caught my attention to this book. I could imagine all the little art pieces decorating the minature rooms. I would love to see The Thorne Rooms one day and experience the magic myself.

I sense that this is not the end of adventures for Malone. The end of the book certainly did entertain the fact that a vintage purse she is given from the antique shop owner might be another magical object with another story. I certainly hope so. (In fact, in a recent e-mail from Malone, she does tell me that they will be another book).  I do love Malone’s passion for “old” things and what magic they might possess.  Though I do wish that the character’s adventures in The Thorne Rooms not be quite done yet. It for around age 10, fourth grade level, depending where your child’s reading level is. I know I would have loved this book when I was 10. As adults we may look too much into plot structure and want more detail, when for a child it could be more than can be handled. Therefore for me, it is hard to give an accurate review for a child. I’ll have my children read it next and see what they say.

This book had intrigued me back in 2010, as did walking through the Wardrobe in Narnia, Alice shrinking in Wonderland, and the minatures coming alive in Indian in the Cupboard when I was a child, but I didn’t realize until I read it how all these books lend to the idea I have for my own children’s book which I’ve detailed before in this blog.  The idea of a vintage key, and historical doors, leading to somewhere else is certainly a story told before and certainly a global plot. But I think it never gets old. We all wish sometimes to walk into another place and time totally different from ours. Even as an adult, I still share these childhood fantasies and imaginative thoughts. I can’t wait to see where my key and door take me in my book also.

Thanks Marianne Malone for bring The Thorne Rooms to life and for opening up my eyes to this amazing feature of the museum. I certainly will want to visit if I do ever get to Chicago!

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