Fairy tales and wild things feature in this week's Junior Reading Room.
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Wild fairy tale
Into the Wild
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Sleuth RazorBill, 272 pages
ONCE upon a time, fairy tale characters were the prisoners of a being called The Wild.
The Wild forced its captives to relive their stories over and over again, and destroyed their memories (of what came before the fairy tales) and the desire to do anything other than what their stories dictate. But The Wild was eventually defeated by Rapunzel, and she and the other characters crossed over to the real world where they lived full and normal lives. Julie is the daughter of Rapunzel and what is left of The Wild is hidden underneath her bed. One day, The Wild escapes and goes on a rampage, forcing all in its path to become fairy tale characters. Only Julie can stop the world from being devoured by fairy tales. Fans of the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen will enjoy this book, which references tales popular and obscure. It is the most recent of many young adult novels based on fairy tales, and is one of the best and least predictable.
M Is for Magic
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: HarperTrophy, 256 pages
NINE short stories, a poem and an excerpt from an upcoming children’s book make up this collection from Neil Gaiman. The stories are both familiar and alien, twisted tales based on myths, legends and classic fairy tales. The dark humour makes this book appealing to a wide range of ages. Gaiman fans will appreciate these stories (most of which have been published before), compiled into one volume. And, for those who have never read him, what an excellent introduction this book is.
Author: Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury US, 256 pages
IMAGINE having to be sacrificed to a dragon in order to find a husband. This is what 15-year-old Creel has to endure. However, she cleverly escapes the dragon’s clutches, and gets away with a beautiful and unusual pair of slippers to boot! When the slippers are stolen by a power-hungry princess, Creel learns that they are made from the skin of a dragon queen and whoever wears them will have control over all dragons. The princess, newly shod, begins her siege on the city and Creel must join forces with the king’s son to win the war before the city is destroyed or the dragons all killed.
Authors: Mikhail Baryshnikov & Vladimir Radunsky
Illustrator: Vladimir Radunsky
Publisher: Gineo Seo Books, 32 pages
A LITTLE boy is highly embarrassed by his grandmother’s antics, which provoke her neighbours to repeatedly ask her why she behaves as she does. “Because,” she answers breezily each time, until, finally, she finishes with, “I am a dancer!” This book is co-written by celebrated Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and joins the growing number of celebrity-penned picture books in the stores these days. The illustrations make a strong and appealing statement about the joys of challenging stereotypes and the magic of dance. Definitely better than Madonna’s efforts.
Author: Gregory Rogers
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 32 pages
GREGORY Rogers’ lovable character made his first appearance in 2004’s The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard. In Midsummer Knights, the same bear-in-Elizabethan-knight’s-clothing has an adventure in a world reminiscent of the one in William Shakespear’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In fact, the villain in this strange land resembles Shakespeare. He has imprisoned the king and queen in the castle dungeon, but the bear saves the day, again. Although this is a wordless picture book, you won’t even notice the absence of text, thanks to the lively and detailed illustrations.
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean
Author & Illustrator: Kevin Sherry
Publisher: Dial Books, 32 pages
A GIANT squid is delighted with the fact that he is the “biggest thing in the ocean” – bigger than a shark even. And when he is swallowed by a whale, along with the other creatures, he cheerfully asserts that he is “the biggest thing in this whale”. A sheet of bathtub stickers adds fun. And (this will make parents laugh out loud), the squid shows up on the back cover to point out that he’s bigger than the bar code!
Where the Wild Things Are and Other Stories by Maurice Sendak
Read by: Tammy Grimes
THIS audio collection is a must on any road trip involving children. Tammy Grimes brings to life Sendak classics like Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside over There, Very Far Away and many more. A great introduction to Sendak, and a perfect gift for Sendak fans of all ages.