Week 9: Book Review 2

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Gaiman, Neil. The Sleeper and the Spindle. Harper Festival, 2015. Unabridged Version. Audio CD $12.57, 978-0062435132

Recommended Grade Level: 6th Grade and up.

This version of Neil Gaiman’s short story that combines the tales of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White is a uniquely Gothic spectacle to hear that’s perfect for a public library’s collection. The format is a single CD fit for CD players as well as cars, it is an auditory experience where the story is read to the listener(s) along with sound effects to get the listener(s) involved in the story. The story is performed by a full cast, running an hour in length, this version enables the audience to appreciate different styles of tone and through the voices of the characters, visualize the beautifully grim images using their own imagination as well the narrator’s guidance. It presents a capable Queen, Snow White though no calls her that anymore, who decides to investigate a mysterious sleeping sickness infecting the nearby kingdom that’s lasted nearly 80 years (2015). The story is an interesting item, perfect for libraries since the multiple mediums it’s presented in, graphic novel and short story in collections of stories by Gaiman, can be combined to give patrons at libraries a diverse way of viewing a story from many angles. The story has some violence , appropriate for ages 13 and up, with a kiss between the Queen and the Sleeping beauty that some might find controversial despite it being more out of custom than romance with a twist that upends the both narratives and presents a very curiously dark story to enjoy.


Week 7 part 3: Reflection on Read Aloud

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Mo, Willems. Let’s Go for a Drive. Disney-Hyperion, 2012. 64 pages. Tr. $7.99, 978-1423164821

Recommended Grade: PreK and up.

The read aloud was an interesting experience. I rambled a bit, but the overall presentation seemed decent. The read aloud was intended for a reading audience of children between the ages of 3 to 5. The biggest problem I ran across was that the repetition of certain patterns as the main characters gathered supplies for their drive that the moment died down doing it twice, especially with the dance of joy at the acquired item. In order to keep the humor and charm for kids, it would be better to combine items in a way that enables the cycle of repetition to only being at two cycles so the rhythm remains solid throughout the read aloud. There is a charm to making a show when reading to others, as long the kids can see the pictures and using high energy, the experience will hopefully be a hopefully be a fun one for the kids too and will promote an interest in seeking similar stories on their own. With these slight adjustments, the read aloud will be phenomenal but the book itself is perfect for reading to kids because of its simple vocabulary and entertaining main character.

Week 8 Part 2: For those interested in seeing more about Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty (1959)Walt Disney Pictures

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A classic from Disney that for many is ideal image that comes to mind whenever the story is brought up. The visuals, coloring, and a brief meeting between Princess Aurora and Prince Philip gives a little more backstory as to the eventual romance and even gives the Fairy, Maleficent, more screen time to highlight the length of her evil nature.

A review of the film can be found here


Maleficent, Walt Disney Pictures (2014)

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A live-action film that inverts the initial stories premise, a narrative where Maleficent is the focus. It does bring in factors from other tales, how the king’s cruelty and carelessness causes more harm, but adds a curious mother-daughter relationship between Maleficent and Princess Aurora with the Prince barely in the story. It creates a more female-centered story than in the past narrative that can be of interest for people interested in a story where women have more agency.

A review of it can be found here

Week 8: Folktale Motif, The Sleeping Beauty

A princess, locked in a castle in eternal slumber until awakened by ‘true love’s first kiss’. This has been told in three distinct ways, each with different art styles and narratives.

Grimm, Jacob, and Grimm, Wilhelm. The Sleeping Beauty. Illustrated by Monika Laimgruber. North-South Books, 1995. 32 pages. Tr. $1.99, 978-1558583993; PLB $9.00, 978-15585884006

Recommended Grade: PreK and up.

The original tale, with new artwork to give the story a more colorful effect for the reader. This title reads as more child-friendly, with the thorns guarding the castle magically gone after a hundred years and no real challenge for the prince to overcome (Grimm, 1995). A more curious thing is how there were 12 magical guests, with the 13th cursing the child and walking out. The drawing are very colorful and detailed, every single one worthy of being a classic painting that when combined with the text express the narrative in a quick, bright, tale any children can enjoy. Perfect to be read aloud to children of all ages, the reader can show the images to children without any concern of traumatizing the narratives.

Mayer, Mercer. The Sleeping Beauty. Atheneum, 1994. 48 pages. Tr. $17.63, 978-0027653403

Recommended Grade: 4th Grade and up.

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This retelling, uses more water color art than the story above. It also goes into greater detail not only about why one of the Fae curses the King and Queen and then the princess but also gives the Prince greater odyssey to overcome into the form of an ogre, sirens, and  created a unique twist where the Princess saw her Prince’s journey through her dreams and fell in love for his dedication (Mayer, 1984). There is a greater resolution, where the enraged Blue Fairy doomed herself by pushing her luck with curses. The art is beautiful, some of the images might be a bit more intense with scary images of bones and violent beasts in the background but the story is better detailed by giving the couple more detail about how their love develops. The violence within the book would make it more appropriate for children between the ages of 8 to 10, especially with the drama among the adults in the narrative. Perfect to be read aloud, with parental supervision because of the violence within the story.

  Gaiman, Neil. The Sleeper and the Spindle. By Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell. Harper Collins, 2015. 64 pages. Tr. $13.57, 978-0062398246

Recommended Grade: 6th Grade and up.

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Neil Gaiman took the tale of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and combined them into a curious combination. It acts as a sequel to Snow White, though she’s not called that in the book, and decides to cancel her intended wedding to investigate a nearby kingdom’s inexplicable sleeping sickness with three dwarf companions (Gaiman, 2015). The artwork lacks color but it carefully detailed to highlight spiderwebs woven around the sleeping, yet not gently resting, sleeper,s and the other color besides black and white is gold which is used in the lettering and yo highlight specific items within the pictures. A twist occurs where Snow White, called the Queen, awakens the Sleeping Beauty with a kiss instead of it being the Prince, but the situation is not all that it seems, nor is the Sleeping Beauty (Gaiman, 2015). It is a quick and grim story with Gaiman’s wit breathing a kinetic energy that improves on the original story with detail and character motivation, which makes it and Mayer’s story a far more endearing tale for modern readers. This tale is appropriate for all ages, though it might be considered controversial because of the kiss between the two women but it is not romantic and treated more as custom more than out of romantic desire by the Queen. One of the big draws is that there’s no Prince, the Queen is the one seeking adventure and a chance to save her kingdom and she does not need to be rescued, she comes with sword drawn and armored chain mail perfect for a fight. The images can be slightly frightening but it is effective for a reading aloud to children, with parental supervision due to the kiss.

Works Cited

Gaiman, N. 2015. The Sleeper and the Spindle. New York, NY. Harper.

Grimm, J. & Grimm, W. 1995. The Sleeping Beauty. New York, NY. North South Books.

Mayer, M. 1984. The Sleeping Beauty. New York. NY. Macmillan Publishing Company.

Week 7 Part 2: Book Review of Mo Willems’ “Let’s Go for a Drive!”

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Willems, M. 2012. Let’s Go for a Drive!. Disney-Hyperion.

The award winning duo of Piggy and Elephant are once again involved in book-based shenanigans. The eighteenth book in series focuses on the duo deciding to go driving and prep for their car-based adventure. Winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor award in 2013, this 64-page adventure in planning a drive features the classic art style with unique expressions, enthusiastic dialogue, and a story that teaches kids that sometimes the best laid plans for travel can encounter speed bumps, but there’s always a way to have a fun time.

This book recommended for reading age of 4 to 8 but the dialogue and visuals are quirky enough for all ages to enjoy.

Week 7: Spotlight On ABRAMS Books

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“Founded in 1949, ABRAMS was the first company to in the United States to specialize in publishing art and illustrated books. ow a subsidary of La Martiniere Groupe, the company continues to publish critiacally acclaimed and bestselling works in the areas of art, photography, cooking, craft, comics, interior and garden design, entertainment, fashion, and popular culture”

(Abramsbooks.com, http://www.abramsbooks.com/about-abrams/)

The home page can be found here along with a widget on the left side that links to various authors, imprints, and events related to ABRAMS books.






Recommendation: Like Pickle Juice On a Cookie (2011) by Julie Sternberg

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Book Review 1: Dean, K. (Booklist, 2011, 107(12)).

Kara Dean gave the book a positive review. She explained that “The story is told in straightforward, steady verse that echoes the gradual pace of Eleanor’s healing process” (Booklist, 2011). She compliments the cartoonish art style and while she doesn’t present a reading age, recommends it because it helps children who all eventually have to go through their first goodbyes in life.

Book Review 2: Stevenson, D. (The Bulletin of the Children’s Books, 2011, 64(7)).

Deborah Stevenson also gave the book a positive review. Hers goes into more detail when by recommending a reading level for kids between 2nd and 3rd grade and a price for the book at $14.95 through Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS (2011). The books narrative is expressed as being suitable for being read aloud to a class of kids.

I prefer Deborah Stevenson’s review of the book because it goes into better detail about can found in the book and melancholy-yet-heartwarming prose of a girl learning to accept loss and change in her life.


Week 6 part 3: Respecting A Kids Choice Of What to Read

When it comes to literature, it helps for children to pick what they want to read and thereby create an interest in reading. One of the more enduring types of genre fiction, the detective story told in dime-store novels, which is proved by two million copies of Nancy drew being sold per year since it’s initial release in 1930 (Ross, 1995, p.213). The formulaic concept of solving a mystery with the characters helped to introduce children plot devices that are still used to this day in many aspects popular culture from television to novels written for adults albeit with a bit more complexity. However, children learn to prepare for such reading material by experiencing a more youthful take on it that challenges them to solve the mystery.

Children need to become motivated to read. This impacts their academic capability especially because, “When students struggle to read, they are discouraged and tend to avoid reading as a leisure activity” (Mohr, 2006, p. 85). If it becomes a chore, something to do for work only because someone told them to, then reading will carry negative connotations that could be reflected in all forms of reading, even for entertainment. No book is a bad book if it gets children interested in reading. By creating an early interest in stories, children can grow with it and mature it into a healthy capability of reading for both fun and work with little difficulty.

Mohr, K.A. (2006). Children’s Choices for recreational reading: A three-part investigation of selection preferences, rationals, and processes. Journal of Literary Research, 38(1), 81-104.

Ross, C.S. (1995). If They Read Nancy Drew so what? Series readers talk back. LISR, 17(3): 201-236.


Week 6 Post 2: Two Awesome Books



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Worm Loves Worm (2016) by J.J. Austrian is a celebration of love in all its formats. When a worm meets another special worm, they fall in love. When they decide to get married their friends want to know who will wear the dress and the tux. The answer is simply that it doesn’t matter, because they love each other. The wonderfully animated insects combined with the succinct, repetitive text is excellent at keeping children invested in the love story of two worms and their friends. The design of the pages are smart as the use of white space is contrasted with brightly colored drawing of insects. The illustrations are larger than the text, so beginner readers can focus on the action being portrayed rather than the conversation. The sentences are made up of five words or less, which is ideal for children just learning to read and those who feel confident handling more than five words in a sentence. Every page of the book has action and dialogue on it, as the characters of the worms become increasingly more developed though the interactions. The predictable structure of the story make it easier for children to listen and comprehend the revolutionary concepts in the book. Austrian tells a compelling story for young readers of love and the ability to change the rules in life, if they do not fit with your plan. Reading this material is great way to explain the concept of being a voice for change, while reinforcing the message that, all you need is love.


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Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi’s The Story of Diva and Flea (2015) is an interesting transitional read to help children adjust to more complex narratives from simple reading books. The book is an entertaining take on the value of friendship and has been nominated for the Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Award for 2017. It is about a dog named Diva, she resides at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris and meets a cat named Flea, a Flaneur, or wanderer (Willems and DiTerlizzi, 2015). The story is composed in large paragraphs with well-colored pictures of both Flea and Diva as their lives become more connected through friendship. There are several significant splash pages where both characters see how wide and intricate the world can truly be when you step into it. Together they overcome their individual fears to embrace a wider world and deeper sense of trust through a friendship unexpected but endearing for both character and reader. This is a perfect read for anyone interested in helping children find books with a positive message of friendship, great visuals, and a text-oriented narrative that will help them read longer tales while improving their core vocabulary.


Austrian, J. J., & Curato, M. (2016). Worm loves Worm. New York: Balzer Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins.


Willems, M. and DiTerlizzi. (2015). The Story of Diva and Flea. New York, NY. Hyperion Books for Children.


Week 6: Blogs to Follow

I found five blogs that present unique perspectives when it comes to libraries and show ideas that can help the profession.

One of these blogs is The Unquiet Librarian, a WordPress blog by Buffy J. Hamilton, a Title I Writing Teacher in Gainsville, Georgia. Her blog presents a hands-on experience to incorporating programs that promote literacy in her library and the changes made to make the environment more structurally sound for self-education.

Another blog I found was KIDLITOSPHERE CENTRAL, a site that promotes an interest in childhood literacy through sharing of information about new titles. This done through linked sites like the Blog Carnivals that collect on specific authors, genres, and other literary subjects of interest to children.

Three blogs I found share a lot in common with these two, the one’s run by Ann, Amanda, and Morgan. Ann’s deals with book reviews for Children’s and Teens Literature and has posts that are of interest for those seeking librarianship when it comes to helping children and teenage patrons. Amanda Pagan’s blog features posts that review recently published items and classic picture books. Morgan’s blog features reviews of children’s literature as well as a video discussing The Children’s Crusade, a historic moment when a walk to the local library from school and back forced African-American Children to be confronted by intolerance and proved to be the stepping stones towards the Civil Rights Movement.

The reason I chose these five blogs is because while discuss different types of books or programs, they all express a common interest in spreading literacy to children and young adults. These are important sites to highlight significant ideas in librarianship and literature that are helpful for anyone interested in pursing the profession with an interest in guiding young minds.



Week 5: List of Post-2000 books in Children’s Literature

Brill, M. T. 2006. Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference. Minneapolis. Millbrook Press. Biography Book.

Carle, E. 2013. Friends. New York, NY. Philomel Books. Simple Book.

DiMartino, M. D., and Konietzko, B. 2006. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Los Angeles, CA.  TokyoPop. Graphic Novel.

Honoree, C. 2009. Shape by Shape. New York, NY. Little Simon. Shape’s Book.

Martin Jr., B. , Sampson, M., and Ehlert, L. 2004. Chicka Chicka: 1. 2. 3. New York, NY. Simon & Shuster Books For Young Readers. Counting Book.

Pallotta, J. and Biedrzycki, D. 2001. Underwater Counting. Watertown, MA. Charlesbridge. Counting Book.

Scieszka, J. 2007. Time Warp Trio: The High And The Flighty. New York, NY. HarperCollins Publishers. A Reading Alone, Level 3, Book.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2002. Museum ABC. New York, NY. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. ABC’s Book.

Tullet, H. 2010. Press Here. San Francisco, CA. Shape and Interactive Book.

Verne, J., adapted by Dauvillier, L., and Soleilhac, A. 2011. Around The World In 80 Days. New York, NY. Papercutz. Graphic Novels.

Wilson, S. 2009. Shapes That Roll. Maplewood, NJ. Blue Apple Books. Shapes Book.

Two Books that stand out to me are Herve Tullet’s Press Here (2010) and Eric Carle’s Friends (2013).They each portray narratives that can entertain and educate children through visuals.

Carle’s book focuses on a young boy’s adventure to seek out his friend who had moved away. The journey takes him over mountains, through dark woods, and even into the clouds (Carle, 2013). This is based on a true story of girl that Carle knew who was a good friend to who moved away. The use of art, colors, and visuals immerse the reader in the boy’s jounrey to finding his friend.

Tullet’s Press Here (2010) is the most interactive children’s book I have seen. It asks the kids to affect the story. This is done by having the kids press, rub, shake, and clap to the book’s instructions (Tullet, 2010). Colors appear as a result and multiple circles are formed as the book goes along, making it perfect for both teaching colors and counting. The book also helps teach children the merits of following instructions which will help later on in academics.