Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just for Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Life is looking up for Lily Sanderson (AKA Waterlily, Crown Princess of Thalassinia). She bonded in name only with Tellin so she can still be with Quince, her human boyfriend. Lily and Tellin bonded to save his kingdom. A meeting of the monarchs of all the mer kingdoms leaves Lily distraught. The environmental problems that plague Tellin's kingdom are also harming other kingdoms. Lily and her friends (both human and mer) work diligently to provide aid to the endangered kingdoms. In the meantime, Calliope, mer couples counselor extraordinaire, is back. An ancient law requires Quince to undergo three tests before he and Lily can truly be together.

What I thought: Just for Fins was a very interesting story. The environmental parts were fascinating. I wonder how well we would care for the oceans and seas if there were human life in them. The chemistry between Quince and Lily was just right. Not a patch on Forgive My Fins but better than Fins are Forever. I liked seeing Lily grow as a character as she assumed her role as crown princess. Since the dust jacket is calling this a series and not a trilogy, I'm hopeful that there will be another book.

Any other fans of Tera Lynn Childs' Fins series out there? Have you found other books that have couples who exhibit the same chemistry as Quince and Lily? I'm always looking for another good book.

(Katherine Tegen, 2012)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Toads on Toast by Linda Bailey

Fox is bored with catching a toad every day. One trip to the bookstore, several cookbooks, and a family of toadlets later Fox finds himself making toads on toast. Mamma Toad is outraged. Can she tempt Fox to try a different recipe and save her children?

What I thought: Toads on Toast is hilarious! I can't wait to pair it with My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza for a Outsmarting the Fox story time. I might also use Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes by Margie Palatini. It's a bit long for the preschool crowd, but I try to shorten it some. I love the dark colors Colin Jack used in the illustrations. Fox is especially well done. I also like how he gives each toadlet a personality. Mamma is great...I love her red hair. Any other fox stories I should add to my list for Outsmarting the Fox?

Story Time Themes: Cooking, Outsmarting the Fox, Frogs & Toads

(Illus. Colin Jack. Kids Can Press, 2012)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

This is Petunia's story. Youngest of the twelve sister princesses, she remembers less of the horrors of their dancing curse. Sent to visit a grand duchess, Petunia is kidnapped (albeit accidentally) by Oliver, leader of a band of thieves and by rights an earl. Of course, he sees Petunia safely to her intended destination, but he's less than enthusiastic to leave her there. Something evil lurks on the grand duchess's estate. Soon they all realize it's the old curse. King Understone is making one last attempt to secure brides for his sons.

What I thought: Very interesting story. I was eager to read the last book in this series. Princess of the Silver Woods did not disappoint me. The connections to the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood" were slight which was good. It wouldn't do to overpower the main story. Oliver is quite an appealing hero. This book is filled with action, danger, and wit. I feel the need to re-read the previous two books.

Links to my other reviews of books in this series:
Princess of the Midnight Ball
Princess of Glass

Looking for more fairy tale retellings? Click here to read all my reviews of fairy tale retellings. Click here to see my YA Fairy Tales shelf on GoodReads. Click here to see my MG (middle grade) Fairy Tales shelf on GoodReads.

(Bloomsbury, 2012)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Let's Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems

Gerald has a great idea. He and Piggie should go for a drive. After numerous preparations, they realize they have one important item--a car!

What I thought: Such fun! Let's Go for a Drive! might be my favorite Elephant & Piggie book. I may use this for my Mo Willems story time in the spring. I love how Gerald and Piggir adjust to not having a car...much like children would.

(Hyperion, 2012)

Friday, January 18, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Winnie-the-Pooh & Beehive Hand Puppets

I made these puppets back in 2010. I used Lionbrand's free crochet patterns for a Bear Potholder and Beehive Potholder. I modified the patterns and left the bottom open so I could use them as hand puppets. When I first saw the patterns, I knew they would be perfect to tell chapter 1 (In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin) of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne.

You could also make a felt set for your felt board, felt hand puppets, or even stick puppets so the children can participate more.

I prepared myself a script complete with verbatim sections from the book and engagement questions for the children.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Celia is a triplet. Each sister has a gift. Jane sees the present. Anne sees the future. Celia sees the past. She finds it a useless gift until she meets Lo, a mermaid who can't remember her human life. Each day, Lo forgets more and more. Celia helps Lo remember who she once was. As always, a boy complicates things. Celia and Lo are both responsible for saving Jude. Celia wants to date him. Lo wants to kill him so she can regain her soul. Which girl will have her wish?

What I Thought: A dark finish to Jackson Pearce's fairy tale series. Fathomless is an intriguing story but I much prefer Sisters Red and Sweetly. There's less of a link between Fathomless and Sweetly. No characters from Sweetly make an appearance at all except in name only (Lo/Nadia's sister). This book definitely considers the other side of mermaids. Too many have accepted the Disney version. I haven't read Hans Christian Andersen's tale, but I know it doesn't have the happy ending the animated film portrays. Fathomless is well worth reading. The book will appeal especially to fairy tale fans.

(Little, Brown, and Company, 2012)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mr. Cat's Things by Genevieve Cote

Mr. King likes things, new things especially. The old things he tosses in the pond. While fishing, Mr. King catches what he thinks is a monster. It's really a clump of all the old things he tossed in the pond.  Friends rushing to his aid find the things and love them. Mr. King discovers a new passion--turning old things into new things.

What I thought: Cute story with a good message about taking care of the environment through reusing and re-purposing. The illustrations are lovely--bright appealing colors with soft lines. Pair Mr. King's Things with More by Springman for an interesting story time.

(Kids Can Press, 2012)

Friday, January 11, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Let's Make a Snowman

This week my story time theme was snowmen. I knew I wanted to do a "make a snowman activity" on my flannel board. I thought I'd seen a similar post, but as it wasn't about snowmen I can't seem to find it.

I wanted my snowman body big. I used an entire piece of 9x12 white felt. Then I made the usual eyes, noes, mouth, hat, scarf, arms, and buttons.


But then the fun began. I made different options for each part.

For the eyes, I also made blue human eyes and cat eyes (which have since been called snake, frog, Grinch, creepy, and scary).

For the nose, I made a pig snout, a red reindeer nose, a chicken beak, an elephant trunk, and a man's nose with a mustache.

For the mouth, I made a beaver's mouth, a lady's mouth, and a donkey's mouth. 

For the hat, I made a chef's hat, a beret, a fedora, a cowboy hat, a toboggan, a kettle, and a party hat.

For the scarf, I also made a bow tie and a bandana.

For the arms, I also made muscle man arms and crab arms.

The kids really had fun telling me yes or no when I put an option on the snowman. Of course, I started with the zany ones and ended with the traditional.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino

Rabbit and Owl are neighbors. They both live in small houses until Owl needs a better view of the forest because Rabbit's garden has grown too tall. Owl's taller house blocks the sun from Rabbit's garden so Rabbit builds a bigger house and puts his garden on the roof. Will these two ever remember they're friends?

What I thought:A great story with such colorful illustrations. Too Tall Houses will be a wonderful addition to my Houses & Homes story time in March. I think the very last illustration is my favorite.

Story Time Themes: House & Homes, Friendship, Forest Animals

(Viking, 2012)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mousterpiece by Jan Breskin Zalben

Janson Mouse lives in an art museum. When the museum close, Janson explores. A new exhibit inspires Janson to try her hand at art. She paints, draws, and cuts until she discovers her own style.

What I thought: A delightful book. I can't wait to use it for my Art/Painting story time in February. The illustrations are nice. I can't choose a favorite. The additional information in the back of the book is wonderful. I find myself wanting to try these different styles.

Story Time Themes: Art, Painting, Mice

(Neal Porter, 2012)

Friday, January 4, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Conejito by Margaret Read MacDonald

Over the summer, I bookmarked Mary's (of Miss Mary Liberry) FlannelFriday post about Conejito by Margaret Read MacDonald. I thought it was a great adaption and would work well for the folk tales story time I had planned for the fall.

For the rabbits, lion, and tiger, I used the clipart from that Mary recommended. I adapted the lion slightly. I gave him a bigger head like the tiger and free-handed the mane to fit over his head.

I decided to make the fox (which Mary left out to shortened the story) in case I wanted to use the story with older kids. Patterns for the fox, barrel, and fire came from Mircosoft clipart. All the pieces are felt with puff paint details.

I ended up not using this flannel during my folk tales story time because I hadn't learned the story well enough. However, I 'm looking forward to using it in the future.