Throwback Thursday: Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is one of those books from my childhood that I adore. Ella has been given the “gift” og obedience: forced to follow ANY and EVERY command given to her.

If you have never read this book, you should do so. Gail Carson Levine is an amazing writer. The movie that they made went in a completely different direction than the book. The book is more serious and has a much better fantasy grounding.

A lot of kids today have never read this book. They know of the movie before this book. But I am telling you know, put this Cinderella retelling in their hands.

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Throwback Thursday: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

Beekle

“This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

I read this book last year before it won The Caldecott. I loved it then and I love it now! Beekle is so adorable and I love the art. The contrast between the real world and Beekle’s world was well decided. It pulls on my heartstrings the way Beekle goes in search of his friend.

Children will definitely appreciate the imaginative drawings and vivid colors. It is a sweet story that I recommend for young preschoolers.

Throwback Thursday: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs

3 Little Pigs

In honor of the 25th Anniversary, we will be revisiting The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. First off, I really love this pairing. The illustrator’s aesthetic is so quirky and off beat and the authors sense of humor is in sync with my own. This is one of those iconic books that everyone should read.

One of the aspects I love about the story, and the story can be read multiple ways, is that villain doesn’t see himself as a villain. Beside Rumpelstiltskin, who I have already admired in his own post, being a hero and a villain is simply a matter of perception.

I had forgotten how much I love this book. It often gets over shadowed by the Stinky Cheese Man but it is a cute read, worthy of children with quirky senses of humor.

Throwback Thursday: Tea Rex

OMG, OMG, OMG. Let me tell you about this book.  Molly Idle is a genius!

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Tea Rex is singularly the most adorable and hilarious book ever.

“Some tea parties are for grown-ups.
Some are for girls.
But this tea party is for a very special guest.
And it is important to follow some rules . . .
like providing comfortable chairs,
and good conversation,
and yummy food.
But sometimes that is not enough for special guests,
especially when their manners are more Cretaceous than gracious . . .”-Flap Copy

When I first saw the F&Gs (folded and gathered book sheets, aka the unfinished version of a picture book), I knew I needed this book. Check out the first page:

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These Emily Post style tips are juxtaposed with the little girl trying to apply it to T-Rex. Little kids and adults will love the whimsical color pencil illustrations and the silly juxtaposition.

Freaking adorable.

I wish I were her editor.

Throwback Thursday: Of Swans, Sugarplums and Satin Slippers

So I have decided to do my own version of Throwback Thursday and look at books from my past or the back-list (aka, not new within the last year).  These posts will probably be a mash up book review and my thoughts on how I might repurpose it.

To commemorate the inaugural post of the series, I am going back to elementary school and the only book I would ever check out. If you read some of my previous posts, you might notice I am a little ballet obsessed. Truth? If things had gone differently, I would be an anorexic ballerina now and not the brilliant YA addict that I am. So without further ado, I present Of Swans, Sugarplums and Satin Slippers.

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It is a collection of classical ballet stories (Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, etc) written by Violette Verdy and illustrated by Marcia Brown. I LOVE this book. My first memory of going to a library involves this book. I would always go to the school library and pick this out. Nothing else.

Now that I am older, I still love it…but I would change things. My aesthetic is very different. I love whimsical drawings, and I am a fan of detailed drawings. Brown’s illustrations just aren’t working for me.

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Though this is still very pretty.

For a picture book, it’s long. I mean 86 pages long. (As I am sitting here looking at the book, I feel like this explains so much about why I was an advanced reader. My favorite PICTURE book was 86 pages longs with several pages WITHOUT pictures.) The stories are wonderful and detailed, but it really doesn’t fit.

If I had the opportunity to republish this book, I would break the stories into their own books, and get paper engineer, Yevgeniya Yeretskaya, to illustrate.

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I mean, look at this gorgeous pop-up from her book Snow Queen.

I would then do a compiled version, more like this book, that features the text along with some of the best illustrations.

Of Swan, Sugarplums and Stain Slippers  remains my one of my favorite picture books, even if it is 86 pages long.