Category Archives: classics

In Praise of a Solid Foundation

This holiday season we had two trees.  One was the traditional fir, harvested on a cold, rainy, November morning from the tree farm after much debate and struggle to saw it down and drag it to the car.  The other was assembled on my desk, thanks to the inspiration of many creative librarians and several pinterest searches.  Our “book tree” was a collaborative effort and included favorites from each of my girls so that it represented all of our reading interests.  It was adorned with twinkly lights, draped with a garland made of strips from an old book dipped in glitter, and topped with a star created by my crafty middle child from book pages.

Deconstructing the tree had its own challenges.  Glitter.  Everywhere.  SO MUCH GLITTER.  Putting up the tree required organizing books by size, thickness, shape, and aesthetics.  Taking down the tree required a carefully vacuuming of each and every book to remove the festive remnants that fell from the garland.  Did I mention there was A LOT of glitter?   This process gave me a chance to carefully examine each and every title that made its way into our holiday book tree.  What became clear was that the foundation of our tree was built upon classic titles.  This makes sense as the base consisted of the largest books in our collection; the oversized read-aloud versions of Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web, and Johnny Tremain, among others.  It had me thinking about the importance of classic literature for young readers.  There is a reason these beloved classics speak to adult memories of youth and discovery.  Sharing them with a child creates a bond between reader and listener -connecting over recollections of favorite characters and plot points.   The read-aloud copies are the original stories, but include illustrations to keep little ones engaged.  They are the kind of books that create the foundation of a lifelong reader.  Below are several of my favorite classics that I’ve enjoyed reading aloud in “big book” format.  Perhaps one will inspire you to grow your own book tree.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren & Lauren Child – I adore this version of  Pippi.  Not only do children think she is absolutely hilarious and absurd while at the same time wishing they could be Pippi, or at least Annika and Tommy.  Child’s illustrations are done in her unique style, familiar to those who watched Charlie and Lola, and bring a modern vibe to the tale.  The large book version is bright and vibrant, just like Pippi herself.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne & Ernest H. Shepard – This old favorite introduces readers to the world of Hundred Acre Wood.   Many young readers have a familiarity with Pooh from tv and movies, but sharing the original stories and charming illustrations creates a whole new way to enjoy these well known characters.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum –  Years ago our library had a very large illustrated version of the unabridged story that first introduced us to Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and all the fascinating characters of Oz.   It was true to the original text but so gloriously illustrated, with big pages for little eyes, that it inspired several viewings of the film and a themed birthday party.

There are several series of classics that have been issued that provide beautiful copies of these classics perfect to read aloud.  Keep in mind some are abridged or even re-writes of the original so make sure to check that you are getting the right version for your little reader.  Check out these editions that have excellent titles.

Puffin in Bloom Collection: Heidi, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess

Puffin Hardcover Classics: Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Wind in the Willows

Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Children’s Classics: Large variety of titles in a gift-worthy keepsake format.

Ladybird Classics: Tales of daring and adventure that have been “sensitively abridged” for younger readers.

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Filed under classics, Early Readers

Alice’s Curious Adventure

“Every adventure requires a first step”

–  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Today is Lewis Carroll’s 185th birthday.  It is a great time to revisit a classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, first published in 1865.  A journey like no other, Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole and encounters a variety of engaging characters.  Equal parts discovery and non-sense, it is a must read for those who have yet to experience the original Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, and Queen of Hearts.  And worthy of a re-read for those who haven’t picked up their copy in a while.  Although nothing about Alice’s adventures can be considered traditional travel, imagination often provides the best kind of adventure, and books are the perfect way to get there.

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Filed under Adventure, classics

Tell A Fairy Tale Day

For centuries fairy tales have captivated readers with their magic and mystery.   If pressed, nearly early everyone could share at least one traditional story from memory.  They are part of cultural heritage, tradition and identity.  However, what is so fascinating about fairy tales is their universality.  The number of tellings and re-tellings of traditional stories across the ages have transcended physical and cultural boundaries.  In honor of “Tell A Fairy Tale Day”, take time to discover new interpretations of old tales from cultures across the globe or read a new fairy tale from a culture that isn’t familiar to you.  This is a great opportunity to compare and contrast versions.   “Once upon a time…” is the gateway for travel to far away lands, without having to stray too far from what you already know.

fairytale

The Princess and the Peaprincess and pea by Rachel Isadora.   The traditional story of a prince in search of a wife is brought to East Africa with vibrant illustrations that place the classic tale in a new location.  Isadora, a Caldecott award winner, also re-imagines the classic stories of The Twelve Dancing PrincessesRapunzel, and Hansel and Gretel in an African setting.  PB

cendrillionCendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci.  The enduring tale of Cinderella as told through the eyes of a West Indian washerwoman who discovers she possesses a magic wand that can grant her goddaughter happiness.  Other wonderful interpretations of the classic Cinderella story include Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from ChinaThe Egyptian CinderellaAdelitaThe Rough-Face GirlThe Irish Cinderlad The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella StoryThe Korean Cinderella , and The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece.   Enjoy them all!  PB

red riding hoodLittle Red Riding Hood Stories Around the World: 3 Beloved Tales (Multicultural Fairy Tales) by Jessica Gunderson.   There isn’t just one story about a little girl and her sick grandmother – discover how the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood plays out in Germany, Italy and Taiwan.   Finding all three stories in one book is perfect for young readers to investigate the similarities and differences between re-tellings.  Recommended as a read-aloud with a grown-up for younger readers-  some versions are a little intense.   Available in the series is Snow White Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales, also by Gunderson, and Cinderella Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales and Rapunzel Stories Around the World: 3 Beloved Tales, both by Cari Meister.  RA/ER-1/2

russianRussian Fairy Tales  compiled by Aleksandr Afanasev.  The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore library has a large collection of classic tales from around the world.  These editions contain traditional cultural stories known for generations, filled with witches, princes, and other unique characters.  Reading these stories, originally from the oral storytelling tradition, provides a window into the beautiful culture of Russia.  Also recommended are the other editions in the extensive Pantheon library, including Folktales from India Japanese Tales Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies African Folktales Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions Norwegian Folktales Yiddish Folktales African American Folktales: Stories from Black Traditions in the New World American Indian Myths and Legends  and their compilation book Favorite Folktales from Around the World , edited by renowned author Jane Yolen.  RA/MR- 5/ YA

blue fairy bookThe Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.  The first of Lang’s fairy books contains 37 enduring classic fairy tales.  A staple for generations, this is a good start for anyone looking to revisit the stories as they were originally compiled into an English language collection.  Lang pulled from a variety of sources including the Grimm brothers and Charles Perrault, as well as from the oral storytelling tradition.  The fairy tales continue in his many additional volumes.  MR-5   

hcandersenHans Christian Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales translated by Jean P. Hersholt.   Recommended reading for those older readers who are looking for the most recognized versions of classic fairly tales like “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Mermaid”.   The bulk of Andersen’s work is from the mid-1800’s and his stories can be more intense than the well-known, softer versions we are familiar with today.  MR/YA

brothers grimmThe Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.  Containing all 156 tales from the 1812 and 1815 original publications of the Grimm brothers stories, this is where you’ll find the dark and gritty fairy tales when magic isn’t always nice and happy endings aren’t guaranteed.  Without doubt it is a classic, but also not necessarily the best place to start with young children.   Another recommendation to broaden your knowledge of the where the modern day re-tellings got their start.  MR/YA 

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Filed under classics, fairy tale, Multi-Cultural

A Christmas Carol

I’ve always adored the timeless, enduring message of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Perhaps it stems from my youth, when my parents would take us to the theater to see the annual stage production. Or perhaps it was my academic focus on 19th century history and literature as a college student that bred my fondness for Scrooge’s reformation. Maybe it’s that I cherish the sound of laughter and togetherness watching the The Muppet Christmas Carol with my girls. Whatever the motivation, A Christmas Carol has cemented itself as a necessary staple of our holiday season. Through Scrooge we are reminded that Christmas isn’t about things, that sharing is more wonderful than getting, family matters most, it is never too late to turn over a new leaf, and that forgiveness is easily given.   I adore many of the film versions, from the aforementioned Muppets (Gonzo is spectacular as narrator, and Miss Piggy does a perfect Mrs. Cratchit), to Scrooged, a commentary on ’80’s indulgence (with a fantastic Bill Murray), to the terrifying iterations of Scrooge as done by Patrick Stewart or George C. Scott.  However, I recommend giving the written story a try – from the original work, to adaptations for younger readers, to inventive interpretations –  curl up by the fire and experience the true magic of Dicken’s classic tale.

christmascarolPBA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Brett Helquist – This picture book version of the beloved tale of Scrooge and his midnight apparitions is a wonderful addition to every holiday library and a perfect introduction to the story for younger readers.  It would make a wonderful holiday tradition to gather round the fire to read this aloud together as a family. (PB/RA)

mth christmas carolMagic Tree House #44: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by Mary Pope Osborne – Jack and Annie are transported to Victorian England where they meet up with writer Charles Dickens.  Although he appears to have everything he needs, Dickens has secrets about his past that haunt him.  Can Jack and Annie save the beloved writer of a Christmas Carol?  For more information on Dickens London check out Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens the non-fiction companion book by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce.  (ER-1/3)

cracked classicsCracked Classics: Humbug Holiday by Tony Abbott – When Frankie & Devin need a little boost with their English homework they usually get banished to the library where, to their surprise, they are frequently zapped into the books they are supposed to be reading.  This time they are in Victorian England where they come face to face with the grumpiest grouch they’ve ever encountered.  Can they help soften Scrooge’s cold heart and make sure he listens to the visiting spirits? (MR-4)

christmas carolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova – A beautifully illustrated edition of the classic story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, a miser who, through the midnight visitations of three spirits, learns the true meaning of Christmas and discovers it isn’t too late to embrace the joy of the season and change his fate.  (MR 6+/YA/RA)

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Filed under classics, History, Holiday

Marooned Without A Compass

Today is “Marooned Without A Compass Day”.  I love a holiday, any holiday, so I enjoy that there is a designation for pretty much every day of the year should you choose to celebrate. I’m a particular fan of “Talk Like A Pirate Day” (Sept. 19) and “Squirrel Appreciation Day” (Jan. 21).

compass

Now I realize that today, “Marooned Without A Compass Day”, I could go all existential and talk about the deep emotional feelings of being adrift in life without guidance or direction, searching for meaning and fulfillment, alone and trapped in an existence made of chance or misfortune. Or there is the whole “moral compass” angle to consider.  Or I could wax poetic as a travel-blogger about going forth to discover the world without plans or preparation to fully immerse yourself in genuine (or scary, unsafe, life-threatening) experiences.

What fun is that? I prefer to embrace this holiday with the same attitude that I give to “Name Your Car Day” (Oct. 2)*, with a bit of humor and irreverence. Today I choose to pay tribute to those literary characters who really were “marooned without a compass”.  Check out these classic, and not-so-classic stories of shipwreck, deserted islands, and survival.

gsshipwreckedShipwreck on the Pirate Islands –  In the 18th book in the Geronimo Stilton series we find our intrepid mouse hero stranded on a deserted island, searching for buried treasure.  How Geronimo, who seems to long for a quiet life in Mouse City, always winds up in the most precarious situations is a mystery – but always a fun read! (ER-2)

shipwreckedsailorThe Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs – by Tamara Bower is the retelling of a centuries old tale, discovered on papyrus, written in hieroglyphs, that tells of a shipwrecked sailor who soon discovers he is not alone. He befriends a mystical serpent prince who bestows riches upon the sailor to take back to the King of Egypt when he is finally rescued.  (MR-3/4)

maroonedpirateMarooned On The Pirate Coast – by Melinda Rice is part of the Lone Star Heroines Series, focusing on Texas state history.  I’ve included it because the main character is 11 year old Georgina, who is shipwrecked off the coast of Texas, near Galveston, and learns to survive with help from the Karankawa tribe.  And she is rescued by famous pirate, Jean Laffite!  This story of a strong female heroine holds a place among the boy-centered stories!  (MR-3/4)

shipwreckedjapanShipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy– Rhoda Blumberg enthusiastically brings to life the story of 14 year-old Manjiro.  In the early 1800’s Manjiro’s fishing boat is shipwrecked 300 miles away from his home in Japan.  He knows, due to the laws of the time, that he can never return.  When he is finally rescued by a whaling ship, Manjiro takes a chance to go where no Japanese person had gone before, to America!   In his quest to understand American culture, receive an education and undertake amazing adventures Manjiro becomes a hero in his homeland.

robinsoncrusoeRobinson Crusoe – The ultimate, classic shipwreck story, written in 1719 by Daniel Defoe, is a survival booklist must-read.  Crusoe is by far the most famous literary character ever to be “marooned without a compass”.  This novel, told in journal form, of his struggle for survival is required for anyone looking for deserted island adventure . (MR-5 – click here, Robinson Crusoe, for the unabridged YA/Classic version)

swissfamilyrobinsonThe Swiss Family Robinson – If being shipwrecked alone is a bit much to handle, there is always Johann D. Wyss’ tale of the Robinson family, who find themselves stranded on a tropical island.  Together, with their wits, ingenuity, love – and quite a few supplies they salvage from the wreckage of their ship – they make a home out of the uninhabited jungle.  (MR-5 – click here, The Swiss Family Robinson, for the unabridged version – Classic/YA/MR-6&up)

*I just got a new car this week. We haven’t named him yet, but I doubt we’ll wait for next October before christening him with a delightful moniker which will hopefully embody all the awesomeness that is a minivan.

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Filed under classics, Holiday, travel, Uncategorized

Classic Disney

I’m going to DisneyWorld – tomorrow!  I pretty much love all things Disney, but in true Paperback Pigeon form, my absolute favorite Disney films, rides, and attractions come by way of classic literature.  Which also means that many of my favorites harken back to the 60’s and 70’s.  These adaptations were some of my mother’s childhood favorites, which she lovingly introduced to me.   I’m super excited to continue the tradition and share my “classic” favorites with my girls – visiting the attractions and meeting the characters that first entered the world via storybooks.

Check our some of my favorite novels that became Disney films and attractions.  Planning a visit to DisneyWorld?  Read your favorite before you visit.  Not traveling anytime soon?  Grab one of the stories below for a virtual trip to the classic Disney universe.

mary poppinsMary Poppins by P.L. Travers  – The Banks house will never be the same after Mary Poppins arrives to take care of Jane, Michael & the twins.  She’s a most unusual nanny who, with a little magic and make believe, changes the Banks family forever.

Brought to life in the 1964 musical starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition is a true Disney classic.  Looking for the story behind the making of the film?  Check out Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, which tells the story of Disney’s quest to adapt the novel for movie audiences.

Looking to meet Mary Poppins?  Enjoy the Supercalifragilistic breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa where she regularly makes an appearance.  Or if you are heading to EPCOT make sure to stop at the United Kingdom Pavilion where Mary Poppins makes multiple visits each day.

swissfamilyrobinsonThe Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss – When the Robinson family is shipwrecked on a tropical island they must create a new life for themselves in this uninhabited paradise by creatively using the items they salvaged from the wreck of their vessel.

Disney’s 1960 live action Swiss Family Robinson brings this remarkable adventure to the screen.  With an amazing treehouse, an ostrich and elephant race, and pirates, this relic from the Disney vault is worth a watch.

Who wouldn’t love to live in a treehouse, if just for a day?  Visit the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom Park to walk through the treetops and see how the Robinson Family used some ingenuity and innovation to make their shipwrecked life spectacular.

tomsawyerThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – The classic tale of boyhood uses humor and wit to evoke a simpler time, highlighting memorable adventures of a 19th century childhood.

Disney translated the novel to film in 1995’s Tom and Huck.

Enjoy your own adventure on Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park.  The original attraction was designed in 1956 for Disneyland by Walt Disney himself!  Want to get up close and personal with author Mark Twain?  He is the animatronic host of the American Adventure, along with Benjamin Franklin, at the America Pavilion in EPCOT.  This 30 minute show highlights events in American History.

peter panPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie – The story of a boy who never grows up, but spends his days having adventures in Neverland, leading his band of Lost Boys, and cavorting with fairies and mermaids.  However, when Wendy and her brothers join Peter he questions his path, and Wendy must face difficult decisions that will determine her future.

Disney’s animated Peter Pan is a warmer version of the classic tale, charming and lighthearted without the dark undertones in the original story.  Once they’ve seen this movie every child can’t help but wish for a little pixie dust and membership in the Lost Boys.

Take a trip to Neverland when you visit Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Park – a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight is a must!  Just around the corner you can meet Peter and Wendy.  Pixie dust more your style?  Head to the Town Square theater where you can shrink down to fairy size and meet Tinkerbell.

aliceinwonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – A trip down the rabbit hole takes Alice to a nonsensical universe where nothing is quite as it seems and with each turn of the page things get “curiouser and curiouser”.   From the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat, everyone Alice meets introduces her to a wacky, wonderful world

Alice in Wonderland, Disney’s 1951 animated version plays on the whimsy of Carroll’s original and brings the iconic characters to life.  Everyone is here  – from Tweedledee & Tweedledum to the Queen of Hearts!  The 2010 live action Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp is a more sophisticated take on the surreal world of Wonderland.  Nothing is as it seems for a more grown-up Alice, except the creative influence of director Tim Burton is evident in every aspect of this magical adaptation.

Ready to take a whirl into your own Wonderland?  Join the Mad Tea Party and spin yourself silly in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom Park.  When you are done, if you’re not too dizzy, you can meet characters from Wonderland just outside the ride.  Or if you happen to find yourself in United Kingdom Pavilion at EPCOT you can find Alice in the gardens, perhaps recalling her time in Wonderland.

poohThe Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – Everyone loves the endearing, charming, sweet chubby bear that is Winnie-the-Pooh.  He’s charmed children for generations and his dear companions in the Hundred Acre Wood, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and Christopher Robin, provide enduring friendship and endless adventures.

Even the young, or young at heart, can embrace classic literature through Disney adapted films and attractions. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Disney’s 1977 animated film is a wonderful introduction to Pooh and friends.  Many additional films followed, but start with the original to keep close to the storybook’s classic tales.

Enjoy the Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh in ride form, as you travel via honey-pot through the Hundred Acre Wood, in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.  After the ride stop in for a delicious buffet meal at the Crystal Palace, where Pooh and friends can be found making the rounds at every meal.  No time to stop and eat?  No worries, you can also meet Pooh & Friends just outside the attraction entrance.  Pooh also makes an appearance in the United Kingdom Pavilion at EPCOT. He can be found, often with one of his friends, in Christopher Robin’s room.

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Filed under classics, Disney, History, Uncategorized

S is for….

S if for…

Seuss

What books are perfect for every age

With wonders to discover as you turn each page?

Will it be The Cat or the Lorax or an elephant named Horton?

Or Yertle, or Bartholmew?  What could be more fun?

For nearly 80 years Dr. Seuss has charmed and challenged young readers with his rhyming prose, whimsical illustrations and fantastical creative universes.   From the first publication of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937  you’d be hard-pressed to meet a child who hasn’t been won over by a Seuss story.  Although they are funny, magical and sometimes nonsensical, the true joy in a Seuss is discovering the real moral heart of each story – and realizing Theodore S. Geisel truly believed, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.  His belief in children, and their ability to learn from and love literature, is evident on every page.    Here are just a few Paperback Pigeon favorites from the more than 40 Seuss titles to choose from. (PB/ER K-2)

mulberrystreetAnd to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street – The very first Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 publishers!  This classic tale of a young boys’ journey home from school, and what he saw (or imagined) on the way home appreciates the creativity and ingenuity of make-believe and cherishes the storyteller in all of us!

yertletheturtleYertle the Turtle and Other Stories – Moral tales in engaging rhyme – what a perfect pairing.   Yertle, the greedy turtle king, forces all the other turtles to hold him up to view his kingdom – but when his desire for power and possession goes too far it only takes a tiny action (hilarious to kids of all ages) to bring him back to reality.

grinchHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!  – The enduring tale that reminds all of us that Christmas isn’t about toys and trees, and the joy of the season can impact everyone – even if your heart is two-sizes too small.

 

greenegsandhamGreen Eggs and Ham – “I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”  The story of this infamous dish mimics the struggles of every parent to entice picky-eaters to try new foods.  Seuss keeps it funny and lighthearted, but in the end Sam-I-Am wins out and a delicious discovery is made.  PBP Challenge: Can you read the longest page in only one breath?

Do you have an ultimate Seuss fan at home?  Trip It:  with a visit to Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure to see Seuss Landing – and immerse your young reader in the world of Dr. Seuss firsthand!

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Filed under A to Z, classics, Early Reader, Picture Book

P is for….

It begins with “A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy”

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwick sisters are as different as can be, but all of them are truly thrilled to be spending their summer at Arundel, a country estate.  Here they discover a special friendship, the joy of of fresh baked cookies, and endless summer afternoons.  But they also learn of prejudice, the consequences of selfish behavior, and the sting of first love.  A charming, heartwarming tale that is sure to be a classic. MR-4/5

*A Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite*

penderwicksThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy–  When Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty arrive at Arundel they are looking forward to a summer of outdoor adventures on the grounds of this Massachusetts estate, but they never imagined they’d meet a friend like Jeffery Tifton.  The sweet son of Arundels cold and prejudiced owner, Jeffery is in peril of being sent to a military academy his mother hopes will make him more like his grandfather.  Jeffery needs help to avoid this dreaded fate and the Penderwick sisters aren’t going to let their new friend down.  Filled with hilarious misadventures and growing pains, The Penderwicks evokes the warmth and charm essential to a childhood classic.

penderwicksgardhamstreetThe Penderwicks on Gardam Street – Fall has come and the Penderwicks are back home.  Mr. Penderwick has settled into the widower lifestyle, but his sister, Aunt Claire,  thinks it is time he consider dating again.  Leave it to the girls to come up with the “save-Daddy” plan to thwart any progress in his search for a new wife.  Can they ensure his dates are dreadful all this while dealing with neighborhood boys, homework swaps, and soccer drama?  What if the solution to their problem isn’t quite what they think, or any further away than their own neighborhood?

penderwickspointemouetteThe Penderwicks at Point Mouette – This summer Rosalind is off to the beach and the other girls are headed to Maine with Aunt Claire.  Can Skye live up to the pressure of being OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick)?  With their dear friend Jeffrey joining them, things are sure to be full of excitement, confusion, misunderstandings, and adventures.   Luckily their quaint cottage by the shore has some special neighbors who are sure to make certain it’s a summer they’ll never forget.

penderwicksspringThe Penderwicks in Spring – Due March 24, 2015 – Spring is full of surprises and the Penderwicks are sure to be up to mischief in the fourth book about this amazing family!

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Filed under A to Z, classics, Middle Reader, series

Veteran’s Day Voices

It’s Veteran’s Day, an opportunity to remember and honor the members of our country’s military.   November 11 is more than just a day off from school, it is a time to remember that others have served, fought, and sacrificed so that we can continue to live as we choose.  Originally established to commemorate the Armistice established November 11, 1918 ending the hostilities in WWI, in 1954 the holiday was changed to honor veterans of all conflicts.  Check out these books that bring personal perspective to the military experience of World War I.

poppyladyThe Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veteransby Barbara Walsh is the true story of one woman’s quest to honor the soldiers in World War I.  Inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” Moina Michael turned the poppy into an enduring symbol of appreciation and remembrance for the American military.  (PB)

knityourbitKnit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson is the story of a little boy who wants to help when his father goes off to fight in WWI.  He realizes that doing something small can make a big difference.  Inspired by the true life event of the Central Park Knit-In in 1918. (PB)

bunnywarhorseBunny the Brave War Horse: Based on a True Storyby Elizabeth MacLeod is a heartwarming tale of two brothers and their horse who tackle the horrors of World War I together.  (ER – 1-3)

 

shootingatthestarsShooting at the Stars by John Hendrix details the Christmas Eve Truce of 1914, when British and German soldiers came together on the battlefield to celebrate the holiday together, only to return to their trenches and await orders to resume fighting.  Includes non-fiction support information about the truce. (MR- 4/5)

inflandersfieldsIn Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae by Linda Granfield follows the lines of the historic poem interspersing factual information about all aspects of the military experience in World War I. (MR – 4/5)

 

afterthedancingdaysAfter the Dancing Days by Margaret Rostkowski tells the story of Annie, a young girl who is trying to forget World War I.  That’s what her mother wants her to do, but Annie can’t seem to forget Andrew, the young injured soldier at the hospital where her father works.  As Annie gets to know Andrew better she begins to understand that the War isn’t so easy to forget and growing up isn’t so simple.  (MR -6+)

allquietonthewesternfrontAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is a defining classic of the cost of war to the young men engaged to participate in conflict.  Paul Baumer enlisted with his friends, but as the war goes on and he lives the horrors of World War I, he vows to work against the principles of hatred that have destroyed his life.  (YA+)

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Filed under classics, europe, History, Holiday, military history, veterans

I is for…

What if you could be anyone, or go anywhere?  With a little imagination anything is possible!

Isabella books by Jennifer Fosberry

Isabella is a little girl with big plans.  With unlimited imagination nothing is impossible for a girl who truly believes in the magic of pretend!  (PB)

isabellagirlonthegoIsabella: Girl on the Go – Isabella is spending the day helping her father, but she isn’t going to settle for ordinary chores!   As she goes about her day each chore becomes an exciting adventure across the globe.  Where will she end up?  The best place of all, of course, home.  Wonderful information for young readers about the fantastic destinations that Isabella visits – from the Pyramids at Giza to the Great Wall of China – at the back of the book.

isabellanotmynameMy Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? – Isabella isn’t going to settle for just being Isabella!  Call her Sally the astronaut or Marie the scientist, or Mommy the greatest Mommy there ever was!  Isabella spends her day pretending to be all her heroes, driving home the idea that girls can be and do anything they want.  And maybe being Isabella is the best person for her to be, after all.  Turn to the end to learn all about the amazing women Isabella adores.

isabellastarofthestoryIsabella: Star of the Story – Isabella discovers the wonders contained in the covers of a book when she visits the library.  Here she takes a turn at being the lead role in classic children’s tales while she tries to find just the right book.   Who will Isabella be next?  Peter Pan, Goldilocks and Black Beauty all make appearances, but it is the yellow brick road that leads Isabella to the checkout desk and the perfect book for her.  Don’t forget to check out more information on the stories Isabella enjoys at the back of the book – perhaps one is just right for you!

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