Saturday, February 6, 2010


By Louis Sachar
Random House Children's Books
May 2000
Ages: 12 and up.
Pages: 233

This book is about a young boy named Stanley Yelnats who has more bad luck than anyone he knows. Because of this bad luck, stanley is accused of something he didn't do and is sent to a juvenile detention camp where you dig holes. After one of stanley's friends, Hector, nicknamed "Zero" can't take it anymore and runs away, Stanley follows him in an attempt to persuade him to come back. But Stanley and Hector take refuge on "God's Thumb" and dig up some family history and the truth about camp green lake and the curse on stanley's family is broken because of the friendship and adventures that have happened between Hector and Stanley.
Who would benefit from reading this book?
This is a fantastic adveture/modern day fantasy read. It has some of everything in it, including mystery, danger, intrigue and just a little bit of justice and romance mixed. It is a book that everyone can read and find something they like about it according to their favorite genre.
What are some problems you see this book causing?
There is not really anything that I see right now that would or could cause a problem. The book is about boys in a juvenile detention camp. If anything, it shows you that there are consequences for every action you take, whether they are good or bad ones.
What was your reaction to this book?
I've read this book before and I loved reading it this time, just as much as I did the first time. As I mentioned above, this book has something for everyone. Mystery, intrigue, danger, adventure and justice with just a little bit of romance mixed in. It's a great read that I would reccommend to anyone of any age.

Abjornsen and Moe Fairytales

Taming the Shrew, The Two Stepsisters, Buttercup and Gertrude's Bird.
By Peter Christen Abjornsen and Jorgen Moe.

The tale I will summarize is called Buttercup. It is about a mother and her son and their dog. The boy was so plump and jolly that the mother called him buttercup. each day, a wicked old hag who carried her head under her arm always tricked the boy into the sack by offering him a present. On the third day, the witch asked her daughter to kill the boy and boil him in a pot. The daughter had no idea how to do this, so the boy offered to show her and he chopped off her head and boiled her instead. The witch and her husband came home and tasted the broth, thinking it was buttercup. Instead, it was their daughter who they thought was asleep in bed, but it was only her head. They heard a noise outside and they went to investigate. THe boy bashed their heads to bits with rocks, stole the gold and silver which was inside the sack and took it home to his mother and they became very rich.
Who would benefit from reading this tale?
I'm not sure anyone would benefit from reading this tale. it's a little disturbing... Though I think that anyone who is interested in comparing fairytales with each other would do well to read this one and compare it with the Brothers Grimm.
What Problems do you see this tale causing?
This tale talks of violence and murder. Chopping off heads, boiling the bodies for soup and then smashing heads to bits. The gruesomness might disturb some younger readers.
What was your reaction?
I was a little horriffied, though not at all surprised. After reading several different types of fairytales and being exposed to varying degrees of gruesomness and violence in each one of them, this one was not any different. I didn't really care for it, though it was kind of interesting. The title of the story is VERY misleading. Don't let it fool you. It has nothing to do with the Princess Bride. ha ha ha

Hans Christian Andersen Fairytales

The Princess and the Pea, The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina and The Brave Tin Soldier
By: Hans Christian Andersen

The story I will be summarizing is The Princess and the Pea. In the princess and the pea, a prince longs to marry a real princess, so he travels the world and searches and searches, never finding someone. So he comes home again. One night there was a bad storm and a princess knocks at the door of the castle. The queen, determined to see if the princess was a real one, took a pea, laid it on the bedframe and piled twenty mattresses on top. If the girl could feel the pea through the mattresses, then she was a real princess. The princess had the most awful's night's sleep because the bed was so uncomfortable; she was black and blue all over. THen the prince promptly married her because no one but a real princess could be as sensitive as that. Then they put the pea in a museum where it can still be seen today.
Who would benefit from reading this story?
I think anyone would benefit from reading this story. It's classic princess story with a fun and unexpected twist to test the princess.
What problems do you see this story causing?
I do not see this story causing any problems.
What was your reaction?
I knew when we had to read Hans Christian Andersen that I immediately wanted to read the princess and the pea. When I was a lot younger, I had a book of the Princess and the Pea that had wonderful and engaging illustrations; I read it all the time. I loved how the illustrations were able to suck you into the story and imagine that you were there with the princess and the prince and the crafty queen.

The Brothers Grimm Fairytales

Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Grethel, and The Frog King
By: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

The story I will be summarizing is Rapunzel, which is my favorite out of all the Brothers Grimm fairytales. There was a man and woman who were expecting their first child; they lived next door to a witch. The woman grew to crave the rapunzel the witch grew in her garden and thought she would surely die if she could not have some. So, the husband would steal some for her to eat and then one day he got caught. The witch declared that if he wanted to keep taking rapunzel then he would have to give her his firstborn child when they were born. The man agreed. When the baby was born, the witch took her and named her Rapunzel. When Rapunzel came of age, the witch locked her in a tower and came to visit her often. Rapunzel would let her long hair down out the window and the witch would climb it. One day when the witch came, a prince witnessed her climbing Rapunzel's hair and he decided that he would do it. So after the witch left, he climbed her hair, Rapunzel was surprised, but she and the prince soon fell in love. The rest of the story progresses and rapunzel has all of her hair cut off by the witch, the prince has his eyes pricked out by thorns when he falls from the tower and he and rapunzel only meet each other and live happily ever after years later after the prince has wandered blindly and aimlessly in the desert.
Who would benefit from reading this story?
This is a classic fairytale and one of my favorites despite being a little graphic. I think anyone would benefit from reading this story because it teaches good morals in a way that is easy for people to understand.
What problems do you see this book potentially causing?
As I mentioned above, the story gets a little graphic/violent in a place or two. The witch is particularly cruel and this might disturb some younger readers.
What was your reaction?
I LOVE the story of Rapunzel, and I love it so much because I can identify with it. This is because of Rapunzel's long hair. I have really long hair and when I was in high school, it was even longer than it is now. Rapunzel was one of the nicknames that my friends had given me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Charles Perrault's Stories

Puss in Boots, The Ridiculous Wishes and Griselda
By Charles Perrault

This is about the Tale of Griselda. A young prince is in charge of a kindgom and his subjects urge him to get married. He tells them a list of qualities and then tells them when they find this lady, he will marry her straight away. He then proceeds to go hunting with his friends and hounds. He becomes separated from them and finds the most beautiful, sweet and sincere maiden he has ever met. After meeting her and drinking from her cup, he goes on his way again. When separated from her, he becomes deeply melancholy. When he goes hunting again, he devises a way to lose his companions so he can find Griselda again. In the coming days, the more he saw of Griselda, the more his love burned for her, the young shepherdess. He told his counselers and subjects that he was soon planning to wed and that he hoped they would approve of his choice. A great wedding is soon planned and the prince travels to Griselda's cottage with the wedding party and she is in shock, but pleasantly surprised to find out that she is to be the bride of the wedding. She vows never to have any wishes but those of her husband's. They were married and a year later were blessed with a child. The princes grows angry and rude and mean and soon Griselda's goodness annoys and offends him. He soon locks her up in her rooms and takes away all of her jewelry and fine things in a show of dominance.
He then takes away the child so that she may be raised properly. Griselda is beside herself. The princess grows, falls in love and then marries. They are cruelly torn apart by the princess's father and her husband leaves. I will not tell the rest of the story, for it has a good couple of unique twists that are hard to summarize/describe.

Who would benefit from reading this tale?
It's a weird mixture of snow white and sleeping beauty with a few defining characteristics of their own thrown in. Anyone would enjoy it.
What problems could this solve?
Griselda's husband, the prince or the king or whatever, is particularly cruel and manipulative. He gets very jealous, very easily and these might not be qualities that parents want their children exposed to.
What was your reaction?
I liked it better than some of the other fairytales I've recently read, but it still wasn't my favorite. It dragged on WAY too much, again like the Sea Maiden, there was a lot of fluff that didn't really have anything to do with the plot.

Joseph Jacobs Celtic Fairytales

The Sea Maiden, The Story of Deirdre, and Connla and the Fairy Maiden
By Joseph Jacobs

Okay, so I just spent the last fifteen minutes typing up a well thought out summary, truly epic, when my internet at my apartment complex kicked me off. I'm not spending another fifteen minutes on it, so whatever I give you, you'll have to be happy with.
A man makes a bargain with a sea maiden so that he may be prosperous and catch lots of fish. In return his son must go to be with sea maiden when he is twenty years old. the son leaves home before he turns twenty and does a series of challenges, unintentionally proving himself to the king and winning the princess's hand in marriage. They marry and one day they take a walk on the loch, and the sea maiden kidnaps the son. The princess is distraught and talks to the soothsayer and gives her a solution. The princess succeeds in saving her beloved, but afterwards she herself is kidnapped by the sea maiden. The son talks to the soothsayer and finds a solution and with the help of his animal friends he made on his various journeys, he saves the princess and kills the sea maiden.
Who would benefit from reading this?
Anyone who is a fan of celtic fairytales, or even Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid might like this tale. It gives lots of detail on battles and the son's heroic feats in order to marry the princess.
What problems do you see this story causing?
This particular tale has a lot of violence in it. Giants are killed and beheaded or trampled to death, monsters are beheaded, etc. It's just not very pleasant and some younger audiences might be disturbed with the contents.
What was your reaction?
I personally did not care for the story. The only part that mentioned the Sea Maiden was at the very beginning and at the very end. It gave WAY too much detail in the middle with nothing to do with the sea maiden. It all just seemed like fluffy filler.