Category Archives: Book Review: Fairy Tales

Review of “The Tale of Despereaux”

 
The Tale of Despereaux9780763680893_p0_v2_s192x300
By Kate DiCamillo
Published by Candlewick Press
272 pages

This is an adventure story about a mouse who tries to save a princess from a rat who wants revenge for a broken heart. It also involves a poor servant girl who wants to be treated like a princess, and a rat who doesn’t like being a rat. Sound complicated? Not really.

The book is separated into four parts. The first tells the story of Despereaux, our petit mouse hero; the second about Roscuro, the revenge-seeking-rat who doesn’t like being a rat; the third is about the servant girl, Miggery Sow; and the forth part brings them all together.

Despereaux is a mouse who lives in the mouse city below the castle ground. But Despereaux isn’t your typical castle mouse. He refuses to scurry, eat paper, collect crumbs and stay away from humans like the other ordinary mice. Instead, Despereaux is adventurous, reads story books instead of eating them, doesn’t care about crumbs, and talks to people. In fact, he falls in love with a princess named Pea.  And for all this, Despereaux gets in real trouble with the rest of the mice community. They send him to the dungeon! Soon he learns that the princess is in trouble, and like a tiny knight in with a shining needle, he’s off to save her. I like Despereaux because he really cares about the princess, and is a brave little hero. Although the dungeon is dark and full of large, dangerous rats, he overcomes his fears and goes to save the princess.

The second main character in the story is Roscuro, Despereaux’s nemesis. He’s a rat who lives in the dungeon who, unlike other rats, likes the light. But, when he ventures upstairs out of the darkened dungeon to find the light, he causes a huge soup fiasco (yes, soup fiasco) that leaves him bitter and vengeful.

Then there’s Miggery Sow, a former farmer’s slave. She now works as a servant girl at the castle. Roscuro uses her as part of his plan for revenge, but she’s not a bad person. She’s just not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Finally, we have Pea, the beautiful princess who is full of qualities like compassion, empathy, and many other traits that most fairytale royalties have.  It sort of makes her character seem a bit too perfect. But she is important to the story.

I liked this story because of its sense of danger and adventure, yet it still is narrated with a soft, sometime humorous voice.

The tale of Despereaux is also a cute animated 2008 movie with Emma Watson and Robbie Coltrane. I enjoyed the movie, but it added, took out, and changed some of the minor and major details.

This is a great book for kids who like fairytales and adventures ages 8-11.

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Review of “The Ever Afters: Of Giants and Ice”

 
The Ever Afters: Of Giants and Iceof_giants_and_ice_pic
By: Shelby Bach
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 

Although this book has a similar title to another book I   reviewed, called Ever After High, it is a totally different book by a different author.

This book is about a 6th grader who discovers that fairy tales are actually real.  Rory Landon had always been under the shadow of her parents, a movie director and a Hollywood actor. Until one day in 6th grade she goes to the most extraordinary after-school program, where fairy tales aren’t just tales. Now destined to be a star of a fairy tale, she will step out of her parents’ shadow. Pretty soon she is climbing a bean stock, just like the fairy tale “Jack and the Bean Stock”. Up in the giant’s house she and her friends Lena and Chase fight baby dragons and a few unexpected intruders. Once, they even take a portal to the Snow Queen’s castle. The Snow Queen is one of the most dangerous and evil people in the world. In the castle they are chase by the guards, and have to get back to the portal quickly.

One of my favorite characters is Rapunzel. I like her because she is a good person but she is also different. She is very mysterious and whenever she says something, she says it in a strange way, and no one quite understands what she means until later in the story. One of my favorite parts is when Chase and Rory start agreeing with each other, since at the beginning of the story they don’t quite get along as friends.

I really like this book. There are two worlds, the normal world and the fairy tale world. It is a little like another book I reviewed, called Whatever After. But unlike Whatever After where the fairy tale world is a different dimension that the kids take a portal to, in this book the two worlds co-exist. I like this book the same as Whatever After, but that had more humor while Giants and Ice had more action.

I recommend this book to kids 8-10 who like fairy tales and adventure.

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Review of “Whatever After: Dream On”

 
Whatever After: Dream Onwhatever_after_dream_on_by_sarah_mlynowski_0545633656
By Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Scholastic Inc.
157 pages

Abby is having a sleepover at her house with her friend, Robin. Abby and her brother Jonah do not plan to go knock on the magic mirror in the basement and go to fairy tale land. But when Robin sleepwalks and knocks on the mirror, Abby finds herself with Jonah and Robin in the story of Sleeping Beauty. This was the first time that any of Abby’s friends had ever been in the mirror. Then, when Robin pokes her elbow on the spindle and uses up the spell of the evil fairy, she falls asleep. Now Abby and Jonah have to wake Robin up, put Sleeping Beauty to sleep and find a way home before their parents wake up.

This book is the 4th book in the “Whatever After” series. I wrote a review for the first book, which was hilariously funny. I did not write reviews for the next two books because they were not as good as the first. I reviewed this book because it was my favorite of the series. I like the busy plot of the story because Abby and Jonah have so much to do and so little time. I think Felix, sleeping Beauty’s little brother is way to bossy, but if he wasn’t so bossy, he wouldn’t be so interesting. I also like Lottie, the daughter of the evil fairy because she isn’t so bad, but also isn’t so good. This book is not as funny as the first one in the series, but it is a more interesting story. I think girls between 7-9 will really like this book.

 

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Review of “Whatever After: Fairest of All”

Whatever_After-Fairest_of_All 
Whatever After: Fairest of All
By Sarah Mlynowski
Published by Scholastic Inc.
192 pages

When Abby and Jonah move in to their new house, Jonah starts exploring in the basement. When Jonah accidentally knocked on the mirror in the basement at midnight he discovered something strange and wakes up his sister. When Jonah knocks on the mirror again, this time it magically transferred both Abby and Jonah to a strange land. As they begin to explore and look for a way home, they have a series of adventures that make them realize that they are inside the fairy tale of Snow White! During their adventures, they stopped Snow from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! But then they realized if Snow doesn’t eat the poisoned apple and die, she wouldn’t get her happily ever after. Now it’s up to Abby and Jonah to fix the story, and also find a way back home before their parents wake up.

I like the way the author develops the character, especially Abby.  I like the way she takes care of her little brother, Jonah, decides how to fix the stories, and helps make a happily ever after for Snow. My favorite part is when Snow becomes queen and marries the prince and the evil stepmother queen goes to the dungeons.  I also like when they meet the seven dwarfs who are not the ones we are familiar with (Did you know that in the original version of Snow White, the Brothers Grimm didn’t give the seven dwarfs any names!? The dwarfs have different names in different versions of the story. You can find some of them here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Dwarfs).

This book is the first in a series that so far has five books, but more are expected. I think girls who are around 9 years old and like fairy tales and adventure will really enjoy this funny book.

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Review of “Ever After High: The Story Book of Legends”

 
Ever After High: The Story Book of LegendsEver_After_High-The_Story_Book_of_Legends
By Shannon Hale
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
320 pages

Raven Queen is destined to be the next evil queen in the Snow White story. Snow White’s daughter, Apple White, is excited to be the next Snow White in her story. Each year on Legacy day, students at Ever After High sign a pledge in the story book of legends to follow in the footsteps of their parents. But Raven does not want to be evil, that’s for sure. Everyone believes if you refuse to sign, you and your story go poof! But Raven doesn’t believe it and wants to know what really happens if you refuse.

I like this book because the characters are only in high-school. And the different fairy tales keep repeating with each generation of Snow White, Cinderella etc. But the different characters make the stories a little different in each generation. My favorite character is Raven because she stands up for herself when she doesn’t want to follow her destiny, and when she is only six she realizes she doesn’t want to be evil. My favorite part of this book is when she refuses to sign the book, but doesn’t go poof, yet. This book is the first in a series of three books. However, there are also lots of related books by the same author about other characters who go to Ever After High. I recommend this book to girls ages 8 and 9.

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