Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction, Funny Stories | Posted on October 1, 2010
Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her royal life and the excitement surrounding her sixteenth birthday ball. Doomed to endure courtship by three grotesquely unappealing noblemen, she escapes her fate for a week. Disguised as a peasant, she attends the village school as the smart new girl, “Pat,” and attracts friends and the attention of the handsome school master. Disgusting suitors, loveable peasants, and the clueless King and Queen collide at the ball, where Princess Patricia Pricilla calls the shots. What began as a cure for boredom, becomes a chance for Princess Patricia Priscilla to break the rules and marry the man she loves.–from the catalog summary
Lois Lowry calls this a “silly little book” and it really is! I loved it; what fun! Watch the interview below where Lois Lowry talks about The Birthday Ball. Do you like “silly little books?” Don’t forget to check out my review of The Willoughbys also by Lois Lowry!
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy, Love Stories | Posted on January 31, 2009
At first, I had a hard time understanding what was happening at the beginning of this story because I didn’t understand some of the words. Once I figured them out, however, I was truly mesmerized by Aurelie. This is what you need to know: a majority of the characters in the book are faes, lutines, dracs or gargouilles; in other words, there are faerie creatures, some harmless, some quite dangerous.
The chapters are told in the alternating voices of the four main characters, Aurelie, Netta, Garin (all human) and Loic, a river drac fae. They are childhood friends but soon must part when they begin to grow up. Aurelie is Princess Aurelie, heir to her country’s throne, Garin must flee his country for he is the enemy, Netta hides from the world after a devastating loss, and Loic must return to the Fae world to learn to become a full-grown drac. They no longer talk to each other but soon realize that they need each other’s help when Aurelie’s and Garin’s countries start warring against each other.
I love how the first chapter begins:
We promised, the three of us. No one would discover that we could see the Fae. Too dangerous, Loic had warned, rubbing his nurse’s magic ointment on our left eyes. It stung. I remember blinking through the pain, thrilled at a story come to life: his scaled legs and lizard tail, a boy’s arms, torso and handsome face. After that one solemn moment years ago, the little river drac’s hyacinth-blue gaze was never so serious again.
I really loved the magical and poetic writing of this story. The plot is a bit sophisticated but very rewarding if you can stick with it. I enjoyed the mixing and melding of the two worlds, magical and real, the beautiful language, and the wonderful friendships the four characters had. Can Princess Aurelie save her country? Will Garin return to help save his childhood friend? Will Netta come out of hiding to help Aurelie and to find her one true love? If you love fairy tales and stories of the faerie world, you’ll love Aurelie: A Faerie Tale.
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Adventure Stories, Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels | Posted on December 12, 2008
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by Nathan Hale
Hold onto your hats for this one! This graphic novel Rapunzel is no damsel-in-distress. This Rapunzel is a feisty, braid-weilding, revenge-seeking outlaw. As a little girl, Rapunzel lived with her mother, Mother Gothel, in a beautiful and fancy palace. Surrounding the palace is a wall that no one can see over or get through. All her childhood, Rapunzel has wanted to know what was on the other side of that wall. When she finally disobeys Mother Gothel and sneaks outside the wall, she discovers a terrible truth. She was stolen from her real mother and father years ago when her real mother climbed inside the palace walls to steal some rapunzel (a green leafy vegetable) out of Mother Gothel’s garden. When Rapunzel discovers the truth, Mother Gothel leaves her at the very tippy top of a hollow tree in the middle of an abandoned swamp. Well, you see where this is going. There is only one thing on Rapunzel’s mind now. Escape from her imprisonment and find her real mother and father. What happens next is a wild ride.
This setting is not your typical fairy tale setting. Rapunzel travels through cities and landscapes that feel like the old west. Shannon Hale does a superb job at reinventing this fairy tale into a shoot ‘em up western. I loved this retelling of Rapunzel because Rapunzel doesn’t wait around for a prince to save her. She learns to take care of herself and, more importantly, learns how to use her long hair as a weapon (yeah, kinda cool). Does Rapunzel find her mother and father in the end? Does Rapunzel get the revenge she is looking for? Read Rapunzel’s Revenge to find out!
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction, Uncategorized | Posted on March 26, 2008
First, I love Sharon Creech. She won the Newbery Medal in 1995 for Walk Two Moons and has been continuing to write all kinds of amazing stories (see the list of other Sharon Creech novels below). Naturally, when I saw her new book, I knew I had to read it.
This story is like a fairy tale. It takes place in a country that winds along the Winono River and on the banks of that river stands the majestic Castle Corona. It has a cast full of characters: Pia and Enzio, two peasant children; King Guido and Queen Gabriella who live in Castle Corona with their children, Prince Gianni the poet, Prince Vito the hero and Princess Fabrizia the . . . well, the princess. In addition there are the hermit, the storyteller, the wise woman, and the cruel master.
One day while Pia and Enzio are filling their buckets with water, they find a mysterious pouch. When they see the King’s soldiers scouring the woods for the lost pouch, they quickly realize the value of the pouch and begin to plan a way to return it without being accused of stealing it. In the process, the lives of all the characters are crossed in a wonderfully engaging way. Creech is a master of spare language–using very few words to convey lots of imagery and meaning. I loved all the different kinds of characters; some were funny, some were charming, some were irritating. I couldn’t wait to see if Pia and Enzio were going to be accused of stealing the pouch or if their dreams of living in Castle Corona were going to come true.
The last thing that I loved about this book were the gorgeous illustrations. They were created by David Diaz and they look like illuminated manuscripts (the lavishly decorated illustrations of the middle ages.) If you love reading fairy tales or if you love reading stories with secret endings and unexpected plotlines, then you’ll love reading The Castle Corona.
Some of my favorite Sharon Creech books:
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction | Posted on February 27, 2008
The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren’s years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.
Chaos results when Morgan gets help in casting a love spell on a boy at school from Gretta, a fairy-godmother-in-training.
Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Pursued by the sinister Dr. DeWilde and his ravenous wolves, three sisters–Storm, the inheritor of a special musical pipe, the elder Aurora, and the baby Any–flee into the woods and begin a treacherous journey filled with many dangers as they try to find a way to defeat their pursuer and keep him from taking the pipe and control of the entire land.
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction | Posted on August 22, 2007
Meg is no ordinary princess. She enjoys swimming in the pond with her common friend, Cam, and escaping from the confinement of the castle. Forget fancy dresses, royal manners or princessly behavior; Meg wants nothing to do with any of it! So when her father announces that it is time for Meg to be married to a worthy prince, she is not happy. But there’s more! Her father, the King, decides that they should hold a contest to determine who will win the hand of fair Meg. The prince who can rid the kingdom of the evil witch, the destructive dragon and the bullying bandits will marry Meg. The problem is, however, that the witch doesn’t really bother anyone, the dragon is just doing what dragons do and the bandits are taking money from the rich and giving back to the poor. So who is really the bad guy? Meg thinks it’s those dopey princes who are trying to win the contest. Unfortunately, the King is worried that his unruly daughter won’t agree to any of this so he puts her in a tower with only a window and a guard. As you can imagine, Meg finds a way to avoid being stuck in that awful tower with the help of her friends and also manages to defy her parents and prevent those dopey princes from hurting the witch, the dragon and the bandits.
Meg is a feisty and smart heroine and you just can’t help think that she’s the only one in this story with her head on straight. This story has it all–adventure, magic, thrills, romance and lots of humor and ingenuity. This is no ordinary fairy tale!
If you liked Ella Enchanted or The Princess Acadamy then you’ll love The Runaway Princess.
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Adventure Stories, Fairy Tale Fiction | Posted on January 4, 2007
“Left by her father, an arrogant and unpleasant knight, to be raised by her wet nurse after her mother’s death, Bella is an imaginative and attractive child whose best friend is the wet nurse’s previous charge, Prince Julian of Moranmoor. It is not until her father summons her that she is told that the loving people with whom she has spent her childhood are not her true family. She finds his household miserable, her new stepmother unwelcoming, and no place to sleep but the kitchen. Using familiar ingredients including a pair of glass slippers and a magic ring as well as the legend of a Worthy Knight with a halo of heavenly fire, Stanley has brewed a magical elixir that will warm the hearts of readers who like their adventures set in medieval worlds, and who appreciate a bit of a love story as well. Bella is a worthy heroine, capable in the kitchen and courageous enough to journey to a foreign land to warn Prince Julian and attempt to forestall the reopening of the war between Moranmoor and Brutanna. As a bonus, she has inherited her mother’s magic touch that comforts all who come in contact with her-a gift that she hardly needs to accomplish her political task but that revives the spirits of a stepsister, still mourning her own father. More than a reworking of the familiar, this is a 21st-century fairy tale, thoroughly enjoyable in its own right.”
If you enjoyed I, Coriander by Sally Gardner, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine or The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, then you will love Bella at Midnight.
Posted by Mrs. D'Elia | Posted in Fairy Tale Fiction, Fantasy, Uncategorized | Posted on October 27, 2006
If you were given three new wishes at every full moon, what would you wish for? This is an exciting, Tales-of-the-Arabian-Nights-like story about a 14 year old beggar girl named Aminah. One night she sneaks into the gardens of the Prince (Prince Aladdin, that is) to beg for some food. Unfortunately, she meets the Prince’s wife who is not happy at all that there is someone begging at her balcony and throws a dusty, old lamp at Aminah. Fortunately, Aminah discovers that the Princess has thrown “the lamp” and quickly learns how to use its powers.
Aminah’s relationship with the Jinni of the lamp is interesting as, together, they try to improve Aminah’s life and the lives of those around her. There’s lots of adventure and suspense as Aminah enjoys her new power while anxiously waiting for the Princess to realize her mistake.
So? What does Aminah wish for? Read The Wishing Moon and discover what happens when you get what you wish. And remember, one of the Jinni’s rules is that you can’t wish for more wishes!