Wednesday, March 30, 2011

THE ONE AND ONLY, THE GREATEST of THE GREATEST, MOST DEVIOUS DJINNI IS BAAAACK! :D

Oh yes....my dear ol' friend, Bartimaeus IS BACK!!! The Ring of Solomon is prequel to the Bartimaeus Trilogy written by Jonathan Stroud. Here is a plot introduction I nicked from Wikipedia: It is the year 950 b.c. and King Solomon of Israel rules his empire from Jerusalem with a steely hand. Upon which rests a magic ring of incredible power. Among the many spirit slaves in the service of the king and his magicians is the djinni Bartimaeus, a spirit with extreme cunning, a sarcastic wit, and an unparalleled reputation for insolence. After botching a construction project, Bartimaeus is sent out into the desert to hunt down a group of bandits attacking Solomon's trade routes, and in the process he encounters Asmira, a girl in the service of the Queen of Sheba. Soon afterwards she drags the reluctant djinni into a seemingly suicidal mission: Kill Solomon and steal the magic ring. This one has got some mix reviews though...: While not as good as the original trilogy, The Ring Of Solomon is still a worthy addition to the dark, delightful world of Bartimaeus. (For a full review, go here) Like the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Bartimaeus is amusing as ever. He does not disappoint and neither does the plot, nor most of the characters. (Read this here) So, am I gonna read it? MOST DEFINITELY! :D For my review of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, go here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Title/Author: The Gruffalo/Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 28
ISBN 13: 978-0-333-71093-7

In a nutshell
Walk into the deep dark wood, meet a quick-thinking mouse and discover what happens when he comes face to face with a ugly, hungry gruffalo.

What I liked
Ever since I took a liking to children's books, I'ver heard and read about Julia Donaldson and her very famous and well-loved 'The Gruffalo'. And I'm privileged and honoured to be given the chance to review some of her books, thanks to Odelia from Pansing :)

I asked my students if they've read 'The Gruffalo' or have been read to, one of them looked at me quizically and asked, 'Is that the story about the clever mouse?' Thrilled that he was right, I said,'Yes! Did you like it?' 'I don't remember much, but I liked the mouse who was small yet smart!'

That's what I loved about the story too :) It's fun to see how this little mouse always manages to escape being pounced on by a bigger animal by outwitting them! I can't help but smile as the mouse exaggerates his description of the Gruffalo each time he meets another animal - from "terrible claws and jaws" to "his tongue is black, he has purple prickles all over his back."

The twist comes when he finally meets the real, ugly gruffalo who tells him, "You'll taste good on a slice of bread", to which the little mouse tells him, "I'm the scariest creature in this wood" and that "Everyone is afraid of me." He then asks the gruffalo to go with him into the wood so that he can prove it. And so the gruffalo does.

Can you guess the ending? *wink*

It's a fun read! Even for an adult! Trust me ;)

It's a great story to be read out loud to a child, this one :) Especially when the words rhyme so beautifully and the story, so charming! You could also have some fun activities with the children, like making the gruffalo's mask and baking a gruffalo cake!

I think Axel Scheffler did a fantastic job on the gruffalo too. I mean, it's not easy drawing a frightening creature that looks cute too, don't you think? No wonder it has become a well-loved children's character! See Scheffler's sketches for the gruffalo and watch him make the gruffalo come to life here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson & Karen George

Title/Author: Freddie and the Fairy/Julia Donaldson & Karen George
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 28
ISBN 13: 978-0-330-51118-6

In a nutshell
Freedie meets Bessie-Belle, a fairy whom he rescued from a tree. In return, she offers to grant his every wish. But Bessie-Belle can't hear very well, causing Freddie's wishes come out all wrong...

What I liked
You can't go wrong with reading any children's books written by Julia Donaldson. This is a first collaboration between the queen of picture book text and a new talent in illustration, Karen George. Julia Donaldson said that "Karen has a warm, appealing and distinctive style that I think will complement the text of Freddie and the Fairy perfectly." And that was what made Karen the winner of the Bath Festival of Children's Literature.

I loved everything about Freddie and the Fairy. Not just the simple, rhyming words and illustration, but also the lesson learnt from it. Freddie sort of blamed Bessie-Belle for getting all his wishes wrong, knowing very well that Bessie-Belle has hearing problems. Then, the Fairy Queen appeared to save the day. She taught Freddie how he can help Bessie-Belle to get his wishes right this time.

Reading this to a child, we'll be able to help them learn three things:
1) Learn how to communicate better
2) To respect one another
2) To accept each other's weaknesses

I also liked the tone and words that were carefully chosen for Fairy Queen when she was correcting Freddie. "Now, Freddie," said the Fairy Queen. (She sounded kind but stern.) "Before you wish again, there are Three rules for you to learn." The way the lesson was taught was kind, gentle, firm and not accusatory.

I'm planning to share this story with 3 very soft-spoken girls in my class. I'm sure they'd appreciate the warm and beautiful illustrations too :)

Did you know?
Julia Donaldson suffers from hearing loss.
She was barely out of her teens when she lost, first, the sound of birdsong. 'I remember thinking that it was strange, because I was an ardent lover of the countryside,' she says.

Julia was told there is no cure - and worse still, as she aged, she could also develop further hearing loss in the higher frequencies (ie, high-pitched sounds). Read more here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

UK'S WORLD BOOK NIGHT

Came across this article on Neil Gaiman's tweet:
On Saturday 5 March, a million books were away across the UK in the first ever World Book Night. Writers were asked which books they give as gifts and which they've been most pleased to receive. And children's authors recommended books to give to children.

Find out books that famous authors like Mark Haddon, Margaret Atwood (the book which also inspired the creators of World Book Night) and Neil Gaiman often give as gifts, books that AS Byatt gives his granddaughter (Angela Carter's anthology Wayward Girls and Wicked Women is one of them), PD James who doesn't have a favourite book giveaway 'as each book has to be chosen individually for the recipient' (totally agree with you PD James! :)), Hari Kunzu's current book fetish and many more :)

I love what Margaret Drabble wrote about Dr. Seuss: The best book I've ever been given is the complete six-volume edition of Van Gogh's letters last Christmas, but the book I kept on giving to my grandchildren when they were small was Dr Seuss's The Sneetches (HarperCollins). I gave them all lots of copies until I was told to stop. I loved this book so much, I wanted them to love it too. Dr Seuss is so amusing and egalitarian and free-thinking and so unlike all the more respectable English books I was given and liked as a child. Green Eggs and Ham was pretty good too, but the Sneetches were best. They should be compulsory reading for all warring nations.

I'm gonna hunt you down The Sneetches!! :D

Special Weekend Treats for Bookaholics!!

Dying to splurge on books? Wanna hit the bookstores this weekend? This one's for you then ;) Thanks for the info Justina!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR. SEUSS!!!



Thanks for all your great books, Dr. Seuss! You light up my life! Plan to get more of your books this weekend! :)) I hope they'll still be there!
Here's something on Dr. Seuss from Wikipedia:
Theodor Seuss Geisel (pronounced /ˈɡaɪzəl/; March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991) was an American writer and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone.
He published 44 children's books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter. His most celebrated books include the bestselling Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Novel Home Decor for Bookworms and Bibliophiles

Omg....LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!! *salivating* I am so in love with the book vending machine, the book 'table' and the bookend! For more, go here.





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