Friday, April 19, 2013

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city is a thrill to Miri. She and her princess academy friends have been brought to Asland to help the future princess Britta prepare for her wedding.There, Miri also has a chance to attend school-at the Queen's Castle. But as Miri befriends students who seem sophisticated and exciting she also learns that they have some frightening plans. Torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city, Miri looks to find her own way in this new place. 

Picking up where Princess Academy left off, and celebrating the joys of friendship, romance and the fate of fairy tale kingdoms, this new book delivers the completely delightful new story that fans have been waiting for. (summary from amazon)

I still love these characters that I met in the Princess Academy and one of the best things I love about them is that they have such a strong sense of identity and community because of how Mount Eskel has shaped them. This is another interesting tale about Miri a smart, brave, and intelligent girl who has new experiences in a whole new setting. At first I didn’t really enjoy the revolution storyline because it felt like Miri fell into it too easily. I felt like she should have thought of her friend Stephen and Britta more, as she went to all those meetings, but Hale give Miri real consequences for betraying her friends. I like how Miri had to feel those consequences and scramble to make things right, as that made the characters and plot feel way more realistic. I also really did love how the ending was resolved mostly peacefully, but there were definitive reasons for why it ended that way. I especially liked seeing the King grow and reevaluate his decision and judgments. Hale did an excellent job with that and with the Queen too. I loved how she recognized that she could have a say in things and she followed the example of a previous Queen to find her courage.  An excellent and worthwhile read.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Destined by Aprilynn Pike

Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful--and deadly--of all, and Klea plans to use her to help conquer or destroy Avalon. But Klea's reach extends far beyond one wild Winter faerie. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares to face what may be Avalon's final days. (summary from author's website)
 The concluding book of the wings series is a satisfying conclusion that hits all the right plot points to fulfill all the promises the author made to the reader throughout the books. However, I sort of disliked the fact that is seemed more of a continuation of Illusions then a plot that stands on its own and as such it really does seem like a very short novel, especially for a book that ends a series. The majority of the book is a battle over Avalon. I did not go into the book expecting so much slaughter, but the author did a good job at staying true and consistent to the fairy world she has created, even in the way it reacted to chaos.  I still really loved all the characters, especially Tamani. I really enjoy reading his points of view. I have really enjoyed reading this  series and I’ll look forward to what Pike has for us next.

Visit Pike's website

Friday, April 5, 2013

LDSPBP: Lezlie Evans

Lezlie was not a natural born writer as she states on her website, as she struggled with writing in middle school. She majored in communications at BYU and took several creative writing classes, which helped her discover her passion for writing. She didn't settle on writing picture books until she had young children at home and took them to the library each week. She loved sharing books with her kids and extended that love to writing for young children.

The Bunnies Trip

This lyrical little rhyme tells the story of a bunnies family adventure getting ready for a trip. The house must be cleaned and the bags packed, but the bunnies have packed too much in their trunk! They have to go through their clothes and toys and leave some behind. 
This fun little book is fun to read aloud. The text rolls of the tongue in a fun and rollicking way. They bunnies are placed into numbered pairs and work together as a family to get things done.

 The Bunnies Picnic
The bunnies are back! This time they are preparing a dinner together, a large big stew. All goes well until the bunnies have an accident. Dinner is cancelled. Instead they must all work together to prepare a picnic.
Another fun rhyme book to read about the Bunnies misadventures making dinner together.

Can you count Ten Toes? Count to ten in 10 different languages.
This little book helps kids learn to count to ten in ten different languages: Japanese, Russian, Hindi, Tagalog, Korean, Zulu, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Chinese. 

Each language is presented with its own counting situation. In Hindi you count the hats on the wall in Hebrew you count the sailboats in the bay, and so forth. This is a clever idea for a book and I enjoyed looking through it. The author has put pronunciation clues in parentheses next to each number.

Can You Greet the Whole Wide World? 12 common phrases in 12 different languages.
Similar to the her counting book Can You Greet the Whole Wide World introduces children to different languages.  The book introduces simple words and phrases children use as they go throughout a school day: good morning, hello, yes, no, I’m sorry, please, and thank you are several examples.

Each phrase has a pronunciation guide in parenthesis to help children say the word correctly. Words are given in German, Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, Chinese, Zulu, Japanese, Italian, French, and Portuguese. This is a fun way to help children explore other languages

Who Loves the Little Lamb
This little book is about mother’s loving their unruly animal children.  The lamb is fussy, but the mom loves her anyway and comes to comfort her. The messy puppy wonders who will love him, and his mother comes to help him clean and loves him still.
I thought this was a cute little book. The type that parents will love to read to their kids with a beautiful and comforting message for kids. That their moms will love them no matter what. 

Rain Song
This picture book is a lovely poem that coveys the excitement and beauty that comes with a summer thunderstorm.  For those that love rhyming picture books that roll off your tongue when you read them this is a perfect selection. Evans is competent at the craft of creating natural rhymes with consistent metrics. 

Snow Dance

Similar to rain song snow dance celebrates the excitement and special joys of a snow storm from the point of view of the child. Snowball fights, sledding, and hot cocoa abound. Once again, a perfect read for those that prefer a bit of poetics with their picture books.

Other books not reviewed.
If I Were The Wind  (APG, 1997)
Sometimes I Feel Like a Stormcloud (Mondo Publishing, 1999)