Book Review: Just Ella

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Just Ella
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This story begins at the end of Cinderella’s fairy tale, when Ella is engaged to marry Prince Charming. With the wedding only two months away, Ella is forced to learn restrictive palace protocol, sit through endless embroidery lessons, and learn the boring history of the royal family. Her meetings with the Prince are awkward and silent, and her only friends are the poor serving child, Mary, and the philosophy tutor, Jed. Ella begins to wonder if she really loves the Prince at all, and if she can tolerate the confinement of the palace for the rest of her life.

I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! (I really hate the cover art, and made the mistake of judging the book by its cover.) I read it all in one sitting, because I could not put it down.

Ella is fiery and energetic. She longs to do courageous deeds and have close relationships with people, but the royal protocol is so restrictive that no one can have a meaningful conversation, much less actually connect with anyone or do anything of real consequence. I loved the way she beat her wings against those cage bars and finally escaped to build her own life. Continue reading

Book Review: A Bag of Moonshine

A Bag Of Moonshine by Alan Garner
A Bag Of Moonshine
by Alan Garner

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I loved this collection of fairy tales, rewritten from the folklore of England and Wales. The author has an uncanny ability to mimic the story-telling style of old folk tales, with whimsy and ingenuity.

The black and white illustrations add to the ghoulish atmosphere of the tales, and they are true to the art style I see in so many old fairy tale books from the late 1800s.

The enchantment of these stories lies in the excellent word-craft, and the weird and eccentric characters who populate the world of magic and mayhem. Full of changlings, witches, ogres who spin gold, and the clever youngest brother named Jack, these stories captivate the reader with the magnetic words and witty narrative style.

Fairy Tale Retelling Book Tag

 

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Leave me a comment!

Brunette Bibliophile’s Original Video: https://youtu.be/2oIAGwq7MQ0

QUESTIONS:

1.What is your favorite fairy tale?

2.What is your favorite retelling of that story? Continue reading

Book Review: The Thirteenth Princess

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
The Thirteenth Princess 
by Diane Zahler (Goodreads Author)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

 

Zita is the thirteenth daughter of a king who only wanted sons, and when her mother dies during childbirth, the king banishes Zita to be raised as a servant in the castle. Zita steals little moments with her twelve sisters, but must sneak around the castle to keep it a secret, terrified of her father’s anger. When the twelve princesses fall ill and their shoes are worn through every morning, only Zita knows the secrets ways to sneak into their bedrooms and watch where they go at night. The princesses are trapped in an evil enchantment that forces them to dance until dawn, but Zita can’t find a prince who is willing to save them!

I loved this book from start to finish! Every chapter is wonderful! Continue reading

Book Review: The Little Red Wolf

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
The Little Red Wolf 
by Amélie Fléchais (Illustrator)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


What the hay kind of bedtime story is this?!?! The last line reads, “In his rage, misfortune struck. So sad and horrible, that he could never forgive himself.”
And that’s it! That’s the end. Everyone depressed and distraught forever. OMG, what is WRONG with this story?

The artwork is so lovely, so beautiful. Subtle colors and lines, pretty little details of forest flora and fauna. The beginning is whimsical and sweet as a little wolf travels through the forest to take a dead rabbit to his grandmother’s house. He follows a butterfly, and explores a little mousey hole, and stops to look at a beetle.

Then it gets gross.

First of all, dead rabbit in every scene, just laying there in the basket, being dead and all. Also, the little wolf gets hungry and decides to eat just one of the rabbit feet as a snack. Oh, yum. Dead bloody rabbit feet. Never mind the bones. Continue reading

Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!

Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.

While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.

The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading

Book Review: Snow White

Snow White by Matt Phelan
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


A wonderful retelling of Snow White set in the Jazz Age of America! Snow White is a New York heiress, and she meets seven orphan boys who live on the street. They help Snow White to hide from her stepmother, the “Queen of the Ziegfeld Follies” on Broadway.

I love the 20s costumes, and the contrast between rugged New York streets and the glitz and glam of the Follies. The setting really makes this into a new story, despite the fact that the plot itself follows the original fairy tale pretty closely. There are a few key details that are changed, which kept things interesting. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Rapunzel

Rapunzel
Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness! This is wonderful!!! There is Rapunzel, stuck in the tower, with that evil witch visiting her every day. But does Rapunzel need a Prince to save her?? NO! Rapunzel figures out a way to defeat the witch and free herself from the tower, all on her own.

Rapunzel is resourceful and brave! She’s really quite ingenious, and (dare I say it?) full of spunk.
She makes friends with some forest animals, and with their help, she becomes a scourge to witches everywhere. I just love seeing a story where the princess takes action and saves herself! Continue reading

Book Review: Entwined

Entwined
Entwined by Heather Dixon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness, I love this book so much! Based on the cover, I thought it was going to be this sweety cutesy teen romance, but it was so much more and had so many levels to the story. Blew me away! Plus, I always love fairytale retellings, and this one is the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’.

Azalea is the eldest of the princesses, who have just lost their mother. Since their grieving father is so distant and cold, the girls turn to dancing to remind them of their mother and comfort them in their grief. But the strict rules of Mourning won’t allow dancing, and the girls have to search the castle for a secret place to dance. Continue reading