Here are five first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story along with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun. The series follows three friends who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story: Little Red Riding Hood in It's Not About the Hunter!, Beauty and the Beast in It's ...
Here are five first books for fledgling readers that offer the enjoyment of a good story along with the thrill of accomplishment that comes from independent reading. Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary and plentiful illustrations, each book helps youngsters achieve success as they have fun. The series follows three friends who love to share stories. In each book, one is reminded of a well-known story: Little Red Riding Hood in It's Not About the Hunter!, Beauty and the Beast in It's Not About the Rose!, Snow White in It's Not About the Apple!, Cinderella in It's Not About the Pumpkin!, and Hansel and Gretel in It's Not About the Crumbs! As one friend starts, the others are reminded of versions they know so each volume has three stories within one framework. The stories come from around the world, and Veronika Martenova Charles provides a note at the end of each book to describe the origins.
Easy-To-Read Wonder Tales is a great first step in developing a lifelong love of reading, and it makes a fine companion to Veronika Martenova Charles's series, Easy-To-Read Spooky Tales.
Fairy tales that may be familiar to many children can be found in various forms around the world. The books in the "Easy-To Read Wonder Tales!" series all follow the same format. Three contemporary kids are working on a school project and that triggers the recall of a story. In these tales, readers will be introduced to variations on the Cinderella story of which there are many, many variations. The one from Europe is entitled "Ash Girl" and the big difference from the Disney version is that the coach is not made from a pumpkin, but comes from the hazel tree near Ash girl's mother's grave. Off she goes to the ball and she does leave her slipper. When the older step-sisters try to fit their feet in the slippers they do not fit and they cut off a toe. Finally Ash girl is found to be the one and she marries the prince and her sisters limped forever. "Fish Bones" is a variation form China and the magic comes from a fish and a wise old man (not a fairy godmother). The young girl, Lin asks the fish bones for nice clothes to wear to the spring festival. She loses her shoe and it reaches the emperor who wants to find the woman it belongs to. The stepsisters and their mother were killed on their way to the wedding. The final story "The Black Cow" comes from India and there is a reversal here with a boy being the outcast and the one who loses his golden shoe and a princess who longs to find the owner of the shoe. Black and white illustrations, lightly composed (although some contain extensive detail) along with a whimsical look appear on nearly every page of the book. The stories offer an interesting way to introduce various countries/cultures and also to show the common themes found in tales from many different places in the world. The biggest quibble is that these shortened versions often do not emphasize the moral/lesson that was the important component of these cautionary tales. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
VERONIKA MARTENOVA CHARLES is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books include The Birdman, illustrated by Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stéphan Daigle. She has studied at Ryerson University, the Ontario College of Art and Design, and has a graduate degree in Folklore from York University. Veronika Martenova Charles lives in Toronto.
DAVID PARKINS is the award-winning illustrator of over fifty children's books. He began his career at Dyfed College of Art in Wales, studying wildlife illustrations. He has been an illustrator since 1979, and drew the British cartoon, Beano. David Parkins lives in Kingston, Ontario.