My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Cinderella
Author: Jerry Mahoney
Illustrator: Aleksei Bitskoff
Published August 1st, 2017 by Stone Arch Books
Summary: Holden, what have you done?! It wasn’t enough to ruin Maddie’s report on Cinderella, but now you’ve somehow broken the ACTUAL fairy tale? The ugly stepsister is marrying the prince and there’s no happy ever after! You need to fix this and the only way seems to be by entering the story. But beware: if you can’t mend it, you can never return…
Review: Everyone! You listening?!?! If you or any of your students are a fan of the Whatever After series, you need to get this for you/them. It is a perfect companion for them! But don’t think that this is just a duplicate of the series, it is similar yet also so different! First, Holden and Maddie already don’t work well together, so going into the fairy tale is not only about fixing the fairy tale but also about fixing their relationship. Second, the fracturing of fairy tales gets even more ridiculous than you can even imagine. Third, Holden and Maddie are in the fairy tales as characters, not as themselves. I will say that both this book and the Mlynowski series looks at the problems in fairy tales and how the stories could be better told to make everyone happy.
(I will say the only “issue” I had was I really don’t like the negative connotation around step-siblings, so calling a step-brother rotten really doesn’t help that idea; however, I do like how Maddie has to learn that her opinion on her stepbrother may not be correct.)
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: First and foremost, this book will be a hilarious read aloud and an independent reading books that will fall into so many hands. Additionally, in the backmatter of the book, the author includes a glossary including the harder vocabulary in the book, a think again section with three questions for readers to think about, and finally a section about how to write a ruined version of a favorite tale. All three of these activities help make the book even more useful in a classroom.
Discussion Questions: (From the “Think Again” section by the author)
- Everyone has someone in their life like Holden, who’s unavoidable and hard to get along with. Who’s someone you’ve struggled to relate to, and what would you do if you had to work with him or her to “fix” a fairy tale?
- There are details about the wicked stepsisters that weren’t in the original tale, such as Beautianna’s desire to go to art school. Think of a supporting character from one of your favorite books whom you wish you knew more about. Come up with your own ideas for his or her character traits, wants, and needs. You can even try to write the whole story from that character’s perspective.
- What do you think of the questions Holden raises about Cinderella? Do you think he makes some good points, or would you be as annoyed with him as Maddie was? Pick another story you know well and try to imagine what Holden’s problems with that story might be.
Flagged Passages: “Maddie hadn’t seen her before, but she could tell this woman had plenty to be sad about, starting with her clothes. They were filthy, patched-up work clothes, and her hair was tied back with a rag. She sat in front of a pile of roses, and one by one, she plucked the thorns off each stem and placed them into a vase. Her hands were scratched and bruised from hours of performing this tedious, excruciating task. No wonder she was crying.
‘Do you need a tissue?’ Maddie asked her.
‘Tissue?’ the woman replied. ‘What’s a tissue?’ The woman turned her head and gazed at Maddie, confused.
Of course, Maddie thought. They don’t have tissues in fairy tales. They weren’t invented yet. While she wondered how to explain this, she had another realization. This wasn’t any ordinary, sad woman. She was kind and familiar, the most beautiful woman Maddie had ever seen. She had bright blue eyes and, underneath the rag on her head, hair that seemed to be made from pure gold.
‘Oh my gosh!’ Maddie exclaimed. ‘You’re–you’re Cinderella!’
‘You seem surprised to see me, Glamoremma,’ the young woman replied.” (p. 29-30)
Read This If You Love: Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski, It’s NOT Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk, Fractured fairy tales
**Thank you so much to the author for providing a copy for review!**
Adventures in Science: Human Body
Author: Courtney Acampora
Published: December 12, 2017 by Silver Dolphin Books
Summary: Which part of the brain is in charge of creativity? What is the smallest human muscle? Take a trip inside the human body and discover the amazing systems that allow us to move, breathe, and speak. After reading about everything from the digestive tract to the cornea, kids can assemble their own plastic skeleton and view the systems of the body in a layered cardstock model. With 20 fact cards, 2 sticker sheets, and a double-sided poster, this interactive kit is a perfect primer for learning about how the human body works.
Review: This book kit is so much fun! It’s very cleverly designed to engage readers. It includes an informational book about the human body, a skeleton to build, flash cards, a sticker sheet that features the major bones of the human body, a sticker sheet that features the organs within the human body, and a double-sided poster with outlines to help readers stick the bone and organ stickers in the correct places. As we read the book, we did the activities and filled in the human body. What a powerful learning experience! I am crossing my fingers that this kit becomes a series. I would love to purchase a kit for space, geography, etc.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers could purchase five kits and divide their classes into five different groups to build the skeleton and affix the stickers onto the appropriate parts of the body. I sent a message to a few of my friends who homeschool their children. I think this kit will be a huge hit in their families.
Discussion Questions: What did you learn as you did the activities?; What parts of the human body do you find most interesting? Why?; How do the different parts of the body work together?
Read This If You Loved: Any nonfiction books about the human body; interactive books and kits
**Thank you to Casey at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review**
Yesterday, I shared some words about my classroom after Parkland and how I am talking with my students about this tragedy because I think it is so important that we as teachers talk with our students about how to deal with the emotions they are feeling about Parkland. Today, I am going to share how my school chose to honor and mourn the Parkland victims.
I was so proud of my school for giving students the option to take part in the National School Walkout today that was organized by Empower, the Women’s March Youth Initiative. Thank you to our Student Government; their sponsor, Ms. Harriss; and our administration for setting up our walkout for today.
At 10:00am today, approximately 1,000 of our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders chose to walkout to mourn the 17 murdered in Parkland and to show solidarity against school violence.
I think any teacher that was worried about students not taking the walkout seriously were greatly surprised with the maturity and solidarity that our students showed. These thousand preteens and young teens were silent as we remembered the lives that were lost and to show we stand with our fellow Eagles of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
After the music that signaled our time to enter the courtyard stopped, our principal and Student Government representatives spoke on the PA system about our purpose:
“The majority of those who died in the Parkland shooting were children, bright teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers and coaches who devoted their lives to helping their children fulfill their dreams.
This evening we will all go home and hug our families a little tighter. But there are families in Parkland who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, as Eagles, and as fellow students. Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories, but also in ours.”
-Principal’s speech inspired by and adapted from President Obama’s address about Sandy Hook
Student Government representatives then took over:
“Let us remember the victims…
Alyssa Alhadeff, 14, was a student at Stoneman Douglas and a soccer player for Parkland Travel Soccer. Lori Alhadeff, Alyssa’s mother, dropped her daughter off at school and said, “I love you.” When her mother heard about the shooting, she hustled to school, but was too late.
Scott Beigel, 35, was a geography teacher who was killed as he tried to usher students back into his classroom when the shooting broke out. One of his students said that he died saving her. “Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero. I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for fellow students in the classroom,” she said. “I am alive today because of him.”
Martin Duque Anguiano, 14 was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family.
Nicholas Dworet, 17 was killed in the shooting, he had been recruited for the University of Indianapolis swim team and would have been an incoming freshman this fall.
Aaron Feis, 37, an assistant football coach, was killed when he threw himself in front of students to protect them from oncoming bullets. Mr. Feis, suffered a gunshot wound and died after he was rushed into surgery. “He died the same way he lived — he put himself second. He died a hero.”
Jaime Guttenberg, 14 was among the victims, according to a Facebook post by her father, Fred. “My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister.
Chris Hixon, 49 was the school’s athletic director — as an awesome husband, father and American, according to his widow Debra.
Luke Hoyer, 15 was an amazing individual. Always happy, always smiling. His smile was contagious, and so was his laugh.
Cara Loughran, 14 danced at the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida. “Cara was a beautiful soul and always had a smile on her face,”
Gina Montalto, 14 was a member of the winter guard on the school’s marching band.
Joaquin Oliver, 17 was born in Venezuela, moved to the United States when he was 3 and became a naturalized citizen in January 2017. His interests included football, basketball, the Venezuelan national soccer team, urban graffiti and hip-hop.
Alaina Petty’s, 14, family said she was vibrant and determined. She had volunteered after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September. She was a part of the “Helping Hands” program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,and was also a member of the junior ROTC at her school.
Meadow Pollack, 18 had been accepted at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy.
Helena Ramsay, 17 was a smart, kind hearted, and thoughtful person. She was deeply loved and loved others even more so. Though she was some what reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies, and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her.
Alex Schachter, 14 participated in the school marching band and orchestra, playing baritone and trombone.
Carmen Schentrup, 16 was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.
Peter Wang, 15 had been a member of the junior ROTC program, Friends said Peter was shot while holding a door open to let fellow classmates get to safety. Thousands of people have signed a White House petition asking for him to be buried with military honors. “His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens.”
We join together today, in this courtyard, to make a promise and a commitment to say NEVER AGAIN.”
-Information for list of victims taken from various CNN articles.
Student Government members then read some responses to the tragedy written by our students. I do not know the specific ones that the SGA chose to read, but here are some of, what I felt were, the most poignant responses our middle school students wrote in reflection of the tragedy:
Fear and guns have no place in schools. No kid should worry about going to school and not coming back. Those kids were just like us, they had their whole lives ahead of them. It is not fair for anyone to take that away. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to take action, we have to stand up, for us and for those who lost their lives.If not us, then who? We HAVE to be the one we’ve been waiting for. We can never forget what happened, and we need to do everything in our power to not let it happen again. -L.M.
What a tragedy that has happened. School is supposed to be a safe place, but now some people are afraid to go to school. My prayers go out to the families who lost their loved ones that died too soon. This horrible event was so close to us it’s scary. All these shootings are happening it makes me wonder what this world has come to. Instead of just talking about it, we need to do something about it, because this could happen to us. We need to stand up against gun violence, and that is why we walk out today, for the 17 people that died in the Douglas High School shooting. -C.D.
What happened at Parkland High is a terrible tragedy that should’ve never happened. Students go to school to attain a education. Students go to school to hang out with their friends. Some students think of school as their “safe” place. If something bad happened or hard stuff is going on at home, some students go to school to escape that hardship and have some fun. School should be a safe place to go no matter what. You give 10 months of the year to go to this place for 7 hours a day to learn and socialize. You leave your family to come to this place. They will do anything to take care of their children and make sure they are safe. School is a place where they send their children as they believe it is or should be a safe place to go. I believe that the gun violence that has occurred recently needs to change. It is unacceptable. People are brought to the world for a reason and no one deserves to have to face that action that occurred on February 14. I personally knew a few people who went to that school and thankfully survived. Their stories are insane of how they did everything they could in their power to live that day. Gun laws should be stricter as that man should not have attained a gun. Background checks are greatly needed to see why that person needs a gun let along an AR-15. What the students have done so far to try to get stricter gun laws is amazing. Now the government needs to do more. Background checks need to happen. The lives of students, teachers, administrators, literally anyone should matter and no one deserves to have to go through that. -S.K.
This tragedy should not be taken lightly. This was to close to HCMS. We need to take charge of this and not let it happen again. We need to support them in every way possible. Many people lost friends sisters brothers. Gun violence needs to stop. My mom is a Kindergarten Teacher and the day she told me of this shooting she was in tears, She said “I should not have to teach 5 year old’s how to run or hide is someone is trying to shoot them.” I feel no kid or adult should have to go through a tragedy like this. They will have to keep this in their memory for a life time and its not fair for them. We need to speak out and make a change. A school shooting should not even be a possibility or something we have to worry about, Unfortunately it was a reality and it has happened enough that its time to stop and now we need to take a stand and stop this from happening! for Parkland and Hunter’s Creek GO EAGLES!! -A
I’m glad that this has woken us up. This shouldn’t be a problem. This should have never happened. People like this shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun and the fact that these weapons are so easily accessible isn’t helping. We need stricter gun control. Whats more important, the 2nd amendment or our lives? Most gun owners have guns to protect themselves from other guns. So many precious lives have been lost do to guns being in the wrong hands. Pulse, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Virginia Tech, Stoneman Douglas High, the list goes on. It upsets me that there is a list. It seems inhumane to have a list. There shouldn’t be a list. All of these victims should have been alive and living but some psychos ended those lives. Lives we will forever miss.
Ready to thrive.
They lay in a hospital bed.
With wrapped up wounds,
They will see the end soon.
One man with a gun
Ended all of their high school fun.
Even though our hearts are filled with sorrow,
Hopefully, it will bring no guns for tomorrow. -S.R.
I’m tired of all this violence on the world, and I feel we need stricter gun laws. There are some people that don’t understand how serious this is, they don’t understand the fact we can lose 17 young lives in only one day. Those people that pull the trigger wouldn’t be able to do it without a gun. This has to stop, all this violence is making the world worse. Today I pray for those who were affected at Parkland and I pray nothing like this keeps happening. -J.A.
The time is now to act on this. It doesn’t take a debate to determine that we should stop selling such dangerous guns. If we don’t, who will? -I.C.
Its sad that kids cant go to school without have to worry about getting killed or injured by other people because of their life problems. I feel sad for these parents who lost their children at school. Where they should be learning not dying. -J.M.
And there were so many more heartfelt, truly emotional responses that I was so proud of our students for writing.
The last two minutes of our walkout were spent listening to “We Are the World” played by our Chamber Orchestra.
When we returned to class, there was no way to easily transition back into the day, so I knew that we had to spend a moment. I was crying, they were crying…no one was going to get any learning at the moment. To help the transition, I took a couple of minutes to just talk about using our sadness to have courage to continue standing up for those who cannot. And to be okay with the sadness and anger they are feeling, but to hold onto it and remember to focus on taking those feelings and making them productive. I then said, “And we get to go on, but let’s cherish every day.”
This was one of the most emotional moments I have ever spent with my students, and the sadness, empathy, and anger that my students feel about this are real. They are the future, everyone, and they don’t like how the present is looking.
Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree
Author: Sandy Shapiro Hurt
Illustrator: Xindi Yan
Published Tilbury House Publishers
Summary: This very strange tale began in May.
in a friendly forest on a sunny day
Skipping along a path in the wood
danced Sylvia Rose, and man, she was GOOD!
Laughing and leaping came Sylvia Rose,
Whirling and twirling on twinkly toes.
Bold, adventurous Sylvia Rose loves visiting the animals and trees of the forest. The girl and her favorite cherry tree share almost everything, including dancing and stories, but they can’t travel the world together because the tree is rooted deep in the earth. Determined to overcome this obstacle, Sylvia Rose enlists her animal friends to uproot the glorious tree, and Sylvia and the tree set off globetrotting together, taking in the wonders of the world from the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House, each sight more amazing than the last.
Back home in the forest, however, the animals begin to suffer without the food and shelter of their life-sustaining cherry tree. Can the tree give up her newfound freedom and return to her role in the forest ecosystem?
Review: This was such a fun book to read aloud! The rhyming and rhythm make it so sing-songy which always makes a book a pleasure to read aloud. Hurt was very smart with her rhymes and none of them seemed forced. She also kept a very specific rhythm throughout the book which made everything seem clean. I also was immediately taken by the artwork. Yan’s vibrant colors and exuberant characters really pull everything together, and as the reader I could not help but smile as Sylvia and the Cherry Tree go on their adventures. While reading, I was immediately excited for this book to make its way to classrooms, and I cannot wait to share it with my friend that teaches 2nd grade.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree is a perfect mentor text for the introduction of rhyming and rhyme scheme because of the clear rhyming and easy pattern. Students could write their own story of one of the animals in the story using the rhyme scheme and rhythm of the book.
Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree also is a good story to use when talking about big ideas including priorities, fun vs. responsibilities, and homesickness. This discussion could also grow into one about theme.
Finally, cross curricularly the story could be used to look at habitats. The animals that live in the forest suffer when the Cherry Tree leaves because their home is no longer there. This conversation could also include why removing forests is detrimental to the wildlife in the area.
- Why is the tree and all the animals immediately drawn to Sylvia Rose?
- Why does the tree want to go on adventures?
- What are some effects of the tree’s decision to go with Sylvia Rose?
- Using clues in the illustration, where did Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree go visit?
- Do you agree with the decision that the tree made in the end? Why or why not?
Read This If You Love: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, A Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon
For weeks I’ve known I wanted to write this post as tomorrow marks a month since the Parkland Shooting, but I had to figure out how I wanted to word all of my thoughts. I hope that I am able to articulate and say what I mean.
I love teaching. I love teaching so much that I asked to go back to part-time teaching even while I had to do a full-time reading coach job. Because teaching makes me happy and fills my heart. Part of my job as a teacher is my students being a part of my life and I, theirs. I am one of their adults. So many of us refer to our students as our kids because that is just what they are to us, our children.
The shooting in Parkland has put a lot of fear into our hearts. My fellow teachers are scared. My students are scared. And although there is so much I think should change, this is not a political post, so I am not going to get into the lack of mental health help and gun control laws in our country. I instead want to share what I discussed with students in the days after to help them process the fear.
First, I talk to them about it. Yes, I sit down with my students as if they are my peers to talk to them about this because I may be the only adult that does. I acknowledge the horror of what happened, and I answer any questions about it that they want to ask; however, I reiterate over and over that until something comes from a credible and reputable news source, we can’t assume it as true (this is an important lesson for kids period).
Then, I share with them how much I care about them and that I am always there for them. I make sure every single one of my students hear this. I want to remind them that I am one of their adults, and I am open to hearing them. I want to make sure if they have no one else to talk to that they know I am there. This is a multi-purpose. One, to help them process the mass shooting that happened only two hours from our house in a town that two of our teachers are from. Two, to make sure if any of my students feel outcast or that no one cares, they will hear that I do. Because I do.
That’s when we start talking about fear. Fear to me is a passive emotion. It is a chain reaction that leads to us being immobile and inactive and anxious. That is not what we need right now. Fear is what we’ve felt after Columbine. After Sandy Hook. After Virginia Tech. After too many school shootings. And nothing has happened because fear makes us immobile.
We also talked about media coverage and its impact on their fear. Without the constant coverage and social media postings, would they feel as fearful as they do? Probably not. They are a generation of constant connections, so it is our job as their adults to help them deal with the constant bombardment of information and how it affects them, so I felt it was important to talk about this as well.
Then, to help move past the fear I needed them to know that the tragedy is just that, a tragedy, and that it isn’t a norm. They brought up the 18 school shootings before Parkland in the U.S., so I talked to them about what those included, but then I asked them to guess how many car accidents there are every year. The answer? About 6.3 million accidents occurred in 2015, and over 37,000 people die in car accidents yearly in the U.S. (http://branlawfirm.com/many-car-accidents-usa-per-day/). But we are prepared because of this danger. We prepare appropriately by having air bags, wearing our seat belts, and making our cars safer. That is why we do lock down drills because until there is no threat, we need to be prepared, but that doesn’t mean we need to be scared. We are preparing for something that is very unlikely to happen. This part of the conversation is almost too logical which is why I made sure to talk about the emotional aspects first because I didn’t want to downplay the impossibly horrifying thing that happened in Parkland, but I also needed to help them get past the fear. Being scared isn’t a way to live, and if we are going to be scared of this, there is so much we’d need to be scared of also. Instead let’s be prepared and alert, yet live life to the fullest.
This is where I used the survivors as an example. Although I am sure that students who experienced the horrors that they did are definitely filled with fear, the ones we’re still hearing from have instead grabbed onto a more active emotion: anger. I am so proud of the productivity they have found in their anger and how they’ve made their voices be heard. If my students want to be angry, be angry. Just make sure it is a productive anger and an anger that doesn’t go away over time unless they feel that issues have been fixed.
And after that, classroom life goes on. Little things have changed: I now lock my door all the time again, more gates have gone up around my school, construction sounds make students jump, fire drills now are something everyone fears, and I am consciously smiling and saying hi to all students I see to make sure they hear a positive voice that day. But overall, classroom life goes on. However, I hope that the anger that my students feel, and so many teachers and students feel, leads to productive changes in our society and that this mass school shooting doesn’t lead to immobility, anxiety, and inactivity like the ones in the past.
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!
It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!
Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.
We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.
Last Week’s Posts
**Click on any picture/link to view the post**
Last Week’s Journeys
I cannot wait to share this book with you on Friday. I’m so glad that I was introduced to this series.
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds is a standout. Lovers of words will adore this book. I had a great discussion with my son about collections. I love the idea of collecting words, and I think I’ll start this with him when he is a little bit older.
Dance, Dance, Dance! by Ethan Long would make an enjoyable read-aloud. It’s very silly! I Am Famous by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie is a fun book about a girl who believes she is famous. I can think of several adorable divas that I know who will love this book. What Happens Next by Susan Hughes is a book about how to react to bullying. I would recommend this title for upper elementary schoolers. It is stylistically very interesting (but was much too mature for my four-year-old!). Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari was not what I expected! It features all of the crazy, neat things that different animals can do with their tongues.
I loved Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll. Emily beautifully captures the original version of the book. This graphic novel version has many similarities with the prose version, yet it feels different. Even though I knew the story, it hit me hard. I love and will cherish both versions.
This Week’s Expeditions
- I am still listening to The Runaway King, and although it is different than the first one, I am really enjoying Jaron’s story! I know I am loving my audiobook when I find myself wanting to listen instead of talking to anyone.
- I am so excited to read the Secondhand Heroes series! I own the first one and students love it and most have read the second from our school library, but I have the third to read also. And I may even be more excited to bring them all into the classroom when I am done!
- The Prince and the Dressmaker is a graphic novel that I’ve been so excited to read!
- Sugar by Jewell Parker-Rhodes was recommended to me from a student at the very beginning of the year, and she even lent me her book; however, I feel so bad that I forgot about it! I hope to read it this week.
I’ve been reading several books simultaneously. It’s been great, but I think I’ll be focusing on finishing this one this week. 🙂
Upcoming Week’s Posts
Tuesday: Teaching After Parkland
Wednesday: Sylvia Rose and the Cherry Tree by Sandy Shapiro Hurt
Thursday: Adventures in Science: Human Body by Courtney Acampora
Friday: My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Cinderella by Jerry Mahoney
So, what are you reading?
Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!
Author: John David Anderson
Published February 13th, 2018 from Walden Pond Press
Summary: From the author of beloved novels Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted comes a hilarious, heartfelt, and unforgettable novel about a fairy-in-training.
Everyone who wishes upon a star, or a candle, or a penny thrown into a fountain knows that you’re not allowed to tell anyone what you’ve wished for. But even so, there is someone out there who hears it.
In a magical land called the Haven lives a young fairy named Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets. Ophela is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select fairies whose job it is to venture out into the world and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day.
It’s the work of the Granters that generates the magic that allows the fairies to do what they do, and to keep the Haven hidden and safe. But with worldwide magic levels at an all-time low, this is not as easy as it sounds. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes gets granted.
Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going to get her very first wish-granting assignment.
And she’s about to discover that figuring out how to truly give someone what they want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.
About the Author: John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Posted, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.
Review: John David Anderson never ceases to amaze me. I have read all but one of his books, and I am learning that I cannot even guess what he’s going to tackle next; although, I can assume he is going to do it well!
But I will be honest, I would not have guessed that his newest would be about a super sweet, determined, and a bit quirky fairy named Ophelia Fidgets. But yes, Ophelia is our phenomenal fairy protagonist who every reader will immediately love. She is a perfectionist but also does things her own way–she just has very high standards for her own way. She also has a silly sidekick in both Charlie, a fellow granting fairy, and Sam, a homeless dog, and I must say that Anderson does one of the best dog voices I’ve ever read, I could hear it while I read.
Other than the characters, I think there were two other things that this novel did exceptionally well: world building and making the reader think about priorities. Everywhere Ophelia went, Anderson described enough to make sure that we could visualize it, but he also ensured that he didn’t overwhelm the reader with too much information. He also did a truly fantastic job at setting up the fairy world and all the rules within it to where the reader understood Ophelia’s task, her job, etc. Also, through Ophelia’s journey to grant the wish she’s been assigned, Anderson gets the reader to look at wishing and what is truly important in the world.
Lastly, I loved that in the backmatter of the book, Anderson acknowledges the long history of fairies, including Tinkerbell!, and reminds readers to keep reading about them.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like all of Anderson’s books, I know this one will find readers on my shelves. This book is perfect for fans of fairy, animal, or quirky adventure books. And it will also be a wonderful read aloud! Even if you don’t have enough time to read the entire book, the first chapter and synopsis will truly suck readers in.
- What does Sam teach Ophelia?
- Why does Ophelia make the choice she does make when granting the wish?
- Do you agree with Ophelia or Squint when it comes to wish granting?
- Do you believe that Charlie deserved the punishment he received?
- What character traits does Ophelia possess that led her on not giving up?
- How does Granted allude to other fairy tales you know? How does it break fairy stereotypes often found in other fairy tales?
Flagged Passages: “The last time you blew out your birthday candles, what did you wish for?
Did you blot them all out on the first breath? It doesn’t count otherwise. Also, do not let your brother or sister help you; at best they will waste your wish. At worst they will steal it for themselves.
Same for dandelions–the one breathe rule–or else the wish won’t fly. It’s harder than you think, getting all those seeds off in one huff. Harder than candles on a cake. If you can’t manage it, though, don’t worry. There are a dozen more ways to make a wish. A quarter flipped into a fountain. A penny dropped down a well. Some might tell you that bigger coins make stronger wishes, but that’s simply not true. A silver dollar or even a gold doubloon doesn’t increase the chances you’ll get what you want. Your dollar is better spent on gumballs or ice cream; use a nickel instead. Wishes aren’t for sale to the highest bidder.” (p. 1-2)
And my favorite passage:
“‘Humans are bad,’ [Sam] agreed.
Ophelia stopped fidgeting with her petal and looked over at Sam. Of course he would think so. And she couldn’t blame him. Not after how he’d been treated. She leaned into him, nestling in his fur.
‘Maybe they’re not all bad,’ she amended. ‘They just lose sight of what’s important sometimes, worrying so much about what they don’t have that they forget what they’ve already got.’
‘Like home,’ Sam said.” (p. 207)
Read This If You Love: Tinker Bell, Folk lore about fairies, Wishapick by M.M. Allen, Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black, Seekers by Erin Hunter, Mez’s Magic by Eliot Schrefer
**Thank you to Danielle at Blue Slip Media for setting up the blog tour!**
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