Cuentos Maravillosos para 5 años

Title:  Cuentos Maravillosos para 5 años
Author: (as told by) David Busto
Illustrator: Marifé  González
Publisher:  Susaeta Ediciones, S.A.
ISBN: 9788467707076

Cuentos Maravillosos para cinco anos

Summary:  Twenty common folk and fairy tales re-told in Spanish. Includes Cinderella, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Snow White, The Wolf and the Seven Sheep, and more.
Butterfly’s notes:  If you are a Spanish-speaking family, a family looking to become bilingual, or an adult who wants to practice your Spanish skills, this is a great book to have. The stories are traditional but appropriate versions of tales we’ve come to know and love, accompanied by whimsical illustrations. It is simply worded for the most part, but if you’re unsure of your Spanish skills, be sure to keep a Spanish-English dictionary or Google Translate close at hand.

Categories:  ages 4-6, ages 7-9, animal stories, anthologies, fairy tales, fantasy, funny stories, picture books, Spanish

Magical Tales From Many Lands

Magical Tales From Many LandsTitle:  Magical Tales From Many Lands
Author:  (retold by) Margaret Mayo
Illustrator:  Jane Ray
Publisher:  Dutton Children’s Books
ISBN:  0-525-45017-3

Summary:  An anthology of stories about magic from around the world.
Butterfly’s notes:  These tales feature strong heroes and heroines who stand by their morals and learn from their mistakes.  I absolutely loved this anthology as a child; it is one of my personal favorites.  There is something about Jane Ray’s illustrations that really brings the stories to life.

Categories:  ages 7-9, ages 10-12, fairy tales, mythology and legends, fantasy, anthologies, picture books, Butterfly’s favorites

Babushka Baba Yaga

Babushka Baba YagaTitle:  Babushka Baba Yaga
Author/ Illustrator:  Patricia Polacco
Publisher:  Philomel Books
ISBN:  0-399-22531-5

Summary:  The forest creature Baba Yaga is considered to be an evil witch,  but she feels misunderstood.  Wishing for a grandchild of her own, she disguises herself as a babushka (grandmother) and offers her help to Natasha, a single mother whose son has no babushka.  But, when Baba Yaga’s  foster grandson is scared by tales of the forest witch, she flees lest he discover the truth about her.  Only when danger threatens her foster family does the Baba Yaga reveal her true identity.
Butterfly’s notes:  There are many tales about the Russian witch, Baba Yaga Bony Legs.  This story shows a much softer side of the Baba Yaga that is compeltely loveable.  You can’t help but sympathize with her as a social outcast and rooting for her in her disguise as a babushka.  I love the drawings too!

For a more traditional Baba Yaga story, try reading Baba Yaga Bony Legs in Magical Tales From Many Lands.

Categories:  ages 7-9, ages 10-12, fairy tales, fantasy, mythology and legends, picture books, re-thinking fairy tales, profound messages, Butterfly’s favorites

17 Kings and 42 Elephants

17 Kings and 42 ElephantsTitle:  17 Kings and 42 Elephants
Author:  Margaret Mahy
Illustrator:  Patricia MacCarthy
Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN:  0-8037-0458-5

Summary:  A procession through an African jungle.
Butterfly’s notes:  Beautiful batik-style illustrations perfectly off-set this luscious poem.  It is easy to devleop a rhythm while reading this book, so it’s great for reading aloud.  It isn’t so much a story as an exploration of the jungle.  Kids can imagine for themselves why the Kings are out in the rainforest with 42 elephants and where they are going.

Categories:  ages 4-6, ages 7-10, fantasy, animal stories, poetry, picture books, Butterfly’s favorites

I Can Hear the Sun

I Can Hear the SunTitle:  I Can Hear the Sun:  A Modern Myth
Author/ Illustrator:  Patricia Polacco
Publisher:  Philomel Books
ISBN:  0-399-22520-X

Summary:  Stephanie Michele, animal caretaker at Lake Merritt, befriends Frondo, an orphan boy from the settlement house in town.  In Frondo, Stephanie Michele finds a kindred spirit; they both have a way with animals and they both listen to the sun for wisdom.  Together with a few of the “regulars” at the park, they form a strong friendship.  But, when the people from the settlement house propose to send Frondo away, the friends are faced with a harsh reality.
Butterfly’s notes:  The characters in this book are all unwanted by society, but they form friendships based on their mutual outcast status.  Patricia Polacco refers to I Can Hear the Sun  as a “modern myth”, and it is just that.  It is a story with strong characters, true friendships, and a mystical but bittersweet ending.  Since the author often bases her stories on her own experiences or those of her family, this book is particularly intriguing.  What real-life thing could have happened to her that would prompt a fantasy like this one?

Categories:  ages 7-9, ages 10-12, animal stories, fantasy, mythology and legends, picture books, re-thinking fairy tales, profound messages, Butterfly’s favorites

The Good Stepmother

The Good StepmotherTitle:  The Good Stepmother
Author:  (Retold by) Marguerita Rudolph
Illustrator:  Darcy May
Publisher:  Simon And Schuster Books For Young Readers
ISBN:  0-671-68270-9

Summary:  Princess Elena has everything she could ever want except a mother.  When she brings this up to her father, he says he has been afraid to choose a wife in case she should be a bad mother.  Elena soon convinces him to let her choose- so begins the quest for a good stepmother.
Butterfly:  Stepmothers tend to get a bad rap in fairy tales and fantasy.  Here is a book that sets out to prove stepmothers are not all bad.  Illustrations will fascinate young girls.

Categories:  ages 4-6, ages 7-9, ages 10-12, re-thinking fairy tales, fantasy, picture books, geared at girls

Tatsinda

TatsindaTitle:  Tatsinda
Author:  Elizabeth Enright
Illustrator:  Katie Thamer Treherne
Publisher:  Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers
ISBN:  0-15-284280-2

Summary:  Tatsinda, an abnormal girl adopted into the community on Tatrajan Mountain, has fallen hopelessly in love with Prince Tackatan.  But before she can give the prince a birthday present magicked to expose her love, the kingdom is threatened by giants, and Tatsinda is captured!  Tatsinda and the prince are forced to use not only magic but cunning and competence to save the mountain and themselves.
Butterfly’s notes:  Tatrajan Mountain is a gorgeous, complete world that readers will gladly fall into.  I especially like that Tatsinda and Prince Tackatan are both strong characters who must work together to end the crisis.

Categories:  ages 7-9, ages 10-12, fantasy, picture books, chapter books, geared at girls, Butterfly’s favorites

The Story Of The Tooth Fairy

The Story Of The Tooth FairyTitle:  The Story Of The Tooth Fairy
Author:  Tom Paxton
Illustrator:  Robert Sauber
Publisher:  Morrow Junior Books
ISBN:  0-688-12987-0 (trade)
0-688-12988-9 (library)

Summary:  The young fairy Glynnis is accidentally discovered by a mortal girl, Emily.  Together they form a bond that will make Glynnis one of the most famous fairies of all time.
Butterfly’s notes:  It is sad that the Tooth Fairy doesn’t have a previously established story of her own.  Luckily, this book provides one!  Every child that loses a tooth should hear this story.

Categories:  ages 4-6, ages 7-9, ages 10-12, fairy tales, mythology and legends, fantasy, picture books, geared at girls

The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

The Secret of the Lost KingdomTitle:  The Secret of the Lost Kingdom
Author:  Michael Bolton
Illustrator:  David Jermann
Publisher:  Hyperion Books for Children
ISBN:  0-7868-0286-3

Summary:  When Michael and Jennifer wander off during the school field trip to a castle, they meet soemone who can tell them the secrets history doesn’t remember.
Prince Marlon of Mentoria, disturbed by the horrors of war, disguises himself as a peasant and travels the countryside.  He makes many friends among the peasantry, including the beautiful girl Nicole, but when the kingdom is threatened Marlon is forced to return to the castle in hopes of reclaiming his throne and saving Mentoria.
Butterfly’s notes:  This story contains all the elements of classic fantasy but provides new characters to admire and love.  It’s complexity and beauty make The Secret of the Lost Kingdom a treasure.

Categories:  ages 10-12, fantasy, picture books

Father And Daughter Tales

Father And Daughter TalesTitle:  Father And Daughter Tales
Author:  (Retold by) Josephine Evetts-Secker
Illustrator:  Helen Cann
Publisher:  Abbeville Kids
ISBN:  0-7892-0392-8

Summary:  Stories about young women and their relationships to fathers and husbands.
Butterfly’s notes:  Not all father-daughter relationships are perfect.  This book tells about good relationships and more difficult ones.  The fathers in the tales work to love, learn from, and bless their daughters.

Categories:  ages 7-9, ages 10-12, fairy tales, mythology and legends, anthologies, picture books, fantasy, geared at girls

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