Category Archives: fairy tales

My (Sort of) Fairy Tale Ending by Anna Staniszewski

Today Biblio Links welcomes back author Anna Staniszewski!

My-Sort-Of-Fairy-Tale-Ending-CoverAnna’s third book in her My Very Unfairy Tale Life series was released earlier this month. Just like the first two books, I adored Jenny in My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending. She’s flawed, magical, earnest, and sincere.

Here’s the plot summary from the publisher’s website:

You think a trip to Fairy Land sounds fun? Clearly you’ve never been turned into a mouse by an Evil Queen.

This. Is. It. My most important mission as a magical adventurer ever. And probably my last. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure if I defy the council and travel to Fairy Land to rescue my parents, I’m so fired. They say it’s too dangerous. That the Queen Fairy is crazy, and she’s hoarding all the magic to do unspeakable things (like steal the leprechauns’ gold and make all of her subjects attend mandatory parades).

But none of that matters. I finally have a chance at happily ever after with my family. And crazy fairy or no crazy fairy, I’ll do whatever it takes to bring them home.

~

In my library, I get fairy book requests daily  from little girls (K-2). But older readers like fairies, too, and I have a hard time keeping this series on the shelves. 

I asked Anna how her book fits into the classroom.

Anna Staniszewski-1Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, “That kid needs a copy of MY VERY (SORT OF) FAIRY TALE ENDING.” Who is this kid?
Anna Staniszewski: That kid is someone who likes to laugh and who enjoys adventures that turn traditional fairy tales upside-down. And if that kid is a fan of puns, even better!
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Anna Staniszewski: We’d see a lively discussion about fractured fairy tales–why we like retelling fairy tales, and why they’re so fun to “break.” I suspect there might also be a round of Fairy Tale Mad Libs (which is a big hit during my school visits).
Biblio Links: What writing advice do you have for kids?
Anna Staniszewski:Never stop writing! I’ve loved writing since I was young, but for a while I let other things in life distract me from it. If you enjoy writing then make sure to always make it a top priority.

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Anna Staniszewski: They can visit my website (www.annastan.com) where I have information about my books, upcoming events, school visits, etc.

Thanks for stopping by, Anna!

Here’s a bit more about the wonderful Anna:

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their black Labrador, Emma.

When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author ofMy Very UnFairy Tale Life and its sequels, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail and My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending, all published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.

Click here  to read the sparkling reviews and first chapter of My  (Sort of) Fairy Tale Ending and check out the trailer:

…and the first two books in the series!

 

MyVeryUnFairyTaleLife_CVR.inddMy Epic Fairy Tale Fail Final Cover RGB

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: November 5, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1402279331 (paperback)

Interest Level: Ages 9-12

Reading Level: 4.5

Number of Pages: 224

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Visit Shannon Messenger's website for more marvelous middle grade titles!
Visit Shannon Messenger’s website for more marvelous middle grade titles!

 

 

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Today Biblio Links welcomes picture book author Laura Murray! 

Full disclosure: I had the pleasure of creating curriculum guides for each of these delightful books. Both stories are twists on the traditional gingerbread tale.

Here are the summaries from the publisher’s website:

gbm-coverThe Gingerbread Man Loose in the School:   When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he’s a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He’ll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: “I can catch them! I’m their Gingerbread Man!”

With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man does find his class, and he’s assured they’ll never leave him behind again.

Teachers often use the Gingerbread Man story to introduce new students to the geography and staff of schools, and this fresh, funny twist on the original can be used all year long. Includes a poster with fun activities!

GB cover 10.1.12The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck:   Guess who gets to go along on a field trip to the firehouse? The Gingerbread Man! But when he falls out of his classmate’s pocket, Spot the Dalmatian comes sniffing around. Luckily, this Gingerbread Man is one smart cookie, and he races into the fire truck, up the pole, and all through the station, staying one step ahead of the hungry dog the whole time.

Then an emergency call comes in and the Gingerbread Man knows just what to do:
“I’ll ride to the rescue, as fast as I can.
I want to help, too! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”
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With snappy rhymes and fresh illustrations, the Gingerbread Man makes a sweet return in his second school adventure. Includes a poster with fire safety tips and activities.
~
I adore both of these books, and so do kids. Laura Murray’s rhyme is spot-on, making it a flowing, fun read-aloud. In both books, the gingerbread man isn’t running away from anyone (well, except for a brief sprint from the fire house Dalmatian)–he’s running to  his friends, the kids who made  him in their classroom, befriended him, and then lost track of him.  Mike Lowery’s illustrations are just as appealing as the text–bright, cheery and comic-book-like with speech bubbles galore.
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Here’s what Laura had to say about using these fun titles in the classroom.

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Biblio Links: A student or teacher walks into my library and I think: That person needs a copy of one of Laura Murray’s Gingerbread Man books. Who is this person?

Laura Murray:  This kid loves adventure and a good giggle, or field trips, fire trucks, and fire fighters. These books are for every kid who ever felt nervous on the first day of school, or who longed to be accepted; who wants to be a helper and a hero, or who likes comic-book/ graphic novel-like pictures.Or possibly a teacher who is looking for a fun way to  introduce his/her students to the school and staff – by chasing the Gingerbread man through the school, or who simply wants a fresh, funny take on the traditional story to highlight his/her Holiday unit. Maybe this teacher or librarian wants to complement  a fire safety or community helpers unit by giving his/her students an adventurous tour of the fire station (via the GB Man) during October Fire Prevention Week. 
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Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using one of your books in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
 

Laura Murray:  Being a former teacher myself, I wanted to incorporate lots of fun curriculum tie-ins within these books. Teachers can find printables and standards- based activities here.  These are just a few of the lessons that you might see:* Math – Gingerbread-related measuring and estimation* Science – A five senses lessons while making gingerbread; Properties of the ingredients and batter  (and kids who are very excited that they might get to taste a cookie!)* Language Arts – Comparing/contrasting the many versions of the GB Man story; Identifying story elements, structure, story event sequencing; Identifying (and chiming in on) rhyming words

* Life Skills – Fire Prevention and Safety Rules; How to navigate your school

* Social Studies –  Community helpers; Map skills in the school and community

 
Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
 
Laura Murray:  Please feel free to visit my website at www.LauraMurrayBooks.com for loads of activities, printouts, and standards /common core-linked teacher’s guides, as well as information about school author presentations.Here’s  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School’s book trailer. Fun just to watch or to practice skills like story prediction, sequencing, compare/contrast, and retelling. Enjoy!  

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Laura!

~

The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here and here.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Dates: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (July 2011);   The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck (July 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0399250521 (The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School)

ISBN-13: 978-0399257797 (The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck)

Interest Level: 5-8 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

My Very (Un) Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

Today Biblio Links welcomes author Anna Staniszewski!

Jacket Summary: Is your magical kingdom falling apart? Twelve-year-old Jenny is on the case, whether she likes it or not. Saving the world might sound exciting, but for Jenny it’s starting to get old — even staying in the real world long enough to take a math test would be a dream come true! And when you throw in bloodthirsty unicorns, psychotic clowns, and the most useless gnome sidekick ever, Jenny decides that enough is enough. She’s leaving the adventuring business and not looking back. Or…is she?

As I read this book, I immediately thought of a dozen kids I wanted to hand it to. The Upper Elementary/Middle School years are rife with friendship drama, and Jenny, the book’s main character, handles her BFF mass exodus in a way that made me both want to hug and cheer for her. Missing her parents, Jenny has to figure out how to get along with her kooky but lovable Aunt Evie, which will resonate with many of my students who live with extended family members. And last but not least, I have a group of 5th grade girls who come into my library asking (in a whisper, of course) for books with some romance. Jenny is the daring damsel and Prince Lamb is the monarch-in-distress, and there are moments when a few cupid-shaped sparks fly–not enough to scare away boy readers, mind you, but just enough to put stars in the eyes of the girl readers who whisper their way into my library. A delightful read!

I asked Anna how her book fits into the classroom.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, “That kid needs a copy of MY VERY (UN)FAIRY TALE LIFE.” Who is this kid?
Anna Staniszewski: This student is a girl (or a boy–yes, my book is also okay for boys!) who loves to laugh, enjoys magical adventures, has an interest in fairy tales, and is an avid mini-golf player.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Anna Staniszewski: I imagine a lesson on how fairy tales keep changing and evolving. A tale that inspired me as I was writing MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE was “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” which is one of the very few traditional tales that features a heroine who must rescue her prince. I used that idea and ran with it in my story. It would be interesting to have students think about the trends we see in traditional fairy tales and how those trends have changed (or not changed) as writers continue to re-imagine familiar tales.

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Anna Staniszewski: Swing by my website! (www.annastan.com) You can read the first chapter of my book, watch the book trailer, and download a free teacher’s guide (created by the fabulous Natalie Lorenzi herself). You’ll also get info on the UNFAIRY TALE sequels!

Thanks for stopping by, Anna!

Click Anna’s link above to read the magical reviews of My Very (Un) Fairy Tale Life.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: November 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 9781402259463 (paperback)

Interest Level: Ages 9-12

Reading Level: 4.5

Number of Pages: 198