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The Simple Treasures of Childhood

This imaginative book is reviewed by Debbie Glade, who still thinks of herself as a kid.

I love books that inspire imagination and encourage children to entertain themselves in non-technical ways. Author Kelly Bennett got the wonderful idea for One Day I Went Rambling ($17.95, Bright Sky Press, ages 5-8), after spending time treasure -hunting with her own children.

This is a story about a boy who finds everyday objects and uses his imagination to pretend that these finds are fantastic treasures. An old soda pop top becomes a pirate’s magic ring, a packing crate becomes a wooden barge and a paper bag becomes a mighty warrior’s shield. At first the boy’s friends make fun of him for pretending, but fascinated by his imagination and the fun that he has with the found objects, that all changes. In addition to the charming story, you’ll enjoy the illustrations by Terry Murphy, a self-proclaimed rambler of her own. The main illustrations are in full color, and the supplemental ones are in black and white – a nice contrast.

In this age of technology and sophisticated toys, it is so refreshing to read a book that stimulates children to use their own imaginations. This book reminds us that creative thinking combined with simple pleasures make for a wonderful childhood and the promise of a successful future.

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Cinderella’s Stepmother Steps Into The Spotlight

If you’ve had enough with fairy tales, you’ll love introducing your children to Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother ($5.95, Picture Window Books, ages 5 and up) written by Trisha Speed Shaskan. Simply put, this is a mockery of Cinderella’s perfect image. From the viewpoint of the jealous stepmother, Cinderella is treated well by every member of the family, but she is just too chatty and oh, so annoying. I like this book, not only for its humor, but also because it is an original take on a tried and true fairy tale. After reading and being told so many quintessential princess stories, this book makes young readers think in fresh, new ways.  The cartoon-like illustrations by Gerald Guerlais are colorful and inviting too. In the back of the book the author suggests that readers read the original Cinderella story and compare it to this one. Any book that is funny and encourages children to think outside the box (or should I say castle?) is a winner.

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