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Kids Picture Book Review – Fractured Fairy Tales Roundup






the most terrible of all coverTHE MOST TERRIBLE OF ALL
Written by Muon Thị Văn
Illustrated by Matt Myers
(Margaret K. McElderry Books; $17.99, Ages 4-8)

If you like fairy tales, Muon Thị Văn’s new spin on Snow White will enchant you. Snow White and the dwarfs aren’t featured, rather the focus is on the Magic Mirror used by the Evil Queen. In The Most Terrible of All, the queen has been replaced by Smugg, a lovable monster. Smugg is certain he’s the most terrible beast in the land—his mirror tells him so. Until, one day, when he’s out-terribled by someone new, someone “a million times more terrible.” Not one to sit idly by, Smugg goes in search of this interloper. His quest takes him all the way . . . next door where a houseful of fiends are all potential contenders for the title of Most Terrible.

This ghoulish fractured fairy tale delighted me. Matt Myers’s art features lovely blues, greens, purples, and pinks giving the book a calm vibe even though the action’s quite exciting. His “ginormous sea serpent” is wonderfully scary and my favorite creature in the book.

Kids will enjoy this picture book because it’s a funny version of a story they already know. The monsters are charming and the ending is just perfect.

Written by Lynne Marie

Illustrated by David Rodriguez Lorenzo
(Sterling Children’s Books; $16.95, Ages 4-8)

Goldilocks has gone ghoulish in Lynne Marie’s picture book, Moldilocks and the Three Scares: A Zombie Tale. The Scare family—a monster dad, mummy mom, and vampire daughter—are enjoying a lovely night together preparing a midnight snack of sliced finger sandwiches and Alpha-Bat soup. But, of course, the soup is too hot; it boils Dad’s bolts, causes Mama to unravel, and gives Baby a fang-ache.

David Rodriguez Lorenzo illustrations are deathly cute. Details enliven each scenes. The page that enchants me is Moldilocks zombie-stumbling across the dining table with a fly escort. The three chairs are perfectly suited for each family member. Their décor is skeletal chic. A skull vase displays withering flowers, an old-fashioned TV’s rabbit ears appear to be femurs, and the standing lamp is a headless skeleton holding up its lampshade.

Pay attention to the opening pages because those lines will come back to haunt you with the book’s modern ending. When the Scares catch Moldilocks in their ghastly abode, Mama muses that her “nightmares have been answered”; I think Moldilocks would agree.

Reading Beauty cover

Written by by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Meg Hunt
(Chronicle Books; $17.99, Ages 6-8)

The winning team of Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt from Interstellar Cinderella are together again in Reading Beauty, another rhyming fractured fairy tale picture book. In this version, instead of the princess pricking her finger on a spinning wheel, Princess Lex lives in a book-loving kingdom and is cursed to go into a deathlike sleep from a paper cut. Therefore, all books are secreted away on her fifteenth birthday.

“Without its books, their world grew bleak, consumed by dark and gloom.” Luckily Lex’s cute puppy, Prince, has been trained to fetch her things to read. I like how this smart princess takes matters into her own hands, especially the funny scene where Lex fools the fairy.

The art pops from the page. A bright blend of classic fairy tale and futuristic wonder will delightfully transport readers into a modern world. You’ll have to pick up your own copy to discover the creative ending.


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Oh Sister or is That Oh Brother?

Today’s guest reviewer is 4th grader Naomi. She’s 9 years-old, likes all animals, mermaids, wants peace in the world, and has eight pets. Read her review of the latest book in the Just Grace series, one of her faves!

JUST GRACE AND THE DOUBLE SURPRISE  ($14.99, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ages 6-10) by Charise Mericle Harper.

This great new book is about two girls, ‘Just Grace’ and Mimi, who each get one surprise. Just Grace’s surprise is from her dad and Mimi’s surprise is from an adoption center. The main characters, Just Grace and Mimi. seem to be about 10 years-old. Just Grace is blonde, wears pigtails and has pink cheeks. She is eager, happy, and has willpower and empathy, qualities I like in a main character. Mimi has wavy hair. She is also eager but gets sad easily. I liked Grace best. I think other girls would enjoy reading this book, especially if they like dogs and baby brothers!

Nothing really similar to this book is going on in my own life. However, the plot is believable and I would read more books by this author. Essentially the story is about Grace getting a dog, and the adoption of Mimi’s 4 year-old brother. Plus there are the comics that Grace writes concerning things going on in her life. I’m really glad I read Just Grace and the Double Surprise. Just a note: some art in the book was childish because Grace draws it (in her comic) but the art the author drew was good. Add this book to your holiday wish list.

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