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Dorothy, Goldilocks, Black Beauty, Oh My!

Have Library Card Will Travel

My name is not Isabella, but there sure is a lot of Isabella in me.  Read Isabella: Star of the Story (Sourcebooks, $16.99, ages 4-8) by Jennifer Fosberry with illustrations by Mike Litwin to your children and watch how a trip to the library can turn into a magical experience.  In fact the book is dedicated to librarians whose vital role in introducing children to books cannot be stressed enough.

Isabella is a young girl with a keen sense of adventure and an imagination as wide as the continents and oceans combined. Like me, Isabella loves to visit new places and in this, the third book in a richly rewarding series, she ventures inside the pages of some literary classics.

Isabella’s charming banter with her parents is part of the appeal of the story and New York Times Bestselling Author Fosberry wastes no time diving – or in this case, flying – right in! While she won’t answer to Isabella, she will answer to Peter Pan. “I am Peter Pan, and I am flying two stars to the right and straight on to the children’s room.”  Parents, remember to point out the different outfits that Isabella’s trusty plush mouse is wearing with each new book she reads. Illustrator Litwin has also drawn some delightful clues foreshadowing the next story to come. For example there’s a bowl of steamy porridge on top of a book on the page before Isabella transforms into Goldilocks. That’s when she searches for a book that’s “not too short and not too long.” There’s word play for older readers both in the text and in Litwin’s clever and colorful artwork. In addition to Peter Pan and Goldilocks from The Three Bears, Isabella enters the world of Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Black Beauty, Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful World of Oz.

The back matter at the end of the book shares interesting details about the evolution of each classic including a DID YOU KNOW factoid parents may even find more interesting than their kids! Considering we all have grown up with these “Stories for all time …” Fosberry has found a wonderful way to engage a whole new audience while making our trip down the rabbit hole all the more meaningful.

Read my review of Isabella: Girl on The Go (book 2) by clicking here.

-Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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Kidlit’s Famous Bull


is reviewed today by Lindy Michaels of Bookstar on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.

This timeless oldie, THE STORY OF FERDINAND, (written by Munro Leaf with drawings by Robert Lawson) recently celebrated 75 years since first being published (for goodness sake, that’s older than me!) and continues to be one great goodie. What with the likes of Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious and Dora The Explorer, some of the most wonderful and beloved classic children’s books have been all but forgotten and what a shame that is.

9780448456942lOf course, as all good stories begin, “Once upon a time in Spain, there lived a little bull and his name was Ferdinand.” Oh, yes, all the other little bulls did what, well, little bulls do. They ran and jumped and butted their heads together. But, no, not Ferdinand. All he wanted to do was to sit quietly in his favorite spot in the pasture and smell the flowers. His mother worried her little bull was lonely, but Ferdinand was happy being alone and breathing in the sweet, sweet scents. And that is how he spent his days.

But he didn’t stay little for long and, in fact, grew to be the biggest and strongest bull of them all. Because of this, when men came to pick out a bull for the greatest matador in Madrid to fight, of course, they looked at Ferdinand. Harmless, quiet Ferdinand? Then, just as he was sitting down to smell the flowers, the poor bull was stung by a bee, which made him go crazy. Hey! Bee stings can hurt even such a giant of a bull. Ferdinand began to snort and butt and paw the ground and the men knew they had found their prize.

The great day came, the flags were flying, the bands were playing and the matador couldn’t wait to get into the ring with this great and ferocious bull.  If truth be told, when he saw the size of Ferdinand and heard how ‘crazy’ he was, he was also quite nervous. Of course, we
know Ferdinand wasn’t fierce, at all, that is, as long as another bee didn’t sting his rump!

Once in the bull ring, Ferdinand walked into the middle of the great arena and… sat down and breathed in all the wonderful scents from all the flowers in the women’s hair who sat in the stands.  And he was so happy. The matador, who wanted to show off to the people how brave he was, was not so happy. Yes, it was back to the pasture for Ferdinand.

Now, anyone who has read my children’s reviews, knows how much I love a story with a good moral. So now, mommies and daddies, take your tots outside for a nice, long walk and please… stop and smell the roses!

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Studio City Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

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