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How Do You Get To Carnegie Hall?

Today Lindy Michaels shares her take on animal lover and Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters’  STELLA IS A STAR ($17.99,, ages 4 and up) with illustrations by Liz Murphy.


I love actress, singer, children’s author, Bernadette Peters and her ‘dreams can come true’ books. “This is the story of Princess Pig… who really isn’t a princess… or a pig.” What a great start to grab a child’s attention, no?

Poor, poor Stella doesn’t think any of the other neighborhood doggies like her. That’s right, she’s a dog! Perhaps they just don’t understand her. Perhaps she tries too hard. Or, perhaps it’s because… “She masquerades as a pig princess of the highest order.” Hey! She never takes off her ballet tutu and her big red crown!

Oh, woe is Stella. But wanting to make friends so badly and already pretending to be a pig princess, she signs up for lessons at If Pigs Could Fly School Of Dance. Of course, the other piggies there just aren’t quite sure Stella is a real pig. Smart swines, they are. “You smell and sound just like a dog.” “If you’re a pig, where is your curly tail?” they ask.

Unfortunately for Stella, not only isn’t she really a little porker, she also can’t dance, has absolutely no rhythm, whatsoever. But Stella is one determined dog/pig, to make some piggy friends and to be a dancer. And so she practices and practices and practices. But does practice make perfect? “She pirouettes at breakfast. She jetes at lunch. She plies at dinner.”

And then it’s the night of the big show. Rose, the prima ballerina pig is spinning and spinning, warming up for her big solo debut, when yikes, she falls and yes, twists her ankle. Oh, snort, who will take her place? Okay, you guessed it. Stella!! (Wow! This sounds just like how Shirley Maclaine got discovered on Broadway!) Although very nervous, to say the least, once on center stage, she is perfect as she twirls and twirls. But then, panic! Her red crown, her security blanket if you will, falls off, but an amazing thing occurs. She suddenly feels free. Free at last. Free to be who she really is… a pit bull ballerina who loves to dance, and ain’t that bad at it, after all.

Of course, the moral of this delightful tale, children, is that you don’t have to pretend to be a princess pig to find friends, learn to dance or have all your dreams come true. You just have to believe in yourself and twirl your way through life!

lindymichaelspic1The 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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The Princess Party Cookbook


kendallweb_9565-21Today’s guest reviewer, is Lisa Vasquez, mother of three (one prince and two princesses) from El Segundo, California. She’s thrilled to have sampled  Princess Party Cookbook by Annabel Karmel.

I absolutely love this book! I live in sunny, southern California and just threw a fabulous princess party for my daughter thanks to Princess Party Cookbook. I found the most delicious recipes and easy tips to make my daughter’s day fit for royalty.

61zhlffzx-l_sl500_aa300_From invitations to table decor … even different party themes, Karmel has covered everything. So many details and fun ideas are packed into this invaluable book. In fact, I am even using some ideas I’ve picked up and incorporating them into parties I throw with friends. A real treat for holidays or any time of year, this book will bring out your creative side. While Karmel did not toss in the white knight in shining armor, with Princess Party Cookbook, she has certainly concocted a truly great guide to making a magical and majestic party!

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A Princess, A Castle and a Mouse …

juliareading1Guest Reviewer, Jessica Smith from Dracut, MA is back, this time with her older daughter, Julia.

“Ooh, a princess one!” squealed my 6-year-old daughter as she picked up Mary Balfaz’s Princess Emily and the Secret Library. Illustrated by Stan Gorman, the cute, clear drawings make a wonderful backdrop for this story about a pigtailed princess’s many adventures in her home, Castle Clarion. Ever the girly type, my daughter was delighted by Princess Emily’s brightly colored poufy dress, crown and her interaction with the castle mice. After all, what little girl doesn’t love an imaginative, magical fairy tale?

After stumbling upon a tiny door, Princess Emily discovers a world within in
her own world—Mouseville. Magically created years ago by a wizard, the
kindly man used an amulet to keep the secret of the magical talking mice
library hidden within the library. But when the amulet’s power begins to
wear off, curious Princess Emily uncovers quite a treasure! We were
especially delighted with the miniature town the mice had set up, complete
with streets, tiny buildings and neatly planted gardens. In the story, we
are introduced to a mayor, a school principal and even the town jester!

After discovering that the mice need Princess Emily’s help to save
Mouseville from her mother’s intended castle renovation, they realize that
Emily is in the possession of the amulet that keeps the mice safely hidden
within their world—a treasure she had found days before on one of her many
castle adventures. She quickly returns the magical amulet, and Mouseville
is safe once again. My daughter easily identified with the bouncy, curious
heroine of the story, having starred in countless of her own imagined,
dress-up fairy tale adventures.

A surefire hit for the for the daydreamers in the 5 years and over set,
Princess Emily and the Secret Library is fuel for the imagination and a fun,
wholesome tale for the princess in your family.

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