Books, Memes, Reviews

Little Somethings – From Magical Tales to Grounded Realities

From magical tales to grounded realities, this post covers it all!

For the Short Story Reading Challenge – Deal Me In 2018, here is my pick for last week and my list of selected reading for this year’s challenges can be found here.

Week 10 Deal Me In The Card:  3 of Hearts (and I really need to get cool cards to use for this – starting with either the Alice deck or the Jane Austen deck – you can check them out here)

The Selection: The Magic Shop by H.G.Wells 

Description: Out for a walk in London one day, Gip and his father happen upon a magic shop. At Gip’s urging, the two go in — and things grow more and more curious by the minute. Counters, store fixtures, and mirrors seem to move around the room, and the shopkeeper is most mysterious of all. Gip is thrilled by all he sees, and his father is at first amused, but when things become stranger and sinister father is no longer sure where reality ends and illusion begins. Fantastical illustrations underscore the macabre atmosphere of the tale, make this a perfect book read aloud together again and again.

My Thoughts: The Hearts suit is for stories by authors I love – and they can be stories I have read before or not – by those beloved authors. Today’s selection is one I have not read before. H.G. Wells fascinated me because I enjoyed science fiction as a kid, especially loved reading Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov, and he deserves the title bestowed on him – ‘father of science fiction’. This short story is not science fiction however, no siree, it is not! Sleight of hand or genuine magic, rabbits in hats and mirrors and disappearing doors(and stores), toy soldiers that march at your command, glass balls that appear out of nowhere and hence are free for Gip – the little boy in this story, a prestidigital (don’t you love it when you discover words that are new, but old! ) proprietor who is kind (or is he villainous?), and so many twists and turns that the reader wonders and worries along with the parent in the story, while at the same time marvels in the magic (the genuine magic) like Gip.

“This is the genuine magic,” he said. “The real thing.”

“It’s a little too genuine for my taste,” I said again.

To Sum It Up: well, magical, of course!

Vote For Me!: How Governments and Elections Work Around the World 
February 1, 2018
by Louise Spilsbury (Author),‎ Mike Gordon (Illustrator)

Description: The Ancient Greeks had them. So did the Ancient Romans. And you know what? So do we!

What’s that, you ask? Governments! Vote for Me explains politics to children and shows them just who is in charge around the world from presidents and prime ministers to dictators, autocrats, and monarchs. It also answers important questions that kids have, including:
What do governments do?
How are laws made?
What are monarchies, republics, and dictatorships?
How do democracies and elections work?
Fun illustrations, interactive panels, and informative sidebars throughout help readers find out what it takes to become a leader and how to get people to vote for YOU!

My Thoughts: Totally loved this book – it packs so much in 64 pages. I learned a lot of stuff myself as I read the book. I especially enjoyed reading the how-of-governments from early hunter-gatherers to today, and how kids can be part of the political process (including running for and preparing for elections in school, and in the wider scheme of things). Among the many other things it covers, it also includes a brief introduction to the different types of governments, and how they work in different countries, including the US, China, India, Canada among others. So what is FPP versus the US’ electoral college? Read the book to find out for yourself or to teach that kid interested in civics. A great resource for classrooms, this book has fun drawings to illustrate points, fun facts or interesting information highlighted in boxes on many pages, and a great glossary to explain the many terms used in the book.

Rating: A+
Reading Level: 8 to 11 years (but will be useful and good for older kids too!)
Reread Level: 4.5/5

harper and night forestHarper and the Night Forest
March 27, 2018
by Laura Ellen Anderson (illustrator) Cerrie Burnell (author)
Description: The magic of fairy tales comes to life as Harper and her friends set off on another enchanting adventure. The third book in the Harper series. Harper is on a mission! Rumor tells of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt even the hardest of hearts.Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the mythical bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest where fairy tales are more than they seem to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realizes she faces a terrible dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?The third book in the Harper series continues to spin tales of whimsy and wonder for Harper and her friends. Full of friendship, music, fairy tales, and magic, and featuring a diverse cast, brought to life through stunning illustrations, this is a book to be shared and treasured.My Thoughts:
What I liked about the book: Concept of the night forest with it’s fairy tale trees and the fairy tale keepers, the university of fine literature, the city of singing clocks, the enchanting magical music ; the almost musical and poetic flow of words many times in the book; the Quentin Blake like illustrations; would be wonderful to watch this as a movie or series, I am guessing..
What could have been better: The story seemed to skip and jump at times and I had to go back and read the previous couple of pages wondering if I missed something; and other times, was a bit long-winded (and the beginning seemed to be the middle of a story, so took me a while before I got it – not sure if it is because it is part of a series and the third in the series)
Overall, enchanting but a bit confusing at times..
Rating: B+
Reading Level: 6-9 years
Reread Level: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: Thank you to Edelweiss for a digital ARC of the books. These are my honest opinions of the books after reading them.

I am linking these books to What are you Reading? From Picture Books to YA at Teach Mentor Texts and to NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge

Note: This post contains affiliate links

5 thoughts on “Little Somethings – From Magical Tales to Grounded Realities

  1. I’ve read a LOT of H.G. Wells’s stories, but this one doesn’t immediately ring a bell. I also had a book club once that read his collection “The Stolen Bacillus and Other Stories.” I’m also a fan of Verne and Asimov, the latter’s autobiography, “I, Asimov” being a favorite author autobiography, as was Wells’s huge tome “Experiment in Autobiography,” which introduced me to many of his less well-known books I hadn’t heard of before but subsequently went out and found and read.

    I keep thinking I should break into my collection of decks of playing cards and pick appropriate ones for each week, but it seems whenever I’m writing a post and doing my heading pic, I’m not at home and just working on my iPad. I need to be better organized. 🙂

    1. I have not read the autobiographies but have definitely heard about I,Asimov.. should add that to my TBR..
      I am not sure I would be patient enough to pick appropriate card decks based on selections each week and the online one is my lazy way of doing it 🙂

  2. I am going to have to get my hands on Vote for Me. During the last election day, we went to the library to get some election books. The library employee (we don’t have real credentialed librarians at our public library, unfortunately) who’s in charge of the children’s and YA section said they didn’t have any. Nevertheless, I walked away with a stack of about 15 books by using the right combination of search terms. Anyway, my kiddos learned a lot, but it sounds like this book has even more to offer. Thanks for sharing in IMWAYR, this week! I look forward to keeping up with you in the future. Have a great weekend!

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