Friday, March 30, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


Princess Peepers Picks a Pet, by Pam Calvert, 30 pages.

Princess Peepers was a very unusual princess. While the other students at the Royal Academy for Perfect Princesses delighted in fashionable dresses, Princess Peepers (so named because of her glasses) was just as likely to be garbed in safari gear. When the other princesses hosted tea parties, Peepers often arrived on a skateboard. When the other princesses practiced their posture in the garden, she hung upside down from a tree.
Princess Peepers wasn’t bothered in the least by her many differences from the other princesses … until she heard about the Academy’s Pet Show and realized that she was the only princess without a pet.
Where could she find one?
Peepers was very interested in bugs. Finding a colourful speciman, she brought it to pet practice, only to discover (as the other princesses turned up their noses) that bugs were not “pets”.  Neither were frogs, as she learned after raiding the Royal Pond.
Peepers went for a long, long walk in the forest. That was where she came upon the most marvelous “pet” of all…
Meanwhile, back at the Academy, the Pet Show was on and the other princesses had finished showing their perfect pets. They were just wondering if Princess Peepers had found yet another “pet”, when in she flew … on the back of a magnificent dragon!
She soared over the crowd, which clapped in delight.
When the prize for “Most Unusual Pet Award” was announced and awarded to Princess Peepers and her dragon, she was quite surprised. Why? Well … Princess Peepers had truly thought that her new pet was a unicorn!
But later, when Peepers donned a brand new pair of glasses, she could see that her pet was a dragon… a beautiful dragon … as unique as Princess Peepers herself!
Pam Calvert’s fun story is a delightful sequel to her earlier book, Princess Peepers, which also celebrates the value of being oneself.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

Kishka for Koppel, by Aubrey Davis, 30 pages.

If you had three wishes – and only three wishes – what would you wish for?
When Koppel, a poor man, found a talking meat grinder that promised to grant him three wishes, he took it home to his wife, Yetta. Together, they tried to decide what they desired most. A pearl necklace and earrings to match? A whole jewelry store? To be a prince and a princess living in a golden castle? To be young again?
The prospects made their eyes grow rounder and rounder.
They discussed so many possibilities that the time flew by. Koppel grew quite hungry. Without thinking, he wished for some tasty kishka.
In a twinkling, a huge piece of kishka (a sausage-like food made from sheep guts) appeared on a plate.
Yetta was incensed. They had just wasted one of their precious wishes!  “I WISH THIS KISHKA WOULD STICK TO YOUR NOSE!” she snapped.
No sooner wished than done! The long piece of kishka was now stuck to her husband’s nose.
Poor Koppel! No amount of pulling would loosen that sausage. It was uncomfortable. It was embarrassing. He looked more like an elephant than a person!
After a few minutes, Yetta began to feel sorry for her husband, whom she loved very much. She wished for the kishka to drop from her husband’s nose. Again, no sooner wished than done. The sausage dropped back on the plate.
Koppel was so relieved and happy that he waltzed his wife around the room.
Later, as they reflected on what had happened, they realized something. Although their wishes were gone, they really weren’t poor at all! They had each other. They had good health. They had enough to eat. Really, with all that, who could wish for more?
Aubrey Davis’s entertaining retelling of a traditional Yiddish tale which questions consumerism and excess, carries a message for all ages.
** Recommended for ages 5 to 8 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on March 29, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian. 

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