Thursday, February 5, 2015

Shelf Life [kids]

Emma and the Blue GenieEmma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke, 90 pages.
@SPL:  J FIC Funke

Everyone knows that a genie should be able to grant three wishes.

However, the blue genie that emerges from the mysterious glass bottle that eight-year-old Emma finds on a beach can’t grant even one wish. Karim’s magic nose ring has been stolen, leaving him smaller, powerless and trapped in the green bottle – until now.

Emma and her dog Tristan join Karim in a journey via a magic carpet to a desert land to find the powerful caliph of Barakash, Karim’s master. Once there, they face deadly spiders, scorpions and other dangers in a quest to regain Karim’s magic powers – and to free the land from the clutches of the evil caliph.

Emma proves to be a courageous, spirited (but believable) heroine in this engaging fantasy tale of friendship and adventure, which would be a great pick for younger readers who are new to reading chapter books. Featuring short chapters, this new fairy tale has plenty of illustrations, and concludes with an unexpected twist. 

Cornelia Funke is also the author of such popular children’s titles as The Thief Lord and Inkheart.

** Recommended for ages 7 to 10 years.

The Princess CurseThe Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell, 327 pages.
@SPL:  J FIC Haske

In this retelling of The Thirteen Dancing Princesses (complete with a dash of Beauty and the Beast), set in the Middle Ages, thirteen-year-old Reveka is an herbalist’s apprentice in the palace of Sylvania. 

The unfortunate princesses of Sylvania are under the spell of a mysterious curse which causes them to dance each night until they are exhausted. The prince offers a large reward to anyone who can break the curse.

Wishing to purchase a position as a master herbalist, sharp-witted Reveka tries her luck at winning the reward.  Instead, she discovers a door to the Underworld. There she discovers a world of magic, danger and intrigue – and a second terrible curse. Soon Reveka is faced with the formidable choice of turning back or risking everything to break the curses.

Combining adventure, suspense, magic, myth and humour, this thoughtful and enjoyable fairy tale features another smart, courageous heroine.

** Recommended for ages 9 to 12 years.
These reviews appear in the Stratford Gazette, written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.


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