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Friday, May 31, 2013

Chapter Books: Worst Witch at School, You Are a Bad Man Mr.Gum, Thora:A Half-Mermaid Tale

Starting with Rainbow Fairies and Magic Treehouse and Junie B; quickly breezing through Ramona and Gooney Bird and Beany; moving on to American Girl Historical CharactersThe Doll People and Ivy+Bean; graduating to The Witches, BFG, Matilda, and then exploring Dick King-Smith and E.Nesbit and Edward Eager; along the way scratching a certain itch with Goosebumps and The Littles; forever fascinated with Flower Fairies and Fairy Realm; enjoying Ottoline and Greg Heffley and their quirky illustrations; it has been quite a ride for me as the little girl went about on her journey of discovering books.

Every once in a while, despite conceding, "these are too boring; nothing ever happens; and it is always the same; sometimes it is quite annoying to read...", she does choose some banal books. Which is fine with me. For now.

So, inbetween reading aloud Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl to her, I sit back and let her pore over Dragonology or How To Find Flower Fairies with intense passion; and then I  take a welcome break when she entangles herself in Thora's or Mildred's life.

Judging by the pace at which the books were read, and shared with me later, it looks like these recent reads didn't disappoint her.

Front CoverThora: A Half-Mermaid Tale
Thora and the Green Sea Unicorn
by Gillian Johnson

Fairies, mermaids, selkies, unicorns, dragons... the 8 yo still believes in them all.

Thora is a half mermaid. Well, does that mean she is a quarter human? Or is it three-quarters human if her dad is human? Do mermaids really have blowholes on the top of their heads?

Not the sort of questions I was expecting to hear.

"If you produce a child
Half of the land and sea
It will have to live in both
In order to be free."
That sets it up nicely. Thora's father is not in the picture. Her mermaid mother is unable to take care of her on land. Mr.Walters is the convenient human guardian, a father figure.

As Thora learns the ways of the humans and navigates her way in the town of Grimli, she manages to make friends who help her solve the mystery of her missing mother.

The book held the 8 yo's attention and she enjoyed the adventures. I skimmed/scanned the book as I normally do and did not find anything seriously objectionable in it. The style was upbeat and Thora was unique.

Apparently, the Green Sea Unicorn sequel was not as interesting as the first book - possibly the novelty wore off... in any case, looks like a nice set of books to read for fun.

[image source: google books ]

The Worst Witch at School (Paperback) The Worst Witch at School
by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch series of books by Jill Murphy seems like just the sort of book the 7 yo was craving for at the time we brought them home. She managed to read a handful practically back-to-back.

What's not to like? Clumsy, disaster-prone Mildred manages to muck things up for herself at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Getting in trouble seems to happen naturally for her even though she doesn't mean to. And, her wonderful friend Maud seems to understand this.

The books are a quick read, with the usual agonies faced at childhood. The style of boarding school, the rules, the forms (grades) may seem strange to a modern child, but then, which modern child knows of a Witch School today?

This book is a set of two stories - The Worst Witch and The Worst Witch Strikes Again.

[image source: ]

You Are a Bad Man Mr.Gum
by Andy Stanton

The few Mr.Gum books she read were an unlikely hit with the recently turned 8 yo. It has the heart of Roald Dahl but not the finesse or the charm. It is wacky and wild, and funny in the silly way that kids appreciate.

Mr.Gum is seriously nasty, quite an unlikable character, not much unlike Count Olaf. Rat poison and killing with intent are thrown about, so not ideally recommended for the sensitive child.

The resident 8 yo has recently taken to exploring some books on the darkly bizarre and the deliberately disagreeable. So, this fit right in with her current interests. Especially since the kids are intent on thwarting Mr.Gum any way they can.

"I am going to read one chapter to you, Mama. You have to listen to the whole chapter, OK?"

So I braced myself for some strange happenings - loathsome malevolence coupled with childish inanity. Instead, I burst out laughing when I heard the chapter titles and the entire contents of chapter 4:
Chapter 4: Mr Gum Has a Cup of Tea  Mr.Gum has a cup of tea.

Chapter 5: Jammy Grammy Lammy F'Huppa F'Huppa Berlin Stereo Eo Eo Lebb C'Yepp Nermonica Le Straypek De Grespin De Crespin De Spespin De Vespin De Whoop De Loop De Brunkle Merry Christmas Lenoir 

[image source: google books ]

Read Aloud Ghost Stories
by PI Kids

A collection of spooky stories, not gory or horrific. Just the sort that leaves a lot unsaid and lets the reader's imagination fill in some of the details, scaring themselves in the process.

There are the standard ones like The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow, The Canterville Ghost, The Monkey's Paw, as well as The Mystery of the Sargasso, The Bermuda Triangle, The Loch Ness Monster, The Selkie Child... about 35 stories in all, in a kid-friendly retelling by various authors, with full color illustrations.

I would not have picked this out for her from the library, but she got it herself and couldn't put it down. "It is not scary at all, Mama, you should read this book," she urged. I take that as a good sign.

[image source:]

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