Rapunzel’s Revenge (all Hale breaks loose) by Shannon and Dean Hale illustrated by Nathan Hale

Our 1st Double Scoop by Cari and Holly

First off, we are tremendously excited to present Rapunzel’s Revenge as our first ever double scoop! As big fans of Shannon’s other books, and with a little Rapunzel experience of our own, we felt almost compelled to choose this tale. We weren’t sure what to expect from a graphic novel and a co-author, but were intrigued, to say the least. After writing this review together, we have more respect for Shannon and Dean (writing a piece with someone else is hard work)! Lot’s of give and take makes us curious what type of arguments might they have had? Not that we would know anything about that . . .

****Stay tuned for our own “Rapunzel” reader’s theatre following the review.****

*Warning: Spoilers Below!

What we liked

Holly – I identified with Rapunzel trying so hard to do daring things, but it wasn’t natural at first- she was a total klutz and that is so like me!

Cari – I enjoyed Rapunzel as a female heroine who rescued herself and her family and saved the day without a prince charming. She’s independent, actually more like interdependent, she works with other people to accomplish her goals, but she doesn’t use her good looks to get her places.

Holly – The fact that Rapunzel still loved and related to her mom even though her mom had been a slave in the mines and thus didn’t look beautiful on the outside- this was poignantly satisfying.

What we didn’t like

Holly – Emily was a hideous ugly brat of a girl. I don’t know if I would have rescued her.

Cari – and spoiled! I don’t like the idea of a child, Rapunzel, being traded for lettuce. (I know that has nothing to do with the writing it’s just part of the original story. As a child it didn’t bother me too much, but as a mother it pulls on my heartstrings.)

What about the illustrations?

Holly – I loved the illustrations. The cover’s probably my favorite, and when Rapunzel looks mad (page 129, last frame). It was a change for me to try and read this type of book. It helped when I studied each illustration with my boys to figure out more of what was happening. Very visually stimulating!

Cari – I had to slow myself down and force myself to look at the pictures, otherwise you miss a lot of the story. Once I got the hang of it, it was really fun. I could tell they live in Utah as I saw some similarities to Zion’s National Park. Really liked how the words and pictures worked together to create a story.

Surprises we found

p1010031Holly – I liked the explanation of how Rapunzel’s hair grows long. That’s one thing that has always bugged me about the fairytale- how in the world does anyone get hair that long? Read the book to find out the reason!

Cari – It does explain a lot about the hair. My daughter would love that to happen to her (the long hair part, not the locked in a tower part). She did inform us that we can cut her hair when it reaches 100 meters, but she is worried about it falling in the toilet. Makes you wonder about Rapunzel.

Holly- I was surprised that more than one fairytale was involved.

Cari- I liked Jack and his bean that got him in trouble.

Holly- Yep and then all Hale broke loose!

Any good life lessons to share?

Holly- I like when Rapunzel got her hair cut off (maybe I shouldn’t like it since I have a little experience in that department, ahem). I got a lot of satisfaction that Rapunzel could still have power without her hair and we both think that it shows you don’t have to have a special power to help yourself out of a bad situation.

Cari- I didn’t like that the wicked mother, Gothel, cuts off her hair. (Ack!! What does that say about me. Just remember I was a young child). Not cutting other people’s hair is a good lesson.

What were the kiddos favorite parts?

Cari – My daughter saw the book on the couch, and spent over an hour ‘reading the book’ going page by page.  And then she put a bookmark in it and went to eat breakfast. She desperately wants to read it. I am planning on giving the book to a niece so I told her that we could read it, and that she could ask Santa to bring her the book. I can assure you Santa will be most happy to bring the book.

Sagetree- note the yard stick tucked in the branches

Holly – It took me three days to read through the entire book with my boys. They kept begging me to read it to them and loved it, although I must say they were not so thrilled with the kissing part at the end. My boys really liked the coyotes because we live by coyotes. We frequently warn our boys not to wander into the sagebrush partly because of our furry neighbors who really do have very sharp teeth and are always looking for a meal (we have incredibly tall, thick sagebrush here in Central Washington- more like a child sized forest of short sage trees). So it was a good reminder for them.

What about stereotypes?

Holly – I liked that Rapunzel wasn’t a voluptuous cat-woman type that is so typical of comic books. I appreciated that Rapunzel didn’t show lots of cleavage in order to be a credible heroine which is one of my least favorite things about most comic books. One of the things that is especially important to me is that I don’t want my boys thinking that women have to wear next to nothing to be cool or successful and appreciated by men. I think that this book accomplishes all that and much, much more!

Cari – Ditto for my daughters. It was fun to see Rapunzel deal with the stereotype of – “you’re a girl, you couldn’t possibly do that”, and prove people wrong. Especially when she would help someone at first and Jack would get the credit. It’s like they didn’t see her. It was nice to read this book and it’s definitely one I want in my library for my kids for those reasons plus, its a fun book.

Holly- I agree this is a great book to have on holiday give-away and wish lists- even though the heroine is a girl, the book has universal appeal and will be appreciated by most readers over age 4 (the boys might feel a little self-conscious about liking it at some age point). I’ve tried reading comic books, I know this is a graphic novel (what exactly is the difference?) but I liked this better and highly recommend it.

Cari – A graphic novel is a type of comic book, generally longer then a comic book and tells a story beginning to end. Does that help? I looked it up. Great question. Did I just sound like a teacher? Graphic novels were very popular at my middle school thanks to the principal who introduced them. The kids ate them up.

Now for a little “Rapunzel” reader’s theatre story of our own.

cari_hollyNarrator: Once upon a time there were two sisters, Cari and Holly,

Holly: Cari was jeolous of Holly’s beautiful long tresses.

Cari: Um, yeah, do I have to admit it? I’d rather not talk about this. (Sigh) Okay. . . It all started when Holly’s hair got longer than mine. I couldn’t take it anymore! I’m older so naturally I should have prettier, longer hair, right? Well, I knew I had to do something to retain my position as the Rapunzel of the family. Sooo. . . I snuck the scissors out to the backyard and told my innocent, gullible little sister that we were going to play a new game: Haircutting!

Three to four months after the haircut

I would go first and then after she sat really still so I could do a good job, then it would be her turn to cut my hair. (insert conspiratorial cackle). Of course, I butchered her hair almost to the scalp so that she couldn’t possibly ever compete with my golden tresses again. Even better than that- she had to get her hair cut like a boy. If she hadn’t worn dresses you never would have known she was a girl!

Holly: I worshiped the ground my sister walked on- why wouldn’t I believe every word that came out of her mouth? Oh yeah, and did I mention I was 3?

Narrator: All was quickly forgiven and long forgotten until one day . . .

First day of school - Holly 1st grade, Cari 2nd grade

Cari: Holy Moly! Holly’s hair is longer than mine again! What happened? I thought I took care of that! It’s a good thing she’s so young and gullible- she probably won’t even remember the last time we played haircutting! “Oh Holly!” (sing-song voice)

Holly: Oh goody, my big sister wants to play with me! Hmmm. This is a new game. I don’t remember ever playing it before. Sure, I’ll sit nice and still in the swing. Well, as still as I can seeing as how it’s a Swing! I can’t wait until it’s my turn to be the haircutter this is so much fun!

Narrator: May we have a moment of silence? Drum roll please . . .

Cari: (muttering:) “Oh shoot. . .”   (out loud:) “Um, I don’t like this game anymore. We’re going to play something else.”

Holly: Hmmm. . . I don’t like this. “That’s not fair! Come back here it’s my turn! Cari, where are you going? Cari? . . . CARI!”

Mom: Holly? What happened to your hair?

Holly: “Ummm. . .  Cari did it?”

Cari: Caught again! But at least I’m still Rapunzel! Oh all right, I’ll apologize. “Um, Sorry?”

For more information on Rapunzel’s Revenge and the sequel , Calamity Jack (coming 2009/2010) please see http://www.squeetus.com/stage/rap_begin.html

This book has also been nomintated for a Cybils Award. More information available at http://dadtalk.typepad.com/cybils/2008/10/the-2008-nomina.html


Books to be ‘Thankful’ for:

My #1Top pick

Thank you, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Officially my favorite Thanksgiving story ever! Follow the ‘heroic’ efforts of Sarah Hale, a lady ahead of her time, who was incredibly determined. Packed full of impressive multi-cultural ink & watercolor illustrations you will find more and more things to appreciate (and giggle over) at every read. When Sarah saw Thanksgiving shrinking into obscurity, she inspired many women in America to pick up their pens and petition for official recognition of this important national holiday. In conjunction with these women, it also took her own numerous articles, thousands of letters and 38 years to finally persuade someone to act. During the Civil War, Sarah appealed to President Lincoln with the idea that Thanksgiving could bring our nation together. Finally, in 1863, Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. My favorite line? “Never underestimate dainty little ladies.” You better bet I’m thankful for Sarah this thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne

Book #27 in the Magic Tree House series will transport you to the first Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth. Full of fun facts about Pilgrim life, children will enjoy learning about herbs, roots, and period dialogue. One note- the illustrator does not know what corn seeds look like unless they’re on the cob, so don’t believe everything you see! Continue reading

Cybils, Poetry Friday, the Kidlitosphere and more!

I just wanted to share what I have learned this week through blogging. Just think, cue A Whole New World from Disney’s Aladdin or if you’d rather Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Can you hear the music? Good

I had no idea the kind of people I would meet through book blogging. It really is a whole new world for me and my sister and we’re having a lot of fun. We’ve learned so much and met some wonderful people in the book blogging world and we have Natasha @ Maw Books to thank. (I meet her through a mutual friend, she mentioned she blogs, I checked it out, talked with my sister and Book Scoops was born). Here’s some newly learned information that we wanted to share.

1. There is such a word as Kidlitosphere (my new favorite word) – a group of bloggers that read, love and review children’s and adolescent literature. It’s what we read. We are so glad to be part of this group, which includes some pretty awesome people from SAHMs to authors to teachers to librarians to engineers and  many more. The one thing we have in common is reading kid lit.

2. Cybils (Children’s & Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) – If you are looking for some great titles to add to your library or not sure what to have your kids read. Check out the CYBILS. There is also a great guest  post by Jen Robinson at Shelf Space about them as well. Her blog is one of my favorites of this week.

3. Poetry Fridays – Want to know about some great poetry? Well every Friday participating kidlit bloggers post poetry and some volunteers to host or in other words puts the links together for everyone. It’s fun. For a better explanation look over at the poetry foundationBig A little a keeps the running list of blogs that are hosting.

4. Carnivel of Children’s Literature – Every month, a list of links about children’s books. For more info check out this post at Chicken Spaghetti

5. Also I am participating in the Comment Challenge, which has been fun so far. We both are enjoying meeting new people and making comments on other blogs. It would be nice if Holly could move so then she could get some other Internet connection besides dial-up. Yep that’s right folks she has been blogging with dial-up, which we all know is sooo ffaaasst, it’s driving her batty. So send positive thoughts/prayers her way that her house will sell soon.

So here’s to another great week of blogging!


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

lionthewitchthewardrobeI have fond memories as a child reading this book. It was one of my favorites when I was kid and I wanted to share it with my children. I saw the Disney movie version when it came out in theaters in 2005 and really liked the movie. The special effects were so much better than an older movie version. It liked it a lot. So I had my daughter watch the movie and then to my horror I realized that she saw the movie before reading the book. Yikes! In my mind books are way better than movies. I didn’t want to ruin the book for her. Great!

So I got the book from the library and I read a chapter a day outloud to her. She really liked reading the book outloud, but she also knew the movie plot well and couldn’t wait until Aslan came to save day. (She yelled GO ASLAN during the movie and the book. Thank goodness we were at home.) It was interesting for me to read outloud because I kept hearing the child actors voices in my head with English accents and I kept seeing their faces as as the characters in the book. Kind of weirded my out.

I tend to like fantasy a lot and I like this one. Yeah there is some inherant sexism in the book and probably some other problems, but on the whole its a great story. I do keep in mind the C.S. Lewis was a product of his time just as much as we are of ours. I love that it is 4 children who journey to Narnia, a world of talking beasts and magic to defeat the evil White Witch who has made it always winter and never Christmas. I think it’s a wonderful Christian Fantasy book.

So did I ruin the experience for my daughter by having her watch the movie first? I’m not so sure. I think watching the movie helped pique her interest in the book. Afterall the book is a  little long for four year old. On the other hand I don’t think movies are necessarily the best way to motivate children to read. We are reading Prince Caspian right now so that she can watch the movie. Reading to me is so much more satisfying than watching a movie.

What do you think? How do movies based on books help or hinder reading? What has been your experience with books made into movies?

The Crunching Munching Caterpiller by Sheridan Cain, illustrated by Jack Tickle


Adorable illustrations bring this wonderful board book to life. Children will love the vivid colors and love to crunch and munch along with the caterpillar. The story is brought to life with many creatures telling the caterpillar that he is going to have to get used to the idea that he is not made for flying. A beautiful butterfly encourages him that his dreams of flying may come true one day. Of course, we all can guess what happens next! My only complaint is that birds do not talk to caterpillars without eating them, but on the other hand, birds and caterpillars don’t talk at all, so I guess in this fantasy world maybe birds don’t eat caterpillars. Continue reading

Thank You to All the Veterans!

grandpaonavy1As Veteran’s day is fast approaching, Tuesday November 11th, I want to pay tribute to the many veterans who have served our country. My family and I look up to veterans as heroes. How many times have you thanked a vet only to be told, “I was just doing my job”?

My son recently told me a story passed down from this Great Grandpa Julius about narrowly escaping death on a night when under heavy bombardment. GGJ Served in the U.S. Army during WWII, leaving a loving wife home for almost five years. My own Grandpa O served in the Navy during WWII as a radio operator (what a scary job – they were prime targets. I would especially like to honor these two great men today. Thank you for your service!

rangerbookIn honor of Veteran’s Day I am reviewing the book U.S. Army Special Operations Forces: Airborn Rangers by Michael Burgan. I learned many fascinating things in this book, which includes photographs, maps and illustrations. Did you know the first American colonists formed ranger groups to help the British in the French and Indian War (1754-1763)? There have been ranger units in every major war and many small conflicts ever since. The training rangers endure is brutal – actually I think all military training is brutal, but this sounds awful!

Does your family have oral stories to pass down? Have they been written down for you and future generations? I love to sit and listen as my Grandpa tells stories of his service. I want to be able to share these stories with my chldren in the years to come. Although some are written, I have a goal of recording more this year.

grandpaonavy2There are many men and women who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we have today. Since we can’t thank them personally, I challenge you to pass on a kind deed in their honor for Veteran’s Day. Please share your kind deed ideas with us in the comments section and/or share stories of those veterans you know.

Thank you to all the Veterans – may you have a happy and peaceful Veteran’s Day!

Alphabet Books 1-7

Okay so here are the alphabet books for this week. The first two I will just put the links so you can check them out. The other five will be listed below














Alphabad Mischievous ABCs by Shannon Stewart Illustrated by Dusan Petricic

This book is hilarious as it chronicles some very “bad” kids through some alliteration adentures. Kids getting themselves in trouble for doing some crazy kids stuff. Like S is for spying. Spying on sister’s secrets is a sly and splendid sport. Yeah maybe some of my siblings would have some experience with this one. Anyone want to confess? Not that I didn’t do any of that . . .  um yeah. So anyway lots of laughs and in this book especially for an ABC book. My 4 year old wanted to read this book so we did. She didn’t catch a lot of the humour, but liked it still. I think it would work best for probably 1st-3rd grade.

Winnie the Pooh’s A to Zzzz by Don Ferguson Illustrated by Bill Langly and Diana Wakeman

This is a cute book. Of course I think Winnie the Pooh is absolutely adorable and this ABC book does a good job with a short 4 line poem for each letter of the alphabet. Example Q is for Quilt. Let it snow and Let it Storm! Under his quilt Pooh is cozy and warm. It does a good job with a choosing a word that matches with the common sounds of this letters. This would be a good book for pre-schoolers.

The Dinosaur Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta illustrated by Ralph Masiello

thedinosauralphabetbookThis book features a different dinosaur for each letter and includes short factual information about that dinosaur. If your kids love dinosaurs – I am sure they would love this book! The pictures are fun and colorful. This particular author has lots of alphabet books including the Icky Bug Alphabet Book and The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book. One thing I like is that he often includes a question in the dinosaur’s description so it would be great discussion starter.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

chickachickaboomboomI love the rhythm of this book. Seriously I am practically sang the whole thing to my daughter. She giggled almost the whole way through of course. What an excellent way to introduce letter names. Simple, yet brilliant. The illustrations are very bright and fun. This would be an excellent book with pre schoolers and young elementary age students.

The Unicorn Alphabet Book by Marianna Mayer Pictures by Michael Hague

the-unicorn-alphabet-bookI love the illustrations in this book. They look like medieval tapestries on paper.  If you know someone who loves unicorns, fantasy, and flowers this is the book for them. The book describes how people used to believe in unicorns and then for each letter of the alphabet more often than not it describes the use of some flower or herb during that time period. So while the book is based on fantasy animal it also educates on medieval history and beliefs. I could see some of my middle school students liking this book and some younger kids would like it as well.

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss


The cover of this book fascinated me when I saw it displayed on the library book shelf. A chicken riding a wave on a log like a surf-board just cried out, “Read me!” So, I did. The adventure is composed of three chapters, each with a new story, starring Louise, the Chicken. I have to admit, my hopes were dashed a bit when I discovered that Louise doesn’t actually surf, she just hangs onto a piece of a ship for dear life.  However, the adventures were full of just what children love to imagine taking part in: Sailing on a ship that gets attacked by pirates (although I must admit the illustration of a drowning pirate was a little much for a children’s story), joining a circus and being chased by a scary lion, and finally, traveling to a foreign country. The fourth chapter concludes the book just as Louise ends each chapter, by returning home to the safety and security of familiarity. Except for the drowning pirate, I really enjoyed the vivid, playful illustrations. My children especially loved it when Louise runs away from the lion and repeatedly turned to that page to get a good laugh.

So, my one issue: I know the pirate was bad and I think it’s fine to infer that the pirates drowned, but I think acutally illustrating a drowning pirate goes too far (although my children didn’t seem to be bothered by it). But, perhaps you think it opens a good discussion for why we don’t go in water without adult supervision or why we don’t become pirates? Where do you think the line should be drawn when dealing with death in children’s literature?

Ode to Reading Grandparents

Grandma O Reading Harry Potter

Reading is an important skill and helping children develop a love of the printed word often is a family affair. Part of why we love reading so much also has to do with our grandparents reading to our parents and taking them to the library. So we thought we’d give a thank you to our grandparents (who also let us eat lots of ice-cream).

Grandpa O Reading 1776

Grandparents B and Grandparents O read to us as children and certainly instilled within our parents a love of reading. Also one of the benefits of developing life long reading is a healthy brain. It’s one of the best ways to exercise your brain especially as you grow older. Let me just say I love exercising my brain this way!

The other benefit is you can talk to your grandkids about the books you are reading. In fact Grandma O likes to read young adult fiction and read the entire Harry Potter series. One of her main reasons is its fun, but she particularly enjoys being able to discuss the books with her grandchildren. She just recently finished the 3rd book Brisingr in the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini.

Grandpa B

Both Holly and I remember reading The Cat in the Hat at our grandparents B house. They had a lot of books to choose from and even though Grandpa B can’t see as well as he used to he uses a special machine for the blind to read books to him.

We have lots of memories of reading and lots of postitive memories which is so important in fostering a love of reading for children. How are you fostering a love of reading with children and people you know?