Consider the possibilities
Imaginative stories shape young minds
Great books offer kids more than just a fun adventure. Regardless of how outlandish a story may seem, such stories fire a child's imagination and in so doing, provide an opportunity to consider possibilities.
Today's reviewed books offer just that. They include a princess who is told she must marry one of a handful of pathetic suitors but chooses her own path to taking a chance to turn a dismal situation into something good and a king who asks an unlikely duo to muster their strength and wits to find his stolen crown and bring the thief to justice.
An active imagination is a friend for life and an important life tool in many regards. Feed children's imaginations by reading great stories to them every day. This simple gift from you is one of the most important things you can give to a child.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Birthday Ball" by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Jules Feiffer, Houghton Mifflin, 186 pages
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 9 and older
Princess Priscilla is bored out of her mind spending one day after another inside the castle walls. To remedy her situation, she disguises herself and begins attending the local school with peasant children.
Priscilla is delighted with life outside of the castle, loves going to school, feels protective of her poor classmates and has a crush on her handsome teacher. But Priscilla's time posing as a peasant school girl is running out — her 16th Birthday Ball is soon to happen, and according to tradition, she must choose a husband among the disgusting available suitors.
Laugh aloud with master storyteller Lois Lowry's tale of adventure, fun and surprising twists — "The Birthday Ball."
Library: Yuba County Library, 303 Second St., Marysville
Interim Director: Kevin Mallen
Choices this week: "Letters from a Desperate Dog" by Eileen Christelow; "Old Black Fly" by Jim Aylesworth; "My Life as a Chicken" by Ellen A. Kelley
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Jack and the Baked Beanstalk" written and illustrated by Colin Stimpson, Templar Books/Candlewick, 2012, 34 pages, $15.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
Jack and his mom were proud of their lively business at their food truck, Jack's Fast Food. Sadly, one day an overpass was built and the street where their immovable food truck was located was permanently closed and business screeched to a halt.
Jack's mom gave him their last few pennies to buy coffee beans and milk. On his way to the store, Jack met an old man who offered to sell Jack a can of magic baked beans. When Jack's mom found out what he'd done, she threw the can of baked beans out the window in a fury.
As you may have guessed, the next day Jack awoke to a giant magic baked beanstalk. And you would be correct in assuming that Jack climbed up the beanstalk and found a giant living there. But the rest of this amusing tale is certain to surprise and delight readers of all ages.
"Elephant Joe, Brave Knight!" written and illustrated by David Wojtowycz, Random House, 2012, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 2 — 3 and older
Read yourself: age 7
One day at the castle, Elephant Joe and Zebra Pete were swimming in the moat when they heard a cry for help. It was the king, distressed because the Dark Knight had stolen the king's crown. The king promised the biggest feast in the kingdom to whoever returned the crown to him.
Elephant Joe and Zebra Pete sprang into action as knights and set off through the Enchanted Forest. Soon they were at the Dark Knight's tower, where they encountered what they thought was a damsel in distress and what they thought was a fierce, dangerous dragon. But things are not always what they seem. Would the two brave knights be able to succeed in their mission?
Full of fun with just the right amount of suspense, this great adventure is bound to have young kids laughing and requesting repeat readings of "Elephant Joe, Brave Knight!"
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.