Princess Academy

by Shannon Hale, c2005.

WHY

Oh I picked this title for many reasons…

1. Fake Reason

2. Fake Reason Containing Hilarious Pun

3. Fake Reason Containing Anecdote About My Personal Life

4. I had to read it for homework.

WHAT

Miri is a girl who is too small and feeble to work in the Linder quarry that is the lifeblood of her community.  The Prince’s Advisers (read soothsayers) ordain that his Princess will come from this very same small quarry town that Miri has yet to find her place in.  In order to educate the hicks who live in this small community so they will make suitable candidates for the Prince a rather dower old woman named Tutor Olana is dispatched from the capital. (From the perspective of a 12 year old girl I never trust the words “dower old woman”, this Tutor Olana is probably 26 and fabulous.)

Miri and the other girls who are older than 12 but younger than the Prince (no Cougars allowed) are invited (read forced) to attend this Princess Academy hence the name of the book.  The girls learn to read and write and get an overview of how their country operates.  They also learn how to hold a conversation and to dance the popular dances from the capital, at the same damn time!

So all these girls are competing to be head of the class so that they can wear a special silver dress when the Prince comes to pick one of them to be his bride at the Princess Ball… um yeah this book was written in 2005.  It’s a pretty safe bet that Shannon Hale is a fan of The Bachelor.

Anyway Miri doesn’t become the Princess, her friend Britta who actually isn’t from the quarry town at all but is really a nobleman’s daughter who lied and said that her parents were dead so she could come to the quarry and stay with distant relatives and thus be eligible for the Princess Academy becomes the Princess.  But it’s okay because the whole lying thing was her father’s idea and he’s a greedy nobleman so no one blames Britta, excuse me Princess Britta.

Oh and Miri? Miri ends up with Peder (not to be confused with Peeta) her best friend from childhood (which was a month ago) who holds her hand and walks her home.  Not so racy after all.  

WHO

Britta Perry.

Because she’s the worst.

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Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

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Goodnight Goon

by Michael Rex, c2008.

WHY

I recently re-watched Goon written by Jay Baruchel and starring Liev Schreiber.

(Tis on Netflix now.)

The latest in a semi long line of hockey films that have tried to recreate what Slap Shot did so perfectly.

Goon came close…but as far as cultural impact we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ve been known to sleep in Charlestown Chiefs home whites to this day.  Only in the winter though because those sweaters are toasty.

WHAT

Parody is the greatest form of flattery no?

Goodnight Goon is a spooky re-write of Goodnight Moon.

Goodnight Moon is so well loved that it is constantly being over or underrated every time a top 100 comes out.

The thing that Goodnight Goon really captured was the cadence of the original.  This book is crazy fun to read aloud.  It’s got mad flow.

WHO

Kevin Smith will get the Goon ref and since he has been going through a horror phase…boom perfect!

Also I really love the idea of Jay Mewes reading this book out loud to Silent Bob.

Snoochie boochies.

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Goodnight Goon
by Michael Rex

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How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?

by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, c2012.

WHY

Jane Yolen you mah girl!

Also I’ve had a years long flirtation with Judaism that my friend/coworker Michelle correctly diagnosed as a “phase”.  According to Michelle all girls go through a Judaism phase in their late teens or early twenties.

Wise Michelle is.  Like Yoda Michelle is.

Either that, or Michelle understood the social impact of Charlotte York way before even Emily Nussbaum.

WHAT

A series of questions about how a dinosaur behaves during his family’s Chanukah celebrations.  Well actually it’s several dinosaurs and several families and I’m not sure if they’re actually questions.

The questions rhyme.

Not a great book really…

Unless…

you read it while doing an Adam Sandler impression!

WHO

Harry Goldenblatt

Because everyone could use a refresher on how to act during the High Holidays.

.

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How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.

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Don’t Tease the Guppies!

by Pat Lowery Collins, illustrated by Marylin Hafner, c1994.

WHY

I picked this title off the shelf because it reminded me of my swim coach yelling over and over again “don’t splash the minnows!”  The local pool where we took our swimming lessons was quite cramped in those days so the older kids or “sharks” would have the lane right next to the beginner “minnows”.  Some splashing of the minnows was unavoidable, excessive splashing of the minnows would get you yanked from the lesson.

Excessive splashing of the minnows only happened when covert racing was going on.  Even though they kept the rather aggressive naming scheme that allowed for “sharks”, by the 90’s these swim lessons were meant only to teach kids how to swim safely and for survival purposes.  If you got yanked and had to sit on the cold ledge of the pool with no towel at 6am it wasn’t because you were splashing beginner swimmers it was because you were racing.

Sharks are incredibly smart creatures, they adapt.  And so after spending too many mornings shivering on the side of the pool we sharks started holding our races after the pool opened for general admission.

I still live my life one pool length at a time.

WHAT

Two brothers are visiting the aquarium.

Tim = younger brother so I automatically like him better.

Jon= older brother who tells the aquarium attendant “he can’t read” pointing to Tim.  Lock it up Jon. 

Throughout their trip Tim points to each sign making up what the words say.  Every time Jon corrects him we find out that Tim got the gist of the sign right…he just used better more creative phrasing.

My favorite is the sign that says “Giant Sea Turtle 400 lbs”.

Which Tim reads as “Don’t Feed That Fat Turtle.  His Shell Will Bust”.

Tim becomes the latest in a long storied history of more imaginative younger siblings who end up lost after wandering away from those bossy first borns.  This tends to happen  while said older child is reciting useless facts they know (that you don’t know) simply because they’ve reached 4th grade already, as if that’s hard to do!

Hershey Park used to have a great place to hang out and wait when this happened.

In the end the boys are reunited and Tim surprises both Jon and the reader with the last sign he “reads”.

WHO

I feel like Pete and Pete would really get the brother dynamic in this book.  Also, Pete and Pete often seemed to be under a startling lack of adult supervision just like Jon and Tim.  Twas a different time.

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