by Helen V. Griffith, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb. (Greenwillow, 1989 ISBN 0688084834. Order Online.). Picture Book. Grades 1+.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
Helen V. Griffith has given us some treasures. Her Alex and the Cat (Greenwillow, 1982 ISBN 0-688-00420-2), Georgia Music (Greenwillow, 1986 ISBN 0688-06071-4) and Granddaddy's Place (Greenwillow, 1987 ISBN 0688-06254-7) are among my favorite children's books. Now she gives us three wonderful stories in one delightful book, Emily and the Enchanted Frog, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb.
Emily is an unperturbable little girl who knows her fairy tales and discovers, in the first story, that kissing a frog really does turn him into a prince; the only trouble is, he doesn't like being a prince and greatly prefers his frog state. Now she must kiss every frog he brings her until she finds a princess. When they kiss each other, they become blissful frogs again.
In the second story, an elf appears to grant Emily one wish. When she wishes to be invisible, her wish is granted. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but as she thinks on, she realizes that being invisible may not be so good after all: it would be fun in games, but the other kids won't know she's playing; at school the teacher won't know she's there and will mark her absent. She even imagines joining a support group of invisible people. Then the elf reappears to tell her he made a mistake. She was supposed to get three wishes. She uses the first to become visible again and wastes the last, of course.
My favorite is the third in which she finds a little crab-like creature who insists he's a mermaid. Emily finally convinces him that, even though she has never actually seen a mermaid, she is sure he is not, but that causes a termendous identity crisis. When a similar creature approaches them on the beach, both Emily and the first creature are sure that they'll find out what he is. And they're right. The second creature says he's a mermaid.
In each story the fairy tale connection is strong, the dialogue is hilarious and the point is well taken. Don't miss this, but, as always with fairy tale spin-offs, make sure the kids know the original tales first. Otherwise they'll miss all the fun.
Buttons by Brock Cole. (2000, Farrar. ISBN 0374310017. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr K-4.
This is a delightfully silly tale of a man with three daughters who bursts his buttons which the daughters go to extraordinary lengths to replace. Cole's text is witty as well as silly and gives us a delightful tale. Read More.
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In Times Past
by Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis
Integrating US History with Literature in Grades 3-8.
Enliven your US History curriculum!
Teach US History using great kids books.