Tag Archives: bedtime stories
Bedtime Stories: My Dad is Big and Strong, BUT… and Piiips!
My Dad Is Big and Strong, BUT…: A Bedtime Story by Coralie Saudo, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo.
Hey look, kids! It’s a proper bedtime story! I just picked this one up at the library and though the humor may be lost on my son, I think it’s pretty darned funny. Maybe he doesn’t recognize what a pain in the butt he is, but I sure do!
This is one of those role-reversal books. Narrated by the son, it begins: My dad is big and strong, BUT every night at bedtime it’s the same routine. You can guess where it goes from here. Dad wants just ONE more book. Dad doesn’t want to go to sleep in his room. Dad’s afraid of the dark! Maybe every parent goes through the same nonsense every night, but this story was so close to our daily reality that it was pretty remarkable. My kid apparently did not see himself in that decryption at all; ironic given his demand immediately afterward to read just ONE more book. Kids!
Preparing to write this review, I learned that the author, Coralie Saudo, is a French author which is interesting because the book reminded me very much of another French picture book called Piiips! in which a mother and father bird are tormenting their poor baby bird by calling him out of bed multiple times for various little demands. Perhaps this is a strong French literary tradition. Or, maybe it’s just these two books. Well, if you read French, Piiips! by Anne Isabelle is a fun read, and if you don’t read French then you can stick with My Dad is Big and Strong, BUT…
Bedtime Stories: The Last Dragonslayer
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.
If you are a fan of cheeky British mysteries and/or metaliterature, you may be familiar with Jasper Fforde, whose Thursday Next novels and Nursery Crime series are quite well-known. His deft handling of the role of corporate culture, media, and government in a dryly ironic manner that only an Englishman could do keeps him always funny and always interesting.
This theme carries over into his first foray into his first series aimed at young adults and he pulls off the transition seamlessly.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling, brought up by the Sisterhood of the Lobster and given to the Great Zambini (can you guess his profession?) to be trained as an apprentice manager of magicians. But when Zambini disappears and she is left, at age fifteen, to manage a building full of magicians (who are notoriously scatterbrained and disorganized) she thinks her new fate has been drawn.
Little does she know that real fate is still awaiting: Jennifer Strange is the last in a long line of Dragonslayers, sworn to protect humans from dragons and dragons from humans. When it is foreseen that she will kill the last dragon, she embarks in her spike studded Rolls Royce Slayermobile to figure out what is fate, what is choice, and what is the matter with people.
I usually avoid books involving dragons, but here I have made an exception and I’m glad I have. Although the whole series is out in the UK, we stateside folks have to wait for the next two books sometime next year.
Bedtime Stories: The Summer People
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Summer People by Kelly Link.
Okay, so I have a couple caveats here. First of all, this is actually just a short story in a collection, edited by Kelly Link called Steampunk!. It’s a bunch of stories by a number of well-known teen authors such as Libba Bray, Garth Nix and, of course, Ms. Link has her own story in there as well. Since I can’t find my copy of Kelly Link’s Pretty Monsters (which, by the way, I reviewed for this blog last year) which I really wanted to read I was excited to find this new story of hers in this collection of steampunk-themed tales. Hers is actually not steampunk in the slightest; there is nary a reference to gears or pistons—but hey, she’s the editor, she could publish a recipe in this book if she wanted (which would probably be totally creepy and weird and I’d totally read it)—but I’m actually quite glad. Reading through the other stories I realized that I’m just not that into the whole steampunk thing. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t good; these are some of my favorite authors. I can only take so many gears and smoke and steam.
Which brings us to “The Summer People” which is classic eerie and strange Kelly Link. I’m not going to go too in-depth because it would be hard to. Young Fran lives in some town which enjoys a number of tourists in the summer, and a relatively quiet life in the off-season. She and her father take care of the summer people, getting their houses ready for their annual visits. But there are others they also call the Summer People, who live in a strange, cluttered house in town. They are magical, mysterious, and tricksy. Fran is bound by generations of tradition to care for them, until she can find someone to replace her…
Bedtime Stories: Ghosts in the House!
Post by Mark T. Locker
Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara.
By golly, but this is one adorable book! Sure, it’s full of ghosts, and there’s a witch, but there is nothing less spooky than this clever little ghost story.
A little girl and her cat move into a new home. However, the house if HAUNTED! Positively teeming with ghosts! Luckily, this little girl is a witch and she LOVES ghosts! With the help of her cat (who, inexplicably, is decked out in a cat costume) they gather up the spooks, run them through the wash, and use them to decorate their new home. Turns out ghosts make lovely curtains and tablecloths, and pretty good bed linens too!
If you have a kid who is easily spooked (mine is, but only about the most arbitrary things; Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Wolfman is too scary, but Harry Potter is just fine) not to worry; the ghosts are super happy to be strung up as curtains. They are positively smiling about it! It’s a really cute book that we bust out every Halloween, and it gets a lot of love during those weeks.
Bedtime Stories: Chloe and the Lion
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Adam Rex.
Chloe and the Lion starts out like your run-of-the-mill children’s picture book, telling the story of a little girl named Chloe who spends her weekdays collecting change and the weekends riding the carousel with tickets bought in loose change. But one day, after too many rides, Chloe gets dizzy and lost in the woods.
But the story takes a hilarious turn when author Mac and illustrator Adam have a difference of opinion over Chloe’s fate. Although Mac writes a lion into the plot, Adam Rex draws a dragon instead, insisting that a dragon is “way cooler”.
And so the story carries on, more about the conflict between Mac and Adam and each trying to outdo the other. Poor Chloe can only wait for them to resolve their issues. But when Mac decides to illustrate the book on his own, the girl is so atrociously drawn that she decides to take matters into her own hands.
What I love about this book is how genuinely funny and clever this book is. And although the meta-story may be a little above the heads of kids who don’t recognize that books are made by authors and illustrators, they can appreciate the terrible drawings and an author whose illustrator gave him a gorilla body. I intend to go and buy a copy of this book for myself.