How are you today?
Still cold I take it?
Well, considering there is suppose to be snow in about 48 of the 50 states here in the US of A (mine NOT included...*grr*), can't say I'm surprised. This is probably the longest time we've had to use the heater down here, but let's just say I'm glad we have it (heat on = nice and toasty...but not too toasty...I do like my cold weather to a degree). Anywho, you didn't come to read about the FL weather right now, you came to find out what's cooking in my little corner of the reading world! Ready?
Time to lighten things up around here and step back into the world of Children's Books...more specifically the storybook or picture book. The one being featured today takes a new look at an old classic adding a surprise twist that is sure to delight even the finicky readers amongst us (you know who you are...*glare*). Readers and read-ettes, may I present, today's book of choice.....
Once upon a time, there was a little girl. So sweet and gentle was she that birds would tweet their good mornings and sugar would not melt in her mouth. Once day, a new creature from the world outside greeted her with a hip, a hop...and a croak. My, what an unusual sound for a bird, the girl pondered as she caste her glance around for the source of the offending noise. She looked left. She looked right. She looked up....and finally down. There, at her feet, sat the biggest, ugliest horned toad she had ever seen. In fact....wait wait wait...back up. A "horned toad"? *checks story book* Yep, that's what it says...hmm...what say you to starting this "fairytale" off at the beginning once more, shall we? *ahem*
Once upon a time, in the land of dust and tumbleweeds (huh, well that's new), there lived a young girl (no surprise there). Her name....Reba Jo. Her claim to fame (so to speak)...guitar twanging, singing, and roping....basically she loved the "ing" out of life. One day while out riding her trusty steed, Flash, Reba Jo happened upon something irresistible to a roper at heart....a lone buzzard sitting just across the arroyos. Yes, he would be the perfect target to test her abilities on, but wait....what's an arroyo? Hmm...it seems to me this Spanish word needs translating before we wander into parts unknown partner....*looks up word*....ah ha!
So....suffice it to say that this story plays off the classic The Princess and the Frog; HOWEVER, that is where the similarities end....just on the surface. If we go one step deeper, we find the story made over in location, characters, personalities (gotta love their spunkiness...all of them really), and the actual promise made. What's that? Oh, I know what you're saying...what about the kiss. Am I right? Can't say it doesn't happen (again, reflections of the original are the base story line) but the final outcome will surprise you fully in all ways. Seriously! Even after the final words have been read, there is one more picture that adds a little more Reba Jo-ness before the curtains close.
Aside from the creative alternatives used in both the character and plot choices, the author added a learning experience to this charming tale. How so? With the inclusion of some basic Spanish words and phrases on every page! It blends seamlessly into the story and allows you, my amigo, the chance to expand your vocabulary in pequeno steps (that one means "small"). Even better still is something just inside the back cover. It's the grand finale, the whole enchilada, it's...a Spanish-to-English Word List summing up all the new words you've learned along the way while allowing you to revisit their meanings.
Review copy courtesy of Peachtree Publishers. (THANKS!) For more information on their great catalog of books for all ages, visit their website, check out their blog, or follow along on Twitter (1...2...3). Curious to know more about the author or illustrator? No worries, I was too. Check their respective sites to see their current comings and goings. Last but not least...you'll want to check out the book's website. Why? Because I said so. Just kidding! Really, it has additional information about the story, the author, the illustrator (even a click by click image on how some of the pictures came to life) and loads of fun activities including printable coloring pages, dot-to-dot games, and even a few interactive online gems. Fun for all ages....at least that's what I'm going with since I had so much fun over there (hehe).
Muchas gracias for stopping by!
Until next time...adios amigos...and happy reading.