Sunday, 25 December 2011

Mini Review Madness (Cristmas Style): The Kingdom Under the Sea, Magic Beans and Jesus' Christmas Party

Today marks the final day of my Mini Review Madness feature, with a (slight) Christmas theme no less! I've had a wonderful time reviewing so many great books this year and I'm pleased to say I'll be starting 2012 with a greatly reduced TBR pile, phew!

In today's installment I'll be looking at the following:

The Kingdom Under the Sea - Joan Aiken and Jan Pienkowski
Magic Beans - Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo and many more...
Jesus' Christmas Party - Nicholas Allan

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The Kingdom Under the Sea - Joan Aiken and Jan Pienkowski

Summary (from inside cover of book): From the creators of the much-loved A Necklace of Raindrops comes a collection of stories filled with magic.

Travel deep to the kingdom under the sea, where lies the sea-king's palace filled with mermaids and dragons, the fearsome and the monstrous... Wicked fairies rub shoulders with sun-gods, goblins make mischief and noble knights go into battle within these pages. Meet Baba Yaya, who eats men up as if they were chickens, and meet the most beautiful creature on the whole round of the earth!

There are brave deeds, granted wishes and mythical creatures in these traditional European folk tales, retold with the inimitable touch of master storyteller Joan Aiken, and illustrated with the iconic silhouettes of Jan Pienkowski.


Mini review: Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated, The Kingdom Under the Sea is a gorgeous book that deserves a place on any reader's shelves. The look of this book is just fantastic and the illustrations absolutely highlight the stories, without being too overpowering.

The mythology in the stories is excellent, simply explained so the book is suitable for children without being patronising. It was great to learn more about the Eastern European fairy stories and I'd definitely be interested to read A Necklace of Raindrops.

Magic Beans - Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo and many more...

Summary (from Goodreads): Magic beans. Sow them. Plant them. Watch children grow. 'If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!' (Shel Silverstein, Poet). Each and every one of the stories in this anthology is a magic bean: a wondrous tale that will capture your imagination.

Prepare to be dazzled by "Rapunzel's" golden tresses. Prepare to be moved by the suffering of the "Little Mermaid". Prepare to laugh yourself silly as 'Mr Sultana' struggles to get the better of a little red rooster! Lovingly crafted by the finest authors and illustrators, these 'magic beans' will delight, thrill and thoroughly entertain.

Mini review: Any anthology that features stories by Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson is definitely up my street and I'm pleased to say Magic Beans absolutely delivers.

Various traditional fairy stories are retold by some of the best writers in the market today and this is the perfect book to give as a gift at Christmas. Aesop's Fables retold by Malorie Blackman was my favourite story but Michael Morpurgo's Cockadoodle-doo, Mr Sultana! was another wonderful chapter.

Jesus' Christmas Party - Nicholas Allan

Summary (from Goodreads): Join the celebration! Start a new Christmas tradition by sharing Nicholas Allan's delightful holiday tale with your family. Whimsical illustrations combined with cheerful text guarantee that everyone will get into the Christmas spirit this holiday season.

There's nothing the innkeeper likes more than a good night's sleep. But that's the last thing he'll be getting on a night of angels, shepherds, bright stars...and a very special baby.

Nicholas Allan's charming retelling of the Nativity story will delight and amuse readers everywhere. The perfect gift to spread Christmas cheer!

Mini review: I've been a fan of this book for as long as I can remember, I read it as a child so I jumped at the chance to read it again for review here at Writing from the Tub. It's the perfect Christmas story to share with your children and this new design is just great.

This book used to make me laugh out loud and I always loved the touching ending. It's a timeless story that I'm sure you'll all enjoy reading just as much as the youngsters will.

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So, that's it from me for reviews in 2011! I'll be back every day between now and New Year with some end of year surveys and round-ups, then normal service will resume from January 1st 2012. I have another post coming later today about Christmas but, until then, I hope you all have a wonderful day x

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