Michael Hague's Favourite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

We're reading plenty of books around here, but instead of my usual Friday round-up, I thought I'd share a very special event with you today.  You see, Little Sis got her very own library card!  She is reading on her own now, and her sister got her first card after she finished kindergarten.  It was my little one's turn!  Here she is, behind the library, holding her card and her first official library check-out.  [She also checked out the DVD of The Corpse Bride, not pictured.]  If you're wondering about the red cape, it came from Superhero Camp, a day camp at the children's theatre.  It wrapped up today.

Michael Hague's Favourite Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales.
Stories adapted by Jane S. Woodward, illustrations by Michael Hague.
Henry Holt and Co., 1981.

I needed to pick up a bag full of holds this evening, and Little Sis reminded me she still needed her own card.  [With my Friends of the Library membership, I can put things on hold and have them sent to my branch for free.  The girls use their cards for spur-of-the-moment check-outs.]  Little Sis decided very carefully.  She did not want a picture book, even though she isn't quite ready for chapter books.  She did not want an early reader, either.  I've been in a fairytale-ish, whimsical mood as of late, of course, so I suggested she look at the fairytale section.  She decided on this book right away, which is especially funny, since one of the holds I was picking up was a book of fairy poems, also illustrated by Michael Hague.

By the way, I think this whimsy @#$! must be clouding my brain.  May 31st was my two-year blogoversary!  Happy {belated} second birthday, Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes!!!

I love Hans Christian Andersen stories so much.  The book kicks off with my two favorites, "The Snow Queen" and "The Wild Swans."  The other tales are "Thumbelina," "The Elfin Hill," "Little Ida's Flowers," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Little Match Girl," "The Ugly Duckling," and "The Little Mermaid."

"The Snow Queen"

"The Snow Queen"

"The Wild Swans"

"The Wild Swans"


"The Emperor's New Clothes"

"The Little Match Girl"

"The Ugly Duckling"

"The Little Mermaid"

Beautiful, right?  She was trying to read it in the car on the way home, but I know it's too much for her.

As for the rest of our day, we hit up Krispy Kreme for National Doughnut Day!  We each got a free doughnut for the occasion, then the hot light came on! Three hot original glazed made it into our hands.  I'm doughnut-ed out now!

I'm reading a middle grade novel, Binny for Short.  I'll write more about it when I'm done.  Big Sis is supposed to be reading Matilda, but summer calls.  At bedtime, we're reading Pippi Goes on Board!  It's about time we got to some more Pippi Longstocking!

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.  We have rain threatening our Ballet in the Park/River Fest excursions.  Hoping it comes and goes at the ideal times!

Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading!

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The Jewel Box Ballerinas

The Jewel Box Ballerinas by Monique de Varennes,
illustrated by Ana Juan.
Schwartz & Wade, 2007.

Big Sis and I decided to blog this book today.  It's one of our very favorite picture books.  She told me she reads it to her sister sometimes.  We checked it out from the library several years ago, then one of the girls got it for Christmas from my dad, in 2011.

I took some pictures to show it off, then looked it up online.  Omigosh, this beautiful book is no longer available new!  Random House has it listed as an eBook only.  Please check the library, or find a nice used copy.  It's so worth it.  The illustrations are by Ana Juan, one of my favorites.  

I mean, let us stop for a moment and admire the endpapers.  So few modern picture books have glorious endpapers like these anymore...

Okay, so The Jewel Box Ballerinas is about a very wealthy woman named Bibi, who is so rich she has two of almost everything.  What Bibi does not have is a friend.

One day, Bibi visits "a tiny shop on a crooked street," where she spies a beautiful gold jewel box.  She tells the shopkeeper she'll take two.

"I'm sorry," he replied.  "There is just one box like it in all the world."  "But I only buy things in twos," Bibi said, pouting, and she turned to go.  "Wait!" cried the shopkeeper.  "Perhaps you will want this after all."  And he flung up the lid.

The twin ballerinas thrill Bibi, who wants the gold box after all.  But first, the shopkeeper shares its sad history.  Many years before, a sorcerer made the jewel box for his twin nieces.  "He used all his wealth to make this jewel box, and all his powers to create these dancers.  Their brilliant smiles glowed like magic."  Alas, the spoiled nieces wanted ponies, and turned their noses up a the ballerinas.  The very sad sorcerer declared, "From now on, all who look on these ballerinas will see the sorrow you have caused me."

Bibi thought it was silly, so she bought the jewel box.  She was very happy with her ballerinas, naming them Miranda and Mathilda.  She watched them twirl and changed their costumes.  One day, however, she was struck by how sad they looked.  She begins to devote her life to cheering up her girls.  She stood on her head, gave them kisses, and took them traveling to Alaska and Africa.

Then one day, after buying two of everything from a stall in an African marketplace, Bibi loses her ballerinas.

"Oh, Miranda! Oh, Mathilda!  What will I do without you? I'd give up all I own to have you back again.!"

What do you suppose happens next?  Please, go hunt down this book! 

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June is Our Faerie Month

Mr. B likes to tell people he married the Queen of Whimsy.  I shrug and tell him I know plenty of people who could wear the crown just as well.  I mean, hi, I'm a theatre person and I blog about children's books, you know I know people, wink wink.

But it's June.  Something happens in June.  School is out.  The grass is still green and the sweet peas are blooming over the fence.

The weather is hot, but not yet scorching.  The summer blockbusters are hitting the movie theatres, and if I'm lucky, there might be one that caters to my fairytale and fantasy-loving side.

June brings Midsummer, and the Midsummer Festival in Lindsborg.  Hot on its heels is International Fairy Day.

 I'm still thinking about throwing another little Fairy Day party.  The fairy playhouse is calling for one.

And the girls have been in a dress-up mood.  They had a wonderful time playing faerie in the playhouse and all around the yard, drinking "tea" and showing me where the wild mushrooms are growing by the fence, behind the shed.

After reading The Goose Girl and seeing Maleficent last week, I've been in a fairy tale and fantasy mood. It's contagious, because the girls have been feeling it, too.  Especially Big Sis, who is very much her mama's girl.  Hunting on Netflix, we found...

... which I'm sure I own on DVD, but it's buried in the closet.  As of June 1st, however, it's available for streaming via both Netflix and Amazon Prime!  I loved this movie back in my college days.  Cinderella, with Leonardo da Vinci standing in for the fairy godmother?

The whole family settled in with popcorn to watch Sunday night.  Ah, Ever After.  I was thinking, gee, such a girly choice, but it turns out, Mr. B likes it, too.  He has favorite parts!  And as Little Sis said, "Oh, it has Mrs. Addams in it!"  She loves the Addams Family movies.

Speaking of The Addams Family movies, Little Sis's hero, Wednesday, is all grown up in another magical tale we watched today.  Have you ever seen Penelope?

Christina Ricci plays a very rich girl born with a curse:  she has the nose of a pig.  The only thing that can break the curse is the love of a "blue blood."  There is a surprising twist near the end, which had Big Sis and me cheering.  It's a cute movie, not perfect, but a lot of fun when you're in the right mood. It's available on DVD, and via both Netflix and Amazon Prime.  [And as of right now, someone has the whole thing uploaded to YouTube...]

I also have this checked out from the library, for myself.  I don't know why it's taken me so long!

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm:
A New English Version
by Philip Pullman.
Viking Books, 2012.

I'm rushing through the book I was reading when this one came into the library, then I'm off to read more fairy tales!

After watching the beautiful fairyland scenes in Maleficent, the girls and I want to transform the rest of the backyard into a magical place to spend the summer.  Mr. B is on board!  I know I need more lights...  Mr. B and I want to make these adorable toadstools, too.  [Check out the rest of that blog. It's fairyland in blog form!]

So this is where my head is these days.  Counting down until Midsummer Festival.  Making plans for Fairy Day. This weekend, we'll see the Ballet in the Park production of Peter Pan.  More fairies!!!

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