Brush of the Gods

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look and illustrated by Meilo So tells the story of Wu Daozi, one of China's greatest painters. As with all historical great figures, his story has been enlarged and exaggerated, although his artistic ability was not. Look writes a fictional account of Daozi's life, based upon references in Chinese... Continue Reading →


If I asked you, "Who is Golem?", you'd probably answer, "That horrible creature from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings who coveted the One Ring." You'd be right, even though Tolkein spells the name differently. But Golem is a mythical character from Jewish folklore - long pre-dating Tolkein's work. In fact, knowing the... Continue Reading →

Starry River of the Sky

Rendi has a problem - an attitude problem.  In my childhood, a General Bad Attitude (GBA) was grounds for punishment.  In Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin, Rendi has run away from home, so his parents aren't around to punish him. Instead, he's forced to work as a chore boy at an inn... Continue Reading →

Shadow Spinner

Eastern legends tell the story of Princess Shahrazad, who told the sultan a story every night for a 1,000 nights to prevent the Sultan from killing a new wife every night. What stories did she tell? Where did she find her stories? These questions are explored in Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. Marjan catches Shahrazad's... Continue Reading →

Just the Way You Are

Even adults will appreciate Just the Way You Are by Max Lucado. Lucado tells a story about a family of five orphan children who long for a family. Soon they discover the king is going to adopt them. What news! To prepare, they each get busy working on a gift for the king. All, but... Continue Reading →

The Castle Corona

The saying goes, "The grass is always greener..." The main characters in The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech truly believe that saying. Pia and Enzio believe life has to be perfect for the princes and princess living in the Castle Corona. But the king, queen, princes and princess do not think their life is perfect... Continue Reading →

The Ordinary Princess

Princesses are supposed to be beautiful, aren't they?  Drop-dead gorgeous, even.  That's what the King and Queen of Phantasmorania expected of their seventh daughter.  The other six girls were just what everyone expected princesses to be. But the Queen and the Ministers of State decided that all the fairies needed to be invited to the... Continue Reading →


Robin McKinley does a masterful job of retelling the classic "Beauty and the Beast" fairytale in her classic book, Beauty. Beauty hates her nickname. She feel thin and awkward compared to her beautiful sisters. After her father's business failures forces them to move to the country, she and her sisters make the best of their... Continue Reading →

Once Upon a Marigold

My 12-year-old told me over and over again, "Mom, you need to read Once Upon a Marigold!" When she checked it out, for the third time, I decided to see what she was so excited about. And I'm glad I did. Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris is a delightful read - a funny,... Continue Reading →

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