Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Princess School Books

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The PRINCESS SCHOOL BOOKS by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens

FANTASY.  These books are based on fairy tale princesses Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Beauty attending their first year of Princess School.

MOM: Being princess books, these naturally appeal more to little girls, however most of the stories incoporate a boys charm school next door and therefore princes are represented.  All the books had very interesting storylines that even my son enjoyed hearing me read them all to them.
JAROD: (age 8):  “I like the books because they had fun stories even if it they are about princesses.”
MAKENNA: (age 8):  ”I love Snow White because she’s really funny and loves animals, and the princesses were lots of fun and really good friends.”

Cinderella Brown.   She lives with her nasty stepmother and stepsisters (who also attend Princess School)

Snow White.   An always cheerful princess who adores animals and lives with seven dwarfs.  She greatly fears her evil stepmother.

Rose (Beauty).   She tires of always being considered perfect.  She often resents being smothered by her overprotective parents and being constantly watched by an entourage of fairies who guard her.

Rapunzel Arugula.  She’s somewhat of a tomboy, who climbs from her tower each day to go to school.

Prince Valiant (Val).  He has been Rapunzel’s best friend for years and attends the Boys Charm School next door to The Princess School.
Follow the lives of the four princesses as they start their first year of Princess School and become the best of friends, while helping each other through all sorts of dilemas.  Each story involves all the princesses and often hearkens back to their traditional princess stories dealing with evil stepmothers, witches and the seven dwarfs.  There’s fun princess classes like Looking Glass Class where they learn to fix their hair, and Frog ID Class (Snow’s favorite), along with princess balls, tournaments, school plays and plenty of adventures.

There are 7 books in this series, although an eighth book was planned and even titled, it was never published. 

1. If the Shoe Fits    2.  Who’s the Fairest?    3. Let Down Your Hair    4. Beauty is a Beast     5. Princess Charming (Our favorite as Rapunzel masquerades as a prince to enter the Charm School Boys jousting tournament)   6. Apple-y Ever After    7. Thorn in Her Side

Each book is approximately 100 pages in length and has short chapters of 4-6 pages each.   There are no illustrations in these books.

Book Review. The Magic Treehouse Series

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Magic Treehouse Series of stories by Mary Pope Osborne.  (aka the Jack and Annie books in our home due to the names of the two main characters.) 

 5 STARS.  Our Suggested Age Range: 4-10

EDUCATIONAL/FANTASY.  Children (and moms), will learn about everything from dinosaurs to gorillas, and from ancient China to the Great SanFrancisco earthquake of 1906 and the Titanic.

OUR THOUGHTS: We all like these books so much that we have the full collection of paperbacks and get new ones as soon as they come out.

MOM:  I like them because they are great stories that are both educational and fun, so the kids don’t mind learning.   I can’t count the number of times the kids have said, “I learned that in a ‘Jack and Annie’ book.” 
JAROD: (age 8):  “I like the books because they have lots of adventure and they always escape stuff.”
MAKENNA: (age 8):  ”I love Jack and Annie because of the adventure, and because there’s usually animals in them.”

A brother and sister, (Jack and Annie).  Ages 7 and 8, respectively.
Join Jack and Annie as they discover a magic treehouse in the woods near their home.  They travel all over the world and across time where they meet intersting people (like Thomas Edison and Leonordo DaVinci) and help solve problems wherever they go.  Young readers learn about everything from dinosaurs to knights and from ancient China and Egypt to the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and the Titanic.
Currently as of Jan. 2010 there are 43 books to this series.  Each one covers a different time and place in history.  They are available in paperback, harcover and also on audio CD.
We first heard about these books when the twins were 4 and we were looking for stories on CDs that they could listen to on long car rides.  They loved them and we eventually ended up getting all the books on CD before they could read.
There is a great Magic Treehouse website featuring information about all the books, games, and links for further information on the different topics.
There are also Research Guides available to enhance the learning from each Magic Treehouse book.