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How Santa Changed

Santa has gone through some changes!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title of this book but was immediately drawn in by the nostalgic illustrations. It turns out that the plot of the book revolves around the changes that took place from the time Santa was a young man to the present.

In the beginning, young Santa, a magical elf, made and delivered all the toys himself with the help of one moose. As cities sprang up and the population grew, Santa could not pull his heavier sleigh with one moose. As the story continues, the reader learns how Santa came to rely on a team of reindeer, how he moved farther north, and the need to have additional helpers. Mrs. Claus even learned to bake, and Santa’s slim shape evolved to the fat, jolly character of today. Recommended for children and adults as a read aloud or holiday bedtime story.

The illustrations in the book are beautifully done, even if the rhymes are sometimes a bit off.

Barbara Ann Mojica

LittleMissHistory.com

Check out the book and get a preview here.

Book Review: Step into Another World

The Crumbling Brick: The Land of Neo Book 1

Written by JoHannah Reardon

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This approximately one hundred page book might be likened to a Christian fairy tale. Some reviewers have noted similarities to The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Targeted for readers age seven and up, I feel that it will appeal most to tweens and young teens. The characters are charming, appealing, and fairly well developed for the length of the story.

Plot involves a twelve-year-old girl named Ella, who lives in her grandmother’s urban house. One rainy day, she is asked to clean the basement. Ella reluctantly agrees; she finds a loose brick behind an old trunk. When she removes it, Ella finds a beautiful fantasy world on the other side. She steps into it and embarks on an adventure that involves a princess, her suitors, a unicorn, some mischievous monkeys, and a bear mentor named Sequor. Ella learns that the wise and all-knowing Kosmeo has chosen her to save the land of Neo. Ward, her unicorn friend, will assist her in warning the princess Onyma that one of her suitors is involved in a plot to overthrow her kingdom. While the story is somewhat predictable, there are enough twists and turns with delightful characters and moral lessons to give the fairy tale a wide appeal to boys and girls alike.

This book is the first of a series. It can be used as bedtime story, an independent chapter book or a classroom read aloud that combines many interesting elements for classroom discussion. If you enjoy fairy tales, give this one a look.

Barbara Ann Mojica,

www.LittleMissHistory.com

Book Review: The 3 Monkeys Christmas Treehouse

The 3 Monkeys Christmas Treehouse (Monkey Tales Book 5)

Written by Rob “Nanook” Natiuk

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This is my first time reading a book in this series. Delightful story about three monkey siblings, Booey, Fooey and Hooey and their Jungle friends. The book is an interactive reading experience with ample opportunities for the reader to pause and allow the listeners to blurt out their responses by repeating, singing, or animating the sounds and actions of the characters in the stories.

In the first tale the three siblings receive a gift from their Grandpa Monk. At first they are puzzled by the red, white and green Christmas balls and stringed lights. Booey, the female, figures out they must be ornaments for a Christmas tree like the one she saw in the town. So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree. Readers will meet some of their friends like the gorilla, crocodile and turtle. In the end, they find the perfect tree right under their noses. Tale two finds our friends looking over their Christmas list. As they travel to Coconut Town, they sing clever monkey songs adapted to familiar Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” They knock on doors of animal friends seeking to find the true meaning of Christmas. Finally, they discover that, “ A friend in need is a friend indeed.” In tale three, wise old Grandpa Monk tells his grandchildren the story of Santa Paws in the Jungle with his circus wagon pulled by eight zebras. Will the siblings find presents under the tree? The fourth tale speaks of the let down feeling many of us experience in the days after Christmas. Our friends have already tired of their presents; they ponder their New Year’s Resolutions. What do they share with their readers?

This book is perfect for elementary school children. Older siblings can read to younger brothers and sisters or the family can share the reading experience. Young children will love the repetition and songs. I will be reading other books in this series. Very entertaining, clever, and highly recommended.

Best regards,
Barbara
LittleMissHistory.com

Book Review – Tough Times

Fing

Written by G. Papa

Illustrated by Gary McCluskey

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An unusual and well-written chapter book featuring six-year-old Ulrich Von Strudel as the protagonist. Ulrich has a major disability; he was born without knees. When the story opens, Ulrich is about to be picked up from boarding school for Christmas vacation. He learns that his parents have been captured by a pygmy tribe in Africa and are presumed dead. To make matters worse, his mean great aunt, Mrs. Lipstick is taking charge of him.

Poor Ulrich learns he will have to sleep in the attic and eat one meal a day. After a difficult struggle to get upstairs, he discovers a furry one-eyed monster named Fing in the closet. Fing will turn out to be an ally when Mrs. Lipstick conspires with the family lawyer to eliminate Ulrich.

This modern fairy tale has a definite dark side, but the author intersperses humor throughout. Ulrich faces his disability with strength of character. How will he survive his parents’ death and the machinations of his nefarious guardian? There are a few surprise twists in this one hundred page chapter book.

I enjoyed this story immensely. The book is an interesting book for early readers who are not disturbed by a bit of the dark side and are not overly sensitive. In general, I would recommend the book for readers age eight and older. The short chapters lend themselves to a class read aloud for discussion. Black and white pencil drawings really bring the characters to life. As a bedtime story, parents need to use their own discretion, though I think adults may enjoy the book as much as a child. Very entertaining read.

Barbara Ann Mojica,

littlemisshistory.com

Book Review – A DOG’S LIFE

The Adventures of Zelda

Written by Kristen Otte

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Thirteen adventures told in first person by an adorable little pug named Zelda. Poor Zelda begins her life in a kennel and stays there for two years until Hannah and Nate adopt her. Once at home with her two owners and their children, Ben and Lucy, life becomes so much more interesting.

Zelda makes the reader laugh and cry. She relates her struggles and triumphs. Readers learn how she manipulates her owners into rewarding her with treats, how she rescues her family from the mean vacuum cleaner and tackling the skateboard ramps at the park. As one reads on, Zelda takes us to obedience school, and her lonely experience in pet boarding when her family takes a vacation. I laughed at Zelda’s attempt to make friends with Squeaky, the squirrel, and how she discovered what snowmen and leaf piles really contain. Anyone who has a pet knows what an adventure Christmas decorations and trees can be for pets and their owners. Zelda, like most pets, does not relish a trip to the vet, but she learns an important lesson about herself and her owners from her visit.

This book is a perfect choice for animal lovers. Thirteen tales present a first person fictional mix of humor, adventure, family fun, and seasonal cheer. They can be broken up into short chapters for a bedtime story, class read aloud or used as a beginning reader. Recommended for ages seven and up; a great choice for a family read aloud share on a weekend afternoon.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMissHistory.com