Rss

 - TeachersPayTeachers.com

The Witch and the Glitch: A Fairy Tale Adventure

The Witch With The Glitch: A Fairy Tale And Adventure (A Lost Book Adventure)

Written by Adam Maxwell

Cover by Dale Maloney

witchglitchpic

Charming adventure of Nina and her two friends Ivy and Oswald who frequently meet in her Aunt and Uncle’s bookshop. Doesn’t sound like the place for a real adventure? Well, it turns out there is a hidden room in the bookshop, and once Nina places the key in the lock the children are on their way to a journey into the unknown. This time the children find themselves in the parlor of a gingerbread house. To their chagrin the three friends find themselves transformed into a vampire, ghost, and a werewolf!

They will meet a witch who has a problem using and controlling her powers, a village of strange little people, two kidnapped children, and a magical cat named Izzy. The three friends will have to learn to control their new identities and transform themselves. If they are unable to find Izzy before midnight, Belinda the witch will be unable to undo their spells, and they will be trapped forever. Will they be able find their way back to the bookstore and their families?

The author combines fairy tales, adventure, paranormal and lots of humor to keep the plot interesting. Characters are well-developed and the dialogue crisp and clever. This book is perfect for readers in grades three to six. Chapters are short and vocabulary provides enough challenge while not being overwhelming for the early reader. A few illustrations would have enhanced the book’s appeal. This could be a fun story to share with a family or class around Halloween.

The History of Ghosts

1496752We are rapidly approaching Halloween. Time for ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night. Got me thinking about the history of ghosts so I did some investigating. Let’s take a quick look.

Ghosts are usually imagined as disembodied spirits. We visualize them as evanescent (quickly fading) forms. The old English word gast means a “soul, spirit or breath.” The details surrounding the word ghoul are far more ominous. The Arabic word ghul signifies a creature that eats children and corpses snatched from graves. Like ghouls goblins can be mischievous. The word goblin comes from the German word kobold. In traditional folklore a goblin is a grotesque spirit or mischievous elf who can be helpful and sing to young children. On the other hand, it might hide household items, kick people or fly into a rage when hungry.

It is difficult to tell whether the earliest records of ghosts were literary stories or actual recordings of observations of spirits. We know that the ninth century Greek poet Homer believed that ghosts were passive harmless beings. The living did not fear them or feel bothered by their presence. Upon death the spirit departed to Hades, the underworld. Priests and oracles visited caves and grottoes to acknowledge their spirits. Over time the Greeks came to believe ghosts were helpful and consoling, but at times they could be threatening if they died prematurely or came to a violent end. The Greek philosopher Plato in the fourth century B.C. warned against prowling near tombs or sepulchers where the apparitions of souls who have not departed pure might be lurking.

The first written report of a haunted house is seen in the writings of Pliny the younger in the first century B.C. He wrote to his friend Lucias Sura concerning a villa in Athens that no one would rent because it was haunted by a ghost. In the middle of the night an old man with matted hair and beard shackled by irons and chains moaned never stopped moaning. Even worse, disease and death struck down anyone entering the building after dark. All of this did not deter the penniless philosopher, Athenodorus from leasing the property. On the very first night after moving in, he met and followed the apparition into the garden where it disappeared after pointing to a spot in the ground. The next day Athenodorus related his story to the local authorities who promptly dug up the spot and found the bones of a human skeleton bound in chains. The bones were given a proper burial, the house was given purification rites, and the ghost never reappeared.ghost3

By the third century A.D. Christianity had spread throughout Greece and Rome. The new religion adopted many popular beliefs especially those concerning ghosts or the afterlife. Early Christian writers like Justin Martyr acknowledged belief in the existence of the soul after death. Still other Christians argued that ghosts existed in spirit form alone. That meant after death all people would be social equals. This was a strong influence on the poor masses.

Little has changed over centuries. The question of life after death and ghostly spirits still eludes us. We are intrigued; yet most of us are well satisfied not to venture death as it is the only way to discover its answer!
Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON
www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

Book Review: Creepy Crawlers

This weeks’ book review is just in time for Halloween!

Spiders: Fun Facts and Amazing Photos of Animals in Nature Book 6

Written by Emma Child

Spider,pic

Another entry in the Amazing Animals series of kindle books. The photos can be enlarged for closer inspection by young readers. I enjoyed this nonfiction book; facts were presented in an easy to read and interesting format.

Readers learn what a spider looks like, how they spin webs, the venom they engender, what they eat, and the families in which they live. The book is packed with little-known information. I learned that crab spiders often live in tree trunks and that the diving bell spider lives entirely underwater. Tarantula spiders are even kept as house pets. Some spiders actually live in colonies with as many as 50,000 spiders who hunt and share food together.

The books in this series are targeted for children ages six through twelve. I would recommend collecting them as good nonfiction resource for the study of animals. Teachers and parents can use them as a starting point in research study. Too bad they are not currently available in print versions.

Barbara Ann Mojica
LittleMissHistory.com

Barefoot and Beautiful

The Girl With No Shoes

Written by B.J. Rand

girlwithnoshoes,pic

Charming and delightful book, the first in a series of books based on the character Arielle, written for children ages nine through twelve. This is a longer length chapter book based on Arielle and her two pets, Britches, the dog, and Nosy, the black cat. Arielle and her pets love to take walks in the hollow. Britches and Nosy are unusual in the fact that they both communicate in English with their mistress.

One day the three friends come upon a little girl sitting by a tree crying and barefoot. Upon hearing a loud man’s voice, she runs away. Arielle and her pets are mystified and worried for the stranger’s safety. They want to meet her again and agree to find a pair of shoes for her to wear. In the meantime, Nosy finds a pair of ballet slippers that fell out of a box near a neighbor’s house. They bring the shoes to the hollow, but cannot find the girl. Eventually one day the shoes disappear, and after repeated trips to the hollow, the girl appears and tells them her name, Francesca. She thanks them and promises to dance for them one day.

On Halloween night a stranger comes to the door and beckons them. Nosy lives up to her reputation and decides to investigate by following her home. That initiates a trail to another mystery that the three friends will have to solve. Will they ever learn the true identity of Francesca and why she has chosen Arielle and her pet family? No spoilers here, but children will learn it is better to give unselfishly and always be true to your own passion in life.

While it may seem difficult for tweens to accept this story line, it works seamlessly. You want to believe in all the characters and empathize with them. The vocabulary of the text is challenging enough but not overwhelming for the average reader. I had to finish reading it one sitting. Can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

Barbara Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com

The Curse at Zala Manor (Monster Moon, 1), by BBH McChiller

zala-manorThis is a great idea for an elementary classroom Halloween read-aloud. Here’s the review I wrote up. At the end, I’ve included a handy list of comprehension questions provided by the authors that is similar to those used by the Accelerated Reading program.

My boys loved this book! We read it out loud together for homeschool last Halloween and they complained every time we had to stop. Our final day we just kept reading, covering the last 30% of the book all at once.

This is not literary fiction, so don’t expect it. But it is easy to read and very, very fun. It’s a plot-driven adventure that will keep 8- to 12-year-olds sprinting through the pages. Included within them are a freaky old manor with hidden passages and bricked-up rooms, an even freakier graveyard, riddles, an eccentric aunt who drives a pink hearse, a talking rat, and a 300-year-old pirate mystery. Oh yeah, and monsters. Lots of them. It’s a Halloween story, after all. And it’s a kid-pleaser.

It was also a mom-pleaser. While scary and silly aren’t my person favorites, I AM NOT A TWEEN. In this case, I was more concerned about the story diving into spiritual or gory content. It did neither. The zombie was a little gross, but it wasn’t disturbing. And witchcraft, happily, was simply not included in the story. Kudos to the authors on both accounts! It was also very readable–engaging, fluid, and well-paced.

In conclusion, this is a perfect Halloween story if you want suspense, monsters, and fun minus the negatives that come with the holiday. Based on this and my boys’ overwhelming enthusiasm, I rate it 5 stars. A wonderful read for tween boys and suitable for classrooms grades 2-7. I’d place it at about a 4th to 5th grade reading level.

Lexile score – 550L
Downloadable MARC file (library use) available here.

I bought my Kindle copy for 1.99, though paperbacks are also available. Book two, Secret of Haunted Bog, is just as fun. And paperbacks for the third installment just released at the end of September–Kindle versions coming soon.

Download the Zala Manor reading comprehension quiz PDF file.