June 4, 2011

Tour: Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella
author: Melissa Lemon
to be published:  November 2011
source:  Netgalley

Cinder and Ella is a new version of Cinderella.  Cinder is one girl, Ella is her sister. The book opens with promises. Four sisters live in a small cottage. Katrina is a bossy one. Cinder is generally a people-pleaser.    Ella, well, sad to say, no one in their village remembers  Ella's name because everyone adores Cinder.  The youngest is eleven years old and so Spoiled that her family must dress and spoon feed her.

Their father leaves mysteriously in the first chapter.  Yes, we eventually find out why.   Soon even their own mother forgets Ella.  Ella who?   Cinder, then Ella, leave home.  The book includes a castle, a prince, knights, and sword fights galore.   There's a legend about trees.   The cover is awesome because of the tree on it. 

One person is so evil, our author describes it wonderfully,
"in the practice of evil -- murders, stealing the virtue of women, stealing riches and possessions, stealing souls.  All of these things were done by proxy.  It was his sick delight to see someone else hurt another, bringing about ruin to both the doer and the receiver."  
Great discussion questions at the end of the book add much to ponder.

I asked Melissa Lemon the author,    "Where did you come up with the name Katrina?   I kept wondering if she was named for the hurricane.

She replied:  "It just popped into my head at the right moment and seemed to fit.  Sometimes I go through name after name until I get it right, but Katrina just worked from the start.  I didn’t name her for the hurricane, but I can see why that would make sense.  I also have a friend named Katrina and I hope she knows I didn’t name my character after her."

Melissa adds, "All of the interview questions have been fun to answer.  I especially love the random ones, so here’s something random:  I’m not fond of swimming and even have a fear of deep, dark waters and large sea animals, especially whales (eerie) and sharks (terrifying)."

Hmmmm, this might make a good topic in Melissa's next book --- she could easily show the dangers of the sea. 

You can learn more about Melissa and her book by checking the calendar for the Blog Tour.  Some blogs are giving away the book, FUN!

June 1, 2011

reflecting upon Mr. Popper

Remember this fellow?   This is Mr. Popper, a house painter.   He is heading home in the fall season.  Will be too cold to paint for several months.  Mrs. Popper isn't exactly happy because (1) he's going to be underfoot all winter and (2) no money will be coming in.

For reasons explained in Mr. Popper's Penguins, he becomes the owner of a penguin!  Then two, then....

The book was written in 1938 and received the Newbery Honor award in 1939 (Thimble Summer won the medal that year).  To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Hitler had not invaded Poland yet.   Movie goers had not yet seen the movie Gone with the Wind in the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

I came along many years after these events, and discovered Mr. Popper sitting on the school library bookshelf when I was in elementary school.  He was one of my favorite characters.  I memorized the names of all his penguins ... my favorite picture was of Mr. Popper leading them in a parade with his family.

I noticed a trailer on t.v. that Mr. Popper's Penguins is going to be a Jim Carrey movie.  Mentioned it to my son who exclaimed it was one of his favorite childhood books too.  Then I searched local bookstores and found a copy to give to Maddy who will be entering third grade.  

Of course I had to re-read this first.    So interesting to see changes between 1938 and today.  Mr. Popper paid a handyman $5 to poke breathing holes in an icebox for Captain Cook (the first penguin).    Five dollars!  What handyman works for five bucks?      Mr. Popper also wanted an handle inside the door so that Captain Cook could let himself out.  There was an argument, so Mr. Popper paid an additional $5.00 to add the handle.

Captain Cook sets up a nest inside the icebox.  Reading the list of items he has collected around the house is a fun read .... many aren't in your own home nowadays, I guarantee. 

I'm not sure if I will like the movie's spin on the story with Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper.  But I plan to see the movie.  If you buy the book, be sure to get the one illustrated by Robert Lawson!

What old old friends (childhood books)  have you re-read recently?

Mr. Popper's Penguins, authors:  Richard and Florence Atwater, illustrator: Robert Lawson, published 1938.  Source:  purchased myself for granddaughter