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February 2023

Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale My favorite Napoli book to date.  This one tells the tale of a spoiled Irish princess who is kidnapped and brought far from home on a Viking slave ship.  Sold into slavery, Melkorka’s one protection is the vow of silence she has taken.  Fabulous book–highly recommended.

Tigerheart by Peter David

09th September 2008

Tigerheart Basing his story on the beloved Peter Pan characters, David extends and adds to James Barrie’s original story.  Paul Dear is in need of a new baby sister, so he travels to Anyplace, where he surely will be able to find one.  So start Paul’s adventures with The Boy, a pixie named Fiddlefix, a girl named Gwenny and the evil pirate Captain Slash.

“The lass” is the youngest of the poor woodcutter’s nine children.  At her birth, she was not even given a name, since she was just another useless daughter.  The lass is a kind girl, and loves most of all to spend time with her oldest brother, Hans Peter, learning the meaning of the mysterious signs that he carves over and over.  When she is given the gift of understanding animals, the lass is content in her life, until one night, a huge bear shows up, asking her to come live with him in his castle for a year and a day.  In return, her family will be made rich.  The lass goes to live with the bear in his enchanted castle, full of enslaved servants, mysterious carvings, and unanswered questions.

George’s retelling of the Nordic fairy tale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” is fabulous.  George became passionate about all things Norwegian when she was just a girl, and this passion infuses her book with realistic details.  The details and changes that she makes to the original story only make it more exciting and believable.  This book can proudly take its place amongst the finest of fairy tale retellings.

Bunce’s debut novel is a fantastic addition to the world of fairy tale retellings.  Mixing historical fact, fantasy, romance, and a suspenseful ghost story with the retold tale of Rumplestiltskin results in a tale that’s hard to put down!

Upon the death of their father, Charlotte Miller and her sister Rosie find themselves responsible for their family’s woolen mill.  Although the girls are skilled in their trade and eager to work, they find themselves fighting a losing battle to keep their mill.  Strange accidents, bad luck, unexpected debts and rumors of an ancient curse plague their family business.  Out of desparation, the girls make a deal with a mysterious man who appears to magically save the day.  But the price of his help, which at first comes cheap, soon threatens those they cherish most.

This is the most powerful and most horrifying account of World War II that I have ever read. I am hesitant to recommend this book, as the violence is so personal and so graphic. And yet, the story is so powerful, it is one that should be read. Although classified as a Young Adult novel, I would advise caution for readers younger than 16, and for classroom teachers of children of all ages. The war violence is quite gruesome, and there is some explicit sexual content as well. Some parents would object to their children reading this book even in high school.

Murphy takes the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, and retells it during the setting of World War II Poland. A father and stepmother are forced to send their children into the forest to protect them from Nazi hunters. Taking on the new names of Hansel and Gretel, the children make their way through the forest until they are taken in by the village recluse, Magda. Just as the children find relative safety with Magda, a new German Oberfuhrer comes to town with a horrifying agenda for the residents of the small village.

Murphy’s characters are amazing. She tells her story not only through the eyes of Hansel and Gretel, but also though Magda, the father, the stepmother, villagers, partisans, and the Germans. Throughout the story run the themes of survival, sacrifice, and remembering your true self, in spite of the horror around you.

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