I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date and a children's/middle grade version hosted by Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.
Last year, Mouse and I read the Spill the Beans, the thirteenth book in the Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski, which she loved and I felt so-so about. But if it gets her excited about reading then I am all in! Mouse was eager to read more in the series and so for Christmas, I got her the first three books, which we recently read together.
The series begins with Fairest of All, in which 10-year-old Abby and her brother, who is 7, are adjusting to life in their new town. Abby was none too happy about the move and worries about fitting in at her new school. One night, Abby follows her brother down into the basement to see what has got him all excited: a mirror that seems to be more than a mirror. Three knocks and they find themselves swept into an entirely different world--and so their adventures begin.
One of the things I like about this series is how the fairytales are not based on the Disney versions, as Abby explains to Jonah (and therefore the reader) in each instance. Abby's grandmother used to read Abby and Jonah fairytales frequently when they lived closer to her, and Abby remembers her fairytales very well. This is not a series in which the reader necessarily needs to know the original fairytales, and I appreciate that each is (somewhat) addressed in the books. The author even mentions some of the more shocking parts (toes and tongues cut out--"Gross!" as Jonah would say), but in an age appropriate way. Keep in mind though that even as the fairytales they find themselves in may appear to follow a similar story line at first as the original or a similar version, the actual characters, world building and overall story are quite different.
This series is full of humor and I like the overall theme of girl empowerment that I have encountered so far. The distressed damsels turn the tables in their tales, and the outcome is never quite what you'd expect. Mouse loves that about these books too. Each book also contains a lesson for Abby, usually something she is struggling with in her real life that she comes to realize the solution to as she works out how to fix the fairytales she and Jonah land in. We laughed a lot as we read these three books and cheered when the fairytale characters get their happy ending--even if not the original ending expected.
In the first book in the series, Fairest of All (Scholastic, 2013), the siblings are dropped into the middle of a forest. They come upon a cottage in which an old woman is trying to entice a young woman to open her door and enjoy an apple. Jonah, ever hungry, would love an apple and immediately inserts himself in their conversation. It does not take long for Abby to figure out that this old woman is not who she appears to be and the young woman at the door is no other than Snow White. No apple is eaten that day. No one is poisoned. And therein lies the problem. They broke the story and now have to fix it. The twelve dwarves all have very different names than you would expect. And they are not all men. The prince ends up imprisoned in the dungeon, there are crocodiles in the moat, and the magic mirror is Jonah and Abby's only way to return home. Oh! And there's a fairy named Rosemary that lives in Abby and Jonah's mirror. She hasn't made an appearance yet, but there is time for that in a future book, I am sure. In this book, Abby is worried about getting Snow's story back on track, but by the end realizes that change is not always a bad thing. Maybe the move to the new town is a good thing. Change can be good, after all.
In the second book of the series, If the Shoe Fits (Scholastic, 2013), Abby and Jonah again find themselves traveling through the mirror into yet another fairytale, this time Cinderella. They are determined not to interfere with the story this time, only of course things do not go as planned. Soon, Cinderella's story is derailed. And it seems to get worse and worse the more Abby and Jonah try to get it back on track. They call on the Fairy Godmother to help, only she isn't quite so willing. Cinderella has to prove she is no damsel in distress, that she can take care of herself, which turns out the be the message Abby needs to take to heart too--and not rely on her parents for everything now that she's older. In this book, one of the evil stepsisters proves not be be so evil, mice really can run up clocks, and hold on tight to that magic wand or it might end up in the wrong hands.
Sink or Swim (Scholastic, 2013) is the third novel in the Whatever After series, and, you guessed it, is the Little Mermaid story. Like with the other fairytales, this one is not based on the Disney version where the Little Mermaid and the prince live happily ever after. No, this is the version in which the Little Mermaid will not only lose her voice and the prince, but also her life. Abby cannot let that happen. So instead of trying to keep the story from going bad, Abby and her brother set out to actually change it. On purpose. What was fun about this particular book is that it was very modern in its presentation. Surfing seems to be the favorite pastime. The king calls everyone, "Dude". And everyone has an obsession with mustard (to be fair, Jonah's obsessed with ketchup). The prince in this one is rather superficial and both Mouse and I wondered what Princess Lana, the Little Mermaid, sees in him. Despite Abby's best efforts, the wedding doesn't quite go as planned, and she must face the Sea Witch herself--with Jonah, of course. This was perhaps my and Mouse's favorite of the three. It was the funniest and quite creative in terms of story line. The overall lesson in this one was a bit more complex than the first two: knowing when to accept things the way they are and when to take a risk and speak up for what you want.
I asked Mouse what her favorite parts of all three books were in hopes of sharing them with you here. Unfortunately for you, they each include a major spoiler. I will at least say that for Sink and Swim, it involved the King and Sea Witch's interaction toward the end. As for the other two, let's just say she liked how Cinderella and Snow White's stories ended.
Now Reading: Mouse is reading Trouble at Trident Academy (Mermaid Tales #1) by Debbie Dadey on her own.
What I Am Reading: I finished reading Michelle Obama's Becoming early in the week and loved it. What a humble and amazing woman. I am now reading The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. So far it is living up to the hype and my expectations.
I have not quite decided what to read next. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo perhaps (so I can be ready for the release of the Netflix series). Although, I am in the mood for a historical novel. Maybe I will do that for next month's TBR Poll and make you choose for me! Hmmm.
What I Am Watching: My family and I watched the latest WandaVision episode. As anxious as I am to see how everything wraps up in the next episode, I am also sad it's coming to an end. We are also keeping up with our Buffy and Angel watching. We watch an episode almost every night, depending on what we have going on.
Off the Blog: It was a week. A very crazy-busy-thank-goodness-its-over kind of week. I was so relieved when I left the office Friday evening. I am behind on blog visits and responding to comments--thank you for your patience and understanding.
The trimester is officially over for my daughter and the new one begins next week. We got word from the school district that they will be starting elementary school students in the hybrid program in the classroom one day a week beginning March 9th, raising it to two days a week a couple weeks after that if all goes well. Hopefully it will go well for those returning to the classroom. From talking to teacher friends and other parents, feelings are mixed. As I've mentioned before, my daughter is in the virtual program this school year, and so we will be watching from the sidelines. The COVID numbers are continuing to go down in my county and dare we hope we will be able to enter a slightly less restrictive tier soon?
Mouse made breakfast for all of us last Sunday as part of a Girl Scout project she is working on. Chocolate chip pancakes topped with whipped cream. My favorite!
I just received Mouse's March dance/rehearsal schedule for March. It's going to be a busy month for her. Which reminds me, I need to load the donation bags into the car and drive them over to the studio today. The booster club is doing a fundraiser, collecting clothes and some household items. I have about nine or ten full garbage bags waiting for an opportunity to be donated. My husband will be so happy to clear the space in our garage!
Enjoying the sunny day
This Past Week In Reading Mews:
- Weekly Mews: Poetry Corner Edition (#2)
- Bookish Mewsings: The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris & The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
- Waiting to Read Wednesday: Surviving Savannah / An Unexpected Peril / The Rest of Us Just Live Here
- Where Is Your Bookmark? (Female Warriors / Ghostly Mystery / Connect Five: TBR Must Reads / BBHOP)
Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your week? Do you have anything planned for this week?
© 2021, Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
Well I hope things may be less restrictive but not until I've been vaccinated. You have some good things to read. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
Anne - Even with restrictions possibly easing here soon it isn't like a lot of people have been following the restrictions in the first place. My family has, but so many aren't. I am hoping my husband won't have to wait long to be vaccinated, but it will likely be summer or fall before that happens.Delete
Thank you for visiting!
Spill the Beans looks like a fun series. The sisters will and 7 and 9 in April so always looking for new choices. Right now the 8 year old is into The Babysitter Club Graphic along another series that escapes me right now.ReplyDelete
It is nice to see the COVID cases decreasing all around. My husband will be fully vaccinated Wednesday and I get my first vaccine that day and then 4 weeks later --so grateful. Happy March Wendy
Diane - Yes, the Whatever After series is a fun one. Your grandchildren are the perfect age for them, I think.Delete
I hope the COVID numbers and deaths will continue to go down--and stay down. I hope your husband's second does goes without incident as does your first one.
Thank you for stopping by!
I really enjoyed reading Becoming as well. I loved the insight into the two of them, them together, and the work she has done.ReplyDelete
Helen - Yes, I enjoyed that aspect of Becoming too. It was such a good book. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I'm supposed to be eligible for vaccine, officially, but I'm not certain when this will happen (not enough doses, delivery problems, etc). At least, the cases are going down in your part of the world, that's a good thing. Enjoy Buffy/Angel and your books :)ReplyDelete
Iza - Supply does seem to be a problem in a lot of places. I hope you are able to get your vaccine soon! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Wow the Whatever After series has really grown! When my kids read it I think there were six maybe... I like that they're continuing. Those titles bring back memories...ReplyDelete
Good luck with thr back to school stuff there! I hope things continue to get better. It sounds like your district is taking things slowly and safely- here in michigan kids have been back in- person and they're really pushing it. I think I like your district's appraoch better, taking it a little slower, but our numbers are down too and I think I'm in the minority!
I love that cat tree!!!
Greg - That cat tree is well loved by the cats. :-) For awhile there I didn't think they would allow each other to be on it when the other was there, but they seem to have found a happy medium. Some of the time anyway.Delete
I am glad my district is being cautious about re-opening. I don't think they planned to be strictly virtual for as long as they have been, but the state's restrictions wouldn't allow otherwise. Now there's a big push to get the kids back into the classroom. My husband and I have no regrets going with the virtual program this school year and will be seeing the school year out that way.
Thank you for visiting!
I hope the hybrid school program for Mouse goes well! And the Whatever After series sounds fun - I can see my niece enjoying these in a few years!ReplyDelete
Eustacia - Mouse is strictly virtual this year and so isn't part of the hybrid program. She's strictly virtual through the end of the school year this coming May. The Whatever After series is fun. We are enjoying them. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Sounds like you had a jampacked but good week, Wendy. My week was pretty eventful as I managed to fracture my little finger! 🤦♀️ So I have treated myself to lots of rest and plenty of comforting reading and viewing, including the short, fun fantasy Eric by Terry Pratchett and a re-watch of the BBC's fun fantasy show, Merlin. 🧙♂️ Take care and happy reading in the coming week. 🙂ReplyDelete
Jessica - It feels almost normal as busy as it has been. Only mostly everything being virtual still. LOL I am so sorry about your finger! I hope it isn't giving you too much trouble. I hope you enjoy your reading and watching! Thank you for visiting!Delete
I'm looking forward to The Gilded Ones. I've just begun Phillip Lopate's The Golden Age of the American Essay which will be an investment of time. In between the essays, I'll be reading lot of fiction. :)ReplyDelete
Jenclair - I really like the Gilded Ones so far. I hope you will too. Breaking up essays with fiction sounds like a good plan. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
There have been so many studies done on children who read well, and getting hooked on a series is one of the things that leads to reading well. It makes sense that an early chapter reader can settle into a set of characters and a setting and not have to struggle with those things while still enjoying seeing where the plot takes her.ReplyDelete
I came away from reading the Michelle Obama memoir with a new appreciation for the importance of strong families and friends in a person's life. Her parents, I thought, were great parents, nurturing but not helicoptering her.
It will be nice to be in your position and watch how the classrooms evolve in this final part of the school year from a safe distance.
Deb - I hadn't heard about the study involving children and series reading, but it makes sense. Thank you for sharing!Delete
Oh, yes! I felt the same way about Michelle's parents and her family. I often joke with my friends that I am a cross between the two extremes--free range and helicopter. I am not sure what my style is to be honest, but I hope my daughter won't need too much therapy because of my husband and I when she's older.
I am really curious how things will go--it will be a window into what maybe to expect this coming fall when she does return to the classroom. The teachers and schools will have some practice under their belts. That's the way I'm looking at it anyway. :-)
Thank you for visiting!
I don't know the series Whatever after! But I am going to see if I can find it for the school's library. Sounds like a few really great reads.ReplyDelete
Have a good week!
Mareli (Elza) - It's a fun series and I hope it will be available for you to add to your school library! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Is she selling Girl Scout Cookies? If so friend me on Facebook or in the COYER group put the link, I would totally buy some! We currently don't know anyone that are selling them. :)ReplyDelete
I am hoping NJ gets more vaccines because it is almost impossible to schedule a shot and I need my husband to get one first since he has a low immune system. Then I can get one and we can feel a little more comfortable leaving the house.
Have a great week, Wendy! Happy Reading! xx
Michelle - She is selling cookies this year. I sent you a friend request. I wasn't sure it was okay to post in the group. I am going to re-post the link on FB in the next day or so. Thank you for your support!Delete
I hope your husband (and you) are able to get your vaccines soon. Supply seems to be short everywhere, unfortunately. I am not sure when my husband will be able to get his. Probably not for awhile yet.
I hope you have a great week too. Thank you for visiting!
Maybe this year I'll get to Becoming. I hadn't read it because I really wasn't interested in political books last year or for the last four years. But maybe now...
Bryan - If you do decide to read Becoming, I hope you enjoy it. I found it very interesting. I generally shy away from memoirs and biographies by or about political figures, but sometimes something catches my fancy. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Hope all is well. Glad things are changing and that you helped your daughter.I take a lot of ride share clients who talk about returning to college. One is thinking to go across the border to Canada this year.ReplyDelete
Trin - I think a lot of people are beginning to imagine life after the pandemic--or at least having a bit more freedom to move around again. I hope that will be the case, but I think many of us are still choosing to be cautiously optimistic. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I love the sound of the books you and Mouse have shared together. How lovely that Mouse is also a keen reader and discusses the stories with you! It sounds as if March is going to be suddenly a very busy month for both you and Mouse. I hope you have a good week:))ReplyDelete
Sarah - It helps when she enjoys the books she is reading. :-) I really enjoyed our break from performances, but there is something to be said for returning to some sort of normalcy. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I've often enjoyed adult retellings of fairy tales, and others like Gail Carson Levine. These do sound fun. Wonder if my nine-year-old would appreciate.ReplyDelete
Jeane - I like adult retellings too. If your daughter does decide to give the Whatever After series a try, each book can be read as a stand alone so the series doesn't have to be read in order or as a whole. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I have been meaning to read Michelle Obama's Becoming for a long time now. SIgh, too many books and too little time.ReplyDelete
Gayathri - I have had Becoming since the year it came out--it was a Christmas gift, so I can relate! Too many books and too little time. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I have to admit that I wasn't a fan of Wandavision when it first started. The fist episode was soooo slow. However, now I'm a fan and I don't want to see it end. :'(ReplyDelete
Kristin - I don't want WandaVision to end either. I'm looking forward to the next Marvel show though. Hopefully that will be good too. Thank you for visiting!Delete
You sound very busy! I'm glad you loved Becoming, it's on my list to read at some point. Hope you have a lovely week:-)ReplyDelete
Tammy - We do have a lot going on. Kind of like old times only rarely going out still. LOL I hope you enjoy Becoming when you get to it. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
"Becoming" was a great book. I had listened to the audiobook. I love that she narrates it.ReplyDelete
Marie - I heard the audiobook of Becoming was amazing. I do want to watch the documentary now that I've read the book. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I work in an elementary school and our kids have been doing in person school since the end of August, and it was REALLY scary when we started back, but it's gone better than we ever expected. A few teachers and several students have had to quarantine, but usually because of a home exposure, not a school exposure. In fact, I don't think there's been any cases of school transmission of covid where I work. For which I am very glad and grateful! So hopefully it will go as well for all the schools in your area. :)ReplyDelete
Lark - I live in an area where people do not take the virus seriously and have been going against the restrictions quite openly since the beginning. So, it really isn't the schools I worry about as much as the parents of the other students (and therefore those students). I really do hope everything goes well for those returning to the classroom in the county this week and next. I am cautiously optimistic. We chose the virtual only option back in the summer last year and will see the year out that way. Even if we could switch to the hybrid plan at this point, that would mean switching teachers and upending her and my schedules. It makes much more sense for us to stay as we are. Next school year will be a different story. I am glad it has worked out for your school so well this year. I know many schools around the country have been open to varying degrees with different success rates. Hopefully things will continue to get better as the vaccine becomes more widespread.Delete
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The books look cute. Love the cat picture.ReplyDelete
Mary - I'm so surprised they were willing to be in the tree together! Thank you for visiting!Delete
My niece was a reluctant reader when she was younger then we discovered The Gateway Chronicles by K.B. Hoyle (the series starts with The Six). Thankfully everyone in the family enjoyed the series so we didn't mind reading them with her. See what I read Girl Who ReadsReplyDelete
Donna - I'll have to check out The Gateway Chronicles. It sounds like something both she and I would like. Thank you for visiting!Delete
That breakfast from Mouse sounds delish! Hope the start of March goes well!ReplyDelete
Victoria - It was good. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Good luck with hybrid schooling for your daughter. My husband and I were just talking today about how difficult being parents of school-aged kids must be this year and last. Blessings on you. My Sunday Salon post this weekReplyDelete
Anne - My daughter isn't in the hybrid program this school year, but is in the all-virtual program. Going hybrid would mean changing teachers and upending our schedule, not to mention be dependent on that program having space for her, which isn't likely. We're quite content sticking to virtual for the rest of the school year as planned. Next school year . . . now that will be a different story. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Sounds like you'll have a busy week! We've had some schools go back to either hybrid or full time in person. Since Will is homeschooled we've been watching from the sidelines and I think it's gone pretty well. There have been a few outbreaks but for the most part it's been small and our numbers are decreasing. I'm glad for the kids who would fall through the cracks or the households where parents have to be at work in person but I'm really glad that I'm not having to make any of those choices! Enjoy your reading with Mouse! We aren't doing read alouds right now just because of the pace of treatment and a little bit of chemo fog and I miss them! Soon we will be back to them though. Have a great week!ReplyDelete
Katherine - Unfortunately there have been a lot of kids who have fallen through the cracks this school year. It's been a struggle for student, parents and teachers alike. I hope you and Will are able to fit in some read aloud time again soon. I know it must be tough right now. Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Sounds like the series offers positive messages for Mouse, as Becoming does for you!ReplyDelete
Wishing you a great reading week
Shelleyrae - It's a fun series. And Becoming was really good too. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I've been wanting to read Michelle Obama's book. Maybe I can get it at the library in audio. It might be a good one for me to listen while I walk.ReplyDelete
Our Covid restrictions are barely even noticeable anymore. The numbers aren't that much better but people have been lax for awhile. I just hope I can get my vaccine soon.
Have a great week!
Yvonne - I hear the audio of Becoming is awesome. I hope you get a chance to read it.Delete
It's been the same here in terms of people not really following the restrictions. I'm just glad to see the numbers going down.
Thank you for stopping by!
I love fairytale retellings so I might be looking for recommendations from Mouse in a few years (:ReplyDelete
I just started watching Buffy! I'm on season 2. I've watched season 1 before and bits of episodes from the later seasons. Buffy just met Spike which is exciting.
Adriana - I really enjoy retellings too. :-) I hope you are enjoying Buffy! I'm on the final season right now. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Becoming was a great read.ReplyDelete
I hope March isn't too busy for you with your daughter's dance schedule. It's hard to get back into the busyness isn't it?
Ti - I thought so too!Delete
Thank you. It's a full schedule, much like it was pre-pandemic. I've gotten used to having a little free time since she didn't do the Nutcracker and Winter show this past year (the studio just put on their Nutcracker performance this past weekend, by the way). We're thinking of easing her back into the studio for classes, but we're still reluctant.
Thank you for stopping by!
I need to get a copy of Gilded Ones soon. I meant to look for it sooner - glad that it is meeting your expectations.ReplyDelete
I hope school opens and is safe to go to in-person next year. Over here in Ohio, schools never closed and there were lots of cases, but overall, it was always much lower than in the rest of the community. Still, personally, I'd rather not get it at all, so risk doesn't matter in this case. We did send our kids to school this January (private school where they have had only two cases so far) and so we are hoping things stay safe. But most of all, I'd like a return to extra curricular activities for the kids.
How wonderful that your daughter made breakfast for the GS program! Looks like she is soon getting into a busy phase with activities!
Athira - It is so good! I will finish it tonight, I'm sure. If I hadn't had to work today, I would have finished it this morning.Delete
Yeah, the decision to send or not send kids to school is so multi-faceted and different for everyone. When I decided to sign Mouse up for virtual for this school year last summer, safety was an issue, but so was the need for consistency and every day teacher contact even if just online. The hybrid program couldn't offer that to us. Mouse has friends who are in the hybrid program and I am curious to see how it goes for them. Next school year will be a different story altogether for us.
We were really fortunate that Mouse has been able to keep up with her extracurricular activities via Zoom. Not the same and not ideal, but I think it has helped in the long run to keep her involved and connected. My husband and I have been talking about easing Mouse back into the studio for her dance classes, but we're taking it slow.
Thank you for visiting!
I just started my Buffy rewatch too! Though I'm only on Season 1, but lots to look forward to still :) Wandavision has indeed been so great!ReplyDelete
Lindsey - It's such a good show! I had forgotten how sad it is though. I am glad you are enjoying WandaVision too! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
The Whatever After series sounds really fun—I've heard of it, but I didn't realize it plays with the traditional (and frustrating) endings of fairy tales. Have you all tried the Upside-Down Magic books? Mlynowski cowrites them with Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins, and they're a lot of fun! I'm sorry your week was frantic, and I hope things calm down for you soon. Thanks for the wonderful post!ReplyDelete
Completely Full Bookshelf - My daughter and I did read one of the Upside-Down Magic books and really liked it. We need to go back and start from the beginning of the series. I would read them on my own if she didn't want to read them with me. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I just binge watched the first 8 episodes of Wandavision this past weekend. At first I didn't think I would like it, but now, like you, I'm sad it's almost over. Wanda was a Marvel character I didn't really know much about so I loved getting so much of her backstory.ReplyDelete
Suzanne - I told my husband I want to re-watch the show in binge fashion when it's over just to see everything come together more tightly. Wanda is one of my favorite characters. They had talked about giving her her own movie, but it didn't work out. I think they've done a good job with this series. Thank you for stopping by!Delete