Tag Archives: magic

Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall (Book Review)

 

Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Finally, someone has written a book shining a light on how twisted some fairy tales really are. Okay, there might be others on the market, but this is my first read of one, and I was impressed with the author’s insight. Anne E. Beall did her research when giving you the facts. She has multiple tables where she breaks down various categories such as who is Marrying Up more often, who is Suffering more, who is Vanquishing Evil the most, and the list and tables go on. 

I’ve had many talks with my daughter about how disturbing fairy tales are. We discussed if we’d ever kiss a random talking frog or dine with a beast (no matter if he kidnapped our dad or not). We also talked about there’s death in every Disney movie, probably in most fairy tales. Some deaths are more graphic than others. Case in point, if you have seen Tarzan then you might recall the shadowy image of Clayton’s hung body in the jungle’s vines. Anyone who complains about the content on non-animated shows should stop and think about what kids see from our famous animated studios. 

The author is correct when she spotlighted the frightening tale of Hansel and Gretel. This isn’t a fairy tale, more like a scary story you’d tell around a campfire. 

When you think of it, most fairy tales involve teens or younger children. These teen girls are (often) held against their will and saved by their princes. I should note these girls are married before they would legally be allowed to drink or vote in the real world. Oh, and let’s not forget they send the wrong image of how a girl should look, dress, and act to attract a rich man. Sheesh! 

Fairy tales are unrealistic. That’s why people of all ages love them. But, if you take off the rose-colored glasses, like Anne E. Beall, you can see these tales for what they are— unrealistic, superficial, unsettling tales that hook you with their catchy tunes. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Anne E. Beall

​A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.


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The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos (Book Review)

The magical sisters are enrolled in an etiquette class when their manners are not fit for the king and queen of the enchanted land of Harmony. Can Elizabeth the Emu help the royal sisters?

In the beautiful and peaceful land of Harmony, three magical sisters and royal daughters of the land, uproot the kingdom’s tranquility with some not-so-polite actions —nose-picking, belching, and other noisy…expulsions. Their parents, the King and Queen, enroll the sisters in the elegant Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class where they learn manners and other ways to self-improve like being on time, politeness, and proper personal hygiene.

Elizabeth the Emu explains to Angel Scarlet, Princess Daphne, and Fairy Cora that having proper etiquette is more than good manners, it’s about being kind and courteous. And for the sisters? Well, let’s just say that they will be needing more than one lesson from Elizabeth the Emu’s etiquette class.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 


Amazon has The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony) by Karen Bobos for children 3 – 11 years. Children on the younger side will enjoy humorous moments such as burping and farting princesses. Oh, and let’s not forget Scarlett, digging for gold. Kids will crack up because those three things are always funny to a kid – big or small. 

Etiquette classes are not so common here in the states, but I imagine they are over in the UK, where royalty is a prominent fixture. When you read The Elegant Emu (Adventures in Harmony, it’s wise to ask your child(ren) or student(s) if they understand what etiquette means. Depending on the age of your reader/listener, several other words might need explaining: epitome, tranquility, drear, doting, and insight. 

I do believe some table manners are essential in any home. For instance, chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with food in your mouth. I also think it’s unsafe to stab a piece of food with a knife and eat off of it. That’s an easy way to cut yourself! Hand washing should be encouraged, not just at meal times and not just for two seconds! My family already knew the happy birthday trick (singing it twice) regarding hand washing, but others may not, so this was a nice addition to the story. 

The final moments in the story made me smile. The poor Emu had a tough day at work, and it was sweet to see her hubby was waiting for her and drew her a bath. What a sweetheart! 

Special shout-out to Emily Hercock for your lovely illustrations. We loved them all, but Patrick the Peacock was our favorite drawing. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author:

AUTHOR KAREN BOBOS

 
Bobos began writing poetry and stories at the early age of ten. She is a life-long Chicagoan who now raises her family in the downtown area. During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago also became a city of unrest. Trying to keep her three young daughters in a world of magic during such scary times, the Bobos Babes Adventures were born. Her goal was to create a world of Harmony for her family and hopefully for others to escape, even if only for a moment. The first book of the series, The Case of the Giggles, was published in December 2020. The Missing Egg launched in March 2021. The The Lion’s Secret was published in June 2021, a tribute to her mother and late father’s incredible love story.  The Lovey that Came to Life and The Bobcat Birthday party will be releasing in the upcoming months.​
 
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Kingdomless (The Evamore Series, Book 1) by Michelle Garyfalakis (Book Spotlight)

KINGDOMLESS by Michelle GaryFalakis

 
The remnants of the United Kingdom of Garth, once ruled by the legendary Dynasty of Evamores are in the throes of conflict. Ten years ago, King Wren of the West discovered Raelle washed up on the shores of the Balour Sea, with no memory of the first nine years of her life. She was brought back to the castle and dutifully cared for and cherished by the king and his three older sons. On her nineteenth birthday, the Western Kingdom’s adoptive princess is secretly sent away by her stepmother to marry King Veras as a token of peace between the kingdoms. But, the Northern King has other plans.

As Raelle’s amnesia melts away with the help of a northern storyteller, she discovers more about the Kingdom of Garth, magic, the lovetie connection of the Evamores, and her role in the grand scheme of things. She is confused, angry, and curiously comfortable in the North.

A dark shadow overcasts all of the kingdoms, and the threatening influence of the fallen god Kellar seems to spread among the people, inciting disorder and violence. While the fate of the kingdoms may rest on Raelle’s shoulders, she can’t help but feel kingdomless. Betrayal is everywhere, from her own adoptive family to her newfound friends. Fearless, observant, witty, and determined, she is town between her attraction to King Veras’ good nature and the unexplained pull to the Tracker Calak. The challenge that she faces is not simple. As the old gods, laws and magic awaken, so does her own sense of self. There is a choice to be made, step into the role expected of her, or dive into the unknown and make her own destiny.

This YA fantasy novel asks the readers important coming of age questions, captures the attention with witty dialogue, relatable characters, and a world that is reawakening its forgotten magic. The readers will be entranced and hungry for more (and perhaps a piece of chocolate cake).

 

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Meet the Author:
Author Michelle Garyfalakis

 
MICHELLE GARYFALAKIS was born and raised throughout Ontario, Canada. She currently lives just outside of Hamilton, Ontario with her husband, four kids and Snowy (their friendly Samoyed-Border Collie). When she isn’t obsessively typing out new stories on her computer, you can find her drinking coffee with a friend, snacking on some guacamole or binge watching Outlander (again). Michelle loves finding creative ways to communicate with people, and her passion for storytelling is the newest addition to that list. 

 
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Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte (Book Review)

 

A touching picture book about a remarkable childhood bond between a little girl and her magic bicycle, perfect for children ages 4 to 7 and for fans of The Giving Tree.

Inspired by the author’s own childhood adventures, this heartfelt story will take readers on a whimsical journey through Ellery’s childhood with her magical bicycle in tow. Ellery and her bicycle share many wonderful new experiences together; lonely yet curious Ellery finds adventure, love, and friendship, as well as weathering sorrow and loss.

When she grows up, Ellery starts to forget her special bond with the bicycle. Will Ellery remember what’s important before it’s too late and the magical bike is lost forever?

A story of redemption, Ellery’s struggles, hopes, and triumph serve as an uplifting reminder to parents of their childhood bonds. Young readers will grow to love Ellery’s strong, kind, and compassionate spirit, and will see their own cherished bicycle in a new light.

  • A heartfelt and emotionally powerful read-aloud book
  • Books for kids ages 4 and up
  • Picture books for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary students.

 

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The love of magic and magical books has been around for many years. Children love when inanimate objects come to life. They do this through their imagination all the time. They make teddy bears drink tea. They make toys move and speak. They create a wonderland in their backyard or right inside their home. Therefore, I believe children will love Ellery’s bike and wish their bike would also come to life. You might even catch your child speaking to their own bicycle, which would be adorable. 

Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte is not just all about magic. There was a life lesson weaved in the story. A boy picked on Ellery; she got revenge on him and felt terrible afterward. This section reinforces the old saying two wrongs don’t make a right. When you and your child or students read this section, ask them how Ellery should handle the situation differently? How would they have handled it? 

Ellery’s Magic Bicycle teaches children to forgive, apologize for inappropriate actions, and be open to making new friends in the unlikeliest places with the unlikeliest people. With all the turmoil in the world, I appreciate any story that shows people overcoming differences, becoming nice, and starting new friendships. 

My daughter loved Zoe Saunders’s illustrations. I agree; they were fantastic. She did a marvelous job on all the pages, but especially the page dedicated to Ellery growing up and the bike becoming bigger with her. As a parent, I was happy to see Zoe had Ellery and Charlie wearing a helmet when riding the bike. Even though it’s a special bike and could protect the rider, we must teach kids to be safe. 

I would absolutely recommend this Ellery’s Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte to others.

 

Amazon’s recommended reading age: 4 – 7 years

Grade level: kindergarten – 3

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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About the Author

Maria Monte is an experienced communications specialist and has completed an honours degree in English literature. Her spare time is divided between family and caring for her young son. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Maria enjoys mochas and losing herself in wiki rabbit holes.

Reedsy Link

 

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Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy by S.E. Richey (Book Review)

Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy by S.E. Richey

 
Lulu cannot wait for a visit from the Tooth Fairy and get a pony with her Tooth Fairy money. And Trixie cannot wait to finally become an official Tooth Fairy. Everything would be perfect, if only Trixie would show up!
​Will Lulu get her pony? Will Trixie ever become an official Tooth Fairy? Find out in this humorous yet heartwarming tale that encourages us to never stop believing and that everything is possible with a little will power. And learn a thing or two about tooth traditions and tooth collectors of the world!
 
 
Buy the Book:
S.E. Richey Books
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Losing a tooth is a BIG thing for a kid. They get very excited when it starts to wiggle slightly. The excitement only builds from there when it’s extremely loose and barely holding on. Then, when the big moment arrives, and it pops out, they can’t wait to shove it over their pillow for the tooth fairy. It’s like Christmas morning when the tooth fairy gathers their tooth and leaves a coin or bill behind. It’s magical! If the tooth fairy doesn’t come, hearts are broken. That’s precisely what happened for Lulu. Her tooth didn’t get retrieved time and time again. 


Poor Trixie, all she wanted was to be a tooth fairy. She can’t help the unfortunate events stopping her from doing her job. I know children will be rooting for Trixie in Lulu and the Missing Tooth Fairy. 


Trixie’s determination was inspiring. It illustrated a person never giving up, following their dreams, and triumphing when hope appeared all lost. 


What a fun story! And, the illustrations were fantastic too. I loved every character drawn by Jhon Ortiz. I especially liked Trixie’s blue skin and Lulu’s smile (minus one tooth). Kudos to Jhon Ortiz on capturing Lulu and Trixie’s joy and sadness perfectly. 


After the story, S.E. Richey gives us some interesting information about the tooth fairy in other parts of the world. I absolutely adored this page because I love learning new facts. My daughter does as well, so this will be a big hit with her. In fact, she’s going to LOVE the entire book, from start to finish! 

 
 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author S.E. Richey

 
S. E. Richey was born in New York and moved to Puerto Rico with her family when she was four years old. She grew up in the mountains of La Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico. She spoke four-year-old English and Spanish, but soon forgot English. She loved running around her grandparents’ finca, picking wild strawberries, sucking on ripe coffee beans (so sweet!), sugar cane (so sweet!), and searching for cow pies with her siblings and cousins (not so sweet.).
At age eighteen, S. E. Richey swore she would never live in another small town in the country where she had to drive through a canyon with lots of curvy roads just to get to the city. Oh, how dizzy and nauseous those curves made her!
She moved to the United States where she attended college in a small town in Idaho, married and lived in a small town in California (her second home) with lots and lots of curves just to get to the city (yes, she got dizzy and nauseous), and now she lives in a small-ish town in Idaho with her husband and four children. Their two dogs, Roscoe and Cali, and Conan, the fat cat, complete the family. She loves to sing WAY too loudly in the car. She loves Dulce de Leche ice cream (even if it hurts her tummy). And she loves to read and write silly stories that make her giggle and stories that tug at the heartstrings.  
 
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