“And Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce.” – William Shakespeare

My friends will tell you I am a Pinterest lover. I find it useful and inspirational for cooking, decorating, parenting, and travel. It’s great for Type A planners like me. Recently I have stared following the pinboards of several library groups. This helps me stay on top of new books for the kids and me. Recently it led me to a website called A Mighty Girl, which catalogs “the world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident and courageous young girls.” My favorite page on this site is The Ultimate Guide to the Independent Princess, where I discovered the two books I want to review today.

Last week I picked Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure and Dangerously Ever After from the library.

Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure by Robert D. Souci and Sally Wern Comport is a classic folktale with a strong female lead. Margaret seeks adventure and finds love and courage in this beautiful book. The illustrations gorgeous and the pacing of the story makes for a great read-aloud. Halfway through reading this to Maegan I had to flip back and check the date of publication; the story is obviously meant to sound archaic but the language is almost forced. Still, my six year old listened with wide eyes and delighted squeals while I read this exciting story. Seafaring adventure, an old hag, dragons and giants – Brave Margaret has it all!

Meanwhile, back in another kingdom, we read Dangerously Ever After by Dashka Slater and Valeria Docampo, which is the adorable story of Princess Amanita and all the unpleasant things she loves. Amanita is not made of sugar and spice at all, but much fiercer stuff. Amanita’s garden is filled with “prickles and stickles,” plants that sting and plants that stink.

The delightful story of Araminta and her new friend Prince Florian shows that although not all people are necessarily drawn to mainstream interests, we can usually find a common connection if we try. It also highlights some of the dangers of wandering off on your own; having a friend by your side might be the better way to go. Even if you love the scent of a good compost pile, who could not help but be drawn to a place that smells like “sleeping in the sun, staying up late, secrets and summer?” Nice alliterations, and charming illustrations, too. You will hear many giggles from your mighty princes and princesses when they read or hear this story.

This review was written by Robin.

Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

Over the past few years my family has become involved with a wonderful nonprofit group called Catching Joy, which provides age-appropriate community service activities for children and families. One organization we support that is near and dear to my heart is Reach Out and Read, which has an amazing partnership with primary care providers to make reading materials available to children from all types of backgrounds. Their mission is meaningful to Ryan and Maegan as well, as they simply cannot imagine a life that is not filled with books.

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Earlier this year I assisted the Canton Girl Scout Service Unit in a day of service. We made Valentines to be delivered to February Meals on Wheels clients, centerpieces to cheer up the dining room of the local nursing home, dog toys for the animal shelter, joke cards to cheer up children in hospitals, and upcycled book marks to accompany the donations of new books, which were the price of admission to participate in the activities. During the winter the rest of the materials were delivered to their receiving organizations, but it suffices to say that it took me a while to get organized on a major delivery to Charlestown.

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Today Jim helped me deliver the four cartons of books and bookmarks to the Reach Out and Read headquarters, where we were very warmly received. Flat Stanley made his first trip into Boston to visit the wonderful staff.

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This post was written by Robin.

Maegan’s Favorite Books

I couldn’t narrow it down to just ten like my brother did. Here are my favorite books:

#1 The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

I really like mysteries. In my mind I picture the scenes in the story as foggy and dark.

#2 Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

Gooney Bird has crazy outfits and I  love the funny stories she tells every day. Also, she is in second grade and I will be in second grade soon.

#3 Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Charlotte is my favorite character in this book. She is so smart and she saves Wilbur. She shows how to be a really good friend.

#4 The Witches by Roald Dahl

I like this book because when my Dad reads it to me he does a funny accent. I love the way the Grand High Witch uses a V sound for Ws…she is the Grand High Vitch!

We also watched the movie of this book and the Grand High Vitch is very scary!

#5 Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton series

I love these books because the characters go on many adventures. The pictures are really funny and make the story so good. I like Thea because she is brave. My favorite thing that happened in one of these books was when robots went crazy on the moon.

#6 My Weird School series by Dan Guttman

Miss Daisy is Crazy! was the first chapter book I read all by myself for a book report in first grade. Not all the teachers are ladies. There are some men and some ladies. So far I have only had ladies for my teachers.  I noticed that all the rooms of the crazy school  are wacky. The principal’s office even has a punching bag in it! I would not like to go to this school because it sounds too crazy for me but I still like to read about it.

#7 Usborne Illustrated Fairy Tales

This is my favorite book. I read it all the time. The illustrations are beautiful. Sometimes fairy tales can be a little scary or confusing, but they are not scary in this book. My favorite story inside this book is The Swan Princess.

#8 Rainbow Magic fairy series by Daisy Meadows

These books have colorful covers. The stories are adventurous. Kristy and Rachel, the girls who help the fairies, sound very nice.

#9 Miss Suzy by Miriam Young

This is my Mom’s favorite story to read to me and I like it because she likes it. Miss Suzy is cute.

#10 Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel is so scared to leave his nut tree. He thinks things will happen to him – he thinks there are sharks in the river! But when he jumps out of the tree he discovers he is a flying squirrel! There are other Scaredy Squirrel books if you like this one.

#11 Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan

Little Owl is just so cute. His eyes are bigger than his whole head. I think you should read it.

#12 Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow, Lenny Lipton and Eric Puybaret

This book has beautiful pictures and I love to sing the song.

#13 The Unruly Queen by ES Redmond

In the beginning, the main character is a wild devil queen but by the end she realizes she needs to be more polite.

#14 Verdi by Jannell Cannon

Grammy & Pop Pop gave this book to Ryan but I’m the one who likes it. Verdi is a cute snake and he does cool figure eights in the air!

#15 Bedtime is Canceled by Cece Meng and Aurelie Neyret

This is a really fun story and I wish bedtime was really canceled. The parents were not too happy about it in the story.