Tag Archives: classic stories

Usborne Illustrated Stories of Princes & Princesses

My younger daughter’s current favorite book is the Usborne Illustrated Stories of Princes and Princesses. We are big fans of the Illuustrated Stories series in general because of their gorgeous illustrations and ability to take well known stories and bring them to younger audiences at an age appropriate level (Shakespeare for an 8 year old!). What sets this particular book apart is the fact that it brings forth many lesser known fairy tales from a variety of cultures and it is a book focusing on princesses, but without that common thread of princess needs saving from prince.

Usborne Book of the Week

E found this book in our catalog and started begging for it, so of course I bought it, since I’m a sucker for that desire. We were quickly surprised by the content of the stories. Many are well known tales like Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, Sleeping Beauty, and the Frog Prince. But then there are stories that have never made their way into my fairy tale loving family – The Princess and the Glass Hill, Princess Nobody, and the Seven Ravens, for example. Each story is beautifully told with illustrations and an easy to read font. Continue reading →

a lucky find – the lion, the witch and the wardrobe

I went into one of our local used book stores the other day and made a great find – an illustrated abridged version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I’ve wanted to bring J in to the world of Narnia for some time, but we started with The Magician’s Nephew and I believe she got bored. The story jumped around a lot. I think that The Lion is a more cohesive story and J immediately got sucked in to it. She thought I had brought home yet another library book and when she realized that she got to keep this one she was incredibly excited. I also purchased a used copy of the full The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe knowing that at some point in the not to distant future she would want to read that as well.

What makes this book special is that it is not a dumbed-down version of the story and it is filled with absolutely beautiful illustrations. There are other illustrated versions out there, we just got lucky to find this one at a used shop. The original is still the best, but sometimes these editions help draw our kids in.

Here are some other illustrated versions I was able to find online.

lion blue

aimed at ages 4-8


graphic novel – age 8+


our library haul

September is national library card sign-up month. If you hadn’t already figured it out, I would be completely and utterly lost without the local public library. Buying books is great, but finding books in the library allows us to read a much wider variety of great books. I still have fond memories of the library where I grew up, and we are fortunate to have two libraries here even if I do have to pay to use one of them. Granted, I still miss living in a bigger city with multiple connected libraries, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Sometimes I go to the library with a specific list of books I want to get for the girls and sometimes I just randomly pull things off the shelves. I’ve gotten really lucky the past few times and wanted to share a bunch of gems that we’ve found.


We fell in love with the original My Name is Not Isabella, and I was thrilled to find another of her adventures on our local library’s bookshelves. Isabella: Star of the Story is an homage to books and to the library in general. How could we not love it? Isabella goes to the library with her parents and checks out Peter Pan, Goldilocks, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Black Beauty, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz.

wildThe title of this book attracted me, and both my 2 year old and 6 year old LOVE it. This fabulous rhyming story dedicated to Dr. Seuss brings a librarian and her bookmobile into the zoo. There she lures the animals into a love affair with books in the same way that we all hope to lure our children into loving books. With absolutely beautiful artwork by Marc Brown, we watch as the librarian finds just the right book for each animal. The crocodiles read Peter Pan while giraffes want “tall books” on subjects like basketball and skyscrapers and the Pandas demand “more books in Chinese.” By the end, the animals are writing their own stories and opening a zoobrary. The animals are wild about books and we are wild about this one too.

unicornI was actually shocked to find this on the shelves of our small town library as it is a brand new book. The story is about a goat who thinks he’s pretty hot stuff until a unicorn moves into town. When the unicorn flies, makes it rain cupcakes and turns things to gold the goat gets a case of the green eyed monster. Then one day, while moping around eating some goat cheese pizza, the unicorn comes up and is jealous of all the things that make goat special. The two realize that they each have qualities that make them pretty awesome and that together they would make an unstoppable team. It is a great story about being happy with yourself while learning that the grass only looks greener on the other side.

Sophie's Lovely Locks Cover_smI picked up this book because we struggle with J and keeping her hair brushed, let alone pulled back in pretty barrettes. So imagine my shock when we get to the end and Sophie decides to chop off her hair and give it to “Locks for Kids,” a hybrid of Locks of Love and Wigs for Kids. What seemed like a superficial story turned out to be a lesson in humanity. It is hard to explain to a 6 year old that kids can get cancer too, but this is a truly wonderful story.

marthaFor all of the picky eaters out there, I present a ridiculous story of a little girl who refused to eat her green beans until the beans came to town and kidnapped her parents. The only way for her to save her parents from those mean old beans was to eat them, but the beans didn’t think she could do it. This was a silly tale that shows that you shouldn’t be afraid of your food. We read a lot of semi-serious picture books, and those are usually the books that make it onto the blog, but a little fluff now and then is important too 🙂

sky colorPeter Reynolds gets a lot of press in September with the 15th being International Dot Day. The Dot is a marvelous book with a great lesson, but in looking for that on the shelf, I came across the lesser known, but stunningly wonderful Sky Color. Reynolds’s books encourage kids to nurture their inner artists, but what I love about this one is that it takes someone who is comfortable with her inner artist and forces her to think outside of the box. Marisol’s class is going to paint a mural and she volunteers to paint the sky, but when she goes to the paint box there is no blue. “How am I going to make the sky without blue paint?” Marisol watched the sky to try and figure out a solution and dreamt of a sky of swirling colors, mixed together “making too many colors to count.” Her final product shows how many ways to look at things there are. I loved the colors and her frustrations and her attempts to figure it out. An unusual, but impressive little book.