Children’s Books Week: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

morris-lessmoreMorris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories.
He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.

Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.
But the power of story will save the day.

Just like The Little PrinceThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is considered a children’s book, but is a story for all ages.

I was introduced to this story through the Academy Award-winning short film. If you’ve not seen it, do yourself the favor and take a 15-minute break to do so. (You might need a tissue.) My professor asked our class if we’d seen William Joyce’s film that was up to win an Academy Award and was appalled to hear that we hadn’t yet seen it, especially since William Joyce was affiliated with our college.

By the end, twenty college students were trying their best to not shed tears in front of their peers.

As much as I loved the short, I was so excited to learn there was a book, too! I love getting to experience this story in different formats.  To enhance the reader’s experience with the book, Moonbot Studios also launched an app that makes the book interactive! Rachel and I enjoy going to William Joyce signings and showing all the parents and grandparents the app—they’re always amazed at how it makes the book come to life!

Do yourself the favor—watch the short, and read this beautiful book, whether you’re a child or a child at heart.

oxford and morris lessmoreEven my puppy likes this book! (We were reading my Spanish edition.)

 

Review: The Little Prince

LittleprinceAuthor: The Little Prince

Ages: ALL AGES (okay. okay. 5th grade and up!)

Genre: Fantasy

Goodread’s summary here

Rachel’s Rambles:

AGGGHH

Okay, I’ll try to more professional than that.

I really love this book.

I initially bought a set of three for my classroom knowing nothing about the book – They were only a dollar a piece. However, months later  I walked into Barnes and Noble and saw an entire shelf packed with different variations of this children’s novel. So I went home and read it…it made my heart soar, my imagination light up, and brought tears to my eyes.

I really love this book.

Its hard to put into words the tone of this book or why this book is so amazing. I typically describe it as “French Peter Pan”  in conversation because of my lack of convey thoughts easily. [For any readers who do not know me…I am obsessed with Peter Pan. Therefore, it makes sense why I love this book.]

I found the fox charming, the Prince cute, and the narrator completely relatable. The narrator is the one the leads me to describe this book further as an “Adult book masquerading as a children’s fantasy”. It is so true…so many of themes (like Peter Pan) is about innocence and silly grown ups.

I really love this book.

A little over a week ago I was in Paris. ( <- The fact that I just typed those words is amazing and still surreal.) I was really hoping to come home with a french version or a TLP watch. However, one day in Paris is not enough time to conquer all my goals.

I do own this amazing 70th Anniversary Edition that I adore.

>>>Read my boyfriend’s review of The Little Prince here!

Children’s Books Week!

Children's books weekRachel and I are currently buried under preparations for our church’s upcoming children’s revival, and we’re super excited! We decided to share our excitement with you by talking about some of our favorite children’s books this week as we get ready to immerse ourselves in a weekend full of kids! So we want to know…

What’s your favorite children’s book?

Camp NaNoWriMo

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Today is the 22nd day of Camp NaNoWriMo and I have written 33,650 words for my first novel in just three weeks and one day!

Whoa, wait. You’re writing a book? Yes, I am! (Or at least I’m attempting to.)

Wow, that’s cool. But what is Camp NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November. The goal for NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Camp NaNoWriMo takes place every April and July, and you get to set your own word goal. (For more info on NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, click here.)

So let me get this straight—you’re trying to write an entire novel in one month? Not exactly. I’m using this month to get my novel started. I’ve got a lot more words to go!

Why Camp NaNoWriMo? Can’t you just write any time of year? Of course! But the great thing about Camp NaNoWriMo is knowing you aren’t alone! The community is great, and lots of us get on Twitter throughout the day to write together and encourage each other. It’s easier to meet your goal when you know others are struggling and succeeding with you!

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What’s your word goal for July? My original goal was 35,000, but I did some calculations and realized that 50,000 words would be feasible before the end of the month, so I raised it yesterday. I’ve made a goal to write 2,350 words every day (except for weekends–breaks are a good thing!), and that should put me at 50K by July 30.

That’s a lot of words! What’s your book about? Things change as I write, but it’s ultimately a gender swapped retelling of King David’s journey to kingship.

Good luck with that! Can I keep up with your progress? Of course! I created a twitter account for my writing adventures, and you can follow along! My handle is @mrsdorkjb. I can’t promise it will be interesting, but I can promise cupcakes. (Actually I can’t promise that either.)

Nevermind, I was only in it for the cupcakes. But what if I want to learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo? You can check out the official NaNoWriMo website here or check out their twitter @NaNoWriMo. (Also, you’re a meanie and I wouldn’t share my cupcakes with you anyway.)

Speaking of cupcakes, here’s a portion of my cupcake wrapper collection.

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Review: The Princess Bride

princess brideAuthor: William Goldman

Age: Adult/Young Adult (probably written originally for adults, but easily understandable and enjoyable for all ages)

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy

Read the synopsis from Goodreads.

Have you seen the movie The Princess Bride? It doesn’t matter if your answer is yes or no, this is a book you don’t want to miss.

The Princess Bride is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read in my entire life. Goldman has a unique writing style that is completely captivating. From beginning to end, I found myself chuckling and even sometimes actually laughing out loud.

One of the reasons this book is so unique is the fact that Goldman claims it is an abridged “good parts” version of the classic by S. Morgenstern. Goldman begins the book explaining how S. Morgenstern’s book was his favorite growing up—that his father would read it to him when he was sick. When he became an adult, he read the book for himself and realized that his father had been leaving the boring parts out. Throughout “Morgenstern’s” story, Goldman adds his thoughts and explains why he “redacted” parts of the original book. (18 pages here describing possible cures for the king, 44 pages there about how the Prince acquired the animals for his personal zoo, 56 ½ pages describing Princess Noreena’s packing in preparation to visit Guilder, etc.)

But don’t worry. He sums up whatever you missed: “[F]rom a narrative point of view, in 105 pages nothing happens. Except this: ‘What with one thing and another, three years passed.’”

(In reality, there really is no book by S. Morgenstern, which completely confused me when I read this for the first time in 7th grade.)

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll be amazed at how wonderful of an adaptation it is. It is actually quite close to the book, although the book goes into the history and backstory of the main characters which allows you to understand them better. There are also some scenes that didn’t make their way into the movie, so if you’re a fan of the film, you should definitely read The Princess Bride to know the backstories.

I’ll wrap this up with some quotes I found amusing:

“Your father is dying.”
“Drat!” said the Prince. “That means I shall have to get married.”

At 8:23 there seemed every chance of a lasting alliance starting between Florin and Guilder.
At 8:24 the two nations were very close to war.

Life isn’t fair. It’s just fairer than death, that’s all.

There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C., when Saul and Delilah Korn’s inadvertent discovery swept across Western Civilization. (Before then couples hooked thumbs.)

5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy sword fighting, romance, torture, humor, giants, evil geniuses, pirates, princesses, etc, this is a book for you.

Content Advisory:
language: 3
I counted less than 10 curse words in the entire book (h, a, s, b)
sexual: 2
some kissing, an innuendo or two
violence/gore: 3
This is a hard one to rate. Yes, there are sword fights and torture, but none of it is explained in a very gruesome way. In fact, much of it is explained humorously.
other:
Someone contemplates suicide. Again, this is not gruesome or very detailed, but it is there.

Introducing: Cover Collections!

Hello lovely readers!!

I am super excited to announce a new periodical post series: Cover Collections

Each post will feature a collection of book covers surrounding a certain theme or idea. Included in this will be JB’s delicious Foreign Covers posts (aren’t they so fabulous?!?), as well as new themes like Best/Worst, Classics Through the Years, Prettiest Spines, Vintage Covers… I could go on for days!

We’ll gather books whose covers have a common theme or feature, such as the main color is red, or they all feature a tree, or they have metallic. We will compare the stories and genres, and how they connect, and find commonalities like books with stars on the covers tend to be fantasy or books that do not have people on them are sad. That kind of thing. Also looking at how the covers affect the reader develops a preconceived idea about the story and the characters. (An example of this is The Wall by William Sutcliffe that we reviewed last week). Anyway, it should be fun!!

Feel free to let us know if you want us to make a collection about a certain theme, or one based off of a favorite book or one you dislike! We LOVE hearing from y’all!

Cheers!
Jules

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Behind the Blog: Rachel in the Netherlands!

Rachel is currently in the Netherlands, and she’s having a blast! She’s been sending us photos, and I thought you might enjoy!

She got her first stamp in her passport!

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Cheese store. We’re trying to figure out the best way to transport cheese on a plane so she can bring us back souvenirs.
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Rachel’s souvenir spoon.photo 3

The entire AYC Netherlands group.photo 4

She found a map. Rachel is obsessed with maps. Who let her around maps? This could be dangerous indeed! photo 5

One of the churches they’ve visited.photo 1 (2)I certainly hope you can figure out this next one yourself.

photo 2 (1)

Making friends with fellow AYCers and Netherland natives!photo 3 (1)

Prettiness. photo 4 (1)

I feel like this photo sums up Rachel really well.
photo 5 (1)If you want to further keep up with Rachel’s adventures, check out the hashtag #AYCNetherlands on Twitter and Instagram! We’ll try to keep you up to date as well!

 

Ode to the Ruby Slippers

Soooo if you haven’t caught on already, I’ll just go ahead and tell you: I’m the late one. Like the last time I was actually on time was when I was born. I’m a procrastinator. And this week I was out on a ranch in the middle of ranch-nothingness Texas (and loving every minute) and was always doing something else (doing a lot of planning for a big trip, but that’s another post).

Anyway, I was supposed to have posted this on Thursday… I think… To go along with Rae’s Ruby slippers picture and Gallagher Day 🙂

Well, anyway, here it is. Enjoy!

 

Ruby Slippers
Ode to the Ruby Slippers

Beyond the great and sacred walls
Down the long and gleaming halls
Poised, silent, in calculated rotation
Anchored, safe, in precise location

Created with the power to take you home
Wrought to save you from being alone
Many come, see, and, unchanged, many go
The pull never feel, the gleam never know

Guarded, protected, yet through the glass
Unknown, unseen, calls together a class
Two worlds aligned, one thing in mind
One way to find two of a kind

N’er again to grace the feet of a girl
Held in place by the sight of the world
Yet through the glass can confer
A spirit for more to him and to her

As would a beacon with jeweled red light
A warning goes out of the coming night
Each made for the other, fit together
Now are joined, for dim, for dark, forever.

What Would You Use Truth Serum For?

What would you use truth serum for?

Rachel left yesterday for her trip, and she’s spending a few days in Washington D.C. before heading out of the country. She’s having a blast doing all the tourist stuff and sent me this photo yesterday.

Ruby Slippers Gallagher Girl

No, we aren’t huge fans of The Wizard of Oz, but rather fans of the scene that takes place at the Ruby Slipper exhibit in Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, the second book in the Gallagher Girl series.

When we found out Rachel would get to stand in the EXACT SPOT where our favorite fictional couple met, we started reminiscing about our favorite series and talking about what we would do if we got our hands on some truth serum.

REASONS WHY LIZ IS CURRENTLY SNAIL MAILING US SOME TRUTH SERUM:

-Because we managed to convince her that her invention could use some more field testing.
-Because we want to find out if a certain boy likes a certain girl.
-Because we need to verify the intentions of said boy.
-Because we think someone is holding back information on a potential crush, and secrets don’t make friends.
-Because a favorite pair of shoes are missing, and the roommate (who just so happens to also wear a size 9) insists she doesn’t know where they are.
-So we can test its expiration date on teachers in grad school and find out our test grades early.
-So we can learn secrets that our favorite authors are keeping about our favorite fictional characters.

REASONS WHY WE SHOULD PROBABLY NOT BE ALLOWED TO TEST THE TRUTH SERUM:

-Because Liz is a genius and of course her truth serum is already perfect.
-We’re pretty sure the boy likes the girl, anyway. (Though we will still use the serum to verify his intentions.)
-Dosing someone’s food with truth serum is probably not the best way to go about making (or keeping) friends.
-We will secretly give it to each other and NOT EVEN KNOW IT because we already know each other’s secrets, and will therefore think it doesn’t work, and will therefore ruin Liz’s test results.
-Spoilers.

So, fellow Gallagher Girls, what would you use Liz’s truth serum for? We’ll send a sample to the person with the best answer! (Just kidding, we’ll actually use you as a test subject.)

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Looking for more Gallagher Girl-inspired posts? We’ve got you covered!

Looks From Books (This post was featured by Disney Hyperion!)
Gallagher Girls Dream Cast
Review of I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)

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Review: The Distance Between Us

Review (and Content Advisory) for The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestAuthor: Kasie West

Age: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Click here to read summary from Goodreads.

This is the second Kasie West book I’ve read, the first being Pivot Point (<— click to read my review), and I’d just like to say that I want ALL OF THE KASIE WEST BOOKS. (I went further in detail about that here.)

Do you want to know how much I loved this book? A WHOLE WHOLE LOT. Seriously, all the notes I took for this book are followed by smiley faces. I’m not even kidding.

The Distance Between Us is a sweet read with a quirky, sarcastic main character (Caymen) and a swoon-worthy love interest (Xander). Xander’s rich, Caymen’s poor, and they struggle with the realization that money doesn’t matter. Or does it?

I found myself shipping Caymen and Xander from the very start, and cheering on their relationship through the ups and downs. Their relationship is adorable, and your face will match my notes as you read this. There will be lots of smiles.

One of my favorite things about the two Kasie West books I’ve read is that I get to put a star next to them in our archives! What does that mean? It means they both got POSITIVE SCORES on our content advisory and we recommend them without hesitation.

5 out of 5 stars all the way. One of my favorite reads of 2014!

Content Advisory:
Language: 0
Sexual: 2
*insert kissy face HERE!*
Other:
Someone offers Caymen a beer (but she turns it down)