Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

Charming (enchanting seemed too punny, even for me)

Sweet

Delightful

This is a very cute Cinderella story.  Unlike the original Cinderella story, this Ella doesn’t sit around wishing and hoping for things to happen.  She stands up, jumps in, and takes charge of her life.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is how clueless Ella is that Char (the prince) has a crush on her.  Char drops hint after hint after hint, but Ella retains her naivete until Char spells it out for her.  It was refreshing to have a female character who doesn’t spend the entire book either chasing a boy or waiting for him to save her.

Ella Enchanted, Ella Enchanted book, book, Gail Carson Levine

This is definitely a children’s book, so if you’re looking for great literature go elsewhere.  But if you (or your kid) wants to whittle away an afternoon in an immense fairy tale this may be your book.

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The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson

Short

Simple

Boring

I’ve been delaying writing this review.  Mostly because this is the first book I’ve read (since I started reviewing) that I really didn’t like.  And I was shocked that I didn’t like it, I mean, it does have the Newberry seal on it.  How could it be bad?

But I wasn’t impressed with the characters; they were too stereotypical.  I didn’t care much for the plot; it was too generic.  A couple morals in the story are great, but others, not so much.  The best I can say about this book is, “meh.”  I won’t be reading it again, and I bet you could find any number of books to read that are more enjoyable.

family under the bridge, natalie savage carlson, paris, hobo, gypsies

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

True

Uplifting

Courageous

This is a beautiful account of two young Jewish sisters hiding in Holland during the Nazi invasion.  The youngest, Annie de Leeuw, is the narrator and through her naive eyes we are shown two years of hiding.

I really enjoyed this book.  I found Annie’s innocent view of the war and the Nazis to be utterly charming, and I couldn’t stop reading her story.  I also loved the other characters in the book.  Annie’s story, honestly and simply, highlights the compassion and bravery of the families hiding Jews during the occupation.

This is an autobiographical tale.  The author wrote about her war experience for her kids and this book is the product.  While I was reading the book the language, thoughts, and feelings seemed so organic and natural because they were.  Annie asks certain questions in the book, and they sound so true that I know the author actually asked, word for word, those same questions.  It was during those moments I fell in love with the book.

The Upstairs Room, holocaust, book, Nazis, Holland, history

I would absolutely recommend this book.  It is a story that both children and adults need to hear. Oh, and if my recommendation isn’t enough, that Newberry Honor seal should be 🙂