Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring Reading 2018 Reading Beauty


Most readers have experienced it, and heard their friends talk about it. That story that pulls you in and makes you lost touch with the world around you. We call those books enchanting, mesmerizing, we say they have put a spell on us. In the case of Gabe and Ellie, it happens to be the literal truth.

These two friends have much better things to do than read. There are soccer and turtles and chewing gum, and "Reading is BORING." Of course those are words that you should never say to your school librarian, and Ms. Molly gets her revenge. The spell she casts will throw Ellie into a "deep read for all eternity!" Sixteen minutes later, the paper cut on Ellie's finger seals the spell and she becomes a reader. For a week she reads everywhere, all the time. Gabe is sad that he has lost his best friend. She is not even interested in a new flavor of gum - nothing can pull her away from the books.

But when it seems that she has fallen into the deep read and will never come out again, Ms. Molly does mention one thing that can save her. Will Gabe be able to accomplish this impossible task and rescue his friend? (I'll give you a hint - this is the sort of fairy tale that has a happy ending.)

The author has taken her love of fairy tales, books, and young readers and woven them together into a magical story of children finding the helpful adult and perfect book to transform them into lifelong readers. Being able to rescue the beauty without having to resort to anything gross like a kiss (Ewwww! as middle graders would say), is a feat of prestidigitation all on its own. The illustrator's depiction of Ellie under the spell shows her glasses filled with an hypnotic swirl that reinforces the pull that the books have over her. And the spread showing Gabe trying to reach Ellie resembles the piles of artifacts within the Room of Requirements at Hogwarts. (After all, a library is the closest thing most Muggles have to such a room.) 

Highly recommended as a read-aloud, or a gift for readers who enjoy stories about the power of books and the retelling of classic tales with updated details. I received a copy of the book from the author for review purposes.

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