Review of Kirstin Pulioff’s The Escape of Princess Madeline

My mom wanted me to be a lawyer; my dad wanted me to attend the Naval Academy and then become a doctor. (He would have settled for Princeton University, too…) I am sure many of our parents wanted certain things for us and had our best interests in mind, but how many of us were forced to do what our parents said (beyond finishing our dinner, doing our homework, etc.)?

Princess Madeline, the main character in Kirstin Pulioff’s The Escape of Princess Madeline, is no different from many of us in that her father, King Theodore, expects something of her future. In her case, it is to choose a suitor and marry at age 16. There is no room for debate with him, but the headstrong princess has other plans. Her desire to change her predetermined course causes an adventure to enfold…an adventure that I recommend be read by young adults and even older ones, too.

I found this book to be well written and so descriptive that you could place yourself right in the story, and the book moved along at a nice pace. As a reader, I could feel Madeline’s despair and couldn’t help but pull for the princess, who showed herself to be intelligent, resourceful, and determined…all traits I think we would love to see in our children. In fact, I felt all the characters were relatable, including her brother, who is jealous of Madeline; and King Theodore, who obviously loves his daughter but needs to adjust some of his ideas (as does Madeline). The wisdom that has come with some of my gray hairs helps me see Madeline’s position of wanting to carve her own path, as well as the position of King Theodore, who believes he knows best for his child.

Again, I had Abby, who is 10, read the book, and this is what she had to say: “I thought the book was really descriptive, and because of the descriptive writing, I was able to figure out what everyone looked like and what they were doing. When I was reading the book, I thought certain things were going to happen, but then the opposite happened, and I really liked being surprised. The book also had good use of vocabulary. I also like how Madeline and her dad bonded at the end, and that Madeline wore her mom’s dress, which made her dad think of her mom. I like how Madeline was adventurous and wanted to explore the world. I like how Madeline realized that she made some mistakes and knew she needed to fix them. Because of that, I feel that Madeline became more aware of herself and the things that she does and her surroundings.”

Abby, who also wants to know how the author came up with the idea for the story, and I look forward to Kirstin Pulioff’s next book, The Battle for Princess Madeline.

Kirstin Pulioff’s website is www.kirstinpulioff.com . You can follow her on Twitter @KirstinPulioff. Links to purchase The Escape of Princess Madeline include http://tinyurl.com/d23uhb3 and http://tinyurl.com/csh2osx.

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Review of Geena Bean’s Come Back Dear Sun

I recently saw a post on Facebook that says, “My curfew was lightning bugs. My parents didn’t call my cell; they yelled my name. I played outside, not online.” How many of you can relate to that? Our curfew wasn’t necessarily lightning bugs, but “when the street lights come on.” We ran; we rode our bikes; we played kickball, wiffle ball, and basketball. We swam. We played in cardboard boxes (which were mansions, forts, or whatever we needed them to be for whatever game we were playing). We also created villages out of G.I. Joe men and milk cartons and set them on fire so we could put them out (we wanted to be firemen). OK, so that last example was terrible, but the point is that we played, interacted, and played some more. We came home scuffed up, dirty, and tired, and we looked forward to doing it all over again the next day.

Reading Geena Bean’s Come Back Dear Sun brought me back to that time, a time that unfortunately children today will never understand. I am not criticizing people who allow their children to play video games (hey, we had Atari!), but nowadays you don’t see kids having the kind of outdoor fun that we had.

I love the approach taken in the book—that it’s the sun that misses the children! What a great way to illustrate the importance of playing outside. I also love how the children (Kaylee, Mattie, Lilly, and Fran) work with the moon to bring back the sun. The story about kids’ using their imagination is imaginative! I also think that the rhymes and illustrations are adorable. Furthermore, the characters are relatable to all readers. I think kids of many ages (including adults) will enjoy this book for many years.

As part of my review, I read the book to a 10-year-old. Abby had this to say about the book, “The lesson I learned is that people should value the sun’s shine. I like the book and its message, which is you should let your imagination fly outside. I also loved the illustrations and how the borders on the pages had something to do with the scene. My favorite was the border with the campfire.” Abby also asked if she can have a copy of the book.

Abby and I both look forward to reading more of Geena Bean’s stories.

Geena Bean’s website is http://geenabean.com. You can follow her on twitter @MsGeenaBean. Links to purchase Come Back Dear Sun include http://tinyurl.com/d96tytx and http://tinyurl.com/cdk7lgu.

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