Reviews by yaldah
Before Midnight
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This book is a retelling of the famous story of Cinderella. However, while it is clearly based off of the same fairytale, there are many, many differences. For one thing, Cendrillon (the name of the "Cinderella" of the book) is not an orphan. While her mother died giving birth to her, her father is still alive - albeit he has not seen her since she was two weeks old and does not wish to see her ever again "until the sight of her can return to him the piece she stole at her birth". For another thing, her stepmother (once she comes into the story) is not an evil tyrant. These, and many more plot twists, are part of what make this a great read. I won't give away the other surprises, though - I'll leave those for you to find out, once you have read this for yourself. However, despite all these places where the book veers away from the traditional fairytale, however, there is still enough left to leave you with that satisfying "happily ever after" feeling you get when you hear a fairytale (yes, I'll give it away - there is a happy ending!), and you can clearly tell that, when you get right down to it, it is still the centuries-old story of Cinderella.
To close, I think this is a great book (okay, okay, I guess you could already tell that I thought so already, but still - I had to say it! :D). I recommend this to anyone who likes book with a bit of romance, who likes books about true friendship and family, or who is interested in retellings of fairytales. Read this book!
Betsy-Tacy
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Betsy is a little girl, five years old, but she doesn't know any little girls her age. One day, a family moves in across the street, with a whole lot of children - including, Tacy, a little girl the same age as Betsy! They become best friends, and do all sorts of things together, from going to their first day of school, to picnicking on a hill near their houses, to making a playhouse out of a piano box, to making up stories to tell each other.
This is a very sweet book, and good for all ages. The later books in the series tell about Betsy and Tacy (and their new friend, Tib) as they grow older.
Winter of Red Snow
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This is a great book, based off of real events. It is a fictional diary by eleven year old Abigail Stewart at the time of the Revolutionary War. It tells about her family life as well as events in the wider world at that time. I would recommend this book to anyone, however you should be aware that it is not all happy - there are deaths, and, well, it is set in a war time.
This book is well written, a great story, and educational. While I am normally not that into history, I loved this book, and it really got me interested in that time period. So trust me, you should read this whether or not you are particularly interested int eh Revolutionary War - even if it doesn't get you interested, it is still a great book for its own sake.
I would also advice reading the sequel - Cannons at Dawn, the Second Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart. Enjoy!
Magic Tree House
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This review is really for all the books in the Magic Tree House series. I'm just putting it on this one since it is the first in the series.
These books are actually pretty good. I mean, they are meant to be "easy reading", so they aren't exactly the kind of books I would read now, but when you are learning to read, they are actually very good. The main reason I think they are good is because not only do they have a story that is likely to make young readers want to continue reading (which is after all the main point of easy reading books!) but they actually benefit the reader a little, which most easy reading books don't. You can learn a little from the Magic Tree House books. Well, that is, the young kids who would be reading them can learn a little. For instance, in this first book, you can actually learn a little bit about dinosaurs. And if the younger child is interested in the subject of the book (for example, my little sister after reading the dolphin Magic Tree House books, was really interested in learning more about dolphins), then there are Magic Tree House Research Guides too, that teach stuff about the subject - and even older kids can learn some stuff about the subject from those.
So if you know a child who is learning to read... well, they really should read these books.
The People of Sparks
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While I have to agree with a couple of reviewers that the Books of Ember aren't written very well, to me the stories were very absorbing.
In my own opinion, the three books get better and better as you go along (although I notice that ferdoble has the exact opposite opinion). The first book (The City of Ember) is all right. The second book (The People of Sparks - this one that I'm reviewing right now!) is better, and the third book (The Prophet of Yonwood) is even better. I don't want to discourage you from reading all three books by saying the first one isn't very good, though. If you're going to read the second or third book, you really should read the first book... well, first.
So go ahead, read The City of Ember, like it, read The People of Sparks, like it a lot, read The Prophet of Yonwood... and be really annoyed 'cause it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the other two. Consider stopping reading it, but decide to finish it, then start really liking the story before you are halfway through it, and by the time you reach the end/beginning (I won't tell you what I mean until you read it! :D), love the story. Well, that was my experience with this series, anyway.