Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales
Finished: Nov. 24, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12. 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, easy reader, fairy tales
On Monday afternoon Lily and Ben went to Jake's house.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books.
Reason for Reading: My son read this out loud as his reader.
Three children, who appear to be 9 or 10 year olds are working on a picture for school then one of them mentions a few elements from a popular fairy tale, in this case Cinderella. Then another says that's not the version I've heard and they proceed to tell an ethnic version of the Cinderella story. The rest of the book follows this pattern until all three children have told a fairy/folk tale from around the globe that is similar in some way to the famous version of Cinderella. Then the final chapter brings us back to what the children were doing in the first place that brought the topic up. All the books in this series follow the same format.
Cinderella is explored here in three variations. The first is European, based on Joseph Jacobs' Ash Girl and the second hails from China. Both these stories have quite brutal endings for the stepsisters/stepmother. The third story comes from India and is one of the few "Cinderella" stories to feature a boy as the main character. Needless to say, this book ended up being one of my son's favourites of the series with its certain boy appeal. I really enjoyed the first story and must admit to enjoying these readers as much as he is. Between each story there is a segue that returns to the original three children and introduces the new tale. The last page in the book tells the author's sources from which she based her tales that may perhaps inspire some to reading the original ethnic tales.
As to reading level, there is no reference to it on the books at all. It would have been nice had the publisher's actually determined the RL for the books in this series. Though the publisher's website does have a "browse & search" feature which will let you see for yourself whether they are appropriate for your child. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they are about equivalent with a Level 2 "I Can Read" Book. My son, who has learning disabilities, read the book very well with moderate help. The publisher describes the reading as "Written in short, easy phrases with carefully selected vocabulary..." but these are books the parent will have to see to judge whether they are up to your child's reading level. Otherwise, I never find anything wrong with a child reading a book that is too easy, if they enjoy it. We have the rest of the series and ds is determined to read them all in a row and has already started "It's Not About the Rose" for his next reader!