It's Not About the Crumbs! by Veronika Martenova Charles

It's Not About the Crumbs! by Veronika Martenova Charles. Illustrated by David Parkins (Canada) - (USA)
Easy-To-Read Wonder Tales

Pages: 64
Ages: 5+
Finished: Oct. 13, 2010
First Published: Oct. 12, 2010
Publisher: Tundra Books
Genre: children, easy reader, fairy tales
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:
On Saturday, Jake's mother said, "We're going to visit Uncle Mike at his new house."
Acquired: Received a review copy from Tundra Books. But then also won it through the Library Thing ER program! The publisher only sent me the one copy, though, thankfully.

Reason for Reading: My son read aloud to me as his reader.

First I'd like to mention that the cover is not the neon green that it appears to be in the picture. All on-line images have the same shade, but it is actually a leaf green in real life, much more attractive! I loved this reader! My son loved this reader! Three children, who appear to be 9 or 10 year olds are doing something and talking and one of them mentions a few elements from a popular fairy tale, in this case Hansel and Gretel. Then another says that's not the version I've heard and they proceed to tell an ethnic version of the Hansel and Gretel 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 previous one. Then the final chapter brings us back to what the children were doing in the first place that brought the topic up.

Hansel and Gretel is explored here from a mixture of European sources, an African version and a Japanese version. Both my son and I greatly enjoyed the tales. He has been raised on fairy/folk tales and myths and it was exciting for him to be reading this material on his own. It was fun to notice the differences and the similarities with the original story and with each other. All three versions presented here were new to us. At the end of the book the author gives a very brief explanation as to what her source was for each tale, which could set one off on trying to find the original ethnic versions she mentions.

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 from me. 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 has already picked one to be his next reader!


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