Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Magic of Spider Woman

Written by: Lois Duncan

First line: This is the story of Wandering Girl, who came to be known as Weaving Woman, and of the terrible thing that happened when she disobeyed Spider Woman.

Why you should read this book: In Navajo tradition, Spider Woman is a world maker whose knowledge of spinning and weaving is given to the People so that they can make blankets and stay warm in the winter. In this story, a single girl who has lived outside of society is given the knowledge, but told never to practice her craft for too long. When the girl forgets this warning and devotes herself to a wonderful weaving to honor the Spirit Being, her own spirit is woven into the pattern until Spider Woman comes to save her.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You’re OCD.

Behold…the Dragons!

Written by: Gail Gibbons

First line: A long time ago, people began telling stories about happening in their world that they couldn’t understand.

Why you should read this book: Illustrated with accessible and wonderful pen and watercolor examples, this is a nonfiction book for the youngest readers, explaining what dragons are, and what they are not. The author begins with the primitive mind and its desire to explain the complexities of the natural world with a details mythology that helps to order that world. An overview of world mythology as it pertains to dragon stories helps children understand the dragon’s place in the human psyche, while a small appendix at the end mentions dragons a little more firmly rooted in reality, such as flying dragon fossils and Komodo dragons.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: Who doesn't want to read a book about dragons?

Hansel and Gretel

Written by: Will Moses

First line: Long ago there lives a woodcutter, his wife and his children, Hansel and Gretel.

Why you should read this book: It’s a faithful retelling of the Grimms’ creepy original, with the themes of poverty, parental abandonment, and cannibalism intact. The illustrations are lush paintings in a vibrant folk art style, replete with small details like patterns in woven cloth, moonlight on tree leaves, and cobwebs in corners. A warm and happy ending, followed my the admonishment that children should not be afraid of the story’s contents, since their parents love and protect them.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You are a wicked stepmother or possible an evil witch.