Emma and the Blue Genie
by Cornelia Funke,
@ SPL: J FIC Funke
Everyone knows that a genie should be able to grant three wishes.
The blue genie that emerges from the mysterious glass bottle that eight-year-old Emma finds on a beach, however, can’t grant even one wish. Karim the Genie’s magic nose ring has been stolen, leaving him completely powerless, smaller and trapped in the green bottle – until now.
Emma, her dog Tristan and Karim take an exciting journey on a magic carpet to a faraway desert land in order to find the powerful caliph of Barakash, Karim’s master. Once there, they encounter deadly spiders, scorpions and other dangers as they attempt to regain Karim’s magic powers – and to free the land from the clutches of the evil caliph.
Emma proves to be a courageous, spirited (but believable) heroine in this exciting, engaging fantasy tale of friendship and adventure, which would be a great pick for younger readers who are new to reading chapter books. Featuring short chapters, this new fairy tale has plenty of illustrations, and concludes with an unexpected twist.
Cornelia Funke is also the author of such popular children’s titles as The Thief Lord and Inkheart.
** Recommended for ages seven to 10.
The Princess Curse
by Merrie Haskell,
@ SPL: J FIC Haske
In this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (complete with a dash of Beauty and the Beast), set in the Middle Ages, thirteen-year-old Reveka is an herbalist’s apprentice in the palace of Sylvania.
The unfortunate princesses of the fifteenth-century kingdom are under the spell of a mysterious curse which causes them to dance each night until they are exhausted and their dancing shoes are ruined. The prince offers a large reward to anyone who can break the cruel curse.
Wishing to purchase a position as a master herbalist, sharp-witted Reveka tries her luck at winning the reward. Instead, she is amazed to discover a door to the Underworld.
There she finds a world of magic, danger and intrigue – and a second terrible curse. Soon Reveka is faced with the formidable choice of turning back or risking everything to break the curses.
Combining adventure, suspense, magic, myth and humour, this thought-provoking, appealing fairy tale – which breathes new life into the traditional story of the Twelve
Dancing Princesses - features another strong, courageous, clever heroine.
** Recommended for ages 11 to 14.
– Sally Hengeveld, librarian