Tag Archives: fairy tale

The Princess and the Dragon: A Fractured Fairy Tale by Marjorie Bayes


The Princess and the Dragon coverThe Princess and the Dragon: A Fractured Fairy Tale by Marjorie Bayes and illustrated by Agnes Villeda, e-book, 40 pages, published in 2015.

This unusual princess helps her father and mother to rule, and on the side she rescues princes. One very annoying prince has been captured by the Dragon. Dutifully, the Princess goes along to rescue him, only to find the Dragon isn’t really all that good at being a dragon. So she recruits him to help her with some issues in the Kingdom.

The Princess and the Dragon is a short chapter book that will delight children young and old. It turns the ‘Prince rescues Princess, slays dragon and marries Princess” fairy tale on its head in an entertaining and amusing way. There are only three chapters, so it was a quick read for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the simple pictures too. Every second page or so is filled with coloured illustrations, which are beautifully rendered and complement the story nicely.

My favourite character was the Dragon, with his ineffectual roar, vegetarian ways and love of roses. He was always reluctant to help the Princess, but got there eventually. It was funny that he kept telling her things were against the dragon rules, when he was mostly just making that up! The Princess is no ordinary royal either, she is forthright, sensible and responsible. No pretty dresses and swooning for her! She makes a great lead character and role model for girls. She can be herself and she can do anything.

The Princess and the Dragon is an enjoyable read most suitable for lower and middle primary school students.


*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.


Optics: A Fairy Tale by Sarah Allen


opticsOptics: A Fairy Tale by Sarah Allen, e-book, 23 pages, published in 2013.

The woods surrounding Isabelle’s village are full of monsters. The villagers know it is not safe to enter the woods, but Isabelle must go to cut some wood to help her family survive. She discovers a monster stuck in a tree, and helps it. In return she is shown a special mirror in which she can capture the monsters’ souls so that they will stop terrorising her village.

This book introduces the properties of convex and concave mirrors and lenses in a fun and entertaining way. The mirror in the story is a large spherical concave mirror, like a big bowl on its side. In this mirror, Isabelle can see and trap the souls of the monsters that have chased her. She sees that the images of the souls change size and location when the monsters move closer to or further away from the mirror’s surface, and on the concave side, the images are upside-down. Through the telling of this story, I learnt a bit about optics. Being able to put this information into the context of a story will help me to remember the properties of concave and convex mirrors, and in turn, lenses.

There is a small section at the end of the story that explains these concepts in simple language. It covers the centre of curvature, focus and image location with simple diagrams to aid understanding.

Optics: A Fairy Tale is part of an educational series by Sarah Allen. This blend of fairy tale and physics is suitable for high school students and up. It simplifies some optics basics, helping to prepare physics students for more complex concepts.


*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.


Fluid Mechanics: A Fairy Tale by Sarah Allen


Fluids Fairy Tale CoverFluid Mechanics: A Fairy Tale by Sarah Allen, e-book, 21 pages, published in 2013.

What an interesting concept! Learn about physics through the telling of a fairy tale. The first section of the book tells the fairy tale, while the second part goes over the physics concepts that were found within the story.

Once upon a time there was a princess… and she rocks! She becomes queen, and goes off to face the wizard that has stolen her baby daughter, and put her beloved husband into a never-ending sleep. Her husband’s brothers help her out in her quest, giving her a magical golden ball and a silver boat.

The fairy tale showed the Archimedes’ Principle, Buoyancy Force, Bernoulli’s Principle and Archimedes’ screw in action. The story was well written, and I enjoyed it. I also liked the Queen, who shows innovation, perseverance and courage along her quest. She faced the wizard, and solved his conundrum, using fluid mechanics, allowing the reader to explore an example of these concepts. They were then explained more fully in the second section. Simple diagrams were used to help illustrate the physics. This is a great way to introduce physics to younger students, or anyone having difficulty getting their heads around it. I found it was quite easy to understand the science in this format, and it hardly seemed like learning at all!

Suitable for kids from upper primary through high school and beyond, Fluid Mechanics: A Fairy Tale is a fantastic introduction to this interesting subject. More Sarah Allen science books are available through Amazon.


*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Twice Upon a Time: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap by Wendy Mass


IMG_0142Twice Upon a Time: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap by Wendy Mass, paperback novel, 172 pages, published by Scholastic Inc. in 2006.

Most people know the old fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, who is cursed by an evil fairy to and sleeps for 100 years. Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap is a new version of this favourite tale, told alternately from both the side of the princess and the side of the prince.

Princess Rose is endowed with many gifts from her fairy godmothers as a newborn, but the oldest and meanest fairy in the land curses her instead to prick her finger on a spindle and die. The last of fairy godmothers can lessen the curse but not lift it, so when Princess Rose pricks her finger she falls into a deep and prolonged sleep, one which will last 100 years.

The Prince has worries, not least of which is his mother who is part ogre, and needs to feed on fresh meat twice a month. He grows up alone, with a page his only friend, but when he leaves, the Prince is on his own. He spends many hours and days wandering the forest near his castle, and he stumbles across an old castle that is completely overgrown with trees and vines. He attempts to gain entrance to this castle, but the vines won’t yield. The prince is determined to discover the secrets of this old castle.

An old tale retold and refreshed, and a very enjoyable one at that. The basic skeleton of the original story is retained, with the details expanded and tweaked to create a new version that is fun and engaging. Telling the stories of both the Princess and the Prince was a unique way to add dimension, and is done very well. The reader is introduced to the characters not just of the Princess as a beautiful girl waiting and her Prince Charming who dashes in and rescues her gallantly. The characters have depth, and flaws and realism, and I could conjure them in my mind throughout their adventure. There were also moments of humour, and I found it to be an entertaining read.

This story is most suited to middle and upper primary school children, but I think my second grader would enjoy it a lot too. Explanations of some things like pages, squires and spindles might be required for younger children, but that just adds to the experience of reading with your child.

This is the second book by Wendy Mass that I have enjoyed this year, and I will be looking for more by her in the future.