Princess Cora and the Crocodile

Reblogged this on Mudpilewood, where some visitors have children and grandchildren

Chapter Book Chat

cora cover

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

By Laura Amy Schlitz, Illustrated by Brian Floca

 

Published by: Candlewick (March 28, 2017)

Available in: hardcover, audible

At the time of this review this was a standalone book.

 

Disguised.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile is a lovely chapter book that masquerades as an elegant, long picture book. Truly, it could work as either, with the end result being children who are utterly delighted.

Newberry Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz writes a contemporary tale based on historical fantasy and fairy tales. The text is deft, spare, hilarious, and told with a firmly modern sensibility that keeps it from feeling like a tired old story. To wit: “The crocodile peered out from behind his claws. ‘This is what I’m telling you,’ he said.”

Like fairy tales of old, the story powers through actions and words that are usually considered too violent or inappropriate. Which…

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No Monsters Allowed

Daisy-Lyah and Lilian sat opposite Breeze.

“We would like to hear one of your stories please Mr. Breeze.” Lilian looked at him and waited.

Breeze searched the clouds in the sky and found inspiration there.

Here is his story:

Jessie is a tiny girl whose best friend has four paws, a wagging tail and a smiley face.

One afternoon she ran into the kitchen and hid under a chair.

“The monster can’t crush me here,” she whispered.

“‘Yes I can!” The monster roared growing bigger to fill most of the room.

Jessie raced into the kitchen.

“Come on Jessie let’s go to the park.” Granddad said. Bob began to jump and bark around them. He loved the park.

“Wait till I put my coat on, Bob,” Jessie whispered looking around, searching for the monster. She didn’t want to be crushed.  A tear rolled down her face. Bobs sloppy tongue licked it off making Jessie giggle.

Bob walked with Jessie close to Granddad and Granny.

In the park Granddad went to get ice cream. Granny sat in the sun.

Climbing into the playhouse, Jessie felt safe. Bob was sitting beside her so there was no room for a monster.

“Jessie are you ok?” Granny asked.

“Yes. It’s nice here, try it Granny!”

“I’d get stuck in the door. Then you and Granddad would leave me.”

Jessie peeped out. “Oh Granny, I’d never do that!”

Granny smiled, “You might not, but Granddad would! And here he is now.”

Granddad held out an ice- cream saying, “An ice-cream for Granny, and one for me.” He scratched his head, ” Was someone else looking for an ice-cream?”

Jessie giggled. Climbing out of the pipe she said, “Me, Granddad!”

“Who is this me?”

Skipping over to him she said, “Jessie!”

Bob was drooling. Great lumps of blob were hanging from his mouth.

“Thank you Granddad. But Bob is sad,” Jessie said. She stuck her finger in her ice cream and Bob licked her finger.

“It’s ok Bob. I have one for you!” Pulling a tub of ice cream from his pocket Granddad placed it on the ground. Bob looked at Jessie.

“Eat it up Bob!” She said. He did.

Then Jessie heard a whispering voice grow louder until it became a roar. “You are tiny. I could swallow you in one gulp,” the monster shouted. He was huge, blocking out the sun. Jessie began to shake.

Bob was barking. Granddad said, “Stop, Bob!”

Huffing and grunting Bob moved closer to Jessie. She sat with her hands about the dog’s fluffy neck.

At home Granddad handed her a packet of crayons. “I am going to draw fairies and pixies but not leprechauns. They frighten me!”

“But, you are not afraid of anything, even spiders!”

Granddad said, “Do you want to know a secret? I’m afraid of lots of things especially nasty leprechauns.”

“Why?” Jessie asked.

“They want to take me away but I have a secret weapon – it’s a magic circle locking them out.”

“What is it Granddad?”

Granddad said, “Love! Leprechauns don’t understand love because their world is nasty. They don’t have you, Granny and Bob to love them.”

Jessie thought about all the nice things the monster couldn’t understand.

Granddad held up his drawing.

She laughed. “You drew funny coloured shapes Granddad.”

“They are fairies sprinkling butterflies everywhere. What did you draw?”

“You, Granny, Mum, Dad, and lots and lots of Bobs,” she whispered.

“Who will we bring to the park next time?” Granddad asked.

Jessie smiled and said, “Everyone but no monsters allowed!”

 

 

 

Here is a picture of Jessie for you to colour.

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Matt’s Christmas Adventure. – A Christmas 2 part story.

It was the 24th December. Every child, big and small, was hoping Santa would stop in Mudpile Wood. Last year he had enjoyed a mug of hot milk and some of Tulips Cinnamon fairy cakes. This year she planned on giving him Mincemeat bread along with his customary hot drink.
Breeze was collecting holly, with berries, for his relations. Ogres loved to decorate their cave with holly. This meant Breeze had to fight off the birds who wanted to eat the berries not sit and look at them.
He began to walk home underneath his large pile of holly which made him look like a moving holly bush. Breeze heard Lily say, “But what will we do if he doesn’t have time to stop? He is a busy man.” Breeze dropped his load of holly and sat down behind it. He wanted to hear the answer to Lily’s question.
Matt said, “I have been thinking of this and this is what we will do.”
Breeze held his breath to hear more but Matt was whispering and he couldn’t find out what Matt planned to do. He collected the holly and decided it might be best to keep an eye on the group of children. He didn’t want them getting into trouble before Christmas.

Breeze spent the afternoon decorating his cave. He finished it at dinner time. Matt’s mum Nell came rushing into Breeze’s cave. “He is gone. Matt is gone. Lily says it was an accident but she won’t tell me anything please help Mr. Breeze.”
Breeze sighed, looked very sadly at his red berry and mushroom pie, “Don’t go anywhere.” He said, then decided to scoop it into his hands to eat as he followed Nell out into the cool evening air.

They found Lily sitting outside her house. She was crying as she said, “It wasn’t my fault, or Matt’s or Lov..It just went wrong. The bubble ate him and carried him away.”
“Where to, Lily?” Breeze asked.
She pointed towards the clouds.
They all stood looking at the twinkling stars and wondered what to do next. “He hasn’t even got his hat and coat,” Nell sobbed.

*****************************

Matt was happy inside his soap bubble which Lovisma’s spell had made strong as steel. Earlier when Matt asked her to create a spell to make the bubble bigger and stronger, Lovisma was curious to see what would happen. Matt sat on a cushion of moss inside the bubble which sat on a branch of a tree. Lovisma watched him until she got bored and left.

As the sun began to sink in the sky the wind decided to play with the ogre sitting in the bubble. It pushed and pulled until the bubble was carried away high into the sky. Matt thought this was fun, he could see everyone below him.
His mum was hanging out her washing. He waved at her but she couldn’t see him. The bubble swooped low and one of his dad’s vests was sucked into the bubble to land beside Matt. He put it on.
The bubble swooped low over Tulips house. The windows were open because Tulip was baking. The bubble flew in one window and out another neatly snagging a freshly baked bun as it went.
Matt felt happy. He was warm and he had a bun to eat. Matt waited to see what would happen next. The wind tired of lingering close to the ground climbed towards the stars. The air was colder up here. Matt pulled his dad’s vest about him and waited to see what would happen next. He grew tired and curling up in a ball he fell asleep.

3rd June – day to be remembered.

It was the 3rd day of June. Breeze remembered this the moment he woke. The reason why was simple. It was his birthday.

He fell out of his broken rickity bed, got dressed in a hurry singing happy birthday to me. He raced into his kitchen and stopped.

The kitchen table was bare. There was not one gift sitting on it. He felt sad.”No one has remembered.” He muttered as he made his breakfast of oatmeal, apples and fresh spring water.

After eating he felt a little better, perhaps they left it outside, he thought. He peeped out his cave door and saw nothing.  He checked under every bush and shrub on the steep mountain path. He got to the wood and checked the path into the wood. There was nothing. Not one thing dangling from a branch not a muffin or a cupcake. No sandwishes for me today, he thought and decided he should go for a nap.

 

On the way to the tree he met a rabbit called Bucket. “Please help me I’ve lost one of my children.”

“Which one?” Breeze asked but the rabbit was running away shouting, “I’ll check the rabbit tunnels you checkout the pathways.”

Breeze walked the whole way around the wood, he didn’t find one young rabbit. He thought it rather strange that he did not meet one of anything. “Stranger and stranger,” he muttered.

Then he spotted Bucket  running and hopping towards the mountain. He decided to follow him.

As Breeze climbed he began to suspect he was having a dream. It was the first time in his life when he had not been greeted by many animals and beings singing “Happy Birthday” when he entered the wood.

“I might as well go home and bake my own cake,” he mumbled.

At the entrance to the cave he stopped and sniffed the air. There was a strange smell of sugar and a whiff of what he suspected was sandwishes. “Wishful thinking,” he said and trudged into the kitchen.

“Happy Birthday” The roar from his friends made him jump. He banged his head off the stone ceiling. The mountain shook. Maisie who had accompanied the witches fell into the bowl of birthday orange juice and had to be fished out by Elegant using her wand.  Mrs. Groundsel who had fallen asleep on Breeze’s chair woke when the chair toppled over. Luckily she landed on Lovisma.

Breeze stood rubbing his head and smiling. He began to chuckle. “I thought you forgot.”

Tulip flew up to him, “Of course we didn’t but we needed to get your present ready. Look.”

Breeze looked. “You baked. It is the largest cake I have ever seen. Thank you everyone.”

Hamish was rubbing his back. “It is the heaviest cake I have ever carried. I’m not carrying it back. Let’s eat.”

Breeze frowned then asked. “But why did you need me out of here?”

Everyone moved aside to reveal a brand new giant bed made out of a fallen beech tree.

Breeze didn’t know what to say, luckily Lillian and Lovisma knew what to do, they both clambered onto the bed.

“It’s really bouncy.” They said and they showed how bouncy the thick layer of moss was as they did tumbles and rolls on it.

Breeze thanked everyone and said, “It’s my birthday, lets enjoy the party.” And they did.

 

How the Ogre Breeze and Mudpile were discovered.

Maria’s  side of the story:

Chance and opportunity seldom knock at my door.

However, this one arrived through WordPress and I have grasped it with both hands.

While reading a post on “The Terrain of Symmetry” site, I was mesmerized by a picture of a tree. 

today 2013

(Click on the photo to go to the post)

This was an unusual occurrence in itself because the daughter of an Irish botanist, I have stared at many trees. But this one caught my eye because the angle of a branch reminded me of the best piece of equipment in the playground, a slide. That was it, a story was born.

My imagination was off at a running pace. An Ogre was created and his best friend sort of slid into place.  When I asked permission from Doris to use the picture to illustrate the story, she went one better and sent me an illustration of the characters, Breeze and Tulip.

From that moment on we were both hooked, stories and ideas fly out of my mind some land on paper and others are merely whisked away by being too mad or crazy. The result is I am jumping in at the deep end and we will publish our result in the form of a book.

I hope everyone enjoys and takes these stories for what they are a  childish venture into a world of make believe.

If there is anything you find beyond the realms of belief please let us know.