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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride* by Barbara Ensor- young readers book review
Also by Barbara Ensor:

Cinderella (As If You Didn't Already Know the Story)

Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride
by Barbara Ensor
Ages 9-12 160 pages Schwartz & Wade May 2008 Hardcover    

Thumbelina learns how to be courageous - even though she's only 1-5/8 inches tall. Thumbelina is so small at birth, she fit inside a flower. It was because of her small size (and overly protective mother) that Thumbelina has to live her life avoiding spiders, watching for holes in the ground, saying no to snails and turtles that offer her rides, and never waving hello to butterflies. She may have a home of her own - which consists of a walnut bed, rose petal blankets, a boat to traverse bowls of water, and her own teddy bear - but Thumbelina isnít happy.

Thanks to an enlarging of the text, we can read Thumbelinaís diary entries (just as her mom liked to do). Thumbelina wants friends and more freedom and adventure in her life. Unfortunately, itís on the night Thumbelina is granted more freedom that things go drastically wrong for her. Thumbelina falls asleep peacefully on the front porch after playing games with the fireflies but wakes up with a start when she feels herself being carried away by two toads - toads that have marriage on their minds.

Away from home - but now itís against her will - Thumbelina sees the world her mother has been trying to protect her from. She becomes a victim of kidnapping, she gets physically hurt when hiding in the forest, and she learns who to trust and not to trust. Beavers will teach her to swim, and birds are nice to babysit for, but life becomes complicated when living underground with a certain Ms. Mouse and her beloved visitor Mr. Mole. Thumbelina misses seeing the sky and her mother, and she misses her freedom. But with the help of a recuperating sparrow, Thumbelina experiences freedom again and - thanks to the authorís epilogue - we know Thumbelina also gains confidence and a much stronger voice.

Hans Christian Andersen inspired quite a bit of this book. Barbara Ensor intertwines Hans Christian Andersenís tale of Thumbelina into her own tale and uses his technique for making pictures to illustrate her book. Hans Christian Andersen brought Thumbelina to light over a hundred years ago, but with Barbara Ensorís longer version of the story, she now has adventurous stories to tell and many young readers to inspire.

The pictures, which appear on almost every page of this book, resemble black silhouettes, and the diary entries look like handwritten letters, complete with crossed-out words and splotches of black ink. Just as in Barbara Ensorís book Cinderella (As If You Already Didnít Know the Story), these stylistic details add appeal to the design. The covers are almost neon in color and easily spotted. All these artistic elements, along with an entertaining story and a dynamic main character, make this book an enjoyable read.

Author and illustrator Barbara Ensor lives in New York with her two daughters. Her writings and illustrations have appeared in many publications including New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Harpers and Family Life.
Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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