Goddess Girls

My two girls (ages 8 and 7) have been devouring these books ever since we saw them at a Book Fair.

The Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams chronicles the adventures of four Greek Goddesses (Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, and Persephone) while they are pre-teens at Mount Olympus Academy (MOA).  And of course, the “godboys” are fixtures as well (Ares, Apollo, Hephaestus, Hercules, Hades, Actaeon, Poseidon, etc.)

It goes through first crushes, being the new girl (Athena who didn’t know she was a goddess before), loyalty to friends, helping others, etc.

I like these books because they are true to the original Greek myths. For example, Persephone falls for Hades.  Well, in the Greek myth, Hades kidnaps Persephone and makes her live with him in the Underworld.  Artemis is Goddess of the Hunt so she’s proficient with a bow and arrow and keeps animals as pets (as she is also Goddess of Animals).  Aphrodite is the match-maker of the group, fittingly since she’s the Goddess of Love.

A temple is built in Ephesus for Artemis and does become one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (mentioned in Artemis the Brave or the Loyal–I can’t remember which).  So they are historically accurate as well as great reads.

These books intertwine social situations and ancient history and myths (with all your favorite mythical characters and creatures such as Hercules’ Tasks and Pygmalion).

Good, wholesome books sure to entertain as well as educate!

The Queen Who Couldn’t Bake Gingerbread

A great adaptation of a German folk tale by Dorothy Van Woerkom.  In this tale, a king seeks a queen but she must be able to bake gingerbread.  The king cannot find a queen who can bake gingerbread so he settles on a queen who is seeking a king who must be able to play the slide trombone (which the king can’t).  They agree to set aside these demands and marry anyways.

All is well until a fight ensues and each is mad at the other for not being able to cook gingerbread and play the slide trombone.  They go to separate parts of the castle, sulking.

Finally, each realizes they are not being very wise and kind and both in turn decide to teach themselves how to bake gingerbread and play the trombone.

I loved the lesson:  if you want something, do it yourself.  If you want gingerbread, learn to bake it.  If you want to play the trombone, learn to play it.

This is great for marriages as well.  You can’t count on your spouse doing something for you if you are the one who wants it done.  You gotta do it for yourself.

In the end, each are “never disappointed” from unrealistic expectations being put upon others.

This book is from 1975 which I got from the library so it may be hard to find in print.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

 

I led a deprived childhood.

I readily acknowledge this.

Luckily, I get another chance with my children.

I just finished reading the delightful tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory out loud to my kids.  In case you didn’t know, this is the tale of Charlie Bucket, a boy who is exceedingly poor, lives in a shack with his mother, father, and both sets of grandparents right next to a chocolate factory, owned by Willy Wonka.

The factory has been closed to outsiders since Mr. Wonka discovered some were sneaking his secrets out.

One day, Mr. Wonka announces a contest for 5 children to tour his factory and learn his secrets.  These kids will be chosen by finding a Golden Ticket, which is the inside wrapping of his candy bars.

Naturally, this sparks an all-out buying frenzy, where every child wants to find these.

Charlie Bucket finds the last ticket.  He is whisked away for tons of crazy adventures as the other children inevitably succumb to their greedy desires.  Charlie is the last child standing and so is selected by Mr. Wonka to take over his factory when he is older.  He wants to train a child since a grownup “won’t listen to me; he won’t learn.  He will try to do things his own way and not mine.”  (So true, isn’t it?)

I loved the poem the Oompa-Loompas (the workers in the factory) sing about the evils of TV, how it “rots the senses in the head and kills imagination dead!” and how one should read books instead.  Ingenious!

This book had my kids laughing and begging to continue.  They loved the other kids falling to their doom and Charlie winning out in the end–simply by being good.

I loved the Grandparents who commented on every single kid who won the tickets based on the newspaper reports.  Grandma Josephine says one “needs a real good spanking” and calls another “beastly”.  The funny part is that this is the truth about these kids behavior and it is so refreshing to read before the advent of political correctness.

It’s easy to see why Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl is an enduring classic that every child must read.  And finally I get to read it too!