When the residents of Hidden Forest wake up and open their morning papers, they are in for a surprise. An enormous beanstalk has mysteriously sprouted outside of Jack Blake’s house, and Jack is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Pinocchio and Half-Chicken or Mediopollito have set out on adventures of their own, and Tortoise and Hare are off to the races. Will they all find their happy endings? Hidden Forest News has got the scoops. Written and laid out in newspaper format, this installment in the enchanting Hidden Forest series has received a new twist from Alma Flor Ada and Leslie Tryon. All of your favorite characters from Dear Peter Rabbit or Querido Pedrín, Yours Truly, Goldilocks or Atentamente, Ricitos de Oro; and With Love, Little Red Hen are back, but this time they are hitting the presses and making headlines!
Publishing a book is always a long process, but sometimes it can be a VERY long process. That was the case of my latest book: Extra! Extra! Fairy-Tale News from Hidden Forest. Due to a series of mishaps, it took 9 long years to go from a manuscript to a book. But, now rejoicing in the great art of Leslie Tryon, it was worth the wait. This is a book I have gotten to like and love more each day…because it was born out of my love for newspaper –granddaughter of two newspaper men that I am– and because I believe that while fun and entertainment it will give children an opportunity to see two sides of an argument, and also to learn to read critically. When a giant beanstalk appears in Hidden Forest the town gets divided between those who feel that anything different is a menace that should be eliminated, and want to chop down the beanstalk immediately, and those who propose that there may be richness in diversity…
You can read Leslie Tryon’s reflections about the creation of the Hidden Forest series in the chapter she wrote for Alma Flor Ada and You, volume II published by Libraries Unlimited in the series The Author and You.
Ada’s latest is a continuation of the Hidden Forest series of fairy-tales adventures, but this time, several editions of the Hidden Forest News newspaper replace the letters of the previous books. Subscribers follow many new stories, the most notable being the saga of the mysterious beanstalk and the related disappearance of Jack Blake. Op-ed pieces illustrate the controversy surrounding the beanstalk. Also newsworthy is the closing of Geppetto’s toy shop, the beginning of Half-Chicken’s journey to Mexico City (both International news) and the intended race between the Tortoise and the Hare (Sports). The “Back Page” lists the advertisements. Readers with a thorough grounding in fairy tales will laugh out loud at the allusions and double entendres that are the hallmark of Ada’s writing. Tryon’s busy full-color illustrations will keep readers’ attention as they search for hidden details. The newspapers themselves are illustrated with small tongue-in-cheek black-and-whites. Teachers of fairy-tale units will love the subtle teaching of newspaper content and layout. A must for every fairy-tale collection. (Picture book, 6-9).
School Library Journal:
Hidden Forest, which retold traditional fairy tales through a series of letters, this fourth installment uses a newspaper format. Through articles, opinion pieces, and even sports and … more » international pages, several issues of the Hidden Forest News provide the scoop on Jack and the Beanstalk and report on an Italian toymaker who as gone missing while searching for his puppet/son and a race betw between a hare and a tortoise. Headlines, columns, and black-and-white spot art tell Jack’s tale from a variety of viewpoints. Things are livened up by occasional full-color pages painted in bright watercolors that show Hidden Forest residents producing, delivering, and reading the paper. Fans of the series will find their favorite characters in the articles, editorial bylines, and even the advertisements (Mr. Wolfy Lupus is running a summer camp for children). While there is much fun here, the format does make the plot considerably more complicated. Readers unfamiliar with the featured stories may struggle to follow along, while older children who would enjoy the humor may be put off by art with such a young tone. Purchase where the other books are popular.
“Unlike the first three books set in Hidden Forest, this installment forgoes letter-writing (With Love, Little Red Hen, rev. 1/02), instead comprising three issues of the Hidden Forest News (and a two-page extra edition). The paper covers local and international storybook headlines as well as sports, community happenings, and advertisements (touting, for example, the masonry services of Pig Three). Above-the-fold news is dominated by two local stories: the sudden appearance of a giant beanstalk-like plant and concern about the fate of Jack Blake, who traded the family cow for some beans. As with the previous books, the fun is in following familiar characters as they interact with one another and play out their well-known roles. The text-heavy newspaper format doesn’t lend itself to story-hour readings, but there are plenty of clever details in both text and art for readers to enjoy on their own. Tryon’s black-and-white drawings enliven the articles and features; full-page color illustrations between issues show, among other tableaux, Peter Rabbit on his paper route. The concept isn’t new (e.g., Colin and Jacqui Hawkins Fairytale News, rev. 7-04), but for Hidden Forest fans, Extra! Extra! Offers all the fairy-tale news that’s fit to print.”
Extra! Extra! By Alma Flor Ada (Atheneum, ages five to eight) gives all the scoops on fairy tale news as presented in the newspaper. When the residents of the Hidden Forest wake up and open their morning papers, they are in for a surprise. An enormous beanstalk has mysteriously sprouted outside of Jack Blake’s house, Pinocchio and Half-Chicken have set out on great adventures, and the great race between Tortoise and Hare fills the sports pages. Will they all find their happy endings? Hidden Forest News has got the scoops. Full-color watercolor-and-ink illustrations are scattered among the newsprint-toned sheets. Written and laid out in newspaper format, this new twist on familiar fairy tales is complete with fairy-tale ads, editorials, and a back page for children.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Boy trades family cow for beans. Giant beanstalk grows. Jack Blake disappears. Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Gepetto’s Toy Shop closing. Extra! Extra! Read all about it. In sports today, we have coverage of the race between the Tortoise and the Hare. Extra! Extra! Read all about it. Lots of interesting stories in these newspapers! — http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/ada_extra.htm
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