Thursday, April 9, 2015

Laugh-Along Lessons

The Laugh-Along Lessons series written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger currently has ten titles. These titles, as well as the new Laugh-Along Lesson 5-Minute Stories can be found on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website. Most of these titles have been re-issued from previously published text. Each of the books has a free downloadable version of the story from the publishers website which can be accessed by entering a code printed in the book.

Princess Penelope's Parrot
by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger

Princess Penelope’s Parrot (originally published in 1996) - Princess Penelope is reminiscent of Veruca Salt from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She wants it all and she wants it now. At her royal birthday party, a parrot becomes her new obsession. She is, however, disappointed when the parrot does not speak, regardless of the prompting, yelling, and screaming at the bird. When the richest prince in the land, Percival, plans a visit, Penelope is overjoyed. Her plan to marry the prince is spoiled when the formally non-verbal parrot suddenly begins to talk. Princess Penelope learns the importance of being wise with your words when she loses the prince to a parrot.

The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger

The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing (originally published in 2007) - Ewetopia wants to stand out and be noticed by all of her friends, however no matter her outfit, they do not give her a second glance. When she attends the Woolyones’ Costume Ball dressed as a wolf, the other ewes sneer in disbelief at her distasteful costume.  When a stranger dressed in a beautiful wool costume appears, all of the sheep are mesmerized. Ewetopia realizes something is amiss when the stranger yells, “Mother” when seeing her. Quick thinking saves Ewetopia and the other sheep from this wolf in sheep clothing! Children will delight in this sheep tale with a number of “ewe”nique character names and a lesson in believing in yourself.
The Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken
by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger

The Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken (originally published in 1983) - Competition between the three title characters is fierce. They each want to show they are better than the others. When they magically produce more than the three of them can handle together they learn the importance of teamwork. Even though they continue to argue, they remain fast friends.

Pookins Gets Her Way
by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger

Pookins Gets Her Way (originally published in 1987) - Pookins could be considered a spoiled brat. If she doesn’t get her way she “makes faces, throws apples, and yells very loudly.” Since no one wants Pookins doing any of those things, she always gets her way. This routine proves to be a problem when she meets a magic gnome in the forest. Pookins requests a number of wishes, which the gnome gladly grants, but when she asks for her final wish the gnome questions her to make sure this is really her desire. The end result is not only very funny, but proves it is not always good to get what you want. In the end Pookins sees the error of her ways and learns an important lesson about being considerate.

The free downloadable audio version of each of these books allows the reader to listen to the story while looking at the pictures in the physical book. An audio prompt is provided to young listeners to they will know when to turn the page. A free parent discussion and activity guide is also provided with this access code, however there are no corresponding materials for any of these titles in the guide. The titles included in the guide are as follows: It Wasn’t My Fault, Listen Buddy, Me First, and A Porcupine Named Fluffy.

**To comply with guidelines set forth by the Federal Trade Commission, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company has provided a complimentary copy of the above mentioned titles for review purposes. My review is in no way influenced by the author or publishing company and is solely my opinion.

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