Posted in Book Reviews, Literature

A Fairy Tale Ending that I Really, Really Like

Today I read Papa Gatto, an Italian fairy tale retold by Ruth Sanderson. It has your typical fairy tale characters: a kind, hardworking young girl, a vain disinterested step-mother, a snobbish, lazy, but beautiful step-sister, and a prince in search of a wife. What is unusual about this story is that the title character is a  wise, talking cat who needs a nanny.

Guess which one of the maidens fails her nannying duties and which one receives a diamond bracelet as payment for her tender care and a recommendation to the prince. Naturally, it is not simple. Given the opportunity for deceit, the step-sister embarks on a charade to win the crown.

Quite frankly, at this point of the story the only thing that kept me reading was Sanderson’s illustrations.

When the prince finally meets the girl whose sweetness had charmed 8 kittens and their father, the first thing he does (obviously) is propose.

The girl says no.

Mic drop.

How could she possibly marry a man she just meet.


The whole marriage-at-first-sight thing has always bothered me in fairy tales. Don’t get me wrong, I love section 398 and its decimals. But I often wished for more time between the meeting and the wedding. This could be one of the reasons why Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. I guess I’m a little bit like Robert in Disney’s Enchanted.

But the story does leave you with hope. The girl moves in with the cat family to be their “permanent” nanny and the prince will visit often so he can win her love after they get to know one another.

The unconventional ending (and the illustrations) saved this mostly predictable and somewhat strange story. Papa Gatto  has landed on my list of books to read to my hypothetical daughters.


Posted in Christmas, My Life, Recommendations

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas

Today is the last day of Operation Christmas Child (OCC) National Collection Week. For those who don’t know, OCC collects shoeboxes of goodies for needy children worldwide. Since 1993, 124 million boxes have been delivered. When I was a child, my family participated and I loved it. I enjoyed shopping for another child — it was like playing Santa. However, it has been over 10 years since we last filled a shoebox. I decided quite belatedly that I wanted to give one again this year. Belatedly meaning I did all my shopping three days before the deadline. Being the infamous box saver that I am and thanks to the fact that my dad just bought some shoes, I had three boxes to fill. I chose to do a 10-14 boy and a 10-14 girl because I read online that there often is not enough shoeboxes for the older kids. I also did a 5-9 girl. Before my shopping trip I scoured for gift ideas from bloggers who fill boxes regularly. I found the lists and the comments to be incredibly helpful so I’m posting my own.

Here’s what I put in my boxes:

10-14 Boy Continue reading “Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas”