Long before Dorothy came to Oz, Glinda and the Wizard changed everything.

Guide for Parents – Tabby Abacus and the Dangerbread House

Tabby Abacus and the Dangerbread House

Guide for Parents and Book Groups

Overview

This review is based on the format used by Common Sense Media.

http://www.commonsensemedia.org

This is not an official Common Sense Media review. The author created this review to give parents an idea of what the book contained, to determine whether or not it would be appropriate for their children to read.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is part of a prequel series of stories that takes place in Oz before the events of L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Tabby Abacus and the Dangerbread House takes place at the same time as Emerald Spectacles (The Hidden History of Oz, Book Three). Tabby is actually a character in that book, but the action in that chapter follows Locasta, the Good Witch of the North, rather than Tabby.

The Dangerbread House is a twist on the fairy tale version of the gingerbread house in Hansel & Gretel, where the children are lured to the gingerbread house to be fattened up and captured by an evil witch. In this story, the Dangerbread House lures the children into the forest and fattens them up, but they are saved by a Good Witch. Though children are imperiled, the danger is written at an appropriate level for younger readers.

Educational Value

This story contains some large words for younger readers to work on. Unfamiliar words are usually defined by their context, or by the narrator, Tabby. Some of her definitions don’t quite match the dictionary meaning, but they do match the general meaning of the word. Example: Smugly—Smugly is when you smile when you say something ugly to someone else.

Positive Messages

Tabby learns to watch out for strange things because they might be dangerous. Example: Glowing blue flowers appeared, with cookies growing underneath them. The cookie trail led to the Dangerbread House.

Tabby briefly mentions that the village was rebuilt after the Witches burned it down two years ago. This shows the determination and courage of the villagers to stand up to the terror of the Wicked Witches.

Each person can help by doing their part. Tabby followed the directions of the Good Witch and saved the two children (who didn’t like her very much), while the Witch battled the Dangerbread House.

Positive Role Models

Locasta, the Good Witch of the North, is the protector of the village. She works with the children to teach them to watch out for strangers who might be dangerous.

Tabby shows courage in helping the two bullies escape from the Dangerbread House.

Violence

Two children are in danger of being eaten by a Dangerbread House. Tabby mentions that the shoemaker’s house and wife burned down.

Romance / Sex

None.

Language

The style of language used to tell this story is intended to portray a child’s way of thinking. The use of words is sometimes grammatically incorrect. However, this is intentional by the author to create both an innocent and excited point of view for the story.

Tabby uses certain descriptive names to refer to other children in the village.

Consumerism

None.

Drinking, Drugs, and Smoking

None.

What is the Story?

Tabby Abacus is a six-year old girl who lives in a village in the northern part of the Land of Oz. Her village was burned down two years ago by a Wicked Witch. The village is celebrating the rebuilding after the fire with a large party called the Square Fair.

Tabby is a precocious child who enjoys shenanigans and being a stinker. This consistently gets her either sent to the shenanigans corner or outside to “get the stink blown off her.” While outside, Tabby finds a very strange and wonderful thing—blue flowers growing up out of the ground with a cookie underneath. Then she wanders over to the Reading Tree and finds the Good Witch, Locasta, who is the Guardian (or Tattypoo) of the North teaching some of the village children how to watch for strange things, and to always be aware of danger. She warns that everyone needs to watch for strangers, so that the Wicked Witches don’t come back.

Tabby tries to share that she found strange cookies with flowers growing, but Locasta does not understand. Tabby goes home, but she is immediately sent back outside. Her parents are busy preparing for the Square Fair, so Tabby goes out to find someone to play with. She wants to play shadow tag, but the older kids tell her that she is too young. Despite her protests that her birthday is tomorrow, she has to sit off to the side as the older kids play shadow tag. She discovers more cookies, but the bullies find them also. The bullies run into the woods and find an entire house made of desserts. They are quickly trapped by the Dangerbread House. Tabby wants to join them, but she is suspicious of the house. The bullies get stuck, and Tabby cannot save them by herself. She runs to get help from Locasta.

Locasta gives Tabby instructions for how to free the trapped children, and then the Witch enters the Dangerbread House to do battle.

The next morning, Tabby gets up early and goes to find Locasta. The Dangerbread House is crumbled. The Witch defeated it overnight. Tabby invites Locasta to her birthday party. Something important calls Locasta away, and she leaves Tabby behind.

Tabby’s birthday party is a lot of fun. Even the bullies show up and thank Tabby for saving them. When her mother questions this, Tabby answers that they were frozen, like in shadow tag, and she ran in and saved them. Through the whole day, Tabby waits for the Good Witch to show up. When the day is almost done, a magical paper bird flies right into Tabby’s hands with a message for her from the Good Witch. She invites Tabby to be one of the children that are her eyes and ears in the North, watching for strange things. She invites her to be one of Tattypoo’s Tattlers.

Is it any good?

Parents can read this book with their young children and share in the wonder and imagination of this magical story. Independent readers will enjoy the strong-willed Tabby and her determination to have adventures and to save the day in her own special way.

Families can talk about

Tabby mentions that the village was burned down and the people rebuilt the buildings. What is another way that the people are rebuilding the village? Is a village (town, or community) only made of buildings? How do people make a village?

The shoemaker’s house and wife burned down. Tabby says that the shoemaker is sad, but he just keeps making shoes. How does working help the grieving process?

The Good Witch, Locasta, asks the children to be her eyes and ears and to keep an eye out for strange things. How is this part of protecting the village?

Tabby thinks that Veronscilla and Joanie are bullies. Do they do anything in the story that makes them bullies? Why do you think that Tabby calls them bullies? Do you make up funny names for people that you know?

Tabby sings a song to the trolls when she crosses the stone bridge. Do  you think the trolls are real? What are some things that you do to interact with imaginary things? Do you do this because it is fun? How can a good imagination help you each day?

What was dangerous about the Dangerbread House? Why couldn’t the trapped children save themselves?

Tabby says that she likes shenanigans (misbehaving) and being a stinker? What is the usual response from her parents? How did Tabby use these behaviors in the story? Give some examples.

Is there a moral to the story? What is it? If so, how does this moral fit the story?

Book Details

Author: Tarl Telford

Topics: Friendship, Loyalty, Responsibility, Independence

Genre: Middle Grade Readers, Fantasy / Imaginative Adventure

Book Type: Fiction

Publisher: Emerald Engine Studios

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Number of Pages: 61 (73 with Guide for Parents)

Publisher’s Recommended Ages: 8 and up

Available on (platforms): Paperback, Kindle

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