Fairytale of the Month: The Little Mermaid

If you’ve wandered through the Children’s Book section of the BYU store lately, you’ve probably noticed that things have gotten a little “fishy” around here.  There are fish on the walls of the book nook, sea weed hanging from the ceiling, gigantic paper coral and a not-so-friendly looking red crab.  With all of the sea horses and adorable little fish, you may wonder what has gotten into the employees over here in Children’s Book.  We’re fine, doing great actually – just excited for our monthly event, “Fairytale of the Month!”

Several months ago, one of our employees had the idea to get children involved in a more personal way with some of the fairytale stories we often read and see depicted in movies and on TV.  Since then our “Fairytale of the Month” events have become an event that families and employees look forward to.  As employees in Children’s Book, we wanted to give the children a unique and more fantastic experience, so we turned our “Book Nook” into an underwater Mermaid Grotto, perfect to welcome our special guest, the Little Mermaid.  Dressed head to toe in her modest mermaid costume, our little mermaid told the children her story of love and adventure while they decorated paper fish to add to the walls of the grotto.  Intermingled with the storytelling, we conducted drawings to give away free flamingo and turtle stuffed animals.  Just to add to the fun, all of the mermaid books were sold with a discount of 25% to give our guests the chance to take the story home with them.

Overall this seemed to be a well-enjoyed event full of fairytales, fun and friendship.  We all enjoyed being a part of the action and watching people and fairytales come alive.  We’re looking forward to next month’s fairytale, Arabian Nights, and hope that you will join us for the fun!

Breaking Down Unbroken

True to the promise that I made to myself, I did not watch Unbroken until I had finished Lauren Hillenbrand's accounting of Louis Zamperini's near unfathomable tale of struggle and survival.

The Olympian/WWII veteran's biography has received substantial attention with the release of the major motion picture last December. The film received a substantial $115,637,895 domestically, but the book has performed better in reviews and has sold over 4 million copies as of June 2014.

The true story follows Louis' path from boyhood to manhood, including the transformation from  ruffian to Olympian, and goofy GI to emaciated POW. Hillenbrand tells of early life experiences, character traits, and specific events that mold Louis into the man capable of surviving the impossible. The tale of survival demonstrates the power of positive attitude, even in the most dire circumstances, the value of dignity to a human being, and forgiveness as a means to redemption. In this way, a man's heinous experience can be understood and associated with the everyday issues we all face in life.

Unbroken connects the reader with a real-life hero in Louis Zamperini. The man overcame some of the most cruel adversity with optimism and a sense of humor, but he is not dehumanized as a perfect man. His faults serve as a channel of empathy for the reader, an identifier. Yet, his victories in both common and terrible situations show us the strength of the human spirit when compelled by love, truth, and the will to live.

If you haven't read Unbroken yet, the Fourth of July season is as good a time as any to discover the cost of liberty from a POW's perspective.

Available Here: http://bit.ly/1NDI6ur

Summer Adventures in Utah

Summer Adventures in Utah

In the wake of Memorial Day festivities, those who traveled Provo Canyon this past weekend saw boats, campers and trailers, off-road vehicles, mountain bikes, and all manner of equipment indicating adventure. One reason that Utah is such a special place to live is because there is so much to do in the great outdoors.
Lest anyone is deterred from getting out of the house because of the indecision of what adventures to embark upon, I have composed list of some great places to go see. The BYU Store has an entire section of books displaying Utah and the many natural treasures that are waiting to be seen and experienced.


Experience the Escalante/Grand Staircase by spending a few days hiking Coyote Gulch or making a visit to Jacob Hamblin Arch. Traversing through the greenery along the river and amidst the red rock surrounding is truly amazing. 
Jacob Hamblin Arch


Along with more great views and large arches, Canyonlands is a special destination because of the amazing history in the ancient Indian Ruins.

Anasazi Indian Ruins


Perhaps the most famous park in Utah is Zion National Park, known for breathtaking views and hikes. But literally. Three of the most popular hikes are Angels Landing, The Narrows, and The Subway for more technical climbers.
Angels Landing overlook

High Uinta’s

For a different scene, make your way to the most prominent east-west mountain range in the continental U.S. The forested Uinta’s are home to the highest point in Utah at King’s Peak and the picturesque Red Castle Rock. There are thousands of lakes and beautiful forests to be explored in the Uinta Mountains. 

Red Castle Rock


A local favorite and a perfect destination for a day hike because of proximity. Mount Timpanogos and the various trails scattered through the mountains are beautiful and provide a diversity of views. Summiting Timp to see the sunrise in the east is well worth hiking in the early hours of the morning.
Sunrise on Mount Timpanogos

Honorable Mentions (worth the time!)

Bryce Canyon: Thors Hammer
Capital Reef: Temple of the Moon
Antelope Island: Visit the bison and the Great Salt Lake

As always, safety first. Be prepared with equipment, knowledge of the terrain, and an understanding of the weather forecast. Happy trails!

For more information on Utah hikes and sights, check out the travel guides and photography books available online here

The Mysterious Benedict Society - Book Review

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society was an interesting read. I hate to use vague terms like ‘interesting,’ but I wouldn't say it was exactly ‘immediately captivating,’ nor would I say that it was only ‘mildly entertaining.’ It kept my focus pretty well, but it took me until the latter end of the book to really get into it. That’s probably my only real problem with the story—I found it to be rather slow-paced. If you have more patience than I do in that area, though, I would highly recommend The Mysterious Benedict Society.

The story is about four children who pass some strange tests, whereby they are selected to perform a dangerous mission to save the world from being brainwashed. The characters themselves were the main reason I enjoyed the book: you have your main character, Reynie Muldoon, an even-tempered but above-average boy that most readers will find themselves drawn to; then there’s “Sticky” Washington, the mental storehouse of the group—a nervous brainiac; next is Kate Wetherall, the spunky, motor-mouth girl foil to Reynie’s collected, reasoning character; and finally, there’s the diminutive but disparaging poet, Constance Contraire, whose name says it all. Supporting these four are some quirky adults: the narcoleptic Mr. Benedict, as well as “Number Two” (a woman who can’t sleep and therefore must eat constantly), Rhonda (an intuitive young woman who hails from Zambia), and the perpetually-depressed and memory-less Milligan (a man who mysteriously possesses some impressive, spy-like escape and protection skills).

As for the conflict, I agree with Publisher’s Weekly and The School Library Journal in saying that it has strong echoes of Roald Dahl’s works. There is a continual emphasis on the unappreciated power of children, especially in the face of the antagonists, who believe that children are mostly an annoying blemish on society. I think this comparison is probably my best meter as to whether you will enjoy the piece or not: if you like Roald Dahl’s works, you will more than likely enjoy this one. The adventure moves a little slowly, but the climax is pretty intense. At some points, I had to remind myself to breathe.

Favorite Lines: (A spontaneous poem by Constance Contraire)
                                “Now we have waited for thirty consecutive
                                Minutes to see some old dirty Executive.
                                Thirty long minutes I could have been sleeping.
                                But she doesn't find her appointments worth keeping.”

Tasha Layton is a BYU alumnus, editor, and new mom. She is a self-proclaimed bibliophile who spends her time keeping her bibliovore baby from eating her library.