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By Midge Lyndee
Book Review 

New takes on old tales

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

 

November 7, 2020

It has become a popular tradition to retell fairy tales. From Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson, the life of fairy tales have survived famines, wars and the ravages of time. The retelling of the old stories in modern circumstances has become almost as popular as the original stories themselves. I will share with you some of my favorites and hope you add some of them to your family book collections…

“Peter and the Wolf” was written in 1936 by Sergei Prokoliev as an opera, telling the children’s story of Peter in the forest and a wolf, with instruments in the orchestra taking the part of the characters. Selena Hastings with illustrator Reg Cartwright delightfully bring the story and Peter alive page by page.

Printed versions of “The Three Little Pigs” date back to the 1840s, but Jon Scieszka’s “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!” tells the story from Wolf’s viewpoint. From his perspective, Wolf has been given a rotten deal through the years (if you can believe him).

The same holds true for “The Un/Fairest of Them All” by Dr. Alvin Granowsky. Can you imagine the story of Snow White where the queen is the good loving person and Snow White the mean and spiteful one?

One of my very favorites is “Goldilocks and the Three Hares,” which has the well known story with hares instead of bears, the oatmeal burnt and humorous running adult commentary at the bottom of each page from a family of mice living under the floors of the house. There is something for both the kids and parents in this version.

“Carmine A Little More Red” has so many wonderful twists of Little Red Riding Hood that you must read it yourself, then share with your kids too. Melissa Sweet was able to weave a whole new adventure, cleverly using the alphabet while introducing a varied assortment of interesting and fun words into your child’s vocabulary. Even a little French.

Three princess stories deal with different forms of Cinderella. In “Cinder-Elly” by Frances Minters, the reader finds a modern day setting and tickets to a ball game instead of a ball. The fairy godmother gives a glass sneaker and curfew is at 10 p.m. Does the star baseball player Prince prevail? In “Cinder Hazel, The Cinderella of Halloween” Deborah Nourse Lattimore sets the story with witches and cauldrons and let’s just say, a prince who likes dirt comes in handy for a happy ending. Robert Munsch brings a real twist in his “The Paper Bag Princess” by having the princess fight a dragon to save the prince. Such a strong princess reveals a surprise ending.

For ingenuity and beautiful imagination, I would suggest Elisa Kleven’s “The Paper Princess.” This is a rare new fairy tale, taken from no other, with a touching adventure that will tenderly fill your heart. This is how fairy tales begin, with someone’s wonderful idea, writing it down and sending it out into the world. Perhaps in 100 years or so, someone will retell this fairy tale too. For the moment, just enjoy its sweetness in a world that can use more than less happy endings.

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.

 
 

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