A new twist on fairy tales—September 18, 2009
I have always enjoyed reading fairy tales. Some authors have taken traditional fairy tales and expanded on the stories to give us a new perspective.
Donna Jo Napoli writes many books for children of all ages, and a number of her titles draw from the traditional fairy tale themes. “The Magic Circle” tells the story of a woman who learns sorcery in order to become a healer. She is turned into a witch by evil spirits and fights their power until she encounters Hansel and Gretel.
Other titles by Napoli include “Zel,” which tells the story of Rapunzel; “Spinners,” the story of Rumpelstiltskin; “Beast,” the story of Beauty and the Beast told from the Beast’s point of view; and “Crazy Jack,” which is about Jack and the beanstalk.
“The Prince of the Pond” by Napoli gives us a new version of the story about the prince who was cursed and turned into a frog. He makes the best of his new life as he mates and raises a family. The sequel to this story is called “Jimmy, the Pickpocket of the Palace” and follows the adventures of the froglet son of the enchanted frog-prince, who finds himself turned into a human boy. In “Gracie, the Pixie of the Puddle,” Gracie the frog discovers that her friend Jimmy can change from frog to human and back again, and she tries to persuade him to remain a frog permanently.
Did you ever wonder why Cinderella was always so compliant and did everything her stepmother and stepsisters told her to do? “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine explains about the childhood curse that forced Cinderella to obey any order given to her. “Beauty” by Robin McKinley is a wonderful retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. These stories make the familiar characters in these fairy tales really come to life for the reader.
What if Cinderella didn’t want to try on the glass slipper? What if Sleeping Beauty didn’t believe she’d been asleep at all? And what if Goldilocks moved in with the Three Bears? You’ll find the answers to these and other questions in the clever retellings of folk and fairy tales by author William J. Brooke in his books “A Telling of the Tales,” “Untold Tales,” and “Teller of Tales.”
These are just some of the titles that take familiar stories and give them a new twist. Look for them at the library!