We Ask a Book Blogger: What is Your Favorite Fairy Tale Retelling?
Each month, we present a panel of book bloggers with a question relating to children’s books and we share their views here on the blog. If you missed last month’s post on favorite summer beach reads, you can check it out here.
Today’s question: What is your favorite fractured fairy tale, or new spin on a fairy tale classic and why?
There is no way I can list only 1 but I will try to limit it to 3. First, No Bears by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge is a new favorite picture book. Ruby decides to write the perfect story with princesses, and fairy godmothers and absolutely no bears (or so she thinks). There are tons of references to all kinds of fairy tales throughout the book allowing the reader to discover something new with each read.
Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark & Grimm is just the right creepy, dark twist on Hansel and Gretel that will leave every 10 year old torn between wanting to read more and being afraid to read further.
Finally, how can you not love cyborg Cinderella? And what a cool cover. Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is a little bit fairy tale, mixed in with some science fiction, and some post-apocalyptic world building to create a new spin on an old favorite.
- Alyson, Kid Lit Frenzy @alybee930
I have to go with The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be by Mini Grey. It’s “The Princess and the Pea” told from the point of view of the pea, which I find just hilarious, and I love spotting the veggie motifs in the illustrations. Also wonderful: I think the prince will be much happier with the can-do gardener (who got the tip about the Queen’s requirements straight from the Very Smart Pea) than a high-maintenance princess.
My other favorite is the young adult novel Beastly by Alex Flinn. It’s contemporary, and told from the point of view of the very realistic teen Beast/Adrian (formerly spoiled rich kid Kyle Kingsbury), who lives isolated in a swanky New York City apartment until Lindy, his Beauty, joins him. The online support group for other transformed fairy tale characters is a great touch, especially the Frog Prince’s typos (since it’s hard to type with flippers).
This one is a tough one because I am a huge fan of fairy tale retellings. I think I have to go with Beauty by Robin McKinley… or basically any of the retellings she’s done! Robin McKinley’s stories were the first time I’d revisited the fairy tales I loved as a child. I especially love that she wrote two different retellings of Beauty and the Beast. A few other authors who do fairy tales right… Gail Carson Levine, Jessica Day George and Shannon Hale. I can’t help but mention Holly Black’s Curse Workers series as well. It’s loosely based on the fairy tale “The White Cat” and is pretty much the best thing ever for modern day retellings.
- Heidi, YA Bibliophile @hmz1505
People can be surprisingly divided about retold fairy tales. I meet plenty who say they’re sick of the same stories being rehashed again and again. Myself, I love seeing how one individual can take an arguably stale story and transform into something innovative and stunning. I’m torn picking just one example, but I have to go with The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison, a complex, gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast that has lingered with me in the years since I read it.
One of my very favorite fairy tale retellings for younger readers is Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet. It is one of the most different Little Red Riding Hood variants I’ve found. The story could double as an alphabet book (Granny taught Carmine to read using alphabet soup) and it is filled with the best words: Exquisite, Yodel, Surreal, Dilly-Dally!
Carmine’s Granny has made a new pot of alphabet soup and she’s been invited for lunch. Warned not to dilly-dally because a wolf’s been seen, Carmine and her dog hurry off. But Carmine, who has taken her paints and canvas with her, is distracted by the exquisite lighting and must capture the scene.
By the time she’s arrived at Granny’s house, Granny’s in the cupboard, the wolf’s made off with the soup bones, and we know the words for every shade of red.
Great art work, great words, it may not be a straightforward retelling but it is so cool! It’s a wonderful addition to those picture books that can extend well into late elementary school.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer: What a book! Cinder is a cyborg, a young mechanic with a body filled with machinery. As in all the other Cinderella stories, Cinder’s beloved father is dead, her stepmother hates her and treats her as a slave, and there’s a pretty good-sized kerfuffle about a shoe.
One day, while working at her stall repairing small machines and other things, she meets a young royal with a broken robot. When she returns the machine to the prince, she becomes ensnared in planetary politics, a romance, and a war with the colony on the moon. There are secrets upon secrets surrounding Cinder and she may well be the only thing standing between the safety of the earth and full on destruction.
It’s such good stuff! Funny, action-packed, raucous, Cinder is a great re-telling of the Cinderella story for young adults and a really great book for summer reading.
- Rene, Notes from the Bedside Table
Now we’d like to ask you. What are your favorite fractured fairy tales or fairy tale retellings?