Saturday, June 22, 2013

Leaping Beauty and Other Animal Fairy Tales

Author: Gregory Maguire
Pages: 197
Rating: G

Once upon a time . . . nothing was as it seemed!
What if Sleeping Beauty were actually a frog princess, doomed to be Weeping Beauty forever? What if the Three Chickens had to outwit Goldifox? What if Cinder-Elephant lost her glass plate slipper? Then you'd have this hilarious collection of twisted fairy tales from the master of the absurd, Gregory Maguire!
My Thoughts: I would aim this book right at 8-11 year olds. The sarcasm, goofy inserts, and just plain wackiness of these stories is just what would set a pre-teen laughing and laughing. For adults, I felt more like I was just laughing at a really clever but not really that funny joke. But there's modern stuff thrown in there, and it's all just so goofy. Like I said, definitely a funny read for pre-teens. I think my favorite was "Little Red Robin Hood" because it was a mashup of two stories, and the results were pretty hilarious.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West

Author: Various
Pages: 141
Rating: G

Newbery Award winner Jane Yolen’s enchanting preface “Dragons: An Unnatural History” introduces this collection of 15 dragon stories from England, Western and Eastern Europe, Korea, Japan, and China. Ferocious fire-breathing dragons face off with clever princesses and courageous village girls in a riddle match. But the last dragon in the world is a kind, gentle beast who sheds tears of joy when a princess calls him “dragon dear.” Ferocious or kind, wise or wicked, these mythical creatures transport readers to the far corners of the world.

My Thoughts: I got this book from the library to read throughout the week to my Summer Camp kids as we learned about China for the week. While there are two or three stories from China and other Asian countries, not all are like that. I thought it was a great little book of stories. Dragons are often found in various fairy tales, but they are not usually the main character, so it was fun to read a whole slew of stories just about dragons. None of them were stories I had heard before, although some were similar to other tales I have heard. Some stories were more serious, others were comical, and the dragons varied between being evil and good. It's definitely a twist on the run-of-the-mill fairy tale book. Definitely worth checking out.