In our library, the staff all take part in a reading challenge we call DER (Dare to Extend your Reading). Every few months we read a book based on a different theme. We do it so that we read something that we might not have read ordinarily, which is a great way of growing our collection knowledge so we can help our lovely customers to find just the perfect book.
Over the last two months, our theme was a book that was a modern retelling of a classic. It was really interesting to see how many of us ended up reading retold versions of classic fairy tales such as Snow White, Cinderella, The little mermaid and so on. You can check out some of the reviews here on our Pinterest page.
I really loved my book, and it got me thinking about just how many fractured fairy tales I have enjoyed over the years. Fractured fairy tales are the fairy tales we know and love, but changed up a little, such as changing the characters, setting or the point of view. I just love seeing favourite characters doing new and unexpected things!
So here are a few of my all time favourites, and I would LOVE to hear about yours in the comments. I'm always looking for another good read.
First up is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I loved this when it first came out, and was even happier when it was turned into a movie featuring Anne Hathaway several years later. This is a retelling of Cinderella, but this Ella (who was cursed at birth to always be obedient) is incredibly smart and sassy. Yes there is a glass slipper (and a happily ever after), but Ella doesn't wait to be rescued by her Prince, she takes matters in her own hands and heads off on a quest to reverse her curse, with many adventures along the way.
My read for the DER challenge was Spelled by Betsy Schow, which was a whole new spin on The Wizard of Oz. In this version, our main character Dorthea, the Emerald Princess, is a bit of of spoilt brat. She is sick of being cooped up in the castle due to a family curse, and when her family decide to marry her off to a prince without her consent, she makes a bit of a bad wish, undoing magic in the realm and losing her parents. It is now up to her, Prince Kato (who is now a chimera) and insolent servant Rexxi to try and put things right, without dying in the process as the Gray Witch chases them, intent on stealing Dorthea’s magic for herself. Many other fairy tale favourites pop up along the way during this fun read.
I've already blogged about graphic novel series Fables by Bill Willingham before in my Graphic novels for Grown Ups post, but it is definitely worth a second mention. In this series, all the fairytale and folklore characters we know and love have been forced from their homelands by the big bad 'The Adversary', and they are living in a secret community called Fabletown within our world New York. They call themselves Fables (we're the mundys), and anyone who can't pass themselves off as a mundy ends up at the Farm in upstate New York. All of your favourites are there, mostly in whole new ways you have NEVER seen them before. The central ongoing relationship between Snow White and Bigby (also known as the Big Bad Wolf) is possibly my favourite literary relationship ever!
And from one for the grown ups to one for the kids. The true story of the 3 little pigs by A.Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is a fun wee tale I've loved sharing with my mini-geeks at home. The wolf tells his version of those famous events concerning those certain pigs in this entertaining read. Who knew just how much trouble a sneeze can get you into?