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Fairy Tales never grow old…

September 12, 2012

Fairy tales never grow old, they just continue to get re-imagined, re-invented and re-told in new ways, often with a modern spin and /or a twist in the tale.

Hollywood has always been enchanted by fairy tales, who could forget the magic of the Walt Disney movies based on fairy tales?  More recently released movies have been darker interpretations, including Red Riding Hood and Snow White and the huntsman.  This trend continues with new movies about Hansel and Gretel and Jack the Giant Killer due for release in 2013.

What about books?   Many people love to read fairy tales as children, remembering them as being full of magic, mystique, and of course, a moral caution.  Upon revisiting fairy tales that have been re-created for grown ups, you may discover humour, a different perspective on the characters, or a different viewpoint from another character in the story. You may even read a very different ending to the version you remember from your childhood, not necessarily one where they all live happily ever after…

Here are some selected fairy tale re-tellings to try, some in series that seem to just  keep on growing!

Emma Donoghue. Short of time? Try these short stories,  “Kissing the witch: Old tales in new skins”,  which may inspire you to read for at least ten minutes a day, and start growing a reading habit this month!

Alex Flinn has written ten novels , some of which have been inspired by fairy tales. Try Cloaked (mixed fairy tales), A Kiss in Time(Sleeping Beauty), or Beastly (Beauty and the Beast).

Gail Carson Levine is the author of the  Enchanted series, the first book being based on Cinderella.

 Once upon a time series, is a series of twenty books by various authors, includes re-tellings of Rapunzel (Golden), The world above (Jack and the beanstalk) and Violet eyes (The Princess and the pea),  amongst others.

The Fairy tale series  was created  by Terry Windling. It is described by Tor books as ” a growing series of original novels by acclaimed writers of fantasy and horror”

Gregory Maguire, author of  Wicked: The life and times of the Wicked Witch of the west, which inspired the musical.  It is the first book in a series called “The Wicked Years”.  He has also written  Mirror Mirror (Snow White) and Confessions of an ugly stepsister (get the other side of the Cinderella story).

Snow  White, Blood Red anthology series,  edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is the first in a series of anthologies of fairy tale re-tellings for adults.

Donna Jo Napoli. So many fairy tale re-tellings. Can you guess which fairy tale inspired these tales? Beast, Spinners, Crazy Jack, The Magic Circle, The Prince of the Pond, Breath, Bound , Ugly and Zel. Read them  to find out!

Jackson Pearce  has written three books in a series inspired by fairy tales. Sisters Red (Little Red Riding Hood), Sweetly (Hansel and Gretel) and Fathomless (The Little Mermaid).

Want something with a twist? Try  the “Fables” series  by Bill Willingham,  a graphic novel series featuring various characters from fairy tales and folklore.

Do you have a favourite fairy tale re-telling?


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 12, 2012 11:29 pm

    I wouldn’t suggest it for a lower secondary library, but Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is a marvellous interpretation of Rapunzel. I also enjoyed Thornspell by Helen Lowe (which IS suitable for upper primary upwards), Entwined by Heather Dixon and Moonlight and Ashes by Sophie Masson. I liked Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, though not quite my cup of tea, was a very distant cousin of the Cinderella tale! I can highly recommend the ebook three story suite Shattered by Rabia Gale – simply gorgeous writing of fractured fairytales. And of course, I love the two stories in To Spin a Darker Stair, which consider two fairytales from the perspective of the wicked witch!

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