(Suggested reading level: Grades 4-6)
This was a cute collection of fractured fairy tales, each with animal stars. Amber (11) and I read it together over several evenings and both enjoyed it. There are eight tales, each recognisable but transformed. In addition to Leaping Beauty, there is Cinder-Elephant whose pie pan shoes were perfect. We met So What, a chimpanzee who moves in with seven circus-performing giraffes. I think one of my favorites was “The Three Little Penguins and the Big Bad Wolf.” The youngest penguin has an artistic streak that made the story truly funny. And there’s Little Red Robin Hood, who likes to pretend he’s a superhero.
The little robin was called Little Red Robin Hood, because he was a red robin. Also, when he grew up, he wanted to rob the rich birds of the forest and give their worms to the poor birds of the forest. (pg. 107)
I think Amber was about the perfect age for this one. She’s familiar enough with the stories to get the connections and appreciate the silly, absurd twists Maguire makes to them. Maguire’s storytelling has a sarcastic tinge to it; I’m not sure that a younger kid would pick up on it. I will say that Amber and I both laughed out loud at bits of the stories. It’s just delightful.
Illustrated by Chris L. Demarest
First published 2004
3½ out of 5 stars
We borrowed our copy from the library and the above is my honest opinion.