Category Archives: Thursday’s Tales

Thursday’s Tale: Brave Red, Smart Frog

by
Thursday’s Tale: Brave Red, Smart Frog Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
Illustrator: Rohan Daniel Eason
Published by Candlewick Press on September 5, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Childrens, Fairy tale
Pages: 104
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Step into a wintry forest where seven iconic fairy tales unfold, retold with keen insight and touches of humor. There once was a frozen forest so cold, you could feel it through the soles of your boots. It was a strange place where some kisses broke enchantments and others began them. Many said witches lived there -- some with cold hearts, others with hot ovens and ugly appetites -- and also dwarves in tiny houses made of stones. In this icy wood, a stepmother might eat a girl's heart to restore her own beauty, while a woodcutter might become stupid with grief at the death of his donkey. Here a princess with too many dresses grows spiteful out of loneliness, while a mistreated girl who is kind to a crone finds pearls dropping from her mouth whenever she speaks. With empathy and an ear for emotion, Emily Jenkins retells seven fairy tales in contemporary language that reveals both the pathos and humor of some of our most beloved stories. Charming illustrations by Rohan Daniel Eason add whimsical details that enhance every new reading.

I truly enjoyed these lovingly retold fairy tales. Jenkins has taken some favorite, familiar tales and while not adding anything new, has made them into charming tales. We have Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, the Frog Prince, and Diamonds and Toads among others. While she keeps the traditional plots and characters. she gives some extra depth, like why the Frog Prince loved the princes or how Hansel and Gretel’s father could have let them be left in the woods. She asks why the step-mother was so cruel and how Red could have been tricked by the wolf. I also love how the cold, frosty wood figures into the tales. The tales have touches of humor and amusing dialogue, especially in Three Wishes and the Frog Prince. I appreciate how the tales are connected in ways that make the book fit together well, rather than just a random collection. For example, the same huntsman who doesn’t kill Snow White does kill the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood’s story.

Overall, while the stories here don’t offer anything unique, they are told well and I enjoyed them. Everyone gets a happy ending, well except the dead step-mothers and witch.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Thursday’s Tale: The Bear Cubs

by

Dancing Brown Bear Cub (photo by Mark Sisson from DailyMail.com)

The book I talked about yesterday featured a seagull in the opening scene, so today I went searching for a seagull story. This tale comes from the Innu people of Canada.

When spring came, the bear woke from hibernation and came out of her den. She went for a walk to the place where most of the snow had melted so that she could eat berries. She left her children behind where they were still asleep. After she had finished eating, she went back to her den and took a nap. While she was sleeping, her children woke up and saw that their mother’s mouth was purple from eating berries.

The cubs decided to follow her footprints and try to find berries too. So they followed their mother’s footprints until they reached a patch of berries and started eating too. After they had eaten enough berries, they both went home. When they had nearly reached their den, they heard their mother making desperate cries.

It was too late. A greedy monster had killed their mother and had eaten her. This monster knew that there were cubs around because he had seen their footprints in the snow. He was very excited because he knew that baby cubs are very tasty and tender to eat. He started to run as he chased after the baby cubs.

The cubs had taken off running when they heard their mother screaming. After running for a long time, they met grandmother porcupine along the trail. They said to her, “Grandma, please let us pass. We are running away from someone who has killed our mother. Will you try to stall him while we run again?”

“Yes, I will,” replied the grandmother porcupine. “You have another grandmother who can kill this monster. You will find her. Just follow this trail,” pointing to the path ahead. And so the cubs ran again.

Shortly thereafter, the monster got to the grandmother porcupine. He said to her, “Please move out of the way grandma. I’m looking for our grandchildren. They have run away from me.”

Grandmother porcupine said, “I will not move out of the way unless you can do what they have done for me.”

The monster replied, “What did they do?”

She said, “They built me a fire and they rubbed their faces on my tail.”

The monster replied, “Oh, that’s easy. I can do that for you.” And so he built her a fire. He was very happy thinking that she would soon let him pass.

After he had finished making a fire, he rubbed his face on her tail. But while he was doing this, grandmother porcupine swung her tail very hard on his face. Quills were lodged all over his eyes and mouth.

“Now I will move out of your way so you can pass,” she said to the monster.

The monster passed, taking his time to pull the porcupine quills out of his face. After he had finished picking the quills out, he was on his way again. He saw the cubs’ prints on the ground.

The cubs were still following the trail that the grandmother porcupine had shown them. They finally reached their other grandma’s house. This grandma was a giant seagull. They said, “Grandma, we are running away from someone who has killed our mother. We are afraid he might try to kill us too.”

The grandma said, “Don’t be afraid. I have killed this kind of monster before.” The cubs were no longer afraid.

She said, “I will take both of you across to where you can stay safely.” She took them across the water in her boat.

The cubs said to their grandmother, “Will you kill this monster, Grandma?”

“I will,” she replied.

When she got back to her boat, she painted it with dirty, smelly fish. When the monster reached the crossing place, he called out to the seagull, “Grandma, please come help me get across!”

The seagull paddled her boat to the monster.

“Did you see our grandchildren? I have been running after them. I was thinking of eating them because they are still very tender.”

The seagull said, “Yes, I have seen them. I took them across. Would you like to go across too?”

“Yes,” said the monster. And he got into the boat. When he got into the boat, he couldn’t stand the smell of it.

The seagull said, “If you can’t stand the smell, hang your head over the side instead.” And so the monster held his head over the water to avoid smelling the stinking boat. While he was doing this, the seagull took a huge knife out from hiding and cut his head off. It fell into the water.

After she had killed the monster, she went back to the bear cubs. “I have already killed the monster who killed your mother,” she said. “You can both stay here, and I will make you toys to play with.”

The bear cubs played with their boat on the river, and they had a lot of fun. They stayed there forever.

Both the porcupine and the seagull are brave and clever. I’m not quite sure what kind of monster it was though.

Seagulls play a variety of roles in the folklore of different Native American tribes. In some cases, seagulls are antagonists criticized for their noisy, aggressive, and greedy behavior, which totally makes sense. In others, they are noted for their endurance and perseverence. In some Northwest Coast tribes, Seagull was said to have powers over storms and weather.

Seagulls are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Seagull Clans include the Ahtna tribe and the Chippewa tribe (whose Gull Clan and its totem are called Gayaashk.) Seagull is used as a clan crest in some Northwest Coast tribes (especially the Nuu-chah-nulth), and can sometimes be found carved on totem poles.

Totem at Stanley Park in Vancouver

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

Thursday’s Tale: Disney Manga: Tangled

by
Thursday’s Tale: Disney Manga: Tangled Tangled by Shiori Kanaki
Series: Disney Manga
Published by TokyoPop on August 15th 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Fairy tale, Manga, Middle School
Pages: 176
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

Inspired by the hit Disney movie, Tangled. Rapunzel has lived inside an isolated tower all her life, able to see the world outside her window but forbidden to leave. When the notorious thief Flynn Rider shows up, she makes a deal with him to finally break free and experience the world outside her prison. Is the world as scary as Mother Gothel promised it would be? Or will she find the answers behind her magical, flowing hair and the truth about her childhood? This magical adaptation retells the hit Disney movie using beautiful manga artwork.

The story is the same as the Tangled movie from 2010. It’s a re-imagining of Rapunzel, but the only thing it really has in common with the original fairy tale is the girl with long hair kept in a tower.

The princess, Rapunzel, is stolen from her crib by Mother Gothel, because her can magically heal people.  Mother Gothel hides Rapunzel in the tower, forbidding her to ever leave it, keeping the precious hair safe. While Gothel is away getting a present for Rapunzel’s 18th birthday, Flynn Ryder ends up in the tower as he’s on the run from the palace guards. Rapunzel recognizes her chance and convinces Ryder, with the help of a frying pan, to take her to see the annual lights festival. Adventure, danger, love and the requisite happy ever after ending all follow.

The story is what it is, it’s Tangled re-done as a manga. I thought the manga art was well-done and I’m sure middle schoolers would like it.  I personally appreciated the “how to read a manga” at the beginning. I don’t read many, although Amber does, so it never hurts to be reminded the differences between reading a manga versus a graphic novel.

The stories cute and fun. In all honesty though, I miss the colors, the glowing of the lanterns especially.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

%d bloggers like this: