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Thursday’s Tale: Brave Red, Smart Frog

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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
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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: Disney Manga: Tangled

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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
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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.

Thursday’s Tale: Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali

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Thursday’s Tale: Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali Cinderella and the Furry Slippers by Davide Cali
Illustrator: Raphaelle Barbanegre
Published by Tundra Books (NY) on October 10, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Picture Book, Fairy tale
Pages: 32
Format: eARC
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Cinderella is dying to go to the ball. She's seen pictures of the fancy castle and the handsome prince, she's heard the fairy tales about true love, she's found the perfect dress in Princess magazine and she's even found an ad for a Fairy Godmother. She's all set.

Except the fairy godmother doesn't look like the one in the ad. And the castle doesn't look like the picture. And the prince . . . well, Cinderella decides her fairy-tale ending is going to look different--and be a whole lot more fun.

This is a modern twist on the classic Cinderella fairy tale. Cinderella, per usual, spends her days cleaning and doing her stepmother’s and sisters’ hair. She sees the prince in a magazine and dreams coming to save her. When she finds out he’s having a ball, she calls up a fairy godmother and makes an appointment. That’s when it all starts to go awry. The godmother is not what she expects – and neither are the clothes. Even the ball is disappointing, and the prince – well, let’s just say he was more attractive in the magazine. So she makes her own happy ending.

I like the girl-power feel of this one, and the illustrations are bright and funny. I think this would make a good book to read aloud to any little girl, reinforcing that a girl can be whatever she wants to. And that pictures in magazines aren’t always realistic.

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.

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