on January 11, 2000
Vivian Vande Velde neatly skewers some traditional fairy tales in this collection of stories; most are moderately good-- entertaining, but not terribly deep. This anthology would have joined the ranks of the mediocre if not for one absolutely clever and wonderful retelling of Rumpelstiltskin called "Straw into Gold." This one story makes the whole book worth getting. The others are good, but "Straw into Gold" outshines them by far.
There are many fairy tale retellings; those of Robin McKinley (Beauty, Rose Daughter), Donna Jo Napoli (Spinners, Zel, The Magic Circle) Mercedes Lackey (The Fire Rose, The Firebird) and Patricia Wrede (Snow White and Rose Red) are particularly worth checking out.
on November 4, 1998
How do you fracture a fairy tale? The dust cover of my edition of the book says there are four different ways: make the villain a hero, make the hero a villain, tell what really happened, or all of the above. A fifth way might be added: let the tale ferment in the mind of Vivian Vande Velde for a while until you get a heady wine of gruesomeness, fun, and hilarity. The best of the best in this group of short stories would have to be "Staw into Gold," a new twist on the Rumpelstiltskin tale that has a perfect ending for children of seperated, divorced, or remarried parents and "Frog" a re-telling of the classic Frog Prince with a lesson about keeping promises.
on July 12, 2000
As a teacher looking for some quirky rewrites of traditional fairy tales, I was thrilled to have stumbled across Vande Velde's collection. Every story is twisted, some in silly ways, and some in darker ways, but no matter what the twist, the book is great for read-alouds or for reading alone. The "commercials" dispersed throughout the text contribute to the overall flow of the text. Children and adults alike will find this entertaining. The stories are also a great catalyst for students' revisions of fairy tales, and demonstrate the value and the pleasure of retelling old favorites from unexpected perspectives.
on July 14, 1998
This book was so hilarious! Really giving a look at both sides of tale. I was laughing so hard throughout the book that I had to take a breather for 5 min. I let my Mom read this also and she found it Very funny. This would almost be my all time favorite book though I am older than the recomended age. Good for any age group, read this book.
on February 21, 1997
This is a delightful book of traditional fairy tales with characters that no longer seem quite so heroic. In these tales, it shows us how we would act if we had magic in our world and were threatened with beheading. Realistic fiction that will make you laugh or think, as the author commands