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A Wolf at the Door: and Other Retold Fairy Tales [Paperback]

Terri Windling , Ellen Datlow , Tristan Ellwell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2001 Aladdin Fiction

These are not your mother's fairy tales...

Did you ever wonder how the dwarves felt after Snow White ditched them for the prince? Do you sometimes wish Cinderella hadn't been so helpless and petite? Are you ready to hear the Giant's point of view on Jack and his beanstalk? Then this is the book for you.

Thirteen award-winning fantasy and science fiction writers offer up their versions of these classic fairy tales as well as other favorites, including The Ugly Duckling, Ali Baba, Hansel and Gretel, and more. Some of the stories are funny, some are strange, and others are dark and disturbing -- but each offers something as unexpected as a wolf at the door.


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From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-This well-written collection revisits both familiar and lesser-known stories with creative revisions by a variety of familiar writers. The tales range from Jane Yolen's comic "Cinder Elephant" to Garth Nix's downright creepy "Hansel's Eyes," in which the witch no longer eats children, but instead harvests their organs for sale. It's easy to recognize the traditional tale in most instances, but some are likely to be unfamiliar to many readers, particularly Katherine Vaz's "The Kingdom of Melting Glances," based on two Portuguese tales. Tanith Lee's "A Wolf at the Door," set in the next ice age, and Janeen Webb's "Ali Baba and the Forty Aliens" enter the realm of science fiction. Neil Gaiman's "Instructions" is a poem of advice for those finding themselves in the midst of fairy tales. Gregory Maguire's "The Seven Stage a Comeback" is a song in which the dwarves consider taking back Snow White. The diversity of content, style, and tone makes this an excellent collection for sampling. Most of these stories ask readers to think a bit more about fairy tales and what they may be saying to and about us. Overall, Wolf is enjoyable reading for those who like fairy tales, particularly fans of revisionist versions who don't expect humor in every story.
Ellen A. Greever, University of New Orleans, LA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-10. Irreverent, poetic, and thrillingly evil, these new versions of classic fairy tales are less comic and playful than the fractured fairy-tale picture books for younger readers. In fact, as the editors point out in their introduction, fairy tales were originally told to older audiences before the stories were sweetened and simplified for children. Many of these retellings are contemporary, set in the city and the schoolyard as well as the dark woods, with lots of evil stepmoms and rivalrous siblings. Garth Nix's "Hansel's Eyes" may be too lurid, even for teens, spelling out the fairy tale's elemental terror in graphic detail, with a Hagmom who gets Dad to dump the kids in a city wasteland. But many of the other stories are dark and strange and beautiful. In Gregory Maguire's "The Seven Stage Comeback," the dwarves speak in poetic monologues as they try to get back their beloved Snow White after she's left them for the prince ("We took her in when she was lost / But then we lost her in our turn"). Jane Yolen's "Cinder Elephant" is about "a lovely big girl," whose dancing slippers are size nine-and-a-half wide, very wide; she hooks the prince with her love of sports and books and her fast, funny talk. Both immediate and traditional, this dramatic collection will grab middle-graders and teens for storytelling and readers' theater. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolf at the door April 19 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book, the wolf at the Door, has tons of fairy tails in them. It has The Months of Manhattan, Cinder Elephant, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and other amazing stories.
Let's start with The Wolf at the Door. This fairy tail is about a wolf that is at the door. It comes at night and is very creepy with his bright yellow glowing eyes and his fangs as white as snow. He is gray all over. This one part was when the wolf thought he was supposed to be human. It was funny.
The Twelve dancing princesses were funny too. They are twelve daughters of the king. Every night, the king finds there brand new shoes worn-out. So he hires men to find there daughters secret. They seem to be going somewhere at night. In the beginning, there is this pore man, and he has little food. This old lady comes by and asks him if she can have some food because she is very hungry and hasn't eaten in days. He does share the food with her. All of a sudden, it becomes a big feast. She has magical powers. She tells the man that there is a king who wants a man to help him find where the princesses are going. And that's when the journey begins.
My favorite part in The Tewlve dancing princesses is
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By Maryam
Format:Paperback
The authors of all the stories in the book wanted to see what would happen if things ended out differently for characters, such as Cinderella, instead of being the beautiful, thin, girl she was in the original, the author wanted to make her fat and see how the story would go. There was no problem with that, a twist in a fairy tale makes it more interesting once in a while. But most of the stories I read in this book had questionable endings and no lesson learned. The back cover made the book sound very interesting, but I ended up feeling that the whole reason that the stories were changed were because people wanted the fairy tales to be different and they were tired of the same old thing. They loved fairy tales, but it seemed as if they didn't think it was fair that Cinderella was pretty and that Jack got the harp from the giant's house.They modernized the story, put in some weird magic and then made the story end twisted. I think that fairy tales are meant to make you feel good. In this book, most of the endings were a bit sad and bizarre. I think I'll stick to the originals, thank you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable fractured fairy tales March 7 2001
Format:Hardcover
Datlow and Windling (authors of several books in a fairy tale retellings series that includes Briar Rose by Jane Yolen) present a balanced blend of familiar and more obscure tales and well-known and first-time authors along with recommendations for resources about fairy tales and good collections of stories. Although their introduction is a perfect lead-in to Neil Gaiman's poem "Instructions" (a set of directions for how-to survive in fairyland with lessons gleaned from favorite tales), his gem of a poem is relegated to the middle of the book. Jane Yolen's "Cinder Elephant" isn't petite but she is the one the prince falls for in a sharp and witty tale that blasts Walt Disney. Gregory MacGuire presents the seven unique voices of seven determined dwarves in a mission to get their Snow White back. Other highlights include a version of Jack and the Beanstalk from the point of view of the giant's wife, and Patricia McKillip's lovely retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." A nice addition is the brief author bio at the end of each story, along with a explanation or some remarks about fairy tales. The collection itself is a bit uneven. One author unsuccessfully weaves two unfamiliar tales together, and the ugly duckling story is a bit of a stretch and has a pat ending. And why were Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine, two popular fairy tale retellers, omitted? The cover, with neon green lettering and a haunting wolf, will leap into reader's hands, but may disappoint horror fans who grab it and aren't expecting fairy tales. Teens will enjoy these stories where the heroes use the Internet, read Avi books and Sandman comics, wear Doc Martens, drink Coke, and are lured by Playstation game consoles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific! Oct. 15 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
As a big fan of the Datlow/Windling fairy tale volumes for adult readers ("Snow White, Blood Red," etc.), I was thrilled to see a volume I could give to my young niece and nephew, so that they too could discover the pleasure of re-told fairy tales, and see that there is so much more to these tales than the Disney versions for very young children. This is a great collection, as one would expect from Datlow & Windling. My own favorite pieces were Neil Gaiman's "Instructions" and Patricia McKillip's lyrical version of The 12 Dancing Princesses. And Kathe Koja's version of the Ugly Duckling ("Becoming Charise") made me cry. My 9-year-old niece votes for "Falada" by Nancy Farmer because it was so funny, and for Kelly Link's "Swans," because she liked the heroine very much. My ten-year-old nephew liked Katherine Vaz's "The Kingdom of Melting Glances" best because he liked the princesses with bacon up their sleeves! If you want to get kids interested in reading or to give them something magical and fun when they've run out of Harry Potter books, then I can highly recommend this collection. And as an adult reader, I enjoyed it too.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking in imagination
With such a cast of authors, I expected a lot more from this book. Unfortunately, the retellings weren't very creative at all. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales
I think this book was good. Although some parts were confusing, you would still enjoy it. I would reccomend this book to ages 9 and up. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars The Wolf Must Have Blown Away the Quality, One Word Boring!
Retelling fairy tales we all grew up with is a sensational idea which has been done extremely well. Just not here! In other books yes, but here unfortunately no. Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by James N Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise
I snitched this book from my little sister when I was out of things to read. I figured it would be a bit young for me, but I loved it! Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars More re-visioned fairy fun!
The thirteen re-visioned fairy tales from some of contemporary fantasy's finest authors here are all welcomed and vital additions to the ever-growing body of revamped fairy... Read more
Published on July 15 2002 by Stephen Richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars This book was a really cool and funny book
I really liked this book. Some of my favorites stories were Jack and the Beanstalk(from the giants point of view),Swans,The Ugly Duckling. (They were in that order). Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars It Was GREAT!!!!!! :)
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!! my favorites are (in this order): The Months of Manhattan, Hansel's Eyes, and Swans. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Funny!
A Wolf At The Door and Other Retold Fariy Tales, was so funny. My favorite part was when the wolf thought he was supposed to be human. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars I really didn't like the book
The book is a collection of 13 retold fairy tales written by different authors. Some of the tales are modernized, and others are twisted. Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by "brodie-byington"
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