Monday, 7 October 2013

A First Book of Fairy Tales - Mary Hoffman and Julie Downing

I was given this book at a recent event I spoke at by Sandra - a storyteller. I told her how I liked the Grace stories from Mary Hoffman and she very kindly gave me the book. What I didn't expect was how much Rosie was going to like the book. I know she loves fairytales - she acts out at least one a day, usually putting her own unique twist on it! But this has been our bedtime story book for the last few weeks and there are no signs it's going to flung aside for a while.
What I like is the variety of fairy tales and the fact that the sources are named and that they are true to the original tellings. The stories included are: Cinderella; The Selfish Giant; Rapunzel; Jack and the Beanstalk; Sleeping Beauty; The Little Mermaid; The Frog Prince; Beauty and the Beast; Diamonds and Toads; The Twelve Dancing Princesses; The Fisherman and his Wife; The Princess and the Pea; Rumpelstiltskin and The Snow Queen. Some of these are lesser known tales and it's great to see them in print. The only thing I would say is that because each tale has had to fit into around six pages sometimes the stories are a bit abrupt and jump around without explanation. It doesn't bother Rosie but it does me, a bit!

Our favourite at the moment is The Little Mermaid and it's the true version where the prince doesn't fall in love with her and she takes herself away to be foam (at the last minute being rescued by the spirits of the air). In this disneyfied world I like the fact that Rosie's first introduction to this story (and she should remember it since we've read it about a thousand times) is the proper one. I'm glad that the ending isn't happy and that we know the little mermaid is unhappy at not being loved by the prince. I don't think everything has to be sugar-coated for kids and I know that Rosie has taken this all in her stride and accepts the story for what it is. Sorry about the soap-box! I just become increasingly frustrated by all the pink, pretty and cute!

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