Yes, I like fairy tales. They’re idealistic, moralizing, fantastical and strange; and perfect fodder for imagination. Tales of princesses, magicians, witches and sorcerers; legends of intrigue, enchantment, splendour and glory; fables of dragons, voodoo, spells and wishes. Those abbreviated stories heard in childhood, served just to imprint those eternal messages in our minds – Truth always triumphs, Evil never goes unpunished et al. And, of course, the fate of do-gooders – the proverbial ‘happily-ever-after’. But what of the nuances, the plots, the characters of the stories, themselves?
Perhaps that is what makes retellings seem so much more interesting than those anonymous originals. For instance, the Once upon A Time series. You begin, with scant curiosity perhaps, with the confidence gained from knowing the plot beforehand. And yet, you find yourself being surprised – by the style of narration, by the twists in the tale you thought you knew, in the very characters of the protagonists which you had never thought to consider. The stories become new.
Intrigued? Try Cameron Dokey’s Belle (Beauty and The Beast retold), Golden (Rapunzel retold),The Storyteller’s Daughter (The Arabian Nights – Shahrazad’s tale retold),Wild Orchid (Mulan retold) and Beauty Sleep (Sleeping Beauty retold). And then there’s Robin McKinley – Beauty and Rose Daughter(Beauty and The Beast retold) and Spindle’s End (Sleeping Beauty retold).Alex Flinn’s Beastly and A Kiss In Time are modern retellings of the same, and Jessica Day George’s Princess Of The Midnight Ball of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. And Shannon Hale’s The Book Of A Thousand Days is a retelling of Maid Maleen, which scores quite high on humour, so you may want to read it(Even if you’ve never heard of the original.)
Need more encouragement?
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Albert Einstein said it.
You know what to do.