I discovered these gorgeous books on our new books display at work last week and was so impressed I just had to share. The Stories Around the World series by Jessica Gunderson and Cari Meister differs from other fairy tale collections that I’ve seen because they not only tell the classic tales we all know and love, they also include versions of the same tale from different countries and cultures. For example, there’s an Egyptian Cinderella, an Mozambican Snow White and a Taiwanese Little Red Riding Hood.
These books are beautifully illustrated and presented, but what I really love about them is the way they allow children to compare and contrast different versions of the same tales, and to see how important fairy tales are in other cultures around the world.
I also came across Christ Colfer’s The Land of Stories series (Oh! Just realised Chris Colfer is actually the actor who played Kurt in Glee! I had no idea!) another gorgeous set of books that twist together fairy tales and other classic stories.
Book one is called The Wishing Spell. Here’s the blurb:
Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change.
When the twins’ grandmother gives them a treasured fairy-tale book, they have no idea they’re about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven’t ended in this magical land—Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive,
Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom,and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?
These books use characters and motifs from Grimm’s fairy tales, but they also draw upon L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, Mother Goose nursery rhymes, J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, with characters journeying to the fantastical realms of Oz, Neverland and Wonderland.
And while we’re on the subject of playing with fairy tales… I recently revisited one of my absolute favourite childhood books this week, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. I read this to my five year old son for the first time (also my first time as an adult- I hadn’t seen a copy of this book for many years) and found that everything I loved about it as a child was still there, namely, the way it turned traditional fairy tale characteristics- marauding dragon, daring rescue, marriage and happily ever after- completely upside down. Years ago the little writer and the little feminist in me was already taking notes, I think. I still enjoy writing stories that twist and play with other tales. And I love reading books like that, too.
What about you? What books really got you as a child? Do you still like similar stories as an adult?