Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fractured Fairytales for Kids

I have a soft spot for fractured fairy tales.  I love it when authors turn predictable stories upside down and inside out for kids.  It gives children a new perspective and shows them how far they can take their imaginations.  These stories usually have a humorous twist with some satire thrown in, and who doesn't love their Jack and the Beanstalk with a side of sarcasm!

But in the end, the charm of the fractured fairytale is twofold.  They hark back to stories we know and love, and they give us an updated reminder that a good story has a moral at the end.

The moral of this week's post - go out and get your kids reading a fairytale.  They will be all the wiser for it.  I span the gamut too, from picture books to teens, so scroll through the whole post!

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Title:      The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Author:  Christopher Healy

Target:   Grades 3-6

Series:    This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
So you think you know the story of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.  You can recite Rapunzel or Snow White in your sleep, and frankly they didn’t impress you that much the first time.  Well think again!  It turns out Prince Charming has a name - can you say Gustav - and the four princes from these stories are sick and tired of the girls getting all the glory.  In an attempt to set the record straight, these four disparate princes find themselves in their own adventure.  Can they save their kingdoms, or will their own distinct personalities get in the way of their ever finding true glory?

Why I love this book:
This book is just a laugh on every page.  I have read some reviews that compare it to The Princess Bride, and I think that is an accurate description.  Some of our princes are heroic and charming, others have lead a life of pampered luxury, still others give names to their animal friends such as Leroy and Conrad, and don’t forget the prince who always runs into battle, even if there is no battle.

I love books that give us a different way of looking at something we have always taken for granted, in this case the princess stories.  How fun it is for the reader to see that the perspective changes based on who you ask, and in this case the Prince Charming's see things very differently.

Who this book is for:
Emphasis in the book is on the princes, so both boys and girls will enjoy this story.  Great for kids who like funny books.

Final thoughts:
Don’t believe every bard who comes along with a pretty tale!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link to AmazonThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Cinder

Author:   Marissa Meyer

Target:    Grades 6 and up

Series:     This is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles

What this book is about:
Ok, here goes...this is a retelling of the fairytale Cinderella, but in this case “Cinder” is a cyborg. Our prince is dealing with a plague which is threatening earth and “the ball” is his coronation ceremony after the death of his father.  The Lunar people, who inhabit the moon, have the antidote to the disease but will not provide it until the prince marries their ruler.  But the rub is that their ruler is trying to control the earth.  Cinder, our cyborg mechanic, helps the prince with an android and sparks figuratively begin to fly between them.  Will the prince’s duty outweigh his feelings for Cinder?

Why I love this book:
I know the premise sounds ridiculous and if I hadn’t seen great reviews of the book I would have probably just passed this one by.  But thankfully I did see the good reviews, because this book was terrific!  Of course knowing the story of Cinderella, I kept comparing the two, but the author did a great job of shaking it up.  The story was entertaining enough that some of the predictable parts were still a wonderful read, even if I saw them coming!

The one big surprise was the ending, which is a cliffhanger and gets you set up for the next book in the Chronicles.  I prefer it when a series wraps up the first book a little tighter!  

Who this book is for:
Really most girls will love this story, even if they are too old for fairytales.  

Final thoughts:
The story and characters are just so strong and there is nothing cute or girly about the book, despite the fact that it is a Cinderella tale!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:      The Princess Who Had No Kingdom

Author:  Ursula Jones

Target:   Kindergarten - Grade 2

What this book is about:
What are you to do if you are princess with no kingdom, and you are having a very difficult time finding it?  This is exactly the plight of our princess, as she drives in her cart, endlessly searching for her kingdom.  When she finds true love with a court jester, for whom she is the queen of his heart, she finds happiness, but her search is not over.  Can he help her find her rightful place?

Why I love this book:
First off this book is full of sly humor that made the tale absolutely charming.  It is wonderful when a book doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I absolutely loved the practicality and assuredness that our princess possessed despite the fact that a kingdom was no where in sight.

Secondly, the illustrations are so clever and engaging.  They alternate between full color drawings and silhouettes making the book very stylish and fresh.

Who this book is for:
This book is not too girly, so it can be read to both boys and girls, but the fairytale aspect may appeal more to girls.

Final thoughts:
This is a witty fairytale where the heroine feels modern and independent, despite its old world charm.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: The Princess Who Had No Kingdom  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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