Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Modern/Retold/Very Good Fairy Tales, Myths & Legends

I would suggest going to the library and loading up on a bunch of these, most read quickly and smoothly.  I would then suggest a comparison.  My mother-daughter book club did this one summer on a retreat and found it insightful.  There are many more modern/retold fairy tales that are not included on this list.  You should also look for other books by these authors. 

Robin Hood/ Maid Marian

Robin’s Country by Monica Furlong (author of Wise Child, etc.)- also enjoyed by Jake, an outsider’s view of Robinhood.  Can be read by an elementary student. 

The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson- Marian’s believable story about her coming of age, growth, and finding her own place in a community of the poor and forgotten.  

Lady of the Forest and Lady of Sherwood both by Jennifer Roberson- Marian’s tale but each chapter rotates to follow a different character.  This book gets into more of the details of various stories and legends surrounding Marian and Robin.  A slightly longer read.  For high school plus readers. 

The Outlaws of Sherwood (Robinhood/Maid Marian), Beauty* and Rose Daughter* (both Beauty and the Beast tales) Deerskin (for older readers) all by Robin McKinley and very good, especially for comparison.  Honestly, check out anything by McKinley and try it. 

Classic Fairy Tales

Zel* (a Rapunzel story that puts the witch in new light), Sirena (a little-mermaid tale), The Prince of the Pond* and sequels, Spinners (a Rumpelstiltskin story), and others by Donna Jo Napoli.  The Prince of the Pond is wonderful for elementary students and/or read aloud.  It is told from the point of view of the prince as frog. 

The Mer-child by Robin Morgan- a very short mermaid story I found on my shelf.  

Ella Enchanted* by Gail Carson Levine- this isn’t my very favorite Cinderella, but it’s a classic one and recommended by many, though stay away from the movie!  Suggested for younger readers. 

Just Ella* by Margaret Peterson Haddix-my very favorite Cinderella.  This version puts the story into a more realistic setting and portrays true beauty knowledge. 

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times by James Finn Garner- a very short but funny book.  I lent my copy to a friend and never got it back; hopefully it’s circling among the stars.  There are also sequels. 

Wildwood Dancing and Cybele’s Secret, further sequels planned by Juliet Marillier.  Marillier’s foray into the Young Adult market, this book uses aspects of the twelve dancing princesses.  Though I didn’t like it as much as her other work, it is much better than Sevenwaters for a High School audience and Maddie Sawyer, whose opinion of books I place in high regard, loved it (she read it as an 8th grader). 

The Sisters Grimm by illustrated by Peter Ferguson- This series has the best packaging and covers of any literary children’s series.  It draws on classic fairy tales and classic literature to create a literary children’s version of the comic book Fables.  Each book is a complete mystery following the adventures of two sisters.  For elementary students plus.  

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