Category Archives: fairy tales

There Is No Dragon In This Story by Lou Carter and Deborah Allwright

Like wolves, dragons get a pretty back rap in stories.  They guard castles, hoard gold and are generally just a menace.  Did you ever think that maybe the dragon might like to have their own story where they do something good?  In Lou Carter and Deborah Allwright’s wonderful new picture book, There Is No Dragon In This Story, Dragon sets off to find his own story in which he can be the hero.

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This story was supposed to be a story about a dragon who captured a princess and was defeated by a brave knight.  However, Dragon refuses to capture ‘any icky, frilly princess’ and sets off to be the hero of his own story.  Dragon walks in to the stories of several fairy tale characters, including the Gingerbread Man, the Three Little Pigs and Jack, but they all tell him ‘No. There is NO DRAGON in this story!’ When the giant sneezes and blows out the sun, there is only one character who can save the day and become the hero.

There Is No Dragon In This Story is a wonderful fairy tale mix-up about a classic villain who just wants to be a hero.  The reader follows Dragon through stories they are familiar with, all the while hoping that Dragon will find his place in a story.  Dragon starts off feeling quite hopeful that he could just slot in to someone else’s story but ends up despondent because nobody wants a dragon in their story.  I love the boost of confidence that he gets when he realises that he is the only one that can help and he knows that he can do it.  It shows kids that when they put their mind to it they can achieve what they set out to do.

Lou Carter’s story is wonderful to read aloud.  There are plenty of different characters so there are lots of opportunities to try different voices.  The story would work well with children acting out the different parts.  Deborah Allwright’s illustrations are full of colour and humour.  She really brings out the joy and confidence of Dragon and portrays the fairy tale characters we love in a new light.  Even when the characters are left in the dark she still manages to make the characters shine.

There are so many ways you could extend the fun of this story.  You could get children to recreate Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs with Dragon in the story.  Get them thinking about how you could make Dragon the hero in each of these fairy tales.  Children could write their own stories where Dragon is the hero and even think about other villains that they could turn in to heroes, like the Wicked Witch or The Big Bad Wolf.

Grab a copy of There Is No Dragon In This Story now and help Dragon become the hero.

 

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Win a copy of The Singing Bones

Shaun Tan’s new book, The Singing Bones is a truly breath-taking book!  To hold this book in your hands is like holding a portable art exhibition.  You can read my review and see some sample pages right here on the blog.

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Melinda. 

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The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

As a kid I remember being freaked-out watching Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, to the extent that I had nightmares about it.  One of those stories that has stuck in my head is Hans the Hedgehog, one of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.  When I first saw Shaun Tan’s new book The Singing Bones I was reminded of the dark tales that Jim Henson told, especially when I saw the sculpture that Shaun had created for the Hans My Hedgehog story.  In The Singing Bones Shaun Tan brings Grimms’ fairy tales to life like never before.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

The Singing Bones is a truly breath-taking book!  To hold this book in your hands is like holding a portable art exhibition.  Shaun has taken 75 fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and created a sculpture to perfectly capture the tone of the story.  Shaun Tan has said that ‘…there’s a strong sense in every story collected by the Brothers Grimm that the separation between the waking and the dreaming worlds is actually quite thin, that they bleed into each other…Strung between the real and the unreal, the literary and the impossible, convincing and absurd.’  Shaun’s sculptures certainly look like they come from some sort of dream place.  Each of the sculptures are accompanied by the title and an extract of the fairy tale.  I love just opening to a random page and seeing what fairy tale I unearth.  There are plenty of tales that I haven’t come across before and will hunt out the full story.

Take a look at a small selection of the pages from this breath-taking book:

Little Red Cap

Little Red Cap by Shaun Tan, from The Singing Bones published by Allen and Unwin

Snow White by Shaun Tan, from The Singing Bones published by Allen and Unwin

Snow White by Shaun Tan, from The Singing Bones published by Allen and Unwin

The Singing Bone by Shaun Tan, from The Singing Bones published by Allen and Unwin

The Singing Bone by Shaun Tan, from The Singing Bones published by Allen and Unwin

Each of Shaun’s sculptures are created by papier mâché and air-drying clay, which is then carved back and painted with acrylics, oxidised metal powder, wax and shoe polish.  My favourite sculptures are The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, Rumpelstiltskin, All Fur, and Hans My Hedgehog (let’s face it they’re all stunning!).

The Singing Bones is aimed more at adults, rather than children, as I’m sure some children will be scared by the illustrations.  Having said this, I think that the sculptures would make great story starters as they are sure to fire imaginations.  It is a beautiful book to treasure, especially for those who love fairy tales or how are fans of the incredibly talented Shaun Tan.

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I Can’t Wait For…The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

I’m a huge Shaun Tan fan.  I love his stories and his artwork is always stunning.  The Arrival is one of my absolute favourite books because of the way that Shaun tells his incredible story using just illustrations.  I was excited to hear that Allen and Unwin were going to be publishing a very special Shaun Tan book in October, The Singing Bones.  It is a collection of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales and it’s unlike any of Shaun’s previous books as he has created sculptures to illustrate each fairy tale.  I’ll be reviewing it soon and I hope to be able to show you some of the spreads from inside the book.

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan’s extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

The Singing Bones is published by Allen and Unwin in October.  You won’t want to miss this incredible book!

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