Tag 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.

9781408864890

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.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under books, fairy tales, picture books

Stealing Snow Blog Tour Guest Post

Danielle Paige is no stranger to putting new twists on old stories.  Her Dorothy Must Die series took readers back to the land of Oz, to a land where Dorothy returned and ruined everything.  In Danielle’s new book, Stealing Snow, she shows us the origins of The Snow Queen.  Here is the blurb:

9781408872932Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave .
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate .

Danielle joins me today as part of her Stealing Snow Blog Tour to talk about her Top 5 fairy tale retellings.

cinder

1.Cinder/ Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

She had me at cyborg Cinderella and kept me with imaginative world building and a mashup of other fairy tales.  I devoured the whole series, and I forever credit her for inspiring me to take Dorothy Must Die as far as the Yellow Brick Road would take me.

tumblr_nr9syvrhlu1t1a1spo1_540

2. Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

To a writer, Shahrzad is the ultimate heroine. She is literally saving her own life, not with magic, but with the power of her storytelling. Every night she must tell her story to Khalid or she will be killed. The sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, is sitting on top of my TBR pile.

y648

3. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Not a straight up retelling, more a reimagining.  Chainani treats us to the school where Malificents and Cinderellas are made. I was delighted as Sophie and Agatha find themselves in the “wrong” classes.

77493_original

4. A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Beauty and the Beast is a forever fave, and Sarah is such a master of action and romance.

wickedbookcover

5. Wicked by Gregory McGuire

Wicked showed every reteller how it is done. Setting the bar and exploring the world of Oz way before my Dorothy stepped onto the Yellow Brick Road.

the-isle-of-the-lost-melissa-de-la-cruz

Bonus: The Descendants series by Melissa de la Cruz

All the Disney feels. The second generation of villains and royals is just perfection.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige is out now from Bloomsbury.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Guest Post, young adult, young adult fiction

The Last Book Before Bedtime by Nicola O’Byrne

I’m a huge fan of Nicola O’Byrne’s books.  Both Open Very Carefully and Use Your Imagination are absolute winners, especially for reading aloud to big groups of kids.  Her illustrations are colourful and full of character and I just love the style of them.  Nicola’s books get better and better, and her latest book from Nosy Crow, The Last Book Before Bedtime just goes to prove this.

The Last Book Before Bedtime-23148-3-456x579

Everyone knows that the very last story before bed is the best story of all. But the problem is, everyone wants to be in that very last story! A familiar fairy tale is turned topsy-turvy when Cinderella hijacks the story of The Three Little Pigs, then Little Red Riding Hood jumps in, adamant that her story is better because it’s full of danger. And then the Big Bad Wolf turns up too! But disaster strikes! Uh-oh! What will they do? The reader is still awake and needs a story! The characters make up their own story, of course, and one with enough funniness, romance, danger AND cake (obviously) to keep everyone happy.

The Last Book Before Bedtime should be called The Perfect Book Before Bedtime because this is the perfect bedtime story.  It’s got characters from lots of different stories that children will know, from The Three Little Pigs to Cinderella. The person reading gets to do all sorts of voices, from pigs to little girls and a wolf.  You can really make the book come alive with all these voices.

As well as the story that is being narrated each of the characters has little speech bubbles that add to the story.  Number 2 Pig is always hungry and looking for food (‘Who cares?! There’s a banquet in this story’), Cinderella is bossy (‘If I can’t be the star of the story, then NOBODY can!), and of course the wolf is always doing bad stuff (‘Ooooh, this is fun! I love a chance to be bad.).  One of the things I love most about Nicola’s books is the interaction between the book, the characters and the reader.  There is plenty of interaction in this book, especially towards the end.

Nicola’s illustrations are wonderful as always.  They are full of fun and silliness, and each of the characters jump off the page.  I love the way that Nicola has given each of the pigs a different personality and how Little Red and Cinderella have some real personality.  I really love the design of the book too, from the cut-out cover to the way that the characters stand out on the page.

If you are looking for the perfect book before bedtime (or to really perform for a group) you can’t go past The Last Book Before Bedtime.  It’s sure to lead you on to many, many more bedtime stories.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, funny, picture books

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. 

Leave a comment

Filed under competition, fairy tales

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.

1 Comment

Filed under fairy tales

Chris Colfer introduces The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell is the debut novel from Chris Colfer (Kurt from Glee).  It’s a beautiful book and I’m loving the story.  If you like books about books, like Inkheart, or fairy tales it’s the perfect book for you.  Available now in NZ.

2 Comments

Filed under books, children, children's fiction, fantasy, Intermediate Fiction (11+)

10 Fairy Tales That Are Politically Incorrect

One of my wonderful followers, Tania, sent me a link to an interesting article that she published on her website recently.  The article highlights how fairy tales have evolved and been sanitised over time, and looks at how politically incorrect some of these fairy tales are.  It’s an interesting and humorous read so you should definitely check it out.  Here’s just a couple of examples from the article:

  • Red Riding Hood – “Sam ‘The Sham’ and the Pharaohs” admonished Red, singing that she shouldn’t “. . .go walking in these spooky old woods alone”. Good advice for a small child who was sent, unattended by a parent, to visit an aging relative who was probably in need of 24-hour in-home care. Of course, there is also the wolf, a stalker and an abuser of the elderly.
  • The Pied Piper – The Piper of the tale was obviously a cult-leader who had lured not only the rats, but also the children of the beleaguered township of Hamelin. The Pied Piper obviously had anger-management issues, which might have been addressed with classes and counseling in a modern version of the story.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention Tania!

Leave a comment

Filed under books, children