Review of Dark Shimmer

napoli_dark shimmer

Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli High School   Lamb/Random   358 pp. 9/15   978-0-385-74655-7   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-385-90892-4   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-375-98917-9   $10.99 Napoli’s latest fairy-tale revisioning is set amongst the beautiful homes and mysterious waters of fifteenth-century Venice. Dolce grew up on a tiny island believing that she was a monster: larger than everyone else, […]

Folktale and nursery rhyme title teasers – answers

fairy-tale-wedding-funny-pictures

Here are the solutions to this week’s Title Teasers twitter contest. It’s been lots of fun! Feel free to submit your own — we’re always up for good Storyland humor. Name the titles from Mother Goose rhymes or fairy tales. An alliterative clue is given for each. 1. forgetful felines: Three Little Kittens 2. bath […]

Folktale and nursery rhyme title teasers

fairy-tale-wedding-funny-pictures

Who remembers being tickled by our Storyland and Ask Rapunzel features? (Heads up — Ron Koertge has another Storyland entry coming up in the January/February Horn Book Magazine: “You Don’t Know Jack.”) Also, who loves Horn Book quizzes? On Twitter? You’re in luck! Author Mary Jessie Parker* has devised for us a Title Teasers quiz: Name […]

Sago Mini Fairy Tales app review

sago mini fairy tales title screen

I know I recently reviewed a Sago Mini app, but I just like them so much! And how could I resist Sago Mini Fairy Tales (December 2014), featuring two of my favorite things: fairy tales and felines? An orange, fairy-winged kitty emerges from a cottage to explore a nighttime fairyland scene. Similar to the setup […]

“Classic tales to read, love and share”

storytime issue 4

We recently received two issues of Storytime Magazine (Luma Works), a monthly British children’s magazine which launched in September 2014 with the tagline “Classic tales to read, love and share.” Each issue is filled with retellings of fairy tales and folktales, plus distillations of classic children’s novels (such as E. Nesbit’s “Five Children and It” […]

What retellings tell

carter_bloody chamber

On Monday night I went to Harvard Book Store to hear author/editor/anthologist/publisher Kelly Link speak about Angela Carter’s 1979 short story collection The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories. In May, Penguin Classics rereleased the collection in a 75th anniversary edition (the 75th anniversary of Carter’s birth, that is, not of the book’s original publication) with […]

Transformers: What Fairy Tales Tell

hepperman_poisoned apples

I don’t retell fairy tales. They retell me. Over and over again they tell me who I am, how I feel, what I believe. This process of self-discovery happens every time I write a poem, but it seems to happen most acutely when I throw on Red Riding Hood’s cloak or pull up a chair […]

What Makes a Good Fractured Fairy Tale?

The Stinky Cheese Man

Primary school–age children are ripe for enjoying literary parody, and fractured fairy tales are a great introduction. By this time, 
ideally at least, kids have listened to or read many of the classic old tales: “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” et al. It’s that familiarity with the original that makes reading or […]

Transformers: How Did Snow White Survive in That Glass Coffin?

napoli_magic circle

I often write novels based on fairy tales, folktales, myths, and religious stories. They attract me for three reasons. They have stood the test of time, and I want to harness that power. Their plots grip me so hard I can barely breathe. They challenge me: how do I interest readers in a story they […]

A Lovely Night

CINDERELLA

We saw the new Cinderella last night and you should see it too. What I loved most was that it was genuinely a children’s movie. While Cate Blanchette as the stepmother and Helena Bonham-Carter as the fairy godmother were on hand to provide some camp (and there was a PG-pushing plethora of men in tights), neither […]