“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


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 […]

Snow White app review

snow white menu

The latest in Nosy Crow’s series of fairy-tale adaptation apps (which includes The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk) is Snow White, released last week. Snow White employs the same winning formula of the other series entries: cheerful illustrations and animation; witty humor; well-integrated interactivity; straightforward navigation; charming […]

Far Far Away

far far away

Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

From the Guide: Folklore (and Fakelore)

andersen_snow queen

In her article “Folklore vs. Fakelore, the Epic Battle,” Jane Yolen rejects the derision of “fake folklore,” tracing the tangled and not-so-folky histories of many tales we think of as folklore. Whether they’re straight abridgments, tamed retellings, or silly twists on well-known tales, the following books, all recommended in the spring and fall 2014 issues […]

Review of Very Little Red Riding Hood

heapy_very little red riding hood

Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy; illus. by Sue Heap Preschool    Houghton    32 pp. 9/14    978-0-544-28000-7    $16.99 In this re-imagining, Little Red is a toddler. She’s affectionate, stubborn, imperious, and has no time for the intimidation techniques of the wolf. “No touch my cakes!” She hugs him, calls him Foxie, and proceeds to […]