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From The Guide: Folklore (and Fakelore)

andersen_snow queenIn 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 of The Horn Book Guide, carry on time-tested folklore traditions.

—Katrina Hedeen
Assistant Editor, The Horn Book Guide

Andersen, Hans Christian  The Snow Queen
32 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper     2013     ISBN 978-0-06-220950-4

Gr. K–3  Illustrated Bagram Ibatoulline. A successful abridgement (without attribution) of Andersen’s original — omitting the Christian content — this complex picture book is marked by Ibatoulline’s dramatic acryl-gouache paintings combining realism and fantasy. Gerda and Kai’s great friendship remains at the heart of the story, and Gerda’s journey through different lands to rescue her friend, stolen away by the Snow Queen, will engage today’s readers.

Duffy, Chris, Editor  Fairy Tale Comics
128 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second     2013     ISBN 978-1-59643-823-1

Gr. K–3  In this fine companion to Nursery Rhyme Comics, editor Duffy has chosen seventeen tales (“Puss in Boots,” “Rapunzel,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” among others) to be adapted by seventeen illustrators and cartoonists, including Raina Telgemeier, Brett Helquist, Charise Mericle Harper, and Jillian Tamaki. A wide range of tone and artistic styles results in a collection that offers something for everyone.

Engelbreit, Mary  Mary Engelbreit’s Nursery and Fairy Tales Collection
192 pp.     HarperCollins/Harper     2014     ISBN 978-0-06-228707-6

PS  Two previously published collections of fairy tales are combined in this volume. The twenty sanitized standards (including a few retellings of Andersen) take place amidst Engelbreit’s cheerful, cozy settings (even the witch preparing to eat Hansel and Gretel sports a friendly yellow-striped apron and neckerchief). Parents wanting to share the classic stories — but looking for soft edges and benign storytelling — will be comfortable with this offering.

Galdone, Paul  Cinderella
48 pp.     Houghton     2013     Reissue (1978, McGraw-Hill)     ISBN 978-0-547-98867-2

Galdone, Paul  Henny Penny
40 pp.     Houghton     2013     Reissue (1968, Seabury)     ISBN 978-0-547-90200-5

Galdone, Paul  Jack and the Beanstalk
40 pp.     Houghton     2013     Reissue (1974, Clarion)      ISBN 978-0-544-06665-6

Galdone, Paul  Rumpelstiltskin
40 pp.     Houghton     2013     Reissue (1985, Clarion)     ISBN 978-0-544-06692-2

Gr. K–3  These four reissued books appear in uniform paper-over-board editions. Galdone was a refreshingly modest illustrator: his retellings are straightforward and his unassumingly loose-lined, color-separated pictures provide just enough embellishment. Plenty of white space gives the stories all the room they need.

Glaser, Linda  Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls: A Passover Tale in Chelm
32 pp.     Whitman     2014     ISBN 978-0-8075-7620-5

Gr. K–3  Illustrated by Maryam Tabatabaei. A stranger arrives in Chelm on Passover. Let “all who are hungry come and eat,” sure, but the villagers don’t have much to share. The stranger produces a stone, promising to make matzoh ball soup…and you know the rest. Glaser’s well-cadenced text and Tabatabaei’s digital-looking art are as light as the Chelmites’ matzoh balls (“…so light they can almost fly”).

Jones, Ursula  Beauty and the Beast
32 pp.     Whitman     2014     ISBN 978-0-8075-0600-4

Gr. K–3  Illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Fairy-tale aficionados and princess-obsessed kids will all find something to love in this refined retelling. Beauty’s sincerity and innocence is nicely contrasted with her sisters’ shallowness and greed. Gibb renders many of the illustrations in profile or silhouettes, some in color and some in dramatic black-and-white with color accents. There’s lots of rich detail to pore over again and again.

Schwartz, Corey Rosen and Coulton, Beth  Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears
32 pp.     Putnam     2014     ISBN 978-0-399-25685-1

Gr. K–3  Illustrated by Nate Wragg. Never mind the porridge: while the three bears are off scouting a singer for their rock band, Goldi is more interested in their home recording studio, which she treats indelicately. Like a good song, this story has a sustained riff and solid rhymes with reliable beats. Illustrator Wragg serves up cheeky cameos by the greats — of the fairy-tale circuit, that is.

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. These reviews are from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online. For information about subscribing to the Guide and the Guide Online, please click here.

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