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Kiersten White Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by You might not remember Elizabeth Frankenstein — I didn’t — but she was the original bride of Frankenstein — Victor Frankenstein — and things didn’t go so well for her. […]

Tales as old as time

Retellings can offer teenagers an accessible entrée into classic literature and lore, and the best of them also connect with today’s readers through timeless themes and issues. These four new titles — including a graphic novel and one in verse — repackage centuries-old source material into books that will resonate with today’s young adults. Sara […]

Review of Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Andrea Offermann Middle School, High School    Candlewick    134 pp. 3/17    978-0-7636-5939-4    $19.99    g The storyline of this graphic novel retelling of a twelfth-century epic poem is straightforward enough: after slaying Sir Esclados, Sir Yvain, a young knight-errant from […]

Review of Bull

Bull by David Elliott High School    Houghton    188 pp. 3/17    978-0-544-61060-6    $17.99    g There’s little grand or heroic in Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt. The story unrolls in the voices of seven characters, each with his […]

Review of Snow White

Snow White by Matt Phelan; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    216 pp. 9/16    978-0-7636-7233-1    $19.99 Phelan has visited the 1930s Dust Bowl in The Storm in the Barn (rev. 11/09), early-1900s vaudevillian Buster Keaton in Bluffton (rev. 11/13), and late-nineteenth-century explorers in Around the World (rev. 11/11). Here he heads off to […]

Lil’ Red: An Interactive Story app review

What’s black and white and red all over? Lil’ Red: An Interactive Story (2013; iOS and Android), Brian Main’s savvy digital retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood.” This light version of the fairy tale more or less follows the traditional trajectory but minimizes scariness. Naive Lil’ Red sets out through the woods for her grandmother’s, […]

Review of 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, […]

“Classic tales to read, love and share”

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” […]

From The Guide: Folklore (and Fakelore)

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 […]

From The Guide: Re-imagined Classics

The Guide, with its comprehensive approach to children’s book reviewing, has a unique perspective on trends in the industry. Recently there’s been a surge of upper-middle-grade and young-adult titles that re-imagine, retell, reinterpret, or just revere beloved stories. The following novels, all recommended by The Horn Book Guide, offer teen-friendly shakeups of classic fairy tales, […]