Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin; illustrated by Bethan Woolvin. 2017. Gouache on cartridge paper. Published by Peachtree.
Brief summary: Rapunzel lives in a tower all by herself except for the witch who visits and cuts bits of Rapunzel’s beautiful hair to buy riches. As the witch leaves, she warns Rapunzel that there will be a terrible curse upon her if she escapes. Rapunzel is not afraid and climbs out the tower using her golden hair as a rope. She secretly goes in and out of the tower with the help of a forest friend. The witch finds a leaf in Rapunzel’s hair and threatens the girl again as she climbs out the window for the last time.
Comments: Another great retelling of a fairy tale by Bethan Woollvin where the damsel is not helpless and is able to get out of the bad situation on her own. Illustrations are done in black, gray, and yellow. I look forward to this author doing more fairy tales.
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney; illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 2017. Watercolor. Published by Little, Brown and Company.
Brief summary: (Traditional version). A small billy-goat wants to get over the bridge to the grassy hills on the other side of the bridge. A troll living under the bridge hears TRIP, TRAP! TRIP TRAP! and jumps out from underneath threatening to eat the little goat. The troll decides to let him go, because the next goat would be a bigger and better meal according to the little goat. The middle-sized goat is in the same situation and tells the troll to let him go and eat the biggest goat. The greedy troll lets him go too and shortly meets the largest billy-goat. The largest goat rams the bridge’s gate open. The troll yells that he is going to eat the goat right up. The goat dares him. The troll is charged and rammed over the bridge in which it encounters a surprise. The goats and herd go back and forth on the bridge eating the wild, green grass.
Comments: I have never been disappointed with any folklore Jerry Pinkney retells and illustrates. His water color illustrations are superb and so detailed. There is an artist’s note in the back of this book and a left hand/right hand foldout. I urge new librarians to try to purchase all of his folklore books as an excellent addition to the library’s collection: The Lion and the Mouse, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Grasshopper and the Ants, Puss in Boots, Three Little Kittens, Little Red Riding Hood, The Little Red Hen, The Ugly Duckling, and many more. Everything he touches is gold. One of my favorite illustrators.
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Brief summary: A modern, courageous Little Red walks to her Grandma’s and meets a wolf who does not scare her. When she enters her Grandma’s house later on in the story and sees the wolf dressed up as her relative, she pretends to go along. The wolf tries to eat her which does not go well for the beast, since the wise little girl brought an ax inside with her. No damsel in distress for this girl! The ending does show her wearing a wolf cape and not a little red riding hood cape.
Comments: I got a kick out of this version of Little Red Riding Hood, because the little girl was not going to be a victim or in the need of a huntsman to save her. She saved herself. The grandmother is not so lucky. I plan to use this with my primary students making sure they hear the version that the Grandmother gets saved and/or wolf runs away first and then this variant. I hope to see more fairy tale variants with these strong girl characters from Bethan Woolvin in the future.
Brief summary: A rich merchant has three daughters and lives well until he loses his fortune causing them to live in a small cottage. He receives news that one of his ships is found. He leaves his daughters with high hopes, but all of the cargo is used to pay off his debts. The father returns on his long journey empty-handed and exhausted stopping by a castle in the middle of a storm where he eats and stays overnight never seeing his host. He takes a rose as he leaves causing a beast to appear furious with the thief. The beast tells the father he will die unless the man switches places with one of his daughters which ends up to be Beauty. She arrives frighten of the beast but learns to love him over many dinners. The beast asks for her hand in marriage, but she refuses longing to see her sick father. He allows her to go for a week if she promises to return. She is overdue a few days and rushes back to find him dying, but he is revived by her kiss and turns back into a prince. They marry.
Comments: There are little twists and differences from the popular Disney version. The oil illustrations are stunning and capture the essence of the fairy tale. This is an excellent addition to any library.
Brief Summary: Mama has been taken by a fox. Two chicks trained in the art of jujitsu come home to find Papa missing as well. They discover a feather and go to look for him carefully dropping breadcrumbs as they journey into the forest. They come across a house made of cornbread and start pecking at it not realizing until it is too late that it belongs to the fox. He captures Hensel putting the chick into a crate with Papa. Gretel attacks and everyone escapes the fox.
Comments: This is a fractured fairytale with bold illustrations full of energy. There are two sisters instead of a brother and sister. Both boys and girls enjoy these fractured fairy tales in my school library. If you like this one, there are more in the series: