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review 2016-08-28 18:49
D'Aulaires' Book of Trolls - Ingri d'Aulaire,Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

There is some nice humor in this book about trolls. The D'Aulaires draw somewhat from Norse myth, though there are no stories of Norse gods. It is funny because you can just see Biblo going what, as you read it.


In a popular etching by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen, Henrik Ibsen walks slowly with a gentle Troll in the main street of Oslo whilst the panic-stricken population flees the giant.:


by Theoder Kittlesen.  The man in the top hat and white beard walking is Ibsen.

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review 2016-07-20 21:21
The Outspoken Princess and The Gentle Knight: A Treasury of Modern Fairy Tales -
A rather interesting collection, in particular because Zipes is not hesitant to include stories that are not traditionally happy ever after. He gets bonus points for including a Hemingway short story that is rather commenting on many things (though I think it is interesting that Hemingway wrote about a faithful bull).

There are several stand out stories. The collection starts strong with Catherine Storr's retelling of Red Riding Hood, a story that makes fun not only of stereotypes but also narrative.

The story "The Reluctant Knight" draws too much perhaps on the "Reluctant Dragon", but the story is charming in its own right. Tanith Lee even has a version of "Cinderella". It's a really good story, and showcases Lee's ability to not write like herself. It makes me miss her all the more.

There is a reverse of Beauty and the Beast, where the girl is a beast as well as the story of a princess who sets out to rescue a prince. My favorite story, however, is "The Wrestling Princess" because it is just awesome. A close second is Jane Yolen's (the Andersen of North America) "The White Seal Maid". A. S. Byatt's "Story of the Eldest Princess" is in this volume as well. Zipes did an excellent job pulling both popular fiction and literary fiction for this collection.


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review 2015-10-13 01:21
Babushka - Dawn Casey,Amanda Hall

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.


                This is a charming traditional Russian Christmas story.  Dawn Casey’s retelling of the Babushka story is truly a wonderful piece of storytelling.  The Babushka woman is similar to the American Santa Claus.  She travels the world giving children a present.  In many ways, the story is similar to that of Santa Claus. 


                Casey’s retelling is poetic without being strictly poetry.  It is childlike, but there is wonderful humor there.  In 15 pages, Babushka comes across as far more than an old woman obsessed with house work.  There is kindness and wisdom there.  The addition of a cat is brilliant.


                The combination of Casey’s story telling with Hall’s artwork reminds one of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, but with a cute facto toned down just a little and the light factor turned up.  The book gives off a feeling of warmth.  Actually, it’s like Rankin/Bass crossed with a Russian lacquer box.  Like the writing, there are wonderful details in the illustration – from the three wise men, to the sleigh, to the townsfolk.


                It’s a wonderful book.

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review 2015-09-05 20:00
Out Sept 22, 2015
The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow (Dark) - Mark Latham

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley


                This book is a little strange.  It’s partly fiction, but the important aspects aren’t.  They are, in fact, a rather good look at the sources and inspiration for Irving’s famous story, “The Headless Horseman”.        


                Latham portrays Washington Irving a la Gilliam’s Brothers Grimm, as a ghost or supernatural badass hunter, who relies more on his intelligence than his physical ability.  It’s this part of the book that falls a little flat for the adult reader.  The section might be more entertaining for a teen or pre-teen.  The story itself used to frame the information that the book transmits is geared toward the younger audience, an adult might find the story amusing enough, but there is better fiction out there.


                Latham makes connections between Irving’s story and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as well as other European traditions.  There is even background itself to the area of Sleepy Hollow and early New York State history.


                In short, I can see a teacher using this in a classroom to expand upon the legend of Sleepy Hollow.  It also would make a good Halloween present.  It also includes a further reading and viewing section.

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review 2015-05-04 23:14
Merlin and the Dragons - Jane Yolen,Kevin Kline

Kevin Kline reads Jane Yolen, what else do you need to know?

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