Friday, January 4, 2013

Jacob Grimm's Birthday: Fairy Tales

The Brother's Grimm did many things, including starting work on what would become the German equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary, but their names are forever linked with their collections of fairy tales. These stories were part of the oral tradition and the Grimm's made it part of the written one. Today's authors are still finding inspiration in this rich and compelling body of literature.

Shannon Hale is one of my favorite re-tellers of fairy tales, often using stories that aren't well-known. The Goose Girl retells the story of the same name, and has spawned several companion novels and sequels that aren't retellings. Book of a Thousand Days takes on "Maid Maleen," setting it in a world based on Mongolia in the Middle Ages.


"Twelve Dancing Princesses" is a tale that is not often told to children, but gets a lot of play in retellings aimed at teens.

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier sets the tale in Transylvania, adding in another fairy tale favorite as well as local folklore.

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George has the princesses dancing to pay off a debt incurred by their late mother. Its sequels tell other tales, Princess of Glass looks at Cinderella and Princess of the Silver Woods is based on Little Red Riding Hood.

The Night Dance by Suzanne Wynn is part of Simon and Schuster's wonderful Once Upon a Time series. This one combines the tale with King Arthur, as the princesses are daughters of Vivienne (the Lady of the Lake) and their dancing is a distraction caused by Morgan Le Fey, so they cannot rescue their mother.

Entwined by Heather Dixon features twelve princesses who love to dance and end up dancing in the enchanted realm each night as a way to rebel against the harsh rules of mourning that they live under during the day.

Rumplestiltskin is such an odd tale. In The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, Vivian Vande Velde shows us everything that's wrong with it, and then gives us several new versions, giving the reader several answers to the stories many questions. (For a similar take on Red Riding Hood, check out her Cloaked in Red.)

A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce sets the tale in England, as the miller's daughter tries everything she can to save the mill from the coming Industrial Revolution.

The Crimson Thread is another one of Suzanne Weyn's titles in the Once Upon a Time series. This one sets Rumplestiltskin in the teeming tenement slums of lower Manhattan in the 1800s.

Much of The Witch's Boy by Michael Gruber focuses on Rumplestiltskin's early life, exploring how and why he becomes someone who spins in exchange for first-borns.

As always, I welcome your additions in the comments. But, this is a HUGE category that you haven't seen the end of yet-- Charles Perrault's birthday is on January 12 and Wilhelm Grimm's is on February 24, so stay tuned.

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1 comment:

  1. So psyched about this blog, Jennie!

    This isn't *exactly* on topic for the list, but Philip Pullman has a new edition of the Grimm's tales out for those interested in the source material. It has a selection of better known and less well known stories, which I appreciate so much more than the giant books of a thousand stories, half of which make no sense. Pullman sticks very close to the original language, but his deft touch as a storyteller is apparent, too.


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