Posts tagged ‘fairy tales’

A MAGICAL JOURNEY

Peter, Enchantment and Stardust:The Poems

Written by William O’Brien

William O’ Brien is not only a talented storyteller but a gifted poet as well. This collection of poems is meant to accompany his children’s book, Peter, The Darkened Fairytale. In that story, Peter is the protagonist who must fight and overcome the forces of evil.

In this wonderful poetry collection, the author presents us with a mix of
lighthearted poems that inspire us with hope and love. On the other hand, we meet dragons, demons and witches waiting to snare the unwary child. O’Brien
sets the tone in his first poem, “Drawers and Doors.”

Peter,Enchantmentpic

The thoughts one thinks may not be real
And sometimes they will make you squeal
Biting, scratching, tastes hang true
Inside this book, you’ll meet things new
Must be careful, for if you fall
These evildoers will seize all.

These words present a challenge that most children will be glad to take up! There are silly poems like “Wandering Twondle” and “Cuthbert,” scary poems like “Devil’s Wish” and “Zombie Queen,” and fantasy creature poems titled, “Elves and Goblins,” and “The Vaandorg Dragon.” Some of the nature poems remind me of William Wordsworth.

Spells that dust the sleeping flowers
May just drip with April showers
In summer lands frolic and sing
Still protected by nature’s wing

One thing children always seem oblivious of is the element of time. O’Brien addresses the concept in his poem titled, “Eternal”

Fairy love
Starlight blessed
In your heart
Feel the test

Touch and wander
Your spirit through
Flowers speak
Holding new

Bash of rain
Sleet and snow
Leaves do fall
Please don’t go

Apples, chestnuts
Tease my eyes
Always there
Never dies

The author employs alliteration, personification and metaphors to make the reader feel that she is on a magical journey to a very special place. So close your eyes and lose yourself in the recesses of your mind. Tweens, teens and adults will enjoy the ride.

THE GENUINE ARTICLE

Beauty and the Beast

Written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and Marie-Michelle Joy

Illustrated by Walter Crane

BeautyandtheBeast,pic

This rendition of the classic fairy tale is based on the original eighteenth century version. No Disney elements are found here. This original version was written and distributed widely in France to protest the marriage system of the day in which women had no right to choose or refuse a mate. The original version was a full length novel written for adults, which was later shortened.

At the beginning of the tale, the reader meets a wealthy merchant who has six sons and six daughters. They live sumptuously and prosperously. Suddenly, disaster strikes. The merchant loses his home and possessions in a fire, and pirates sack his shipping business. The distraught family retreats to a poor life in a forest cottage, which is their only remaining possession. All his daughters complain with the exception of the youngest named Beauty who is determined to make their meager life a happy one. Then one day she asks her father for a favor. She longs to see one beautiful rose. The merchant sets off to find one and his journey takes him to a mysterious castle. He is left alone but treated lavishly. Suddenly an ugly beast appears. He promises to let the traveler return home if he will return with one of his daughters to live with him in the castle. The merchant reluctantly agrees.

Beauty feels responsible for her father’s plight and volunteers to return with him to the castle of the Beast where they find unexpected surprises and treasures. When it comes time for the merchant to return home, both he and his daughter are distraught. Strange dreams bring about strange occurrences. What will happen to Beauty and the Beast? Remember, I told you that this is not a classic Disney fairytale.

The illustrations are the original nineteenth century drawings by Walter Crane. They are extraordinarily detailed and magnificently colored. The reader will think herself transported to a museum. They add to the flavor of an authentic French period piece. As an adult, I enjoyed this rendition of the classic tale. I believe that tweens and teens will find this “grown-up” rendition of Beauty and the Beast a most appealing one. Available in kindle and paperback versions.

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AN ADVENTURE IN THE WOODS

Breadcrumbs

by Anne Ursu

Breadcrumbs

This book is a strange mixture of realism and fantasy. In the first part of the book, we meet Hazel, a ten year old fifth grader who is struggling to readjust. Her life has been turned upside down because her parents have recently divorced and she can no longer afford to attend private school. She is a loner who is having difficulty adjusting to her new public school. Hazel has one anchor, Her next door neighbor Jack has been her close friend for four years. They have a secret meeting place, an old abandoned house. Here they talk of dragons, castles, knights and pretend play. They skate and sled together in the Minneapolis winter. While Hazel’s mother tries to interest her in other female friends like Adelaide, Hazel only wants to spend time with Jack. Mom worries about Hazel’s troubles in school and her inability to concentrate or make new friends,

Suddenly, one day at school everything changes. Jack is hurt in the playground. Something has mysteriously landed in his eye. No one knows what happened or where the glass splinter came from. Jack disappears and Hazel searches for him. Jack is cold and mean to everyone, Hazel cannot understand why she is being shunned. Then she sees Jack walking into the forest and decides to follow him. Here is where the fantasy adventure begins in Part Two.

The reader is informed that a demon with a forty seven syllable name decided to fling an enchanted mirror into the sky which shattered into a million pieces. Strange things began to occur on earth. Personalities change, people stop working or suddenly isolate themselves. Jack developed a cold heart. Hazel knew something horrible had happened to Jack. She was determined to save him and so she walked alone into the woods at night with a backpack and a heavy heart.

Hazel saw the white witch at the edge of the forest, She knew that Jack had been lured into the woods and would never return if she could not break the spell. Now the adventure begins. Hazel faces her fears and death as she travels into the forest. She meets wolves, demons and strange creatures. Breadcrumbs has often been described as a retelling of the Snow Queen. There are elements of many other fairly tales as well like The Nightingale and The Red Shoes.

This book is written well and has beautiful language. There are many metaphors, analogies and personifications. It has been suggested for ages eight and up, but I feel much of the dark fantasy is more appropriate for children twelve and older. The struggle of the characters to find themselves and face their fears adds a level of realism to the story. Adults will find the tale intriguing and may enjoy reminiscing about their childhood struggles. Certainly, the book lends itself to lots of discussion and comparisons on the multifaceted plot and characters.

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