Last week, I highlighted our favorite picture book versions of fairy tales. This week I want to focus on what I truly love (more so than the originals)–fairy tale retellings!
Robin McKinley’s Beauty is the first fairy tale retelling I ever read. I loved how it fleshed out details, made the characters easier to like and empathize with, how it made sense. Since then, I’ve always been drawn to fairy tale retellings: Mercedes Lackeys’ Elemental Masters series which marry reimagined fairy tales with elemental magic in Edwardian England; Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted which finally finally gave a more plausible reason for Cinderella’s predicament (besides an unnaturally meek personality!); yes, even the movie Ever After, hopelessly utopian and impractical ideals and all (not to mention that wince-inducing line about Danielle being taught by a master swordsman—who died when she was…. eight?); Jim Hines’ The Stepsister Scheme featuring a trio of kick-ass princesses.
What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? I’m always on the lookout for more!
Can’t get enough of fairy tales? Check out SurLaLune for annotated fairy tales; Andrew Lang’s various color-named fairy books at Project Gutenberg; plus some e-zines: Cabinet des Fees, Enchanted Conversation and New Fairy Tales.
Any other great online fairy tale resources I missed?
Megs - Scattered Bits says
Can’t think of any you missed, but I’m with you. I ADORED Ella Enchanted. My definite favorite retelling. And Ever After was fun, even if it had some moments that made me go “yeah, right.”
I think my other favorite would be… What was it called? Well, it turned all the fairytales on their ears and it had five stories in it and one was about how “Beauty” was not beautiful at all and the “Beast” was cursed to be terribly beautiful. I loved it.
Mmm, no idea, but that reminded me of the politically-correct bedtime stories book that did something similar. 😀
Oh, I also forgot to mention that Patricia Wrede retelling of Sleeping Beauty (short story) that was so beautiful and sad that I had a lump in my throat by the end of it!
I also should say that the retellings I could *not* get into are those by Gregory Maguire (sp?). I tried his Snow White one (Mirror, Mirror) and could not like the characters at all. 😛
robin cornett says
How about “The Goose Girl” by Shannon Hale (of “The Princess Academy”)? She has some other fairy tale type stories but that may be the only actual retelling. Gail Carson Levine has more beyond “Ella Enchanted”, as well–“Fairest” is the one I can think of off the top of my head.
Oh, I haven’t read The Goose Girl, but I loved Princes Academy. I need to hunt down a copy of it!
I love Angela Carter’s retelling of fairy tales. Definitely not for kids – provocative, sensual, and amazing writing.
I’ll look into her work. Thanks for the rec, and for stopping by!