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Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Stories

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  555 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In these twelve modern myths and tales for the young and the young at heart, Jane Yolen transforms the impossible into the familiar and real. Among the outlandish wonders are an Alice grown tough in Wonderland, a dear--but dead--mother’s homecoming, a bridge that longs for a goat-eating troll, and a mutiny among Peter Pan’s troops.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 15th 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Jenny Rae
Feb 26, 2017 Jenny Rae rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jane Yolen fans
Shelves: read-books-2017
Well, this 175 page took me a while to finish as you can see.
All because of cursed Watership Down that I had to read for school.
My mom bought me this book last year some time because I wanted to find some examples of short stories so that I could write one of my own to go in our school's writing contest, but never got around to it. And now this year rolls around and I am presented with the same opportunity for the writing contest, so I decided to read it to generate ideas!
It was wonderful. I enj
Mar 25, 2011 Sesana rated it liked it
A nice enough collection of middle grade short stories, without a common theme other than the genre (fantasy). I haven't read that much Jane Yolen, but usually like what I do read. The stories here were mostly decent enough, but not really memorable. I bet I would have eaten it up when I was in the target age group, though. There wasn't a truly bad story in the bunch, though Lost Girls just didn't do anything for me. I'd say the standout story in the collection was Mama Gone, an unusual vampire ...more
Danielle Palmer
Oct 20, 2016 Danielle Palmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. A few original stories, with a variety of themes, a couple of which were even a bit spooky! I liked the retellings the best, especially the retelling of Peter Pan and the one about Alice. Worth a look, but not too many "fairy" tales here
Mary Garrett
Jun 27, 2017 Mary Garrett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I began this beautiful day by finishing Jane Yolen's TWELVE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST . . . and then had breakfast. I was going to discuss favorite stories from the collection, but found I couldn’t choose, all so good, even or especially the introduction and afterward, insights into the process of creating good writing.
I’ll share a few lessons, if I can manage it without spoiling any endings. A hero needs courage and laughter, sometimes it’s bet
These were so much fun to read!! The only one I didn't like was the last one: Lost Girls. I didn't like her villainizing Peter Pan, I've always adored him growing up and even now.
Jan 18, 2017 E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
Sonja Isaacson
This review is pretty much stolen from Emilie after she wrote a recap of the Book Club of Doom's April meeting wherein we talked about the stories in this collection. But, well, edited.

Tough Alice A modern day revisit to Wonderland. Most of our group appreciated the references and clever wordplay in this story, but felt that a lot was lost from the original tone of Alice in Wonderland when taking away the Victorian context. A bookend to the collection with Lost Girls, another re-telling of a cl
Nov 02, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Twelve Impossible things before Breakfast
Jane Yolen

In these twelve amazing short stories, you get to meet amazing characters in different stories. Are these stories for everyone? there a little scary, gross, interesting in ways you can't imagine. They bring back characters from your childhood like Alice, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook that are full with imagination that brings a twist in stories! These stories are off-the-wall that even children that normally don't read fantasy will enjoy!

Lost Gir
I enjoy reading short stories, so I picked this up as a way to sample Jane Yolen, an author I somehow missed out on. A nice collection of fantasy though I didn't care for the last story in the collection, "Lost Girls." It's the story of the lost girls in Neverland. Well, we all know that there are no girls in Neverland because, as Peter explains to Wendy in the original book, girls are to clever to fall out of their perambulators the way boys do, so they never get lost. But I was willing to susp ...more
This is a short story collection selected by THE (Amazing) BOOK CLUB OF DOOM as the April 2014 selection.

This is the perfect book to hand to a middle schooler who wants to try something different, but doesn't have a lot of time on their hands or isn't all that into reading. The stories are short, the ideas are interesting, and the writing is solid.

Almost every story has something to recommend it. An idea, a turn of phrase, an image, that made me go, "that's nice." But the whole thing doesn't ho
Feb 19, 2009 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, especially girls
Writer Jane Yolen is very versatile, and some of her things I've loved (Boots and the Seven Leaguers, Wizard Hall), some I've liked, (Armageddon Summer), and some were just okay (Girl in a Cage). But I grabbed this collection of short stories for my challenge knowing that I would be bound to like at least half the stories.

The title is a reference to Wonderland, and her first story is called "Tough Alice." That could be a theme too. Don't look for any helpless, passive girls here. Not all the sto
I enjoy short stories and I enjoy fantasy fiction, especially fantasy of the kind that Jane Yolen uses in this collection of short stories. Some of the stories came to the edge of too creepy and strange, but were always pulled back by Yolen's firm sense of the purpose of fantastical stories. I'm not generally one for vampire stories, but I was quite satisfied with the story 'Mama Gone', for instance. It is not quite a traditional vampire story, but it is non-traditional in the sense that it is m ...more
Cute anthology geared towards the lower end of the Young Adult spectrum - though not quite middle grade.

There's some stand out stories that I loved and some that were rather forgettable, which is normal for this type of anthology, to be honest.

And once again, this book is riddled with OCR'd mistakes. I should not have to stare at a word wondering if that "d" is really "cl" or if the "m" is "rn" or "nn" was supposed to be "rm" - that last one took a bit of staring to figure out!

Seriously, publ
May 06, 2013 Brigitte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I'd probably give it 3.5 overall. The stories were interesting and most were pretty good...just more cutesy than I was expecting. I liked the twists she put on classic tales and the author's notes after the stories. I'm very interested in the writing process and how each author approaches it differently.
Some of the stories were confusing, though, and others just plain odd. And some had darker themes that make me think it's not quite a children's book.
But I would be willing to read something diff
This was a lot of fun! None of the stories stood out as being particularly weak, and even though this was published in 1997 it doesn't feel out of date. Yolen is clever, and I really enjoyed her plays off of classic literature (not just Alice's Adventures, but also fairy tales and Peter Pan). A couple of stories also did a pretty decent job of creeping me out!

I'm not sure what age group she was writing for, but I get the sense it was probably early- to mid-teens (the ghost stories might freak ou
May 31, 2013 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2013
All the stories in this collection are worth reading, but the best is certainly the last: "Lost Girls," which posits a version of Neverland in which all the girls who have wound up there are called "the Wendys" by Peter (who can't be bothered to remember their names). Dissatisfied with domesticity, the Lost Girls decide to go on strike. The story may upset whatever warm memories you have about Peter Pan, but it is a charming and cleverly-written tale that is fun in its own right but could also b ...more
Christine Bowles
Aug 18, 2011 Christine Bowles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-book-shelf
Jane Yolen is one of those authors that I will automatically buy the book and not read it till years later. That's what happened with this one. Being a collection of short stories I kept putting it off as a book that I could pick up at any time and read in a day when I just needed something to do. I missed out! Once again Yolen presents us with incredibly different views of stories that we have grown up with, and the result is fantastic as usual! I can't wait to read these new versions of tales ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fairy tale fans
This collection of twelve short stories is an engaging mix of fairy tale and fantasy. My favorites were "Tough Alice" and "Mama Gone."
"Tough Alice" is kind of a what-happens-next extension of Alice in Wonderland where Alice needs to find her own strength instead of waiting for someone else to save her.

"Mama Gone" is a vampire story that is part creepy and part heart-warming. Give it a look and you'll see what I mean.
May 04, 2013 Rida rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The only reason this book even got a 2 stars is because I loved the stories "The Baby-Sitter", "Mama Gone", and "Bloundeer". In that order! Jeez I seriously hated this book I mean half the time it's like WTB (B for book lol) are you talking about! It takes a lot to please me and this book wasn't it Nah-uh no way! sigh well perhaps the next book I'm reading will be good! So read at your own risk! I mean I picked this book up with HIGH hopes! Yeah all hope shattered!
May 08, 2009 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before Jane Yolen wrote about dinosaurs going to bed, she wrote fantastical fiction. This collection of short stories is compiled of modern fairy tales. In general, a child faces an obstacle (a vampire mother, invading aliens, etc.) and summons up the courage to conquer it. There are a couple of stories that are rewritten with new perspectives -- The Billy Goats Gruff from the bridge's perspective or Alice returning to Wonderland. Happy endings, clever, and well-written.
I really like Jane Yolen's longer work, but these did not show her off at her best. "The Winter King" is beautiful. "Tough Alice" is none too bad. "The Sea Dragon of Fife" is a great story, but the way it is told made it completely unbelievable for me. And good fantasy should be believable.
I don't trust the majority of these stories. Which is a shame.
Don't read more than one or two in a sitting.
Oct 01, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of twelve short stories that basically amount to fanfic based on established fairytale universes. I especially enjoyed the following stories: Tough Alice, about a more experienced Alice's adventure in Wonderland; Sea Dragon of Fife, a tale of a Scottish fishing villager and the monster plaguing his village; Bolundeers, which is one of the most oddly touching ghost stories I've read; and Lost Girls, where Darla takes the character of Wendy in Peter Pan to a whole new level.
Aug 20, 2008 Lyz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was in Stoughton, killing some time, and thought the public library would be a good place to do so (even better, the public library backs up to a WONDERFUL smelling bakery!). I picked this book off the shelf because of the _Alice in Wonderland_ quote, and it turns out that was the very thing that inspired the author! Maybe I'll get off my historical fiction kick now, and just start reading young adult literature?
Douglas Summers-Stay
Jane Yolen is uneven in quality. She has a good setup for her stories, and gets you into an interesting world with shining ideas, but doesn't always deliver a satisfying resolution. But the nice thing about short stories is even if one story leaves you feeling cheated, you don't feel cheated by very much.
Her darker stories are more powerful. I especially liked "Mama Gone."
Christian McKay
This book is worth reading for four reasons:

1. Mama Gone
2. Harlyn's Fairy
3. Sea Dragon of Fife
4. Lost Girls

The others are well-written, but never quite go anywhere. Although, I do have to tip my hat to Yolen for being able to construct a dozen complete adventures in so few pages.

If only those last eight had some gristle . . .
Not one of Yolen's better works. A few of the stories in here seem to be the same narrative with slightly different characters. Still, "Lost Girls" is a fine story, as are "Mama Gone" and "Wilding", so it's not a complete miss.

Strangely enough, all I could think of while reading this was, "I'll bet Connie Willis would have done a great job with this story." What's Connie Willis up to lately?
Joanna Brauckmann
Sep 15, 2013 Joanna Brauckmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
A lovely collection of short stories from an author that most elementary school students will recognize. I love that readers can grow with Jane Yolen from pre-school through high school. These stories are engaging, spooky, with unexpected twists and turns! Great for the upper grades when looking at literary devices and making connections to schema.
Jan 24, 2016 Lynda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This is a book of short stories which sounded interesting at the library. Now that it has been a few days, I don't remember what sounded interesting!
All of the stories were about the same to me. OK - but not great. They were all a little supernatural or magical. A lot were sad I thought.
All-in-all - didn't care for it at all.
Jo Oehrlein
I love the title and she has an intro that ties in some Carroll quotes.

There's a nice wrap-up at the end with some info on the various stories.

My favorites were the Alice sequel, the 3 billy goats gruff from the bridge's viewpoint, and the Peter Pan story. Not so fond of the spooky/scary ones with ghosts, vampires, and monsters.
*lexxiieebbyy* Gonzalez
this book is very good. at first i realized that the book is kinda based on alice im wonderland at the beginning and then towards the end, the story starts to change into it's own story. if you want to know more about this book or want to read it i belive that it is yellow 3. i had choosed this book because it was above my level, so i wanted to try something harder.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachuset ...more
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