Allow me to issue this disclaimer first- As a general rule, I do NOT like short stories. At all. There are a FEW exceptions, but if this book hadn't w...moreAllow me to issue this disclaimer first- As a general rule, I do NOT like short stories. At all. There are a FEW exceptions, but if this book hadn't won the Printz Honor, I would never have even considered trying to read it.
This is not a book I enjoyed. It took me MONTHS to get through this book, and it's really not very big. The stories were odd and didn't flow well. In almost every story, we are dropped right into the middle of the story, but because they are so short, we never actually get much of the back story. About any of it. We get little hints and suggestions dropped here and there, but it was all just too weird for me. We don't get explanations for choices characters make (like a 12 year old going for a walk away from the poor "town" that he lives in, into the big city and then just NOT coming back for 12+ years).
I'm sure that there is a market for this book, but I'm definitely not one of them. (less)
I love the names of the stories, and the illustrations were beautifully disturbing. With regards to the writing, the book just got better and better....moreI love the names of the stories, and the illustrations were beautifully disturbing. With regards to the writing, the book just got better and better. It started out a little slow, and in the beginning, I wasn't overly impressed. The first story was the tale of Rapunzel, told by the witch. You got to know and understand the witch a little better, but overall I felt it was rather lackluster.
Next was the Pied Piper, and while it was better, it didn't feel overly new or original. The best part of that story was understanding what the Piper played that brought every child in the village running to keep up.
The Pied Piper was good start (Rapunzel was only so-so...) but I became fully engrossed in the collection of stories with Hansel and Gretel. This story takes one of the fairy tales that I've always felt ends pretty happily, and causes it to flirt heavily with the darker side of human nature. The worst part about that, it that the ending to this story is more likely what would have happened than the ending usually told. This story, and Cinderella are, in my opinion, the darkest of the 7 stories collected here.
Cinderella is next, and this story is told by the prince, something that I have never seen before. The prince in Cinderella gets a pretty bad rap. He always seems to be a rather spineless sap... But here, he is a stronger character, one who is easily understood and very easy to sympathize with. It is others in the story who need a closer look and what one finds with that look is not pleasant. I truly pitty the prince in this story.
Jack and the Beanstalk is story number 5, and in this we learn how the giant received his magical playing harp, and what became of her after Jack (who is perhaps not so heroic as one might have previously assumed) takes her away from the giant's home, and also explains why the stories often have the harp crying out for help from the master, awakening him from his slumber.
Snow White comes next, and was perhaps the most tragic of all the stories and the one I felt was written with the most emotion. I've never imagined how hard it must have been for the dwarfs before... (Lust)
The final story tells the story of the infamous ride of Lady Godiva. While not a fairy tale, it is a myth/legend. However, as this slight misfit of the type of tale it is, this story doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the stories in the collection. Each of the other stories in this collection explore some of the darkest aspects of human nature, but this one, although beautifully written, did not. It doesn't begin as a happy tale, but it ends perfectly. I really enjoyed the retelling, but I think it would probably have fit better inside a different collection.
All in all, I was very impressed with this collection of tales. I don't normally love short stories, but these were beautifully written, and most of them were rather brilliant. (less)
Some of these stories were a little strange, and some hard to get into. Short stories aren't my favorite, but I did enjoy these. I loved that one of t...moreSome of these stories were a little strange, and some hard to get into. Short stories aren't my favorite, but I did enjoy these. I loved that one of the stories takes place in Damar! I love being transported back there! (less)
Most of this book was so bad it was painful. The dialogue was trite and weak at best, the language and writing in general cheesy and dull, and the plo...moreMost of this book was so bad it was painful. The dialogue was trite and weak at best, the language and writing in general cheesy and dull, and the plot lines unfulfilled and uninspired. None of the stories had any true resolution to them, some worse than others. The Madison Avery story was the worst in terms of no resolution. The author started something like 5 plot lines without finishing a single one of them. At all. None of the stories truly resolved the conflict with the characters, except, maybe, The Corsage, and to some degree, Hell on Earth. Overall, it was just so much awful.
** Ok, so I just found out that the worst story of the bunch is the beginning of a series, (Madison Avery) which makes me hate it a little bit less. Still don't love it, but it makes sense now why nothing much was resolved. But, I think it's an annoying way to write a short story. (less)
Tales from Silver Lands by Charles J. Finger won the John Newbery Award in 1925. I didn't know anything about the book when I picked it up other than it's Newbery, but I must say, I was quite pleasantly surprised by what I found.
I have always loved Fairy Tales. Like, a lot. If you remember, a few weeks ago I talked about my first experience reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, which helped cement my love for reading them as well. (If you are really interested, click here, and you can go back and read it.) So, imagine my delight when I realized this was a collection of 19 fairy tales recorded by Finger from South America. Although I'm not nearly as knowledgeable about other countries and their rich cultural histories as I'd like to be, I'm always open to learning more. And I think you can learn a lot about a society from their fairy tales and children's stories.
This was a real treat for me to read, and one I'm definitely looking forward to adding to my shelves and rereading, not only for myself but also to read to kids. I used to read some of the Grimm's fairy tales to my little brothers as a bedtime story, and I'd love to be able to add these tales to stories I can read/tell to young kids.
Although some of these stories might be classified as more mythology than fairy tale, I felt the same way reading these as I did reading the classic fairy tales. There's that sense of magic and possibility, where you know anything can happen, and although things might get a little rough along the way, and there probably won't be super happy ending, the good guys do win in the end.
I also noticed that the emphasis of each tale was placed on the struggles of each character rather than the resolution. The ending is always over so quickly. Normally, this is something that is a major no-no in writing, I mean, seriously. Who wants to read a 400 pg. build up to a 4 paragraph resolution?! But it seems to work in fairy tales. The stories aren't about what happens, it's about learning how to get there. We see their struggles, know their challenges and then we get to know they end up relatively alright in the end.
This is definitely a book I would recommend. The writing is a little older, but to anyone who is a fan of fairy tales in their original setting (or people who want to write a fairy tale retelling but are wanting new material) this is a great book to read and one that I strongly recommend.(less)
I enjoyed these stories a lot more than I thought I would. I was originally interested in this book because it is a compilation of short story fairy t...moreI enjoyed these stories a lot more than I thought I would. I was originally interested in this book because it is a compilation of short story fairy tale retellings. I love fairy tales, and thought it would be a great read. Then, I read the first story, and put the book back on my shelf for about a year. I picked it up again, and I really liked it! There were some retellings that I didn't really care for, but overall I really liked this book, and thought that most of the retellings were very well written, and some had suprisingly well developed characters considering they were all short stories.(less)
This book felt like a waste of time. I love fairy tale retellings, but this was just annoying. I didn't like the writing, and the stories were... not...moreThis book felt like a waste of time. I love fairy tale retellings, but this was just annoying. I didn't like the writing, and the stories were... not good. I am not a fan. Ugh...(less)
I absolutely LOVED these books growing up! I read tons of them! So fun! If you'd like to read more about my memories with Encyclopedia, check out my b...moreI absolutely LOVED these books growing up! I read tons of them! So fun! If you'd like to read more about my memories with Encyclopedia, check out my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.(less)
I really enjoyed reading these stories. I thought they were quite well done, and really had a fairy tale feel to them. Reading the author's note at th...moreI really enjoyed reading these stories. I thought they were quite well done, and really had a fairy tale feel to them. Reading the author's note at the beginning of the book added a lot to my enjoyment of this book, because it helped put me in the right fram of mind. There are a lot of holes to the story of Rumplestiltskin, and I really enjoyed reading the different ways the author filled in the blanks. I don't usually love short stories, and the more I've read lately, the more disappointed I've become. However, each of these stories read like a fairy tale, they just happened to have a few different details. All in all, it was an easy read, but a very enjoyable one all the same. I recommend it. It takes a lot of imagination to be able to write 6 incredibly unique versions of the same story. (less)
I was a little disappointed by this book, but then I generally am with collections of short stories. There just ins't enough time to develop the story...moreI was a little disappointed by this book, but then I generally am with collections of short stories. There just ins't enough time to develop the story, the characters, or the relationships. You miss out on so much. I felt like several of these stories were incomplete and needed to share more information. However there was also something that felt right about the way they were written and the way they were told. I felt like the author tried to use a narrative voice that would read like the original fairy tales, but I also felt that sometimes she tried too hard, that she didn't just let it happen that way, but forced it that way. Not as good as I'd hoped, but not bad either. I think I'd be interested in reading some of her actual novels because I liked what I glimpsed of the writing, and would like to see how she writes a full story, not just a peak around the corner.(less)
This was not my favorite. Some of the retellings were great, some were not at all, and some were merely ok. I was a little disappointed by the 12 Danc...moreThis was not my favorite. Some of the retellings were great, some were not at all, and some were merely ok. I was a little disappointed by the 12 Dancing Princesses retelling. It is my favorite fairy tale, and I liked this version a lot, but there was almost nothing new or unique about it at all. Very little was original, so it felt like the original tale with a tiny, tiny bit more information. Overall it was good, and fun, but not my favorite, and a little disappointing. (less)
I liked these stories. They are very interesting, and wow- Holmes is brilliant! I kept wanting to say- Truly, you have a dizzying intellect. ;) All in...moreI liked these stories. They are very interesting, and wow- Holmes is brilliant! I kept wanting to say- Truly, you have a dizzying intellect. ;) All in all, I liked the stories. There were times when Doyle's writing would get just a little dull, but it always picked up. I must say though- Sherlock Holmes sure is pompous and arrogant! But, I still like him!(less)
The book I have is called Great Tales of Horror, by Poe, but they don't have that copy on here. I really enjoyed reading this. It was very... interest...moreThe book I have is called Great Tales of Horror, by Poe, but they don't have that copy on here. I really enjoyed reading this. It was very... interesting. Some of the stories were a little wordy, and some were very concise. I did enjoy it though. Poe is definitely an interesting, and rather disturbing man...(less)
Creepy! Stories like this make me want to go to Grad school for an advanced degree in psychological research. I would love to understand what makes th...moreCreepy! Stories like this make me want to go to Grad school for an advanced degree in psychological research. I would love to understand what makes the mind tick. Poe had a creepy-crazy accurate view and depiction of human nature. Stories like this when coupled with The Cask of Amantiliado?! Brilliant. (less)