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Wild Things > Fairy Tales

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message 1: by SCPL (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
I love reading fantasy; it is probably my favourite genre to read. I can still list the many fantasy authors I read as a child. However, my first introduction to fairy tales as a child was, as far as I can remember, through Disney movies. Looking back, our VHS collection included many Disney films: classic fairy tales stories including Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, along with others such as Robin Hood and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Walt Disney and subsequent Disney writers have been criticized over the years for “dumbing down” fairy tales and author states “fairy tales are popularly thought of as Pablum", because of Disney. (pg. 47) However, Handy argues in favour of the Disney versions of fairy tale. Handy points out that some of the original stories, such as Snow White, the Disney version of Snow White does not have much personality but Snow White in the Grimm version has even less. Handy also notes that if many fairy tales were told faithfully in film, they “would easily earn what Hollywood calls a “hard R” rating.” (pg. 48)

Did you have a favourite Disney adaptation as a child? Do you think we should be reading fairy tales to children in the original versions or “dumb them down” like Disney did?

message 2: by Diana (new)

Diana (librariandi) | 23 comments My favourite Disney film adaptation growing up was absolutely Beauty and the Beast - Belle was brunette like me and more importantly, who didn't want that library?! But there are so many Disney films I love. I took a fairy tale seminar in university and it was very eye-opening. Some of the tales were positively horrific and disturbing!! But they were also written in a very different time period and probably not originally intended for children. For that reason, I definitely don't think they should be read to young children! I haven't had a chance to dig into this month's selection yet but I personally see nothing wrong with Disney or other adaptations that make these age-old tales of folklore accessible to children :)

message 3: by Judee (new)

Judee | 12 comments As much as I hate the idea of messing with originality of writings, I have to agree with Disney for "dumbing them down". I don't much care for that wording either but aside from that, there seems to be a lot of harshness in so many fairy tales original versions. It's not a "sweet" fairy tale world we live in where everything is pretty and without violence, but do we really need to put that into bedtime stories for children? I much prefer to end the day with a reading of something sweet and hopeful than to have that reading include fear and violence and mean-spirited characters. There will be time enough in the real world for dealing with those things. A fairytale, in my opinion and preference, should be a happy read that triggers a happy imagination.

message 4: by SCPL (last edited Dec 12, 2018 12:29PM) (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Thank you so much for your comments Diana and Judee! In most cases, I also prefer the book over the "Hollywood" version. That being said, I would be reluctant to read some of the more graphic fairy tales to children. I also enjoy how Disney and other animated movies have been able to keep the spirit of certain fairy tales without the graphic or disturbing nature. They don't necessarily sugar coat everything but neither do people get their eyes plucked out or the feet cut off as the stepsisters do in some versions of Cinderella!

I also agree with you Diana that Beauty and the Beast has always been my favourite Disney movie. I dreamed about that Library as a child. I think my favourite fairy tale adaption though is the movie Hoodwinked. I find it a cleaver twist on the Red Riding Hood tale and it makes me laugh!

message 5: by Jules (new)

Jules (missblythe) My favourite Disney movie is also Beauty and the Beast with Cinderella as a close second. My Dad (who was a classics prof) always told us Aesops' fables as bedtime stories which we really enjoyed. They had a moral or lesson but were not gruesome like Fairy tales. I also liked "Fractured Fairy tales" on Rocky and Bullwinkle, and also the Bugs Bunny version of fairy tales like
"The three little Bops" instead of the three little pigs. The only criticism I might have of Disney is that when their movies were based on actual history like "Pocahontas" they weren't very accurate...but it was still a good movie. :)

message 6: by Judee (new)

Judee | 12 comments I'm enjoying all this conversation of fairytales but am curious on what others think about the book we are actually reading this month. It's probably just me, but I find it hard to "get into". It hasn't captured me to read on and truth be known, I've not done well in continuing to read it to the end. Am I missing out on something great in not doing so?

message 7: by Jules (new)

Jules (missblythe) I completely agree Judee. I am finding the book very dry and haven't finished it either. For such great subject matter the book seems a bit too technical!

message 8: by Judee (new)

Judee | 12 comments I'm actually glad to hear I'm not alone on that Jules. You are so right; for such a great subject matter the book could have been very exciting to read, taking us to great thoughts and points of interest. Just didn't work for me.

message 9: by Jules (new)

Jules (missblythe) yeah me either.

message 10: by SCPL (last edited Dec 14, 2018 08:53AM) (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
Jules, you do bring up a good point about adapting stories, either history or fiction, and that is about the accurate telling of stories. The challenges with adaptations is telling the story while still making it entertaining and enjoyable on film and I don't think that movies always get it quite right. Also, having studied history, it can bother me when they get it really wrong.

In terms of the actual book, I will admit as well that it was not as gripping of a book as I thought it was going to be. I had figured there would be a little more discussion about re-reading children stories as an adult and not quite as much background about the authors of the stories.

message 11: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Madden | 118 comments I've had to revert to the audio book (which I usually prefer anyway) and even it isn't totally gripping me. I think it depends which books he's talking about. If I'm familiar with them then it's interesting, if not, then not so much.

But about fairy tales - I dislike fantasy as a literary genre but I *adore* Disney. I've never actually thought of fairy tales as fantasy but I'm not sure what else they'd be LOL I very, very much preferred the "dumbed down" versions provided by Disney or other movie studios. Have you watched "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" recently? It's basically a horror film for kids. I don't have children but you can bet I wouldn't be showing them that until they're much older and I wouldn't be reading them them the original stories. They're terrifying.

Favourite fairy tale? Another vote for "Beauty and the Beast" here. A brunette book loving princess? I'm in!

message 12: by SCPL (new)

SCPL (st_catharines_public_library) | 542 comments Mod
I agree with you Heidi, I enjoyed the chapters about Dr. Seuss and E.B. White, but I had trouble with getting through the first few chapters. I also find that the villains can be quite scary in Disney films, even toned down from the fairy tale version!


message 13: by Diana (new)

Diana (librariandi) | 23 comments Just jumping in to say how much the forest scene and "bring me her heart" aspects of Snow White traumatized me as a child. That being said, I was also terrified of Scooby Doo and Gargamel from The Smurfs so there is that...
I mentioned earlier that I haven't started reading the book yet, but now I'm not sure if I will based on the feedback. Great discussion though, regardless!

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