Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Leaping Beauty: and Other Animal Fairy Tales by Gregory Maguire

"Leaping Beauty" is the perfect book for anybody who loves fairy tales, and loves to read re-workings of some of the classic tales. In "Leaping Beauty" Maguire has given us 8 tales that will be both hauntingly familiar, and hysterically different. Perfect for adults, or children, or for reading with your children.

In "Leaping Beauty," we meet a royal family whose beautiful baby girl frog has been cursed by an angry hornet. Desperate to save their baby girl from her terrible fate, the royal parents go from person to person trying to get the curse changed. Each one is able to change it just a little, and in the end girl becomes a Leaping Beauty - and a famous ballerina!

"Goldiefox and the Three Chickens" retells the classic story of "Goldielocks and the Three Bears" with more than one twist. Not only are the characters just a little different, the ending will surprise and delight you!

"Hamster and Gerbil" was one of my favorites in this book. I've always loved the story of "Hansel and Gretle" and used to play act it with my cousins or brothers. In this version we have a mixed race (different animals) family with, of course, a wicked stepmother! Who just happens to be a skunk, what a perfect animal for a villan don't you think? How they get away from the evil Granny Porky (a porcupine) and get revenge on their Step Mother will keep you on the edge of your seat!

If you want to laugh, you might want to go directly to "So What and the Seven Giraffes." All the stories in this book are funny, but I think this one is the most absurd and the one that kept me laughing the hardest! First of all, who would name their child "So What?" That alone generates plenty of opportunities for fun! You'll have to read the story to find out the rest of it.

"Little Red Robin Hood" tells the old story from the perspective of a robin instead of a little girl. In many ways I think this one sticks closer to the traditional story than some of the other stories in this book, but it's still quite exciting, and well written.

Who doesn't love the story of the "Three Little Pigs?" I know I personally have heard the story dozens of times, with a dozen variations, and I've told the story quite a few times myself. In "The Three Little Penguins and the Big Bad Walrus" we have the classic tale, told with different animals, and slightly different materials. I loved it!

Poor Cinderella had it bad enough with her wicked step-sisters, but "Cinder-Elephant" has it even worse with her step-sisters (Mildew and Mayhem) since she is an elephant and they are normal humans. This gives them even more ammunition than the original step-sisters had! Just wait though until you find out what twist on the glass slippers Maguire puts in, and see how it all works out!

"Rumplesnakeskin" is the story of a vain sheep who gets caught up in the world of movies and all the dangerous traps that you find there. She finds help from a snake, but of course he has his own motives just like the Rumplestiltskin of old. This story also demonstrates how easily modesty can be given up when someone is dazzled by the glamour of fame and becomes desperate not to lose it.

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