Gregory Maguire (author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked, among many others) turns well-known fairy tales on their heel (or hoof, paw, sticky digit…whatever) in Leaping Beauty, and Other Animal Fairy Tales. This book, recommended for youth 8-12 but really enjoyable for all, tells us the untold stories of characters like Goldiefox and the Three Chicks, So What and the Seven Giraffes, and Leaping Beauty herself. There are 8 stories in all, and certainly best enjoyed read aloud.
Though Maguire tones down his acerbic wit for the young crowd, these stories leave plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable conversation with your child. For instance, they may ask you, “Exactly what is a hot toddy?” or “Why would the bad guy make someone wear concrete boots?”. Then again, the actual fairy tales from Brothers Grimm were pretty controversial in their own way, too. It’s all just good fun, though, and a great way to show kids that every story has two (or more!) sides.
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