Once upon a time, there lived an up and coming author named Megan Morrison, who breathed life and words into her very own Rapunzel tale and the enchanting world of Tyme. Today we’re here to celebrate and launch Megan’s debut, Grounded, a new twist on an old fairy tale!
Sundragons! What better way to do that, than to talk about our own Emu’s Debuts favorite fractured/fairy tale adaptations.
Cinderella tales are quite popular among the Emu’s:
Susan Vaught adores Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, “both the book and movie versions. I absolutely love the idea of Cinderella as she unfolded in this twisty-turny conceptualization of the age-old tale. The curse of obedience is just sheer genius.”
Rebecca Van Slyke treasures Ella Enchanted too, “In fact, I’m listening to it in my car now.”
And Susan’s a fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles too, “Taking fairytales into far-future technology, that’s just complete delirious fun.”
Janet Fox agrees and calls Meyer’s Cinder, “… a fun and extremely inventive retelling of Cinderella – I love the android aspect!”
Christine Hayes’s best-loved Cinderella tale takes the form of a farm girl in Fanny’s Dream, by Caralyn Buehner. “It’s a version of Cinderella where the heroine, ordinary farm girl Fanny, gets stood up by her fairy godmother. Instead she meets Heber—a far cry from the prince she’s imagined, but a decent, hard-working guy who loves her. After many happy years together, with plenty of ups and downs along the way, the fairy godmother appears, apologetic, to whisk Fanny away to the life of leisure she always dreamed of. But Fanny takes a look around at her life and decides she already has everything she wanted. It’s sweet and funny, and a refreshing take on the traditional view of happily ever after.”
Carole Gerber most admires the Cinderella written and produced by Emmitt Owens on Youtube. “The plots, twists, cartoon illustrations – as well as the voices – are hilarious! He has several others posted as well and all are professionally done and funny.” (To watch one of Emmit Owens’s videos, type the search term “Emmitt Owens & Fractured Fairy Tales.”)
For Penny Parker Klostermann, it’s a hirsute Cinderella story, Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by James Warhola, “You don’t have to go any further than the title. The book is just as funny!”
As a child, Donna Bowman Bratton marveled at Disney’s Cinderella, “for the pure magic and fantasy of it.” And not only that, Donna even had her own fairy tale theatre, “Before movies were available on VHS, I had one of those view master/record player doodads, called a Show-n-Tell, that allowed me to play a Disney record while the related cardboard film strip advanced. I charged my mother a quarter to enter my “theatre”. I watched them so often, I could recite The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Bean stalk, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Blind Mice. Fairy tales were my first introduction to story. I still have my old view master projector and some of the cards and records.”
There’s also one upcoming Cinderella fractured fairy tale that I can’t wait to get my hands on: Interstellar Cinderella, by EMLA’s own, Deborah Underwood (illustrated by Meg Hunt).
Pigs are also perennial Emu favorite:
Rebecca Van Slyke loves Jon Scieszca’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs as “a great example of voice and an unreliable narrator!”
So does Laurie Thompson: “I think it’s great for kids to think about the fact that there is another side to every story, and that each teller–for various reasons–may not always be completely reliable. Great fun, with some important lessons to learn and critical thinking exercises to engage in all at the same time.”
Both Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and Penny Parker Klostermann are fans of Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat’s Three Ninja Pigs (so am I!). Penny says, “It is written in perfect rhyme and keeps me laughing.”
And Jenn explains, “The first time I read this book, I laughed out loud. The meshing of the traditional three little pigs’ story and ninjas is so clever and funny, and the rhyme is incredibly well done. It’s a lot of fun to read out loud. I bought the book for myself, really, because my son was too young at the time to appreciate it. Or so I thought–I’ve read to him since he was very little and this is one of the books that captivated him early on. I think it was a mixture of the illustrations and the rhythm of the story? As he’s gotten older, he continues to appreciate it, picking up on new layers over time. It’s been a fun book to read throughout his different developmental stages.The last beautiful illustration spread is our favorite. He always points to it and says, quite incredulously, ‘Is that their school?!?’”
Here are some of our other assorted favorites:
Penny’s top choices also include Goldilocks and Just One Bear, written by Leigh Hodgkinson, a book that’s “just right” and “… quirky and charming and Leigh’s illustrations are a delight”
as well as Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, “Oh my! Clever, clever, clever and it has so many nuggets about writing.
I LOVE Little Red Writing too! It’s full of such fun and clever word play, and Melissa Sweet’s illustrations add another level of humor.
Who’s Adam Shaughnessy’s prime pick? Dr. Who, that’s who!“One of the first things that came to mind when I started to think about this topic was Season 5 (by Netflix’s counting) of Doctor Who. It was Stephen Moffat’s first (and I think best) season as show runner and he said on many occasions that he set out to tell a fairy tale through the season. I think he succeeded—no small task, considering Doctor Who is firmly set in the realm of science fiction. But the feel of the season, the references, and the imagery all suggested a fantastic journey complete with a magic castle (the TARDIS), a magician (the Doctor), and a brave hero (Amy). It’s well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it (but read Grounded first!).”
Tamara Ellis Smith’s most beloved alternative fairy tale is Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, “I love the setting, in stark, rural Alaska. I love the prose, also stark but gorgeous. The story seems to hover on the line between wild and magical. There is just so much nature in it, raw and instinctual nature, but also the magic of very human emotion and desire. It is haunting and beautiful.”
For Mylisa Larsen it’s a mouthful of a title: The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf and Grandma by Diane and Christyan Fox: “It’s almost an attempted retelling, there is so much interference from the dog. It makes me laugh.”
Calista Brill says, “My favorite interpretation of a fairy tale is actually a whole collection of fairy tale interpretations … into comics format! It’s called FAIRY TALE COMICS, and it has some of the funniest, most interesting, most beautiful comics treatments of fairy tales I’ve ever seen. I especially love Graham Annable’s take on Goldilocks.”
Laurie Thompson sings the praises of Serendipity Market, by EMLA client Penny Blubaugh, for its vivid storytelling, “The world has gotten off kilter, so Toby helps Mama Inez plan for the Serendipity Market, where honored guests from afar make their way to the storytellers’ tent. Their stories are all twists on a well-known fairy tale or folk tale, and they prove that magic is everywhere. Combining the magic in the stories with the power of storytelling, they just might have what it takes to get the world back on track. The stories are fun, and the language is absolutely beautiful!”
And to bring this post to a happily ever after, I’d be remiss without mentioning two wonderful poetry picture books, Mirror Mirror
and Follow Follow, written by Marilyn Singer, and illustrated by Josée Masse. Singer has developed an ingenious poetic form called a reverso, which can be read forwards and backwards to reveal entirely new stories. Talk about craft!
And Donna Jo Napoli is a fractured fairy tale master. Her book Breath, a re-telling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, is exquisite prose, with an inquisitive main character named Salz, and a palpable sense of place, 13th century Hameln.
If you love fairy tales, you must read her books! I also love her Zel, Beast, Bound (a Chinese Cinderella story) and Hush.
But before we reach “the end,” let’s hear a bit about why Megan wrote a re-telling of Rapunzel, “I gravitated toward Rapunzel because I wanted to explain that story to myself, I think. I wanted to know why a young person would stay in a tower for so long without rebelling, and I decided that it must be because Rapunzel loves her tower. It’s her home. She’s safe there, and she’s the center of the universe, and she gets everything she wants from her Witch, who adores her. She thinks her life is perfect and that she’s the luckiest girl in the world – so why would she ever leave?
The more I played with that idea, the more it felt right to me. I loved the idea of a girl who wasn’t fragile or frightened or waiting for rescue, but who instead was full of self love and self-righteous delusion. I wanted to see that girl interact with reality. So I wrote it!”
Adam Shaughnessy adds, “There are so many great options of things to talk about when it comes to fairy tales and fairy tale re-imagining. And it goes without saying that Megan Morrison’s Grounded will soar to the top of everyone’s list of favorites!” (Ditto!!)
Trust me. You’re going to love this new version of Rapunzel! Want to win your very own signed copy of Grounded, plus a cool bookmark? Please leave a comment here, or after of any of this week’s posts, for a chance to win!
You can also buy a copy of Grounded at the following locations:
Thanks for joining us here at Emu’s Debuts!! Be sure to visit every day this week for new and exciting posts on Megan Morrison’s Grounded!