Hardcover, 237 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Bantam
Always provocative, frequently hilarious, and at times deeply poignant, these enchanting fairy tales–selected by children’s literature expert Jack Zipes–are as marvelous to read aloud with a child as they are to enjoy in solitude. Magnificent, original full-page and spot illustrations by Stephane Poulin enhance the text.
Let me tell you the story about how this book and I met.
It was a rainy day in September and I was frantically looking through books at the Vancouver Public Library sale. This novel caught my eye but I put it aside convinced that I had no room in my suitcase (yes, I took a suitcase) for this title but then my eye snagged on it and it seemed to regard me sadly. So finally I decided that back be damned, I must have this book. And 75 cents later, it was mine.
Of course, it languished on my shelf for quite a while before I picked it up but it only took the first page before I fell in love. This series is edited by Jack Zipes, whose work in folktale and mythology is legendary and that this collection has been edited by him is only the highest badge it can receive. The novel contains stories by a variety of authors who write in a variety of styles but all of them do one important thing: they give new colour and a fresh twist to the tried and tired fairy tale.
The titular tales are also favourites of mine. The Gentle Knight by Richard Schickel goes a long way to recreating the tales of knights while the Outspoken Princess gives you another side to princesses. Another tale that I particularly liked is The Faithful Bull by Ernest Hemingway. All short tales are by turns poignant, funny and speak more candidly about what contemporary society needs in the way of fairy tales than the tales of yore. If you are like me and consume fairytales insatiably, this collection is for you.