Evie is a teenage healer, always concocting potions for her best friend, Wormy. When he proposes, she says no, and the fairy Lucinda curses her to be an ogre until she accepts a marriage proposal. Any marriage proposal from anyone. Evie travels to the Fens, hoping to learn the art of persuasion from the ogres who live there. Life as an ogre is more difficult than she imagined, but Evie becomes known as the healer ogre. She searches for someone who will awaken her ability to love, and hopes that someone will propose to her. But she isn’t even sure what love is supposed to feel like.
I was disappointed in this book. The story was oddly disjointed, and there were several things that seemed exceedingly far-fetched, even for a fairytale world. The ending was rushed, and the relationships felt forced. The characters are okay, but I wasn’t amazed with their personalities or the bland character development.
Emma and Laralyn are two peasant girls, one beautiful and one plain. When the King and Queen decide to adopt a Princess, the girls become contestants in the Princess Games to win a place in the royal family. Emma is sturdy, clever, and hard-working. She only cares about the food. Laralyn is dainty, demure, and determined to win. She only cares about pleasing her money-loving mother. How can they compete with the dozens of other girls who all want to be the new Princess? Continue reading →
These fairy tales focus on daring young men and women who want to be appreciated for their personality, virtues, and inner qualities rather than outward beauty. They battle dragons, fight wars, defeat evil sorcerers, and unravel magic in order to find their true identity and inspire their kingdom.
I loved that these fairy tales use all the old tropes about dragons and knights and fair maidens, and then turn everything upside down and surprise you with the plot twists when the maiden saves herself.
Each fairy tale is short but powerful with meaningful messages of hope and acceptance. Continue reading →
This book begins with several fairy tales about princesses, including Thumbelina, Princess Savitri, and Princess Kaguya. The next chapter has royal recipes and instructions for organizing a tea party, a royal ball, or a cottage picnic. There is also a chapter with princess games and activities, and another with crafts for making your own tiara, princess sandals, necklaces, and fancy invitations.
The chapter on “Princess Practices” goes over courtesy and manners including the proper way to set a table, how to curtsy and have proper posture, as well as lessons in horsemanship, music, penmanship, art, fencing, and how to deal with enchantments and poison apples. You will also learn how to say hello in different languages, how to do the princess wave, and be sincerely friendly when meeting foreign dignitaries.
My favorite chapter was the one about “Being a True Princess” with lessons and examples for Kindness, Courage, Gratitude, Honesty, Intelligence, Sensitivity, Forgiving, and Inner Beauty. This chapter asks thoughtful questions and encourages the reader to take action in their own lives and share kindness with others. Continue reading →
This story begins at the end of Cinderella’s fairy tale, when Ella is engaged to marry Prince Charming. With the wedding only two months away, Ella is forced to learn restrictive palace protocol, sit through endless embroidery lessons, and learn the boring history of the royal family. Her meetings with the Prince are awkward and silent, and her only friends are the poor serving child, Mary, and the philosophy tutor, Jed. Ella begins to wonder if she really loves the Prince at all, and if she can tolerate the confinement of the palace for the rest of her life.
I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! (I really hate the cover art, and made the mistake of judging the book by its cover.) I read it all in one sitting, because I could not put it down.
Ella is fiery and energetic. She longs to do courageous deeds and have close relationships with people, but the royal protocol is so restrictive that no one can have a meaningful conversation, much less actually connect with anyone or do anything of real consequence. I loved the way she beat her wings against those cage bars and finally escaped to build her own life. Continue reading →
I loved this collection of fairy tales, rewritten from the folklore of England and Wales. The author has an uncanny ability to mimic the story-telling style of old folk tales, with whimsy and ingenuity.
The black and white illustrations add to the ghoulish atmosphere of the tales, and they are true to the art style I see in so many old fairy tale books from the late 1800s.
The enchantment of these stories lies in the excellent word-craft, and the weird and eccentric characters who populate the world of magic and mayhem. Full of changlings, witches, ogres who spin gold, and the clever youngest brother named Jack, these stories captivate the reader with the magnetic words and witty narrative style.
Zita is the thirteenth daughter of a king who only wanted sons, and when her mother dies during childbirth, the king banishes Zita to be raised as a servant in the castle. Zita steals little moments with her twelve sisters, but must sneak around the castle to keep it a secret, terrified of her father’s anger. When the twelve princesses fall ill and their shoes are worn through every morning, only Zita knows the secrets ways to sneak into their bedrooms and watch where they go at night. The princesses are trapped in an evil enchantment that forces them to dance until dawn, but Zita can’t find a prince who is willing to save them!
What the hay kind of bedtime story is this?!?! The last line reads, “In his rage, misfortune struck. So sad and horrible, that he could never forgive himself.”
And that’s it! That’s the end. Everyone depressed and distraught forever. OMG, what is WRONG with this story?
The artwork is so lovely, so beautiful. Subtle colors and lines, pretty little details of forest flora and fauna. The beginning is whimsical and sweet as a little wolf travels through the forest to take a dead rabbit to his grandmother’s house. He follows a butterfly, and explores a little mousey hole, and stops to look at a beetle.
Then it gets gross.
First of all, dead rabbit in every scene, just laying there in the basket, being dead and all. Also, the little wolf gets hungry and decides to eat just one of the rabbit feet as a snack. Oh, yum. Dead bloody rabbit feet. Never mind the bones. Continue reading →
This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!
Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.
While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.
The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading →