Friday, September 28, 2012

Enchanted


You've heard of fractured fairy tales, right, adaptations of the stories we all grew up with? To put it in a classic SAT way, Beauty and the Beast is to Alex Flinn's Beastly as The Twelve Dancing Princesses is to Heather Dixon's Entwined. Some of these books are imaginative and innovative retellings, with authors inventing new and surprising ways to approach the classics. Well, Alethea Kontis has boldly gone where no-one has gone before; She hasn't re-told just one fairy tale, she has included all the fairy tales, from familiar to obscure, in her new book Enchanted.

Let me give this a shot: Sunday is the seventh daughter of a woodcutter. She meets an enchanted frog that may also be a prince. Her brother trades a cow for magic beans. Her fairy godmother bestows gifts on all the Woodcutter children. There's a giant, an enchanted mirror, animal companions, fairies everywhere and, yes, someone looses a shoe. And there's more, much, much more. Somehow Kontis weaves these complicated threads into a coherent and charmed story of kids growing up in a magical kingdom, falling in love, and learning the secrets of their past. It's a magical achievement!

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