Who doesn't love a catty narrator who knows everything and drops hints for the readers along the way? Kiersten White takes mid-grade readers on a romp through some of our best loved fairy tales twisting the stories so that they are darker, gloomier, and scarier and much, much more fun.
Rapunzel with her locks of hair "locked" in a tower awaits her prince. The bumbling prince manages to scale the side of the castle tower and meets a glowering Rapunzel who points out the obvious--there is a door! On the other side of the tower if the prince had simply walked around it, he would not have needed to climb her hair!
Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, The Princess and the Pea, Jack and the Beanstalk and other tales are twisted into comedy gold by White. The wood represents everything magical, scary, strange, weird, and possible. The narrator teases the readers, "No? You....want to go into the deepest, darkest woods? But nothing good ever happens there! Fine. Don't say I didn't warn you." The Huntsman in the Snow White story is as dopey, loopy, and stupid as a comic clown could be. The queen writes her instructions in a note and gives it to her Huntsman with the hope that he will somehow carry out her wishes to kill the "creature" in the bag (Snow White). The Huntsman nods and smiles and never tells the queen that he can't read. Comedy ensues.
Laugh out loud funny, Bean Stalker and Other Hilarious Scary Tales is my early pick for the Texas Bluebonnet List and likely to be in the running for the Newbery. Biting satire, diabolic dialog, hilarious hi-jinks, and cunning characters make this book a true charmer. This is a Scholastic Book and bound to be on fall book fair. It will probably be the bestseller of the year!
The cover design is appealing and a trick for your eyes. What do you see? Look carefully. There is more than one way to "see" this cover. The cover alone will sell this book. Simply brilliant marketing!
Highly, highly recommended grade 5-up. Strong readers grade 4 will also enjoy this book but may not understand some of the puns or digs. Pick this one up and be delighted!
240 pages 9780545940603 Ages 10 and up
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, Library Media Specialist, Texas USA
See more of her recommendations: http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com
Rapunzel, Rapunzel. Let down your hair. The prince hidden in the forest watches as the wicked old witch carrying a sack with something squirming inside approaches the fairy tale tower and makes the traditional request. The hair comes tumbling down and the prince, recently recovered from being knocked unconscious by a horse with a homonym issue, is determined to save the fair damsel in dis-tress. Get it? Distress? Dis tress?
That's about it for tradition as far as this set of stories goes. Oh, they have the scent of the old tales, indeed they do. But things have changed. That hair you saw tumbling from the tower is actually a Herr. You really don't want to know. The bag of squirm held a pig about to be consumed and covered in snake spit. He will make haste to his brothers to urge new construction materials for their new abodes.
All the fairy tale favorites make an appearance here. It may be a cameo like the pigs, or it may be full blown as in Goldilocks and the Three Scares, Snow White, Blood Red, Little Dead Riding Hood, Jack the Beanstalker, The Boy Who Cried Zombies and beyond. For those who adore a good vampire, a drop of blood smeared on the lips, the wasting away of flesh, the fun of bagging some Zombears, and the complete upside down telling of oft-heard tales, this is magic. Beware the bad apple.
The characters each have their central tale revisited in some macabre way and they each is connected to the others to create one big ongoing hideous adventure filled with jealousy, murder, bloodsucking, abandonment, and large snakes.
The voice of the narrator leads you deeper and deeper into the forest of distrust and vile deeds..not to mention the evil ones. Vile..evil...you figure it out.
Plenty of wordplay, dark and threatening settings and tone, this will be joyous fun for the lovers of horror movies and boys named Jack. Will anyone be left to live happily ever after?
211 pages 978-0545940603 Ages 10-14
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com