The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fractured Fairy Tales - March 2011

Selected and annotated by Lauren Chambers


Alley, Zoë B. There's a Wolf at the Door. Illus. by R.W. Alley. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2008. 34p. Gr. 3-5.
This over-sized picture books feature five folktales. Each stars a bumbling Big Bad Wolf, who is more humorous buffoon than dastardly villain.

 Bernstein, Dan. The Tortoise and the Hare Race Again. Illus. by Andrew Glass. Holiday, House, 2006. 32p. Gr. 2-4.
Sick of being famous after winning his first race against the hare, the tortoise challenges the hare to another race, planning to let the hare win. But the hare just can't seem to stay awake during the race, forcing the tortoise to pull out a secret weapon to ensure that the hare wins.

Casey, Tina. The Underground Gators. Illus. by Lynn Musinger. Dutton, 2009. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
After hearing stories about the gators that live in New York's sewers, the young narrator decides that it must be true. He goes to great lengths to support the urban legend, imagining that everything from hot dog stands to manholes and pizza are evidence of New York's healthy gator population.

Datlow, Ellen, ed. Troll's-Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales. Viking, 2009. 200p. Gr. 5-8.
This collection of short stories by well-known young adult authors, presents classic folktales, like Hansel and Gretel, from the villain's point of view. Though darker than Scieszka's The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! most stories have a similar humorous bent and portray the villains as misunderstood victims.

Durst, Sarah Beth. Into the Wild. Razorbill, 2007. 272p. Gr. 6-9.
When a wish frees the force the known as the Wild, it is up to young Julie to stop it from turning the modern world into a fairy tale realm. This doesn't sound like such a bad thing until you realize that every life would have to follow the plotline of a traditional story. To stop this Julie has to travel to the world of legends to battle story Narrative itself.

Edwards, Pamela Duncan. Princess Pigtoria and the Pea. Illus. by Henry Cole. Orchard/Scholastic, 2010. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Princess Pigtoria wants to marry Prince Proudfoot so she will have the money to renovate her home. But when she meets the prince, and finds out he put a pea under her bed to test her princess-ness, she finds she may prefer the delivery boy who brought her a pizza the night before.

Gardner, Lyn. Into the Woods. Illus. by Mini Grey. Fickling, 2007. 448p. Gr. 5-8.
Into the Woods is a mish-mash of folktales that begins with the death of Rapunzel in childbirth. Her two older daughters find themselves in a world of trouble as they try to keep safe a magic pipe their mother gave them just before she died. This won't be easy as the girls run afoul of a wolf pack, a gingerbread house, and have to rescue their kidnapped baby sister.

Hale, Shannon. Calamity Jack. Illus. by Nathan Hale. Bloomsbury, 2010. 144p. Gr 6-9.
Jack, of Beanstalk fame, thought he had seen the last of the giant Blunderboar, but after helping Rapunzel defeat her evil adopted mother Jack returns home to find that Blunderboar has taken over the town and kidnapped Jack's mother. This graphic novel's road to rescue is action packed and lushly illustrated.

Hale, Shannon. Rapunzel's Revenge. Illus. by Nathan Hale. Bloomsbury, 2008. 144p. Gr. 4-7.
Guns and long, braided, whip-like red hair feature in this graphic novel reimagining of Rapunzel. After being imprisoned when she realizes that her adopted mother is evil, Rapunzel trains herself to use her long hair as a weapon and escapes. Cowboy Rapunzel swears to defeat her and reunite with her birth mother.

Hanson, Mary. How to Save Your Tail: If You are a Rat Nabbed by a Cats Who Really Like Short Stories About Magic Spoons, Wolves with Snout-Warts, Big, Hairy Chimney Trolls…and Cookies, Too. Illus. by John Hendrix. Schwartz & Wade, 2007. 93p. Gr. 2-5.
Until he can escape, Bob the rat tells stories to the cats that captured him to delay being eaten as their dinner. His stories all have their roots in traditional tales, but are wittily twisted to fit the perspective of a rat.

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Firebird/Penguin, 2006. 256p.
In a fake travel guide, Jones lists, alphabetically of course, the common tropes, themes, and creatures seen in folk and fairy tales. The wry humor and sly pokes at the nonsense and absurdity often found in tales makes, what is essentially an encyclopedia, an entertaining read.

Krull, Kathleen. The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes. Knopf, 2008. 42 p. Gr. 2-4.
There is nothing more fractured than the Land of Oz, and Krull leads the reader down the path of how a young Baum grew to create one of the greatest American folktales. In addition to telling Baum's life from childhood to a successful writing career, there are hints at possible influences of Oz.

Loux, Matthew. Salt Water Taffy: The Legend of old Salty. Oni Press, 2008. 96p. Gr. 3-5.
Brothers Jack and Benny Putnam are spending their vacation by the sea shore, where they find out that a local legend is real. The huge sea monster Old Salty actually exists, and to make things worse she's stealing all of the salt-water taffy in town. It's up to the brothers to stop the thieving beast.

Root, Phyllis. Paula Bunyan. Illus. by Kevin O'Malley. Farrar, 2009. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.
Paul Bunyan's little sister Paula may be shorter than her brother but she is still taller and stronger than most grown men. When lumberjacks start cutting down the forest she lives in, Paula will have to use all of her legendary strength to save her home.

Stroud, Jonathan.Heroes of the Valley. Hyperion, 2009. 480 p. Gr. 7-10.
Halli has grown up listening to the tales of his forefather's heroic exploits and dreams of his own victories. But his homeland has grown peaceful and Halli's less than heroic attempts at gaining fame get him kicked out into the wilderness. There Halli meets a girl with a similar adventurous spirit who grew up with her own versions of the same tales. Finding their stories conflict, the two set out to see if there is any truth to folklore.

Weatherill, Cat. Wild Magic. Walker, 2008. 288 p. Gr. 5-8.
Everyone familiar with the tale of the Pied Piper knows the story ends with the Piper stealing all of the children in a town save one. Well, Wild Magic tells the story of what happens next. It turns out the Piper is under a curse and needs to find a half elven child to break it. Jakob, the boy the Piper left behind, is just such a child and finds a way to follow the Piper into his magical world to rescue the stolen children, including Jakob's sister.

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