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Tradition with a twist

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Updated: January 24, 2013 6:04AM



Fairy tales and fables are classic — they never go out of style.

The outstanding author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney brings us his version of “Puss In Boots.”

The story is his interpretation and it stays very close to the traditional, but his illustrations make this special. The inside covers could be framed and hung. Throughout the book, we see pictures that should hang in a gallery.

We watch as the miller dies and bequeaths his cat to his youngest son. The son is disappointed but the cat convinces him to give the cat some fancy boots and off he goes.

We watch as Puss bribes and charms the king until the king, and the lovely princess of course, are ready to accept a naked boy whose clothes have been stolen as a guest.

Puss goes before the king’s party and convinces everyone along the way to claim his owner as lord or the evil sorcerer will be angry. The king is very impressed and the princess is enthralled.

Puss then goes and continues his trickster ways and “eats” the sorcerer, claiming his kingdom for his owner. Of course, the wedding is celebrated and Puss becomes prime minister.

Aesop fable

The charming Aesop fable “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” is brought to us by Helen Ward. This, too, is a magnificently illustrated book.

We meet Country Mouse who knows his fields and neighbors and is content. Then, his cousin comes to visit from the city. He talks about all the “bad” things about the country that he doesn’t have to contend with in the city and talks Country Mouse into a visit.

Country decides to give it a try and ventures to the streets of town. Then, just as he is enjoying his visit, an evil creature comes and chases them away.

He realizes the country is not a bad place after all and he happily returns home. Grass is seldom really greener on the other side.

‘Hansel and Gretel’

With an entirely different look, Rachel Isadora tells us about “Hansel and Gretel.” The illustrations here are bright and bold, and the story takes place in a lush African jungle.

The story is the classic, with the stepmother making the father take the children to the jungle and leave them. With pebbles, Hansel foils the plan. Then the children use little pieces of bread, but this time the birds foil their plan.

They find the witch’s sugar cottage and the story progresses from there. Fortunately, they take the witch’s jewels back. This time and stepmother is appeased.

Fairy tale maps

The “Once Upon A Time Map Book” features six places to explore.

Peter Pan’s Neverland, Dorothy’s Oz, Alice’s Wonderland, Jack’s Giant’s Kingdom, Aladdin’s Kingdom and Snow White’s Enchanted Forest are laid out with map grids and places to find.

What a great intro to maps and what a great take-a-long project book. It’s compact and quiet. Reading each story along with the map would be a spectacular pairing.



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