Retellings by Jerry Pinkney

A new book by Jerry Pinkney is always a thing to celebrate! His latest is an adaptation of Han Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid and it’s available at both library branches. Pinkney is one of the most celebrated illustrators of children’s books in America. He’s adapted and illustrated several well-known fairy tales and fables for a picture-book format, winning the Caldecott medal for The Lion & the Mouse.

The Little Mermaid, retold and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney The Ugly Duckling by Jerry Pinkney Puss in Boots by Jerry Pinkney

The Grasshopper & the Ants by Jerry Pinkney  The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

 

Pinkney doesn’t limit himself to retellings.  If you love his artwork (and I know you will), you should also check out his other picture books. Just search our online catalog or ask at the circulation desk for more suggestions!

Free Program on October 25th

The Virginia Repertory Theatre will be in Aurora on October 24th and 25th performing Han Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina. Many of the performances are reserved for local school groups, but the 11 am performance on Friday, October 25th is open for anyone in the community. The play will last approximately 50 minutes, so it’s appropriate for younger kids, as well as grown-ups. It would be a wonderful opportunity for homeschool families and retirees.

The performance will be held at the Aurora Lions Club (228 Second Street) and is free for everyone.

The tale of Thumbelina is a story of a young maiden no larger than a person’s thumb. The story’s characters are mostly animals, and include a frog, a bird, a mouse, and a mole. Thumbelina lives inside of a beautiful flower, but is soon stolen away to become the wife of a frog. This play is one of many adaptations of the Thumbelina story. After the performance, you can check out different versions of Thumbelina at the Aurora Public Library.

Thumbelina, adapted by Eduard Jose  The Girl of the Wish Garden: a Thumbelina Story  Sylvia Long's Thumbelina

 

Cinderella Around the World

No, this is not a travelogue of Cinderella on a Grand Tour adventure! Instead, think of this as a way to explore other cultures through a certain type of story. Cinderella stories usually have these features in common: an evil stepmother and stepsisters, a father who fails to stop Cinderella’s mistreatment, a mutual attraction with a person of a higher social status, a ball or other community gathering, and a lost object. The Cinderella-type story has been traced back to Yeh Shen, the heroine of a ninth century Chinese tale.

Yeh Shen: a Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie

Part of the fun of reading these stories comes from noticing the way the details vary based on the setting. Our print collection of books includes Cinderella stories from Egypt, Korea, Persia, Ireland, Africa and more. The main character is usually female, but there are exceptions such as The Irish CinderLad by Shirley Climo.

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo   The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: an African Tale by John Steptoe   The Golden Sandal: a Middle Eastern Cinderella by Rebecca Hickox

Sootface: an Ojibwa Cinderella by Robert San Souci   The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo

I like to check in the back of the book or on the dust jacket to find out if the author is retelling a traditional tale. Authors have also written original Cinderella tales, placing the same plot elements in new cultures. For example, Robert San Souci wrote a Caribbean version and Alan Schroeder placed Cinderella in the middle of Appalachia.

Cendrillon by Robert San Souci     Smoky Mountain rose by Alan Schroeder

Those just begin to the scratch the surface! There are many Cinderellas that fall into the “fractured fairy-tale” category, featuring diverse casts of characters like cowgirls, penguins, or skeletons. Maybe you already have a favorite!

Cindy Ellen: a Wild Western Cinderella by Susan Lowell   Cinderella Penguin, or the Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman

Chickerella by Mary Jane Auch   Cinderella Skeleton by Robert San Souci

If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella by Laura Whipple presents the familiar story from different perspectives in 33 poems. How can you resist a book like this? Haven’t you ever wondered what the glass slipper thought as so many maidens struggled to squeeze their feet into place?

If the Shoe Fits: Voices From Cinderella by Laura Whipple

Cinderella stories are not just for children! You can find similar stories for all ages up through adults. Just ask and we’ll find you one that is perfect for your reading tastes. You can find much more information online about Cinderellas stories, including on the American Library association website: http://www.ala.org/aboutala/offices/resources/multicultural

 

 

A Fresh Look at Arabian Nights

Although using traditional fairy tales as the basis for teen books has been popular for a while, most of these books have used European tales as a starting point. For example, Alex Flinn has written lots of fairy tale versions, including Beastly (Beauty and the Beast), A Kiss in Time (Sleeping Beauty), and Towering (Rapunzel). That’s why I was delighted to find these two books based on the stories of One Thousand and One Nights.

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh   The Rose & the Dagger b y Renn Ahdieh

One Thousand and One Nights (often known in English as The Arabian Nights) is a collection of stories by many authors and can be traced back to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian and Jewish folklore.  Although collections of these stories can vary in content, the tales are told within the framework of Scheherazade who soothes her evil husband with her storytelling skills.

Marie Lu, author of Legend, described The Wrath & the Dawn as “an intoxicating gem of a story,” and added, “Don’t be surprised if the pages melt away and you find yourself racing through warm, golden sands or drinking spiced wine in cool marble courtyards,”  so buckle up for an exciting journey through Middle Eastern culture.

If your only connection to Arabian Nights comes from Disney’s Aladdin and the Prince of Persia movie or video game, you may want to brush up on some of the original stories. The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski is a beautiful introduction to the most well-known stories. You might be surprised to learn that the stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor were not initially included in collections of One Thousand and One Nights. Although they are from the same geographical area, these were added later by European translators.

The Thousand Nights and One Night by Jan Pienkowski

Why not begin a reading Grand Tour, traveling the globe in search of stories from other cultures? The Wrath & the Dawn can be your first stop along the way.