It’s pretty common knowledge around here, if you’ve been around here very long, that 1) I love fairy tales and 2) I love graphic novels. My dear, dear friend Debi knows this well. She was so so so sweet to send me and my wee girl a graphic novel edition of illustrated fairy tales. Thank you again Debi because we LOVED it.
This collection is marvelous. Volume One collects the fairy tales Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel & Gretel, Red Riding Hood, and Rumpelstiltskin (who, incidentally, is creepy as hell on Once Upon a Time). He’s creepy here as well. Different artists drew each section, giving each story its own unique feel. Each tale is followed by a brief historical note on the origin (as best they know it) of each tale that I really enjoyed.
These stories are not exactly as I remember from childhood. They are retellings and each one has a unique change that I found refreshing. In Cinderella, by all appearances Ella’s dead mother has a hand in changing her daughter’s life. The illustrations here are particularly lovely with their browns, golds, and pinks. Hansel and Gretel are decidedly goth in attire and their stepmother especially looks depressing as hell. The illustrations of their huge eyes, in particular the witch who just looks insane with her huge black eyes, add a feeling of unease to the story in a very affective way. Jack and the Beanstalk has a manga feel that really works for this story of a naive boy and his present of magic beans. Red Riding Hood had a cutesy feel that reminded me of some of the comic books of my dad’s from the 60s, that I remember reading in the attic as a young girl. It left me feeling nostalgic. And Rumpelstiltskin left me feeling, well , spooked! I’ve always found that fairy tale in particular disturbing and the way its drawn only amplifies that feeling. In this version, Rumpelstiltskin is drawn like an imp, a malevolent elf, a little green monster, and his obvious glee at stealing an unborn child is just sinister.
If you like fairy tales and/or graphic novels, this is a fun collection to read and share with your older children. You will find no Disney-fication here, as the stories and their illustrations remain true to the original fairy tales and their dark origins. I can’t wait to get my hands on Volume Two.
Shivers, Wishes and Wolves (volume 1)
by Beth Bracken, Blake A. Hoena, Donald Lemke and Martin Powell
Art by Sean Dietrich, Victor Rivas, Jeffrey Stewart Timmins, Ricardo Tericio and Erk Valdex Y Alanis
Stone Arch, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 10 +