Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay and Sarah Gibb
|Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay and Sarah Gibb|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Fairy tales reimagined by one of our favourite children's writers. And, of course, they are fabulous.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: October 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
You can't leave a parcel on the doorstep for long. Not if it's alive.
Hooray! Hilary McKay is back! This makes me happy. If you hadn't already guessed by the title - and not that I like stating the obvious or anything - but she's back with a collection of fairy tale retellings. There are ten of them - some, such as Rapunzel and Cinderella, the most famous, and some, such as The Swan Brothers or The Twelve Dancing Princesses, lesser known. And of course, McKay brings her own twist to them all with the bedrock of openheartedness overlaid by a slightly tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that permeates all her writing.
I loved them all but don't want to give it all away, so I will just tell you about my favourite. In this collection, The Princess and the Pea becomes The Prince and the Problem. Prince Charming shows insufficient respect and pulls the nose of the Dust Grey Fairy at his christening. The Dust Grey Fairy doesn't accept that babies do such things and gives him a Problem that only a true princess can solve, warning that if Charming were ever to marry anyone other than a true princess, his palace will fall into rack and ruin. The Problem overshadows Charming's life and he grows into a sullen, rude young man. His mother the Queen is despairing - that is, until a neighbouring princess called Hatty finds her way to the palace in the middle of the night. I loved this! No sulking princesses. A sulking prince! I feel as though a centuries-long injustice has been righted!
All of the tales have a similar McKay twist in them. And, as she promises in her introduction, all of them are told with love. I do enjoy Hilary McKay. She's inventive and funny and she will always make you laugh. And even when she is writing high fantasy, as she is here, there is always a thread of common sense and practicality running through her stories. Even more, kindness trumps meanness every single time.
This collection is certainly one that will appeal to all McKay fans and also to anyone who loves to read the oldest stories given fresh life by an imaginative writer. And Sarah Gibbs's beautiful, atmospheric illustrations are the cherry on the cake.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay and Sarah Gibb at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay and Sarah Gibb at Amazon.com.
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