Tales With a Twist: Retold Myths and Fairy Tales
October 22, 2003
by Andrea Lipinski,
Young Adult Librarian,
Some of the best authors have used timeless myths and fairy tales as starting points for new ideas. Many of these ideas start with questions, like was the witch who imprisoned Rapunzel really as mean and one-dimensional as she seemed, and what happens when the girl marries Prince Charming but he turns out to be a big jerk?
Some authors have tackled an old story in a new way, like Donna Jo Napoli did in her novel Beast. In this book, Napoli uses an obscure line from one version of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (in which the Beast mentions at the end of the story that he was once a Persian prince) as a starting point for a whole new tale. Napoli creates a new story that tells what happened to Prince Orasmyn, how he was cursed, and how his life changed when he met the girl who would finally break the curse and change him back into a prince.
Other authors have written collections of short stories that tackle many tales, or, in the case of The Rumplestiltskin Problem, look at one story from many angles. In this book, Vivian Vande Velde looks at the Rumplestiltskin story from all sides and writes stories addressing such questions as why would Rumplestiltskin accept gold jewelry as payment for making more gold (He had more than enough anyway, right?) and what happens after the girl marries the king and he expects her to keep making more gold.
Here are some more great books that take the myths and fairy tales we remember from when we were children and give them just a little twist ...
Block, Francesca Lia - The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold [several stories]
Donoghue, Emma - Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins [several stories]
Galloway, Priscilla - Snake Dreamer [Medusa]
Guy, Rosa - My Love, My Love, or, The Peasant Girl [The Little Mermaid]
Haddix, Margaret Peterson - Just Ella [Cinderella]
Kindl, Patrice - Goose Chase [The Goose Girl]
Levine, Gail Carson - Ella Enchanted [Cinderella]
McLaren, Clemence - Aphrodite's Blessings: Love Stories From the Greek Myths [several stories]
Napoli, Donna Jo - Zel [Rapunzel], Spinners [Rumplestiltskin], Crazy Jack [Jack and the Beanstalk]
Orgel, Doris - The Princess and the God [Psyche and Cupid]
Spinner, Stephanie - Quiver [Atalanta]
Compilations of various tales retold by various authors:
Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (808.83876 B)
Twice Upon a Time edited by Denise Little (398.2 T)
The Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (398.21 W)