Sleeping Beauty and Jack in the Beanstalk

I thought to combine these two because while I have a fair number of books for both of them, neither are enough I want to write a full post about.


Briar Rose- This is probably the first adaptation of it I read, and it takes out most of the magic.  Except for the story that a girl believes about her grandmother.  She  grew up with her grandmother insisting she was the real Sleeping Beauty and so when she grows up she journeys back to Germany to discover her grandmother’s past.  This is not for younger kids, I’d rate it late junior high (this is part of a series written for adults that contain virtually no sex, but it is more mature in writing style), because of the somewhat intense scenes set during World War 2.

Spindle’s End- Another Robin McKinley book.  I love her take on the solution for Sleeping Beauty and how they hid away Rose.  The feel of this is somewhat similar to Beauty, her first book.  All in all it’s a very enjoyable book.



Enchantment– One of the few books set in modern times that features magic.  This also quite interestingly enough combines both Sleeping Beauty and Baba Yaga, being set in Russia, vaguely, for parts of it.  It’s an interesting combination because parts of it are set in medeival times and parts are in modern times, and the male protagonist is Jewish, which leads to some interesting problems when he is in the medeival times.


Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep– Another in the Gail Carson Levine Princess Tales.  Princess Sonora is given many gifts at her Christening, among them being great knowledge, and she knows everything.  Of course, she’s also given a curse to fall asleep on her 16th birthday.  Many years later the saying arises, “Ask Princess Sonora she’ll know,” and the Prince in the nearby kingdom wants to ask Princess Sonora so she can answer all the questions he has.  So he sets out on a quest to find and wake her up.  I love this variation, because it seems like he wants to find her for more reasons than because she’s pretty.  And let’s face it, all of these end much happier and in a much more normal way than the original version (depending on the one you read, she wakes up pregnant with twins, and then her mother-in-law is an ogress that wants to eat her).


Sleepless Beauty– I’m getting tired of getting the pictures.  This version she’s cursed to fall asleep, but she decides she’s going to control when she falls asleep and how she’ll wake up.  It’s cute simple and one I can read to my preschoolers right now.


I’m just gonna cover my two novelizations of Jack and the Beanstalk, because I don’t know my two picture books super well.  They’re cute, but nothing special.


The Thief and the Beanstalk–  I love this as a continuation of Jack’s tale.  Now Jack is all grown up and lives in a grand manor and everyone knows the story of how he got rich.  Well, a band of thieves has decided they’re going to break into Jack’s castle and steal that goose.  They send a young boy in first to gain Jack’s confidence, and as the story progresses the boy is trying to decide where his loyalties lie.  It does a really interesting job of looking at morality without preaching.


Jack of Kinrowan– This is actually an omnibus of two books.  Charles DeLint wrote this as part of the Fairy Tales series that Briar Rose is part of.  I scour Half Price and used bookstores to find books in this series, and have thought of buying multiple copies of some of these books.  This is called a “modern fairy tale” it’s set in modern days in a major city (I forget which one).  And in this one Jacky Rowan has been called upon to help slay a giant, but she’s not even really sure if she believes in all of this stuff, let alone is up to killing a giant.  One of the details I appreciate in this series is all of the mythos it brings in.  It brings in all of the minor pixie and fair folk characters, and little bits of lore of how to stop fairies.  Things like sewing some red thread through your clothes can stop their magic and other nice little details.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say the second book is not as good as the first, but it does continue in the same vein.


If I get a chance later this week I’m going to write about my favorite books that include multiple fairy tales.  There’s several series that have come out recently that combine fairy tales in interesting ways, and I love those ideas.  Of course a good deal of these books are not intended for kids cough Fables cough cough.

Beauty and the Beast

Today’s Adventure is having a week of fairy tale books, and I thought that was so cool.  She’s wanting people to write about their favorite adaptations and the like.  I thought I would go through my favorite versions of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty- this is the book that got me hooked on Beauty and the Beast.  I think I first read it in 6th grade, so that tells you the age range.  One of the things I like about this version is the sisters all get along, and Beauty is so likable.




Rose Daughter- This is Robin McKinley’s second foray into Beauty and the Beast, and this version is geared towards an older audience.  It’s a little darker, but probably high school aged I’d guess.  Maybe junior high, I guess if Twilight is for that age, then this could be as well.  I love the fact that she was able to write the same story twice and both times it was completely different take.



Beast- This is the only version I’ve found that is written from the Beast’s point of view.  It was really intriguing, but it’s not one that I reread as often as the other two.  One of the things I found interesting is the Beast comes from India (as I recall) and migrates all the way to France.  All in all it was an enjoyable read.



Beauty- this is set in modern day.  It’s a little different in that it’s not a fantasy tale, but it’s still the same idea.  She goes to live with a “beast” and slowly falls in love with him and is called away to help her ailing father and discovers the depth of her love.  I like the different variation, but it’s still hard to hold a candle to the Robin McKinley ones.  Still, it’s a fun change of pace.



Beauty and the Beast- This is probably one of my two favorite picture book versions.  I love the illustrations and wish I could illustrate like this.  It follows fairly closely to the original tale, and it’s so much fun to read.



The Dragon Prince- This is the only version from a different culture of Beauty and the Beast that I own.  Like most of the versions I own I haven’t shared it with my kids yet because it’s geared more for about a second grade level (at least).  I like this version because both have to search out their true love when things go awry at the end.  “The eye sees what it will, but the heart sees what it should.”  That’s the lesson taught in this version on both sides.



Beauty and the Beast- I think this probably most closely follows the traditional tale as a retelling, with the addition of the dreams Beauty has.  Each night after she goes to bed she dreams of a handsome prince, and longs to find him.  In this version Beast is a magician and able to conjure up amazing images to accompany the stories he tells.  I love the way she retells it.



Bunny and the Beast- I have to admit I got this one partially because the cover is so overboard.  I’ve got a whole series of fairy tale cards by this illustrator and got it mainly for this.  I love the illustrations, they’re incredibly lavish.  This, like the Mercer Mayer and the Dragon Prince again has the sisters not getting along, which is true to the original fairy tale, even though I like Beauty and Rose Daughter for changing that fact.  It’s still a fun book to read.  Again this is probably geared more to second grade, more because of the length.  The pictures are not disturbing at all, but it is a longer picture book.


Well, I’d try and claim these are all of my copies, but that would be a lie.  These are just the ones that I love the pictures or the story particularly.  I have another one somewhere I wanted to spotlight that was wonderfully long, sort of a novella with wonderfully gothic illustrations, but I can’t find it amongst my Beauty and the Beast shelf, so it’s hiding.


Head on over to Today’s Adventures for Once Upon a Week, where most people are reviewing young adult books, but hey I mostly write about my preschoolers.  Goodness, I’m going to have to start referring to the boys as kindergarteners.  That’s scary.


I’ll hopefully get a chance to put up my Sleeping Beauty recommendations.  I don’t have as many of those.  I think I have 3 novels for it, and a few picture books.  Oddly enough, even though Cinderella is the most commonly adapted story, it’s one of the ones I own the fewest of.

I’d link this over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, but I don’t think this is what my kids are reading………

My kids are reading Fairy Tales

Really, I should say I read the fairy tales to them.

Mightiest Heart– so, after the whole Blackbeard fiasco I’ve started making sure I preread the ones I’m less sure of.  This is the story of a prince who has a dog, and grows up with the dog, and sort of reminds me of the giving tree.  Because gradually the dog is shunted more and more to the side until he’s just flat out kicked out over a mistaken impression (sort of like in Lady and the Tramp).  Then the dog later saves the prince, and then there’s more…..  Now, as my kids retell the story to their Aunt Jenn that night at dinner, all they could say was the dog died and the prince was mean.  So, apparently they didn’t get the wonderful story of love, and that the dog didn’t really die.  My kids are weird sometimes.

Cinderella–  This is closer to the original Cinderella than most retellings, but it still doesn’t get into the whole chopping off their toes or pecking out their eyes, which is probably just as well, given my kids.  Next thing you know they’ll tell everyone I read them a story with birds eating people.

The Loathsome Dragon– This is from the British Isles, I think Irish, but I could be wrong.  It’s the story of a brother and sister and what the brother goes through to break the enchantment on his sister.  LOVED this story!

Rose Red and Snow White– This is a tale I’m more familiar with, and I actually own three versions of this tale, I think.  This one I don’t own, but Snow White and Rose Red befriend a bear and find out he is bespelled.  Maybe someday I’ll write a post about fairy tales novelizations.  I love the novelization I have of this book.

The Four Gallant Sisters–  Who of course are orphans, isn’t that what always happens in fairy tales?  And to make it even more fun, there’s a Shakespearean twist, they dress up like men!  And, this would fit in with most of his comedies, there’s gender twists galore.  Okay, before I start making all sorts of silly jokes about this.  I thought this was delightful, and so did my kids.

The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions– This was great!  The king has a son and then later his wife dies, 3 years later he marries again and has 2 more sons and they become the best of friends.  But, the queen in a stray moment of jealousy sends the oldest prince off to steal 3 magic stallions.  The two younger brothers agree to help him and ride off with him.  Great story of friendship and brothers being friends.  I also loved the turn of phrase as we read it.

Honestly, I don’t think there was a miss among these with my kids.  The least favorite was Cinderella, but that makes sense.  My boys really liked “The Loathsome Dragon,” and “Rose Red and Snow White.”

Now, here’s why I said this is part one of fairy tales.  I checked out about 30 fairy tales.  That’s to go with this:
003 001

See these two pictures.  The one on the left is the bookcase full of my teaching stuff in the garage.  Most of the books on that middle shelf you can see are fairy tales, including a version of Beauty and the Beast I wrote and illustrated for a college assignment, and a fairy tale Jeff wrote because he loves me.

The one on the right is my fairy tale/fantasy bookcase.  The top shelf has about 20-30 versions of Beauty and the Beast (the notebooks are Bible studies, yes that is an odd pairing).  The next row are novelizations of fairy tales, mostly young adult, and a fair number Gail Carson Levine.  The comes a row of Arthurian inspired novels, and starting to get into general fantasy.  And then the bottom two are fantasy, mostly.  And those have a lot of books inspired by fairy tales. (Sorry for the slight blurriness of this picture, my camera is mad at me right now, and I”m hoping it just needs new batteries, and my cell phone camera got me a slightly blurry picture).
So, we have a fair number of books to read.  Though, a lot of them they are not ready for. 

Now, that you’ve been somewhat indoctrinated by my short treatise on fairy tales head on over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns to see some more great fairy tales.