TALES OF BROTHER GOOSE by Brett Nicholas Moore


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Wickedly tart reductions of classic tales, plus a few new ones.

The adaptation of fairy tales and nursery rhymes is not uncommon. The brothers Grimm did so in early 19th-century Germany, and the past century witnessed scads of American retellings, ranging from the sanitized works of Disney to Anne Sexton’s bracingly feminist Transformations, published in 1971. Where Perrault, Grimm and Sexton sought as much to educate as to entertain the reader, Moore satirizes high moralism and the forced “happily ever after” conclusions by imbuing his tales with often-crude humor and modern colloquialisms. “Puss In Boots,” for example, in which an industrious cat elevates his master’s social position, follows much of the original tale’s storyline but also includes vulgar details: “That night, the King feasted on the rabbit, but got a case of the shits so bad it kept him up the whole night.” Other tales, while less graphic, are equally humorous, if occasionally sophomoric and plagued by poor grammar. In “The Village Constructor,” Geofferson, a raccoon charged with realizing the visions of others in his village (a “vision constructor”), grows tired of having to construct the self-aggrandizing visions of the horse Jaquers, whose latest prophecy is of a big ball of light bringing him the gift of sight. Instead of reproducing this epiphany as dictated, “Geofferson created out of wood, Jaquers reaching out to the light and the light handing Jaquers a pair of sunglasses.” Other tales, such as “Ramses the Fraidy Cat” and “A Tragedy of Errors,” demonstrate an absurdity reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch, albeit minus the zany wit.

Mother Goose, goosed.

Pub Date: May 30th, 2006
ISBN: 1-600-47021-1
Program: Kirkus Indie
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