Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A WOLF AT THE DOOR by Ellen Datlow


and Other Retold Fairy Tales

edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82138-7
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Harking back to a time when “fairy tales were scarier . . . and the heroes and heroines were more interesting,” 13 fantasists spin trenchant remakes or sequels. The editors mix work from fixed stars and rising ones: Jane Yolen’s chubby Cinderella gets her prince almost in spite of inept help from a flock of birds; Michael Cadnum envisions “Jack and the Beanstalk” from the point of view of the giant’s wife; Delia Sherman (“The Months of Manhattan”) and Garth Nix (“Hansel’s Eyes”) give their versions of well-known tales with urban settings; Nancy Farmer reworks “The Goose Girl” so that the horse Falada survives. In a lighter vein, Neil Gaiman offers “Instructions” to anyone suddenly trapped in a fairy tale (“A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted front door, / as a knocker, / do not touch it; it will bite your fingers”). Tanith Lee’s well-read 14-year-old unenthusiastically works herself up to kissing a clumsy, obviously bespelled wolf, and Janeen Webb chronicles a Close Encounter in “Ali Baba and the Forty Aliens.” Most of the protagonists are young, the violence is toned down (the giants do keep stepping on people but not deliberately), and readers will come away from this collection satisfied, whether they’re after romance or danger, psychodrama or belly laughs. Author comments, mostly about favorite childhood fairy tales, follow each story. (Short stories. 11-15)