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SWAN SISTER by Ellen Datlow


Fairy Tales Retold

edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-689-84613-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Thirteen new stories along the lines of those in the editors’ Wolf at the Door (2001), several by the same authors. Some tales stick closely to recognizable fairy tales, others are original creations that incorporate folkloric elements: Will Shetterly offers an urban, open-ended “Little Red and the Big Bad,” Neil Gaiman’s poem “Inventing Aladdin” captures the pressure on Scheherazade, Gregory Frost’s “Harp That Sang” is a prose rendition of the “Cruel Sister” ballad. Lois Metzger’s redemption of the stepmother in her Rapunzel-like “Girl in the Attic,” and Pat York’s tale of a wish-granting fish caught by a child who is wise beyond her years, aren’t the only pleasant surprises that lurk here for readers up on their folktales. The collection ends on a strong note with Katherine Vaz’s title tale about a child learning from her short-lived baby sister that joy is not measured by time. Despite perfunctory author’s comments at each story’s end, an above-average gathering. (introduction) (Short stories. 11-14)