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From the Monster Stories series, volume 6

retold by Fran Parnell ; illustrated by Sophie Fatus

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: May 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-84686-910-5
Publisher: Barefoot

A monster story from Chile, tailor-made for new readers.

When the king tires of his three naughty daughters’ tricks, he turns them into oranges and stations a guard under the tree they hang from to keep them safe. When monsters Grim and Grunt hear about the orange princesses, they inveigle their youngest brother, Grizzle-Tail, into terrifying the guard and making off with the fruit one at a time. The king is left in despair after two of the oranges are thus captured. Servant Pedro steps up and offers to guard the final orange. When Grizzle-Tail comes back, Pedro pierces his skin as he grabs the orange and flies away, leaving a trail of blood. Pedro follows the trail, Hansel-and-Gretel style, until he finds not only the first two (cowardly) guards, but the monsters’ land and the princesses, too. A dandy trickster tale on many levels, it offers monsters scary enough to chill the youngest readers without causing nightmares. With saturated acrylics and droll dialogue in speech bubbles, the illustrations both extend the text and keep the action zipping along.

Familiar fairy-tale motifs and folkloric repetition make this a solid choice for newly independent readers. (sources) (Folktale/early reader. 6-10)