THE OUTSPOKEN PRINCESS AND THE GENTLE KNIGHT

TIMELY FAIRY TALES FOR TUMULTUOUS TIMES

A not all that timely collection of fairy tales from editor Zipes (Victorian Fairy Tales, 1987, etc.), written between 1951 and 1992, the bulk of which are unsuccessful Thurber-like attempts. Written in the '70s, they are often didactic feminist reversals of traditional tales. It is, however, the stories that are neither ironic nor mocking that are the most effective. Richard Kennedy's ``The Dark Princess'' examines true love in the tragic account of a blindingly beautiful and blind princess who demands that her suitors prove their love by giving up their own sight. Although they all declare their love for her, not one is willing to pass her test. Only the court fool, who cannot even gain the princess's hand by his act, gazes at the princess without his protective colored glass. Jane Yolen's ``The Seal Maid'' is the sad story of a selchie, a seal woman, who leaves the water to marry. Although she loves her human husband, she must eventually return with their seven sons to the sea. A.S. Byatt, in the metafictional ``The Story of the Eldest Princess,'' looks at the fairy tale itself and asks if predetermined plots can be ignored. A few worthwhile contributions in a generally worthless book. (Book-of-the-Month Club/Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selections) (Stories/Fiction. All ages)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-553-09699-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1994

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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