AMERICAN FAIRY TALES: From Rip Van Winkle to the Rootabaga Stories by Neil--Ed. Philip
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AMERICAN FAIRY TALES: From Rip Van Winkle to the Rootabaga Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From the pair behind Singing America (1995), a gathering of a century's worth of stories that defy well-known European fairy tale conventions. In an impassioned afterword, Philip writes, ""One of the defining themes of the American fairy tale is this sense that ordinary life is something the fairy tale hero must learn to value and enjoy, rather than something from which he must escape."" He includes works by writers such as L Frank Baum, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott, as well as lesser-knowns (Ruth Plumly Thompson and the anonymous M.S.B., among them), who penetrated the heart of American culture by creating characters who relied on inner strength and discovery rather than other-worldly magic. Glass slippers, castles, and class differences aside, Washington Irving, Howard Pyle, and Carl Sandburg remythologized the traditional stories by asserting that the challenge and bounty of America provided more than enough setting and inspiration. Whether readers recall these stories from English classes or discover them anew, they will see in the texts the promise and potential of an untarnished America. McCurdy's precise black-and-white woodcuts perfectly capture the idiomatic spirit of stories from Kansas to Kalamazoo to Rootabaga Country, and help Philip make the case for the genre that other collections have danced around without naming, the American fairy tale. With a preface by Alison Lurie.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1996
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Hyperion