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Monday, April 21, 2014

Kristen's Top Middle Grade Fairy Tale Retellings | Fairy Tale Fortnight

Today's guest post comes from Kristen of The Book Monsters, long time blogging buddy and children's librarian extraordinaire. Kristen's here to chat with us about some of her favorite fairy tale retellings that are aimed at a middle grade audience, for either your own reading pleasure or to share with the middle graders in your life! Take a browse through and let us know in the comments which you've loved and which you'd suggest.

Being a huge fan of fairy tales, I love sharing these stories with my own students. Here is a great list for upper elementary and middle grade readers. These are all books I've personally read and enjoyed, so if you have any books you've loved, let me know so I can read them as well. All links lead to Goodreads.

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The Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams
The Grimmtastic Girls looks like a great series to watch out for. I'd suggest it for fans of Monster High, Harry Potter and all things fairy tales. I really loved Cinderella Stays Late and cannot wait to read the second in the series.
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The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life has not been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother--a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy tale detectives.
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The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
The Land of Stories itself is quite a charming place, full of the characters and stories known well through Disney. I am often more a fan of the original fairy tales, but I loved the way the stories flowed together to make a world that had a balance of good and evil. Of course, it is when evil decides to move forward that becomes the real problem.
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The League of Princes by Christopher Healy
The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom. A fun series, The League of Princes takes a play at the different Princes in fairy tales and gives them a life of their own.
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A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
There's quite the treasure trove of fairy tales in the A Tale Dark & Grimm series and adds a narration that really brings it all together. These tales are meant to have an outside voice involved and I was surprised at the way the narrator turned out to be, in the final book. I also applaud Gidwitz from keeping close to the old stories, even with all the wonderfully added gore involved in them.
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After Happily Ever After by Tony Bradman
The series After Happily Ever After is great for younger and, also, struggling readers. The plot is fun (and definitely a bit girly) and has a great message for kids. The illustrations are very cute and fit right in with what's going on in the story. After Happily Ever After is definitely a series I'd recommend for girls who love fairy tales.

 photo ophelia_zps341e58f2.jpgOphelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
I really fell in love with Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, which had everything I could ever want as a reader – a smart heroine, a fairy tale quest, and the dangers that come with such a book. It's a retelling of the Snow Queen, one of my favorite fairy tales.

 photo rump_zps1fb73d59.jpgRump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
Rump is a hilarious retelling of Rumplestiltskin, where the villain turns out to be more than an innocent bystander and the girl a bit of a ditz. I love fractured fairy tales, ones that twist a story we know well into something new, casting characters who were originally the hero into the villain, the villain into the hero and so on.
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The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
The Real Boy takes a wonderful new look at the story of Pinnocchio, but set in it's own world with characters that made me fall in love with the book from page one. Anne Ursu writes the best fantasy books and I have to say that The Real Boy is one of my favorites.

 photo intothewoods_zps8a595a5c.jpgInto the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Into the Woods is a blend of fairy tales all put together in one great adventure story. Storm is the brave one of the three sisters and she takes charge when her parents take off and leave the three sisters to fend for themselves. They find a series of villians as they travel, from the pied piper to a child-eating witch and other treacherous beings.
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Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Breadcrumbs is a retelling of the Snow Queen about a girl named Hazel who must rescue her friend Jack from the evil queen in the woods. I love the story Ursu tells and it's a brilliantly told version of one of my favorite fairy tales.

 photo peterandmax_zps068c1a61.jpgPeter & Max by Bill Willingham
Peter & Max follows the Piper brothers. Peter is the one who is good and he has a magical flute his father handed down to him. His older brother Max slowly transforms from a selfish boy into a horrible, evil magician who leads children astray from villages, attacks whoever he feels like and is set out to kill Peter once and for all and take back what he believes to be rightfully his - the flute that was handed down to Peter. Brilliantly told, I love the mix of fairy tales in this book, a great young adult book for Fables fans.

Original Fairy Tales

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint
Lillian is a girl that reminded me of myself, in love with old tales of fairies and magic. When she falls asleep one day beneath a tree, she is bitten by a snake and the cats of Tanglewood Forest turn her into a kitten to save her life. The only problem is she is not happy to be a kitten instead of a little girl and seeks out a way to change back. DeLint captures a new fairy tale in this story, one that was wholly beautiful and satisfying. The illustrations were spectacular as well.
 photo juniper_zps984f29de.jpgJuniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
Juniper has noticed that her parents have changed. They're famous, so it's to be expected, but there are really weird things going on. Her parents disappear into a tree at night, she finds them sucking the air out of balloons, and they simply don't care about her or each other anymore. Read this book if you love fairy tales, or if you want to be frightened a bit, or if the cover simply appeals to your senses. It's worth it.

 photo sevenwildsisters_zpsb43bc1ec.jpgSeven Wild Sisters by Charles DeLint

Seven Wild Sisters is a modern fairy tale about seven sisters growing up in backwoods hill country, and how one of them finds a mystery in the forest that both endangers and could save them all. Sarah Jane is the sister it is mostly about, who finds solace in an old woman who lives not too far from them. She learns the importance of making ones own way and her own family.

Any great fairy tales you would add to this list?

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  1. What a fun list! It's been a while since I've read these (maybe it's time for a reread?) but I remember really enjoying Shannon Hale's books of Bayern series. (Or maybe those are closer to YA?) E.D. Baker's Frog Princess was also such fun. ^^

  2. It was so much fun making this list. I've read The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and enjoyed it, but think of it more as YA, although it could have MG appeal too. E.D. Baker's books are huge with my students, but I have yet to read them, will add them to the list. I was going to add a section of graphic novels too, but my list was already so long. :) Thanks Misty for having me!

  3. I have a few of these books on my library wishlist. I probably need to check them out and read them soon. They all sound so great.

  4. I totally need to add my beloved Merrie Haskell - my favorite is The Princess Curse! I love this list and am bookmarking it for future reading reference.

    1. Yessssssss, agreed. She and Anne Ursu would be at the TOP of mine. =D

  5. I added a lot of these to my TBR list. I have read Rump which I loved and Breadcrumbs which I thought was okay.

  6. I had never heard of Ophelia and I didn't know The Real Boy was a retelling of Pinocchio! So many amazing books on this list!

  7. Thanks for this list...very interested in reading Breadcrumbs!

  8. This is great! I love several of these -Sisters Grimm, Rump, Hero's Guide- so I'll have to check out the others. My absolute favorite is The Ever Afters by Shelby Bach.

  9. Such a great list... I love retellings and didn't realize there were so many out there!

  10. This is a wonderful post! We have read many of these, but we love retellings so this is a great way to continue finding more.


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