Fractured Fairy Tales

I felt the need to start off the New Year with something funny to put us all in the mood for overcoming all the sadness and violence going on around the globe. So here are three stories with slightly different takes on specific myths or fairy tales. May this year bring “peace, love and understanding” not just to us personally but to the whole world.
Hmm, didn’t mean to sound so dark. Did you ever hear what happened when Earl bought Maude a 50 wedding anniversary present? Now, Earl married the woman of his dreams in 1965. She was just the right height to nestle into his shoulder while they danced and he could almost circle her waist with his hands when they married. But age and five children had altered both their figures.

Still, 50 years later, Earl still thinks Maude is one hot number, so he schleps over to Victoria’s Secret and buys the sheerest, sexiest neglige he can find. $500 worth of nothing, but worth every penny. He gives her the box all wrapped with gold and silver paper and tied with a fluffy gold bow.

She slips the bow off the box and edges lose the tape sealing the paper. Maude figured the wrapping beautiful enough to be her present. But when she takes out the neglige and smooths the ivory-white, pure silk fabric, she agrees the wrapping is only second best.

“Go upstairs and try it on, honey,” Earl says. “I want to see if it does you justice.”

In their bedroom, Maude holds the gown up to her naked body, looks in the mirror and realizes how gossamer thin the fabric really is. “Well,” she mutters to herself, “I could use $500, so I’m going to show Earl my body and return this and keep the money.”
Maude walks out to balcony overlooking their great room, where Earl waits for her. “Oh Earl,” she simpers, “here I am.”

Earl looks up with a smile, but when he sees his lovely wife, the smile curves downward. He slaps his thigh and says, “You think for $500 they could at least IRON it!”
Now how’s that for a good laugh?


This first book gave me a lot of giggles.

Extraordinary: The True Story of My Fairy Godparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess
Adam Selzer
Turns out it’s not cool to have a book written about you, if the author makes people believe things that didn’t happen. Instead of turning her into a princess, Jennifer Van Den Berg’s fairy godparent—a disheveled, grumpy elf named Gregory Grue—grants her wishes, but they come with a price or she’ll die. Along the journey, Jennifer learns there are other ways to control one’s anger than smashing dollar-store ceramic figurines. Her favorite guy friend suddenly reappears in her suburb of Des Moines, but is being chased by his parents who want him to become a vampire like them. So she has to save him. Her fairy godmofo, Gregory, is a mess and tangles Jennifer’s life webs into ever more intricate knots. All kinds of supernatural creatures surface in the story; the school counselor is a vampire. Scenes from the fictitious book of her life preface each chapter of the book Jennifer is writing. This is an amusing book, lightheartedly written to prove life is indeed no fairy tale.
BIBLIO: 2011, Delacorte/Random House Children’s Books/Random House, Inc., Ages 14 to 18, $15.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-385-73649-7
ISBN: 978-0-385-90612-8
ISBN: 978-0-375-98358-0
Though not entirely a fairy tale, the events in King Arthur’s court have spawned many a mythical story.

The Adventures of Sir Gawain the True
Gerald Morris
Illustrated by Aaron Renier
Sir Gawain is one of King Arthur’s bravest knights and has never been defeated in battle, but can be a bit full of himself. He rescues a damsel from the clutches of a fiery dragon, he will take no thanks from her—not a gentle kiss on the cheek, nor a scarf from round her neck. He leaves her alone in the midst of the forest; not even asking her name. Upon hearing of his not-so-courteous manner, King Arthur chides him and Sir Gawain realizes his mistake. Soon after, at a Christmas feast, an enormous green knight thunders into the hall and challenges Sir Gawain to a fight—a blow for blow contest. Sir Green Knight allows Sir Gawain the first blow, ordering him to whack his green neck with a very sharp axe, which leaves Sir Green with his head rolling around on the floor. Turns out Sir Green is a sorcerer quite accustomed to picking up his head and reuniting it with his body. So Sir Gawain is now bound to meet the giant knight in a year hence to receive the return blow. In a series of adventures, the King and his knights meet several unusual people who seem oddly similar to one another through speech or mannerisms and each teaches them something about courtesy. In the end Sir Gawain realizes this has all been a plot devised to make amends for his rude behavior towards the damsel he rescued. The story is well told, with gentle humor and a nice message. And the cartoonish illustrations add to the humor.
BIBLIO: 2011, Houghton Mifflin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Ages 8 to 12, $14.99
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Middle Reader
ISBN: 978-0-547-41855-1
The cautionary tale woven into this story is be careful what you meddle in.

Whatever After: Fairest of All
Sarah Mlynowski
Eleven-year-old Abby and her seven-year-old brother, Jonah, are living in a new neighborhood and going to a new school which is fine with Jonah. Abby, on the other hand, is not happy about the changes. For starters, the kids in her class don’t play tag the way she does. They play “Freeze Tag” instead. Shortly after their move, Jonah wakes Abby up to tell her about the strange mirror in their basement. In the hopes of getting Jonah to quit talking about the mirror, Abby follows him into the basement only to discover he’s right. The mirror sucks them, some furniture and lots of law books into a different world. Snow White’s world; where they stop her from eating the poisoned apple. Ooops, realizes Abby, now Snow won’t be rescued by Prince Charming and won’t live “happily ever after.” So Abby and Jonah set about to correct their blunder, but Snow, of course, is confused and not of much help to begin with. The tension ratchets up when Abby catches on that time in Fairy Book Land is faster than real time. They have only so much time to fix Snow’s story and get home before their parents discover they’re missing. Naturally, every plan they try goes awry, but eventually the siblings straighten out the story and connect Snow White and Prince Charming. Best yet, they get back to their house before Mom and Dad notice they’ve been missing. Abby also learns that life does have a way of changing, whether you want it to or not. She decides that Freeze Tag might not be that bad. Fun read, full of lots of humor.
BIBLIO: 2012, Scholastic Press/Scholastic Inc., Ages 8 to 12, $14.99.
REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan
FORMAT: Middle Reader
ISBN: 978-0-545-40330-6

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