At a recent trip to the library, E went into the stacks and came trotting up to me with a book and said, “Let’s read it!” Super pleased at his initiative, I took the book and followed him to our reading spot. The book was Seven Stories, by Ed Briant.
Seven Stories is a punning, urban mash-up of the classic children’s fairy tale stories: Jack and Giant, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, and others. Briant weaves them together through the sleepless night of a little girl, who is hearing the conversations, bumps, and bustlings around her apartment.
As we read, I realized that we hadn’t read ANY of the fairy tale stories—not even The Three Bears! And since he is in the “Why? Mom? phase, I had to explain why there were three grumpy bears in an apartment glaring at a little blond girl. This book really was not an “age-appropriate” choice (it’s target age is 4-8 yrs), but we stuttered through it, pausing to explain different aspects of the stories. And E wanted to read it again. And we checked it out. And we’ve read it some more.
When did you start reading fairy tales?
I came across minimalist posters of the fairy tales by Christian Jackson the other day. They definitely reduce each story to its essential, distinguishing elements. The Three Little Pigs are represented by their construction materials. Rapunzel shows us a braid.
I find them charming and I guess before I consider buying one, I better tell E why there’s a poster of an umbrella in the rain on the wall.