Twisted Fairy Tales
2012 – YA – Fantasy
The Story:McHugh has compiled 20 fairy tales in one collection, ranging from the familiar (Snow White, Pinocchio) to the obscure (The Island of Skeletons, Godmother Death). With each tale, she twists the original story to give it a deeper, darker element. New surprises await in each tale, and everything you think you know is up for grabs.
The Opening Line:“Annabel, your skin is a fresh spring apple, pink and fragrant, urging my lips to kiss it,” the King whispered as he undressed his beautiful new Queen on their wedding night. (Taken from the tale of Snow White.)
What I Loved:I really enjoy stories that have gothic elements. So I loved that these tales didn’t shy away from being dark and provocative. These aren’t the Disney versions of the stories that so many know and love. Taken from the original Grimm and Perrault, the stories are gritty and bloody. I also enjoyed the more obscure stories that McHugh chose to showcase alongside the more loved tales. This is a diverse collection of tales, encompassing a variety of mythologies and legends from across the world, which is awesome! And the illustrations are beautiful. They really set the scene and draw you into the tale – I would often turn a page to see a terrifying drawing that startled me.
What I Didn’t Love: So often, the story I was reading would just end fairly abruptly, always leaving me to wonder what would happen next. Not that she ended the tales without resolving them…more like I just wanted more. And sometimes I would get to the end of the story and wonder why it was chosen for inclusion. For me personally, some of the tales were okay at best, but didn’t really do anything for me. Also, I’m not a fan of short stories, so I had to overcome that.
Final Thoughts: I really liked the majority of the tales in this collection. I was never really a fan of Disney, nor have I spent much time reading Anderson or Grimm’s versions of the stories. So I found myself drawn to the obscure tales that have just never crossed my reading path. My favorite was Molly Whupple, about a strong female character who outwits a giant and saves her family. I finished reading and just thought, “Wow! That was really good.” This is the kind of collection you should read around Halloween, when you want to dance with the macabre. Caution, though. For younger kids or preteens, you want to stick with the Disney or Anderson versions. These are definitely for the older crowd!