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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fairy Tale Comics, edited by Chris Duffy. First Second, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast Books, 2013. $22.99 all ages

if you value your life.
I shall return in the morning.
No! Not again. What will I...

In trouble again, my dear?
What can you offer me this

This ring on my finger?

I was really looking forward to this terrific lineup of graphic and fractured fairy tales after having read Nursery Rhyme Comics, which was also edited by Chris Duffy. It is full of fun and fantastic interpretations of a host of mostly familiar tales. I also very much enjoyed reading the ones that were unfamiliar to me. The contributors are as varied as the stories, and their artwork will have readers completely engaged while reading it alone, or with others. I read it straight through the first time, and have gone back to savor certain favorites on other occasions.

Each of the seventeen stories given new life are inventive and entertaining, allowing today's children a fresh look at these age-old tales. I fear that many of us have lost the joy that came to us when we were read fairy tales as children, or that we never heard them at all. I hope that trend changes with some of the brilliant work of truly talented writers and artists who share them with us still. I would hate for this generation of children to miss all they have to learn from them.

A quote from Albert Einstein seems altogether appropriate at this moment:
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

It's a tough argument to ignore. There is so much in fairy tales that show us the way of the world,  who we are, and how to make it a better place. The entries are brief, varied and often humorous. They are meant to be shared and savored. They are relevant for any age, and are likely to be reread.    

You may meet some new characters, and you are sure to be impressed by the artists who have been chosen to share their varied talents in this worthwhile collection.  I appreciate some of the modern twists, but I am happier knowing that these classics may find a new audience through the cartoonists who showcase their talent so capably on every page.

An author's note and list for further reading, plus an appendix that gives readers a glimpse at the contributors are most welcome.  


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