What is it about wolves and fairy tales? It seems that one can not exist without the other. We have done quite a number of posts previously on wolves and the pivotal role they play in the unraveling of fairy stories: Fats’ review of Lon Po Po, my review of (not one but) two big bad wolves in Alma Flor Ada’s Yours Truly, Goldilocks, Fats’ Fractured versions of Three Little Pigs, and my own review of two quirky adaptation of Three Little Pigs. As Lauren Child has noted in this Pop-Up Classic, we should definitely “Beware of the Storybook Wolves” – a perfect book for our Bimonthly theme this July/August.
This also seems a good book to share with the other regulars of Book Talk Tuesday over at Lemme Library hosted by Rock Star Kelly Butcher.
Pop-up Engineering and Twisty-topsy-turny Storyliney. As per usual, the inimitable Lauren Child did not fail to deliver. The trademark illustrations (distinctively Child’s) has leveled up to the beauty that is pop-up material. I am not sure whether it can be called 3-d since the images remain beautifully two-dimensional.
However, it does present an interactive component to it with children sliding a lever, turning the pages of a book among others. I have to admit that my usual worries about pop-up books is their longevity – no matter how well you take care of them, the probability of the pages being folded or creased in the wrong place is very high, particularly if it’s a library book (perhaps it would be good to hear from our librarian regulars in The Lemme Library whether they encounter the same problem).
I also like how Child always manages to put together a hodgepodge, a delightful assortment of all the fairy stories put together. There is the “dozy princess” who “falls asleep at her own birthday party,” and your usual suspects aside from the wolf: the wicked fairy and its counterpart, the fairy god mother. Hmm… I haven’t come across any fairy god father as yet – that’d be a good variation.
True Meaning of Courage (and Fear). The book’s premise, while essentially lighthearted and funny in orientation is a boy vanquishing his fear of the unknown with yet other unknowns. As the proverbial wolf jumps out of the pages of the book (again, it’s the mother’s fault, it’s always the mother’s fault) – the smart Herb makes use of other elements in other fairy stories (a jelly from Sleeping Beauty’s feast, the absent minded fairy in Cinderella to name a few) to vanquish the wolves of his own creation.
But yeah, who says wolves aren’t real? Perhaps they are. And fairy godmothers and witches and goblins – walking around us like ordinary people – the entire world a fractured version of lost tales fragmented in space.
Other helpful links. As I was looking for resources for this book, I discovered that Scholastic has created this extensive Lesson Plan for Teachers which includes a variety of activities including a Spin-off of Fractured Tales. Arthur A Levine has likewise written a short synopsis and a good compilation of reviews done on the book. My favorite, though, is the highly incisive article written by Claire Cowling for Suite101 where she looked into Lauren Child treading “a fine psychological line between comedy and fear in children’s minds.” Nice ring to it.
Beware of the Storybook Wolves, A Pop-up Classic by Lauren Child. Paper Engineering by Corina Fletcher. Published by Hodder Children’s Books a Division of Hachette Children’s Books, London., 2006. Book borrowed from the NIE Library.