Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review : 1) The Enchanted Flounder 2) Little Red Riding Hood

Title 1: The Enchanted Flounder
Title 2: Little Red Riding Hood
Adapted and Illustrated by : Susan Meredith
Publisher : Rocking Chair Publications

The Enchanted Flounder is the fourth book of the series - Gram's Fairy Tales, which are kinder, gentler retelling of Grimm's classics. The previous three being - Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Rumpelstitlskin.

Through this series of retold classics, the witches, evil stepmothers and bad wolves have been replaced by nicer characters and the negativities have been substituted with softer, sensitive and humane feelings. These books truly live up to the theme of 'NO SCARY STUFF, Just tickles and giggles'.

We all know the story of a fisherman meeting a magical fish who could fulfill wishes. Fisherman, being a very contented person, does not ask for anything but his materialistic wife needs all comforts of life - a big house, lots of servants and on and on her greed and wishes keep increasing until she finally asks for a supreme wish of granting wishes herself, which completely changes her life for good. No, she is not transformed into the same poor lady of the fisherman once again. In this new version of the classic, there is a beginning of a new life, a new story and a happy ending.

Similarly through the tale of 'Little Red Riding Hood', a very important point has been made - forming a rigid opinion or branding a particular animal or for that matter any individual as good or bad is not right and that comes across as a very valid point when the wolf is portrayed as a vulnerable animal who is in fear of the hunters and wants the help of Little Red Riding Hood to save its life.
This reminded me of one story that I wrote - "Who is Bigger?", conveying the same point. We have always read and listened to the stories with fox being a very crafty and cunning animal but I wanted to write something in which fox's intelligence is being used in a positive manner.

After reading this book, I found it a very good idea to package the age old classics in new mould and approach the idea of inculcating values in children a little differently, not through same old witches, revengeful fish and always a villain wolf. I found these books modifying the classics just perfectly to convey the point without creating a fear of any frightening images in young minds. Also, these books are just right for the children transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

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