________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 15. . . .December 10, 2010

cover

It's Not About the Rose! (Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales).

Veronika Martenova Charles. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Toronto, ON: Tundra, 2010.
64 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-954-2.

Subject Headings:
Fairy tales.
Children's stories, Canadian (English).

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Robert Groberman.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

"How dare you steal my roses!" said the beast

"Forgive me, but my daughter asked for one. It's only a single rose," said the man.

"Stealing is stealing, whether it's a jewel or a flower. You'll pay with your life, said the beast.

 

This volume is the fifth in the "Easy-to-Read Wonder Tales" series by Veronika Martenova Charles. Charles takes a classic fairy tale, in this case Beauty and the Beast, and retells three versions of the story taken from different parts of the world. These include "Bella and Beast," from Europe, "The Lizard," from Indonesia, and "The White Bear" from Norway. Each story recounts how a human was turned into an animal and was changed back to a human by finding someone to love them despite their animal form.

     The similarities of these stories are discussed in the author's own introductory mini stories where she introduces three children who are at a yard sale and are discussing these stories. The first story, "Bella and the Beast," is introduced when Lily notices a flower inside a glass display case.

"That's the magic rose from Beauty and the Beast," said Ben.

"The rose wasn't magic," Jake said,
"Yes, it was," said Ben.

     Soon the three are recounting how the rose fits into the story of "Bella and the Beast."

internal art      It is fascinating to discover how such similar tales come from such different parts of the world. David Parkins' illustrations, an ink drawing found on every page, add to the understanding of these stories. Children will notice that, while these stories are thematically alike, they are also very different. The story, "The Lizard," has as much to do with the Lizard's mother as with the woman who falls in love with him, and the ending is only partially happy. The story from Norway, "The White Bear," also lacks a conventional happy ending. These are unusual stories presented in a creative and engaging way.

Recommended.

Robert Groberman is a grade three teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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