TaleSpins

Michael Mullin, illus. by John Skewes
Michael Mullin, illus. by John Skewes. Gemiknight Studios (www.talespinsbooks.com), $12.99 (134p) ISBN 978-0-9851884-2-9
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Mullin and Skewes, the duo behind the Larry Gets Lost picture books, offer a whimsical take on three fairy tales in this slim yet entertaining volume, written in rhyming verse. "8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf" tells the tragicomic story of Creepy, the dwarf overlooked because of his contrary and idiosyncratic nature, and his pivotal role in the Snow White legend. "The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny" produces a twist on the witch from "The Frog Prince," as high school acts of cruelty and retribution get out of hand. "Jack'd" retells "Jack and the Beanstalk" from multiple viewpoints, adding an urban spin and hints of irony, while taking major liberties with the source material. The verse is crisp and easy to follow, and the stories all tend toward adding dark humor and modern sensibilities to the familiar material: "He watched them all kneel in their sniffling group-sob,/ By the see-through glass coffin (And they call him macabre!)" Skewes's playful illustrations (including a preview of a planned graphic novel adaptation of the first story) add extra depth and oddness. Ages 12-up.
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