cover image Fairly Fairy Tales

Fairly Fairy Tales

Esmé Raji Codell, illus. by Elisa Chavarri, S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9086-4

A small boy isn't quite ready for bed, so his mother runs through six familiar fairy tales in checklist form. The Three Little Pigs is boiled down to "Sticks?" "Yes." "Straw?" "Yes." "Bricks?" "Yes." "Solar panels?" "Nooooo!" Rushing through the bedtime canon isn't a new idea, but Codell (Sahara Special) and Chavarri (Santa Goes Green) add a twist: Mom can't resist wrapping up each story with an off-kilter nod to contemporary culture. Thus, the pigs' brick house gains solar panels and a surrounding community that looks like hipster Brooklyn, while Cinderella and the prince dance underneath a disco ball, with wardrobes straight out of Saturday Night Fever. Chavarri renders the traditional fairy tale elements in tidy, pretty spot illustrations, and the modern-day variations in freewheeling, comically detailed spreads (Red Riding Hood gets her nails done at a salon, while the woodsman gives one wolf a shampoo). Although it's unlikely that Mom's raucous and silly improvisations would have such a soporific effect in real life, the boy's repeated protestations should ring true for those who demand their stories be told the "right" way. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)