Poisoned Rationality Blog - Lexie Cenni
"This is a 3-in-1 review for the books: The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling
Summary: In a faraway land, perched upon her little nest, Mother Duck waits for her last remaining egg to hatch. When the odd little egg finally breaks open, Mother Duck is shocked to see an ugly duckling staring up at her. Despite its homeliness, Mother Duck adores her awkward child and does her best to protect him. Unfortunately, no one else on the farm wants anything to do with the Ugly Duckling, and he is driven from the farm to fend for himself. Survival, however, takes more than good looks, and the plucky little duck plods bravely into the wilderness.
Review: If you look past the rather...terrifying outside of the 'duckling' the book itself is hilarious fun. The 'duckling' doesn't lose his sense of humor, and even manages to come out into good circumstances a few times. Unfortunately he had to endure a lot of hardship in order to realize his full potential. The re-telling of the story by Powell is both simple to understand, true to the source material and witty. The 'ducklings' siblings made smart aleck comments and the toad was just kind of 'yeah I knew it'.
The Emperor's New Clothes
Summary: In a faraway kingdom, there lives an Emperor who prizes fancy clothes above all else. He buys suit after suit made of the most expensive materials instead of tending to his threadbare kingdom. Then, one day, two traveling merchants offer to make the Emperor a special suit that has magical powers. The merchants, however, are not who they claim to be, and the suit has one major flaw -- no one can see it!
Review: This fairy tale has always cracked me up. Its like high school except at least the guy on top realizes it and changes himself. The artwork here is very different from Duckling, its less cartoon-ish and softer, using what I think are watercolors (I was never very good at art). The Emperor's outfits are truly outlandish and you can see that what he isn't wearing currently is even worse. Peters does a good job fleshing out the story a little--offering a comparison montage of the Emperor vs. other sovereigns in the area as well as some sideline comments from the merchants. And in the end everyone gets exactly what they deserve.
The Princess and the Pea
Summary: As a young prince nears adulthood, the Queen tells him he must find a princess bride -- but not just any princess will do. Only a true princess will satisfy his mother. The young prince searches the entire kingdom, but returns home alone and sad. Late one stormy night, a mysterious woman knocks at the castle door. She claims to be a true princess, but the Queen has her doubts. So, she concocts a clever scheme to see if the princess is the real thing.
Review: Hands down this was my favorite re-telling of all three. This is the same author as Emperor's New Clothes actually, but different illustrator. I think I liked the illustrations for this--Lamoreaux has a very expressive style. I especially liked how the Prince's eyes would bug whenever one of the 'princesses' would do something just a little bit...eccentric. It was an impressive display of stereotypes I have to say! The Queen was kind of funny actually, the look on her face when the Princess arrived and then later when the Princess passed her silly test was highly amusing. And there was of course the happy ending...until the mouse came along.
Overall review: These books are a great way to introduce younger (by younger the suggested grade level is 1-3) children to alternative ways of reading. In the back of each book there was a blurb about the original creator, Hans Christian Andersen as well as paragraphs about the 're-tellers'. There was also a glossary for each--some of the words weren't words you'd ordinarily hear in a first to third grade classroom--and some discussion questions and writing prompts to get the reader thinking and creating. These are set" - Poisoned Rationality Blog
October 6, 2009