Fairy tales are deeply steeped in tradition and lore and are well known around the world. Many have revisited the traditional fairy tale and made their own twists, reimagining or satires of them, but this volume is completely different from those.
Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett have created something wondrous and beautiful, all inspired by their own daughter and wanting her to “grow up in a world where little girls can be powerful and where little boys can express their vulnerability without anger.”
The typical gender stereotypes are challenged in this book, from the stories all the way through to the illustrations. Gender swapping all the language throughout the original tales has left society with a new book set to light up the lives and minds of new readers. Changing lord to lady, Jack to Jacqueline, he to she and so on, these stories challenge our views and our stereotypes, perhaps even our prejudices.
I adored all of the fairy tales but of particular note for me was Handsome and the Beast and Mr. Rapunzel, of the front cover fame. Handsome has come to the castle in place of his mother who stole the rose and angered the beast. He dreams nightly of a beautiful princess not realising she is trapped as the beast. The same story but with the gender swap. Mr. Rapunzel is taken by a wizard who traps him in the famous tower, shouting out to be let in via the very long beard that Mr. Rapunzel has grown.
The illustrations are enchanting and whimsical, full of light and colour. I want to frame them all and know that my camera has not done justice to the beauty of every illustration, including the endpapers as seen below.
I will share this book with my own family and take into school soon, but for now I am still reading, re-reading and poring over the illustrations for my own reading enjoyment. It is an incredible book and would make the best Christmas gift for young and old!