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Fairy Tales, Part 1

October 28, 2013

Hi Everyone!  So, I’m not at home right now.  I am, in fact, at Disneyworld!  I’ll be here all week, but you’ll still get your regular three posts, never fear.  But, since I’m here at Disney, I thought I would talk about the Magic Kingdom’s stock in trade, the fairytale.
There are as many kinds of fairytale as there are people to tell them, but I’d like to look at a few of my favorites, both the picture book variety, and those meant for adults.
sleeping beautyKinuko Craft is possibly my favorite fairytale illustrator.  I was fortunate enough to see some of her original pieces at DragonCon years ago and they’re stunning.  She’s done illustrations for several beautiful fairytale books and also does the cover illustrations for many of Tanith Lee and Patricia McKillip’s novels.
Some of my favorite Craft illustrations are Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Baba Yaga.
lady of shalottAll of her work is beautiful and I have a poster of The Tower at Stony Wood cover in my study at home.  I love Lady of Shallot renditions, and this is one of my two favorites.  The other is the William Holman Hart rendition in the Hartford Museum.  The detail that is in both paintings is astonishing!


Illustrations are the primary things that draw me to fairytale picture books.  Roberto Innocenti’s Cinderella is another one that is just beautiful, although increasingly hard to find these days.  This version is a sort of Downton Abbey Cinderella, set in the 1920’s with big cars and luxurious furs.  I also just adore the period, so anything with drop waists and cloche hats has me from the get-go.
paperbagThen, there are the twists on fairy tales.  The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch is a classic that I read when I was small.  The princess is engaged, but her fiance is prince-napped by a dragon.  The princess uses her wits to outsmart the dragon and rescue the prince, but he’s not too pleased with her un-princessly demeanor, so it ends without a wedding.  This was probably the first story I ever read where Happily Ever After didn’t necessitate riding off into the sunset with the handsome prince.

duchessThe Duchess of Whimsy by Randal de Seve is another modern fairytale that has a huge place in my heart.  The illustrations are achingly beautiful and the story is about finding common ground.  The Duchess is beautiful and whimsical while the Earl of Norm is… not.  But, through the magic of grilled cheese sandwiches the two find that they actually have something in common.  Plus, she’s roller skating with tiny birds holding up her gown, how is that not the best thing ever?

hyacinthThe last book I want to talk about today is Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide.  On its surface this book is very similar to The Light Princess, but Hyacinth wasn’t cursed to lose her gravity, she’s just always floated.  Her parents weigh her down with heavy robes and crowns to keep her grounded, but the princess longs to be free of the headaches and the earth.  Finally, after an escape attempt involving a balloon, a young man comes up with a solution and the princess can enjoy her unique ability in safety.

On Friday we’ll discuss fairy tales for adults, but in the meantime, what are some of your favorite fairy tales or illustrators?

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