Monday, November 21, 2016

In Their Shoes: Fairy Tales & Folktales (earc) review [@PushkinPress]

In Their Shoes: Fairy Tales and Folktales
Anne-Laure Mercier & Julia Nicholson, compilers; Lucy Arnoux, illustrator
Pushkin Children's Books
October 04, 2016
128 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

To coincide with a major V&A exhibition: the best shoe stories from around the world

Red shoes, golden slippers, seven-league boots... Just step into the shoes of princes and princesses, ogres and orphans, cats and rabbits, and discover a fascinating fairy-tale world of footwear.

Did you know that long ago Cinderella lived in China? That dogs in America wear boots? And that a small pair of shoes in France can fall in love?

With original illustrations by Lucie Arnoux, this is a timeless and captivating collection of fairy tales and folktales, whose footprints have lasted through the generations, over the centuries, and all around the world.
Many of the days I stayed home from school sick, I would watch an old copy of Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre - usually Rapunzel or maybe Hansel and Gretel - so I knew that Disney wasn't giving us quite everything. Still, the animated tales of the princesses with great hair and singing mice/teacups/etc are what most of us think about when it comes to fairy tales.

In Their Shoes: Fairy Tales and Folktales is here to remind us that the real versions of those stories - those that are original or close to it - weren't nearly as sweet or cute. In fact, this collection caused me to realize, once again, how glad I am not to have been a woman, or child, or animal, or really anyone at all in these stories- or the times they were written. From eating your cat to cutting off toes to killing children (those you mean to or others), there is a lot of blood, death and trickery in really all of the stories.

I liked that, at the end of each tale, we got a bit about who was believed to have written the tale and where and when it originated. It's nice to have that bit of background and to know where the tales (most of which) we know so well came from.

The illustrations that I have seen (through online previews of the book as they weren't included with the review copy) are very well done and fit the tone of the book rather well. (The black and white drawings are sweet and cute which wouldn't fit these versions of the stories.)

I enjoyed reading older versions of stories I thought I knew and reading a few that I was not familiar with. In Their Shoes has an interesting focal point (stories about shoes/feet) but it works well for this collection and is an enjoyable read.

digital copy received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley

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