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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Grumbles from the Forest features poems by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, with lovely illustrations by Matt Mahurin.  

Fairy tales and poetry, a perfect mix.  Yolen and Dotlich give voice to the many inhabitants of fairy tales: prince or princess, fairy or witch, the gentle, the jealous, the greedy, to the major characters and to the minor characters whose opinions we rarely consider.

As an example, the following two are from the tale of Sleeping Beauty;  the first the lament of the wicked fairy, the second the (ahem) omniscient voice of reason:

Words of the Wicked Fairy

Beauty wakes!
My fun is through.
What's a wicked fairy to do?

I blame myself.
This didn't go well.
Big mistake.
Wrong spell.

I should have given her 
crooked ears,
a runny nose,
chapped lips.
Should've read 
that page on TIPS.

Spell's over.
Imagine this!
All because of a stupid kiss.

-Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Beauty Sleep

Wake up, princess, time to rise.
Open up your dreamy eyes.
Never mind the prince or kiss.
By no means were you raised for this.
Take the plot back from the witch.
Kick her spindle in the ditch!

-Jane Yolen

I liked that there were so many different voices imagined to tell the tales from unique points of view, but the quality of the poems varies.  Some of these poems are very good; some are less so;  all of the illustrations are beautiful.

While I wasn't as delighted with all of the poems as I'd hoped to be, I'll hold final judgement until after the grands give an opinion.  I'm not sure that the book quite knows its target audience.  

Another one for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

Fairy Tale/Poetry.  2013.   40 pages.


  1. If the cover is anything to go by, I can see why you liked the illustrations so much!

    Love the samples you shared!

  2. Hehehe, I'm not usually a poetry fan, but these sound fun!

  3. How fun! What a great choice for the reading challenge and perfect timing too for National Poetry Month!

  4. Wendy - The illustrations are great, and the poems are all interesting--just some are better than others.

    Marveloustales - :) It is fun to see the directions a poet can take with a fairy tale!

    Iliana - Yep, Once Upon a Time and National Poetry Month make a great pair!

  5. I have read some of Jane Yolen's poetry before and quite enjoyed her. I will have to keep this book in mind. :)

  6. I confess that I don't read a lot of poetry but the examples you choose are great and I love that cover!
    Lynn :D

  7. Kelly - It is really a children's book, but it was fun.

    Lynn - I love poetry, and I have another poetry/fairy tale book to review!