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Fairytale/Folktale

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood by Elly Blake

Ruby is a Fireblood, living with the power to create and control fire, but she's grown up in a land ruled by Frostbloods, whose power lies in ice. Ruby practices her power and control in secret in her small mountain village until soldiers come searching for her and destroy her home in the process. She spends months stuck in prison, threatened by the guards, only to be broken out by people she has no reason to trust. But they also don't totally trust her, and will only tell her that they need her to complete their plan in overthrowing the Frostblood king.

Number of Pages: 
376

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate

Wires and Nerve is a continuation of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series (which begins with the YA novel Cinder). Unlike the books in the original series, Wires and Nerve is written as a graphic novel with art done by Doug Holgate, and follows a minor character after the original series' end. Iko, Cinder's android friend, suddenly feels unneeded with her friends' new positions in life, and must find her own. Determined to still be a help to Cinder, Iko travels back to Earth to fight the wolf hybrids that went into hiding after the fall of their leader. The beasts are too strong, and the job is too dangerous for any human, but here Iko knows exactly what to do. Unfortunately, even Iko isn't indestructible.

Number of Pages: 
238

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Lady Catherine wants nothing more than to open a baking shop with one of her maids and be declared the best baker in all of Hearts. Her parents consider it an inappropriate hobby for a lady, but since the king loves her sweets so much, they put up with it. Unfortunately for her, the king decides he must be in love with her and that she would make a perfect queen. Not only does this derail Cath's plans, but she's been dreaming about another young man and aspects from her dreams keep popping up in her bedroom in the mornings. When the young man shows up in real life -- the new Joker to her smitten king, Cath knows she cannot allow herself to fall in love, but is constantly drawn to the mysterious man.

Heartless is a loose prequel to Alice in Wonderland - or more, it takes place in that world, slightly beforehand, without the same plot or all the same characters. The story is more love story than Meyer's other retellings (The Lunar Chronicles, beginning with the book Cinder). I loved the way Meyer placed Lewis Carroll quotes in the dialogue between characters, and puts in more subtle references to the original story than a similar plot or all the same characters. The plot remained more of a mystery than many retellings of fairy tales.  I don't know the Alice books that well, so it made me want to reread the originals to catch all the little bits and pieces.

Number of Pages: 
453

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, ill. by Meg Hunt

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, ill. by Meg Hunt

Interstellar Cinderella is an outer space retelling of Cinderella. Cinderella dreams not of balls and gowns, but of being allowed to fix spaceships. When the prince has a royal space parade, and Cinderella is only allowed to fix her stepmother's spaceship, not attend, her fairy godrobot comes to the rescue with new tools and a spacesuit!

This book is a fun spin on Cinderella. It's perfect for any fairy-tale enthusiast who may need to get out of the stereotypical gender roles set forth by most classic tales. The illustrations are bright and fun and the whole thing is told with a wonderful rhyme scheme. It does have some bigger, more difficult words in it, and is on the longer end, so is probably better for the older end of kids still enjoying picture books.

Number of Pages: 
40

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is a sort-of retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Mama Dinosaur, Papa Dinosaur, and their friend, a dinosaur visiting from Norway, have a lovely large home with three bowls of chocolate pudding, three giant chairs and three huge beds. They happen to go out just after making their chocolate pudding, for no apparent reason. There are hints along the way that perhaps the dinosaurs have heard a version of this story before, and have a plan. But maybe they're just three innocent dinosaurs, living their dinosaur lives.

Mo Willems is one of our favorite authors around here. His books are silly and great fun to read out loud, whether your listener knows the other story of Goldilocks well or not. I read this one to my parents when it first came out, and my father could not stop giggling. Give some picture books a try no matter what your age!

Number of Pages: 
40

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Mighty Jack is the latest graphic novel from Ben Hatke, author of the Zita the Spacegirl series and Little Robot among other works. When I brought this home from the library, my girls sat and examined every page in detail for a looooong time and then demanded I read it to them. So perhaps it goes without saying that Hatke has once again created a beautiful and magical story. Jack is dreading summer break from school because it means he has to look after his younger sister Maddy who is nonverbal. There is an homage to Jack and the Beanstalk when Maddy suddenly miraculously speaks and instructs Jack to trade his mother's car for some cool looking seed packets. Jack and Maddy then forge a connection as they grow a magical garden in their own backyard, helped by a fierce, cool, and possibly untrustworthy neighbor girl. The garden's magic is unpredictable: sometimes it is fun but many times it seems determined to hurt them and when an enormous dragon appears, Jack feels like things have gone too far. The ending leaves us hanging, waiting impatiently for the next installment!

Number of Pages: 
203

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Johnston's A Thousand Nights is a retelling of the story of Scheherazade, bride of a king known for killing all his brides on their first day of marriage. Our narrator here remains nameless, but knowing it is her desert village's turn to give a bride to their king, she does her best to be the one he chooses. She does not believe she will live, since the king, Lo-Melkiin has had hundreds of brides, but she will do anything to protect her sister from that fate. She is chosen and taken to live with the king, fully expecting to die but unwilling to show him her fear. At home, her sister creates a shrine as they do for their ancestors who have done a great service, and our narrator becomes a smallgod to her village.

Each night, she speaks to the king, telling him stories from her home, and acting wiser than he expects. When he grasps her hands, fire breathes between them, and each morning, she still lives. Slowly, the fire begins to take a life of its own, and the narrator sees things that haven't yet happened and her weaving itself tells stories too.

I loved this retelling. The magical elements keep the story fresh even when you know the general tale, and the main character is strong without being unbelievably fearless.

Number of Pages: 
325

The Midas Flesh, Volumes 1 & 2, by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline

The Midas Flesh, Volumes 1 & 2, by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline

How about a sci-fi twist to the Midas story? Once upon a time--long story-short--a king named Midas wished that everything he touched be turned to gold and inadvertently destroyed all life on Earth. Now, fast-forward waaaaay into the future, where a renegade space crew wants to defeat an evil empire and finds out that the universe's deadliest weapon might be hidden on a planet that has turned into solid gold. Will they get there in time before the bad guys find them?

This two-volume series by Ryan North--of Adventure Time, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Dinosaur Comics fame--is a terrific read for teens and adults. You get a lot of story for a short series. I particularly loved the small crew of Joey, Fatima, and Cooper (a dinosaur, of course) and the complexity of their relationships with one another. This is a unique space adventure currently available to read in your browser or download on your mobile device through Hoopla and soon-to-be available in book form from the library.

Number of Pages: 
256

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Agatha and Sophie live in a town under a curse. Every year two children are stolen in the night, one good and one bad, and taken to the School for Good and Evil. If they are lucky, they could end up starring in their own fairy tale someday but the less successful students are doomed to become henchmen (evil) or helpful cute animals (good). When Agatha and Sophie are taken, it seems clear that pretty, charitable Sophie is going to Good and gloomy, dour Agatha is going to Evil. So when they end up in the opposite schools they expect, things get fun for the reader. This was both a fairy tale and a parody of fairy tales and there were some pretty funny parts. In the end, however, I thought it was way too long and didn't quite manage to get its underlying messages communicated clearly.

Number of Pages: 
488

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown is Kiera Cass' final book in her Selection series. It picks up just where The Heir left off -- Princess Eadlyn is an unwilling participant in her own Selection process, meeting young men from around her kingdom in hopes of finding her true love and the country's future king. When tragedy befalls her family after her twin brother elopes, Eadlyn must take over her father's position, and work as the country's leader. Suddenly, her Selection process becomes all the more important, to boost the country's morale, to lift their opinions of the seemingly cold princess, and for Eadlyn to have a true partner in all her new responsibilities. But though this urgency pushes the Selection ahead, Eadlyn is still unsure of all the participants, and her real feelings toward them. Can she balance the Selection, her new power, and still keep the country at peace?

Number of Pages: 
279