I don’t think it’s a secret that I love fairy tales and magical stories of all sorts. I have a special place in my heart for retellings, especially movies. Really, any sort of retelling is good by me. 10 Things I Hate About You, anyone? I’ve read a couple of interesting ones, mostly YA or middle-grade, but it isn’t in anyway difficult to pick a favorite. Continue reading “Calendar Girls July: Best Fairy Tale Retelling”
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
I loved reading a Russian fairy tale! It’s such a unique flavor and cast of characters, definitely different than anything I have ever read before.
Ella Enchanted celebrated its 20 year anniversary this year. Twenty years!!! God, that makes me feel old. But chances are, even if you aren’t in your twenties, you have probably read Ella Enchanted. It is absolutely destined to be a classic.
I first read Ella in the fifth grade, I think. It was a Bluebonnet nominee, and we were encouraged to read as many Bluebonnet books as possible. For those of you who aren’t from the great state of Texas, the Texas Bluebonnet Award book is kind of like any other kids’ book award, except that kids get to vote on the winners, which I think is pretty dang cool.
Anyway, the year 2000 was a pretty good year for Bluebonnet books, and I enjoyed every single book that I read. But when it came time to vote, I didn’t even hesitate.
Ella Enchanted remains one of my favorite books to this day. It’s the book I read in the hospital when my son was born. It’s the book I recommend to a student when they need to borrow a book off my shelf for the afternoon. I tried to get my husband to read it, which was, sadly, not a success. And I can’t wait to share it with my own kids when they’re old enough. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Ella Enchanted”