Name of the book: Beyond Fairy Tales by Deepika-Shalini
Download here: https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/beyond-fairy-tales-by-deepika-and-shalini
My Review of Beyond Fairy Tales
The idea of critiquing fairy tales scene-by-scene through prose and verse is brilliant! The authors have been careful to establish that their focus is on the Brother Grimms version of the fairy tales and not the Disney versions.
Since the book was put together during the Blogchatter A2Z challenge where each day’s blog post corresponded to a letter of the alphabet, the authors have chosen 26 fairy tales in alphabetical order. So we have childhood classics like Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Snow White and many more.
Even without the critique, it was a pleasure to revisit the stories that I had grown up listening to and reading. Deepika’s writing is effortless, engaging, and educative. It’s amazing to see how she’s kept her personal feelings out of the narration. The critique is balanced – neither effusive nor overly-critical. That’s one of the best things about this book!
I hope the authors consider publishing the print version of the book because I sure would like to revisit such a paperback when at leisure.
Shalini’s poetic verse gives an additional perspective to the critique. She doesn’t summarize the story or round up the prose critique, she adds her own colour and hue to the book. For those who enjoy thought-provoking verse, these pieces are a treat!
Deepika and Shalini also choose to sprinkle tidbits of trivia and present the various versions of a tale to help the reader appreciate the evolution of the story. We also see how the different interpretations of a story originate from the prevalent social, political, and economical situation of the time.
I found it fascinating to uncover the multiple layers around the stories of my childhood. The authors talk about many aspects that I’d never even thought about or that hadn’t occurred to me as a child.
Many fairy tales were originally violent because they were meant for adults, not children. Later, they were modified to make it suitable for young and impressionable minds. Even then, some of the gory scenes remained, so imagine the effect it has on children!
Being a product of the times, many fairy tales project misogyny and patriarchy–even delighting in it. As parents, we need to be aware of such factors when we give our children access to such stories. I think this book is quite helpful as a guide for parents to decide which stories will educate their children and which will harm them.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate Deepika and Shalini on creating such a fine book that educates and entertains in equal measure. As for readers of this review, I urge you to pick it up for FREE from the Blogchatter website while you still can!