Gender Swapped Fairy Tales

Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett. Faber & Faber, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-571-36018-5
Fransman (The House That Groaned) and debut author Plackett reflect a world in which gender roles are not so strictly defined in this charming collection of 12 lightly retold fairy tales. In “Handsome and the Beast,” it is the beautiful son of a female merchant who encounters a female Beast. A princess who’s out hunting wakes a sleeping prince in “The Sleeping Handsome in the Wood.” While some of the gender changes are more whimsical—it is a rooster who lays the golden eggs in “Jacqueline and the Beanstalk”—outside of the gender bending, the beats of the stories themselves remain exactly the same: Snowdrop’s vain evil stepfather still tries to kill him once with laces, once with a comb, and finally with a poisoned apple, and Thumbalina—now Thumbalin—still finds his home among the flowers. There’s nothing radical here, and though the authors discuss trans and nonbinary identities in their introduction, they’re not explicitly present in the tales themselves. But even these mild revisions breathe fresh air into well-known and loved tales, breaking up conventional dynamics and outdated ideologies. Coupled with vibrant illustrations from Fransman, this is sure to enchant adults and children alike. Agent: Sophie Lamber, C+W Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/13/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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