cover image LEAPING BEAUTY: And Other Animal Fairy Tales

LEAPING BEAUTY: And Other Animal Fairy Tales

Gregory Maguire, . . HarperChildren's Audio, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-073590-6

Maguire (Wicked ; the Hamlet Chronicles) raises fractured fairy tales to a new level of silliness in this laugh-out-loud collection. The author reads his own work with a lively pace and often chipper voice that accentuates his humor without sounding too tongue-in-cheek. The leadoff story turns "Sleeping Beauty" on its ear and stars a baby froglet cursed to "bite down on a stray explosive from some stupid human engineering project, and you shall blow yourself to smithereens!" The curse is modified, of course, to funny effect. Other outings highlight "Little Robin Hood" and "Cinder-Elephant," a big and beautiful belle of the ball who loses one of her glass pie-pan slippers at the stroke of midnight. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)