cover image Straw into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-spun

Straw into Gold: Fairy Tales Re-spun

Hilary McKay, illus. by Sarah Gibb. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3284-0

Stepping assuredly into fantasy, McKay (the Casson Family series) displays ingenuity and wit in these 10 cunningly reconfigured tales, illustrated with Gibb’s stunning silhouette artwork. The inventive array of narrators includes classic fairy tale characters as adults (whose identities are initially ambiguous), sharing their stories with subsequent generations. The present-day adventures of Rapunzel’s two children frame her tale; Snow White reaches into her past to tell her granddaughter the story of a girl who escapes from her wicked stepmother to live with dwarfs (and offers to take her to visit the seven, still living in the forest); and the eldest of 12 dancing princesses, while recounting her girlhood nocturnal escapades, reassures her skeptical daughter that there “was a lot more magic about” in bygone days. Abundantly magical, the anthology also features new characters, among them the prim Fraulein, who teaches Hansel and Gretel and their off-puttingly “sticky” schoolmates, including Jack of beanstalk fame. In her introduction, McKay notes, “If ever I wrote a book with love, it is this one!” That is wonderfully apparent, and kids will read it in kind. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)