cover image Feraltales


Couri Johnson. Aqueduct, $12 trade paper (114p) ISBN 978-1-61976-260-2

Johnson (The Girl Who) presents five thought-provoking stories that reimagine the framework of the European fairy tale with a focus on women’s perspectives and a sense of rewilding. The standout “Dancing Girls” styles itself as an urban legend version of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” narrated by the sister of a boy who gets lured in by 12 energy-sucking club girls. “Run, Rabbit, Run” leans into gritty Americana as a hag in the woods exerts her control through magical moonshine. Other stories hew closer to traditional fairy tale framing: “The Foxes’ Child” sees a disrespectful king receive a gratifying comeuppance, and, in “Animal Heart,” a girl’s bravery and friendship give her the wings to free herself from her heartless captor. The closing tale, “A Witch Flew over the Moon,” playfully asserts that sometimes the magical mentor in other people’s tales needs a vacation of her own. Though Johnson’s takes feel more like overlays than full transformations, her prose evokes the timeless rhythms of folklore and the stories work even without familiarity with their referents. Balancing the timeless and the contemporary, Johnson’s latest is sure to win fans. (June)