Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Power To The Princess by Vita Murrow

15 Favorite Fairytales Retold With Girl Power

These familiar stories have been rewritten with an emphasis on self-image, confidence, LGBTQ, friendship, advocacy, and disabilities.

Most of the stories are quite different than the originals. Take for example the fairytale Cinderella.
"Ella's parents had recently passed away after long illnesses. They had lived noble lives, and so were buried near a steadfast hazel tree. Ella was sad to say goodbye to her parents, but she took a small hazel tree seedling and set off. It was time for her to find purpose in a new place."

Sound familiar? Nope? Let me take you to the last paragraph of the story.
"When Prens and Ella eventually married, they moved to a new kingdom where a leader such as Ella was so needed. There she became prime minister and worked tirelessly to raise the minimum wage so that all members of the kingdom could prosper. Her constituents too called her Cinderella, to honor her first business. It was the start of a life in leadership, service, and seeking justice for all."
From Amazon, regarding the stories in this book:
"They teach that a princess is a person who seeks to help others, is open to learning new things, and looks for ways to add purpose to their lives and the lives of those around them."

Here are some examples of the what some of the Princesses became:

  • Belle the Brave—an undercover agent
  • Sleeping Beauty— a sleep-disorder specialist
  • Thumbelina—a music producer and advocate
  • Rapunzel—a famous architect 

At this point, I think it's clear that each story is very different than the original, and as stated in the title is twisted to empower the young women.

My Thoughts:

What Concerned Me: 
Where to start? I have to admit that most of the older, original fairytales weren't really appropriate for children. The ones I remember were just too gruesome. But at the same time, the tamed down fairytales have earned a special place in my heart. I really hate to make it seem like the stories in this book have roots intertwined with the earlier stories since they don't feel related in any way.

To me, a fairytale is a fun make-believe story, not a way of life for boys and girls to overanalyze. I'm even fine with fractured or twisted fairytales since most are silly yet remain true to the original.

My next concern is that this is a very long book, 96 pages, with lots of words. It doesn't feel like a picture book, yet it really doesn't feel like a Middle-Grade book. After looking at the 8 - 12 age range on Amazon, I've placed it as a MG. Yet, I'm concerned that the content isn't really a good fit for either place.

Finally, while most of us are happy that girls and women are advancing from old stereo-type-molds, I feel like it's being overdone in books, making the stories feel contrived and unnatural. I'm a bit tired of hearing quite so much regarding girl power, female empowerment, women's rights, etc. I'd feel better if authors would pen a good story, that silently includes these things. I would like stories to emphasize that all children, both boys, and girls, have the opportunity to set goals and work toward them. 

That said, I've probably spoken my mind regarding this book more than I have any other. As we all know, these are just my opinions. I'd love to read your comments on the subject.

What I Liked Most: The cover of the book and artwork are extremely nice. This is a book that looks elegant and feels the same.

To those tired of the "happily ever after" stories, these are quite original and meaningful. For instance, here is an excerpt from Rapunzel, who became an extraordinary architect.
"She improved buildings for the blind, planned a flame-retardant village for fire-breathing creatures, and resized a bridge for trolls."
It can be fun to see what creative twist author Vita Murrow has imagined. 

Author: Vita Murrow
Illustrator: Julia Bereciartu
Publisher: Lincoln Children's Books (September 2018)

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