Reviews for Grumbles from the Forest : Fairy-Tale Voices With a Twist


Booklist Reviews 2013 April #2
Fairy tales have been fractured, reimagined, told, and retold. Here, Yolen and Dotlich get into the heads of the characters and put their thoughts in verse. Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, and the Gingerbread Boy are all here. But sometimes it's not the character you'd expect who makes an appearance. The giant's wife explains how fond she is of Jack. The four principals from Rumpelstiltskin--the miller, his daughter, the king, and the little man--argue about which one of them has lied. There are poems, haiku, and even a letter from Goldilocks informing the owner of the cottage how bears broke in, causing havoc. Most are quite delightful, and a few are especially thought-provoking, including the anniversary note from Beauty after a decades-long marriage to the Beast. Oversize paintings fill the pages. The backgrounds--mottled, dark, sometimes foreboding--showcase witches, trolls, heroes, and heroines in startling new ways. In one, Snow White's head protrudes from a mirror. An introduction urges readers to use this book as a starting point for their own writing, while an afterword introduces the original stories. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Booklist Reviews 2013 May #1
Fairy tales have been fractured, reimagined, told, and retold. Here, Yolen and Dotlich get into the heads of the characters and put their thoughts in verse. Hansel and Gretel, Red Riding Hood, and the Gingerbread Boy are all here. But sometimes it's not the character you'd expect who makes an appearance. The giant's wife explains how fond she is of Jack. The four principals from Rumpelstiltskin--the miller, his daughter, the king, and the little man--argue about which one of them has lied. There are poems, haiku, and even a letter from Goldilocks informing the owner of the cottage how bears broke in, causing havoc. Most are quite delightful, a few thought-provoking, including the anniversary note from Beauty after a decades-long marriage to the Beast. Oversize paintings fill the pages. Mottled backgrounds, often dark, sometimes even foreboding, showcase witches, trolls, heroes, and heroines in startling new ways. In one, Snow White's head protrudes from a mirror. An introduction urges readers to use this book as a starting point for their own writing, while an afterword introduces the original stories. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Each of fifteen well-known fairy tales is distilled into two short poems, one written by Yolen, the other by Dotlich. The perspectives are mostly different and are often those of characters--or inanimate objects such as the princess's pea--not usually heard from in the traditional tales. Mahurin's varied, painterly illustrations help reinforce meaning of the occasionally oblique writing.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #2
An introductory authors' note describes this book's concept: each of fifteen well-known fairy tales is distilled into two short poems, one written by Yolen, the other by Dotlich. (Oddly, who wrote what is only mentioned on the copyright page.) The perspectives are mostly different, and are often those of characters -- or inanimate objects such as the princess's pea -- not usually heard from in the traditional tales. In the kick-off poem, the wicked fairy from "Sleeping Beauty" first laments, then shrugs off, being outsmarted ("I blame myself. / This didn't go well"). Many of the subsequent pieces also incorporate humor, but, just as in fairy tales themselves, there's no lack of darkness -- menace, longing, envy, violence -- throughout the book. Mahurin's varied, painterly illustrations echo each piece's tone; by playing up characters' facial expressions and posture, along with shadows or light and angles sharp or soft, the pictures help reinforce meaning of the occasionally oblique writing. Two appended pages provide short summaries of the traditional stories along with brief information about origins and variants; three websites are also included for further reference. elissa gershowitz

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2013 February #2
An intriguing idea becomes a thought-provoking collection of short poems from characters readers only thought they knew. Yolen and Dotlich have taken 15 well-known fairy tales ("Cinderella," "Snow White," "Jack and the Beanstalk," etc.) and written two short poems in various formats spoken from the point of view of a character. The Princess and the Pea each get a voice, and so do the Frog and the Princess. Tiny Thumbelina gets two tiny poems, a cinquain and a haiku. The frontmatter lists who wrote what, and a very brief summary of each tale is listed at the end. While short, these notes include tale variants, which is very nice indeed. The beginning poem, "Once," is by Yolen; and the closing, "Happily Ever After," is by Dotlich. While every poem is accessible, some are richer and darker than others. "Beauty and the Beast: An Anniversary" (Yolen) visits the couple in their old age and is wistful and touching; "Snide: An Afterthought" (Dotlich) is as the title states: "Ever after, I refused to call him / Rumpelstiltskin; / to me, he is a nasty little man." Mahurin's surreal images are layered with color, now matte, now iridescent, with exaggerated perspectives and dreamlike, occasionally nightmarish, elongated or oversized figures. The poets invite and may well entice readers to write their own fairy-tale poems. (Poetry/fairy tales. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 October
Two award-winning poets assume the perspectives of familiar fairytale characters in 15 pairs of poems. We hear from the couple who baked the gingerbread boy, as well as from the cookie, himself; from the princess and from the pea; from Cinderella and from her stepsisters who taught her all she knew. The most successful poems exude personality, delight with the choice of detail, or surprise with fresh insight. Some poems feel disappointingly slight or simply re-cap the plot of the fairytale. The book will surely serve as inspiration to young writers to re-imagine old stories and to render them in verse. Included are models of all kinds: a haiku, a cinquain, free and rhyming verse, even a poem for five voices. The poems rest on handsome, full-bleed paintings that lend a suitably old-world atmosphere. End notes provide a one-line summary and a fun fact for each of the tales. Jan Aldrich Solow, Librarian, A. Scott Crossfield Elementary School, Herndon, Virginia. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 January #1

Yolen and Dotlich refashion 15 classic fairy tales into incisive poems told from dual perspectives. Cinderella laments wearing glass shoes when other choices were more sensible ("I could have put on/ moccasins./ Those would have been real stunners"). Cinderella's stepsisters also speak up: "She moved to a castle, maids and all./ Oh piddle! That slipper./ That rat./ That Ball." In an especially stirring poem, Beauty speaks of her initial resistance to the Beast: "I can't get past/ his fangs, his roar." In their twilight years, it's a different story: "I have no regrets./ None./ Though sometimes I do wonder/ what sounds children/ might have made/ running across the marble halls." Mahurin's inky illustrations make theatrical use of dimension, light, and shadow as the characters bound from their expected roles. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 3-5--Mining the world of standard fairy tales, these poems are presented in the voices of the various characters. The pea relates his tale of woe upon being smashed by the princess. The giant's wife from "Jack and the Beanstalk" takes pity on the boy and facilitates his escape. A wounded Cinderella regrets her choice of shoes, and an introspective Beauty wonders if she chose the right spouse. A table of contents as well as summaries of the original tales augment the text. Stunning painterly illustrations may compensate for a few less-than-thrilling twists on the familiar tales. Stellar depictions of Rumplestiltskin and The Frog Prince richly enhance the text. Some poems are thoughtful and others merely silly but the illustrations are consistently eye-catching. The concept is fresh, and most of the poems are enjoyable if a few feel more contrived than creative. Still, this unique offering will find a home in language-arts classes, and the art begs to be shared one-on-one.--Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH

[Page 153]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

----------------------