Tweaking Fairy Tales in Picture Books

Kids will get a kick out of the twists to three familiar fairy tales in these new picture books.

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson (ill. by Sue DeGennaro). 2012. 9781561456352. Gr PK-2.

Prince Henrik wants to fall in love and get married, so he asks his older brother Hans for advice.  Prince Hans found his wife, Eva, the old-fashioned way—with a single pea under a stack of mattresses.  Princess Eva is a real princess, beautiful and sensitive.  But Henrik just wants a wife with a nice smile, a wife that likes camping and hockey, so he decides to tweak his brother’s method.  Instead of twenty mattresses, he uses one thin camping mattress. And instead of one small pea, he decides to use…a whole packet of frozen peas.  But what kind of princess will pass this test?

Jack and the Baked Beanstalk by Colin Stimpson. 2012. 9780763655631. Gr K-3.

Jack and his mother live in an old broken-down burger truck, which doubles as their café.  The place is clean, the food is great, and they used to have a lot of customers.  But that was before the new overpass was built, and the road past the café was closed.  With just a few pennies left, Jack’s mother sends him to the store for some milk and coffee beans.  And of course, Jack is stopped by a man selling magic beans—a can of magic baked beans.  You know the rest of the story—Jack climbs a magic beanstalk to find an egg-laying bird, a talking music maker, and a huge giant with lots of gold who wants to cook… lunch for Jack?  This twisted fairy tale contains all of the ingredients of the original tale, but with a much tastier conclusion for all.

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson. 2012. 9780763661724. Gr K-3.

One day, while walking through his familiar woods, a bear finds himself lost in the middle of a big city.  Instead of owls hooting, he hears honking and beeping.  Scared, he ducks into the nearest building, where he rides the elevator to the top and steps into a lovely apartment.  By now he is hungry, so he tries out the porridge—say, does this sound familiar?  Hodgkinson’s take on a popular fairy tale is hilarious, and she adds a sweet reunion at the end.

Blogger:  Tracey L.