We got a few books from the library for Josh this week. I was trying to go for classic fairy tales. He's heard references for the Three Little Pigs and Jack and the Beanstalk and other such stories. I thought it was time he got them for bedtime. What is it with people messing up these stories? Little Red Riding Hood is a modern girl with a hooded jacket on a bike on the prairie with a grandma who is a farmer and she catches a dim-witted wolf before he can harm granny then puts him to work making muffins. Confused? So was I! There's the Three Little Pigs one. The author had to create another character: the mother pig. She has a waffle business that lures patrons including a wolf who is a bully trying to eat the pigs, gets caught by the mommy pig, treated like a waffle which makes him a good guy again then is sent away to a far away beach. I'm certain Hans Christian Andersen would disapprove. I particularly hate the Pig story because the pigs don't solve their problem, the mother does! In both stories the wolf is turned into a "good guy" instead of meeting some terrible fate for their treacherous ways. Are authors afraid to discuss consequences of being a bully (or predator) or of misfortune of anyone? Why do they feel so compelled to modernize the tales? Little Red Hiding Hood should have a cape and hood, not some lame hoodie jacket from BabyGap. I say we've gone soft. Way too soft. We're so afraid our kids will freak out if a story says that grandma got eaten by a wolf or pigs cooked a wolf in their brick fireplace. I know, I know- not all fairy tales are suitable for young (impretionable) ears. This is where discretion comes into play. What's next? Hansel & Gretel meet a nice old lady who takes them home? The Ugly Duckling is accepted from the start? Cinderella's sisters are nice and Snow White never sees a poisoned apple? Rusty says, "It's too P.C." I couldn't agree more.

Also, Chutes and Ladders has Diego characters. Yet another lame bastardization of a classic.


Maktaaq said...

I noticed this too when I tried to buy some picture books with the fairytales for a program I was giving on the stories. Every book was those "fractured fairytales" type now. I see libraries aren't immune from the same issues infecting bookstores.

I finally photocopied the stories from the Annotated Grimm and the Annotated Anderson. This year, I will make sure I order them from Amazon in time to make my 2008 budget.

I think you simply have to tell Josh the stories, without the aid of a book. You know, the old-fashioned way, before kids had all these dangfangled books, with Josh on your lap and you just telling the story. Nobody really had books even in the nineteenth century except bibles, it's only in the twentieth century that books for kids finally became widespread.


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