Who better to wreak havoc with eight beloved fairy tales than Gregory Maguire, the brilliant, funny, and nationally best-selling author of the adult novel Wicked as well as the hilarious middle-grade series the Hamlet Chronicles.
Zany animals of all species run through these fractured tales with alarming speed and dexterity. Who would have thought that the ageless, exquisite Cinderella could be recast as the silly story of an enormous yet lovable elephant who plods along to the ball with glass pie plates on her feet; or that Sleeping Beauty, that most regal of all fairy tales, could be twisted into the story of a frog with a most unusual and promising dance career? Get ready to meet a gorilla queen and a psycho chimp, seven giant giraffes, and one very bad walrus.
Accompanying these hilarious stories are delightfully witty pictures by Chris L. Demarest, master of black line and droll humor.
Leaping Beauty looked just the thing for our nine-year old daughter, so I handed Leaping Beauty over one evening and left her to it. Not long after, chuckles were heard from her bedroom, followed by full blown laughter, followed by the tap tap of little feet as she came to find us in order to share a particularly good bit. After that I read most of the stories with her and not only enjoyed her enjoyment of them, but have to admit that I found them quite fun myself. One of the reviewers commented that he thought much of the humor was pitched over the heads of the middle grade (11-14 year old) target audience. This is a sentiment often repeated by reviewers about children's books and one that I can't help thinking is a little patronizing; I dread to think how many references go over my head when I read a book, but it doesn't stop me enjoying it, so why should it be different for children?
Browse a complete short story from the book, exclusively at BookBrowse.
School Library Journal - Eva Mitnick
While kids will laugh out loud at the irrepressible youngest sibling in "The Three Little Penguins" and the "Big Bad Walrus", some of the selections, including "Leaping Beauty", seem labored and uninspired. However, fans of Dav Pilkey and Jon Scieszka will appreciate the zany situations and the joyful fracturing of traditional tales. Grade 3-6.
Maguire (Wicked; the Hamlet Chronicles) pitches much of the humor over the heads of middle graders. But there's clever wordplay...and Demarest's wild and scratchy line drawings help pump up the child appeal. A good choice for those whose tastes run to silly and sillier. Ages 8-12.
Booklist - Kay Weisman
More upbeat than Vivian Vande Velde's Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird (1995) and more complex than Jon Scieszka's The Stinky Cheese Man (2002), this is a delightful collection, sure to be popular with sophisticated readers. Gr. 5-8.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by BookBrowse Natasha - aged 9 I think Leaping Beauty is a good book because it's fun and it makes silly jokes, and it has a lot of stories in it. I have not read anything else like it, but I think this is really good. My favorite story was... Read More
Tiffany Aching, a young witch-in-training, learns about magic and responsibility as she battles a disembodied monster with the assistance of the six-inch-high Wee Free Men and Mistress Weatherwax, the greatest witch in the world. Ages 12+.
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