Summary and book reviews of Leaping Beauty by Gregory Maguire

Leaping Beauty

and other animal fairy tales

by Gregory Maguire

Leaping Beauty
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2004, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Zany animals of all species run through these fractured retellings of classic stories, including Cinderella recast as an enormous, lovable elephant and Sleeping Beauty as a frog with a promising dance career.

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

The king and queen of the frogs gave birth to a baby. They were delighted, for they had long wanted a child. The tadpole was as green as the slime in a vernal pond, and the bumps on her skin had bumps of their own. The king and queen decided to call her Beauty, as she was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen.

When the time came to have a party to celebrate her birth, the royal parents invited all the fairies in the kingdom, including bumblebees, butterflies, and an airborne brotherhood of beetles.

The party started out swell. The bumblebees brought their bagpipes, the butterflies brought their banjos, and the beetles brought their bassoons. The queen frog set up the guests in a summerhouse so that their hootenanny music could carry across the pond. (You'd be surprised how much music is written for bagpipe, banjo, and bassoon trios.)

The king frog kept a watch fondly over his little Beauty.

The bumblebees ate the biscuits, the butterflies ate...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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.  

Media Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Reader Reviews

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 Cinderelephant, it was...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Leaping Beauty, try these:

  • A Hat Full of Sky jacket

    A Hat Full of Sky

    by Terry Pratchett

    Published 2005

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    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+.

  • Molly Moon Stops The World jacket

    Molly Moon Stops The World

    by Georgia Byng

    Published 2005

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    You are about to embark on an incredible journey to Hollywood with the dazzling young hypnotist Molly Moon, but be warned: this trip is very dangerous, evil lurks on every page!

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

It is among the commonplaces of education that we often first cut off the living root and then try to replace its ...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.