Focus on Traditional Tales

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HONK! HONK! Hold Tight
Jessica Souhami
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Anyone with an interest in traditional tales will likely be familiar with versions of stories about a sad-faced princess who never so much as smiles being reduced to laughter when she sees a procession stuck to a goose or other magic object; or a king offering his daughter’s hand in marriage to any man who can make his sad daughter laugh. These elements are the basis of Jessica Souhami’s latest folk-tale style rendering of a traditional story that has variants in Russia, Egypt and various parts of Europe.
Here we meet po-faced princess, Alice and her despairing father who has announced that he’ll share his kingdom with whomsoever can make his daughter laugh. This news reaches a poor young fellow, Peter who then sets out to try his luck carrying only a loaf and a carafe of wine. These he gives to a hungry old woman on the way and she in return gives him a gold-feathered goose, a warning and some instructions.
Following her instructions to the letter results in an ever-growing procession of adherents

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as he journeys to the palace and the spectacle duly works its magic upon the doleful Alice. Her laughter breaks the ‘sticking’ spell and the delighted King keeps his bargain. And young Princess Alice? She gradually comes to appreciate the possibilities in a young man who can make her laugh and proposes, resulting in …


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Jessica Souhami sets her story in what looks like the early twentieth century from her jewel-bright, cut paper collage style illustrations. With its direct telling, and funny scenes, it’s sure to bring a smile to the faces of audiences young and not so young. It would also be great fun for children to act out – with or without puppets. Get that hooter ready …

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Favourite Mixed Up Fairy Tales
Hilary Robinson and Sarah Horne
Hodder Children’s Books
This is the third in the series of Mixed Up split page books and has a new illustrator, Sarah Monk. Herein readers meet all manner of characters large and small, good and not so good: The Pied Piper, The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio, Rapunzel, Tom Thumb, Rumpelstiltskin, The Gingerbread Man, Thumbelina, Hansel, The Wizard of Oz, Robin Hood, even the Frog Prince and can involve them in all manner of likely or unlikely adventures and encounters with lesser characters such as a wicked witch or a spotty toad. The possibilities are seemingly countless (I’m certainly not going to bother working out the possible number of permutations) and hours of playful fun are assured. One random opening resulted in:

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For those who enjoy being the co-creators of off beat scenarios, this will doubtless prove as popular as its predecessors.

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Gracie exploring the possibilities.

Sarah Horne’s zany, brightly coloured cartoon style images are full of fun and there are some particularly playful mini freeze frames such as that of the yellow brick road …

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that would make interesting starting points for further flights of fancy.

Use your local bookshop   localbookshops_NameImage-2

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