Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[BOOK REVIEW] Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies edited by Art Spiegelman

Title:  Little Lit:  Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies

Editor: Art Spiegelman

Artists:  Daniel Clowes,  Kaz, and Barbara McClintock

Genre: Fantasy / Humor

Year Published: 2000

Year Read: 2004

Publisher:  Joanna Cotler Books

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Rude Behavior)

Did you ever think that fairy tale stories can be converted into comic strips?  Well, it seems like they can since there is a brilliant collection of fairy tales stories being told through comic strips called “Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies!”  “Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies” is a collection of various fairy tales that are shown in comic book strips and it is edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly.  For anyone who loves reading fairy tales and comic books, this graphic novel is a fantastic read for children of all ages!

Basically, there are a total of eleven fairy tale stories and five puzzle pages and the fairy tale stories in this collection includes:

Prince Rooster by Art Spiegelman

In this tale, a young prince believes that he is a rooster and his father, the king, tried to find a physician that would cure him of his delusions.  When it seems that no one can cure the prince, an old man comes by the palace claiming that he can cure the prince.  Can the old man cure the prince?

The Sleeping Beauty by Daniel Clowes

This tale is told after the events of “Sleeping Beauty” and in this tale, the young prince kept his marriage to Sleeping Beauty a secret from his parents since his mother is of a race of ogres and could not be trusted.  One day however, the young prince soon became king and told the kingdom about his marriage to Sleeping Beauty and his two children and his ogre of a mother was upset.  So when the prince goes to war, the prince’s mother decided to eat Sleeping Beauty and her children.  Will the ogre Queen eat Sleeping Beauty and her children?

The Princess and the Pea by Barbara McClintock

The classic tale is retold in Barbara McClintock’s wonderful illustrations as all the characters are animals and it once again relates the story about how a princess who looked like a peasant when she first came to a king’s palace for shelter has to prove to the King and Queen that she is truly a princess when the Queen tests the princess by making her sleep on twenty seven mattresses with a small pea hidden underneath all of those mattresses.

Wow! When I read this graphic novel a couple of years ago, I was so amazed at how well the fairy tales in this novel were able to transcend to comic book format!  So many of the tales in this graphic novel were like modern retakes on classic fairy tales and it was awesome reading these stories that are so full of creativity and spark!  All of the artwork in this collection were extremely well done and were extremely creative to look at as there were different kinds of illustrations being put forth into each story and therefore, gave this collection such variety that I found myself being interested in what this collection has to offer in the stories.  My favorite stories from this collection were “The Sleeping Beauty,” “The Hungry Horse” and “The Princess and the Pea.”  In “The Sleeping Beauty,” I loved Daniel Clowes’ artwork since they were detailed and most of the characters have small eyes that really made me laugh every time I saw them!  I also loved the appearance of the old Queen herself as she has blond and curly hair, has large red lips and has small droopy eyes that made her look shifty and it was interesting that even though she is considered an ogre, she never looked that ugly and looked like a normal person.  The story itself was pretty entertaining for me since I wanted to know what happened to Sleeping Beauty after she got married to the prince and it would have been scary about the idea of the old Queen trying to eat Sleeping Beauty and her children if only the artwork did not look so exaggerated and the tone of the story seemed a bit light tone.  “The Hungry Horse” was a brilliantly haunting story by Kaz and was an awesome read! Kaz’s illustrations were wonderfully surreal as all the characters had large noses and were drawn out of proportion and while the story itself was a bit serious, the illustrations made the story hilarious to look at.  “The Princess and the Pea” was wonderfully done by Barbara McClintock and I loved how all the characters in the story were portrayed as animals, especially with the King, the Queen, the young son Lionel and the princess Leotine, being portrayed as lions which greatly brought out their royalty (at least that is how I view lions). Barbara McClintock’s illustrations were just so beautiful and I loved the tiny details she put into each character, especially with the characters wearing royal clothing that truly matched their royalty.

Parents should know that some of the tales in this collection such as “The Hungry Horse” by Kaz have endings that are rather abrupt and sometimes sad and that might upset younger children who do not like sad endings or want to know what happens at the end of the story.  Parents should probably read this collection first to see if their child can handle the endings in some of these stories.

Overall, “Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies” is a brilliant graphic novel that fans of both fairy tales and comics will easily love for many years to come! I would recommend this collection to children ages five and up since there might be some stories whose sad and abrupt endings might upset smaller children.

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