Love is in the air! Or is it?
Despite the myriad of hearts, chocolates, and flowers festooning every available merchandising spot, not everyone wants to read a love story this time of year. But what about a romance? Merriam-Webster defines “romance” as: “a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious.”
With that in mind, here are 5 fun fairy tale reads for February that offer imaginary characters (spirited heroines!) involved in events … heroic, adventurous, and mysterious. Enjoy.
Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1) by Megan Morrison. Arthur A Levine, 2015.
Rapunzel is held in a tower by a witch who uses Rapunzel’s long hair to enter/leave said tower. And that is the only similarity to the Rapunzel story you think you know! Rapunzel manages to escape thanks to Jack (of Beanstalk fame); together the two embark on a wild journey through the land of Tyme. Rapunzel has been brainwashed by the witch, but she loves her anyway. Once she learns the truth of the witch’s real intent, the truth of her own past, and the truth of her own feelings, she must make a choice: Jack? the rest of Tyme? or the witch she loves like a mother? Plenty of emotional depth, adventure, and an inventive setting make this book a fun read. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde. HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013.
Be careful what you wish for! In this twist on the “Princess and the Frog,” Princess Imogene herself turns into a frog! Suddenly, Imogene realizes that being a princess wasn’t so bad after all. A madcap adventure ensues as Imogene is forced to travel (as a frog) with a traveling acting troupe. The solution to her frogged dilemma? She must convince someone else to kiss her in her frogged state; this will, of course, turn the kisser into a frog. All’s well that ends well, though, and Imogene eventually figures a way out of her dilemma. Fun and frolicsome, this is recommended for ages 8-12.
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. Knopf, 2014.
We’ve reviewed Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy before: it’s a remake of the Snow Queen legend in which two children must defeat an evil “snow queen.” It’s a fun read for winter, and one both boys and girls will enjoy. Recommended for ages 9-12.
The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015.
Jane Eyre + Goldilocks = a cleverly inventive gothic fairy tale in which the bears are the heroes and main characters. Various familiar nursery rhyme characters make appearances as the bears must defend themselves against the nefarious humans. Action and mystery keep the pace going while text is charmingly “old-fashioned.” Recommended for ages 10 and up (due to reading level; younger, strong readers would also enjoy.) See our review of The Cottage in the Woods
The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell. Katherine Tegen, 2015 (reprint)
In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, a boy wakes up in an enchanted castle. When he explores, he discovers Perotte, heiress of the castle. A terrific story of repairing what’s broken, standing with your friends, and being self-reliant, we’ve reviewed The Castle Behind Thorns before. Recommended for ages 9-12.
What are some of YOUR favorite fairy tale retellings? For more options, see our Cinderella list from last spring–there are several great retellings on the list!
cover images from amazon