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Tag Archives: fables

Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose

You probably haven’t heard of Bizarro Fiction. I know I hadn’t.

As an established genre, Bizarro is a relatively new concept, though the form and ideas have been around for a long time. As the official Bizarro website states, ‘Bizarro, simply put, is the genre of the weird.’ Combining logic of the absurd with twisted, occasionally pornographic, and always macabre themes, it brings to mind the writings of Christopher Moore, Franz Kafka, and even Lewis Carroll, just to name a few.

Since it is such a new genre, Bizarro is always looking to further the art form and release new talent on an unsuspecting world. One of the eight books released this year by the New Bizarro Author Series, Party Wolves in My Skull by Michael Allen Rose is a shining example of what it means to be shelved in the Bizarro section.

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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy begins as a tale of an ordinary life: Elizabeth Rew is adjusting to her mother’s death, her father’s remarriage, and switching to public school so her father can help pay tuition for her two new stepsisters.  She has nobody to sit with at lunch time and feels lonely and virtually invisible.  After writing her term paper on the Grimm brothers, her friendly (if eccentric) history teacher offers her an after school job, which she accepts gratefully.

Elizabeth soon learns, however, that this is no ordinary job.  She has been hired as a page at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a sort of library for objects.  The repository stores and lends out everything from china tea sets to Marie Antoinette’s wig.  But what really surprises our fair heroine is when she learns that the basement of the repository houses the Grimm Collection – magical objects bequeathed to the repository straight out of fairy tales and folklore.

I love this premise for a young adult title, because not only does it make the mundane magical (how many high school students wish their after school job was a bit more glamorous?), it also takes the enchanted and makes it ordinary.  Though apprehensive of these items at first, by the end of the book all the young repository pages have used magical objects in their everyday lives, with varying degrees of success and many unforeseen consequences.

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Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess

Old Mother West Wind“Old Mother West Wind came down from the Purple Hills in the golden light of the early morning. Over her shoulders was slung a bag – a great big bag – and in the bag were all of Old Mother West Wind’s children, the Merry Little Breezes.”……” When she reached the Green Meadows, Old Mother West Wind opened her bag, turned it upside down and shook it. Out tumbled all the Merry Little Breezes and began to spin round and round….”  The Merry Little Breezes explore the forest one story at a time. Mr. Burgess collected 16 tales in this volume, the first of over seventy books.Through nature we learn how to behave and why rules are important. Qualities of loyalty, friendship, trust, hard work and the consequences of misbehavior are all lessons we hope to instill in our children, as well as hold in our subconscious forever.

My favorite story is “The Tale of Tommy Trout, who Didn’t Mind”. Tommy Trout is warned not to venture out of the Laughing Brook, but his curiosity leads him beyond safety and into the mouth of a great big, big fish. “Ah-ha”…”I like little trouts.”……”And nothing more was ever heard of Tommy Trout, who didn’t mind.”  The End. Although grim, it is powerful in its blunt simplicity.

I recommend this be Read To Children ages 3-7 years by an adult, in order to able to discuss the stories meanings.

HARD BOUND AND GAGGED…..

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2011 in Book Reviews, Children's

 

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