A recent book review sparked my interest. Some publishing houses are really pulling out the stops and know just how to attract readers! Take a look at this!
I was intrigued and did what I do far too many times–took a quick jaunt over to Amazon. I like to support businesses that acknowledge me on a first name basis. Then, a big surprise to me and probably a shock to my family as well as the guy who drives the Amazon delivery truck right up to our door, I did NOT purchase…not yet anyway.
The temptation is there, but then temptation is a key element of many cautionary tales, and the Brothers Grimm are perhaps our most familiar purveyors of warning. One source notes that unless you’re reading the “lightened up” fairy tales, the Disney-fied condensed versions, some fables should only be read “to kids you hate.” A harsh statement? I think perhaps they got it right.
Even Disney can be too much for me–think of Bambi or Dumbo.
When Sophia was in preschool I would read to her from a beautiful book that told the story of Bambi. It was not a “baby book’ but geared for young children with a well-developed attention span. I had a problem reading it to her, however, because I had to be lightning fast with story substitutions. She loved the flirtatious play between Bambi and Faline, but I couldn’t manage to read the parts involving Bambi’s mother and the hunter. Mothers don’t fare well in these fables. Come to think of it, neither do fathers.
The truth is that I do find the brothers rather “grim,” but I’ll admit I’m fascinated. Then again, fascination is one of the major pitfalls in the majority of cautionary tales. Beware!
Musical entertainment is always my first choice and generally a lighter way for me to absorb a dark story.
I hope that many of you will make the effort to see the current release of “Into the Woods.” If you are not familiar with the original play, let me assure you that although older children might enjoy the movie, it is not primarily for children. Familiar fairy tale characters enter other stories in the most unique and creative unfolding to remind us all to be careful what we wish for, what we dream about, what we run after…temptation and lust and greed–and so much more. The brilliant Stephen Sondheim allowed some changes to make his wonderful work more cinematic, with some scenes less graphic and violent than the stage play. Disney has experience in this area. Nothing replaces live musical theater, but this is a good adaptation. Read what Variety has to say for a much better review than I can provide. I’d see it again simply for Meryl Streep’s performance.
And my granddaughters are now ready to begin enjoying some of the live performances that are plentiful in Los Angeles.
Two grandmothers, two mommies and four cousins went into Hollywood to see the stage production of Wicked at the famed Pantages Theater. Their oldest cousin had previously attended, but for the younger three this was the first time to see a performance of this magnitude. They were so excited and I don’t think Karina, the youngest at five, even moved. I did have to tap her lightly when at one point she started to hum.
I won’t admit how many times I’ve seen this play, but it grows in richness each time and like much of what we enjoy in theater, music or literature, there are deep layers of story to stimulate thought–or, as in the case of the children not quite old enough to catch those cautionary themes, just sit back and take in the music, and wonder, as Sophia questioned, “What do they use to get her to fly?”
I’m listening to my personal warnings–my own cautionary tale. About that Princeton University Press release of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm– I am really tempted. But then, how many books can one stack about the house before they become a physical threat? I DO live in California Earthquake territory.
Maybe if you share your favorite cautionary tale I’ll be distracted and forget about my Amazon wish list? Help me out, please!