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desayunoencama in re_mused

Rettelings versus originals

There's an article in TIME on how fractured fairy tales are bigger business than traditional retellings of classic tales:

I had meant to post about this after reading an op-ed piece in FOREWORD magazine, by a children's book editor complaing of not being able to find a traditional version instead of a fractured retelling of certain fairy tales to buy for her kids, but it wasn't online and I can't find where I put the issue...

A quote from the TIME piece:
Someday the kids will read the original tale and wonder why the stupid straw-house pig doesn't just hop onto the next bookshelf. Likewise, Shrek reimagines Puss in Boots as a Latin tomcat--but what kid today even reads Puss in Boots in the original?

This is the new world of fairy tales: parodied, ironized, meta-fictionalized, politically adjusted and pop-culture saturated. (Yes, the original stories are still out there, but they don't have the same marketing force behind them: the Happy Meals, action figures, books, games and other ancillary-revenue projects.)


Had to respond to this:
"But those parodies had a dominant fairy-tale tradition to rebel against. The strange side effect of today's meta-stories is that kids get exposed to the parodies before, or instead of, the originals."

When I worked in public school libraries -- for seven years -- I often had to read or tell traditional folk tales, fairy tales, nursery rhymes before delving into fractured versions. Many kids either didn't know them at all or didn't know them well enough to understand what was funny or ironic or interesting about the fractured version.

January 2008


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