Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Book Review #84
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

What I did while reading this book was I wrote short little notes for each story, so that in the future I could look back and see which stories were worth reading again, or recommending.  I gave each story a mini-rating of 1-3 asterisks (*), with 1 being the "horrible" and 3 being "just okay".  Overall though, I was severally disappointed in this book of fairy tales.

The Bronze Ring: *This story was slightly shocking.  The way they dealt with the evil man in the end was a violent.   I did not like the portrayal of the “good guy” in the end, how he treated the bad guy and tricked him.  Instead of winning fair and square he resorted to cheating so that he could look more impressive.  The part about the mice was also a little random; it should have just ended without mentioning them.

Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess: **This was a quant little tale, it had a better moral then the first story, other then that it was unremarkable.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: *This story had some slight scandalous elements to it and I didn’t think that it was all that well suited for a children’s tale. 

The Yellow Dwarf: *I really don’t like unrealistic fairy tales that don’t even have a happy ending.  What was the point of this story?

Little Red Riding Hood: **Oh my goodness!  This is not the tale I learned as a child!  But at the same time, it is realistic.

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood: *So the first part of the story was fairly similar to what I remember, but no wicked witch like what’s in the Disney movie.  And then the second part of the story was really rather dreadful…I didn’t care for it at all and could see why it wasn’t commonly known.

Cinderella; or the Little Glass Slipper: ***An interesting take on the Cinderella story, I liked that it wasn’t in one night that the prince was in love.  I also liked that Cinderella forgave her step-sisters and got them good matches.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp: *Mostly the same tale I grew up with, only with an addition that is very similar to the first part of the story.

The Tale of the Youth Who Set out to Learn What Fear Was: *Okay, what is up with all these grim and weird tales?  I didn’t care for this one at all.  Definitely not the kind of story I would ever recommend.

Rumpelstiltskin: ***This story is pretty much the same as I remember it.  The only difference is that the girl marries the King, instead of the King’s son…(apparently, he’s not married)  I’ve always wondered though, how could the Miller have told the King his daughter could spin straw into gold?  Couldn’t he have seen that the King would have wanted to see something like that, didn’t he think about what would happen with the King found out it wasn’t true?  Another thing, the Miller’s daughter marries the king who is under the assumption that she can spin straw into gold, now we see how greedy this king is, how on earth is she suspposed to survive after Rumpelstiltskin has torn himself in half?  What if one day the king goes up to his wife and says, “why don’t you spin some straw into gold honey”  what is the millers daughter going to do then?

Beauty and the Beast: ***So this fairy tale is pretty much the same as I remember (not the Disney version, Disney has a way of scrambling up the details) but I didn’t remember her having five sisters and six brothers.

The Master Maid: * I really didn’t see the point of this story, I don’t see why they should always make the evil people suffer such violent deaths. 

Why the Sea is Salt: **A rather random and harmless story.

The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots: *I never will understand how a puss in boots can go about commanding people to do his bidding and nobody evens notices that they are taking orders from a cat!  This story really hasn’t changed much, I just don’t care for this story.

Felicia and the Pot of Pinks: ***a pretty random fairytale, but I liked it a lot better then most of the rest I’ve read, for this one didn’t have any violence at all.

The White Cat: ***a fairly nice fairy tale, I thought it was somewhat of a sweet little story, but I don’t really know how I feel about people falling in love with cats…

The Water-lily.  The Gold-spinners: **I just have one question: if it was so easy to poision someone, why on earth didn’t they do it at the beginning of the story!?  Other then that, it was a nice enough tale, although, some times I thought the characters were somewhat stupid.

The Terrible Head: *Why do people always pop out of nowhere and offer to give these wonderful and magical things so that the main characters can accomplish their quest.  Overall I was not impressed.

The Story of Pretty Goldilocks: **Well, this is pretty much the same old, “you must complete these quests before I can consent to whatever you are asking for” fairy tale.  Only this one has a slight twist for it is the best friend asking the beautiful princess to marry his Master.  I really think that it is rather rude for a girl to have the gall to ask someone who has just done the impossible to do it again!  Why are they never satisfied with the first task?  Ah, the ending was a little weird, a very convenient thing that That should happen.  

The History of Whittington: **This was a story with fairy tale elements pretending to be a history lesson, I don’t think it pulled it off.

The Wonderful Sheep: *Ack!  What kind of fairy tale is this?!!?  This ending was absolutely horrible!  I would never dream of reading this story to a child.

Little Thumb: *This story was not worth reading, the parents were pathetic examples of humans and I thought that the youngest child was very greedy and an ungrateful little brat who took more then he deserved.

The Forty Thieves: ***It’s nice reading a story for once that has a brave girl who saves the day.  Although, at the same time, there is some pretty gruesome deaths, which isn’t a plus if you just want to read a happy little story.

Hansel and Grettel: **This story's beginning is remarkably similar to one I read only a couple pages ago, what is up with that?  This story is pretty much the same, but I can’t see what sort of mother would ever even consider leaving their children in the woods in the first place.  It was also convenient how stupid the witch was – who else would stick their head in a burning oven?  The last line in this story was totally pointless, it had nothing to do with anything and was just a jarring annoyance.

Snow-white and Rose-red: **Lame story, why on earth would you let a bear into your house and how did the mother know that it was a “kind and honest” bear?  The ending didn’t make much sense either, and those girls were too young to marry so what did they do?  Wait a couple years?

The Goose-girl: ***I thought it was really interesting to see how Shannon Hale wove in the details from this story to make it into something absolutely fantastic in her book, "The Goose Girl"  The original is okay, but it was a little random in details and some parts were so coincidental that it seemed fake.  I’d tell people to skip this story and just read Shannon Hale’s book, “The Goose Girl.”

Toads and Diamonds: *The prince saw diamonds and jewels falling out of the girl’s mouth and fancied himself in love with her…awwww, how sweet.  Makes me want to marry him.  What a stupid little tale, for one thing, they can’t count.  The witch says that for ever word the girl speaks a flower or a jewel shall fall out of her mouth, and when she gets home she says 10 words but only 6 items fall out of her mouth!  And then the same thing happens to the other girl, only, since she was rude she has toads and snakes falling out of her mouth.  But when she speaks two words four animals fall out!  Who cannot do their math? 

Prince Darling: **Oh please!  That was my reaction when I finished reading this story.  I thought it was rather pathetic and lame.

Blue Beard: **An okay story, definitely not one that I would want to read over and over again.  I didn’t feel as if the plot of this story was very good either.

Trusty John: *Ugh!  Why do people never do what they are told?  And why do they even keep pictures like that in the castle if they know that it will bring harm to the prince?  It’s also awfully convenient to have Trusty John hear the three ravens talking about what will befall the prince and how convenient that he can understand the birds speaking and they just so happened to be flying near their ship.  There were a lot of other flaws that made this fairy tale unenjoyable, especially the ending, what the king and queen were willing to do to get their “dear friend” back was absolutely appalling!  No one would have made that choice, nor should they have had to make it in the first place, it was unreasonable and selfish on Trusty John’s part. 

The Brave Little Tailor: *What an obnoxious little Tailor!  He doesn’t deserve the title, “The Brave Little Tailor” he is a lying scroundrel who tricked all those people and giants into thinking that he was a mighty warrior.  The only thing he had going for him was extreme luck and quick thinking.  I did not approve of this story at all.

A Voyage to Lilliput: **Blah, this story did not amuse me as a good fairy tale should, I  didn’t care for the beginning which suspiciously reminded me of  a math problem and felt that all the information they gave me was quite useless and rather boring.  I did not like any of the characters in this story.

The Princess on the Glass Hill: *Questions the reader might have after reading this story: Why did these horses appear and how on earth were they so easy to tame?  Why didn’t Cinderlad start out with the horse with the gold armour in the first place?  If the glass hill was so slippery that no one could climb it how did the princess get up there?  Also, seeings how no one could get up it that must mean that the princess had to stay atop the glass hill for more then three days – so where did she get her food and how did she sleep?  And why did Cinderlad wait such a “long, long time” before showing himself and having the golden apples?  Why did he make the King and the princess waiting? 

The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou: **This story was awfully predictable and it’s plot was not anything special.  I did not care for this story, or the characters and thought that it had a disagreeable ending with a lot of violence.

The History of Jack the Giant-killer: *I think the most annoying aspect of this fairy tale is how Jack was clever enough to outsmart ALL the giants he met up with.  Also, it was awfully convenient how he “found” those wondrous “treasures” that helped him kill all those giants.  Not a tale I would recommend.

The Black Bull of Norroway: **What?  That’s what you are left thinking at the end of this story.  What about the black bull?  This story had some major loose ends and it was hard to understand the story because of the way it was written.

The Red Etin: **This story was hard to read too, because of the way it was written.  I also didn’t care for the story line, it wasn’t fascinating enough to capture my fancy – I’m pretty tired of the stories with three young men and how the youngest always has to “save” the two eldest’s because he is by far the most clever and knows Exactly how to do everything.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You're not a fan of folktales, are you? This is folklore from long ago - before they were changed for modern sensitivities. They *are* pretty violent and bizarre.