Premise: Gather a selection of classic fairy tales, pair each of them with different cartoonists, and you get this collection of visual interpretations of many commonly known stories, with a few obscure ones for good measure.
Fairy tale classics like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Rapunzel are set along with other lesser known stories such as Azzolino’s Story Without End and The Boy Who Drew Cats. Each of them is unique in their own right, especially interpreted for this collection.
Themes: Fairy tales are ways of telling legends to children, but the stories remain with us through adulthood. Often they remind us how the perseverance of goodness ends in triumph over wickedness. And even when things don’t quite turn out right, doing good will still bring happiness and prosperity. At least, that’s what we want to believe, which is why these stories continue to endure.
Pros: The artwork is fantastic for every story, but there are several that stood out to me. I liked the bold cutout style of the simple yet colorful Little Red Riding Hood by Gigi D.G., especially contrasted by the drab brown and gray color palette in Luke Pearson’s The Boy Who Drew Cats. Brett Helquist’s painting like quality is beautiful in his rendition of Rumpelstiltskin. I also appreciate how Joseph Lambert interpreted music through his art in Rabbit Will Not Work. One of my favorites is because of how Graham Annable managed to tell Goldilocks and the Three Bears without a single word. The facial expressions are just whimsical. One of the best things about Fairy Tale Comics is that in just about every story the art adds to the telling of the story, making it more accessible to the reader.
Cons: Reading some of these stories anew reminded me that many fairy tales, especially from the Brothers Grimm, are pretty inappropriate for too young an audience. Some of the interpretations use language I don’t really want my child using, with words like “stupid” and “dumb” and “idiots” that should not be in a child’s vocabulary as long as can be prevented.
Recommendations: While most of the stories are retold versions from the Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tale Comics brings in some fairy tales that I hadn’t heard before. Each of these adaptations is unique to each artist, but as a collection they are visually stunning, making the sum of the whole even greater than the individual stories themselves. While it is really meant for an older audience than Nursery Rhyme Comics, Fairy Tale Comics is a book that comes nicely on its heels. I might wait until your child is at least old enough to read for themselves so that they can appreciate the artistic nuances as they enjoy the story. Just be mindful of swears, witches, and giant rats.