Cover Image: Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls

Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls

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'Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls' retold by Anita Ganeri with illustrations by Khoa Le is a collection of 15 fairy tales from all over the world featuring brave young women.

In this collection, brave girls fight hippos, evil forces, monsters, giants and more.  They do it for love, or to avoid marriage, or to save their families.  Some are born warriors and princesses, some rise to those titles.

I've read similar collections of adapted stories that felt flat and different.  These retellings have resonance in the prose and flow, probably because they are from existing sources.  As with any anthology, some stories are more memorable than others.  The illustrations that accompany are pretty nice.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Arcturus Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
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I teach Fairy Tales each year and I am always looking for new ideas, books, stories. When I saw this title I became excited and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the tales and the illustrations that accompanied them.
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The diversity of stories in Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls is wonderful. From India to Sweden, Japan to West Africa; we are taken on a gorgeous illustrated ride throughout the world. Our champions are all girls whom have been told, for one reason or another, their ‘place in the world’ or where their capacity maxes out. Of course, these women defy that idea and, in most cases, challenge it head on. 

Artwork
The art of Khoa Le is by far the highlight of this hardcover, over sized book for me. It’s the kind of book a little girl might receive, read a thousand times, and keep forever. I have three books like this from my childhood: one is Disney stories, another Raggedy Ann stories and finally an amazing illustrated copy of Little Women. But while beauty is important, let’s face it the text and stories are far more important in (to me at least) when it comes to content. 

The Text of the Tales
The stories told all feature a leading female, often younger or just of marrying age. These women range from warriors to magicians to intellects, and more. My personal favourites were the instances where the girl outsmarted a foe (usually a man, but not always) with her smarts, riddles, or common sense. That said, any girl will likely find at least one story that resonates with them, regardless of what attribute they value most; be it intelligence, strength, magic or beauty.  

My Favourites
I didn’t hate any of the stories. Some were just okay, others ended too abruptly, and one or two that were based off cultures I know a little more about didn’t quite live up to what I’d imagined or hoped for them. But two stories stood out for me. 

Nana Miriam and the Horrible Hippopotamus
In this early placed story (third in) we are in West Africa and a daughter is told by her hunter father that no one can kill a hippo. No one, but especially not her. Guess what our girl must do then to prove otherwise? Not the most clever story in the book; but this one felt so great to finish as it’s a clear ‘win’ by our heroine. As an early story in the anthology it set a good tone for what's to come 

The Princess, the Merchants, and the very Unusual Cupboard
The second story anchors the collection. Set in Sudan it features one of the most clever girls we meet in this anthology. She is annoyed by merchants who agree to “help her” get more value for an item by giving her money but also looking to secure her hand in marriage. By the end she shows them what it feels like to be bought or sold, and even shipped to the highest bidder. I liked the obvious comparison to slavery here and that the position of wife, which here is clearly a lesser role, is still important enough (in the end) to be worthy of our gal if the partner is respectful. It keeps the idea of a strong relationship and it’s value intact, doesn’t degrade men quite as much as some other stories did, and it’s the perfect reminder that gender isn’t the only thing that has (and sadly still does) separate people from one another. 

Overall
This isn’t necessarily the best fairy tales collection I’ve read that targets middle grade or a bit younger children. But it is the most diverse; representing different cultures and locations around the world. The perfect type of book to be in a daycare, school library, or featured at a children’s gathering of any sort. I believe any child could find at least one story they identify with. 
It could also be a good gift for a young girl. Be aware that animals are killed/hunted for food and sport (I have a 7-year-old cousin this would really upset, for example); but otherwise I don't foresee major objections by parents to the content. I would definitely buy this for a random gift exchange between kids, as an unwrapped gift donation for holidays, or as a donation to any library. 

 Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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A great selection of fairytales both new and familiar from several cultures across the world that will strike a chord with any reade.r..
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Great anthology! Enjoyed reading.  Can't wait to share with my daughter when she is older.  Thank you.
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Ahh a fresh take on girls in fairytales. We are all fearless in our own ways. We are or just witches or princesses or evil step mothers. We are fierce. Warriors. Builders. Adventurers. This was full of stories and tales from all over the world about strong fearless girls. Tales to lift us up and allow us to be more than the stereotypical two dimensional fairytale character.
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Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls is a collection of fairy tales I really want to be able to share with my children one day. What it says on the cover is exactly what it does: these fairy tales tell the stories of fearless girls that come and save the day on their own.
Let's be honest, classic fairy tales are miserable. People (girls) die or are tortured or are raped; there's none of that misery here. These are happy stories to tell children, so they know that they can conquer the world. And it's not all slaying of dragons by fierce sword-wielding female soldiers, some of the girls are brave and fearless because they're clever and sly and driven by love. None just play a part because they're pretty.
I don't know how much this collection of stories are based on classic fairy tales, but these stories cover a range of cultures (and very few of them are white). It's really refreshing to read fairy tales with exciting characters and new stories that aren't predictable and are solved in a creative way. 
The book is full of beautiful illustrations as well, which show just how amazingly un-white the characters are. Not only are they stunning, but they introduce children to a whole world of storytelling which may not have previously been available to them, or they allow children to see themselves in a setting where they may have previously been absent.
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I am a sucker for beautifully illustrated books and this is one of them. I am also enjoying the trend of lifting up girls in books and will happily suggest this for our library's collection.
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This is a good introduction for people looking for a survey of stories, and the bright illustrations were engaging. 

I appreciated the places where stories were modified to de-centralize marriage as the primary motivation of the young protagonists, but in a few of the stories the thematic updates were done better than others. People who are sensitive to rewrites (picky about how they sound) will probably want to pre-read to pick their favorites before sharing them. 

These tales are great conversation-starters and invite discussions of how we describe and portray heroes both today and when the stories were first told. 

My thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for the digital copy they provided for this review.
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I will always advocate for multicultural girl stories that show how powerful girls can be. Which is why I was excited to see this collection of Fairy Tales with female heroines. I loved that they took place all around the world highlighting a variety of cultures. I liked that the girls solved their own problems and where the heroes of their stories. What I didn't like was the language of the stories. It seems like these fairy tales/legends/folk tales were dumbed down for a modern reader and I didn't appreciate that. I think today's kids are smart enough to read a story with strong language and I think stories are better when they are not simplified. These all seemed simple in their tellings. In fact I looked up a couple of the stories and the original versions seem much more interesting and intense. This could have been a great collection instead it was just meh.
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Some great story with great illustrations. My daughter enjoyed having these for bedtime stories. So much so that I had to buy her a copy!
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I adore fairy tales, but sometimes it can be hard to reconcile traditional fairy tales with modern feminist values. This collection takes from traditional tales around the world and puts fearless, skilled, clever and independent heroines at the heart. 

The tales are diverse, not only in geographical origin but in style. Some have young women simply taking the place of the hero in an adventure to save someone, some have women railing against the life society has set up for them, while others have older women protecting their children. The tales are suffused with magic, set in fantastical worlds, they are perfect escapist bed time reading. However, that is not to say that it is magic which helps our heroines succeed, it is their own skill, ingenuity, their kindness, and other values which help them to succeed. 

Some tales are ones you might recognise, Atalanta for example but others will be completely new. Because many were new to me, I wasn't sure how much licence the author took to alter the endings with heroines shunning marriage or demanding it on equal terms, but in a way I also don't mind - tales like this do change and morph with time so there is no harm in having an updated version. 

Alongside the wonderful tales are exquisite illustrations which bring the collection to life, this would be a stunning book to have it hard copy and I would certainly buy this for any child in my life whether a girl or boy.
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Thank you to NetGalley for letting me read an ARC of Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls

I enjoyed the book up to a point. I LOVED the illustrations! They were absolutely gorgeous!! However, the stories themselves needed to be fleshed out just a little more. But, I love the fact that there is a book that is written for girls about being brave!

One of the things I enjoyed was how the author took girls from different countries and continents. instead of just from one general area. There were far off lands, Canada, and Africa just to name a few of the countries that were talked about.

Overall, it was a fantastic book. I just wish the stories had a little bit more to it
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I don’t talk much on here about my interest in fairy tales, but I’ve done a lot of research into them and love to read new collections and retellings. Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls is billed as a collection highlighting strong female characters, and it doesn’t disappoint!

This is a beautifully illustrated collection of stories, and I wish I had the chance to look through a physical copy of it, as the full colour illustrations are beautiful enough on screen, but I imagine they are even richer and bring more to the book in real life. This would make a lovely bedtime read, and the illustrations really help to make the stories sing out. It’s definitely suited for younger readers, as the language is very simple and the stories are told in a straightforward way, without much nuance.

I love the idea of collecting tales that show women in a positive light, and there are some here I wasn’t familiar with at all, so I love the diversity of bringing together stories from around the world. I enjoyed the story of Nana Miriam very much, as well as The Princess, the Merchants, and the Very Unusual Cupboard, which reminded me of some of the stories in my very favourite collection, A Book of Princesses (from 1965 – it collects unusual literary fairy tales by some well-known authors, including one of my all time favourites, Melisande by E Nesbit) in that the princess uses humour and smarts to win the day, rather than physical strength.

However, I did feel that there was a slightly weak link in the story of Atalanta. Atalanta is a very strong woman – she refuses to marry unless a man can beat her in a race – but she is ultimately forced to marry because a man tricks her into losing by distracting her with shiny golden apples. Firstly, I find the ‘women love shiny things above all else’ theme to be rather offensive, so I was surprised to see this picked at all – if Atalanta getting distracted had been reworked to be about pure distraction from the flash, or if a love of gold had been acknowledged earlier as a facet of her character, then I wouldn’t have a problem, but as it stands, a focused woman is thrown off by an inexplicable desire for something shiny. Secondly, in this version the cheating is brushed off with a speech from the man about how much he loves her, and she accepts that he tricked her out of love and he must be a good person, so that’s okay, which I didn’t like.

I’m so disappointed in this, because this type of traditional sexism is dealt with well in another story in the collection, the Romanian tale of Mizilca. I’m not a fan of the traditional moral of the story, which I’ve seen in other fairy tales (a king decides to test his knights to see if one of them is a woman in disguise – he sets traps based on feminine things like liking spinning wheels or walking daintily, and the female knight(s) train themselves to avoid them), but it’s nicely averted here, with Mizilca beating the tests, and then telling the king how ridiculous the tests were, since plenty of women don’t like/do those things, and plenty of men do. That’s a nice touch that highlights and negates the sexist behaviour, and I wish something like this had been done to the Atalanta story.

As I say, though, I think Atalanta is the sole weak link here, and overall the book is a nice little collection if you’re looking to diversify a fairy tale library. I think with its simple sentence structure and bright, bold pictures, it would suit the 5-7 age group, but if you don’t mind the simplicity, then it would be a good read for all ages. Four out of five cats!
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This is an excellent book of fairy tales for children -- especially girls, but also boys.  Both girls and boys need role models from literature of girls that create action, save the day, and are strong female protagonists.  Moreover, these fairy tales are engaging and interesting.  I highly recommend this group of fairy tales!
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I'm one of those old fashioned types who thinks there's still a place in the world for Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella et al. I don't think our little girls will grow up believing their prince will come if they read them, or think their only happy ending will be if they get married. Going by that logic I should have grown up to think my wardrobe would become a portal to another world I hoped but that's another story). But equally I think it's good for our kids to hear and read lots of stories and this empowering collection of stories is a great addition to any kids bookshelf. Simply but effectively told with some very special illustrations it kept my 8-year-old up past her bedtime as she was so enthralled, which sadly books haven't been doing so much of lately. But in that 8 year old fearless girls worlds "it's flippin brilliant!"
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I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes short stories or tales about amazing women!! It’s not just for kids!
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Beautifully illustrated, wonderfully diverse, this book for young readers teaches us that adventure isn't just for boys- and Happily Ever After doesn't HAVE TO end with a wedding.
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Fairy Tales for Fearless Girls is definitely a collection of short stories I would recommend.

Each story has it's own feminist tone on it and they are from various different cultures. 

The illustrations were beautiful and really capture the air of an old folk fairy tale.
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*Disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

What a great collection of different fairy tales that can be read in place of your typical stories where there's always a happy ending involving marriage (I know that some fairy tales do not end happily...). 

Some stories weren't as engaging, which is expected, but others showcased strong characters that were independent and chose their own destinies.

Highly recommend!
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