Adventure Stories For Daring Girls – A Fresh Spin on Female Roles in Fairy Tales

Are you and your kiddos tired of hearing the same tired fairy tales over and over? You know the ones I mean. The ones where some young girl is always looking for a knight in shining armor to save her from distress, and then they fall madly in love and live happily ever after. If your little reader is tired of the average fairy tale, I have just the book for you!

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Adventure Stories For Daring Girls by Samantha Newman is a fantastic collection of fifteen adaptations of different tales about girls who love adventures. This is a great book to challenge the female role in fairy tales and folklore in a kid-friendly format. This collection contains a few stories from familiar characters (like Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz), but several stories were new to me altogether. Each adaptation is about 8 pages, counting both the text and the stunning illustrations by Khoa Le, making this a perfect bedtime storybook.

I wanted to highlight my favorite story, but as I read, each story was better than the next, and I’m not sure I could choose just one. I loved Chimidyue and The Butterfly (a traditional Ticuna story from South America) and it’s message of respecting our earth and the animals upon it. I was delighted with the surprise ending of Lykke The Little Mermaid (adapted from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson). I also thought the book ended strong with Princess Kayuga’s Great Adventure (adapted from The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter) about a moon princess who comes to earth for an adventure.

This book has some of the most lovely illustrations I’ve ever seen. I absolutely adored Khoa Le’s work, and will be looking for more immediately.

I do feel the need to point out that this book does contain the story of Heidi, which can be problematic because it has some extremely Victorian ideas about disability. Spoiler alert: It’s nearly impossible to tell the story of Heidi without the miraculous recovery ending. While I personally haven’t invested my time in reading Heidi in its entirety, I am a strong believer that problematic classics are a great starting point for conversations about why dated viewpoints are…well, dated. This quick summation of the story creates a great opportunity to discuss the fact that our bodies do not determine our worth, and that disabled people are perfectly fulfilled and valid people without miraculous recoveries.

Adventure Stories for Daring Girls is available in the US today and it would make a fantastic holiday gift for any little one who loves fairy tales, folklore, or fantasy stories. This would also be a great gift for parents looking to add something unique to the bedtime story rotation. You can pick it up wherever books are sold, including at my Bookshop page. (Free shipping on all orders ends 11/30, so be sure to take advantage of the sale!)

I would like to thank Arcturus for providing me with a review copy of this book. I can’t wait to share this with my nieces and nephews!

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If I had a Unicorn

If I Had a Unicorn by Gabby Dawnay might just be the cutest book I’ve read all year.

This book is the third installment in the “If I Had A” series by Gabby Dawnay, preceded by If I Had A Dinosaur and If I Had A Sleepy Sloth. If I Had A Unicorn follows our adorable main character, a young Black girl who dreams of having a pet unicorn. She imagines all the fun things she and the unicorn would do. The lyrical text paired with the eye catching illustrations create an entertaining story from start to finish.

I also love how some of the illustrations stand in for the words in this story. This is a great mechanism for early readers to engage in the story, even if they don’t recognize the words. Alex Barrow’s illustrations are just so fun, they draw you in immediately. I truly can’t imagine how this book could be any cuter.

Though race is never mentioned, I love that our main character and her family are black, and that her friends all have different skin tones. This is a great book to add some melanin to your library through Black joy and happiness.

I will warn you though, there is a bit of potty humor in this one; but lets be honest…you can’t have unicorns without a little unicorn poop.

You can purchase If I Had A Unicorn (and the rest of the series) anywhere books are sold, including at my Bookshop page, which supports both Mutually Inclusive and independent bookstores nationwide. (Please note: These are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission for purchases made using these links. This commission allows me to maintain this website and continue to put out bookish content.)

I would like to thank Thames & Hudson for providing me with a review copy of this book. It was an absolute joy to read, and I will absolutely be picking up the rest of the series for my little one’s library.

Have you read If I Had a Unicorn, or any of the books in the series? Which is your favorite? Leave a comment below to tell me what you thought.

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