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!