Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bean Stalker

28822458White, Kiersten. Bean Stalker and other Hilarious Scary Tales.
July 25th 2017 by Scholastic
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

In this collection of fractured fairy tales, we follow the inept Jack through several adventures, and other characters show up along the way. The stories covered are all fairly standard, European tales via the Grimm brothers, such as Rapunzel, Snow White, LIttle Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and the princess and the pea. The twists on these stories include pyromaniacs, zombies, vampires, and other monster like beings that are all on the gross side.

This had its moments. I liked that Jack was a main focus, because so many of the fairy tale retellings have girls as the main characters (which is why I liked Shurtliff's Jack so much). Five years ago, the addition of vampires and zombies would have made this wildly popular among my Twilight fans. The general tone makes it great for readers who like somewhat gruesome twists ala Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm, but isn't quite so dark, making it appropriate for both elementary and middle school readers. I can see fifth graders finding Jack's confusion between pea and pee hilarious.

This didn't appeal to me personally. I didn't care for the Lemony Snicket-esque asides, or for the odd twists on the stories. If this had covered some less well known fairy tales, or been somehow differently arranged, I might have bought it. I just don't have enough readers who ask for this sort of tale, and if they do ask, I have the works of E.D. Baker, Surtliff, Jessica Day George or Diane Zahler to hand to my students.

Ms. Yingling

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