What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this clever fairy tale includes a maiden-eating ogre and the maiden who cuts her way out of the ogre's belly, slashing his black heart. This bit of violence is told in prose and doesn't look gory on the page. If kids are fine with the darker moments of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, they'll be OK with this one.
What's the story?
A poor orphaned girl with no name is treated badly by the townspeople until one day an ogre comes to town demanding they give him a wife. Of course, they choose the girl. However, being very clever, she outwits them all, escapes the town and the ogre, and rides away with riches she has earned ... and a special name she claims for herself.
Is it any good?
This is a tall tale with all the earmarks of becoming a classic. The story is engaging, both humorous and a little scary, and the illustrations, from the woebegone look on the girl's face to the ghastly gulpings of the gluttonous ogre, are captivating.
In a friendly narrative voice accented here and there with humorous details, poetic chants, and the growling roars of the ogre, Brock Cole tells the story in language reminiscent of classic fairy tales. His lively, expressive rapid-wash watercolors build on that tone by adding even more playful detail: Mice spill out of the grizzled ogre's kettle helmet, the eyes of townspeople bug out in fear as the ogre pounds on the gate, tongues wag, mouths pout, and animals squawk through the air in the chaos that ensues.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about ogres, maidens, and fairy tales -- how real they are, where they come from, and why people tell stories about scary things. Where do you think the title comes from? They can discuss why the girl in this village did not have a real name, how she gets her different names, and what each means. How did the girl's names save her? What name did she finally choose? Why did she like that one?