Parents' Guide to

The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Retold classics provide origin story for blockbuster series.

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This collection of classic fairy tales is an engaging addition to your child's library, and author Chris Colfer's selection of stories is spot on. But it needn't replace the versions you may have. The adaptations in The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales are closer to their originals than the Disney versions, so expect more gore and darkness, but there's also plenty of virtue rewarded and happily-ever-after. Colfer shows respect by including short biographies of the authors whose stories he's retold, making it easy to read the other versions. Brandon Dorman's colorful illustrations add appeal to the characters. There's also a lot of wisdom in the Survival Guide in the appendix, applicable in this world as well as the fairy tale universe.

Sometimes the editorializing, ham-fisted moralizing, and cartoonish views of complex issues detract from a lively narrative, such as this from the Fairy Godmother describing her arrival in the Middle Ages: "It was a period consumed with poverty, plague, and war ... However, it wasn't interaction your world needed, it was inspiration. In a world dominated by ruthless kings and warlords, the ideas of self-worth and self-empowerment were unheard of. So I started telling stories about my world to entertain and raise spirits ... The stories taught many lessons, but most important, they taught the world how to dream ... Families passed the stories from generation to generation, and over the years I watched their courage and compassion change the world."

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