Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

brave red smart frog
Image ©: Natalie d’Aubermont Thompson

Frozen forests where strange animals lurk amongst gingerbread houses. Kisses that break enchantment, and others that begin them. My kids were fascinated by Emily Jenkins’ collection of fairytales written in modern language.

Note: she has not ‘updated’ them in anyway and explains that in her afterword. These are the classics as she remembers them…as she mentions many of these were part an oral tradition (Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, The Frog Prince, etc) so she is merely retelling them in her own voice.

Reader, take note: these are more Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen than the sweet Disney versions. There are vivid descriptions of children engaging with true hunger, evil stepmothers, vengeful sprites, poverty, etc. But there is also humor and I loved that goodness always prevails. My husband overheard me reading one of the stories aloud and nearly winced at the starkness of the language, but the boys were captivated (even if at one point I looked up and saw Rock under the blanket). So just screen them first to see what is appropriate.

We did about a chapter a day so the boys could digest each story properly. I’d recommend it for ages 6/8 and up depending on the sensitivity of your child. Because goodness and forgiveness won out in the end, I was okay with my 6 year old hearing them….but there is no sugarcoating here…just the raw, classic fairytales of yore with a fresh twist.  And no illustrations throughout except for the beginning of each story, but they are done by Rohan Daniel Eason and my only complaint is that I wish there had been more.

Published by Candlewick Press in 2017.

Available from Amazon and Wordery

Pop along to @nataliesbookshelves 

Natalie d'Aubermont Thompson

Natalie d'Aubermont Thompson

An avid reader, Natalie offers her perspective on her favorite adult and children's reads over at @livingbythepagewithnatalie on Instagram.Professionally, she is the CEO of Saltar Consulting.
Prior to that she has served as a Team Leader at Chatham Financial Europe in the UK, the Associate Director of the International Center & Admissions at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, the NGO and Policy Coordination Officer at the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and a consultant for the Corporate Executive Board.

She holds a Bachelors in International Relations and Spanish from Tufts University and a Masters in International Relations from the LSE. She is also an accredited practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) as well as a certified CultureActive® cross-cultural trainer. Further, she serves as a guest writer for the Huffington Post.

A truly global citizen, Natalie is Argentine-American and has worked, studied and volunteered in over 35 countries. She currently resides in Ann Arbor, MI with her husband and three children.
Natalie d'Aubermont Thompson

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