An article in The Telegraph declares, “Fairy tales allow kids a safe place to explore the idea that life isn’t always easy, that things can go wrong, and people don’t always have your best interests at heart. At the same time, as the “good” characters are usually rewarded at the end, it’s a way of reinforcing positively the importance of being kind, thoughtful and true.”
As a teacher-librarian, I couldn’t agree more, which is why I’ve started retelling my favorite fairy tales and fables and legends in language for beginner readers, and publishing them in ebook form. And this week, the first fairy tale, Red Riding Hood, is free to download on Amazon around the world.
Red Riding Hood in the Old West
I’ve always been fascinated with the old west, and have written both fiction and nonfiction set at the turn of the 20th century. Part of my interest was due to growing up on a horse ranch, of course, but a lot is simply that I find the “code of the west” as applicable today as it was more than a century ago.
My childhood was filled with a mix of old western movies, Zane Grey novels, and television shows like Bonanza and Rawhide and the Big Valley. From them, I learned that honesty is absolute, that consideration for others is central to being a good person, and to always help someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
And of course, these codes align well with the motifs of fairy tales and morals of fables. So, I decided to try my hand at combining the two. But first I needed a common ground to connect the old west and magical happenings of fairy tales. In came the Magic Forest.
The Magic Forest
The Smithsonian recently released an article moving the origin of fairy tales from the 1500s back to 4000 to 5000 years ago. Most agree the term, fairy tales is from the later era, although not all agree who coined the term. An article from ABC News, Australia, say it was a woman who risked prison to write coded messages of rebellion. The woman was Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy.
Regardless of their origins, though, fairy tales are about a world that’s full of magic and hope. And while the old west setting certainly shared the “hope” of fairy tales, there’s little magic in the dust kicked up by a herd of 3000 cattle, or the mud running down the walls of sod house into the owner’s tin coffee cup.
So, my retellings needed a place where magic could happen. Where wicked wolves could exist and mice could save lions. That world became my magic forest.
And of course the inhabitants of the magic forest were all readily transported from the land of fairy tales. The heroes–though–already existed in the real old west. Cowboys. Sheriffs. Settlers. Men and women who dreamed of a better future for their children and worked to build it. Those are the characters you’ll find in the Magic Forest series of beginner reader books.
Red Riding Hood Launch Giveaway
I signed up with Amazon’s KDP Select for its first 90 days to make sure parents, grandparents, homeschoolers, teachers and librarians could find this new retelling of Red Riding Hood. It will be free to download from September 16 – 19, 2020.