Thoughts: Fables Vol. 18 Cubs in Toyland

willingham fables 18Fables Vol. 18: Cubs in Toyland

Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Gene Ha

192 pages

Published in January 2013 by DC Comics

Source: Public Library

Guys, if you haven’t started reading Bill Willingham’s fantastic Fables series, you need to start now. Just when I think that the series can’t get any better, a volume is published that just blows that opinion out the water. Like most Fables readers, I have a few favorite volumes but the last two published volumes of the series, are among the best so far.

In the previous volume, Inherit the Wind, Ozama shared the prophecy of Snow and Bigby’s children.

The first child will be a king.

The second child a pauper.

The third will do an evil thing.

The fourth will die to stop her.

The fifth will be a hero bold.

The sixth will judge the rest.

The seventh lives to ages old, and is by heaven blessed.

Some of that prophecy comes true with Winter becoming the new North Wind after the demise of her grandfather.  In Cubs in Toyland, we see more of the prophecy coming to life.

The toy boat that Therese received in the previous volume speaks to her. It tells her of a wonderful adventure the two can have together. Therese sneaks away and arrives at a new land, Toyland, but it’s not what the young girl thought it would be. At home the wolf pack, lead by oldest child Darien is searching for Therese. But can they find her before too much damage is done?

What a ride. This latest volume is one of the most heartbreaking books of the series. I don’t know where to start with this one. While writing this review, just re-reading it made me cry. So I will make this short. This is a story of sacrifice, of love, of courage, of redemption even when you are not worthy of it. Fables reminds readers that fairy tales aren’t what we see in Disney movies: the hero doesn’t always win, villains aren’t all bad, and these stories were never meant for children. I also like that Willingham intertwines various tales to give us this interconnected story. I usually need to look up new-to-me fairy tales after reading a volume.

If you haven’t read this series, it’s time to start. Take out your library card or call your local bookstore and see if they have this series in stock. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Short Review: Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses

Written by Ron Koertge

Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö

Published in 2012 by Candlewick Press

Source: Public Library

Genre: YA and up

 

I don’t see, but I know things.

Nature does that sometimes – curses and blesses,

takes away and gives. I’m blind but I see.

-          from “Thumbelina, The Mole’s Story”

I love fairy tale retellings.  Earlier this year it seems like retellings were the only things I was reading. In Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses, Ron Koertge retells some of the most popular fairy tales in free prose giving them a facelift.

The cleverness of some of Koertge’s stories reminds me of why I like retellings so much. A good retelling gives readers an old story in a fresh way. The Ever After for Cinderella’s stepsisters was sober reading while the modern-day story of Red Riding Hood in what I imagine to be a Valley-Girl voice was hilarious. This book also reminded me that not every retelling works. There were some retellings that missed the mark for me. Not every retelling needs to be clever or funny but it needs to add something or what’s the point?

I picked Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses up because it was recently listed as a Publisher Weekly Best of 2012 book. While I’m glad I read it, I don’t feel the need to buy my own copy. My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.