Tuesday, March 11, 2008

fairy tales and mayonnaise

...not one of those dynamic duos like Bert and Ernie or chips and Rotel dip. No, they really don't belong together at all.

I was chuckling aloud the other day when I read Kim's post about how hard she tends to be on books. Actually, the post was about a few of her favorite books, but in the opening paragraphs she admitted to some of habits that may have had some book-lovers clutching their hearts in horror. Now, I am certainly no Carl...my books don't come out looking as if they've never been touched by human hands. But I figured I probably wasn't quite as brutal on them as Kim. *** Kim, you do know I'm only teasing, don't you? :) ***

Well, I now must eat those words. (Even though I only ever spoke them inside my own head.) Last night while fixing supper, I figured I could sneak in a quick fairy tale. The Frog-Prince fit the bill, a short little tale which only took a few minutes. But as I was reaching to set the book down, it slipped through my fingers and landed in a roll slathered with mayonnaise. And it didn't land flat so the cover could just easily be wiped off either. No, it landed corner first, so mayo managed to seep right up between all the pages. Not a fun clean up job.

I've decided to look at the bright side though. When I decided to read Grimm's Fairy Tales for school this year, I just picked up an inexpensive little Puffin Classics version. But it didn't take me long to fall madly in love with these little tales, and I have been kicking myself for not just shelling out a few extra bucks to buy an edition of The Complete Grimms Fairy Tales. Guess now's my chance, huh?

Anyway, I was wondering, am I the only person out here that never really had much exposure to fairy tales as a kid? I honestly do not remember reading them as a child, or having them read to me. Yes, I'd heard some of "the biggies" like Cinderella and Snow White, but beyond that nada. But I have to say, that is one of the precious things about fairy tales...you don't need to be a child to fall in love with them. Here I am in my 40s being enchanted for the first time.

Annie and I have really been having so much fun with this "unit". We read a handful of tales each week, sometimes together, sometimes separately, and then we discuss them. And we're trying to work in some retold versions as well. I'm sure literary professionals would be appalled, but we have somehow, without even trying, set up our own little classification system for many of the fairy tales. Some of our categories include: dark and disturbing, no one could possibly be that dumb, and priceless treasure.

A few that have made that priceless treasure category in the last few weeks:

*Jorinda and Jorindel--a tale in which the power of true love wins out, despite an evil old fairy

*King Grisly-Beard--a tale about the evils or pride and conceit, and also about the wonders of love and second chances

*The Giant With the Three Golden Hairs--a tale of come-uppance for an evil, greedy king

And one final note on the subject of fairy tales...I started reading Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl last night. (The Goose Girl happens to one of the few fairy tales I was actually already familiar with.) So far, I am finding it perfectly delightful!

24 comments:

Carl V. said...

"my books don't come out looking as if they've never been touched by human hands"

Hey, I resemble that remark! ;)

This is a horror story! Two of my most hated things: mayonnaise and abused books all in one post! ;)

Debi said...

Carl,
I know, I know, I'm awful, aren't I?!! (And I'm not even big on mayo myself.)

Becky said...

I love Shannon Hale. And Goose Girl is great. You should also consider reading Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. It's also great.

There are so many great novelizations out there for fairy tales.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

You know, I don't remember reading any fairy tales growing up. Maybe some one read them to me when I was very young, but I don't think so. I mostly started reading when I was older and it's something I did all by myself. I love love love that you and Annie read together, that's awesome.

P.S. Love mayo here. Duh. I could eat it on everything! :)

Debi said...

Stacy,
I know this sounds goofy, but I swear when I dropped that book, I immediately thought, "I'll bet even Stacy doesn't dip her books in mayo!"

Chris said...

Yuck! Mayonnaise!LOL, I hate mayo..poor book :( I say trash it and go for the nicer version of Grimms! I know B&N has a really nice hardback version that's illustrated that they put out themselves that is really inexpensive (like $19.99). It has the ribbon marker and gold leaf pages and everything!

I don't remember many fairy tales myself when I was growing up. In fact, I wasn't read to all that much growing up believe it or not. I did most of my reading myself. I had plenty of books, but we always picked them off the shelves ourselves and read them...so it's great that you read to your kids! Especially these fairy tales!

Somer said...

I adored fairy tales as a kid. I had a book that my grandfather gave me that I pored over, as well as several other collections. When I was in 7th grade my aunt gave me a complete collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales, and that was a new experience. I read a lot of them, but never made it through the whole collection. I may still have that book around somewhere, but IIRC it was a little worse for wear. I should get a new one!

And I'm with Chris - the only thing I use mayo for is making tuna salad. As a spread? Ick!

kreed said...

I think I would have had to abandon the book to the trash gods and go buy a newer, better copy!

I got the basic fairy tales growing up, but don't remember tons of them. Reading more of them is on my list of things to do someday!

Nymeth said...

You are right that this is the perfect excuse to buy a complete edition! There is one with an introduction by Jack Zipes that I've had my eye on for a while.

I only remember the most well-known fairy tales from my childhood too. I had these beautiful edition of Snow White, Cinderella, Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood with a picture book and an audio tape that I'd listen to/read over and over again. I still have the picture books, but the audio versions are sadly gone. I know I also had a Hans Christian Anderson book, and then there were of course the movie versions...I was particularly fond of Swan Lake and the Disney Little Mermaid.

But it was only in my late teens that I began to truly discover fairy tales, to seek out their original versions, to think about them, to explore the less well known ones. And now they are one of my favourite things in the world. I really agree that it's never too late.

I have a copy of The Goose Girl, but I'm saving it for Once Upon a Time. I'm really looking forward to reading it, and I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it!

Kim L said...

You know what they say... "pride cometh before a fall" :-P

I have the luck to marry someone who is very careful with his books and belongings in general. He is horrified as well by some of my habits.

I love that you are reading and enjoying fairy tales! I loved them as a kid, and I still love picking up fairy tale retellings. I hope to write a good one someday.

Melody said...

Oh no, your poor book! LOL.

Mentioning of fairy tales, I don't think I read too many of them during my childhood except those classics ones like Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, etc etc. I only began to explore other fairy tales when I was in my mid twenties. And I'm currently still exploring by reading recommendations from fellow readers like yourself and other book bloggers. :) So keep them coming!

Rich said...

Mayo isn't quite as bad as dropping your book in the toilet whilst multitasking. Yup, I was reading and peeing and lost my book. I was probably 12 years old. Never did finish that book and never did read ever again while standing before the toilet.

~**Dawn**~ said...

I totally remember reading Jorinda and Jorindel in my first year of college!

Alessandra said...

I think I smeared chocolate on one of my books when I was a kid. And my younger brother would doodle with a pen on every page of my books he could get his hands on :)

Tasses said...

I find it interesting that so many commenters say they don't remember being read fairy tales, but I bet most of them knew the basic stories even before they sought to read them. Our society is so steeped in fairy tale lore we seem to know the tales simply from osmosis.

(jumped over from Bookworms Carnival)

Lightheaded said...

Gee, mayonnaise! Hahaha!

But on the subject of fairy tales, I don't remember reading a lot of them as well, only the more popular ones. I was already in my teens (late teens even) when through catalog book purchases made by my mom that we had a set of Grimm's Fairy Tales for free. And even then I never actually read all the stories. Maybe it's high time I rescue those volumes from dust!

Like Tasses before me I'm coming from the Bookworms Carnival post.

Maree said...

Visiting from the Bookworms' Carnival :)
I don't really remember having fairy tales read to me either, but I was an early reader and I certainly have vivid memories of reading them myself.
As for how I treat books ... umm ... I refuse to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself.

tracy said...

i must live under a rock. I haven't heard of some of those fairy tales. I have some reading to do:)

Robin said...

I love the categories you came up with for the fairy tales you read: dark and disturbing, no one could possibly be that dumb, and priceless treasure! And I also agree that you don't need to be a child to fall in love with fairy tales. I have!

Amanda said...

That's hilarious! I am such a klutz that if I eat anywhere near my books I get food on them. My biggest fault is coffee...there is something so good about a hot cup of coffee and a good book. Which is why I have coffee stains on most of my books :)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I have little memory of fairy tales when I was little. If anything they came from watching videos rather than actually reading the books. I have to admit I'm still not well read in this area.

Mrs S said...

I loved the Goose Girl - hope you continue to enjoy it.

I don't remember much exposure to fairy tale as a child - except for Disney animated movies! As I've grown older I've become a big fan and am enjoying reading some of the retold tales thanks to recommendations from fellow book bloggers.

valentina said...

well,I think my books are more "mine" when they show some signs... I don't mind if a stain of nutella will show up somewhere between the pages, because it would remind me of the time when I was eagerly reading and eating at the same time:P
That's life!
For the same reason, if I read a book that I bought, and loved it, I would want to keep that copy, and that copy only, no matter who battered!
Unfortunately I've had my nightmares as well:
My beloved "House of the spirits", at the time, my fav book ever!, being eaten, shredded, scattered all over the place, by one of the dogs. And it wasn't even my fault...I bought a new one, but it's not THAT one!

as for Fairy Tales, I thought I read them as a child (and they scared the tuna salad out of me), but I never heard of the three you mention!

Rebecca Reid said...

I don't think I recall reading "fairy tales" as a child, other than disney, which *really* doesn't count. I like your categories for fairy tales, and I'm not certain Disney really fits in to those!

I am really enjoying this bookworms carnival because I see how much I really need to go and read all of these!