Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies

Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies

by Art Spiegelman

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A treasure and a treasury!

Innovative cartoonist and renowned children's book artists from around the world have gathered to bring you the magic of fairy tales through the wonder of comics. The stories range from old favorites to new discoveries, from the profound to the silly. A treat for all ages, these picture stories unlock the

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A treasure and a treasury!

Innovative cartoonist and renowned children's book artists from around the world have gathered to bring you the magic of fairy tales through the wonder of comics. The stories range from old favorites to new discoveries, from the profound to the silly. A treat for all ages, these picture stories unlock the enchanted door into the pleasures of books and reading!

Best Children's Books 2000 (PW)

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist (starred review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this provocative anthology, husband-and-wife team Spiegelman (Open Me... I'm a Dog) and New Yorker art editor Mouly enlist well-known artists to retell traditional tales and invent visual games. Spiegelman himself kicks things off with "Prince Rooster," a typical be-yourself tale but for the references to R. Crumb's Mr. Natural, a guy whose knee-length white beard conceals his nudity. William Joyce offers "Humpty Trouble," a revisionist egg-stravaganza featuring ovoid voice bubbles and delicate watercolor images, while David Macaulay submits a straightforward pen-and-ink "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the lone female contributor, Barbara McClintock, pens a gentle, old-fashioned "Princess and the Pea." Among otherwise Western folktales, David Mazzucchelli's elegantly drawn Japanese legend ("The Fisherman and the Sea Princess") stands out for its active navy blue line, refined palette and generous use of negative space. Elsewhere, single-panel illustrations pay homage to brainteasers in Mad and nonsatirical children's magazines. Bruce McCall alludes to "Rapunzel" and his own What's Wrong With This Book? in a deliberately error-strewn painting, and Black Hole's Charles Burns contributes a gruesome scratchboard hide-and-seek that exhorts readers to "find all the snakes and eggs in this picture!" But by far the most adventuresome item comes from Jimmy Corrigan author Chris Ware, who turns the endpapers into a stylized board game called "Fairy Tale Road Rage." On Ware's ironic instruction sheet, two adults debate the game's "collectible resale value" before punching out the coin-sized paper playing pieces. "Road Rage" cuts to the ambivalent heart of Little Lit's fusion of cheap comic strips and glossy picture books. Spiegelman and Mouly's sophisticated collection, unified by a tongue-in-cheek fairy tale theme, lingers at the crossroad between kids and adults, classics and parodies, children's literature and comics. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
Seventeen cartoonists each contribute a section relating to folk or fairy tales, some traditional, some original. There are familiar formatted strips along with one and two page puzzles. There is even a "Fairy Tale Road Rage" game to play on the endpapers, complete with push-out game pieces. All are jolly good fun, verbally and visually. Some of the artists are familiar to picture book readers—William Joyce, J. Otto Seibold, David Macaulay, and Barbara McClintock. Others are cartoonists, like Walt Kelly, that may be better known in Europe. Each has a brief biographical sketch on a page of Contributor Notes. The imaginatively designed and very carefully produced book is large enough (9" x 13") to allow adequate space for even the most detailed artwork. The range of styles and stories should help readers reflect as their overall sense of art appreciation is broadened. 2000, Joanna Cutler Books/HarperCollins, $19.95. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-This is a cool book: cool in the sense that it is presented by 18 renowned cartoonists; cool in the McLuhan sense of comics as a medium that commands audience involvement through iconic forms; and cool in the sense of a marriage of form and content that is brilliant in concept. Cartoonists include Spiegelman, Walt Kelly, David Macaulay, William Joyce, and Kaz. Each uses a unique style of sequential art to interpret a fairy tale, either an original story using traditional motifs (Spiegelman's "Prince Rooster") or a familiar tale. Macaulay offers a version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and there is a fractured tale (Joyce's "Humpty [Dumpty] Trouble"). Some of the retellings like Daniel Clowes's sequel to "Sleeping Beauty" are told in formal language, others like Barbara McClintock's "The Princess and the Pea" are tongue-in-cheek. Comics and folktales have much in common. Both depend on our understanding of universal symbols and icons (think of the "smiley face") that are stripped down to amplify their meaning. Both are interactive forms that depend on the audience to fill in the details with their own imaginations. Chris Ware's "Fairy Tale Road Rage" game on the endpapers will acquaint children with the motifs and patterns of traditional tales. Librarians will hate it because processing will conceal part of the game and the punch-out game pieces will disappear. Nonetheless, the book will still circulate. This is a sensational introduction to traditional literature for a visually sophisticated generation. It will live happily ever after in the hands of readers everywhere.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Leonard S. Marcus
Little Lit is a fascinating collection of 16 contemporary artists' comics-style interpretations of folklore and fairy-tale plots and themes. The makers of comics, comix and children's picture books number among the contributors. The deceptively modest title slyly points to the perennial underdog status both of children's literature within the world of books and of the comic book as children's literature's own ragged step-child. An off-to-the-ball air of triumph pervades the whole of this elegant, outsized comics coming-out.
New York Times Book Review
People Magazine
A host of classic stories gets the comic-strip treatment. Fairy tales have never looked better.
Kirkus Reviews
Under the proud banner, "Comics—they're not just for grown-ups anymore!" the editors of RAW Magazine call on 17 contributors for a dozen cartoon folktales or folktale spin-offs, five single-page or spread-sized visual puzzles and two role-playing board games. David Macaulay plays his version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" relatively straight, as does Spiegelman with a tale about a prince who decides he's a rooster. But Daniel Clowes concocts a grim (or, more precisely, Grimm) sequel to "Sleeping Beauty," and William Joyce a sprightly one for "Humpty Dumpty." There is also a challenging matching game from J. Otto Siebold, from Bruce McCall a Rapunzel "What's Wrong with This Picture?" and—rare treasure—a "Gingerbread Man" from the 1940s by Walt Kelly. Running the visual gamut of modern cartoon art, the panels are filled with figures now crudely drawn and grotesque, now charmingly sophisticated, but the collection hangs together brilliantly as a whole, despite all the individual drawing and storytelling styles, without rough joins or violent switches of mood. Libraries may have a problem keeping the board games' dozens of punch-out pieces together, but this should be a big hit with both the picture book and the non-superhero comics crowd. (Folktales. 6+)Springer, Nancy—Ed. RIBBITING TALES: Original Stories About Frogs Illus. by Tony DiTerlizzi Philomel (128 pp.) Oct. 2000

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Little Lit Series
Product dimensions:
9.54(w) x 13.44(h) x 0.54(d)
360L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 11 Years

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