Story Hour

by Sara Henderson Hay | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 9/15/2003
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, September 15, 2003
I first discovered this book in the Carnegie Public Library in Rock Springs, Wyoming, in the late '60s. Many years later I found a hardcopy version for my own, and later still a paperback copy for BookCrossing. Just recently I found a better copy of the hardcover edition than the one I already had, so now that one's freed up for BookCrossing too...

Edition details: This is the '63 hardcover; it contains 30 of Hay's rather twisted takes on traditional fairy tales, whereas the '98 paperback edition contains 41, but by way of compensation for the missing poems it has wonderfully atmospheric illustrations by Jim McMullen. (The edition that I originally registered (click here for its journal entries) appeared to be possibly an advanced copy or proof; it contained all 41 poems, with no illustrations at all - but it was autographed by the author, which I thought was very cool!)

If you decide you like these poems and want to read the other 11, that edition has ISBN 1-55728-542-X, and is (according to Amazon!) in print...

This is a fabulous collection of poems based on well-known fairy tales and nursery rhymes - but with a wry, often grim twist. Imagine an advice columnist responding to the wife in "Bluebeard", or Hansel and Gretel's appearance in juvenile court... Some of the takes are very funny, but nearly always disquieting. From the poem drawn from the story of the princess and the frog, the final couplets:

As for that fairy tale she likes to tell
About the frog who scrambled from the well
And gave her back her ball (all dripping wet),
Then turned into a Prince (that's how they met),
We know he's not a Prince; the point is this:
Our poor romantic daughter thinks he is."

Or, from one of the offspring of the old woman in the shoe:

I used to lie awake for hours, and plan
The things I'd do, when I became a man...
And this is why I lurk in darkened hallways,
And prowl dim streets and lonely parks, and always
Carry a knife, in case I meet another
Old woman who reminds me of my mother."

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, September 15, 2003

I ask everyone to please journal the book when you receive it, PM the next person in line for their address, read the book reasonably promptly (it's a small one, and doesn't take long to read - though you should allow time to pause and reflect on some of the entries, if they affect you as they did me!), journal again with your comments, and mail the book to the next in line. Hope you all enjoy it!

[NOTE: At least one of the participants has moved recently, so confirm their address and readiness to receive a book BEFORE mailing it, even if you already have an address for that person.]

Participants, in mailing order [I think I've taken everybody's preferences into account; PM me if you have concerns about the order]:

Guinneth (NH)
needlewench (RI)
sugarkane (DC)
Cyberkedi (GA)
CurtAngel (OK)
fanclub (HI)
Tamster33 (CA)
Neena11 (Canada)
Stergann (France)
Deerskin (UK)
tangledthreads (UK)
starbytes (Malaysia)
kymberlie (TX)
...and back to
GoryDetails (NH)

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, September 18, 2003
Controlled release:

I'm sending this to BCer Guinneth in New Hampshire, to kick off the bookring. Hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 4 by Guinneth from Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Monday, September 22, 2003
Got it! This looks delightful - it should be ready to travel again in a day or two.

Journal Entry 5 by Guinneth from Manchester, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Quite an interesting little book. I grew up on Mother Goose and the Brothers Grimm, among others, and this brings to mind an odd blending of the two. My favorite ditty here is the one about Beauty and the Beast - I never thought it had a happy ending, either. :) Thank you for sharing this, GoryDetails!

Sending along to needlewench.

Journal Entry 6 by needlewench from Harmony, Rhode Island USA on Tuesday, September 30, 2003
book arrived safe and sound today from Guinneth. Seeing as I forgot my usual lunchtime reading, I plan on diving into it today.

Journal Entry 7 by needlewench from Harmony, Rhode Island USA on Sunday, October 05, 2003
i absolutely loved this collection! startling and yet so familiar, it reminded me of how i had a habit when i was younger of "rewriting" popular stories from different viewpoints, and always a bit on the twisted side (much to my teachers' concern). these poems struck such a chord with me, and oh, made so much sense!

i do think my favorite is Sequel:

But watching him glitter, listening to him talk,
Sometimes the Princess grew perversely sad
And though of the good Beast, who used to walk
Beside her in the garden, and who had
Such gentle eyes, and such a loving arm
To shield her from the briers, and keep her warm.

will be sent on to sugarkane tomorrow!

Journal Entry 8 by florafloraflora on Thursday, October 09, 2003
This just arrived. What a nice little hardcover! The dedication starts things off with a bang. This should be interesting.

Journal Entry 9 by florafloraflora on Saturday, October 11, 2003
What a charming book! I like the poem in which Beauty misses her Beast now that the Prince is so busy with speeches and business trips; it reminds me of Greta Garbo's reaction when she saw the prince in the 1946 movie version: "Give me back my beast!" The chilling reply from the advice columnist to Bluebeard's wife is good too: "... Stop pestering him about that closet, too. / If he wants to keep it locked, why, go along with him. / Just be the girl he married; don't nag, don't pout. / Cheer up. And let me know how things work out."

What really makes the book though are the illustrations. I love love love the line drawings by Jim McMullan. I wonder where I can find more of his black-and-white work. Thanks, GoryDetails! I will probably keep this another day or two, then send it on to Cyberkedi in Georgia.

UPDATE October 13: mailed out to Cyberkedi, thanks to the nifty postage scale/machine at the (closed) post office near work.

Journal Entry 10 by Cyberkedi from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Saturday, October 18, 2003
Just received in the mail on a Bookray.

Journal Entry 11 by Cyberkedi from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Monday, November 24, 2003
Absolutely diabolically delicious! These clever twists on traditional fairy tales turn the old "happily ever after" totally on its head. I am having a hard time giving up this book, but send it along I must! :-(

Journal Entry 12 by Cyberkedi from Atlanta, Georgia USA on Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Just mailed to the next person in the Book Ring.

Journal Entry 13 by CurtAngel from Warr Acres, Oklahoma USA on Tuesday, December 09, 2003
I read it before I got a chance to journal that I got it. This is a great little book, I going to have to find a copy for my permanent collection. The poems addressed problems and questions I always had about fairy tales. Particularly Story Hour (about Jack and the Beanstalk, I always thought it was terrible that Jack acted that way after the giants woman was so nice to him), Sequel (about Beauty and the Beast, am I the only one who preferred the Beast over the Prince? Looking at the other journal entries, I guess not), and the Bad Fairy (I always wondered what witches and fairies wanted with babies, this one almost made me cry). I also liked the darker ones that explored the "bad" aspects of the stories. "Only Son" was an intersting take on Tom Thumb. "Message to the Vigilantes" was particularly disturbing with the picture, as was "The Lost Ones" (this one almost made me cry too). The pictures were great, and definitely added to the poems, though I think the quality of the poems went down in a few of the last ones.
This was great, thank you so much for sharing, GoryDetails!

Journal Entry 14 by fanclub from Baltimore, Maryland USA on Saturday, January 17, 2004
This came in today's mail, coming up soon in my TBR list!

Journal Entry 15 by fanclub from Baltimore, Maryland USA on Wednesday, January 21, 2004
I absolutely *love* any and all retellings of classic fairy tales, the more subversive, the better! This was a great collection of poems. I think my favorite was "One of the Seven Has Somewhat to Say" because I always wondered how the seven dwarves adjusted to having this female interloper in their midst! I am mailing this on to Tamster33 in the morning.

Journal Entry 16 by Tamster33 from San Francisco, California USA on Sunday, February 15, 2004
Well, I received this book on Friday and have already finished it. I loved the twisted take on the fairy tales and it was fun trying to guess which story some of them were from because I don't think I was familiar with them all. I would have liked a little intro to each poem or something, but all in all, fabulous book. The illustrations really added to the tone of the poems. Thanks for the opportunity to read this. I'll pass it on as soon as I get an address.

Journal Entry 17 by Tamster33 at on Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Release planned for Thursday, February 19, 2004 at Mailbox in San Francisco, California Controlled Releases.

Sending to Neena11 tomorrow. International Economy Book Rate, so it may take a while.

Journal Entry 18 by Neena11 from Melfort, Saskatchewan Canada on Tuesday, March 02, 2004
This was in the mail this morning from Tamster33. It looks like a quick read, so I will probably start on it right away. Thanks!

Journal Entry 19 by Neena11 at on Thursday, March 04, 2004
Released on Thursday, March 04, 2004 at Mailed to another bookcrosser in Melfort, Saskatchewan Controlled Releases.

What a great little book. I loved the twist on the old favorites. It is now on it's way to Stergann in France. :)

Journal Entry 20 by RussellsTeapot from Paris, Ile-de-France France on Thursday, March 11, 2004
I received this book yesterday from Neena11 and loved it, especially "I remember Mama" and "The Worrier".

Next: Deerskin, UK.

Journal Entry 21 by RussellsTeapot from Paris, Ile-de-France France on Friday, May 14, 2004
Sent it to Deerskin.

Journal Entry 22 by Deerskin from Aberystwyth, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 18, 2004
I'd forgotton this was coming - what a lovely surprise! Thanks everyone - looking forward to it.

Journal Entry 23 by Deerskin from Aberystwyth, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, June 29, 2004
What a great book! I loved the twists on old favourites, especially 'Sequel' as I've always felt that way about Beauty and the Beast myself! Others that stood out were 'Message to the Vigilantes', 'The Lost Ones' and 'The Witch'.
Thanks, GoryDetails, for sharing this - I'll send it on soon.

Journal Entry 24 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 26, 2004
Received today with thanks! Will probably be able to read on/by Wednesday, and have another book ready to send to starbytes, so will send them off together later this week...

Journal Entry 25 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 26, 2004
It didn't take me long to read this little book, and I did enjoy it. Having read quite a lot of prose fairy tale adaptations, some of the concepts didn't seem as unique as if this was the first book of its kind I'd read - although I guess as it was first published in 1959 this may actually be where the trend started...

My favourite poems from the collection were 'The Bad Fairy' and 'The Grievance'. If anyone is looking for more poems along similar lines (not fairy tales but turning old tales on their heads) you could try 'The World's Wife' by Carol Ann Duffy, where characters such as Mrs Noah, Mrs Aesop, and Mrs Midas tell their sides of the old stories. For some original fairy tale adaptations (not poetry) I recommend 'The Rose and the Beast' by Francesca Lia Block, 'The Rumpelstiltskin Problem' by Vivian Vande Velde, and 'The Frog Prince' by Stephen Mitchell. There are some fantastic stories out there!

Will pass on to Starbytes shortly...

Journal Entry 26 by tangledthreads from Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 01, 2004
On way to starbytes by surface mail...

Journal Entry 27 by starbytes from Calgary, Alberta Canada on Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Oooh, been looking forward to this one for a long time! Can't wait to read it! Thanks, tangledthreads!! :D

Update 30th November 2004: Finally finished the book, sorry I took so long, but this one was meant to be savored! I thought it was really interesting the perspective the author gave us on all the stories, though I must admit I didn't know which tale a few of the poems referred to. My favorite poem, probably because I've been reading and watching a lot of re-tellings of it the last few days, is the Cinderella one. I've been watching 'A Cinderella Story' and 'Ella Enchanted', and then when I came home read, 'Just Ella' and 'Ella Enchanted'. And while they were all very entertaining and yet another perspective on the Cinderella story, Cinderella is always the 'good guy'. Reading that particular poem about her...well, what if Cinderella was making it all up?! What if the stepmother and sisters were really innocent? I wonder if a elaborate story/novel based on this perspective will be well-received? ;P

Will mail this on to kymberlie asap!

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