Just Imagine

Fairy Tales: The Villains Version

Authored by Kaye Umansky
Illustrated by Alexandre Honore
Published by Barrington Stoke

I had so much fun reading this book. It definitely is one for teachers to read aloud to their classes! It lends itself brilliantly to experimenting with storytelling in the classroom. The stories are all familiar so it is easy for teachers to predict as they read aloud and bring characters to life with ease.

There’s great accessibility created by the modernity of each piece which creates a gateway for children who possibly did not experience traditional tales in their early years. Each chapter takes a tale from the villain’s perspective, for example, chapter two The Stepsisters’ Story is a retelling of Cinderella from the viewpoint of the ugly sisters.  Kaye Umansky has a great wit. The retellings are very funny and capture the essence of these larger than life characters.  Stereotypes are challenged and the reader is encouraged to challenge ‘good’ and ‘bad’ but the likable, funny villains and the sickly sweet heroes and heroines.

The structures of the tales have adhered to their traditional plots and make a great resource for comparative study.

Scattered throughout the book are great illustrations by Alexandre Honore who has captured the essence of the prose. Kaye Umansky has created a gift for teachers and people working with young people to read aloud to them.This is a gift for a year 3 or year 4 classroom. I had great fun reading this to the children,  in our school, they were mesmerised by the characters and desperate to keep reading every time we stopped. Always a magic moment!