Once Upon a Time...
Fairytales have a timeless appeal. They hook their claws into us from a young age and refuse to let go, but with time and age their true intent is revealed to us.
Just like children's TV programmes and entertainers, the best ones are those that recognise that their audience is often an equal split between children and adults, and manage to run some kind of subplot that is only registered, understood and appreciated for what it is by the adults. Fairy tales have always been a forerunner of this, and continue to be so.
In recent years there seems to have been an influx of articles that deal with the question of whether or not fairy tales are suitable for children to read, which has coincided with the popularisation of rewritten tales being published. Philip Pullman and Nikita Gill are two authors who have more recently taken on the adaptation of these traditional stories, and the inclusion of Angela Carter's 'The Bloody Chamber' on A Level specifications has done no harm in keeping the exploration of fairytales current.
For stories to have stood the test of time as these have, whilst retaining their ability to examine our forever changing culture, fears and morals AND evoke the interest and enjoyment of such a varied audience is remarkable.
Tuesday 26th February 2019 will herald this year's National Tell a Fairytale Day.
To mark the occasion, why not try this fun writing exercise:
- Choose a fairy tale, for example, Red Riding Hood.
- Rewrite the fairytale to convey the voice, language choices, and attitudes of someone else, for example, yourself, your parent/carer, the PM, the POTUS, your pet...
This came from a silly 2 minute conversation between my sister and I, where we laughed about the fact that her version of the story would include both the wolf and Little Red getting lost and never meeting; my version would end with her psychoanalysing the wolf; my dog's version would involve Little Red eating all the cakes before even making it through the door; and my sister's pet dog's version would see Little Red outright refusing to leave the house for fear of EVERYTHING!