Grumbles from the Forest

Authors: Jane Yolen & Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Illustrator: Matt Mahurin

You all know the stories, right? Princesses and princes, witches, giants, curses, disguises, and deep, impenetrable forests with surprises behind every tree trunk. . . . But look a little closer, listen a little harder, and you might find something besides “happily ever after.”

Grumbles from the Forest is full of things I love: classic fairy tales, twists on said classics, poetry that is both original and accessible, and of course the ever-enjoyable work of Jane Yolen, paired with the fresh discovery of an unknown (to me) author, Rebecca Kai Dotlich. These authors take a collection of well-known stories (think Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc.),  and both write their own individual poems for each story. What you end up with is a refreshing, creative collection of poems–some of the pairs providing unique counterpoint against each other, others completely unrelated other than by the underlying story. I think the flavor of the art is perfect for the collection–somewhat stylized and dark, but bringing out the humor of the stories as well. Grumbles from the Forest is a great way to give children a fresh look at the classics while introducing them to truly quality poetry at the same time–plus it’s just plain good fun!


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