Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lucy Cousins: Maisy Books AND a Brand New Fairy Tale Book

The Maisy Books and Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales

The Maisy Books By Lucy Cousins
Recommended Ages: Babies to Preschoolers!

Lucy Cousins is best known for her Maisy picture books. Maisy is a mouse in a world inhabited by ducks, horses, and alligators for friends. These delightful books are geared for the toddler/preschool crowd and cover a range of topics, such as going to preschool, bedtime rituals, grocery shopping and going to the dentist for the first time. They are boldly illustrated in primary colors and outlined in black. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers will identify with Maisy, as she maneuvers her way through life as a small child. A definite recommendation for the 1-4 crowd.

Lucy Cousins has just come out with a new book of Fairy Tales, which is worth checking out. It has a completely different feel to it than the Maisy books, but equally compelling.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales
Written and Illustrated by Lucy Cousins
Recommended Ages: 4-8

In Yummy, you will find eight well-known fairy tales, told in a no-nonsense, straightforward manner. By that, I mean these are not the sugarcoated versions we've been used to hearing. In Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf eats the grandma (her legs sticking out of his open jaws is quite a vision) and Little Red Riding Hood, only to meet his end when the hunter comes by and chops his head off (the head is shown flying in the air). But LRRH and Grandma do jump out and "live happily ever after."

Perhaps you remember the story of The Little Red Hen, where the hen asks her friends (the dog, goose and cat) to help her plant some wheat. They claim to be too busy. She then asks them to help her cut the wheat, and once again they are "too busy." And so on and so on, until she has finally baked the bread and asks, "who will help me eat the bread?" They all shout out "I will." And the Little Red Hen says "no you won't." and eats it all by herself. While some more whitewashed versions of late have her sharing the bread, I think this version is actually the fairer one. They didn't help her do all the work, so why should she share the fruits of her labor?

The other stories in the collection include: The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Enormous Turnip, Henny Penny, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs and the Musicians of Bremen.

Cousins' illustrations are bold and eye catching. They also help lessen the impact of the stories a bit. The expressions on the animals' and peoples' faces (complete with rosy cheeks) can't help but add a bit of hilarity to each situation. Somehow, Cousins pulls off an unflinching look at these fairy tales, without scaring the pants off of kids. Take a look at this big, vibrant book.

BookNosher Tidbit: Much has been written about the importance of fairy tales in children's development. A fellow blogger wrote a post a while ago, which I think sums it up very nicely. Here's the link.


Brooke said...

Yeah! I hate any version of the Little Red Hen in which the lazybones end up getting some of the bread anyways. I think it teaches a horrible message. I'll definitely be checking this one out from the library.

Lubna said...

Nice blog. Over the past few days I am frantically searching blogs which cover children's books, as soon I will be volunteering at a school for the economically backward and reading aloud story books.

Robin Gaphni said...

Thanks Lubna. Here are a couple of older posts I did with activities related to reading to a class: and Plus with the beginning of the school year upon I will be writing about other books/activities that translate well in a classroom setting. So please come back and visit!