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Feminist Fairy Tales Hardcover – Jan 1996


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins; 1 edition (Jan 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062513192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062513199
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,787,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
Once upon a time there was a poor widower who lived with his daughter, Lupa, in a wretched hut on a stony little farm. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By louised88 on 25 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback
These stories are fun and a good starting point for discussions with children. They are short and to the point, but unfortunately (for me) tend to lean a bit (particularly in the author's rather unnecessary intro to each story) towards the pagan symbolism/woman as life-giver/goddess/christianity-stole-our-rituals! side of things rather than social commentary. I understand that fairy tales aren't bastions of realism, but as an atheist feminist, the religious overtones were a little bit jarring. I'd would have preferred a little bit more practical magic! Still, overall they were entertaining and worth the money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
READ FEARLESS GIRLS, WISE WOMEN AND BELOVED SISTERS INSTEAD 28 May 2002
By Janis A. Varo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was terrible. The women in it are not anymore powerful than in traditional fairy tales (and they are involved with both attempted rape and domestic violence because they pick the wrong guys--they are sooo powerful because they kick men in the crotch to escape!). Plus, it seems that it is ok to say that men who are ugly are not as good as men who are attractive--basically she is advocating being a sexist as long as it is not against women. She also seems to have missed the fact that lots of "negative" aspects of traditional fairy tales (esp wolves) serve an allegorical purpose and taking them all so literally only makes her new stories very dull and wooden as she tries so hard to correct thses "mistakes". Please, please read Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters by Kathleen Ragan instead--far and above the best book with strong female heroines in a fairy tale/folktale setting!!
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
mixed messages 4 Dec 2000
By Caterpillar Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although Walker says that she was tired of hearing about "beautiful princesses" waiting to be rescued by princes, I noticed that almost all of the illustrations of her heroines depicted lovely young women, albeit wielding swords or looking competent in some way. Also, I was hoping to give this book to a younger cousin, but after reading it, I decided against it. In several of the stories the women are sexually harrassed and/or assualted. Although women do face these threats, I think I'd approach the subject a little differently with children. Still, I will say that I enjoyed most of her stories. The "Goddess" and "wiccan/natural theology" themes were incorporated in many stories. Some of these retellings were clever, others predictable. Bottom-line: good for earth-mother, liberal, or literature-focused feminists and fairy-tale fans looking for more modern adaptations, bad for younger audiences, or conservative, traditional fairy-tale fans.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
excellent and pleasent surprise 10 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is not the basic fairy tale written from an exclusivly "girl power" viewpoint. Yes, it has the heroines rescuing the prince, or rescuing themselves when they get bored waiting for the prince, but it is also about female spirtuality, goddess religion, and filled with folklore and legends that have long since been lost to the general public.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
nice attempt 18 Dec 1997
By A. Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
On the whole, a fun book. I bought it initially for reading to my cousin on an upcoming trip to Di$ney, to try to counteract the typical feminine stereotypes. Ashley, age 8, didn't get it. I liked most of the stories, especially the ones from different cultures, but often felt unsatisfied. Ms. Walker occasionally just reverses the stereotypes instead of truly creating unique characters. But a few of the stories' twists really work, especially "Snow Night" and (i'm blanking on the name, the one that's a take off of George and the Dragon).
This book might be good for teachers (from 6th grade -> college level students) to illustrate how familiar tales can be retold, perhaps encouraging the class to do likewise.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Predictable rewrites that suck the good out of the originals 4 Oct 2006
By Reader X - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Telling fairy tales to young ones used to worry me. Should we teach that all a girl needs in life is to find a Prince Charming to make them happy? Should we teach them that the beautiful are rewarded, and the ugly are happy only if transformed? Barbara Walker seems to believe that the only hope is to replace fairy tales with something much less offensive - rewritten "feminist fairy tales".

In the pages of her book we find rewritings called "Ugly and the Beast", "Little White Riding Hood" and "The Frog Princess". Unfortunately, they're all a bit laboured - the women are strong and ugly, but very, very predictable (although I still don't understand why Jill, now of beanstalk fame, travels to the "womb" of the earth and steals some new age crystals".

Walker lectures heavily, leaving no stone unturned - there is no elegant story-spinning here. If you want to read some true feminist fairy tales, leave Walker behind, leave Disney behind and get back to the originals. Read the real Brothers Grimm, read Angela Carter and Marina Warner's collections, read Italo Calvino, and Jacques Perrault. Many of these tales were feminist as originals, and it is only the later versions that have become saccharin-sweet.
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