Genre Reflection Post

Before I did this assignment, I have not written a blog in a very long time. Therefore, I had to ease myself back into it slowly, but I did enjoy doing this assignment as I felt I grew as an educator, as a future teacher, and acquired new knowledge about children’s literature. In addition, some of the texts that I chose related to my life especially ones that were based on the narrative non-fiction genre.

When I first started the project, I wanted my first five texts to be interesting since it was being apart of the narrative non-fiction genre. I am familiar with the keyword “non-fiction” but discovered that it applies to biographies, memoirs, personal narratives that are based on real life events. It was an interesting genre because I feel like I have written narrative non-fiction pieces in a sense. About five years ago, I worked as a journalist for a well-known newspaper and I covered many stories. One of the texts that I chose was Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s by Melissa Sweet reminded me of when I wrote about the floats, balloons, and costumes that are apart of the annual parade. I was able to recall going to a warehouse in New Jersey and getting an exclusive look at behind the scenes of the Macy’s parade. In addition, the other texts that I selected allowed me to rediscover some of the background knowledge that I have gained from my education and I just applied it to the text. Indeed, there were times when I did have to do some research. One of my favorite texts from the narrative non-fiction genre was Elizabeth leads the way by Elizabeth Cady Stanton as it showed a powerful female role model who was determined to create equality for women. She is the person who is responsible for allowing this country to have the 19th amendment. She disobeyed her father and other men, and believed that all women should be treated fairly. I felt that this book would be a great text for children as they get to how this country became united, why women have rights. One might say that in a sense it is like Dr. Martin’s Luther King’s philosophy, where he fought for civil right. However, Elizabeth fought for women’s right, that women have a voice and that they should be equal with their partners in a marriage.

I believe children would enjoy learning more about the narrative non-fiction genre and should be exposed to it despite the risks that teachers fear. Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” When we allow children to be exposed to new texts, we allow them to discover new ideas. Indeed, many schools these days have a limited curriculum and children do not have much read-aloud time. They either read to themselves when they can or teachers use basal reading programs. Social studies is even limited in schools as well, so children are not learning much about current events or any historical events that have occurred. It’s important for us as teachers to allow the children to have some background information on historical events as it will spark their curiosity. They may even want to dig deeper and do their own research. When we expose children to narrative non-fiction genre, we are welcoming diversity in the classroom. Another text I read was Nasreen’s Secret School: A true story from Afghanistan. This book was an eye-opener as it allows children to understand how women were viewed in the country. This story was written after 9/11 and it made me, as an educator view Afghanistan from a different lens. This book is a little graphic but it’s reality and it’s important for us as teachers to make sure that the children are not being sugar coated and they get some facts. However, this genre allows children to make personal connections, stir a conversation/debate, and expand on their ideas.

The next genre I selected for my blog project was fairy tales. I enjoyed this genre because when I was a young girl, I loved reading fairy tales. There’s something enticing and romantic about having a princess, prince, and true love as part of a story. However, that saying, “Love does not come easy” can be applied to fairy tales. When I was a child, I was fond of the Disney movies and fairy tales. Back in high school, I did a research paper on subliminal messages hidden in Disney movies. I discovered a lot of hidden messages including sexual and adult content that is not suitable for children. It was interesting to see how the company inserted these messages in the movies. Therefore, I was curious to see if the same applies to fairy tales and I believe it does. Each fairy tale is different in a sense as the characters are different. I read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Rapunzel, both of these texts were written by the brothers Grimm. The books were indeed a little grim as it contained violence, specifically eating out people’s hearts and lungs. However, both stories allowed me to see that the so called princess is usually viewed as a delicate flower who everyone walks over. However, at the end of Rapunzel, the princess is actually the one who saves her prince after he was pushed by the sorceress and lost his eyesight. She helped him regain his sight. Whereas, Snow White was viewed as much more gullible as she did not listen to the seven dwarfs who were out to protect her. She did not believe her stepmother was evil. In Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp, Aladdin was viewed as a witty muskrat who just let life take care of itself. He loved his mother but he was not as wise in the beginning. In addition, his wise even kisses the evil moor in the story. All of these fairy tales have different messages, and each are unique as they all pertain to life and how there are ups and downs in every relationships. However, staying true to oneself allows one to help others. The roles of women and men were reversed. Therefore, this genre reminded me of when we deconstructed fairy tales and I believe children would enjoy doing this activity during read-aloud as they would see their favorite stories in a different lens.

All in all, I believe children should be exposed to as many texts as possible in children’s literature because it allows them to enter a new world. When we read a book of different genres, our thoughts and feelings ignite which is why we may recommend a book to a friend, post a review, or re-read a book. The same applies to children. It’s imperative for us as future teachers to awaken the children’s senses and we do this by exposing the children to as many texts as possible. When this happens, we welcome diversity in the classroom, allow the children to make connections, allow the children to build on each other’s ideas and participate in discussions. Children’s creative side will show and we must remember that even though the curriculum is limited to certain subjects, we must ensure that children are obtaining a rigorous curriculum because then learning not only become fun but they tend to learn better.

Fairy Tale Genre Text #5: Puss in Boots

I admit that I did not know too much about this fairy tale and did not see the film either. Therefore, I had a to a little research on it. I found some information on Wikipedia: “Master Cat, or Puss in Boots” (early French: Le Maistre Chat, ou Le Chat Botté, literally “The Booted Cat”), commonly known as “Puss in Boots”, is a French literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master. The tale was written at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault (1628–1703), a retired civil servant and member of the Académie française.”

In the beginning of Puss in Boots, readers are introduced to a miller who had three sons. The miller was unable to work due to his age and left his son with three gifts. He gave his oldest son a mill, his second son received a donkey and his youngest son received a cat. When the youngest son discovered that he would be in charge of the cat, he was upset because he believed that the cat would be useless to him. However, Puss was no ordinary cat. He was a clever cat and was able to understand people’s emotions. Therefore, Puss told the youngest boy that he would help him out, and that would start by creating a pair of boots. The young man did so and as a result, Puss in Boots said he would help by making him wealthy, proud, and strong. Puss was a skillful and wise cat that he used trickery to get his way. Eventually, the cat was able to catch a wild rabbit using one of his tricks and he had brought it to the king. He brought the king a rabbit and said that it was a gift from his master, Marquis of Carabas. The king accepted Puss’ present and kindly accepted others until one day, Puss overheard a conversation between the King and one the coachmen. He heard that he will be taking a ride over a river today with his daughter. Puss went back to his master and told him to get in the river and take off his clothes. As a result, the wise cat hid his clothes. When Puss saw the King’s carriage nearby, he told the king that his master, Marquis of Carabba was robbed. The king stopped to help the young man as he joined them in the carriage and the princess was smitten with him even if she didn’t know much about him. The wise cat did not stop there and he sought out a castle for his master, so the king would even like his future son in law more. However, the castle was owned by a wicked giant. Puss did a few of his tricks and was able to get rid of the giant. Eventually, the king was fond of the young man and Puss that he asked the young man to marry his daughter, and the miller’s son was happy for the rest of his life. His master even made him a special chair in honor of everything he did.

Indeed, there are the same repetitive features that we have seen in the previous fairy tales. Unlike the other fairy tales, this story centers around an animal who at first does not receive any credit. The young miller’s son doubts the cat and finds that he will not be of any help. However, by the end of the story, we see that Puss was not only brave but determined to prove to the young man that he would be able to make his life better. I feel that saying, “Do not judge a book by its cover” can apply here. The illustrations in the text were lovely as it matched the story and children are able to obtain an understanding of what is happening in the story and would also be able to make predictions as well. I liked how Puss invented a name and the King fell for it, perhaps he was intrigued when he saw a cat speak. Therefore, a King who should be viewed as wise, strong, and resilient was viewed as weak, gullible, and senseless in a way because he believed the cat’s words without seeking the truth. Therefore, it was interesting to see the roles of characters reversed in this fairy tale. When Puss was able to obtain a castle for his master, the king asks, “Does this beautiful castle belong to you, too, my lord Marquis?” asked the king.” This just goes to show that the King was not as wise as the cat and that trickery and bribery played a significant role in this story.

I enjoyed reading this story as I found it different from the other fairy tales especially when the protagonist is an animal who seems like he is selfish at first. However, readers later discover that he is selfless and just wants to help his master be happy. Therefore, a friendship forms between Puss and his master as they start to trust and care for one another. It’s like that saying, “putting someone else’s needs before your own.” I believe this book is suitable for children starting in the third grade and various reading strategies could be used in this book including deconstructing the hidden messages, sketch to stretch ideas, and even engaging in a conversation about this story and relating it to other fairy tales. I believe children would like this book because unlike a person, an animal is a hero and he stands up for himself as well as others. Some children can relate to this story especially those who struggle with self-esteem. I believe one of the underlying messages is that you must stay true to yourself because when you do, you are able to help others.

I didn’t have many questions for the author but I would have liked to have know what happened to the father, did he die? Another question I have is that Puss invented a king’s name, Marquis of Carabas. What made him choose this name? At the end of the story, I would have liked to have more dialogue between Puss and his master. I would have liked to have seen an apology or a thank you conversation. Why didn’t you have a few closing statements from Puss’ master? What made Puss come up with specific tricks? He was a very clever cat.

Fairy Tale Genre Text #4: Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp

As a child, Aladdin was probably one of my favorite stories. Of course, I only saw and read the Disney version so the characters that come to mind are Jaffar, Princess Jasmine, Genie, and the Sultan. I even dressed as Princess Jasmine once for Halloween. When I read this book, I discovered new material that the Disney version did not show and I have to say, I also enjoyed this book as one of the characters were witty.

As most of us know, the magic lamp and the genie helped changed Aladdin’s life. However,in this text, readers are introduced to Aladdin”s life from when he was a child. Unlike the Disney version where the story takes place in the Middle East, this version takes place in China. Aladdin is viewed as a “lazy scoundrel.” He got into a lot of mischief and this worried his parents. His father was a trade merchant and his mother spinned cotton for a living, and Aladdin’s mother was concerned about her son because he did not want to work. His father eventually died and one day he met up a sorcerer in the market. According to the text, this man claimed that he was Aladdin’s uncle and came to pay his respect to his brother’s family. In fact, the sorcerer gave Aladdin some money to take to his mother so she could prepare a meal. When Aladdin returned to his mother and told her about his so called “uncle,” the mother knew that their was something wrong as she never heard of her husband having a brother. As a result, Aladdin became fond of the moor and trusted him. One day, the moor took Aladdin to a garden full of wonders, and told him that his father, Mustafa would have wanted him to retrieve a lamp. Aladdin went into the cave and he was mesmerized by what he say and he was able to obtain the lamp. But when his so called uncle asked Aladdin to throw the lamp, and not help him first. Aladdin was able to see that the man was not his uncle but a mean sorcerer. Eventually, Aladdin set himself free by rubbing the lamp and meeting a genie who told him that he was his slave and that he would do whatever Aladdin commanded. Indeed, Aladdin did return back to his home with the lamp and he took care of the mother by providing all the food as it was one of his wishes. Aladdin was living the good life. One day, he went into the market and saw Princess Badr-al-Budur, the daughter of the Sultan of China. He knew he had to get close to her and asked his mother for help, by going to the palace with jewels. The mother obliged and met with the Sultan and told him about her son and how he fell in love and wanted to marry her. The sultan said that he gives the permission for him to marry his daughter if Aladdin was able to obtain more jewels. Eventually, the two were married. However, the sorcerer discovered that Aladdin had the lamp and as a result, he held the princess hostage until Aladdin gave up the lamp. The sorcerer eventually did obtain the lamp by one of Aladdin’s slave who was trying to trick the moor, and Aladdin was arrested because the sultan’s daughter and the palace went missing. However, Aladdin’s slave, Fatima discovered where the princess was and told her that she must be brave and gave her a toxin to put in the sorcerer’s tea. Indeed, the sorcerer drank the tea and Aladdin and the princess were able to reunite and eventually, Aladdin killed the sorcerer by cutting off his head. Aladdin asked for the genie’s help by returning the palace to the sultan and told the Sultan about the moor. Thus, Aladdin became a writer and was dubbed “Prince of Publishers” in China. When the sultan died, Aladdin inherited the kingdom where he and his princess lived all his life, until he died.

Some of the features that make this text part of the fairy tale genre include a princess, a prince, an evil protagonist, and a few struggles. Out of all the fairy tales that I have read so far, this text is my favorite as the dialogue is witty and humorous at the same time. One of my favorite characters has to be Aladdin’s mother. From the very beginning of the book, readers are able to get a sense of what the relationship between Aladdin and Aladdin’s mother. The author writes, “Aladdin’s mother was left to look after him on her own. The only work she could find was spinning cotton, so she had to do that while Aladdin hung about the streets with his idle friends. Why don’t you find some decent work to do, you lazy wretch? she said. Everyone to their trade, mother! You spin cotton and I make mischief. That’s a fine trade; it suits me well. She felt like following her husband to the grave.” Readers can sense that two have a close relationship, that the mother cares for her son and wants him to be successful, where the son believes that something extraordinary will happen to him when he least expects it. However, the two are considered like a team and help each other out to get out of their issues. Later in the story, the mother states, “It’s your jinnee Aladdin! Make him go away!” Once again, readers can sense that the mother relies on a man to help out with domestic life. The illustrations in the book are beautiful as they help children understand what is occurring in the story, and the pictures allow children to make predictions as well.

I believe children are able to do a lot of reading strategies with this book including decoding hidden messages. This tale is different from the Disney version and allowed me to view Aladdin from a different lens. First, the story is based in China and not in the Middle East, which is interesting. The princess is not introduced in the beginning of the story but towards the end. I was surprised that she even kissed the evil sorcerer when she was married. Therefore, to an extent, she did cheat on her husband but eventually all was forgiven. At first, Aladdin seemed to be interested in riches more than anything but then when he met the princess, his life changed and he became vulnerable and started caring about others.

I don’t have many particular questions in this story as I feel a lot of them were answered throughout the book since this was a lengthy story. I was just wondering if Aladdin’s father really died because he was worried about his son and his future, or did he have an illness? The Moor obviously heard of Mustafa and Aladdin previously, so what made him seek Aladdin and claim that he was his uncle? Why did the author chose the setting in China and not the Middle East?

Genre Text #3: Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is fairest of us all.”

I must admit I’m starting to really enjoy doing reading different fairy tales as it brings me back to my childhood. However, I don’t remember all the details with the fairy tales so it’s nice to go back and see how these famous fairy tales started. In addition, there is a tv show that is featured on ABC called Once Upon a Time, and the movie, Enchanted reminded me a little of this text selection. I also admit I was a little surprised to discover new material in this text. When I think of Snow White, I think of a poisonous apple, seven dwarfs, and a prince who kisses her. This version helped me see the famous fairy tale from a different perspective.

The text, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs by Wilhelm Karl Grim and Carl Grim allows readers to view Snow White from a different version. The Grimm brothers do a fascinating job with the narration, that one can picture the scenes in their minds and just like their surnames, it is a little grim as well. The last text, Rapunzel also was a tale from the Brothers Grimm. In the beginning of the this text, readers are introduced to a queen who accidently pricked herself with a needle while sewing. When she saw blood fall onto the snow, she knew she wanted a baby girl. The author writes, “If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in the window frame.” She did have a child and named her Snow-White and as a result the queen died. However, her husband re-married a beautiful woman who was proud of her beauty. Day after day, she would turn to her magic mirror and ask it, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is fairest of us all.” The mirror responded that she was fair but that her-stepdaughter was much more beautiful. As a result, she sought to destroy Snow White and eventually even tried to kill her. In this text, readers see how the evil stepmother asks a huntsmen to take her out to the woods and kill her by piercing her “lung and liver” with a spear. Snow White begged the huntsmen to spare her life and he was fascinated with her beauty, that could not kill her. Instead, he tricked the queen, and killed a wild beast and handed her its lung and liver. However, when the evil queen went back to her magic mirror, the mirror responded that Snow White was alive. The princess eventually sought shelter in a small cottage that was meant for seven dwarfs. The dwarfs took care of her and told her to be cautious of her the wicked woman, that she would not rest until Snow White was dead. In this version, readers see that the queen attempted to suffocate her step-daughter by lacing her up too tightly, giving her a poisoned comb, and by giving her a poisoned apple. Thus, as well all know Snow White “died” from eating the poisoned apple and the seven dwarfs set up a coffin for her. However, a prince comes along and asks the dwarfs that he will take the coffin for that Snow White is the love of his life. In this version, the prince accidentally drops the coffin and the piece of apple that Snow White had bitten off comes out of her lungs and she is alive. The prince asks her to marry and they invite the evil queen to the wedding. However, someone had put the wicked witch’s iron slippers over coal and she danced in her shoes till she dropped dead.

Some of the features that make this text part of the fairy-tale genre include an princess, prince, and an evil protagonist. The book is suitable for children starting in the Third grade and allows children to see Snow White from a different perspective compared to the Disney version. This text goes into depth about the characters and the illustrations are also captivating. Indeed, there is some dialogue between the character but it’s mainly narrative. I really enjoyed the first opening lines in this book which were, “Once it was the middle of winter, and the snowflakes fell from the sky like feathers. At a window with a frame of ebony a queen sat and sewed. And as she sewed and looked out at the snow, she pricked her finger with the needle, and three drops of blood fell in the snow. And in the white snow the red looked so beautiful that she thought to herself: ‘If only I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood in the window frame!” This line really sets up the story and is a great metaphor of how the queen depicts her future daughter and I’m still trying to analyze the metaphor. I believe she wants a daughter who is sweet but is also brave and will fight back when necessary which is a little different when one thinks of the word “princess.” I believe children would enjoy this book and would probably stir a conversation about this version while comparing it to another version, perhaps like the Disney’s version. As mentioned, I feel that this version is a little grim but it also contains different messages that children should be able to decode.

I would recommend this book to children and would want kids to see how the evil queen did not rest until she managed to kill her stepdaughter. Readers also see that the prince who comes out of nowhere is suddenly in love with Snow White and wants to save her. However, I thought the famous kiss wakes her up from her coma. In this story, the prince accidentally drops the coffin and it awakes Snow White. Therefore, it was interesting to see a traditional fairy tale in a different lens. However, I wanted to know what happened to the Snow-White’s father? In this book, readers understand that the King married the evil queen and that’s about it. Not much is told of him and therefore, once again the female’s role is reversed. The evil queen is viewed as this strong person who is mesmerized by her beauty and will not stop until the world sees her as the most beautiful person alive. In this text, the seven dwarfs continuously warn Snow White about the evil queen and tell her that she will not rest until the princess is dead. Therefore, they ask her not to open the door to any strangers. Yet, snow white does and she gets hurt various times. I didn’t understand this concept because she already knew that her evil stepmother was out to destroy her. So it seems that she was gullible in a sense and viewed herself as a fair princess instead of sticking up for herself. So the question lies, Is Snow-White the person her mother would have wanted to raise?

Some questions that I have for this author are:

After Snow White bites into the apple, the evil queen states: “White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony?” Why did evil queen state this? Did she listen to Snow White’s mother’s words as Ebony was mentioned in the opening lines of this tale?

If Snow White knew her evil step-mother was out to harm her, why did she keep on opening the door to strangers when the seven dwarfs told her not to?

Did the evil queen die at Snow White’s wedding? What happened to the king?

Fairy Tale Genre Text#2: Rapunzel

I must admit I’m not too familiar with this fairy tale as I only know the saying, “Rapunzel,Rapunzel let down your hair.” In addition, I saw bits of pieces of the movie, Tangled. Therefore, I had to do a little research beforehand to get some background on this fairy tale. This is taken from the website, Wikipedia, “Rapunzel, is a German fairy tale in the collection assembled by the Brothers Grimm, and first published in 1812 as part of Children’s and Household Tales.The Grimm Brothers’ story is an adaptation of the fairy tale Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698.”

The text, Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky centers around a girl named Rapunzel’s life and how she she overcame several obstacles to fulfill her dreams. The book introduces readers to a married couple whom are expecting. Outside of their homes is a garden, that is owned by a sorceress. The wife became fixated on a herb called Rapunzel and asked for her husband to retrieve it. The husband loved his wife and would do anything to see her happy so he provided her with as much Rapunzel as he needed to save her and their child’s life. However, the husband disobeyed the sorceress and as a result, she told the husband that his punishment was to give up their child. The couple obliged and the sorceress named the child, “Rapunzel” in honor of the herbs that were taken from the garden. At the age of 12, the sorceress locked Rapunzel up in a tower where she was isolated from the world and whenever the sorceress needed to contact her stepchild, she asked her, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair,” and climbed up the tower. For many years, Rapunzel lived in the tower and one day, a prince was nearby and heard Rapunzel’s sweet voice. He fell in love with her voice and discovered that she was locked inside a tower for years. Eventually, the prince witnessed the sorceress use her famous line and he climbed up the tower and met her. The two quickly fell in love and the prince proposed to marry her behind her stepmother’s back. The sorceress discovered this news and she was infuriated with the news, that she cut her stepdaughter’s famous long locks so no one would be able to climb the tower. Rapunzel gave birth having twins and was sent to the country where her prince did not know where she was. When the prince returned to the tower, the sorceress met him and pushed him to the ground. He lost his eyesight, but he never gave up on his family. Eventually, the two reunited and when she wept, the prince gained back his eyesight and was able to see his beautiful family.

This text is part of the fairy tale genre as it contains the classic components in this genre including a hero, heroine, an evil stepmother, and a happy ending. As mentioned, I didn’t know the story of Rapunzel but it reminded me of the other fairy tales, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as Cinderella because there is an evil sorceress who tries to make everyone’s life miserable. If one thinks about it, majority of these fairy tales have an evil woman as a protagonist and I ask myself why. The authors of these fairy tales keep depicting that stepmothers, witches, and sorceresses are evil. However, we don’t know why they are evil, perhaps they too were a heroine at once and lost their loved one. I was always curious to discover why the evil characters are evil and we never hear their side of the story, just the princess and the princes’. The illustrations in this book are vivid and the captions match the pictures making it easy for children to understand what is happening in the story. Indeed, there is some dialogue but majority of the story is told from the narrator’s point of view. The author writes, “The tower was a great column rising in the middle of the woods. Although it looked narrow on the outside, on the inside it was large, with many elegant rooms. Yet no door led into this tower, and it’s only window was at the very top.” This quote allows readers to see that Rampunzel was isolated from the outside world as she is trapped in a tower. However, the author fails to mention why she needs to be locked in a tower. The protagonist already had a difficult life as the sorceress took her away from her family, and yet, readers are not sure if the parents passed because we do not know what happened to them.

I feel this book is suitable for children starting in Third grade as it is not a difficult text to understand. The images in the text match the story. A good strategy to use during this story could be a sketch to stretch activity having children draw their thoughts and sharing their feelings about this story. Indeed, children enjoy reading or listening to stories about a prince and princess. However, in this story the prince suffers a great injury, he loses his eyesight when he tries to rescue his princess and when they meet, he regains his eyesight. For me, the roles are reversed here which is interesting to note since the male protagonist is depicted as this strong, masculine man. However, when he loses his family and the woman he loves, he suddenly becomes weak and lonely. His remedy is his princess who rescues him. Therefore, I found this story to be different compared to the other fairy tales because the hero did rescue his princess at first, but in the end the princess rescued her prince from his misery. Perhaps, children would be able to see this story from a different perspective as it does relate to everyday life. The message is that women are just as strong as men and are independent and also can help support men when they are in trouble. I did enjoy this book but I felt there were a few gaps in this version, perhaps another version may explain the story better.

Some questions that I have for the author are:

1) What happened to Rapunzel’s parents after the sorceress took their daughter away? Did they die from having their hearts broken?

2) Why did the sorceress choose to lock away Rapunzel in the high tower when she was 12? What was the purpose of that?

3) Why is the sorceress so mean? What’s her background story? Was she once an innocent girl who was mistreated?

4) Why does the prince fall in love with Rapunzel based on her sweet voice? This doesn’t happen in everyday life.

Fairy tale genre #1: Beauty and the Beast

To conclude my blog project, I selected fairy tales as a genre because I find these type of texts intriguing in a sense. One would say that they usually involve a hero saving his heroine and live happily ever after. Indeed, the main characters may go through a few struggles before they find true love. Most children enjoy reading fairy tales as they imagine they are a princess. I selected this genre as I plan to do a final project for one of my courses by deconstructing fairy tales or decoding messages.

The first text I read was Beauty and the Beast by Max Eilenbert and as like most fairy tales, the first sentence begins with “Once Upon a Time.” In the beginning of the book, readers are introduced to a wealthy businessman named Ernest Fortune or Mr. Fortune and his three daughters are Gertrude, Beauty, and Hermoine. Mr. Fortune loved his daughters so much and he wanted to provide the very best for them by showering them with gifts. He especially was fond of Beauty as she was not materialistic compared to her sisters. Eventually, Mr. Fortune lost his job as a fire erupted in his office burning all his assets. Therefore, Mr. Fortune and his three daughters no longer had any riches and his two daughters Gertrude and Hermoine were upset about this and bashed their father for his mistakes. Mr. Fortune was determined to provide his girls a better life once again so he traveled by horse to find riches that he could provide to his daughters. However, Beauty just wanted a prince and wanted someone to sweep her off her feet. Eventually, Mr. Fortune crossed paths with a beast as he made his way into his castle and the father becomes the beast’s prisoner. Mr. Fortune tells beast his story and tells him about his daughter Beauty and this is when the Beast seeks interest in meeting her. Eventually, Beauty travels to Beast’s castle where she meets the Beast face to face. The Beast is enamored with her beauty and falls in love with her, but he believes that Beauty will not love him based on his looks. Thus, Beauty does fall for the beast as she starts to see he has a kind heart and the Beast sets her free so she can return to her father. When she returns back home, she starts to miss the Beast and decides she must go back as he might die from a broken heart. When she met up with the Beast, he was weak and when she declared her love to him, it brought him back to life. Thus, true love made the beast turn into a prince and Beauty got her wish, she found her prince and they lived happily ever after.

Some of the features that make this book part of the fairy tale genre are that there is a hero, heroine, struggles along the way of their destiny, and how the story starts off with “Once Upon a Time.” In the book, readers are introduced to Beauty’s sisters Hermoine and Gertrude and based on their personalities, it reminded me of Cinderella’s step sisters. They only care about wealth and possessions. It’s interesting to see how certain words are italicized in this book including certain quotes. I’m not sure why the author did. For example, the author writes about Beauty’s dream, “I would like a prince, thought Beauty, and then she looked up, ashamed to have disappointed him. Her father loved giving her presents.” In this sentence, readers can get a glimpse of the moral of the story, that Beauty is seeking out true love and has no interest in luxurious items. Throughout the story, there are certain words that are of different font. Perhaps, this refers to Beauty’s thoughts. In the text, there are lots of dialogue between the characters as we the readers can paint a picture of what this story looks like. The illustrations in the story are vivid and correspond with the text. In addition, there are certain quotes that are in bigger font, such as an important conversation between the Beast and Beauty. It reads, “Then will you Marry me?” Beast said. “Oh yes, I will, she said. Oh yes!” This line looks like it stands out on the page as it kind of looks like it is a font of size 16 or even 18.

I remember growing up watching the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast and I was a huge fan. I even dressed up as Belle for Halloween based on the movie. When I read this book, I never knew Beauty had sisters, so I found that interesting. As mentioned, it reminded me of Cinderella where the sisters are evil and care more about wealth. However, based on the movie, I do know what happens in the story. However, this book was lengthy and did go into great detail about several characters including Mr. Fortune. Originally, Mr. Fortune and his daughters were wealthy and led a nice life. However, the story does not mention what happened to Beauty’s mother nor is she mentioned in the story. I would have liked to have heard some background history about the mother as she could have been selfless and her personality is like Beauty’s. I’m not sure if this is true but that would be interesting. Why does Beauty care more about love and happiness where her other sisters are more into riches. Indeed, I think this book would be suitable for children starting in the Fourth grade as they do get a sense of the story. Unlike the movie, there is no other man trying to win Beauty’s attention. Therefore, one can see that there is a huge difference between this story and the movie. At the same time, I’m sure there are many version of this fairy tale out there and some may be similar to the movies and some may not. However, this story was interesting as it captures the vulnerability between the Beast and Beauty, as both are seeking out help. For example, When Beauty is trapped inside the Beast’s castle, she only wants to see how her father is doing whereas Beast wants someone to love him for his inner beauty. Therefore, there are some messages that children can come across when reading this story including, “Love conquers all,” “True love is based on care not on fortune,” etc.

Some questions I would ask the author would be:

Why did you not mention anything about the mother? What effect does she have on her daughters’ personalities?

At the end of the story, we do not know what happens to Beauty sisters? Are they still focused on riches or have them changed since they saw Beauty got her wish come true?

In the story, the Beast tells Mr. Fortune, “You will pay for it with your life: prepare to die.” Did the Beast actually have any intention of killing the man or is he just trying to be all strong but inside he is a kind person?