Book Review of The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers: And Other Gruesome Tales
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Jen Campbell
Illustrated by Adam de Souza
Ages: 9+ | 120 Pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson | ISBN: 9780500652589
What to Expect: Gothic horror, magic, queer characters, disability, and folk tales.
Written and conceptualized in a manner similar to Angela Carter’s fairy-tale adaptations (but without the adult content), The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a masterful collection of gruesome, beautiful, witty, diverse stories.
Forget about helpless princesses, heroic princes, and happily-ever-after endings. Real fairy tales – the ones that real people have been telling all over the world for centuries—the ones from before grown-ups decided to take all the exciting bits out – are much darker than the Cinderella and Snow White stories you’re used to. In these stories, sisters can turn into foxes and eat their brothers. Mermen can steal the souls of villagers and keep them trapped under the sea. Surgeons can replace their body parts, and witches can remove their heads from their bodies and send them traveling the world while everyone else sleeps. Are you brave enough to listen and learn what really goes on in the forest?
The stories are adapted to reflect contemporary issues, sentiments, and fears (in the best tradition of fairy tales throughout time) and feature gender-, ability-, race-, and culturally diverse characters from around the world. They are refreshingly free of the usual stereotypes (beautiful princess, fearless prince, ugly old witch). Instead, they show resourceful and relatable characters facing and overcoming terrifying situations. Readers are encouraged to question the nature of fear, danger, and violence and reconsider how we traditionally define heroism, courage, and goodness. Throughout the volume, Adam de Souza’s iconic, noir-style Gothic illustrations bring each story to spooky life, creating a beautiful and thought-provoking book.
The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers is a fantastic introduction to real fairy tales for questioning readers—but not for the faint-hearted!
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About the Author
Jen Campbell is a Sunday Times bestselling author and award-winning poet. She is the author of ten published books of nonfiction, poetry, short stories, and children’s books. Jen specializes in the history of fairy tales and the representation of disfigurement, giving guest lectures at universities, museums, and book festivals on this topic. Her video installation on the history of fairy tales is currently part of an exhibition at Suffolk University, Boston, MA. Jen’s YouTube channel, which has over 57,000 subscribers, includes popular vlogs on the history of fairy tales.
About the Illustrator
Adam de Souza is an illustrator and comic artist based in Vancouver, Canada. His clients include Vice, Globe and Mail, and Live Magazine.
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers: And Other Gruesome Tales. Discover more books like The Sister Who Ate Her Brothers: And Other Gruesome Tales by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Horror, Magic, Disabilities, and Folk Tales.
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