About Me

My name is Genevieve Woods and in addition to being the mother of an adorable preschooler named Oscar and his adorable toddler brother Henry, I am the Children's Buyer at Spellbinder Books, a small independent bookstore in Bishop, California. I am often asked by customers for recommendations...and thus the idea for this blog was sparked.

Many sites recommending books for kids are created by librarians and non-profits. While these are great sites, they often recommend out-of-print books. This site is all about the great books that are available now! While I am not being paid for these recommendations, I would appreciate it if readers would purchase the books I recommend from local independent bookstores, or even B&N. Basically don't buy from the evil empire (A_A_O_), because if you do much of our literary knowledge will be lost.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ode to the Fairy Tale

Books Pictured: A Treasury of Children's Literature by Armand Eisen, A First Book of Fairy Tales by Mary Hoffman, and The Russian Fairy Book by Nathan Haskell Dole

Last weekend I had the joy of discovering myself in Portland, and no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell's Book Store! It was my first time in Powell's, and it was beauty to my virgin eyes. I was impressed with their combination of new and used books, but I confess my interest was all in the used books as I can get any new book I want at Spellbinders. Still, there is nothing like browsing and holding books in your hands, comparing titles, prices, topics. Powell's, with it's multi-story full block of a bookstore, offers a browsing experience that no other store can compete with. The brick & mortar bookstores will not die, they just may become fewer and far between.

I found myself in the mythology section, which included a number of books on fairy tales from different countries. This was music to my eyes; I have a passion for collecting old children's anthologies. I like to see how the stories we tell change over time, and I love to see the different kinds of tales told in different areas of the world. For example, Eastern Europe & Scandinavia have numerous tales of flying ships - stories I never heard in my childhood. I purchased a Dover edition of Perrault's Fairy Tales and so far am thrilled with the French differences to the largely English & German tales I grew up with. In France Sleeping Beauty doesn't awaken and live happily ever after, her clothes are out of date and her mother-in-law is an ogre who wants to eat her children.

Although the majority of my anthologies were purchased used, the truth is I have no need to buy only used books. Most of the old tales are still in print, I just enjoy the used book store hunts. But certain books, such as The Complete Grimm Fairy Tales, make more sense to purchase new, as their new price is often equal to those you find used. I love expired copy-rights.

It is true that young children will not enjoy turning the pages of these largely picture-less anthologies as much as full-color picture books, but these stories are perfect for bedtime as eyes are closing. They are also a great excuse for parents to practice their story-telling techniques. I'm practicing on my fetus tonight.

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