Thursday, March 7, 2013
Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
The first tale is told jointly by Cinderella's bitter stepsisters, after birds have plucked out their eyes:
"Even in tatters Ella was desirable -- a little thigh showing here, some soot at her cleavage. And what a tease -- dashing away at midnight, leaving the heir to the throne groaning in his purple tights." [...]
"And then, insult to injury, we have to go to the wedding. Mother insisted. There will be men there. Other princes or earls or rich merchants or anybody, really, with a penis and a pulse."
There are no happy endings. The newly-handsome beast misses his fangs. The princes are in rehab and Rapunzel's mother sees a therapist three times a week. Thumbelina leaves a trail of dead bodies behind her. The final voice is that of the wolf:
"Let's get a few things straight. Only a few of us like to dress up like grandmas and trick little girls."
Andrea Dezso's cut paper illustrations are a perfect match for Koertge's dark satire. Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses is a treat for teens and adults alike.
Readalikes: The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith); Kissing the Witch (Emma Donoghue); Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes (Roald Dahl); and Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People (Douglas Coupland).