What’s happening at the Library: Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Published 5:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2024

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Feb. 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day, meaning it’s time to celebrate the power of four simple words: 

Once upon a time…

You might have heard that phrase and think something like, “I’m going to hear a story.” 

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That story might feature a magnificent castle, maybe a malevolent magical creature that might, say, spin straw into gold for a price. The magic in these tales can leave mere mortals amazed or afraid, but in the end, despite being a mortal, our hero can triumph over obstacles both magical and mundane, and if they don’t, there’s at least a lesson that can be learned from the endeavor. Of course, I’m talking about fairy tales, which have been told and retold across cultures and all through time, eventually being drawn toward magic’s epicenter, a magical kingdom located in Orlando, Florida where they will be recycled into both animated and live-action films ad nauseam.

Just kidding, Walt’s lawyers. Please don’t sue. 

To clarify, I can’t fault Disney for creating some very stellar films that have contextualized these classic tales like “The Little Mermaid” and “Rapunzel” for a new generation of fans. It is quite easy to disregard these stories when they get the Disney-fication treatment (an often derogatory term for a Disney movie when various tweaks and overhauls make it virtually unrecognizable from the source material). However, there are also many of us who think of “Sleeping Beauty” and remember the climactic battle between prince and fire-breathing dragon, or associate comedian Robin Williams’s energetic ad-libs with the story of “Aladdin.” Disney, for better or worse, makes up a large part of our fairy tale experience.

For those wanting to introduce their children to these Disney stories, or for those simply wanting to recapture a piece of their childhoods, the library has many of these and other Disney takes on fairy tales as well as non-Disney takes like “The Swan Princess” (J DVD Children’s Swan). This Tell a Fairy Tale Day can also be a time where you read a fairy tale from our vast selection to a child and introduce them to some magic you helped create.

Adults can also experience more mature fairy tales as many authors have taken the basic story in these tales and crafted something original. Our fantastic section has several examples of classic fairy tales of these kinds of tales. The collection “The Merry Spinster” (F Fantastic Ortb) features several stories that are more gruesome retellings of classic fairy tales, including a gruesome retelling of “The Little Mermaid,” while T. Kingfisher dreams up “Thornhedge” (F Fantastic King), a retelling of Sleeping Beauty which features a toad-shaped heroine. Cassandra Khaw’s book “The Salt Grows Heavy” (F Fantastic Khaw) explores what happens to the Little Mermaid after her happy ever after destroys the kingdom while a young girl finds her family life upended by a six-foot-tall crane in Kelly Barnhill’s “The Crane Husband” (a retelling of the Japanese folktale “The Crane Wife” that can be found in F Fantastic Barn). There are also some more mature retellings of fairy tales in our YA section like Anna Marie McLemore’s “Dark and Deepest Red”(YA McLe), which features the cursed shoes from Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes.” 

Whether you prefer your fairy tales from Disney or rewritten for more adult tastes, the library has all sorts of stories that may or may not begin with those four magic words, but they all contain their own magic that’s just waiting to be released. 

  • On Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m., the Kentucky Picture Show features a British comedy-drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sarah Horgan. With their partners away serving in Afghanistan, a group of women on the home front form a choir and quickly find themselves at the center of a media sensation and global movement. Popcorn and snacks provided. Rated PG-13. 
  • And don’t forget that, beginning March 1, you can start to grow your own magic with seeds from our seed program. There’s no need to call before March 1; the library has plenty of seed bags, so just come by the library on or after March 1st to get yours. Just don’t expect any giant beanstalks.