Characters in the Uupcoming Nursery Book

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Characters in the Uupcoming Nursery Book

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Editat: feb. 2, 2007, 1:04pm

Though no date has been given as of yet, a title was given of Jasper Fforde's next Jack Spratt Nursery Crime book. The title is supposed to be "The Last Great Tortoise Race."

Does anyone remember any nursery characters that they'd like to see in this series?

Also, how many Jacks are there in nursery books (not talking about Jasper Fforde's books, but the original nusery books)? It's been a while since I've read any. (Not since I read them to my now eleven-year-old sister.)

Jack and the beanstalk
Jack and the candle stick
Jack and the pail of water

How about Mary? I just know about Mary and her garden.

feb. 2, 2007, 1:03pm

Darn. Anyone know how to edit topics?

feb. 2, 2007, 5:10pm

Nope - you mistype a topic subject and its there to stay I believe.

I didn't even think the Jack tales were a series.

I'm assuming there will puns a plenty on the old race between the tortoise and hare.

There is Jackanory - a UK TV program reading stories, much loved, off air for a while but recently re-instated.

Jack Corner -- with his thumb in the pudding?
Jack? and the scissorman - though that's a German one of the Grimms tales style. Don't suck your thumb.

Mary had a little lamb and lots and lots of verses about it.

Some to ponder upon anyway.

feb. 2, 2007, 5:42pm

"I didn't even think the Jack tales were a series."

As in Jack Spratt. Published so far in the series are The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear. Basically, the Nursery Crime series makes up the books that Jack Spratt is in, and will continue to be in. In children's fairy tales, there's not a Jack series that I know of.

I made the list that way to get the basic idea of the fairy tales using his name. Here's another:

Jack Spratt and no fat

feb. 8, 2007, 4:49pm

I was thinking through the nuseries I read when I was little, and one that always bothered me was the story of Hansel and Gretal. My parents split and filed for divorce when I was four, so maybe that was part of it. I didn't want my father to walk out of my life, like the father of Hansel and Gretal sort of did to his kids. I think we need some good step mothers in fairy tales. When I got a step mother, I was sure she'd be mean or something, and its no wonder what with the nurseries children read. There are bad step mothers in Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretal, and I'm sure more. Maybe there were good step mothers in nurseries that I didn't hear about as an American. Anyone know of any?

I think it would interesting if Jasper Fforde included the story of Sleeping Beauty in one of his Nursery Crime books. A few years ago, I read a really different sort of telling of that story, in which a queen guarded over the body of her dying son entangled in the thorns that blocked the path to the tower. On different sides of the tower were others who were trapted, some dead and others dying, all with someone taking care of them. (Any requests for this story, just ask and I'll look it up.)

feb. 8, 2007, 5:39pm

Off the top of my head all stepmothers are evil. Certainly in all the tales I've heard.

Don't forget though there is no requirement that nursery stories are nice. The "original" tales, for example form the brothers Grimm, certainly aren't, and if you think about many of the others, they can also be quite twisted in morality.

feb. 8, 2007, 5:48pm

The original poem (as much as I can remember) for Jack Spratt is

Jack Spratt could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
twix the two
they licked the platter clean.

feb. 8, 2007, 8:19pm

>7 readafew: readafew, I remember the Jack Spratt poem as you do, except that instead of "twix the two" I know it as "and so between the two of them" - which scans better, poetry-wise, but which may not be the original version!

Editat: feb. 8, 2007, 8:24pm

There are quite a few volumes out now of (mostly feminist) retellings of fairy tales, where stepmothers are good, not evil - but these are specifically reworkings of the original stories done by current authors. There are several books edited by Teri Windling and Ellen Datlow, starting I think with Snow White, Blood Red, that are specifically about this. I remember one story (though I don't remember title, author or volume in which I found it, sorry!) where Cinderella's "evil stepmother" was actually trying to save her from marrying the Prince who she knew would rape and brutalize the innocent girl. There are a number in that vein; some work better than others, but again these are modern retellings and don't necessarily negate the "traditional" evil stepmother motif!

feb. 9, 2007, 11:10am

It's interesting that very few children's stories or movies have a standard nuclear family. Look through the Disney movie "classics" and very few of the protagonists have their birth mother and father with them. Just to name a few:

Snow White, Cinderella - wicked queen, evil stepmother ; Sleeping Beauty - sent to live with foster fairies ; Bambi - Mother dies (and most of us are still traumatized by it!) ; Dumbo - where's his dad? ; Aladdin - orphan ; Ariel (Little Mermaid) & Belle (Beauty & The Beast) & Jasmine (Aladdin)- no moms mentioned ; (Finding) Nemo - mother dies ;
Simba (Lion King) - dad dies, son blames self ; Tarzan - orphaned boy adopted by apes, ape father dies

The only one I can think of where the main character and both birth parents are all good characters off the top of my head is Mulan. Granted most of the Disney movies are REALLY loosely based on the actual fairy tales but still you'd think that as a major influence for kids you'd see less tragic family units.

feb. 9, 2007, 12:12pm

Well the nuclear family as we know it was a by product of the 50's

feb. 13, 2007, 3:13pm

thefirstalicat -

That's who edited the book which contains the story I mentioned. I have four books that Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow edited together.

Editat: feb. 22, 2007, 1:01am

Jane Yolen's Briar Rose is another excellet fairy tale reimagining. It is the snow white story set in WWII. It is disturbing, and touching, and wonderful.

Also the Fables graphic novels by bill willingham are another fun spin on fairy tale characters.

Another Jack is Jack the Tailor (Giant Killer) - he killed seven in one blow, hehe.

set. 28, 2007, 11:41am

This is a pretty old thread but I think the evil stepmother comes in more easily when you have a time period with a high mortality rate associated with pregnancy. So there were more mixed families and more step mothers.

I agree with Readafew that the nuclear family concept dates to much later.

There is a great book by Bruno Bettleheim called The uses of Enchantment that suggests that fairy tales serve an important psychological function for children in separating from their parents and the evil step parent serves as a surrogate for the parent that can be pushed into the oven. He argues it is a safe way for children to deal with agressive feelings toward their parents until they are mature enough to understand their anger. It is a fascinating read.

set. 28, 2007, 12:48pm

That sounds really interesting Marensr. I'll have to check it out!