Suspend disbelief as you enter the fairy tale's fantastical world. This is a land where truculent trolls, wily wizards, warted witches, and perfectly splendid princesses reign. It's a region where fortune arrives in unpredictable ways and evil is gratifyingly defeated.
Amazing things are the routine in this exotic locale: A slimy frog becomes a handsome prince, a beautiful maiden soars on the back of the North Wind, an itinerant group of animals decides to form a band, and a rebellious pancake runs away from home. Darning needles and kettles come spontaneously to life, and a man the size of a thumb is swallowed by a fish and lives to tell about it.
This is a world where animals are sometimes craftier than their human masters. With amazing ease, Puss in Boots successfully plots to transform his impoverished master into lord of the land and husband to a princess!
A lesson or two is also learned along the fairy tales' meandering path. “The Ugly Duckling” offers a gentle reminder to avoid teasing. Knowing your own mind and being true to your ideals is a theme of “What Other People Think.” A naughty boy in “Mr. Miacca” is very nearly eaten by a fearsome giant, convincing the lad to end his mischievous ways. An enchanted fish teaches the dangers of excessive greed in “The Fisherman and His Wife.” In “The Flying Trunk,” when a treasure-filled suitcase comes crashing down, a young boy finds his fate unhappily sealed.
Enter this land with an open mind. Think of the enchantment-working piper who tells Tattercoats to take good fortune when it comes. Or, consider Dick Whittington, pauper and optimist, whose good faith brings about even greater good fortune than the golden streets of which he so often dreamed.
*Note to readers: Throughout the book you will find words in bold type. These words have definitions in the glossary at the end of the book.