McKinley: Varied

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Date: Tue Jul 20 1999 - 00:10:31 PDT

I'm going to try to kill about twelve birds with one stone, so here goes:

The Dewey decimal number for fairy tales is 398.2. The mix of letters and numbers after that - the cutter number - is actually alphabetical by author, except there are numbers substituted for some of the letters (confused yet?). For instance Galdone is G26, while Goble is G86. The numbers obviously don't match the letters - if they did, Galdone would be G1somethingorother - but they are in order. The last lowercase letter in the cutter number is usually the first letter of the first real word in the title, unless the author has already written another book that starts with that letter. This certainly won't help you much if you're looking for specific illustrators, but if you know the author you want, you can now avoid the card catalog altogether, at least where fairy tales are concerned.

I believe there is a version of "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", in Andrew Lang's _Blue Fairy Book_ (which is required reading for any Robin fan anyway, so you might as well read it now). I bought a copy on sale at Barnes & Noble several years ago, but it should be available in any self-respecting library, also.

A recommendation: _From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers_ by Marina Warner. The first half traces the origins of Mother Goose, from Saint Anne through Charles Perrault, but what's really fascinating is the second half, which analyses the symbolisms, ancestors and impact of many well-known fairy tales (and "Donkeyskin", which virtually disappeared when fairy tales started being aimed at children, of course). For instance: the first version of Cinderella was written down in *860 AD* in China. Suddenly, the foot thing makes sense: a Chinese Cinderella really would have smaller feet than most, because noblewomen had bound feet. Anyway, I love the book. Don't be discouraged if you find the first half boring; you can skip it, as far as I'm concerned, but be sure to read the second.

And finally, a bit of trivia: Trina Schart Hyman won the Caldecott the same year Robin won the Newbery.

Maren Williams
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Received on Tue Jul 20 00:15:21 1999

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