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Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together: You Read to Me, I'll Read to You    by Mary Ann Hoberman & Michael Emberley order for
Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together
by Mary Ann Hoberman
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Do you and your kids enjoy reading fairy tales together? If so, you'll adore Mary Ann Hoberman's take on them. She brings together characters who are adversarial in the originals, with a back and forth dialog in rhyme (and new endings)! Its stupendous fun, enhanced by Michael Emberley's amusing illustrations.

Inside the covers we find Goldilocks trading verses with Baby Bear; the Princess with a somewhat squished pea; Jack (of Beanstalk fame) with the ogre; Little Red Riding Hood with the Wolf (she makes him disgorge granny); Cinderella with two very ugly stepsisters; the surviving Little Pig with Big Bad Wolf (in very hot water); the Little Red Hen with the not so helpful Cat, Dog and Duck; and the 'biggest billy goat' Gruff with a ferocious bridge guardian troll (who has 'worries and woes' of his own).

They're all entertaining but my favorite has to be 'The Three Little Pigs' ... 'I'm Big Bad Wolf / I'm Little Pig. / You're very small. / 'You're very big. / But now I've got you / In my pot. / The water's getting very hot.' It's the changing expressions on the poor Wolf's face as the water heats up around him that got to me. Though the Wolf repents and the duo decide 'You'll read to me. / I'll read to you', I was glad to see that the smart little pig left the wolf tied up while reading!

My younger son was not an enthusiastic early reader, and this is exactly how his interest arose in books. I read to him, and then it was his turn to read to me - gradually his turns got longer and longer as he began to enjoy what he read. I highly recommend the approach and I loved You Read to Me, I'll Read to You : Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together for this, as well as its modeling of characters working out problems together.

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