When my boss told me about a book series where the author retells classic fairytales using a combination of her own handmade clay figures and a wicked sense of humor, I was so excited! As a big fan of folk and fairy tales myself, this sounded like a great reading opportunity. If this also sounds interesting to you, then might I recommend the Scholarly Banana series by Karly West?
As of today, she has two books out, and both are hilarious and creepy. These may be fairy tales, but these books are also not recommended for younger readers. Adults and teens will find a lot to enjoy, however, with chilling tales and fascinating supplementary material, such as background information on the original writers, a study of the symbolism, and references to other books and fairy tales that you might enjoy.
And I almost forgot to mention! The entire series is based around a very special character: The Scholarly Banana! This adorable mascot fills in for various parts of the story, playing the role of a pivotal character in each tale. But, remember: this is no ordinary fruit-bowl inhabitant. As author West says: “He’s a Scholarly Banana. You can tell by his glasses.”
And if you’re interested in more, join us on May 1st for a Zoom presentation with Karly, Going Bananas: Comics, Folklore, and More with the Scholarly Banana! This event is open to adults and teens. Teen participants can also request a take-home craft kit (while supplies last).
Fitcher’s Bird is a take on a classic “Bluebeard”-type story. For those of you not familiar with Bluebeard (or Fitcher’s Bird for that matter!) the story is simple. A woman marries a serial murderer (in some versions she knows this, and in some she doesn’t) and he gives her express instructions to stay out of a certain room while he’s gone. She doesn’t listen, things happen, and I’ll leave the rest for you to read yourself!
The Juniper Tree is a extremely grim Grimm’s fairy tale full of violence, awful poetry, and unethically sourced human meat. The details of this chilling tale are rather vague (both on West’s website and on the back of the book), so in keeping in the spirit of things, we won’t spoil the surprise, either. But, we will say that this is another extremely well-told tale, and we definitely invite you to read it and see why this strangely beautiful tale is still remembered today.
If you would like to learn more about Karly West, her artist process, or to see what’s new, you can check out her website at: https://www.thescholarlybanana.com/