Today marks the end of Project Fairytale. I’ve really enjoyed participating in this series, not only because it gave me a theme for this month’s blog posts, but because I also liked checking out the other blogs and reading their fairy tale reviews. Many thanks for Alison at The Cheap Reader for organizing this fun project.
Due to time limits, I wasn’t able to review all the Pied Piper retellings out there. Here’s a quick list of a few other books worth taking a look at. All of them are either MG or YA.
Title: The Rats of Hamelin
Author: Adam McClure
Premise: Told from the point of view of the Pied Piper, this retelling, set in medieval Hamelin, embellishes the legend with the addition of fantasy elements, like the Pipeworld and the Childrule curse. Hannes—the 18-year-old Piper—is presented as a sympathetic character who has been given a mission by the Master Piper to prove himself by ridding Hamelin of rats. Along the way he gets involved with Hamelin’s affairs and ends up battling a rival piper to help save the town’s children.
Title: After Hamelin
Author: Bill Richardson
Premise: The book’s protagonist, a girl named Penelope, turns deaf on her 11th birthday. On that same day, the Piper returns to Hamelin to steal the town’s children into a fantasyland called the Dreamworld. However, after Penelope learns from the town’s wiseman that she can enter the land of sleep through ‘deep dreaming,’ she embarks on a quest to recover the missing children. Along the way she is joined by various companions, including a talking cat, a blind harpist, and a dragon.
Title: What Happened in Hamelin
Author: Gloria Skurzynski
Premise: A young orphan boy (age 12) befriends the Pied Piper and helps him carry out his schemes. Like Breath, this story takes place in a historically accurate version of Hamelin. No fantasy elements are present; instead the book offers up realistic explanations for the Piper’s ‘magic.’ For example, the Piper gives the rats salted meat and plugs up the available water sources before luring the thirsty rats to the river to drown them. The Piper also causes the children to suffer from ergot poisoning, which leads to their dancing frenzy. As far as retelling go, this is a dark one, because the Piper wants to lure the children away so he can sell them to a rich nobleman.
Title: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Author: Terry Pratchett
Premise: A humorous version of the story, in which a sly cat, Maurice, and his companions, a group of talking rats and a child musician named Keith, run a “Pied Piper” con. Whenever they enter a new town, the rats take over, until Maurice and Keith show up and offer to get rid of the rats for a small fee. But when they reach the town of Bad Blintz, things go badly wrong for the group. According to Goodreads, this book is part of Pratchett’s Discworld series, but it can be read as a stand-alone title.