Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beastly trailer

I'm ashamed to admit I have yet to read the book "Beastly" by Alex Flinn...I would probably have been excited about the movie version but the moment I heard Vanessa Hudgens was cast as the Beauty character I knew I could never take it seriously. She's gorgeous but one of the most annoying actresses in the world...which, ironically, is completely countering the "substance over style" her character claims she goes for in this trailer...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beauty of the Beast

Image available as ipad case (or iphone) from Kirstin Mills
One of the reasons I love the band Nightwish is because of songwriter Tuomas Holopainen's love for Beauty and the Beast-the theme can be tracked through each of their albums. In the album "Century Child", this is especially evident through the phrase "Beauty of the Beast." I love the idea of challenging perceptions; maybe the Beast is beautiful, either truly physical attractive, in the eyes of some beholders, or in his character-in the French tale, he is innocent and Beauty is the one who breaks her word to him. Which is connected to the image above (though the illustration has nothing to do with Nightwish), for here the hint is that the beast is within the Beauty (or...Little Red Riding Hood) as well. In typical fairy tales, the heroes and villains are obvious. In Beauty and the Beast, it's not so obvious, which I appreciate.
The opening song of the above mentioned album, "Bless the Child," contains these words at the end of the beginning narrated part:
" One night I dreamt a white rose withering,
a newborn drowning a lifetime loneliness.
I dreamt all my future. Relived my past.
And witnessed the beauty of the beast"

The last song of the album is titled "Beauty of the Beast."

The opening words "Trees have dropped their leaves/clouds their waters/all this burden is killing me" always makes me think of this as a late fall song, so here we are.

The lyrics "
I fear I will never find anyone
I know my greatest pain is yet to come
Will we find each other in the dark
My long lost love" could apply to any single person...but I always imagine them being the Beast, before he's met Beauty, despairing of ever finding someone to break the spell.
Also from this song: "
My home is far but the rest it lies so close
With my long lost love under the black rose
You told I had the eyes of a wolf
Search them and find the beauty of the beast"
Sanest choice in the insane world:
Beware the beast but enjoy the feast he offers"
Not sure exactly what Tuomas means by these words...I have my ideas, and I'm sure each person has their own interpretation as well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes-Little Red Riding Hood

As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma's door.

When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,

And Wolfie said, "May I come in?"
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
"He's going to eat me up!" she cried.
And she was absolutely right.

He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, "That's not enough!
I haven't yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!"

He ran around the kitchen yelping,
"I've got to have a second helping!"

Then added with a frightful leer,
"I'm therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood."

Tyler Garrison

Fleury Francois Richard

He quickly put on Grandma's clothes,
(Of course he hadn't eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that,
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma's chair.

In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
"What great big ears you have, Grandma."
"All the better to hear you with,"
the Wolf replied.
"What great big eyes you have, Grandma."
said Little Red Riding Hood.
"All the better to see you with,"
the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I'm going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma,
She's going to taste like caviar.

Then Little Red Riding Hood said, "
But Grandma, what a lovely great big
furry coat you have on."

"That's wrong!" cried Wolf.
"Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I've got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I'm going to eat you anyway."

The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature's head,
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.

A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, "Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat."

Roald Dahl

Top two images from this post-click to read interesting discussion on modern LRRH and more art samples

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Burtonized Disney Princesses

Silvertallest on deviantart created these.

Happy Mickey Mouse Day!

It's the official Mickey Mouse Day! On this day in 1928, Steamboat Willie premiered, and in 1955, the Mickey Mouse Club aired. You can read about other Disney history that happened on November 18 on the This Day in Disney History page.

Mickey started out looking a bit different that he does today (his name was also originally Mortimer) due to limitations in animation. The animators first went with what was easiest to draw, since they had to create 700 feet of film every two weeks. Mickey gradually changed to his present image to give him more character.

Mickey was also different in personality at first-he was meaner and more controversial-"he was quick and cocky and cruel-at best a fresh and bratty kid, at worst a diminutive and sadistic monster...after a delightfully bratty beginning he matured into a terrible square, simply incapable of the kind of irreverent comic turns that a great comedian must master". Disney changed him to make him nicer, but he lost some of his personality that way, so Donald and Pluto were added- as less sacred, they could get away with losing their tempers while Mickey continued to be the hero.

The distributors of the films believed Mickey was the star and the selling point-Disney realized that the technique was key, and realized sound was a huge way to make movies successful. Steamboat Willie was the first movie to have synchronized sound and visuals. Disney drew a slash of ink on every 12th frame, so the screen would flash white every half second, and the conductor's job was to keep the music in time with the flashes. The soundtrack was originally created with lots of sound effects by musically illiterate animators. Eventually, the costs of recording the music for the soundtrack grew more than expected, and Roy Disney had to sell Walt's favorite car to fund it.

Disney also introduced the idea of using great classical music to accompany cartoons in "The Skeleton Dance". This was considered gruesome at the time (the cartoon, not the classical music)-the subject matter didn't go well with the animal characters, so they were absent. This is supposed to be set to Saint-Saens' "Dance Macabre," of which I hear...maybe 5 seconds' worth, altered. Am I crazy?..

Information from the 1968 American Heritage article "Bringing Forth the Mouse" by Richard Shickel. Shickel also includes some choice words about Walt Disney himself:
"Walt Disney was a grouchy, inarticulate, withdrawn man."
"Everything that came out of his workshops was stamped with his name and, indeed, with his taste and personality, a practice which eventually drove most of his genuinely talented elves from his employ."
"He remained suspicious of outsiders, stragely small-minded on questions of aesthetics and narrow-minded on morals, and deeply wedded to the propagation of the happy myth of small-town, turn-of-the-century virtue."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mercedes Lackey's The Black Swan

A while back I posted a review of Mercedes Lackey's Firebird novel which was not the most enthusiastic ever, so it is with great pleasure that I reread her The Black Swan (which is not connected with the movie "Black Swan" coming out, starring Natalie Portman). It is a retelling of the story of Swan Lake, but from the perspective of Odile, the Black Swan, which is a fascinating idea. I'm also glad that the source was Swan Lake, which is not written on as often as the more "standard" fairy tales.

The first time I read this book was a while ago, and I think it was probably the first book I ever read with sexual content in it, so it was shocking to me and was really the only thing I remember about it. And Siegfried's character starts out like the prince in Firebird that I didn't like-a chauvenist who has sex with whoever he wants to, whenever he wants to, and has no compassion for the females or servants he uses. Now some people are indeed more liberal than the stereotypical chaste fairy tale characters, but this is the other extreme- throughout Firebird it seemed like this was a totally normal, healthy way for a prince to behave-"ah, boys will be boys." So Siegfried made me uncomfortable at the beginning of Black Swan-I wasn't sure how much was supposed to upset me and how much was supposed to be accepted by the modern reader. Although Siegfried is supposed to get you riled up on some level, at least if you're female (a lot of guys probably think his existence would be the dream life): at one point he muses two separate ladies he intends to have as his newest sex partners, "I'll have to make it clear from the start to both of them that I am the master, and I won't tolerate either of them acting as if she has any rights over me..."

But there's good news for this book: Siegfried grows as a character and has a change of heart after he is haunted by the ghost of a gypsy girl he raped, and a very powerful dream scene.

Overall, I was impressed by the characters as well as the plot. It's rich in symbolism, which is very rare for modern books...the contrast and paralells between the father/daughter relationship of von Rothbart/Odile and the mother/son- Clothilde/Siegfried. Mirrors are important, for they "reveal the truth," and masks are symbolic-literal physical masks, as seen on the book cover, as well as the masking of emotions. The concept of faithfulness and loyalty to lovers is a big one, as well as gender stereotypes-how people (male and female) tend to negatively stereotype the entire opposite gender.

In this version, von Rothbart captures women he believes have been unfaithful traitors, and deems them worthy of their punishment as swan maidens. Odile, at the beginning, is devoted to her father and only wishes to please him; she believes that the flock are wayward women. She practices her magic in order to gain rare approval from her father, and finally is forced to realize that the swan maidens are not what she thought, nor is her father. The book never reveals why von Rothbart is so insistent on punishing his view of sinful women, but I assumed his wife cheated on him and he made it his life's mission to punish the female race out of bitterness (at one point, Odile reflects that her own silvery white hair is odd compared to her father's red hair. She supposes it's due to magic, but the reader is left to wonder if she's really his daughter at all).

I also love this book because Lackey was clearly familiar enough with the ballet to nod to it occasionally-she refers to the four youngest swans, and the first time you meet them they are dancing-this is the Dance of the Cygnets:

These are, apparantly, vegan ballerinas...
Also, in the final ballroom sequence, she mentions that some of the guests are dressed in costumes of different countries, and that they perform dances for the prince. These are all dances performed in the ballet-here's ABT's Hungarian Dance:

In my opinion, this book is far above Firebird in sophistication. The characters were intriguing, and their relationships with one another were fascinating; the characters had growth, the plot was imaginative and complex, the real world was blended expertly with a world of magic that was thrilling yet believeable; the climax was very exciting. Go read it. It is, however, intended for mature audiences, so don't give it to your little ballet-loving neice for Christmas.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Children in the Story

In the book "Mary Poppins in the Park," there's a very sweet chapter in which the characters of a fairy tale Jane and Michael are reading come to life. Jane and Michael believe they have gone into the story of "The Three Princes," but the Princes (and their unicorn) believe they have traveled into the story of Jane and Michael. Which is amusing on different levels-the reader knows that Jane and Michael are, in fact, only characters in the story, yet it still causes you to think that maybe the characters we read about are just as real as we are...and, in fact, in a way the characters are more permanent:
""But-" she protested. "How can it be? You are in Once Upon a Time. And that is long ago."
"Oh, no!" said Veritain. "It's always. Do you remember your great-great-great-great-grandmother?"
"Of course not. I am much too young."
"We do," said Florimund, with a smile. "And what about your great-great-great-great-granddaughter? Will you ever see her, do you think?"
Jane shook her head a little wistfully. That charming far-away little girl-how much she would like to know her!
"We shall," said Veritain confidently.
"But how? You're the children in the story!"
Florimund laughed and shook his head.
"You are the children in the story! We've read about you so often, Jane, and looked at the picture and longed to know you. So today-when the book fell open-we simply walked in. We come once into everyone's story-the grand-parents and the grand-children are the same to us. But most people take no notice." He sighed. "Or if they do, they forget very quickly. Only a few remember."
Jane's hand tightened on his sleeve. She felt she would never forget him, not if she lived to be forty."
The princes, in the book, step out of the Silver Fairy Book. Which, when I read it, I assumed was one of the Andrew Lang colored fairy books. After searching for it, it turns out that there is no Silver Fairy Book, or a story about the three Princes Veritain, Florimund, and Amor, that I could find. It would have been nice if it were more well-known fairy tale children, like Hansel and Gretel, because the reader could relate to them more. Later in the chapter, the adults in the story are tested and all fail to recognize the fairy tale characters but for a brief moment when they remember their childhood-except, of course, for Mary Poppins and Bert, who always remember.
The movie "Mary Poppins" is possibly the only movie to ever be better than the books on which it was based, so the books tend to get overshadowed (I might put "Pinocchio" into this category as well, I found the book a bit frustrating...). But this is not for lack of quality in the books, so they are definitely worth reading, for children or adults.

The Mary Poppins books were written by P.L. Travers and illustrated by Mary Shepard.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Flute Player-Apache Tale

I was in the children's section of my library and caught the title of a book, "The Flute Player: an Apache Tale." I already have interest in Native American lore because of my adopted Cherokee brother, and if it's about a flute player as well, I have to read it!

The tale was a rather tragic Romeo and Juliet-esque story. At a hoop dance, one boy and girl were noticed to be dancing only with each other. The others wondered if they liked each other. During the course of the dance, the boy told the girl he was a flute player. He told her that, in the mornings, he would play. She told him that, when she heard him, if she liked his song, she would send a leaf down the river to him.
He played the next morning. From the fields where the girl was at work, everyone stopped when they noticed the sound like wind through the trees, but was really a far off flute. Pleased, the girl dropped a leaf in the river. When the boy received it, he was glad.

The same thing happened the next morning; the boy played, and the girl sent a leaf. The boy was very happy, and he wondered if the fact that the girl liked his playing meant that she really liked him.

The boy's father told him it was time for him to go on a hunt, not stay home every day with the women. The boy left for a hunt, all the time dreaming of the girl at home and how he would play for her when he returned.

The girl, though, did not know that the boy had left on a hunt. She listened every morning for his flute, and heard nothing. She got up extra early and went to the fields to catch the sound, and still heard nothing. Eventually she grew depressed and ill. Nothing could make her well, and she died.

When the boy returned from the hunt, he was so anxious to play his flute again. The next morning he played and played and waited for a leaf...and received nothing. The following morning he got up extra early and played again, to find nothing. Finally the boy went to the girl's family to ask after her. He is horrified that she is dead. He found her grave and played his flute for it. After that, he turned and left and was never seen by the people again.

But often, in the morning, when we hear a sound like the wind whistling through the trees, almost like a faraway flute, we remember the boy, and that the girl still likes him.

Here's the flute geek in me nerding out with some samples of Native American flutes:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Lost Spear-an "African" fairy tale

This fairy tale comes from South Africa. In this post I referenced the issues of African fairy tales being influenced by Westerners, and I think that influence is very clear through this tale.

It starts with a typical Western motif: a challenge set to a group of men to win the beautiful princess. The princess goes for the underdog, the poor herdsman Zandilli. Now, the concept of the underdog rising victorious is pretty universal. But after Zandilli fairly wins the first challenge, the princess' father sets another challenge, since he doesn't want his daughter to marry a herdsman. This is a spear throwing contest, and the father gives Zandilli a faulty spear. He outthrows his opponents, but is told he cannot marry the princess until he returns with the spear.

This starts a journey for our hero, including another very common Western element; the compassion the hero shows towards animals along the way later ends up saving him, as the same animals return to help him accomplish impossible tasks. Eventually Zandilli reaches a fairy cave, and this is the part I scoffed at: "each fairy sat singing as she combed her long golden hair." Later, it gleams against their "snowy breasts." Now often people do seek after the most rare traits as those which are beautiful, but come on, did Africans really value golden hair and snowy breasts independantly of the white men interpreting their fairy tales? Zandilli's speech to the Fairy Queen: "Oh, great Queen! whiter than the sind-clouds, fairer than the dawn..." her eyes were "blue as the lake."

The fairies give Zandilli further tasks before he can go home to his princess; making a black chamber beautiful, which is accomplished by the butterfly he had saved, and filling a hundred boats with the wings of flies from which the fairies' robes are woven-helped by the frog he rescued earlier.

I'm no expert in African culture, and the Princess Zandilli is in love with is called "the beautiful black-eyed Lala," which itself makes sense. Who knows, maybe Africans did imagine white-skinned fairies with blue eyes. The belief in fairies themselves, or at least a supernatural race of strange and powerful creatures, is universal, but these fairies are very similar to the stereotypical fairies of the Western tales. It's possible that some elements of the tale could have been independantly invented in each culture, but on the whole it's too similar. The spear throwing, though, seems to be an authentic African contribution to the tale.

PS-it's really hard to find images to go along with obscure fairy tales, especially when the characters are African...there's Fred Crump, who illustrates tales with African heroes...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bert Appermont's Rapunzel/Midsummer Night's Dream opera

Okay, imagine this performed by a professional orchestra and not a high school band...I actually really like the music, but I'm a sucker for this kind of music: minor 3/4, an eerie glockenspiel ostinato, anything stereotypical for "fantasy" music. (The third and fourth movements are cheesy to me, but this could honestly just be a matter of personal taste and not a reflection of quality change between the movements.) The narration is part of the score and tells the traditional Rapunzel story.

Also related to music, but another Chicago event-a bit more avant garde, though very professional-the Lyric Opera is putting on Benjamin Britten's "Midsummer Night's Dream." Not from the same production, but here's a sample of the opera:

The Tribune reviewer gave it 3 stars. From the John von Rhein article: " "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Lyric Opera of Chicago is a bit slow to find its comic rhythm, the early scenes suggesting someone awakening from deep slumber who needs a jolt of black coffee before facing the day. But give it a chance. By the time the mismatched lovers are going at one other in full squabble mode, their senses hopelessly addled by Puck's magic herb, Benjamin Britten's delicate, otherworldly music has worked its wonders, the show comes alive and we are transported."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Issue of the "Moral" in Bluebeard

Perrault included "morals" at the end of his fairy tales; little rhyming verses that brought out his interpretation of the point of the tale. Some of them are meant to be more humorous-others, it's hard to interpret the tone, coming from a modern perspective. The most maddening of all of these is the moral attatched to Bluebeard:
"Curiosity, in spite of its charm,
Too often causes a great deal of harm.
A thousand new cases arise each day.
With due respect, ladies, the thrill is slight,
For as soon as you're satisfied, it goes away,
And the price one pays is never right."

It's simply mind-boggling to imagine that Perrault could condemn a woman for opening a room in what is now her own house rather than the serial killer husband. Marina Warner points out that Perrault's tone is tongue-in-cheek throughout the story. I hope this is true for the moral too-not for the sake of defending Perrault, but for the sake of the human race in general...but in his day, would people have caught on to the exaggeration, or taken it literally?

The fact is, though in words he chastises the heroine, in the end it's Bluebeard who is punished and his wife who is rescued. Warner says- " 'Bluebeard' is a version of the Fall in which Eve is allowed to get away with it. in which no one for once heaps the blame on Pandora." (From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and their Tellers, p. 244.) Except that...Perrault does heap the blame on Pandora, at least in the moral. Warner also says that initially, the reader's sympathies lie with the husband. I disagree, although maybe that's because I can't remember hearing this tale for the first time-but unless one is expecting it to be a Beauty and the Beast tale, the blue beard sets him apart as strange. And it may have once been common for men to keep entire rooms hidden away from their wives, but nowdays that's a definite red flag.
Walter Crane's positioning of the wife in front of a painting of Eve in the garden is telling.

Bruno Bettelheim sees the act of opening the forbidden door as evidence of the wife commiting adultery in the absence of her husband. The fact that the chamber is at the end of a long hallway clearly indicates sexual overtones, he claims. He sides with Bluebeard in this tale. Although I certainly agree stories can have hidden meanings, I see this as an example of completely ignoring the words on the page in search of your own meaning.

Other versions of this tale don't glorify the husband as much. In the Grimms' "Fitcher's Bird", and in Italo Calvino's story "Silver Nose," the lover is a demon seeking to trap three sisters. The eldest two fall prey to his schemes, but the youngest uses her wits to rescue herself as well as her sisters. She is not condemned for curiosity, but commended for getting away with it.

Illustrations by Walter Crane

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fractured Fairy Tales: Beauty and the Beast

Another Beauty and the Beast link-

Here's the Fractured Fairy Tales' Beauty and the Beast, by A.J. Jacobs, as told on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. It begins like so:

"Once upon a time there was a magnificent golden castle on a silver cloud high up in the sky, which has nothing to do with anything because our story is about an old woodchopper who lived in a shack, but that's a good way to start a fairy tale. The old man was very happy, but he had a daughter, who was very unhappy because...well, she was rather plain. Actually, she was really plain. In fact, she had a face like five miles of bad road."

It's really pretty funny. Also, here's Cutie and the Beast, which is actually closer to the fairy tale. I won't give endings away...but they both end with a very modern twist.

To read more fractured fairy tales, find a list here.

This image is random, but for this post I searched for "Humorous Beauty and the Beast" and this came up:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Copyrighted Beauty and the Beast pictures

When I want pictures of Beauty and the Beast, my go-to is Surlalune's Illustrations of Beauty and the Beast page. However, not everything is on there, I'm guessing mainly due to copyright issues. Now that people are actually reading my blog I need to be more careful about copyright issues too...so I'm going to provide links to images on other websites.

Angela Barret
Errol Le Cain

Kirsi Salonen
Robert Sabuda-pop-up book
Mercer Mayer

I'll add more to this page as i find them. By the way, sometimes I find images by doing a google or Bing search for:' "Beauty and the Beast" -Disney'. You'll still get Disney images, (like a lot of community and high school productions of the musical,) but it weeds out a lot.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Disney villains

Hop on over to The Cherry Blossom Girl to see how fashion bloggers Alix and Louise interpreted Disney villains for Halloween, inlcuding Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, The Queen from Snow White, Maleficent, the Queen of Hearts, and Medusa (from The Rescuers).


"Fairy tales don’t tell children that dragons exist. Children already know dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed."- G. K. Chesterton

Dragons are part of the stereotyped fairy tale story-hence the quote by Chesterton, and the fact that the image above is listed under "fairy tale figures" on this site. But can you think of any fairy tales that feature dragons? If you thought of Sleeping Beauty, that was only Disney's invention to have the Prince fight Maleficent as a dragon.
I can only think of a very few fairy tales that actually have dragons in them, and they're very obscure. However, this little Serbian tale may give us insight into an example of the dragon stereotype:

There was an emporer with three sons. One day the eldest was hunting and saw a hare spring out of a bush, and chased it. Only the hare was really a dragon, and it ate him (killer rabbit from Monty Python, anyone?). The same thing happened to his middle brother. The third son went hunting, but chose not to follow the hare. He went to hunt elsewhere and returned to find an old woman. He greeted her respectfully, and she told him that the hare was really a dragon who killed many people. The prince wished to free the old woman from the dragon, and instructed her to flatter the dragon into telling her where his strength was kept. Wherever he told her, she was to fondle and kiss that place as if out of love.

The old woman did as she was told. The dragon told her false locations twice, but believing her show of love for him, he told her the true location of his strength: in another emperor's court, in a lake, in a dragon, in a boar, was a pigeon, and that pigeon was the dragon's strength.

The prince set out for the kingdom, disguised as a shepherd, and offered his service to the emperor of the other land. The emperor sent him out where no other shepherd had returned. The prince brought with him a falcon, hounds, and a bagpipe. He called to the dragon, "Dragon, dragon! come out to single combat with me to-day that we may measure ourselves together, unless you're a woman." (In the book this tale is in, there's a footnote here that explains, "This is intended as an insult.")

The dragon responds to the taunt. They wrestled till afternoon, when the dragon requested to moisten his head in the lake. The prince claimed "if I had the emperor's daughter to kiss me on the forehead, I would toss you still higher." They separated, and the people of the kingdom were astounded to see the new shepherd return alive. The emperor sent two grooms to watch what he did, and the same thing happened the next day. The emperor sent his daughter to go with him on the third day, who went weeping, but her father had full faith in the shepherd.

The same thing happened the next day, only after the shepherd taunted the dragon with the kiss, the emperor's daughter ran up and kissed him. The prince threw the dragon p in the air, and when it fell it burst into pieces. The boar sprang out, and the prince shouted to the shepherd dogs to hold it. They tore it to pieces, and out came the pigeon. The prince loosed the falcon, who captured the pigeon. Once the prince asked the pigeon where his brothers were, he killed the pigeon. The prince then married the princess and released his brothers.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chicago play-Peter Pan

For any Chicago area folk who might be interested, here's a link to the Tribune's review of Amanda Denhert's "Peter Pan (A Play)." The review itself is pretty negative, so it might discourage anyone from buying a ticket, but it's always interesting to see how people interpret classic stories in different ways.

An exerpt: "This "Peter Pan" loses almost all of the sharp contrasts in Barrie's writing, fails to hold on to the narrative thread of his storytelling and flattens everything into an overwrought and tediously theatrical landscape. More problematic yet, the piece feels weirdly clueless about parents and children, which is the very core of a book that, while strange, surely hits on some of most painful truths of our home lives.
"Peter Pan," which was born out of an unusual and now well-documented, turn-of-the-century friendship that Barrie had with a family of five boys, can be played darkly or lightly or (ideally) on twin tracks for kids and adults."

I love that last line and think it applies to most stories-"Can be played darkly or lightly or (ideally) on twin tracks for kids and adults." I believe good children's stories should also have appeal for adults and that it's totally possible to achieve that balance, as the original Barrie play itself proves.