Friday, February 18, 2011

“When Apples Grew Noses and White Horses Flew”

By Jan Andrews
ISBN No. 978-0-88899-952-8

“When Apples Grew Noses…” follows the everyday yet fantastical adventures of a foreign fairy tale everyman named Ti-Jean (the introduction wisely explains that Ti-Jean is like “Jack” in the fairy tales most of us remember: a projection of our myriad selves, and whose past changes to accompany whatever story he’s in). In the three tales here Ti-Jean outwits “a greedy princess”, “a pint-sized scoundrel” and a young woman “too clever for her own good.” In short, he’s a karmic Better Business Bureau, evening up the score in places referred to as the “New World” while being faithful to the Old Country style of oral history storytelling. And unlike a lot of oral history, the stories here seem to have actually improved with each airing: plots make sense, characters are smart, and the moral lesson isn’t always obvious. And when it is – as in the case of a fiddle that’s both inspirational and magical – it evokes touches of the Pied Piper that’ll be appreciated long after the stories are finished.