Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Fairytales With a Twist


Gail Carson Levine (1947 – present) is and award-winning American author of young adult fantasies. Ella Enchanted (1997) was her first novel, and my first introduction to her work though I discovered her over a decade later. I have long been a fan of fairytale retellings, and this reinvention of the classic Cinderella tale did not disappoint. In it, Ella receives a fairy gift at birth – obedience. This strong-willed princess fights that fate ever step of the way. Ms.Levine received a Newberry Honor for it. It was made into a film in 2004.


Ms. Levine also did a series of Princess Tales in two volumes that are wonderful. The Fairy’s Mistake retells the tale of Toads and Diamonds. The Princess Test revisits The Princess and the Pea. Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep is an adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. Volume 2 (Cindereillis and the Glass Hill, For Biddle’s Sake, and The Fairy’s Return) retell The Princess on the Glass Hill, Puddocky, and The Golden Goose respectively. I have always respected authors who could retell classic tales like this well. It takes great artistic imagination to take a story you know by heart and twist it to be seen in a different light. These stories were released in one volume here.

Dave at Night (1999) was inspired by her father having grown up in an orphanage. It is her fictional homage to his life.


The Two Princesses of Bamarre (2001) is the story of two sisters. They are very different and one must overcome her fear to save the other.

Fairest (2006) is a retelling of Snow White, and Ever (2008) is filled with myths.


As if all these fairytale-esque books weren’t enough to make me a forever fan, Ms. Levine also wrote three illustrated novels that are just beautiful – Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg, Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand, and Fairies and the Quest for Never Land. These were illustrated by David Christiana and are simply magical. 🙂


Ms. Levine teaches writing workshops for kids and has written a book for her students called Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. Even though this book is geared toward younger writers, I got a lot out of it.

If you are looking for some stories that will transport you to a magical land where fairies really do exist, get to your nearest bookstore or library and check this author out!

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