Three gorgeously illustrated, feminist-twist folktales, myths, stories are included in Stories of the Islands by Clar Angkasa (Clar pronounced like Clark without the k) based their stories on the ones of their childhood, adding what might not seem at first “girl power” but will become that, to each one. There are some mature themes (the giant wants to eat the girl, the father is abusive to his daughters, a village thinks that a woman who is single with no children is odd and tells her so), but overall well handled and most ages would be okay with. However, sensitive readers or very young might not be the best audience.
Though currently available, I read this via an online reader copy. I am hoping to find a finished copy as I think part of the appeal could be lost or gained because of the size of the actual book. I think ages eight to 12 would be okay with things, but as always know your reader. What drew me to this book was the brilliant cover. The colors are bold, colorful and fit the mood of the time. The shadows and light are used to show the deep, dark woods the sisters find themselves in, red to show anger or passion; with blues and yellows pepping the first story by capturing the ocean or the hat of the fisherwoman. The original tale is included at the end of the book along with an afterwards by the author showing their inspiration for doing feminist stories and why they chose these in particular.
One of the things I noticed was how we can compare these stories (especially the originals) with folklore of other countries, such as the first story I’ve seen similar uses of “hidden gems”, the second story had a bit of Hansel and Gretel to it (without the oven ending) and the third has a giant. There are many layers to text and allow for growth with your child. Probably best used as a one-on-one read, or the reader is individually reading, it might work for a group reading (again, based on the size of the book). The format is in graphic novel styles, that bring the best of the picture book, folktale/mythology book and graphic novel. It is an emotional book, that you will enjoy or not, with little in between.