Adressing the right age group
I am struggling with identifying the right age group for my fairy tale idea. Maybe you can help me out with this.
The idea is to bring together some characters from Grimms stories and to cook a new one. The main message I want to transport is: Be the architect of your own fortune.
A side ulterior motive is to keep Grimms stories alive in the kids and parents heads and maybe to be motivated to read again the original tales. I would dream of seeing the kids react like: "What? This guys belongs in another book". ;-)
Because the book will be more fun when the kids know the characters already, they should be in a certain age. What do you think? I guess something like age 5 or 6, maybe for early readers? Or should they even be older? I really appreciate your comments. How would your kids react to such a story?
I am guessing you are familiar with "The legend of Puss in Boots" by Dreamworks - one of a few storylines that brought together different characters from Fairy tales into a unified narrative. Another example, in a sense, would be Shrek.
That said, I am afraid not many kids today get exposed to classical fairy tales. My kids (5 and 9) definitely were not, despite the fact that I am a big book lover and these were definitely part of my childhood. Whenever I tried to introduce classical fairy tales, I was greeted with loud expressions of boredom - in time I gave up. Nowadays, my daughter (9) knows a little bit about classical storylines from school, but my son (5) has no knowledge whatsoever - so I am not sure the age-range is the right one. Grimm´s tales are relatively complex narratives, and kids age 5-6 may not have heard about them yet. Some parents may start reading them to kids about this age - before that I think the attention span is not there yet. I share your puzzlement with defining age ranges - and I am not sure my kids are in any way a good sampling....
What I can say is that my daughter starts understanding parody and appropriation now (at age 9.5): actually we have just read Roald Dahl´s take on Cinderella this morning (featured in "Revolting Rhymes") and it is the first time she found it funny. So from my perception I would definitely point to an older age range...
I think @smceccarelli is (as usual) making a good assessment. My eldest is very nearly 5 and he would have very little idea about most Grimms fairytale characters. He's seen Cinderella at panto, and the Disney version of Rapunzel...but since they're all adapted versions, he wouldn't recognise the 'traditional' story enough to know that it's a new version. He'll just assess a story at face value, right now.
We do read him a lot of stories - it's such a a great excuse to buy the latest and most beautifully illustrated picture books! ...but none of them are classical fairytales really. It's more a mixture of modern picture books and reading books from school, right now. Maybe later, more of that fairytale knowledge will come...
Thank you, Simona and Dulcie, for your useful comments and telling about your kids interests.
Your responses were very "shocking" for me (;-)) because I made different experiences. So I was trying to collect more information to get a sound picture about what is going on with Grimms tales in these days.
I made a simple search at "Amazon" to get some numbers (I am a biophysist, so I believe in numbers and statistics ;-)). I compared the hits at the different age groups. I just counted how many books with Grimms tales fall in which age group. What I found is the following:
from age 3: 32%
from age 4: 48%
from age 6: 15%
from age 8: 5%
That fits more to my experiences. I have to say, I am living in Germany and I counted only German books. I can imagine that there are differences between the countries, I am not sure.
I checked on another homepage (Kinderbuch-Couch.de), which is a platform to discuss and critique childrens books. There I also found most of the Grimms tales starting at age 4.
So far the theory. :-) Ofcourse this does only mean something, when these books a bought and kids allow their parents to read them. ;-)
@Jana That is interesting! I am a chemist, and worked in research a long time, so I can totally relate to your faith in number :-)
Are these based on Amazon´s browsing classification or on actual sales? (And if the latter, how do you get to these? That would be very interesting!)
@Jana I think it all depends on the parents really and what they share with their kids. I do think lots of kids are still exposed to the traditional stories - especially through parents who either have their own collection of older books, or those who go to their local libraries often. I know a number of parents who have all the old Disney movies and they let their kids watch them at a young age. Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson is coming out soon to theaters - there will definitely be young kids going to that!
@smceccarelli Wow, a chemist! :-) That is awesome. I did not expect to meet another natural scientist here.
The numbers are just a result of counting the books which show up on amazon upon the key words Grimm and fairy tale ("Märchen" in German) using the respective age group filters. I tried to get sales numbers, but amazon does not seem to give them. :-(
To feed you with some more numbers, if you are interested: I made a ranking which of Grimms tales show up as single books (not in a tale collection).
- "Red riding hood"
- "Snow white" and "Hansel and Gretel"
- "Sleeping beauty"
- "Bremen town musicians" and "The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids" and "The rabbit and the hedgehog"
I was interested in that because that might give an idea which fairy tales are known best.
Thank you for sharing your experience, @DanetteDraws .
I didn't know about the new movie. I just saw the trailer. I am looking forward to it. :-)
If you are hoping for the child reader to discover and grasp the message on their own that would require them being able to read.
My seven year old just this school year has not only learned to read but has become a varacious reader (which I love!) but ideally I would think being able to reach younger children through their parents reading the story as well as being able to reach that young reader... and even the parents themselves would be the ultimate goal.
What a great topic of discussion ... how do we hit everyone in some way, even while we are focusing more on one particular age group?
I know I'm rambling... hopefully some of it makes sense