Inspired by ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses’, ‘The Restless Girls’ is a wonderful re-telling, flooding the original with new life. The Grimm’s tale - also known as ‘The Shoes that were Danced to Pieces’- tells of nameless princesses ‘each one more beautiful than the others’, but lacking any individuality, apart from the youngest who notices things are not quite as they should be as the poor soldier follows them.
In this version, each sister is carefully portrayed and bubbling with personality. Each is talented- with genuine talents, not beauty, grace and so on as so often happens in traditional tales. After their mother’s death, these attributes and skills are cruelly suppressed by their father who reduces their lives to a locked room. Driven mad by frustration and boredom, they find a secret door which leads them to a magical place where they can feast and dance to their hearts’ content.
Determined to find out what is going on, the King takes action as in the original story. However, this version does not have the expected ending…and I won’t spoil it for anyone!
This is such a beautifully written, vivacious story which has so much to offer. The illustrations are joyous- full of colour and life- and complement the text perfectly. I would love to use this as a key text with upper KS2 children to inspire writing, drama, artwork and so much more! Just brilliant!!
The Restless Girls Jessie Burton, illustrated by Angela Barrett
Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408886915