Early Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes anthology

October 16, 2012 Review 0

*This title will be released on October 16, 2012*

Cover by Heather Howland

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Edited by Georgia McBride & Michelle Zink
Genre: Paranormal YA|
Excerpt: No | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Abigail| Source: Netgalley

  • Reading level: Ages 12 and up
  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Month9Books, LLC (October 16, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0985029412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985029418


Okay – A few good points, but with significant flaws. Library/swap/borrow if you want.

Sexual Content



In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. Short stories by:
  • Nina Berry
  • Sarwat Chadda
  • Shannon Delany
  • Max Scialdone
  • Leigh Fallon
  • Angie Frazier
  • Jessie Harrell
  • Nancy Holder
  • Heidi R. Kling
  • Suzanne Lazear
  • Karen Mahoney
  • Lisa Mantchev
  • Georgia McBride
  • C. Lee McKenzie
  • Gretchen McNeil
  • Francisco X. Stork
  • Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg
  • K.M. Walton
  • Suzanne Young
  • Michelle Zink


Full disclosure: I submitted a story for this anthology that did not make the cut, so I was prepared to be extra judgmental on the story that did win over mine (“Blue” by Sayantani DasGupta).  But I can’t.  It was an exquisitely beautiful story. The problem is, “Blue” was only one of a handful of stories in this anthology that I actually liked.

The six stories I enjoyed were all by authors I had never read before (but plan to read more from in the future).  I don’t remember which rhyme she used, but “Boys and Girls Come Out to Play” by Angie Frazier was about unrequited love, twins, and witches.  “Sea of Dew” by C. Lee McKenzie was based on Blinkin’ Winkin’ and Nod, and was a bleak but memorable story involving four shipwrecked teens in a life raft.  “The Well” by K.M. Walton was a post-apocalyptic Jack and Jill re imagining with supper creepy/cool characters. “A Ribbon of Blue” by Michelle Zink was another rhyme I’d never heard of that became a bittersweet story of disabled and unloved girl’s first taste of love at a traveling carnival. “A Pocket Full of Posy” by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg turned Ring Around the Rosie into a chilling vampire tale. And lastly, “Blue” by Sayantani DasGupta which Little Boy Blue and transformed it into a haunting and exotic wonder with lovely lyrical writing.

The other twelve stories left me underwhelmed.  I can’t even blame it on the obscurity of most of the rhymes since I enjoyed two stories very much that were based on rhymes I wasn’t familiar with.  Mostly, there was a lack of consistency here.  Some stories were such literal retellings as to be boring, while others were so unrelated to their rhymes that they were confusing.  For the handful of stories listed above, it is worth reading this anthology, but keep your expectations in check.

Would you like to be reviewed on All Things Urban Fantasy? Request a Review

Comments are closed.