A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales - Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling I admit, if this hadn't been a book club read, I probably wouldn't have picked it up on my own, and the reasons are threefold. First, even though I've been known to enjoy stories involving re-imagined fairy tales, it's not my preferred subject. Second, I'm not normally drawn to children's or middle grade books. And third, I'm generally not a big fan of anthologies or short story collections. One of the greatest joys of reading is being able to connect with the characters, and personally I find short stories are often too brief or are over too quickly for me to do that.

Still, another great joy of reading is being able to try new things, and I was glad for the chance to read something different for a change. This was a nice change of pace and a good opportunity to discover some new authors and their takes on the fairy tale subject.

I have to say, my feelings are mixed. There were stories I loved, and stories I did not like at all. Among my favorites were The Months of Manhattan (which I thought was the perfect story to open with) and The Twelve Dancing Princesses (likewise, the perfect closing story). As for the rest of the stories in between, there are a few that stand out, but I mostly found many of them to be mediocre.

The stories I tended to enjoy more were the fairy tale retellings that were more faithful to the classics, like Mrs. Big: Jack and the Beanstalk or Ali Baba and the Forty Aliens or Hansel's Eyes. These included elements from the original fairy tales that were immediately recognizable and gave me a frame of reference to which I could anchor myself while I read. Then there were those stories that were just downright "anything-goes" and made me wonder if the author even had an idea or simply slapped together a bunch of random fairy tale elements in an attempt to make their story sound as crazy as possible.

Granted, my feelings may have been influenced by my personal preferences that I mentioned at the beginning of this review, but I tried my best to form objective opinions. Overall, save for a few gems, the stories weren't too memorable, but the creativity and sheer range of styles in this book were impressive. Adults can certainly appreciate this, but I can see kids enjoying themselves a lot more with the stories in this collection, even (or perhaps especially) the ridiculous and nonsensical ones.