Sunday, August 18, 2013

Plants vs Zombies vs Fairy Tales

If you've been wondering how to introduce your video-game-loving little charge to fairy tales, you now have a new weapon in your arsenal. (Actually two, as I discovered on a trip to the grocery store today.)

Based on the popular-with-all-ages franchise Plants vs Zombies, we get retellings of two fairy tales (so far), retold (with zombies) for ages 4 to 8 with some unusual twists (and stickers!):

Brains and the Beanstalk
The Three Little Pigs Fight Back

They're cartoony, colorful and super cute but most importantly of all, the fairy tales are even more recognizable than you might expect. I particularly like that both books emphasize the use of, you guessed it, BRAINS!

Here are the synopses:
Plants Vs Zombies: The Three Little Pigs Fight BackThe famous fairy-tale pigs are thrown into the fun-dead world of Plants vs. Zombies, the award-winning video game.Instead of the big bad wolf, the brave pigs must escape a mob of fun-loving, brain-eating zombies from the wildly popular game. The pigs will have to think fast and team up with some zombie-fighting plants to stay alive.
Plants vs Zombies: Brains and the BeanstalkNow in a thrilling picture book for kids, Jack—of Jack and the Beanstalk fame—enters the fantastical world of the game. He will battle the zombies with his magical beanstalk fighting by his side. The fun never dies in this action-filled adventure for kids with full-color illustrations.
I've seen far worse modernizing and retellings of both these tales so I'm quite happy to read them to my kid (or have him read them to me now!). I do find it interesting that they chose these two tales. It tells me that the popular consensus of "best/most popular tales for boys" include these two (because, let's face it, at age 4-6, it's not little girls they expect to be reading these books ad there's no Plants vs Zombies merchandise in the girls section of stores either). 
I find it REALLY interesting that Plants vs Zombies decided to go with fairy tales at all, when there are already many other "story lines" (I use the term somewhat loosely - maybe "premise" would be a better word) in the world of the game already. I guess, if nothing else, these two tales are seen as combative (which, honestly is a new way of thinking about them for me). Replacing the fairy tale adversaries with zombies in each tale makes for an interesting mirror to the trend in YA and adult speculative fiction and urban fantasy, in which zombies (which represent a whole lot of different and enlightening things that adults currently see as our main trials and adversaries in the current day) are currently being represented as our most collective and societal fear. That being the case, these books should set kids up to be well armed and prepared against zombies of any kinds in their futures!
Sidenote: I do wonder at the plants versus zombies idea. Why plants versus these monsters? Is it the refuse to die-undead vs the pushing up daisies state bodies are supposed to be in for the natural order to stay in balance and continue? (Yes - I find many weird things fascinating!)
The books were released on August 6, 2013, are available on iTunes and Amazon (check title links above at synopses) and have started making their way into grocery stores around the US.


  1. My children like Plants vs Zombies very much. And I bought many toys for them, my girl likes the Sunflower Plush best. So , if you want a gift to your kids , you can buy Plants vs Zombies plush.