Book Review

Once upon a time, there lived a wise professor named Dr. Jill Rudy . . .

Dr. Rudy is one of the editors of the recently published Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-tale Cultures.   On the back cover, the authors promise that The Companion provides a wide range of approaches on a number of topics “from Cinderella to comic con to colonialism and more.”  I must say, it delivers.  The book has five sections: Basic Concepts, Analytical Approaches, Issues, Political and Identity issues, Communicative Media, Expressive genres and Venues.  In these sections, The Companion has both the expected articles from a companion to fairy tales and media such as History of Fairytales, Performance, Feminism, Food, and Hybridity.  But also the unexpected, such as Indigeneity, Disability, Animal Studies, and Fat Studies.  The approaches to these intersections also vary, as do the authors, ranging from Emeritus professors and lead investigators in their field to Master’s students all in a variety of fields: Folklore, English, cultural and women studies.

In addition to her role as editor, Jill also contributes four articles to the Companion.  In her first article, Jill leads off the book with “The Overview of Basic Concepts.”  Instead of just defining basic concepts, Jill discusses several paradoxes and debated terms in the field.  One of the most interesting paradox is the shift from individual storytellers or other small groups of face-to-face in counters to mass communication and digital media.   To discuss this issue, Jill coins the term “Communitive Omnivores,” acknowledging the human habit of adopting new communicative media without discarding past media.  In her articles as with the other articles, she manages to cover currents topic in an accessible way.

These various choices make The Companion useful to not only Folklorists, but to any scholar interested in Fairytales.  Thus, many scholars will live happily ever after.

-Professor Danette Paul