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Boston Globe Magazine


Rap and the Beanstalk

By Mopsy Strange Kennedy

Almost memorizable in their hypnotic cadence, these familiar fairy tales are told in rap style but without the quality of pent-up menace that many streetier ones exude. The voices are those of a man and a woman, as honest-sounding as grade-school teachers.

“The Three Sillies” explicates the comic drawbacks of worry in the subjunctive mood. Someone named Elsie begins to obsess about what might happen if she and her fiance get married and have a son—she imagines that he might go to the cellar to fetch cider, where he might then be beheaded by an ax on the wall. Rappishly, it is told that they “wept and wailed and hollered and cried” at this elaborated fantasy, though Elsie is advised, “A hatchet can’t fall on a son you haven’t got/Especially if I move it to a safer spot.” Her fiance, Hans, does some comparison shopping between her silliness and that of some other people; he finds three similar nitwits and concludes that “there are sillies from here to Kalamazoo” and happily marries the now relatively clever Elsie.

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is told in a charmingly hilly rhythm that capitalizes on its familiarity. The catchiest rap-tale is “Jack and the Beanstalk”—“this is tragically tragical, sorry is the day that you sold that cow” goes the refrain, done in rhythmic back-and-forth. The fourth one is “The Princess and the Pea.” The tales have pluck and singsonginess.

The cassette costs $7.95; the accompanying book is $5.95. A package of the two costs $11.95. Add $2 for shipping and handling.

Fairy Tale Rap
Miramonte Press
P.O. Box 390328
Mountain View, CA 94039

April 29, 1990

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