I have often admired and imitated the great masters of the past and the present for being able to put together literary stuff that will be relished by the really young and old alike. I believe that proper middle grade narratives (stories for children between 7 and 13) will grip people of all ages. The advantage of an animal fable is that it lends an objectivity to the tale. We go out of the human into the animal world, and this is something like going into the mythological world where subjective reality can be hung on the peg of mythology and the reader can be taken into a world both intimately connected with and distant from the real world.
The fairy tale element should not be looked upon as an impediment to a story. It actually enriches a story by gripping the imagination as most realistic tales cannot. Jane Austen’s heroines are often imbued with a Cinderella theme that gives them an added charm as they wait for their prince charming to arrive and take them.
I love the way Khaled Hosseini uses the fairy tale element in his stories. His stories are bestsellers because of the quaint, mysterious worlds he builds for his readers. The narrative style is also often that of children’s tales though the novels are for adults.
Magical realism is another literary device that can work wonders. Read THE TAILOR’S NEEDLE to see how magical realism works on the reader’s mind and imagination.