by Philip Pullman
In this beautiful book of classic fairy tales, award-winning author Philip Pullman has chosen his fifty favourite stories from the Brothers Grimm and presents them in a'clear as water' retelling, in his unique and brilliant voice.
From the quests and romance of classics such as 'Rapunzel', 'Snow White' and 'Cinderella' to the danger and wit of such lesser-known tales as 'The Three Snake Leaves', 'Hans-my-Hedgehog' and 'Godfather Death', Pullman brings the heart of each timeless tale to the fore, following with a brief but fascinating commentary on the story's background and history. In his introduction, he discusses how these stories have lasted so long, and become part of our collective storytelling imagination.
These new versions show the adventures at their most lucid and engaging yet. Pullman's Grimm Tales of wicked wives, brave children and villainous kings will have you reading, reading aloud and rereading them for many years to come.
Last year, at University, I studied a module called 'Children's Fiction'. Obviously we studied Fairy Tales, including those of the Brothers Grimm, at some length, and I discovered that I enjoyed them more now, than I ever did as a child. For whatever reason, they just didn't hold my attention all that much, when I was young, but I really loved reading them from a critical and analytical point of view, and this made them much more interesting to me (particularly when compared to modern children's fiction).
The Brothers Grimm did not create these tales (they may have created a couple I guess, but none that I've heard of) - the fairy tales are written re-tellings of oral tales, told by peasants for centuries before they were written down (again, not by the Brothers Grimm, but by others before them).
I love this tradition of taking a known tale, and re-writing and re-working it, for a new generation, and I can't wait to see what twist Philip Pullman has put on each of the tales.
I'm a huge fan of His Dark Materials, so I'm hoping that I will love his fairy tale re-workings just as much!