Grimm Tales, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


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What's not to love about this. Grimm's fairy tales bear a lot of retelling, and that's all this is. But is is so nicely done. Pullman takes the bones of each story in this collection and puts it in his own words. None of them are updated in terms of their setting, or job (this is full of tailors and peasants and princes, as you would expect) but the words are contemporary. That sounds like it would be odd, but it isn't. In fact at times it works beautifully, in the tale of the idle pair, their speech patterns are those of the idle youf of today's society. He also takes the time to identify the base tale and where it crops up in other folk collections and what drew him tot he story, or how it could be modified. Some of the stories are familiar, some less so. The one things that stuck me again and again is how dark and violent some of the tales are; describing them as fairy tales puts a gloss on them that is not true to the source text. None of these is very long, but they are busy and vibrant and a joy to read.