Author: Philip Pullman.
Published: November 8th 2012 (first published September 27th 2012)
Publisher: Viking Adult.
Sort: Stand alone.
Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.
This book is a dream for every fairytale lover. Pullman took fifty of his favorites stories from the Brothers Grimm and he bundled them into this book. The only reason why I gave it 4 flowers instead of 5 is the fact that I expected more input from Pullman. We get a lot of extra information and background story at the end of each story and I loved that, but the fairytales are still the same. He didn’t retell them, although he made some adjustments.
One of the things I loved was the fact that I discovered some new stories and I met some old favorites. I always hope that there are authors out there, using these less familiar fairytales. Let me give you an examples, I will tell you my short version:
-The three little men in the wood. There are two sisters. One if beautiful and kind, the other is ugly and mean. Their mother hates the first sister, her stepdaughter. One day, she dresses the girl in paper and sent her out in the snow to search for strawberries. The girl meets three little men. She shares her old, hard bread with them and they ask her to help them; when she does, they see the goodness in her heart and they reward her with gifts. Every day, the girl will get prettier and whenever she speaks, gold coins will tumble out of her mouth. Their last gift is that one day, she will marry a king. The stepmother is furious and the stepsister is envious; she wants the same fortune. With warm clothing, the girl walks the same path and meets the three little men. She refuses to share her good food and she doesn’t want to help them. They punish her: every day, she will get uglier and whenever she speaks, toads will fall out of her mouth. Their last punishment is that she will die a miserable death. I think you can see where this story is going to.
Some other stories are One-eye, two-eyes and three-eyes, where two-eyes gets bullied by her sisters and mother because she is so normal. I used to re-read that story often when I was younger. The singing, springing lark sounds like Beauty and the Beast, but this time the enchanted prince is a lion and he takes his human shape in the night.
There are of course the popular and well-known stories like Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Little red riding hood, Briar Rose, Snow white and Rumpelstiltskin. It surprised me that he didn’t pick The little mermaid.
If you are obsessed with fairytales like me, this is the book you want to read! I’m definitely going to buy a copy (don’t you just love this cover?)
So one day when the queen asked her mirror:
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who in this land is the fairest of all?’
The mirror answered:
‘Your majesty, you are still lovely, it’s true,
But Snow White is a thousand times fairer than you.’