I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
by Philip Pullman

Plot Summary:

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.

From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.


Philip Pullman's compilation of fifty Brothers Grimm fairy tales, includes many of the popular tales, but more interesting to me, includes a few that I was not at all familiar with.  And some of those tales were very different from what I think of as the traditional fairy tale.  Some were moral tales or ghost stories which made me interested in what other types of stories the Brothers Grimm collected.  Because Philip Pullman also includes commentary and annotations after each fairy tale in this book, the reader can understand the background and influence of the text, as well as the author's opinions of it.  This was probably the best part of reading this book, because I enjoyed getting a perspective on each story and how and why it was changed or altered from it's original version.

Philip Pullman makes each tale more accessible by modernizing the speech and sometimes giving a little more back story or shades of character to each tale.  And from his commentary, he also takes a little from different versions of the tale to give the story more depth.  I liked Philip Pullman's storytelling, but I did miss the old world speech of usual fairy tale translations. This book is certainly a great gift for children, but I relish the archaic language and speech because it gives the tale more of an atmosphere, and I missed that in this book.  For fans of the genre, I'd recommend picking up Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm as an addition to your collection for the interesting comments and annotations, and the inclusion of several lesser known tales.

a review copy was kindly provided through NetGalley

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  1. I really loved Pullmans "Dark Materials" but this compilation somehow never got my positive attention,maybe because I'm not so keen on classic fairy tales.Btw i think your blog is very beautiful,i like it very much (thx for your follow and nice words on my blog,ofc i followed you back and added your button to my blog roll).
    Happy Blogging :)

    1. I loved "Dark Materials" too, and I think I generally like Philip Pullman's work, so I was looking forward to seeing how he reworked the fairy tales. But I do love fairy tales as well, so definitely this isn't for you if you are not a fan! :) Thank you and thanks for stopping by!

  2. What was your favorite new fairy tale?

    1. Three Snake Leaves! http://www.grimmstories.com/en/grimm_fairy-tales/the_three_snake-leaves I don't think I've read it before, and I thought it was really good, and I loved the justice in the end. Especially after all the husband did for his wife!

  3. well i am not sure what is really considered as a "new" fairy tale...every tale with fairies in it?
    I liked The Shadow Reader but no fairies there just Fae...and Lament(Books of Faerie #1) wasn't bad either..but if i consider it a bit longer, i think i am not really so much into fairy tales after all..cant find any of them on my favorite lists now that i am looking into..

    1. This book is more like the original versions of Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood - all those old stories. Not too many fairies, so maybe you might like it if it is really fairies you are not a fan of? Grimm stories are also darker and more violent than the Disney versions.